Open Government Hackathon and the Civic Web: Two Awesome Upcoming Events

There have been some rumblings among members of Research Club about a community minded hackathon of sorts. I’m excited to announce two of them at once! (With the potential of another on 10/10). With two or three hackathons in the next two months, there are no limits to what can be accomplished!

September 19th – Civic Webs: Community Minded Project Night!

First, Max Ogden (you might know him from is organizing Civic Webs: Community minded project night on Sunday, September 19, 2010 from 6–11pm at Research Club.

  • There will be whiteboards and computers, programming, sketching and discussion.
  • Do you want to help make a map of all the businesses in Portland that have resident felines (business cats)?
  • Help test a bicycle based synthesizer?
  • Brainstorm solutions for human waste management?
  • Create a way to access city council voting agendas?
  • Have your own idea?
  • All interested peoples of all areas of expertise are welcome.

If you’d like to attend, here’s the link: Civic Webs: Community minded project night.

October 3rd – All-Day Open Government Hackathon!

Second, on Sunday, October 3rd from 8:30Am-6:30Pm (add to Gcal) Aaron Parecki and I will be organizing an 8-hour Open Government Hackathon to see who can build the best open government application!

  • Participation is free!
  • You can participate as an individual or a team.
  • Breakfast, lunch, coffee and beer will be available throughout the day.
  • There will be high speed Internet access and comfortable couches.
  • Prizes will be awarded after app demos are reviewed. (One prize for the best use of the API, one for best use of Tropo API, and another for best use of government data).


  • Breakfast and coffee will be served at 8:30am, followed by Lunch at Noon.
  • Coding will stop at 5:30pm, and teams and individuals will demo their apps.
  • Prizes will be awarded at 6:30Ppm.


NedSpace Old Town, 117 NW 5th between Couch and Davis.

Backspace is right downstairs, Davis Street Tavern is right next door, there’s a parking lot across the street, and it’s right on the MAX line.

Who Should Attend?

Ruby, Python, PHP, web developers, coders, interaction designers, graphic designers and anyone who has a passion to code, hack or conceptualize applications that will free (or otherwise enhance) the accessibility and usefulness of government-shared data.

Although the sprint takes place On Oct 3rd after CyborgCamp Portland, you don’t have to be attending the conference to join us.

Participation is free and open to anyone… we just ask that you register in advance so we know how many individuals or teams we need to accommodate.

What’s Going to Happen?

  • There will be organizers onsite to help get things rolling.
  • At 5:30pm, each app will be evaluated by the Hackathon Partners and prizes will be awarded to those teams or individuals that develop the best applications in the 8 hour.
  • Participants need not show up right at 8:30am, but those who do will have the most time to code!

Hackathon Partners

Partners are companies and organizations that provide tools or services that can enhance open government apps. They’re also providing the prizes and will be choosing the winners. If your organization has tools or services that you think would be useful to the Hackathon, contact @aaronpk or @caseorganic and we’ll see about adding you to the list:

  • Tropo – Tropo is a powerful yet simple API that adds Voice, SMS, Twitter, and IM support to the programming languages you already know!
  • Geoloqi – A secure, real-time mobile and web platform for location sharing.

Sound like something you’d like to do on a Sunday? Here’s the registration page!


RSVP on Upcoming
View on

An Open Response to the Portland Development Commission State of the Software Market

PDC recently  released the next instantiation of their State of the Software Market survey. It’s designed to dive deeper into their conversation with the software community.

For purposes of transparency, I thought it might be interesting to post my responses as an open response to the survey. Below are all of the questions and my responses. I don’t have the right ones – no one does. However, I hope that my responses might start a discussion that leads to something that might be considered a good response. It’s all very much a work in progress.

Portland Development Software Survey

We’ve all had different experiences in this community. My favorite experiences have been at WhereCamp, Open Source Bridge and CubeSpace. Filling out this survey is a chance to create more of those experiences and get support for them. If this sounds good to you, respond to the PDC software survey.

This is PDC’s second interview in the process of identifying the tools needed to develop a thriving software cluster in the Portland region.

Their first survey in April had 280 respondents, and this survey seeks to validate some of the ideas that were shared. Software is one of only four clusters that the Portland Development Commission is focusing on, so our input on this topic will have a large impact on the PDC’s work.


Survey Questions and Responses

Portland’s many User Groups run independently. Managing logistics, promotions and funding takes a significant amount of time for their volunteer leadership. An idea that came from our first survey is to compile an inventory of available meeting spaces, a “best practices” document and identify interested sponsors.

