Welcome to 2018!

2017 was a long and unpredictable year. It started with the death of my father, a hero of mine and an electronics and audio pioneer. He was only 56, and it will be difficult to move on without his voice. He started his decline in mid-2016, followed by many hurried visits last year between trips.

I’m glad I got to spend so much time with him before he left this planet.

Dad and I

This year was enormous for Calm Technology. I was on tour for more time than expected. The 100,000 miles I traveled led me to new places, people and ideas, and I’m excited to explore more of them in the next year.

Calm Technology Book Tour 2017

This year’s Calm Technology Book Tour: 103,281 miles travelled!

What’s Next?
I continue to be an affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, and a fellow at MIT Media Lab’s Center for Civic Media. I look forward to returning to Boston this January to participate more fully in efforts around AI, ethics, IoT and calm design.

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An enormous audience for Mind the Product London!

New Year’s Resolutions
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1. Write more. Write one short essay a month on topics related to AI, ethics, IoT and Calm Tech.

2. Release Designing Products with Sound. I’m working with my editor to improve my writing skills, and I’m making incremental progress. My second O’Reilly book, Designing Products with Sound will come out by the end of 2018, and I’m looking forward to that.

3. Prepare to write a trade paperback. I’ve had many requests for a trade paperback book that provides a wider look at how technology is affecting culture.

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Audience at Beaverton High School in Oregon.

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Getting my cousins hooked on synthesizers and sound-making apps during a family visit in August.

4. Visit family more often.

Family is incredibly important. I feel that a lot of my life after college was spend in survival mode after graduating in the recession. This year I plan on spending more time with my cousins, my Aunts and my dad’s brother. My family is fairly small, and every moment counts.

5. Read more books!

My favorite book this year was Colour: Travels Through the Paintbox by Victoria Finlay. It followed the author through the origins of many different colors, and I encourage anyone from any background to take a look at it.

My second favorite was Writing Tools, a book I’m still working through.

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Researcher Divine Maloney and I this summer in Portland, Oregon before he left to pursue a PhD in HCI!

6. Finish a research paper on the phenomenology of AR and VR.

I’ve been a big fan of VR for some time. I’ve been researching the history of it as a hobby for the last 8 years. I worked on this paper with Divine Maloney this summer and am looking forward to publishing it by the end of next year!

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Divine and I with the 2017 Harvard Berkman Klein Center Summer Interns in Cambridge, MA.

7. Participate more in the local community and help others.

Although I was fearful to do it, one thing I’ve done this year is to sign up as a Blood Marrow Donor at Be the Match.

The process is not as difficult as one would expect, and you’d be seriously saving someone’s life if you are a match. All you need is a cheek swab from a kit provided in the mail, and then you wait for a call.

Sign up to be a Blood Marrow Donor!

Sign up to be a Blood Marrow Donor!

Squicky about needles? Consider that matches are rare. Every donor has around a 1 in 500 chance of matching with someone in the US. And “only thirty percent of donations involve actual bone marrow. (The ones that do are mostly for children, who seem to do better with traditional bone marrow transplantation.) Seventy percent of the time, being a “bone marrow donor” is only a tad more complicated than donating blood.” Most of the time, the process can be completed in three hours.

If you want to learn more about the process, there’s some good information here: https://io9.gizmodo.com/bone-marrow-donation-is-nothing-like-i-thought-it-was-1676114500 There’s also a neat (and tear-inducing) Radiolab episode about this you can listen to right now!

I’m definitely fearful to do this, but if I end up being a match, then I’m willing to deal with a tiny bit of pain to help someone else out.

Thank you
I’d like to thank everyone for their support and comfort during this difficult year. I couldn’t have done it without you. Many of you were proactive in helping me reorganize and help with my family. My family is small and I cherish everyone in it.

Thanks also to new friends and faces, art groups and music, and all of the creative things that help to balance out the seriousness. These are crucial and necessary, and we’ll need more of them as we head into the information age.

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Vice Media crew filmed part of a new show with me at Xhurch in Portland, Oregon.

What are your goals for 2018? Best of luck to everyone in this new year!

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A glacier climb during an AI retreat in Norway this September.

Panel on Cyborgs at U of O’s What is Media 2: What is Life?

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University of Oregon in Portland • April 6-8, 2017 • whatis.uoregon.edu

On Saturday, April 8, 2:45-4:00pm I’ll be chairing a session on Cyborgs.

Chair: Amber Case, Fellow, Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University/Visiting Researcher, MIT Center for Civic Media.

