Monday, January 31, 2005

Virtual booksigning
I'm sure I'll never be called upon to do heavy-duty booksigning, so the idea of doing it 'virtually' is only of academic interest. It's interesting, however, to know that we already have the technology. So, whilst I'm a great admirer of Margaret Atwood (I loved Oryx and Crake), her new idea, may not be that original. Interestingly Grockwel (January 22nd) is quite angry and wonders why bloggers are not up in arms. This one is...but for me, it's only of academic interest.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

A little Sunday hybridity
Take a little bit of Austin Powers, a little bit of Michael Jackson, quite a lot of Elvis Presley with a sprinkling of Top of the Pops (circa 1967), mix it, stick it in the cultural oven and 'hey presto! ' you get THIS!

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Where lies your text?

Reading Paul Auster's beautiful-crafted descriptions of facial expression in silent movies (The Book of Illusions) set me thinking about the face as text. It's a Bardic theme (see this title and "your face is a book") and there's loads written about the importance of the face in studies of human communication. But that's face2face in meatspace. Online it's different; not very many faces on our blogs. Maybe that's changing.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Early mark-making
I often think of the landscape as a palimpsest. We are surrounded by evidence of human tool use and mark-making across space and time. Near 'here' there are those mysterious cup-and-ring rock carvings (on Gardom's Edge), but they also stretch across the country and are found in America and Australia too. Other markings include clear representational work like this ibex.

Reading the article it's interesting that a contribution from the 1940s is graffiti (does that make the ibex 'art' or just older graffiti?) It's probably the everyday marking of a place, like those beautiful handprints in France. But what on earth do we make of a prehistoric painting of a policeman with a gun?

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Multimodally yours,
A new blog is born. A blog that will chart progress on the new UKLA/QCA project. It's simply titled Multimodality. Meanwhile other projects continue (Blogtrax) and old ones go public. Find me here (in issue 3), for an example of the latter. Adding it all up, it's been a busy time, maybe some retail therapy's called for...perhaps in the form of this elegant USB drive, who knows?

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

More than this...

This is the outcome of a fruitful UKLA/QCA project on multimodal texts. A follow-up of this work begins with a meeting in London tomorrow convened by Eve Bearne. We hope to keep interested parties up to date, by opening a new blog. Watch this space for further details! (You can download More than Words here.)

Monday, January 24, 2005

Photos and footprints

Here's Lynda Graham in dialogue at the Hidden Literacies conference. (Who is that hidden just behind her? A spectral form?) A photograph, Susan Sontag tells us, "is a material vestige of its subject in a way that no painting can be...a trace, something directly stenciled off the real, like a footprint or a death mask." A footprint? Nay, lad, that's Barnsley Teachers Centre!

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Literacies hidden

Here's Gez Walker from the Showroom Cinema at the UKLA Hidden Literacies conference in Barnsley yesterday. There was a lot of excitement around young children making movies (so that's good), but not so much on graffiti. Ah, well! But here's the UK's new graffiti shop, and here's William Gibson photoblogging graffiti on a doorway in Brick Lane (scroll down to January 20). Anyway, what am I rambling on about, most graffiti isn't hidden, is it?

Saturday, January 22, 2005

The web makes me not alone?
OK, so let's start with the remix: here (click on the pic), and then the original/published (?) here, by Justin Hall. So does this have the feeling of the real, the hyper-real or reality TV? I'm not sure any more. Here's Jill Walker talking about it. Is she for real? This is what Jill's reading and we assume that Jill has feelings, too. Actually, I thought I was watching theatre but if, as Justin says, after publishing his life online for so long, people 'don't trust me any more', what then? Well don't trust me, this is just a remix of stories. I walk backwards covering the footprints I left.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Bling Bling - phone ring

This is lovely and really is the logical extension to personalising your phone with nail polish (not that I ever did). Of course, when you change your phone, it may become a collector's item. These designs are unlikely to; but then this is a collector's item. Need a used copy?