Do you think this idea would help align the software cluster and allow it to be more successful?

Yes – this is a great idea!

Why do you think this idea has merit?

Because a lot of us, whether we work full-time or not, need a place where we can all meet up. When we went to CubeSpace, it was like coming home. No matter what happened during the day, we knew we could find at least a few events going on at night. The space does not need to be open during the day – the majority of events that happened at CubeSpace were events happening between 5-9Pm.

It was open and welcoming, and a place to meet friends and collaborators, old or new. In a place where a lot of people work by themselves, and a lot of people do not work at offices during the day, regular community interaction becomes very important.

Another idea we heard was the possibility of identifying flexible meet-up spaces for folks to gather and share ideas. This could augment existing co-working spaces in the city and provide a place for small groups to gather and explore new ideas together.

Do you think this concept of identifying flexible meet-up spaces would be a good idea to support our software community?


Why do you feel that this concept of flexible meet-up spaces is a good idea?

For the same reasons I stated before. There needs to be a space for people to meet, where meetings can be scheduled. A watering hole, so to speak, for ideas, collaboration and exchange.

Having a sponsored meeting spot open from 5-9Pm would not compete with any of the other daytime coworking spaces, as it would be an event space.

Another idea that came to the surface was to encourage the integration of these User Groups into the other parts of our community such as non-software corporations, government and schools. (example: a school technology lab could tap the expertise of a User Group for best practices in changing operating systems, etc.)Do you think such integration efforts would strengthen our software community?

Great idea!

Why do you think this type of integration is a good idea?

It’s an interesting idea, although I’m not clear on the details enough to have an opinion on this right now.

By the way, are you personally involved with a User Group?


What User Groups are you a part of?

I assume you are using the phrase ‘User Groups’ as a way of describing groups of people with interests related to certain types of technology, methods, or ideas.

In that case, these are the groups I’m involved in (or have been in the past).

  • Geoloqi User Group (co-founder)
  • Portland Data Viz Meetup (founder)
  • CyborgCamp (founder)
  • WhereCamp (volunteer, speaker)
  • Refresh Portland (attendee)
  • Wiki Wednesday (attendee)
  • NTEN Nonprofit Technology Meetup (attendee)
  • Webvisions (board member)
  • Web Analytics Wednesday (attendee)
  • Demolicious (attendee)
  • CHIFOO (member)
  • IxDA (steering committee)

I used to go to 2-3 group meetings a night, until CubeSpace closed.

How valuable are you finding this involvement in User Groups?

Very valuable

Why have you found User Groups valuable?

Knowledge is brought to life by people, and people are often difficult to find. User groups allow information to pollinate and multiply. It drastically speeds up the ability for one to get things done. When one tries something alone, it’s often easy to get stuck. When one is surrounded by users who are familiar with a system, help is never far away.

Do you have any other ideas about User Groups before we ask your opinion about the next topic of “Regional Resourcing”?


A number of people provided feedback about how we could take the resources we already have and become smarter about understanding and making use of them. For example, many wished they had a place to search for every local software company’s products or services. Some also wished they had a database of every gifted programmer in the region. For the purposes of the survey, we’ll call this “Regional Resourcing”.

In terms of its value, how would you rate this idea of a “Regional Resourcing” directory?

Very valuable

Why would such a “Regional Resourcing” directory be valuable?

It’s been attempted before, especially with sites like PRTLND.

An easy to use directory with community tagging capabilities would be useful, especially if it imported Twitter data and allowed one or others to fill into profile information, recommendations, etc., wiki-style.

Linkedin does this, but it’s not locally oriented.

In our last online conversation, 75% of those who did not have a mentoring relationship said that they would like to have one.

How valuable would it be to have a system that matches mentors with mentees to help with business issues? (for example: formation, planning, development, etc.)

Not very valuable

Why wouldn’t “mentorship matching” be valuable?

Well, if you think about it – having a community in place, with a place to have events, takes care of the mentorship idea. A community naturally has mentors and newbies. Those who contribute to a community get community support in the form of funding, reviews, and collaboration. Having a structured and stringent program might not be as effective as simply allowing it to happen and providing a space for it.

In our discussions, we have heard several concerns about the challenges associated with financing software companies. Depending on their experience, some have focused on a need for more VCs in Portland, others on the need for more Mezzanine funding sources and still others on unmet needs in Early Stage funding.

