Portland Immersive Media Group Show 26-28 May 2017!

houseguest-portland-immersive-media-group-vr-pioneer-square-may-2017Friday 26 May 2017: If you’re in Portland, Oregon on Friday May 26, 27th or 28th, consider coming down to Pioneer Courthouse Square for an collection of VR demos, art and lectures!

Houseguest is a residency program that brings artists to the square to enliven local culture and community. This month’s Houseguest is the Portland Immersive Media Group, a VR and AR art collective and research group. I’ll be speaking at the event on Sunday from 2-3pm! See you there!

Tickets and more information


4PM-6PM – TGIF “VR Spa” treatments for Portland’s hard working folk

8PM-9PM – Commencement ceremony featuring music by Golden Retriever and movement artists exploring ‘motion capture.’

8-10PM – Pioneer Courthouse Square in High Fidelity


3PM-4PM – Tech Talk: Kent Bye – “The Ultimate Potential of Virtual Reality”

4PM-5PM – Workshop: “Metafesto: Refiguring Social Media, Preparing for the Metaverse” w/ Matt Henderson

6PM-7PM – Performance: EMA + EMS with movement artists exploring motion capture.

7PM-8PM – Live DJs + VR lounge

8PM-10PM – Google Earth VR + Pioneer Courthouse Square in High Fidelity


1PM-4PM – Pioneer Courthouse Square in High Fidelity

2PM-3PM – Tech Talk: “Calm Technology” with cyborg anthropologist Amber Case

3PM-4PM – Workshop: “Adventures in Anyland”

7PM-8PM – Down tempo dance party in virtual & real Pioneer Courthouse Square.

The 6th Portland Data Visualization Group – Wed, October 19, 2011 from 6:30–8:30pm at Collective Agency!

It’s time for another Portland Data Visualization Meetup! We’ll have three to four main presentations and networking time. The last one was in February, and we’re overdue for the next one!

We usually have some conversation and networking, so feel free to bring business cards and/or let people know if you’re hiring. We won’t have a food or drink sponsor for this meeting, so feel free to bring your own snacks and things to eat! (if you’d like to sponsor, see the section at the end of this post).

This time, Collective Agency will graciously host us as their cozy coworking space (see below for the address and entrance instructions). For best results, please arrive a little before 6:30 Pm.

Thanks to our Sponsor Second Story!

Fantastic Portland company Second Story will be the sponsor of this month’s Data Viz group! You can check out their amazing work online at SecondStory.com.

Second Story will be bringing food and drinks for all of you to enjoy. We’ll thank them more on the day of the event!

Speakers for Data Viz #6

1. Dino Citraro of Periscopic will be presenting some new visualization work.

2. Rocket Scientist Nathan Bergey will be talking about his open source tool chain (mostly python and bender) for his recent rocket data viz [video link], and will bring an ISS-Notify (an awesome lamp that blinks when the international space station goes over your current position)!

3. Kevin Lynagh will give a talk on Mike Bostock’s D3 library: http://mbostock.github.com/d3/, a declarative way to map data to DOM elements, so you can very easily make complex visualizations for the web with what you already know: HTML, SVG, and CSS!

4. Charlie Loyd will give a talk on his self-GPS-tracking.

5. Aaron Parecki will show some data viz from a group in Norway that used Geoloqi to track a high altitude balloon 17km into the air!

Who Should Go?

Portland Data Viz Group is open to everyone interested in or working in the field of data visualization. This means designers, programmers, information architects, data miners, anthropologists, ect. We usually attract around 20-30 people, and you’re welcome to bring guests, food and drinks to the event.

Location and Time

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 from 6:30–8:30pm. RSVP on Plancast


Collective Agency
322 NW Sixth Ave (between Everett and Flanders)
Suite 200
Portland, Oregon 97209
(Google Map)

Entrance instructions: Buzz “200″ when you arrive. The phone will ring once or twice, then you’ll be buzzed up. Come on in: we’ll be on the second floor. Walk on back to the main loft and you’ll be welcomed in!

Google Group

If you’re interested in getting updates for for future meetings, simply join the the pdx-visualization Google Group! As the name implies, it is a group for Portland-area people interested in languages and techniques for visualization of data. http://groups.google.com/group/pdx-visualization.

CivicApps for Education Hackathon: A Recap

On Sunday, May 22nd we held a CivicApps Hackathon at the Portland Incubator Experiment in partnership with the City of Portland, the Mayor’s Office, and Webvisions.