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Britpop? I don't think so.
But nevertheless we have a vibrant music scene. Check the talent of Raghav, a Canadian artist who came to Liverpool and has made a big impact. He builds on a long tradition of fusion dating back to the Birmingham-based reggae toaster Apache Indian and re-surfacing with Tijinder Singh's homage to Bollywood playback singer Asha Bhosle (Brimful of Asha). If that's to MOR for you, then there's the amazingly talented tabla player Talvin Singh who works with drum 'n' bass and trance or Nitin Sawhney (best on earlier recordings). And it's not all about blokes....ex-Monsoon singer Sheila Chandra has been innovating for years as a voice artist and it's fascinating stuff. Who needs a pop idol?

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Kind of Blue (links)
Apparently there’s a new niche market in laptops (OK so mine’s blue but I think my bag could hold ‘items a purse could contain’). Blue really is an OK colour (see Miles Davies), but why, I wondered are links blue? Well, here’s the answer. But wait - here’s where its starts to get really cool – you can tag anywhere (using any media in the real world) with a word written with a blue underline to get your message across. This is grafedia. Kind of cool, kind of linky.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The last click (no link)

This portrait of Keats with an open book staring upwards,his chin resting on his hand, captures a particular kind of literate act. The attitude of the body has always been important in the labour of literacy.
"The fire is at its last click. I am sitting with my back to it with one foot rather askew upon the rug and the other with the heel a little elevated from the carpet."
wrote Keats in his letters. I lean back and stare at the screen. How are the new tools of literacy redefining the work of the body? The mouse is at its last click under the hand of the blogger.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Chip me in ...

'You may feel a little prick', they say as they implant this chip - which is the size of a grain of rice - into your soft tissues, 'but it'll get you in and charge for the drinks you buy, too'. It's VeriChip's RFID used by rich Spanish party-goers at the Baja Beach Club. And while we're still struggling with the concept of the Euro Bar Soba in Glasgow, are well on with the RFID concept. I'm not sure how this can be hacked in identity theft but I'm sure it's possible - the drinks are on me!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Time is running out for the suburbs

Originally uploaded by edsghm.

In a jam I hear Peter Day on the radio - 'teleworkers of the future won't want to waste time driving' - I know, it's a drag - people will re-locate, it's good news for city-living now fashionably functional, like this new development in Sheffield. 'Time is running out for the suburbs' - yes, and traditional values of 'character and good behaviour are replaced by collaboration and play'. And all this from a visit to William Draves, and his Lern outfit. This is their blog. Time is running out...

Saturday, January 15, 2005

I'm keeping an eye on you...
Here's some of the blogs I've been looking at lately. I like reading Kaye Trammell and regularly look at Danah Boyd (ever since getting the apophenia thing). Of course, I'm a big fan of Colin and Michele (despite the fact that's a little quiet). I've just hooked up to the IRA blog, which maybe helpful ( although the literacy and technology archive isn't up to much). Dr Joolz on a daily basis and Sarah's is great - that's just led me to this, which is very interesting indeed.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Bluesnarfing phreakers!
Am I vulnerable? Generally speaking I'm proud of my T610 bluetooth - OK so I don't get bluejacked - but phreakers can hack my phone, steal my address book, read my texts, and turn my phone into a virus carrier. But then I don't have anything to hide (after all you can read my blog!) but information is certianly getting freer... A recent news item shows how it goes. Here's more on bluesnarfing and here's the Wired view. Of course, we all know that while you're watching Big Brother, Big Brother's watching you.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Haircut, sir?
This made me chuckle and set me thinking of male hair, fashion and resistance. Being of a certain age I recall this: long hair as resistance. And then this as resistance to that, hair that is widely ridiculed, and hair with attitude. But on a more serious note we remember compulsory facial hair (for men) in the Taliban era and then the mass-shavings that followed. Disciplining the body, or simply in need of a haircut?

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

On line but in the body
Working onscreen, I get dry eyes, a sore back and aching hands. But thank God I don’t get the cracked feet! Sensible shoes help, but the choice is bewildering. You could look here or even spot cool shoes and make a copy. Why go to such lengths when you can get these (I like!). So that’s feet taken care of. I already have the eye solution. Then all I need to do is buy in some sound furniture.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Now I just can't think why I ever bought one these - there must be a use. My scanner just clutters up my desk, but this Scanner (Robin Rimaud) is certainly not a waste of space. He is an impressive sound-sculpture-artists who scans mobile phone conversations and puts them into his densely layered digital performance. No idle chit-chat at a Scanner event. Try this as a sample (sound obligatory).