How important do you feel it is for our community to better address the financial needs of its software companies?

Very important

Why do you feel that we should better address the financial needs of software companies?

I don’t know if it’s simply the idea of bringing VC’s into Portland that would address the financial needs of software companies.

I think the key is to provide actual learning experiences or good managers for companies. A lot of great developers out there are very good at coding, but are quite inept at design or bringing products to market. The idea of the product lifecycle, or the need to market a product, is sometimes misunderstood.

Learning about business – and this means business planning, legal issues, taxes, business plans, and simplicity, are all things that are needed. VC’s that provide this would be nice, but startups also need to understand how to run startups on little to know funding at all. If they can turn a profit without having to go to VC’s, it’s all the more impressive.

Have you been a part of an effort to raise money for a company in the Portland region?


I raised money for GreenIt!, a renewable energy company I started with two colleages of mine during college. We raised two rounds of seed funding.

In your experience, what is the most difficult financing stage for a Portland-based software company?

Angel funding (less than $500k)

Please describe the challenges you faced in obtaining Angel Funding:

The amount of time it takes to obtain funding

Some have mentioned that we need to do a better job connecting start-up companies with “seed funders” (very early stage investors under $500k) in order to decrease the time that start-ups devote to raising necessary capital.

Do you feel that we need to develop better ways to connect start-ups with seed funders?


What are some ways the we might be able to build these networks of funding relationships?

  • Building a matching database
  • Streamlining the review process
  • Having “speed dating” events

Before early-stage entrepreneurs can go to market, they must literally “prove the concepts” of their innovations. The work may entail developing a research technology further, perhaps to a working prototype, and/or studying markets to see if the business concept will fly.Developing a local “Proof of Concept Center” has been suggested as a way to provide this support through seed funding and expert assistance to help entrepreneurs prepare for the strongest market entry possible.

How valuable do you feel a Proof of Concept Center would be in the region?

Not very valuable

Why do you feel that a “Proof of Concept Center” might not be a good idea?

While a center like this could provide User testing, QA testing and focus groups that would not be available to an otherwise unconnected entrepreneur, this is something that naturally emerges from a community. Providing the place for community should still be the highest priority. A startup can have a meeting within that space that can act as a ‘Proof of Concept Center’.

Do you have any skills or resources that you would like to volunteer to help in the development of a community “Proof of Concept Center”?


Helping entrepreneurs to simplify their ideas and get their products to market.

Do you have any other ideas about how we can improve our investment climate for the software industry?

Have a clear guide to regulations, legalities, and process.

Starting a company is difficult. I had a lot of help starting a C corp because my team was part of a college. There was no business program, so the college president and his business development team helped us in securing funding, connecting us with attorneys and conferences. Without them, no progress could have been made.

Also, a focus on success stories here in Portland is essential. Patterns of development and best practices can be easily found if one interviews successful entrepreneurs here. Take, for example, Andy Baio, developer of Yahoo!’s There are many more of these stories. If a community has good role models and examples, they’ll be more likely to succeed.

Would you be interested in receiving the results of this survey and being invited to attend a discussion of the issues impacting our regions’ software industry?

Yes, definitely

Please let us know your contact information.

First name: Amber
Last name: Case
E-mail: caseorganic at gmail dot com

How would you describe the regional footprint of the company which provides your primary source of employment?

6-25 Employees

In addition to this company, are you involved with a side-project or projects?

Yes – I have several side projects

What is keeping you from building a side project into a full-time endeavor?

  • Technology development
  • More customers
  • Investment capital
  • Business strategy development
  • Not interested in making this more than a side project

Other: It’s a tremendous liability to move to developing a company full time. Often it’s not the most intelligent choice, especially in a place like Portland. It’s far safer to keep it as a side-project while remaining fully employed. There aren’t a ton of customers in Portland either. One has to be able to connect nationally and internationally in order to make a blip outside of the Portland sphere. That’s not especially easy to do, no matter where one is.

Does the company that provides your primary source of employment develop software or provide services (legal, accounting, recruiting, etc.) to the software industry?

  • Developing software
  • Providing services

(Note: There was no way to choose both. Vertigo provides both types of services).

What type of services are you providing for the software industry?

  • User Interface/Artistic Design

What position do you hold in the company?

  • Technical/developer

(Note: They didn’t provide designer).

What was your company’s revenue last year? (if you have multiple side projects, please select your primary one)

I’d rather not say.



