When augmentation is about reducing

Here’s an interesting interview with Kevin Slavin at PICNIC NY Salon. It’s 8 months old but only just came to my attention thanks to a tweet of Helge Tenno. His thoughts around augmented cities and why maybe ‘augmented’ should be about taking things away instead of just adding them to the world as we are already drowning in data as it is. Take a look.

picnicslavin

Looking at this (what I wrote earlier) that definitely makes sense to me.

I’ll be good catching up again with Kevin in NYC in March. And Helge, I hope we will meet each other as well one day ;)

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Le Web ‘09

Have to admit, I’m kinda sad. Today and tomorrow the best web/tech conference in Europe is on in Paris… and for the first time in 4 years it’ll be without me. Since I had a good part in the sponsorship of the conference by Microsoft, the fact that I’m not even going this year makes the difference even bigger.

The first time I went to Le Web was in 2006. The conference just changed name from Les Blogs to Le Web 3 and MSN UK had been a sponsor for the first 2 edition of Les Blogs with Windows Live Spaces. With Le Web 3 we decided to sponsor from the EMEA budget and link it to Windows Live in general and not just Spaces… it wasn’t just about blogging anymore so that made sense. If you were there in 2006 you might remember that little piece of network cable in your welcome bag with which you could win a smartphone at our booth, it worked rather well I’ll tell ya :)

leweb3
© Peter Forret

That was where I met Hugh MacLeod for instance (where he did this interview), our paths would cross quite often again… especially in Paris.

In 2007 we were back, this time with shared sponsorship from the European and the French team of Microsoft. This was the year that Le Web became big, like really big. It was a always a good conference, but in 2007 it changed into big. Hans Rosling, Philippe Starck, Yossi Vardi, … just look at some of the videos I selected back then and see for yourself. Made a lot of good new contacts that year, unfortunately our presence (Microsoft’s I mean) wasn’t really good that year.

Last year Microsoft BizSpark took over the lead in the sponsorship, just like it’s the case this year. And I made sure we had the Blue Monster in Paris, with Hugh as our guest. Good fun, I’ll tell you that much.

hughinparis
© Dennis Howlett

Good thing about Le Web though is that the event is broadcasted Live, check out this page from tomorrow morning to follow the livestream from the main stage (via Ustream). Or check out the Le Web iPhone app.

And let’s hope I can make it back to Paris next year. Greetings to all my friends in Paris and good luck to Loic and Geraldine for what will be most certainly another great conference ;)

Engaging the audience

Now that’s what I call ‘user engagement’! The ‘Hand from Above’ video below is the work of artist Chris O’Shea and like Neil Perkin mentions in his blogpost… wonder how long it’ll take before we see this in a commercial context. Check it out:

handfromabove

[Via Only Dead Fish]

Mighty cool!

It’s not the first time I blogged about Photosynth but what can I say, it keeps impressing me over and over. Here’s a new video created by the University of Washington of a Photosynth they’ve created of the old city of Dubrovnik based on pictures of the city found on Flickr. Just take a look and you’ll agree with me, this is mighty cool. New York anyone?

{Hat tip Steve Clayton]

What the F**k?

What the f**ck is Social Media: one year later. A presentation I suppose a lot of you have seen right now, as it was posted about 2 months ago and pretty much every blog on social media posted it by now. So why am I still posting it now then? Because only recently someone made me aware of the those 2 lovely kids on slide 5… those are mine :).

The photo was taken for the Age of Conversation ebook project.

My persona?

First things first, Clo explained it best what this is all about:

Personas | Metropath(ologies) | An installation by Aaron Zinmanis "a component of the Metropath(ologies) exhibit, currently on display at the MIT Museum by the Sociable Media Group from the MIT Media Lab. It uses sophisticated natural language processing and the Internet to create a data portrait of one’s aggregated online identity. In short, Personas shows you how the Internet sees you.

Sounded interesting so of course I had to give this one a try. And indeed nice animation while your profile/persona is being created – mine ended with this:

personasweb

Not sure where ‘religion’ or ‘politics’ is coming from but I suppose everything happens for a reason ;). In the meantime I saw other people I follow create their own Persona Web but then I got curious to see which results it would generate when looking for brands such as Duval Guillaume (the agency I work for), Windows Live, Kinepolis, Marlboro, … etc and then I must say I got kinda disappointed. The results always seem to turn out very similar… almost the same really. Too bad, hope they keep developing because they’re definitely on to something here.