The hackathon was dedicated exclusively to making mobile applications for education There was time in the morning for presentations from educators involved with the city, and brainstorming sessions and hacking in the afternoon.

The event attracted those with an interest in changing education through technology. This included educators, concerned citizens, mobile developers, graphic and UX designers, and students. Teams presented their projects at 6:30pm and were judged by members of the City of Portland, the education district and local tech leaders. The winning project will be awarded a Webvisionary award for technology in education.

Morning Q+A

The morning Q+A consisted of a panel and a presentation by four members of the education and communication community.

Q+A with Kali Ladd – Mayor’s Manager for educational policy. How can we make education apps better?

Q: What works right now in the Portland Education System?
A: Cross sector collaboration – private, public, faith, non-profits – cradle to career. Success is measured if youth are able to get into a profitable career. Change is that now based on outcome based goals. Challenge is they don’t have a way of collecting valid statistics, and may not know what questions to ask.

Q: How do you see the future of education and technology?
A: A more systemic approach. More broadband access/better providing access to technology in low income communities
Example: Use of iPads increasing achievement.

Q: What could we work on today that would make the most impact right now?
A: I think there’s great opportunity outside of the classroom. For instance, a central place to get information on activities youth can participate in. Portland has lots of events, but no single place to see what youth can do with their time, especially during the summer. This will help prevent gang activity and crime, as well as hopefully providing some immediate educations goals in a fun way.

Q. What buckets would people be interested in
A. Mainly targeting highschool, older. Something that lets kids find their own stuff. Mainly targeted at underprivaleged youth. City provides 100 youth, but 800 left unserved.

Sarah Singer, Project Director – Highschool Inititives

Q: What works in education today?
A: Look at how much instructional time a student has over a year, it’s only 17% of their time at school – probably high. Target what students do with the rest of their time, and target anything that makes them college or career ready. There are lots of resources in Portland, but how to connect them with the students. List opportunities available. grade/age range, what they need help with or are interested in, specfic area drill down. Resource directory of other apps that are helpful.

Karen Fisher Gray, Parkrose School District Superintendant

Q: What not working in education right now?
A: While there’s a strong desire to help education out, only 85% of people don’t have kids in school. A System that is working across the districs and the county, is the professional learning community. It is a kind of scientific recipie for teaching kids. Data collection, benchmarks, interventions for kids, kid by kids asking four questions. The other piece is getting much more embedded with technology, instead of it just being a side thing. Canby has ipads for each child.

Q: What’s working right now? What can we do to help?
A: Talk to the teachers, technology coordinateors, and most especially the kids. Kahn Academy is sweeping the nation. Many kids get help with their math homework from the site. Another thing we need is continuing education apps for teachers.
Apps like Qwikie, and it tells you everything it knows about it. wiki with voice/video.

Matt, 211 Communications Director

Q: What do you want to see today?
A: Location based services to see what is around you in terms of education resources. Kids say they want to be challenged on a daily basis. Homework reminders. Allow teachers to remind kids of homework and lists of homework. Maybe by SMS so it is more accessible.

Q: What is 211 info and what does it offer?
A: Dial 211 and it gives you a call center specialist who will try to help find resources to solve your issue. Also an online database of different needs and services. Normal search, by agency, or drill down. Curated manually with portal for providers to enter/mod their information.

Idea Session

After the presentation and panel, we worked as a group to narrow down the ideas into projects we could work on for the rest of the day. Here’s what we came up with.

1) A student/teacher social network accessible via text. Allowing teachers to send homework reminders via SMS. Allowing one way Q+A with the teacher. Possible Moodle integration via a serverside plugin or subscription service.

2) A Calagator-like calendar for educational/summer opportunities and job fairs/hiring opportunities. Community powered event entry with calendar import.

3) A database of volunteer teachers, tutors, students and volunteers for advanced or remedial students in need of educational support and tutoring. Based on epdx.org.

4) A Kindle or tablet-based curriculum guide with educational material of interest sorted by grade level.

5) A private and anonymous social network for students in need/crises.

After writing the ideas up on the board, the majority of the participants split up into two groups to work on items 1 and 2.

Teams had just 6 hours to build fully working websites or applications. The clock was ticking fast!


The following projects were built during the hackathon. One (MySchool) was modified during the hackathon to be more of a framework.