There’s still a lot to be done, and I need your help. Do you like the idea of a 5-9 meeting space as well? Let me know on Twitter, or in the comments below.



Amber Case, (@caseorganic) is a Cyborg Anthropologist and a happy member of the Portland Tech Community. She is happiest when surrounded by wonderful people sharing ideas.

The Fourth Portland Data Visualization Group | Wednesday July 28, 2010: 6:30–9Pm at Webtrends

It’s time for another Portland Data Visualization Meetup! The last one occurred on Thurs, April 29. We’ll have three to four main presentations and networking time. Webtrends will again graciously host us on their top floor.

Michael Paukner - Data Visualization

Current speakers for Data Viz #4:

1. Periscopic will present two pieces of data visualization they’ve done.

The first is Vote Smart – a new visualization & voter’s assistant tool that uses data
from Project Vote Smart, and Open Secrets.  Designed to help you find out
which candidates are most like you. 10 min presentation plus 15-20 minutes for questions.

State of the Polar Bear – visual designs for a project that is still in development.  Half infographic movie, and half exploratory visualization.  Designed to raise awareness about CO2 levels and how that affects polar bears and arctic sea ice.  5-10 min presentation and
10-15 mins for questions.

2. Aaron Parecki and Amber Case will present new data from a project they’ve been working on dealing with GPS and SMS data called They may also present a visualization of wiki commits to over time.

3. A number of Portland Data Viz group members recently attended a Tufte lecture, which most everyone found to be very useful! Joe, a Portland Data Viz member, enjoyed the blot maps presented by Tufte. He will give a very short presentation on them. It will include a guide on how to build your own from US Geographic boundary files, as well as a discussion on Tufte’s criticism of this data visualization method.

Who Should Go?

The event 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’re expecting a similar amount of people to last time (probably around 20-30 people).

Location and Time

July 28th, 2010 | 6:30-9:30PM


851 SW 6th Ave.
Portland OR 97204

RSVP on Yahoo! Upcoming, or view the event on Calagator

Note to newcomers: If you haven’t been to Webtrends before, you might have a difficult time gaining access to the building. Please E-mail me for detailed instructions on how to enter the building, and a phone number you can reach to gain access once inside.

Google Group:

Ed Borasky started a Google group called pdx-visualization. As the name implies, it is a group for Portland-area people interested in languages and techniques for visualization of data.

Innovation in Data Visualization Group on Flickr:

I’ve been collecting interesting data viz photos for a while now and posting them to Flickr. They’re all accessible on my Flickr account in this set. Most pictures contain descriptions and links to the viz sources. If you have any Flickr photos of data viz work you’ve done, or work your find innovative, be sure to add them to the group!

Also check out Aaron Parecki’s GPS Logs and Data Visualizations on Flickr.

Hope to see you all there!



Amber Case, (@caseorganic) is a Cyborg Anthropologist studying the interaction between humans and computers and how our relationship with information is changing the way we think, act, and understand the world around us. She’s obsessed with compressing the space and time it takes to get data from one place to another, especially when the final destination is the mind.

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Geoloqi and GPS Data Viz at RECESS Gallery – July 14, 2010

Social_Net_Works: A Hybrid Art Show About Networks and Technology

On Wednesday, July 14th, RECESS gallery will have a show called Social_Net_Works. Social_Net_Works will look at projects spanning mediums and approaches that all deal with social networking and technology. Aaron Parecki and I will be showing some of the GPS data we’ve gathered in the past 1-2 years, some of it as a result of an open source mobile GPS tracker we’re building called Geoloqi.

Social_Net_Works at Recess Gallery Wednesday, July 14, 2010

There will be four other artists presenting social network related art. One artist, Alicia Gordon, is presenting a series of photographs staged from “Casual Encounters” ads on Craigslist. Another artist is doing a performance piece “Best Friend for Ten Minutes,” a project stemming from his “Best Friends for a Day” that began as a service offered on the web for strangers to respond to.


Date: Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Time: 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Location: RECESS Gallery
Address: 4315 SE Division St., Portland, OR

The Show

We’ll have five pieces up, including four  views of GPS data over time (one being the image of 10 million GPS points presented at Research Club). Each piece will have a 16″ by 20″ printed board explaining each map. The pieces will be a mix of portrait and landscape views. The images will include two years’ worth of Aaron Parecki’s GPS data and six months of my data.

Aaron Parecki’s GPS map: two years of data (color-coded by speed).

