Homework #7

Surveillance and Capture – Two Models of Privacy & Beyond the Mirror World

These two articles of Agre’s approach the theme of privacy in different ways. The first, Surveillance and Capture approaches the topic in a very methodical and repetitive way. He brings up a interesting distinction between the two methods of “monitoring”. They are usually not the same and have different implications. The act of surveillance is proactive in a sense.  It requires someone to watch or to react to being “watched” to be effective.

The capture method is passive in the sense that data is captured, and is essentially meaningless unless reacted upon. So if an employee keeps swiping in late, it doesn’t mean anything unless that data is being used to determine lateness. Agre made a good point about there needing to be some sort of model for the data being recorded. There has to be a correlation with the real world. Otherwise you are just looking at measurements and specific event triggers. Even when there is a real world correlation, it doesn’t prevent errors or obfuscation.

I think at one point in the article the author said that some combination of these two models would be an very effective tool, depending on the intentions of the watcher.

In his writing, Mirror World, he outlines what implication would a virtual world have on privacy. Or more so, what would the requirements be to copy one of more versions of our world into a digital form. Would we have the same privacy as we do in real life? Is that possible when a copy of your life is stored in the Mirror World.

Other things to consider if who will have access to this information? Even if your privacy is maintained, there’s no guarantee this information can’t be stolen from the Mirrow World in real life, or even digitally.

He also goes on to describe how the paradigms of computer science hasn’t changed much over the century. Yes we have faster processing and materials to make similar components like vacuum tubes and transistors. But I think his point is that working systems tend to evolve for better of worse. So it is important to try to use the tools as best as possible.

For example, databases paradigms are old, but there was a important in its history where it had to be established that we are recording the data of a type of person, rather than each individual. This way of thought ensures that the databases are viable and work efficiently.

Homework #3 Draft

HW#2 Message Board Entry
HW#2 Message Board

HW#3 Message Board Template+DB

John Perry Barlow – A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace

It was interesting to see even at the beginning of the “web” explosion, there was already big government trying to get control of what it didn’t fully understand. As a teenager at that time, it really felt like a strange and new world for me to explore. It felt like the Wild West. There didn’t seem to be any rules. People were testing the boundaries of what they could get away with. Some people didn’t understand much of the World Wide Web and were either exploited or hide in whatever corners they were comfortable in.

The article sort of highlights the sense of freedom and rights we thought it gave us. People didn’t want to be monitored and controlled by some faceless entity when they themselves thought they were anonymous. The article does get repetitive but the points I took away from it is that the author wanted to fight for freedom on the internet and motivate other to follow suit.

Unfortunately it looks like what he was fighting against has already won the battle. There is heavier regulation now and privacy on the net is probably worse now with companies able to sell your browsing history. There are entire countries censoring content and making it illegal even to access certain communication and news sites. A consistent theme however is there are always people circumventing the government and technology to free information and access.



HW#2 Reading – The Medium is the Message

Marshall McLuren presents a strong argument in this reading.  One of his main points is the vehicle that is used to deliver a message, is also a message within itself.  There is no way to separate the two.  I agree with his thoughts on this. Communication and the sharing of knowledge has long since been a source of power throughout humanity. There are many factors outside of the medium that impacts who actually can receive the content. From economic status to, cultural bias and available resources.

Media marketing people and advertisers know these concepts already. It’s not only about creating the best ad or commercial. You need to know the demographic you are trying to reach. Displaying something on a large billboard sends a different message than putting it in guitar magazine. How content is delivered to you can greatly affect the message you receive in it.

But can the same message be “good or evil”? Is the data neutral and the intent up to the consumer? The author seems to argue against this sort of neutrality. For example, referencing a firearm as a neutral message and the user deciding on it’s morality. I personally am a strong believer of context. There are situations where a medium can only be used for its intended purpose.

At the end there seems to be no such thing as unbiased information and we need to be aware of how and what is delivering this content to us.

