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Second Life revisited

It’s eleven years since I explored the shared 3D world of Second Life. The University of Edinburgh owns a virtual island there, and in 2006 I was gifted a small promontory of land on which to conduct some experiments. This playground nook was always a mess. One of our team created a stylised version of … Continue reading

Branded Meeting Places Final Report

Final Report Branded Meeting Places Ubiquitous technologies and the design of places for meaningful human encounter http://ace.caad.ed.ac.uk/Branded/ [inactive] Richard Coyne, James Stewart, Mark Wright, Henrik Ekeus, Penny Travlou, Robin Williams The University of Edinburgh 12 March 2009 In this project we examine the changing character of semi-formal meetings between people and the technologies that support … Continue reading

Hygienic reality

Many people take it for granted that we occupy two worlds: the physical and the virtual. In 1997 MIT digital researchers Ishii and Ullmer  stated that people potentially “live between two realms: our physical environment and cyberspace” (Ishii and Ullmer, 1997). They took on the challenge of  developing digital devices that connect the two spaces together.

Blog archive (and About)

What this blog site is about I draw on philosophy and cultural theory to help understand current affairs, architecture and developments in digital technology. These are not opinion pages, though my strongly held view that academic reflection really matters as we try to understand contemporary living may seep through. These posts are scheduled to appear … Continue reading

Site index

A.S.M.R. Results appear in reverse date order. You can also use the search box above or the Google menu. 3D printing 4D printing Accelerationism Activism Affective and emotion Africa Agon Alberti Ambience Anger Animals Anime Apocalypse Art Artificial Intelligence Attention Audience engagement Augmented reality Aura Ayn Rand Bad Actors Bauhaus Belief Big Bang Theory Big … Continue reading

The pleasures of the mouth

The soft human voice signifies comfort. Some would say that parental cooing and burbling sends babies to sleep. That affinity with the voice persists into later life. Thanks to telephones and mobile phones, the voice-in-your-ear is ubiquitous in contemporary life — compounding opportunities for the voice to do its work. The soft voice, breath, the … Continue reading

Offensive media

Television started to make its way into people’s homes in the 1950s. There were very few channels. Audiences shared roughly the same news, commentary and entertainment outlets. By most accounts such unitary media sources helped reinforce social habits and opinions. Amongst its many effects, mass media tended to put citizens on the same page, with … Continue reading

I am not a statistic!

“Don’t become a statistic!” That was the warning teachers and parents would direct at young drivers some years ago, when news broadcasts used to feature weekly road casualty figures. The psychologist Carl Jung amplified the despair of associating the human with a number: “If, …, I despise myself as merely a statistical cipher, my life has … Continue reading

Forked paths

The usual method for creating a puzzle maze is to start with a rectilinear, triangular or radial grid and mark it up with a convoluted route from start to end. Then draw in branches, loops and deviations that make the route less obvious. The challenge for a maze architect is to provide the appearance of … Continue reading

Africa calling: How to say a lot with a little

When we had cell phones it was called “beeping.” Now in the era of smartphones another word serves better. It’s “flashing” or “making a flash call.” I think we even did it with land lines as well back in the day. Children away from home would flash call their parents. Though we didn’t recognise it … Continue reading

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