Aaron Parecki's GPS Logs from 2008-2010

Amber Case’s GPS map: six months of data (color-coded by time of day).

Amber Case's GPS Logs from January 2010 to June 2010

In addition, there will be a  video of Aaron Parecki’s GPS trails animated over time. It will cycle through a visualization of 10 million GPS points.

Digital Self-Portraits

Tori Abernathy, the show’s organizer, brought up a good points. GPS maps can be used as a sort of self portrait. In a sense, they already are (at least in terms of location). She mentioned The one that Aaron showed with a cluster in the NW of small black lines and with thicker, more colorful, fewer lines in the more far reaching parts of town, really hearkened to neural connections, or the cardiovascular system, or tree branches or something like that to me. Aside from that, she said, they still seemed to reveal a lot about a person. She concluded be mentioning her interest in working with them in a more historical self portrait medium like paint.

Weaving GPS into Fabric

Curiously enough, I was contacted by another artist, one that deals with textiles, a few days later. She said that she loved the idea of GPS portraits and wanted to stitch GPS trails into fabric. It will be curious to send her a couple of GPS images and see what she produces.

Visualizing Ten Million Points of GPS Data

Aaron Parecki's 10 Million GPS Points

This is 10 million GPS points plotted onto a map. It is also a portrait of Aaron Parecki’s life in Portland, Oregon. The dark lines represent slow speeds, and the red lines represent fast speeds. Through this map it is easy to see the relative highways and speeds of traffic present in Portland.

Boost Mobile Phone Running Instamapper GPS

Amber Case’s Boost Mobile Phone running Instamapper, sending data every 30 seconds.

Windows Mobile Phone Running

Aaron Parecki’s Windows Mobile Phone running, updating at 6 second intervals.

Aaron Parecki - Tour of Pittsburgh

Aaron Parecki visited Pittsburg, Pennsylvania with his friend Silas, resulting in the following GPS maps. Silas rented a Zipcar, so they were able to cover a lot of ground.

Tracking in New York

But when Aaron visited Manhattan, the GPS data became sparse. The tall building threw off the GPS and made it difficult to get a fix. Also, the GPS was not able to get a fix while underground. Thus, Aaron’s GPS data looks pretty spotty for Manhattan, with little squiggles popping up just at the points where he went above ground.

GPS in Manhatten Aaron Parecki

Mine were not much better, as you can see below.

Amber Case's GPS Trails in Manhatten

The big splash of gray next to Chelsea represents the period of time sleeping and the day I got sick. Aaron turns his tracker on only when he changes location, while I tend to leave my GPS tracker when I’m not moving. When this happens, the data points continue to pile up, revealing the amount of time I spent in a location.

Caseorganic's GPS Trail During the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver BC.

I took my Boost Mobile Phone to the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, BC and got some pretty good data. I stayed within the same 10-15 block area the entire time. Everything was walking distance, and I used no form of transportation the entire time, from the moment I got to Vancouver at the train station, to the moment I went home.

Using GPS Tracking for Geonotes

In addition to mapping out our paths with GPS-enabled phones, we have the ability to be sent Geonotes. Geonotes are a form of virtual geocaching. One can walk around the city and suddenly get a message that someone left before. They’ve been very fun to receive and write. My favorite one was from Don Park. He left it for me right on the Hawthorne bridge. When I passed over the bridge, I got a text message that told me a bit of trivia about the bridge. He left me another one on Mt. Tabor, telling me where the best berries were. It provided an Easter Egg like feeling of serendipity.

Leave Amber Case (Caseorganic) a Geonote

Leave a Geonote for Amber Case at!

Leave Aaron Parecki (aaronpk) a Geonote!

Leave a Geonote for Aaron Parecki at!

Everyone that runs Geoloqi will be able to send and receive Geonotes. Right now, it’s simply more complicated to do, as we’ve been using Instamapper and to gather GPS data. Geoloqi will enable almost anyone will a mobile device to easily participate in GPS tracking.

Tracking GPS Data with Geoloqi on the iPhone

iPhone 3GS App Running Geoloqi on iOS4

Here you can see the settings screen for Geoloqi on iPhone. The sliders can easily be changed depending on what type of data you want to record. For instance, Aaron Parecki takes data every six seconds, resulting in very high resolution maps. However, this is difficult on his phone battery. When I run Geoloqi, I have it set to update far less, which makes me only have to charge the battery twice per day – once in the afternoon, and again at night. The data is still high enough resolution to see an overall view of where I’ve been, as you can see in the maps of Portland and Eugene above.

