Introducing Designing with Sound from O’Reilly Books (Oct 2018)

designing-products-with-sound-oreilly-amber-case-aaron-dayI’m excited to announce that sound designer Aaron Day and I have joined forces to produce a book on sound design for products called Designing With Sound. Why write a book about sound? Sound is part of everyday life, but it is often overlooked. Sound can make or break an experience, but we don’t think about it enough. There are many opportunities for brands and makers to consider sound as a crucial part of experience design. In this book, we explore sound from a number of perspectives, from the buzz of a phone, the distraction of an open office, architectural acoustics, sound and health, and the unexplored opportunities of employing more senses in our lives.

I released Calm Technology: Principles and Patterns for Non-Intrusive Design in Fall of 2015. Since then, I was approached by a number of different companies looking for ways for products to fit better into a user’s soundscape. I realized that sound was just one part of the equation for experience design, but it deserved a much closer look.

That’s why I was so excited when my colleague Aaron Day asked me what to do with his 18 years of experience designing sound for brands, retail electronics, films, environments, automobiles, healthcare and museums. I told him that I was running into the same kinds of questions. There were designers, product owners and developers out there that needed answers to questions for a new class of connected products. How can we make products that work alongside us, instead of against us? How can we improve the sonic environment? First, we realized we needed to show people how sound affected them, how they could fix it, and then how they could make it better. The outline of a book quickly formed, and we pitched it to O’Reilly. O’Reilly was excited because it’s difficult to find a book that introduced more advanced sound design concepts without getting too technical. This world doesn’t need perfect sound, it just needs “better” sound, and through case studies, patterns and principles, we aim to show you how!

Designing with Sound will hit the shelves Oct 2018. Until then, you’re free to pro-order them. I’ll be starting to speak about various aspects of sound design starting May 2017 at The Next Web Conference in Amsterdam.

Thanks so much for your support and feedback while we work on this book! It’s been great to be able to reach out to so many people already with their stories and relationship with sound. See you in October!

Designing Products with Sound: Principles and Patterns for Mixed Environments

designing-products-with-sound-oreilly-amber-case-aaron-dayOrder from Amazon | Order from O’Reilly

By Amber Case and Aaron Day. O’Reilly Books, October 2018 (est.). 300 pages.

Sound is one of the most commonly overlooked components in product design, even though it’s often the first way people interact with many products. When designers don’t pay enough attention sound elements, customers are frequently left with annoying and interruptive results. This practical book covers several methods that product designers and managers can use to improve everyday interactions through an understanding and application of sound design.

  • Understand the place of sound in design, and how it can make a difference in your product
  • Learn key concepts in sound design, with patterns and principles you can use to improve user experience
  • Learn how to integrate sound design into a project
  • Use exercises to help evaluate sound design

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 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’ 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, 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



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.

What Does it Take to Ignite Portland?

Ignite Portland 4 | Legion of Tech

If you had five minutes on stage what would you say? What if you only got 20 slides and they rotated automatically after 15 seconds?

Around the world geeks have been putting together Ignite nights to show their answers. But Portland’s own event, Ignite Portland, will be happening soon, and it is a chance for locals to make short presentations on anything they are passionate about.


November 13, 2008. On the Ignite Portland Blog, Josh Bancroft urges Portlanders to Save the Date.

Ignite History

Local tech legend Raven Zachary told me that Ignite Portland was founded by Brady Forrest of O’Reilly. He was initially inspired by Japan’s rapid fire presentation method of Pecha Kucha and did an adaptation of that for technology. If you haven’t heard of Pecha Kucha before, it is Japanese for the sound of conversation. Attendees watch a speakers that have only 20 slides, with 20 seconds per slide.Portland Pecha Kucha Night was just last week.

Ignite Portland

Portland, Oregon has had some of the largest events in Ignite history. Ignite 2 packed the Bagdad Theatre with over 750 people, and many waiting in line had to be turned away.

Ignite Portland at Gnomedex

Several alumni of Ignite Portland will be presenting their five minute topics at this week’s Gnomedex 8.0, an annual social media conference organized by Chris Pirillo. Rick Turoczy has a list of the presenters on his blog, Silicon Florist, and Portland Ignites Gnomedex on TinyScreenfuls, the blog of Josh Bancroft, who points out that “The idea for Ignite Portland was hatched at last year’s Gnomedex.”

Ignite Portland Planning Begins Now

November 13th may seem like a long time away, but Ignite events take a tremendous amount of effort to pull off. Want to be part of the event and meet some really cool people in the process? The Ignite Planning Committee is always open to dedicated, passionate volunteers. Help make this Ignite Portland even better than the last three.