  • Caroline Alphin, ASPECT-Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical and Cultural Thought, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
    “Cyborg Neoliberalism: Practicing Neoliberal Subjectivity through the Fitness Tracker”
  • Justin Barnard, English, State University of New York (SUNY) at Fredonia
    “Ex Humana: How Technology is Changing What it Means to be Human”
  • Patrick Dunham, Comparative Literature, University of Oregon
    “The Eradication of Reality in the Age of the Simulation”
  • Lucy Benjamin, Media Studies/Film Studies, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
    “Loving Life: Romantic Encounters of the Modern Cyborg”

About
The 7th annual What is…conference will take place April 6-8 at the White Stag complex in Portland. The conference engages communication, media, and nature by examining everyday life—our lifestyles and lifeworks—emphasizing the environments we live in. The event emphasizes how communication is instrumental in and for living systems. What is life and how is life mediated? It builds on last year’s conference-experience, What is Media? (2016), expanding a transdisciplinary notion of medium/media with special attention to its material, historical, and ecological ramifications.

The event marks the second collaboration with scholars from the natural sciences (physical and life sciences) and the arts. Panels and roundtables will present a wide range of topics including but not limited to: media literacies, complexity, ethics, ecocriticism, data, food, health, economics, rights/privacy, audiences, platforms and living technologies.

The conference-experience will continue the focus on an integrated view of communication for the 21st century, and plant the seeds for deeper investigations into complexity in systems, environmental and ecological approaches. In acknowledging art/science, technology, and environments/nature, communication is at an emergent crossroads.

IA Summit Keynote on Calm Technology in Vancouver, BC – March 22-26, 2017

IA Summit Vancouver BC 2017

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be one of two keynotes at the IA Summit in Vancouver, BC, a fantastic conference running March 22-26, 2017!

Calm Technology and the Future of the Interface
How can you design technology that becomes a part of a user’s life and not a distraction from it? This practical book explores the concept of calm technology, a method for smoothly capturing a user’s attention only when necessary, while calmly remaining in the background most of the time. You’ll learn how to design products that work well, launch well, are easy to support, easy to use, and remain unobtrusive.

About IA Summit 2017
IA Summit Vancouver BC 2017 Originally conceived as a one-off get-together in 2000, the IA Summit quickly became established as the go-to event for those of us who want to make information easier to find, understand, and share. We’ve grown in our ambition, toured North America, and continued to figure out how to build bridges of understanding which span seas of information.

The IA Summit exists to promote discourse and offer practical advice about the strategic and intentional design of information environments. Recognized globally as the peak of information architecture learning, the IA Summit is a wellspring of knowledge for every information professional.

You can follow along at @IAsummit and #ias17!

Read more and sign up for the IA Summit here.

See you there!

Speaking at {dive} Conference in Rennes, France on July 7, 2016!

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100 attendees. 18 hours.  Infinite possibilities.  On July 7, 2016, 100 people will meet in Rennes, France, a beautiful city nestled in the northwest corner of the Brittany region for a one-of-kind conference. Below are some pictures of the conference venue:

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{dive} attendees—which will be capped at 100 for a more intimate, immersive environment—will have the opportunity to participate in a full day of stimulating, interactive sessions and discover fresh ideas and insights from some of the leading strategists, entrepreneurs and innovators in the world. More about {dive} from UXMag.

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I strongly encourage you to sign up if getting to Rennes, France is an exciting idea to you!

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You can learn much more about {dive} here!

Speaking at UXLx in Lisbon, Portugal from May 24-27th, 2016!

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I’m excited to announce that I’ll be speaking at UXLx: User Experience Lisbon – 24 to 27 May 2016. I’ll also be doing a half-day workshop on Calm Technology there.

User Experience Lisbon provides 4 days of training and inspiration for user experience professionals.

This will be my first time in Lisbon, Portugal and I’m definitely looking forward to it.

Workshop on Designing Calm Technology

Time: 1/2 day (4 hours)
Class size limit: 40 participants

The difference between an annoying technology and one that is helpful is how it engages our attention. Calm Technology is a framework for designing ubiquitous devices that engage our attention in an appropriate manner. The aim of Calm Technology is to provide principles that follow the human lifestyle and environment in mind, allowing technology to amplify humanness instead of taking it away.

This workshop will cover how to use principles of Calm Technology to design the next generation of connected devices. We’ll look at notification styles, compressing information into other senses, and designing for the least amount of cognitive overhead.

Structure and activities
Students will work in groups to solve a series of design challenges, including designing new products, ‘calming down’ a complex ones, communicating the principles of Calm Technology across an organization and team, and entering a product successfully into the marketplace.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Use principles of Calm Technology to design the next generation of connected devices.
  • Design appropriate notification systems into both physical and software products
  • Communicate the principles of Calm Technology to your across your organization and team
  • Use methods of Calm Technology to design technology for generations, not seasons.
  • Enter your product successfully into the marketplace.

Who is the workshop for?

This workshop is for anyone that actively builds or makes decisions about technology, especially user experience designers, product designers, managers, creative directors and developers. Attendees are encouraged to have some background in user experience design and look at http://calmtech.com/ or Designing Calm Technology before the workshop.

Bringing a laptop is not required, as work will be done on paper and in groups.

Want to learn more?

Check out the rest of the conference and the speakers at UXLx!