All of this got me thinking though. Wouldn’t it be possible to search on a brand name for blogs, twitter, … etc and then look up the content of the last 10-20 posts and turn that into a word cloud similar to what Wordle creates? I would definitely be interested in seeing the result of that. Let me know when it’s ready ;)

Been a while…

I know. Over the last few weeks every once in a while someone would ping me or come up to me and ask me if I had stopped blogging, if I had enough of the writing already and moved on. And of course, nobody needed to come up to me to realize the blogging was at a very low (to non existent) pace the last few weeks and months. And like I told the people who asked before I can tell you as well it is not my intention at all to stop blogging.

When you read some of my last blogposts you know my professional life has had a bit of a shake up (to say the least). I rather unexpectedly spent my last day at Microsoft in May, thus was forced to start jobhunting just before summer in what are probably some of the toughest economic conditions out there. And although some interesting leads came in quite rapidly, supported by some of you… it doesn’t really create the right setting to be thinking about much else than work, life and family. There were some things at that time I did want blog about but they were to closely related to the job interviews, so I decided against doing so.

Luckily for me I found a new home at Duval Guillaume where I was offered the right new challenge in what interests me most thinking about communication in all it’s forms. Next to offering me the right new challenge, DG also offered me a lot of work :) hence why getting back to blogging wasn’t on my immediate agenda either. Always when you start at a new company it takes you about 100 days to get to know ‘how they roll’ and how you can become a part of it. I’m exactly in the middle of that right now and it’s pretty interesting so hopefully I can share some of that during the coming weeks as well. Last but not least they’re all good people as well so it doesn’t feel like I’m alone in this either.

And let’s not forget it’s summertime so I’ve been on holiday for a while as well (like all of you I suppose), first to Umbria where I had one of the most enjoyable family holidays and just last week I went to the Provence for a few days with friends to climb Mont Ventoux with the racing bicycle, another memorable event :)

Does this mean I’m back? Well kinda. I still enjoy blogging etc. a lot but time will always be an important in making this happen. I used to write most of my posts the last few months and years while on travel for work, something I don’t really do anymore right now. Suffice to say I need to rethink when is the best time to write. I do think about a lot of posts I want to write while driving to work, but that’s kinda like playing air-guitar… nothing really happens in the end ;). I also want to change my blog to a more central place of everything I share online and not just lengthy blogposts: favorite videos on Youtube, links on Delicious, … you know the story. I have an idea of what I want to do to change this, now someone need to tell me it’s possible. Let me know if you can be that one!

MSN.GR Meetup

I have to say, if I got to name what I like to do most in my job at Microsoft then it is stuff like this. Yesterday we had a meetup at the Microsoft office in Athens to with Greek bloggers to talk about the upcoming release of MSN.GR. Typically we will talk a bit about what it is that we have been working on over the last few weeks and months to then open it up the a discussion about what people think about it, what they like, what they don’t like or what might be missing in their opinion etc.

MSN.GR

And I can hear you say ‘portals are dead’ and ‘why do we need another portal’ but I genuinely believe there is a place and an audience for sites like this, and I also believe that with this concept of the more ‘social portal’ that we try to build (where there is a deep integration between the MSN content and the Windows Live sharing and communication services) we have a product that differentiates from the competition as well.

Valia, Giorgos & Thodoris

Obviously the part that interests me most of all is the discussion piece after showing the product. I quite enjoyed the discussion and I think some valid points were raised, all making for a pretty engaging conversation.

If there’s one thing that I didn’t like about this then it is the fact that I took quite a bit more photos than I uploaded to the Flickr set, but let’s just say my already poor photographic skills seemed to have let me down a bit yesterday ;) Oh and yeah, both Stefanos and myself tried to arrange for a Tweetup later that night but we didn’t get to eventually. Nevertheless, great time in Athens, hope I can be back soon. Thanks all for joining us – to be continued.

The Garden of Tweetdom

Since Marcus decided (on purpose!) to have his little event in London pretty much the only week I wasn’t in town…. just kidding, I will have to share the slides with all of you who have missed it just like me.

Watch what happened when God created Twitter and be the witness of the first conversations between Adam, Eve and the snake!

Here’s some video footage from the event.