TheStreamPDX provides a single resource for jobs and events targeted at young adults within the Portland area. The goal of the project is to provide a central repository that anyone can use within the Portland area.

TheStreamPDX aggregates events so that users can visit a single source to discover interesting activities. Event organizers and participants share events with others through The Stream PDX. Event planners use The Stream PDX to check for possible scheduling conflicts, allowing them to make smarter decisions. Many people check the site regularly to find out what events they can attend each day.


MySchoolList provides an easy way to manage & view the school supply list provided by the local schools. In addition it can be used to create a custom shopping list.

Created by Amit Jain and Teena Jain. They modified part of their existing application to fit the needs of schools in a customized way.


Quinn is aimed at low-income youth in underfunded school districts.

Quinn makes it easy for teachers to set up networks with students and share announcements and homework assignments with them from a private number separate from their cell number.

Created by Jill Burrows, Aaron Parecki and David Stewart (student at Clark college).


The winner of the CivicApps Hackathon for education was TheStreamPDX!

Congratulations to the entire team!

    *Dave Shanley
    *Kristin Wolff
    *Kyle Drake
    *Lokkju Brennr
    *Patrick Arlt
    *Roy Martin

Their application is based on the Calagator sourcecode, and is open source.

Judging Criteria

Impact to education

Could the application have an effect on education system?

Originality of idea

How unique is this idea? has it been done before? If so, how is this implementation better?

Best use of technology

Does this application use the mobile platform well? Would you use it on a mobile phone?

Ease of use

How easy is this app to use? Do you get it? Do you see students using it? Would you use it?

Visual quality

Does this app look good? Is is visually acceptable?

Overall value

How valuable do you think this app is?

Also, the Mayor stopped by!

Thanks so much, everyone!

Thank you to Rick Nixon and Skip Newberry of CivicApps for Greater Portland.

Rick Turoczy of Silicon Florist who helped us with the event.
The department of education and all of our great speakers and judges.

Brad Smith of HotPepper Studios and Webvisions, and the Webvisionary Award.

Thanks to Widmer for the Beer, Stumptown for the Coffee and Kettleman’s for the Bagels.

The City of Portland and CivicApps for the HotLipsPizza.

Thanks to all of you for coming!

O’Reilly Webcast on Cyborg Anthropology

On August 5, 2010 I gave an hour-long webcast called Cyborg Anthropology: A Short Introduction. The event was free and had roughly 500 signups. It was a really fun way to quickly share a lot of the concepts I’ve been thinking about for the past few years. A lot of it was condensing down a lot of what I’ve begun to explore on CyborgAnthropology.com. I’ll be giving a 20 minute version of this speech at a TED conference in December. You can also watch the webcast at O’Reilly.com. The webcast is 60 minutes long. Start 5 minutes in for best results (the first part is an audio check).

Webcast Summary

Cyborg Anthropology is a way of understanding how we live as technosocially connected citizens in the modern era. Our cell phones, cars and laptops have turned us into cyborgs. What does it mean to extend the body into hyperspace? What are the implications to privacy, information and the formation of identity? Now that we have a second self, how do we protect it? This presentation will cover aspects of time and space compression, communication in the mobile era, evaporating interfaces and how to approach a rapidly changing information spaces.

A Short History of Cyborg Anthropology

Haraway proposed what she termed a “cyborg anthropology” to study the relation between the machine and the human, and she adds that it should proceed by “provocatively” reconceiving “the border relations among specific humans, other organisms, and machines”

Based on this essay, and many other instances of needing a methodology to understand and describe rapidly changing sociocultural systems affected by technology, the idea of a “Cyborg Anthropology” was proposed at the Annual Meetings of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) in 1993.

What is a Cyborg Anthropologist?

A cyborg anthropologist looks at how humans and non human objects interact with each other, and how that changes culture. So, for instance, we have these objects in our pockets that cry, and we have to pick them up and soothe them back to sleep, and then we have to feed them every night by plugging them into the wall. At no other time in history have we had these really strange non human devices that we take care of as if they are real, and we’re very dependent upon them. That’s one of the aspects that I’m studying; the idea of mobile technology and its effect on one’s relationships. Another aspect of cyborg anthropology is the idea of individuals extending themselves into a second self in the online space, through a Facebook page, avatar or profile. Studying how people interact with each other through these little technosocial interactions, versus just the analog interactions, is another aspect of cyborg anthropology.