Networked Media HW #1

Link to “firstserver”:

Response to Vannevar Bush’s As We May Think:

One of the most surprising things about this article to me is the date it is written. It was interesting to read Vannevar recap the current technology
in the 1940’s and make such bold predictions of how they could potentially
My favorite prediction was the memex. He realized thanks to compression and improvements of reproduction methods, we could have volumes of data available at our desk. Then have it projected on a screen on demand.
To hear about how state of the art tubes were at the time made me think of these large machines served a limited purpose.
The focus of the article is really regarding passing information to peers and future generations for scientific betterment. Improving technology mean improving the quality and types of records we can create.

Pitch for Illuminated Acrylic Art

This was my midterm for Piecing It Together. I created a layered illustration using the artwork from a videogame character. It turned out well despite having some issues with alignment of the sheets.

I decided to continue with this method for my final but using my own art and resolving some issues like alignment and being able to easily display the work.

My solution was to make sure every artboard can easily be related to eachother. By creating holes near each corner, I can make sure all the paths are aligned and also a washer, nut and bolt combo to keep the piece together at the same time.

I used a digital painting I made for the final. Among a lot of the feedback Eric gave, he recommended using a light source for the final. So I plan on attaching LED strips to the edges for some dynamic lighting using an Arduino and touch sensor.

Longer explanation than submission.

I am confident I will be able to finish and put fine touches on this by next week.

Midterm Progress

For my midterm in Piecing It Together I initially chose to make a model of a mech I designed in 3D some years ago.  Considering I have not yet kicked the tires of the CNC Router yet I figured it would be best to tackle this in some form as a final project.  Learning from the  issues I experienced with my irregular box project and trying to maximize my time utilization, I decided to buy a vinyl cutter so I can do most of the prototyping at home.

For my project I decided to make a 3 or 4-tone illustration using transparent material like acrylic. My other material would probably be wood. I am envisioning making an enclosure for the image and it being at least 4 layers deep. I included some examples of this illustration style below.

My first steps are to reduce my picture to 3 or 4 colors.  Create each color in a new layer in Photoshop.  I’ll then import these layers into Illustrator and trace them out with the pen tool. To prototype I will cut these patterns on thick paper and plastic sheets with the vinyl cutter. After the prototyping phase is complete I’ll model the sculpture in my 3d software and determine what materials to buy this weekend.

Aftermath of Material Connexion

We went on a class trip to Material Connexion.
I found this combination of laminated glass and resin to be a very pure canvas. I had a slight interest in suspending objects in resin but never pursued it.

I like art pieces, so I think working with a material like this can be very rewarding. There’s a timeless aesthetic caused with it being still life, but also the beauty of it being a engineered transparent rectangle .

This is definitely a stiff material. The manufacturer is Livinglass. They also seem to handle the distribution portion, or so it appears so from their website.

This may be out of range price wise, but I would be interested in tackling this on my own if needed. I don’t have a subject as yet so I will need to think about what I would do with these blocks.

Irregular Box Assignment

For this assignment, my inspiration was the limited methods I had to construct an irregular box.
I decided to approach this project in Softimage with extruded polygons.  This works well because the methods we have available to fabricate also depends on flat surfaces with a uniform thickness. Or so I thought…
Softimage has no real world base unit to modify (as far as I could tell). The designer has to keep in mind 1 unit in XSI is 1 inch, for example.

I exported my model as 10 objects. Then imported them into 123D. That process was okay but not so obvious for beginners. I made a critical mistake which would come back to haunt me. For some reason the scaling feature is automatically enabled. When I exported the Vector cuts they were not proportional to my other pieces.
I converted the EPS files into the AI formats that the laser print driver natively reads. The actual laser cutting process isn’t too complicated once you’ve gone through it a few times.
I knew prototyping is very important but due to unexpected constraints I went with acrylic and learned an expensive hard lesson. Next time around I know what to expect from this process and will be sure to prototype.