Blogs

Sabbatical

I'm currently researching and writing my thesisabout crossmedia public participation. In order to stay focussed mygameplan states that I'm not allowed to get involved in anydistractions, which mostly have to do with the internet. My RSS readeris deinstalled, skype turned off and ...my blog will be on a break too.I'll be back end of September...

Berlin Wall - Online Dialog

16 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, almost all it's traces have disappeared. The Senate of Berlin now agreed on a concept to remember the Berlin Wall, that will preserve it's traces and commemorate it's victims. On behalf of the senate, we (Zebralog) started an online dialog today, that will focus on collecting personal stories and perspectives on the wall and ultimately help implement the concept.
Since the Berlin Wall is a worldwide symbol for a past era in world politics, it would be great to have some foreign voices providing a short statement, what the wall meant to them, what personal stories are attached to it, etc.

Since this web platform unfortunately isn't translated into English, I'm using this way to ask for help. If this is something you are interested in, it would be great if you could send me a short statement (2 or 3 sentences) about what comes into your mind first when you think about the Berlin Wall. This input will be a starting point for more in depth discussions later on. Also please let me know if you want to appear under your real name and receive any feedback provided on your statements, or if your contribution should be anonymous.

Send any input to haller [at] zebralog.de

http://www.berlin.de/mauerdialog

Golden Mainstreet

After Google announced support for textures in 3D models as a new feature for Google Earth, I revisited a project we have completed in 2005 for the City of Golden, CO.

GURA and the City of Golden were studying the aesthetics and functionality ofDowntown's facades, awnings, walkways and streetscape. Currently, the large variety of awning designs, especially withpoles, disturb the streetscape and the pedestrian experience.At PlaceMatters.com I created a 3D Visualizationof the main street, focussing on different awning types. The modelhelped to imagine what the streetscape would look like without awnings and with different awning options.An Online Visual Preference Surveyhelped to capture the public opinion on what would be appropriateawning designs for Mainstreet, Golden.

Since this was done in Sketchup, I easily imported the status-quo model into Google Earth and though it still has some rough edges it looks pretty nice - a lot better than the visualizations we did with ArcScene back then. Only the navigation in Google Earth is still pretty basic.

Download and explore the file here... (10mb)

Unplugged

A short reminder to myself... Nice post about relearning to unplug our lives - which I am obviously not doing on this German holiday today (I blame it on the bad weather outside...).

Democracy in action?

Not a new story, but a great roundup in Rolling Stone magazine summarizing the election fraud in 2004.

...The issue of what happened in 2004 is not an academic one. Forthe second election in a row, the president of the United Stateswas selected not by the uncontested will of the people but under acloud of dirty tricks. Given the scope of the GOP machinations, wesimply cannot be certain that the right man now occupies the OvalOffice -- which means, in effect, that we have been deprived of ourfaith in democracy itself.

American history is littered with vote fraud -- but rather thanlearning from our shameful past and cleaning up the system, we haveallowed the problem to grow even worse. If the last two electionshave taught us anything, it is this: The single greatest threat toour democracy is the insecurity of our voting system. If peoplelose faith that their votes are accurately and faithfully recorded,they will abandon the ballot box. Nothing less is at stake herethan the entire idea of a government by the people.

Voting, as Thomas Paine said, ''is the right upon which allother rights depend.'' Unless we ensure that right, everything elsewe hold dear is in jeopardy.

If reports like this are running on America's entertainment media, like Rolling Stone magazine, the Comedy Channel or MTV, do I give applause for where the entertainment industry is headed to or worry deeper about the state of independant journalism?

Hands-on electronic mapping

Two things that I recently discovered would be a great fit for using mapping tools with a live audience, maybe in a community mapping exercise. First, I think Google Earth has an incredible potential to present spatial data and analysis to a broader, non-technical audience. Atlas Gloves would actually enable us to let this audience explore scenarios in a playfull way.

Atlas Gloves is a DIY physical interface for controlling 3D mapping applications like Google Earth.The user interface is a pair of illuminating gloves that can be used totrack intuitive hand gestures like grabbing, pulling, reaching androtating. The Open Source Atlas Gloves application can be downloadedfor free and operated using a webcam and two self-madeilluminating gloves (or flashlights).

watch the demo...

Second, at the science night in Berlin , I discovered AR (augmented reality), and after researching it further, I was surprised, that this isn't bigger in the urban planning community. Just have a look at this impressive example from the gaming community.

Take a good, long look at this clip from Total Immersion.It's an early piece that talks about the early stages of totalimmersion, where gamers can wield objects and place them into areality-based stage in a video game, such as moving a car around orcreating landscapes out of thin air. Of course, one could see this as amere Sim City-style gimmick, but the fact you'll be able to interact with in a gameplay fashion puts a whole new twist. In fact, a new Sim City where you can create your own utopia with a few waves of the hand and taps of the button

Spectrum of Participation

Just found this great post from Ross Mayfield, drawing the spectrum of online participation. At a point, where the whole blogging discussion becomes repetitive, this is great work of putting the different elements of online participation into perspective.

The problem is, users only have so much time for social software.

GoogleSketchup for free!

This is huge! The internet goes 3D. Google yesterday released a free version of sketchup, enabling anybody to build 3D Models and publish them online, preferrably in their Google Earth browser. Not only that, Google also announced a 3D warehouse where users can upload and share their content, adding descriptions to make them searchable via Google.

AECnews.com mentions: The new triad of Google Earth, Google SketchUp and 3D Warehouse willquickly become the center of wide variety of public-participationprojects and marketing campaigns, as well as the usual Internettomfoolery.

Google now offers all three of the keys making it possible fornon-professionals to create and share 3D content. They have anaccessible (fun, actually) authoring tool in Google SketchUp, a placeto share the content in 3D Warehouse, and a way to find the content inthe Google search engine.

Time to start thinking 3D...

Berliner Mauer 1

Here comes a little introduction to the Berlin Wall, close to where I live. GPS Photography, displayed in GE and Gmaps. I found that GE is actually slightly more exact than Gmaps. More than half the points are exactly where the pictures were taken.

Berlin Wall, Bernauer Strasse in GoogleMaps

Berlin Wall, Bernauer Strasse in GoogleEarth

At Zebralog, we have a participatory project coming up in that area. More on that coming soon...


Democracy 3.0?

Recently I have been diving into a completely different sphere - an online world called secondlife. I never really paid much attention to this large movement, until I ran into this paper by Wagner James Au, that was putting the movement into the context of the internet of the future.

Many of these projects capitalize on academic research that seems to validate the sense people familiar with MMOs already grasp intuitively: the experience of one's alter ego being in an immersive space is experientially different from any other kind of Net

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