Cyborg Anthropology vs. Traditional Anthropology

What happens in traditional, analog anthropology is this: You go to another culture, and you look at all the people.  You see how they interact with each other, how knowledge is created and so on. You see kinship, you see rituals, you see all these different pastimes and hobbies. You see what people eat. And often the anthropologist goes over to another country and says, “Oh, look how fascinating these people are. They’re so strange. Look at all their weird customs. Look at how different they are from us!” There is this definite aspect of the other, of going out and studying something else. But the problem is that many people are not studying world that they live in right now, their own culture. There are a few anthropologists who have begun to really study the effects of technology on everyday life. It is the study of this everyday life that offers the most insight.

Call phones have become so ubiquitous that they no cause one to think about them. One does not think about having a cell phone or not having one – one’s time is spent choosing which external prosthetic device they are going to be using next.  Facebook has become very normal. Twitter has become quite normal. Cell phones have become very normal. So my job as an anthropologist is of someone that comes in and says, “Oh my God, how fascinating. Look at all these strange things people do. They’re posting on each other’s Walls. They’re editing each other’s external online selves. Their identity is increasingly made up of text and points and technosocial interactions.” What I do as a Cyborg Anthropologist is take the traditional anthropological toolset and apply those tools and methodologies to the digital space. I’m always trying to take both the embodied and thousand foot view, because it allows me to ask questions such as “What is really going on?”, “What’s next in technological development?”, and “Has anything actually changed with the onset of technology, or are people just bringing offline behaviors to the online space?

More on Cyborgs and Anthropology

Cyborg Anthropology Wiki
If you liked this webcast and want to learn more about cyborgs and Cyborg Anthropology, you might want to look at CyborgAnthropology.com, a site still very much in development as I stitch my research together from the past 7 years of study.

CyborgCamp Portland

If you happen to live in Portland (or need an excuse to visit) and like cyborgs, you should come to CyborgCamp Portland on Oct. 2nd, 2010. It’s a hybrid unconference on the future of humans and machines. We’ll be talking about cyborgs, interface design, government, transportation, science, anthropology and humanity from 9Am-6Pm. Tickets are exceedingly cheap ($10) and you can get one now if you’d like.

50th Anniversary of the term “Cyborg”

Also, September 2010 is the 50th Anniversary of the coining of the term ‘cyborg’. Over the next month, the site 50 Cyborgs, Curated by Tim Maly of Quiet Babylon (another site on Cyborgs that’s worth a good long look), will update 50 times with links to material celebrating 50 years of one of the 20th Century’s more enduring concepts. Then it’ll go dark. I highly suggest reading it before it disappears. But if you miss it, you can always check it out on Archive.org.



Amber Case is a Cyborg Anthropologist and UX Designer from Portland, Oregon. You can read more about her here, and you can follow her on Twitter @caseorganic.

CloudCamp Portland – A Discussion About Life in the Clouds


“One of the things that gets me excited about cloud computing is the access to resources and processing capabilities for very large data sets,” – Thomas Lockney, one of CloudCamp Portland’s earliest supporters.

CloudCamp was held June 30th, 2009 from 5:30-10:30 Pm on the 16th floor of WebTrends in Downtown Portland. The unconference was set up for people who work with cloud computing, were interested in learning more, or who wanted to understand what Cloud Computing was all about. You can see some of what was said on Twitter about  #cloudcamp, or #cloudcampdx.

This was a very interesting conference that dealt seriously with some very important issues. Many of us in the field will be running into these problems, or already do. The advantages and disadvantages of Cloud computing need to be recognized before they can be dealt with. In this atmosphere (not to mention the excellent weather and balcony we had) information and knowledge sharing seemed to prosper.

The conference began with socializing and then an Un-Panel composed of a handful of campers who were heavily involved in Cloud Computing, either in knowledge or participation. Then, the audience posed a series of questions which were written onto a white board. The panel gave 1-5 minute responses on the questions of their choosing. At the end of the responses and follow up questions, the Dave Nielsen asked how many people were interested in discussion the questions further in an Unconference format. The topics with the most interest became proposed Unconference topics.

This was a unique way to run an Unconfernece. It put everyone on the same page by giving background and preliminary Q+A around key topics. It also allowed experts to distribute knowledge before sessions, and it made it so that everyone got some form of information, so there was less of a liability in missing conference sessions later.


A shout-out to Mr. Walsh, whom I wish I had more time to speak with.