The Ignite Planning meeting that occurred at Cubespace tonight was there primarily to deal with a system in large demand. The first major thing discussed how the online ticket reservation system would function. Then, volunteer teams were developed. Currently, they are as follows:

The Presenter Team

Raven Zachary, Mentor iPhone developer and recently of, an iPhone development blog. You can follow Raven on Twitter. He’s also a Legion of Tech Board Member.


  • Review and sort through all Portland Ignite 4 proposals.
  • Ensure that all presenters submit 20 images, a Powerpoint, or PDF by the final deadline.
  • Ensure that AV equipment does not FAIL upon deployment.

The Marketing Team

Josh Bancroft, Mentor of Intel, Kindle Evangelist, and author of the TinyScreenfuls Blog, and Legion of Tech Board Member. @Jabancroft on Twitter.


  • Spread the word about Ignite Portland 4 through writing on the Ignite Portland Blog
  • Designate an Official Ignite Portland spokesperson to ensure uniform information gets out to local media connections.
  • Monitor the Tweetverse for Tweets about Ignite Portland. Tweet from the official Ignite Portland blog, and answer questions as they are asked.

The Sponsor Contact/Site Team

Todd Kenefsky, Mentor CEO of Connect Interactive Media, an interactive marketing company, and Legion of Tech Board Member.


  • Convert Sponsor logos from .eps format to .gif or .jpg and place them on the Ignite Portland sponsor page.
  • Help create sponsor slides

The Ignite Event Setup Team

Dawn Foster, Mentor, Consultant, FastWonder blogger, Legion of Tech Board Member, and recently, of Shizzow, an micro-geolocation released last Monday (a review of its beta release is here).


  • Help set up the venue during the day of the event.
  • Organize attendees and help line flow.

Other Organizers

Adam Duvander also has a hand in organizing Ignite Portland events and has presented in past Ignites. Check out his blog, Simplicity Rules, and Adam’s Twitter profile.

For more information, check out the Ignite Portland Website.

Ignite Portland 4 will be on November 13, 2008

    Bagdad Theater

  • 3702 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd
  • Portland, OR 97214
  • 7:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Ticketholders get in at 5:30 PM
  • General Admission at 6:15 PM
  • Admission is always FREE


Please let me know if I missed anything in this post. Feel free to contact the Mentors via Twitter if you’d like to add to the volunteer efforts.

You can follow me on Twitter @caseorganic. I’ll be on the Marketing and Sponsor Teams.

Thanks for reading Hazelnut Tech Talk! We’re proud to bring you event coverage from a mix of creative and tech worlds.

Legion of Talk Event Podcast | Mark Shuttleworth on Ubuntu and Space Travel


This is the full 84 minute audio recording of the talk that Mark Shuttleworth gave on Monday, July 21st at McMenamins Mission Theater. The talk was sponsored by Oregon’s own Strands and Legion of Tech. Mark Shuttleworth will also be speaking tomorrow at O’Reilly’s OSCON 08, a week-long Tech Event here in Portland.

In this podcast, Mark talks about the Ubuntu Project, his time as a cosmonaut member of the crew of Soyuz mission TM34 to the International Space Station in 2002, and the future of technology in developing countries.

Click to Subscribe

Hazelnut Tech Talk

Hazelnut Tech Talk is very proud to have the ability to present Shuttleworth’s vision to a wider audience.

Transcripts to follow.

The Art of Community | A Community Collaboration by Danese Cooper and Dawn Foster for O’Reilly

One of the things that really excites me about the evolving state of the Internet is the ability for books to be coauthored across time and space. The Wiki is one of the most powerful tools in allowing this to happen.

From Wikipedia to the newest form of this method, the “Art of Community”, a book for O’Reilly by Portland’s Dawn Foster and San Fransisco’s Open Source Advocate Danese Cooper (who is currently packing for OSCON).

Art of Community Wiki Dawn Foster Danese Cooper

Another great thing about the project is that the book resembles itself in its construction and content. It is a book that was built by the same methods that it writes about. Needless to say, I am looking forward to watching it develop online.

If you are interested in contributing to the book, you can do so at the O’Reilly Commons Wiki

If you’d like to meet Dawn Foster, look for her at the next Beer and Blog. They’re generally on Friday, 6Pm at the Green Dragon. You can also check out her blog, Fast Wonder, or follow her on Twitter.

She’s extremely active in the Portland Tech Community as well as well versed in RSS aggregator applications such as Yahoo! Pipes. You can see more of her Yahoo! Pipes on her blog.

If you’d like to meet Danese Cooper, you can find more about her from this Wikipedia article, or you might run into her at OSCON this week. If nothing else, you can also follow her on Twitter.

Below you can find the most recent iteration of the book (as of July 19, 2008). Hopefully it will give you some ideas, and some impetus if you’d like to contribute!

Chapters for AOC

Important Note: We are in the process of contacting these people – some of them have NOT agreed to participate yet!