Monday, January 10, 2005

A space to be
Reading Danah Boyd's thoughts on social networks and technology raised some interesting issues for me about networks and affinity spaces. Jim Gee writing about the latter claims that: ‘what people have an affinity with (or for) is not first and foremost the other people using the space, but the endeavour or interest around which the space is organised’. It strikes me that there's a distinction here between a social network established within an affinity space (particularly an online one) and an existing (f2f) network that migrates into virtual space. So, presumably ICQ interest groups are the former rather than the latter.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Marking the place
It's OK to leave your mark if you're an entrepreneur (or even the gas board) but graffiti is, apparently unauthorised...that is un-author-ised. So who is Banksy? He has a new site and also a new book called 'Cut it Out'. He's been described as one of the world's most aggressive and imaginative street artists.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

How do I look?
My last post was about place; this about face. I copy the following from Kay Trammell's blog:
"Be a bit narcissistic. Aren't we all? Kidding aside, you should seriously consider posting your picture & a short description about who you are. Readers want to know more about you if you write good posts. What is your occupation? Where do you live? You can be professional (like mine), more playful or somewhere in between like kottke." We really don't want to be faceless. Here's an interesting blog on this theme and, perhaps a little more subtely, here's my haircut (December 22nd and 23rd) : 'How do I look?'

my house
Originally uploaded by edsghm.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Four things to do online
Here's four things to do online. 1. You could play a Flash game to develop your spatial logic like this one. 2. You could look up your favourite recording artist on a data filter like Musicplasma. 3. You could leave a comment on Kaye Trammell's brainstorm blog on developing a high profile blog. 4. You could try and find the Ian Dury lyrics to that song he did based on the names of London tube stations (under the name of Kilburn and the Highroads, I think).

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Staring at the future
I've been thinking about how there's an increased integration of technology in people's lives. And how working online can become a 'way of being'. So it's interesting to look at developments in pervasive computing and work (like Urban Tapestries) which looks at how mobile users can interact with location-based information. Then there's the whole area of augmented reality systems. I get the feeling we've only just begun!

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Life online
Annette Markham has an interesting-sounding autoethnography published as Life Online. This is her URL with some good freebies. Most of these are drafts, so would presumably need chasing up if used. I've looked at this, and this and recommend her work. Bloggers' autoethnographic fieldnotes are, of course, on Blogtrax.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Gadgets for girls 'n' toys for boys
I was gender-jealous when I saw 'a girl's guide to gadgets' blogged by Dr Joolz yesterday. Then jealously slowly gave way to competitiveness when I saw the chunky-looking MP3 wristwatch (useful if you're into sport) - and I was proud! But later I became confused - was this better than the RF-tuned watch that's accurate to within one second in a million years? It might be in a somber colour, but at least it's tuned to the atomic clock in Rugby. I'd never be late again. (BTW this is Rugby in the UK...OK not on this map but somewhere near Oxford).

Monday, January 03, 2005

Blog on blog
I'm a great admirer of Susan Herring's work, so I was pleased to find this on into the blogosphere. There's up-to-date information here and incisive commentary. She suggest that: "blogs featured in contemporary public discourses about blogging are the exception, rather than the rule: all the available evidence suggests that blogs are more commonly a vehicle of personal expression than a means of filtering content on the Web, for all demographic groups including adult males. It follows that more attention needs to be paid to “typical” blogs and the people who create them in order to understand the real motivations, gratifications, and societal effects of this growing practice." She argues that high profile blogs (usually authored by men) distort the picture of everyday blogging. How typical is typical?

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Stopped in my tracks
There's nothing quite like a car breakdown to put you in touch with the stubbornness of meatspace. Burning oil and a cloud of smoke brought our journey to a halt. All I can see on opening the bonnet is CAR ENGINE - like the map of an unknown city . OK, so I make a call on my T610, and thanks to GPS those very nice men from the AA locate us in minutes. So it's all right, and I'm back home in the time it takes to hack an ipod. God bless technology!