Abbreviation Key:

Software as a Service (SaaS). Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS).

UnPanel Questions

1. Would database as a service be also considering cloud computing?

Mark Johnson: It really depends if you’re an object guy or a relational guy. If you’re a relational guy you might think of it as a platform. If you have a really good database layer, it would be a infrastructure. If you have a business object later it would be a platform.

Dave Nielsen: There are still people who will offer SQL databases as a service, but there’s another type where people just need to store data and store it quick, not necessarily structured, and then there’s a third type where people need to store relational data like SimpleDB.

Right Scale: Your application needs to have a database because it needs to something, or you have some bit Oracle cluster and the application is the database.

Dave Nielsen: Data in the cloud was probably that most popular topic at CloudCamp San Francisco.

here, most of the audience was interested in Data in the cloud.

2. What are the security threats with company data? Solutions?

Mark Johnson: I think I’m answering a slightly different question, but the whole thing of security is — when they bring in security experts when they bring them in and get their opinion on Cloud Computing, they say “it’s not really our issue”, but I think that with cloud computing, it forces people to think about these things sooner.

Marcus: I work with government institutions.

Dave Nielsen: At cloud camp Paris I got a very specific computing. “How can I make sure my data is never seen by the NSA?”

Audience: Don’t ask that in public.

John Hartman: A project I worked on, it was much more secure in the Cloud vs. physical privacy. Easier to rob your house than to go up in the cloud and put that data back together.

3. Any examples of hardware integration?

I didn’t take any notes here. My apologies. If you have something to add, be sure to add it in the comments below.

cloudcamp-portland-unconference-computing4. How do you avoid Cloud Lock-in?

Jason Mauer: Issues with wishing to switch from Amazon to something else. How smooth is this transition? Does data get stuck? With Azure, GoDaddy could run a verison of Azure in the CLoud and there would be no issues.And I think we’ll see mroe and more vendors running certain flavors of cloud as Cloud COmputing becomres more prevalent. But I think we’re still in the infancy of cloud computing.

BrowserMob: Google provides a very specific way of turning your data to CLoud. But you have to be careful becase if you write your code to assume that certian pieces will be there, then you can be locked in. Just be careful with it.

Dave Nielsen: If you are interested in security, there’s actually a Cloud Security Alliance. Cloudsecurityalliance.org, contact Nils Puhlmann.

About half the audience was interested in security.

5. What are you running?

Dave Nielsen: how many of you are running something right now?

A third of audience raised hands.

The entire room said Linux.

What flavor?

Debian, Ubuntu, most pop. choices.


(in the cloud?).

Windows 3.1!
More laughter.

6. What are the potential players right now? What do they bring to the table right now?

Dave Nielsen: Just shout them out.

VMWare, Amazon, Ubuntu, SUn wishes they were, Rackspace, possibly Google, Appengine. Some are software providers, but others are Infrastrucre as a Service. If looking at IaaS specifically, GoGrid, Flexiscale, Joyant, Engineyard is insutry – based on top of Ec2 Amazon.

BrowserMob: A small compnay called COntigex that’s rolling out their stuff any day.

Dave Nielsen: BlueLock is a VMware cloud.

7. What are the regulatory compliance issues?

HIPPA, PCI (payment card industry).

8. Are there open source cloud solutions? Cloud as a service?

Right Scale: Yes, out of UC Santa Barbara, they have a program called Eucalyptus which is very similar to Amazon EC2, and it works just like it…for the moment.

Dave Nielsen: Abiquo out of Barcelona (recently moved to SF), also 3tera.

Ed Borasky: Ubuntu, by Canonical out of the UK Intrepid Ibex contains Eucalyptus. They also have something called Nebuli, which I’m not sure what is.

Audience: That’s not part of Ubuntu, but it’s another open source project looking to build another EC2 layer like Amazon.

9. When would you AVOID cloud computing?

Sid (from Jive): When considering enterprise Dave Nielsening, which is very expensive. A lot of problems with some clients where the data can’t leave the warehouse. Also, it’s alittle more expensive because with Cloud Computing you are paying a little bit more for flexibility.

10. How soon will we be talking about connection speeds to the Cloud?

See 13. Performance Issues (question posed by Ed Borasky).

11. What’s the baseline for cloud computing? (When would you move to the cloud?)

Sid: The lead time to to get ne hardware set up can sometimes b 3-4 weeks, but we have a lot of people wh

So sometimes you can run into complicated capacity planning here, where you guess how many people will use it in the next month and then plan it beforehand.

Red Shirt: One way you can use the cloud if you have predictable spiky load, you can use the Cloud to cover it.

Dave Nielsen: Super easy example would be file storage – for images on your website to push them out tho the edge.

Reid Beels: Seems like they’re talking about finished applications. Where would the development process move from local to the Cloud.

Dave Nielsen: At what point did you in the audience move from local to the cloud?

Audience: When the client wanted to see it.

Audience: It actually was when I was steady to deploy.

@dodeja: One instance I saw was with Animoto, with these massive spikes of access. When you’re doing heavy computing it makes sense to push it out onto the cloud.

Dave Nielsen: David Chappell (writes lots of books) – talked about two high uses of cloud, one when you need to scale, and another behind the scenes.

About 5 poeple were interested in use cases of when to move out onto the cloud .

12. IAAS sems to be a popular choice. Amazon seems to be the only one in the game right now. Why does it continue to be the most popular choice?

Makes more sense to Dave Nielsen there.

13. How does an application running in the cloud get accurate performance metrics (Ed Borasky).

BrowserMob: How do you deal with application performance in the cloud? That’s something people have a lot of concern themselves about because all sorts of things, including network bandwidth is not guaranteed. If you’re expecting to get x megabits of upload speed all the time, then that’s not a good mindset. To have the idea when you go in that you don’t know what upload speed there’s going to be is a better idea. If you need better performance, go with the more powerful equipment.

@dodeja: I think it would be more interesting to know the sorts of optimizations you can do to your infrastructure to make it run more smoothly.

Dave Nielsen: but that’s too specific.

Transition to Unconference Planning

Dave Nielsen: We’ll move now into the Unconference part, in which we’ll have 2 sessions of four topics each.

Proposed Unconference Topics

Pricing for different levels of the cloud, different needs.
Say you made a decision to go to the Cloud, but you want to estimate the baseline costs, the spike costs.

Eric was interested in practical approaches to data security for individuals and enterprise level. About half people attended were interested in this.

Practical uses of Amazon. Best practices.

Scott: Deploying Ruby apps in the cloud and making them scream.

Monitoring applications in the cloud.

Adam: Automation system for servers.

Steven Walling: Is Cloud computing a return to time-share mainframe style computing that we were formerly used to? And if so, does that

Lief: was interested in portability in platforms, standards and portability.

Alex Williams: Interested in defining different types of clouds: public clouds, private clouds, hybrid clouds, and use cases for each.

cloundcamp-portland-view-webtrendsSession Notes

I went to the session on practical approaches to data security for individuals and enterprise level. About half people attended were interested in this.

Eric: It’s not that your data belongs to you – all of your data belongs to us. These larger companies that hold data. I’ve been working on a completely text based data store, flat files. Ideally, I’d like to have everything as secure as possible.

Lets start by defining things that are nice about the Cloud? What’s nice about Software as a Service (SaaS)?

Drew: It’s just easier.

One is reliability and universal access. The availability is everywhere.

Audience: Until a company goes out of business and the data no longer is there.

Aaron Blew: Scale.

Laura F.: Access.

Caseorganic: The fact that you can have one file, accessible by multiple users centrally updated, instead of 6 files, accessible by one person.

Eric: How can we get some of those benefits while still retaining our ownership of that data in the Cloud?

Cloud Solutions

Eric: Academics utilize primitive version control when they keep renaming files over and over, but they often store multiple copies on one hard drive instead of E-mail, and other storage spaces. What I’m suggesting is having a flattened data store that is diversified.

(At this point, I felt like data was becoming a grain store, and that data store needed to be safe from rats and decay so that it would store tons of grain without bursting or being susceptible to storms (data spikes)).

Group on Amazon Tips and Tricks

I arrived at the group after they’d talked about large scale, heavy duty, and enterprise-level storage techniques.

Group host: For the data hobbyist, you can store all of your data on EBS – a data block. Attach it to an individual EC2 instance. You can at least do things like snapshots of it.

Audience: Klint would know something about this, especially EBS.

Klint Finley: We’ve seen big fluctuations with EBS performance. We’ve turned on CloudWatch to kind of see what’s going on.

Dave Nielsen: Do you have a recommended architecture at this point?

Kint: For now we’re trying to do more in memory. Also, caching everything so we can handle spikes in access.

(And during this session I was looking around, thinking, “this is the underbelly – the equivalent of what the printing press is to printers. What lies beneath. The structure of how things work and what things do”. In other words: the most important thing we can be having a conference about right now).


Second Session:

Steven Walling – Is Cloud computing a return to time-share mainframe style computing that wer wwere formerly used to? And if so, does that mean more centralization

Steven Walling: I’m sure you’ve all heard Kevin Kelly’s talk about what technology wants, that what every device will just be a window to the cloud.

@infovore: That everything is a dumb client, and that all the processing is happening up in the cloud.

Steven Walling: but i think that has some of the similar implications, that everything is running through the cloud, or just some of the really important things.

But if everything is running through the cloud there’s the idea that there doesn’t need to be storage anymore. Once everything is in the cloud, you just need a screen and an interface that, you know, you even touch the cloud with.

That entire vision is one extreme of cloud computing, as in, you don’t own anything, you just get to use the resources that someone provides to you.

That was the original idea of computing, that you’d just need a screen and a keyboard.

Bram Pitoyo: Like Thin Client.

Steven Walling: But that these actual computers were so complex and enormous

The reason we did that in the past was because it was cost convenient, and then we pushed it onto the web.

C: But this stuff – this Cloud computing – we’re doing it voluntarily – because it is easier now to store our things on the cloud and then access them from there.

Steven Walling: And what we’re doing is the same thing as before, just flipped upside-down.

Klint Finley: It wasn’t just a time function. you could have a terminal that was a small as a desk that you could access data from the mainframe with.

Joe: But we no longer have the space to be able to store the entire index of the web on your computer. You rely on Google to do that for you.

Some data is so large that you do need it on the cloud.

That was one of the big things Chris Messina was talking about at Open Source Bridge, that there is a need for those big kinds of supermarkets online that provide these large chunks of data service.

StevenWalling: Timeshare computing – too expensive to do anything but Really important science estuff .perosnal computing – anybody can have accress to it everywhere .Does timeshare cut out non-busienss use cases, does cloud cut out business comm?

Caseorganic: I think if a really important business does something online, it will be somewhat secure. But there is not really a set of standards in place for everyone.

Klint Finley: If we had a mesh wireless network it would work out if one network went down.

Jason Mauer: They did air strikes in Iraq in the gulf war to see if they could take down the Internet, and they couldn’t E-mal was used as a test to withstand attack.

Audience: What would happen is that we’d be able to pull off chunks of the Internet and have them function similarly to other chunks.

Audience: I know that a lot of people use Twitter now, or Facebook. A lot of our data is living on those networks now. There’s where I see a lot of problems. How do you get your facebook stuff out? Where does it go? It’s not even structured in the same way as your other data.

Audience: I started using Twitter and followed two people for a while. Now I follow 200. What happened? There’s too much noise. I don’t think I’m ready to handle that much noise yet. What what if I want to step in time? Filter it out? Listen to only the signals I need to?

Eric: It’s question of network structure. If you’re following 20,000 people.
You’re got a representative of every type, 5 people, totally, like Noah’s ark.
You’ve got a DBA, a marketing person. And you’ve got your neighbors, which are total wild-cards. and members of all these tribes i have. It’s about separating that data.

Lief: Yes, but aside from that issue, there’s another. If social networks are like TVs, there are only a few channels. If the channels are owned by giant organizations, then there’s no room for the next Twitter, or Flickr.

Steven :I don’t agree, because the flip side to that is that the guys in the garage don’t have to know anything about database infrastructure in order to know how to build an application. And that weakens the system if many people begin to use it.

Audience: But people are going to want to keep some private data: like family photos, or whoever knows what photos.

Mike Kaos: Consumers are king. They’re going to vote with their bits, so to speak. They’re not going to keep using a service to host their images with their friends, they’re not going to upload their data, unless it’s reliable.


Conference Wrap-Up

We went over each of the Unconference topics, gathering summaries from participants of each. Since it was quite late, I did not get to take notes beyond the point.

Overall, the conference was a great success. The panel/Unconference hybrid model was refreshing and informative. I experienced only slight frustration in not being able to clone myself to watch simultaneous conference sessions. But this is usual.


Amber Case is a Cyborg Anthropologist and New Media Consultant from Portland, Oregon. She is interested in Cloud computing for many reasons, especially since she uses Twitter @caseorganic, and stores her collection of over 18,000 photos, screenshots, and research notes on Flickr.