Amber Case's Profile on

Tracking Data with Geoloqi

Two months ago, we built a Geoloqi prototype for iPhone iOS4 and installed it on my phone. Suddenly the resolution of the data that I was able to gather greatly increased. As you can see in the map below, the data is much more regular and less jumpy. This was because I was able to send data from the phone to the server at much smaller intervals.

Portland GPS Logs from June 28th-July 6th, 2010

This data was made using the Geoloqi app I have running on my iPhone 3GS. It runs in the background, so I can still do other things on my phone while tracking. As it tends to eat the battery, I have it set on the lowest settings possible. The resolution of data is still very good, as you can see here. The loop near Naito Pkwy is very high resolution, for instance.

GPS Logs from a Weekend Trip to Eugene, Oregon

I also took my phone to Eugene, which has a very different interaction footprint than Portland has. As I don’t live in Eugene, my patterns there were very different than Portland. My Portland footprint looks very much the same over time. I go home, and then to work. If I’m not there, I’m usually at my office in Chinatown. Eugene was a vacation-like trip, so the interactions with the landscape were quite different.

Aaron Parecki's Flight from San Francisco to Long Beach

Aaron runs his GPS tracker while on the plane, too. He has GPS data for all of the flights he’s taken for the last two years. Here’s the GPS trail of a flight from San Francisco to Long Beach.

Show Information: Date, Time and Location

Social_Net_Works at RECESS Gallery

Date: Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Time: 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Location: RECESS Gallery
Street: 4315 SE Division St.
City/Town: Portland, OR

About RECESS Gallery

RECESS is an artist-run center located in the ground level of the Artistery, in Portland, Oregon. The 2,000-square-foot space is dedicated to nurturing emergent, experimental contemporary practices in a universally accessible environment. With a focus on content-oriented work, RECESS hopes to foster new forms of cultural development, and spark a discourse of change within the art community and the community at large. In conjunction with the Artistery, we’re is not limited to curatorial projects. Public lectures, workshops, shows, and other community-based events are all welcome.

Amber Case and Aaron Parecki Jump for Geoloqi

About Amber Case

Amber Case is a Cyborg Anthropologist and interface architect from Portland, Oregon. She studies the interaction between humans and computers and how our relationship with information is changing the way cultures think, act, and understand their worlds. Her main focus is on mobile software, augmented reality and data visualization, as these reduce the amount of time and space it takes for people to connect with information. Case founded out of a frustration with existing social protocols around text messaging and wayfinding. In 2008, Case founded CyborgCamp, an unconference on the future of humans and computers. To attend, visit

You can learn more about Case at, and you can follow her on twitter at @caseorganic.

About Aaron Parecki

Aaron Parecki is a Portland-based PHP developer and GPS enthusiast. His fascination with GPS began at the age of 6, when he began tracing the routes of family road trips on a map with a highlighter. This interest has grown into groundbreaking new methods of location sharing and data collection.

Two years ago, Parecki began tracking GPS data at six second intervals, netting him a high resolution portrait of his geographical travels. Shortly thereafter, he began to experiment with automatic location check-ins and proximal notification systems. He also began using GPS to control the lights in his house and perform other automated actions.

Parecki founded in an effort to make GPS tracking and advanced co-location protocols available to the general public. You can learn more about Aaron at, and you can follow him on twitter at @aaronpk.

Follow @geoloqi on Twitter!

You Should Follow @Geoloqi on Twitter!

Just click on the friendly dinosaur! His name is Loqi. He’ll tell you when Geoloqi for iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Palm are ready. And if you want to be a beta tester or help us develop it, simply head on over to!

Privacy in the Time of Facebook – Interviews on CBC Radio and the Takeaway

Last week, I was contacted by two radio stations for interviews on Facebook and privacy. I’ve been studying Facebook heavily since it launched in February 2004. As a digital anthropologist, Facebook’s success and information architecture have been an intense obsession of mine.

In December 2009, I went to the Banff Centre in Canada to spend a month doing independent research. As I narrowed my focus of study, I found myself looking more closely at Facebook. Facebook has a sort of technosocial gravity not prevalent in other social applications. It is the of friendship, where micronarratives and recommendation systems allow one to read the lives of others as one might read a newspaper article or book.

Part of Facebook’s pull has to do with the instantaneity of  broadcasts and subsequent immediate feedback. Social rewards and often faster and more widespread in the digital world than in real life. Also, the rewards have a quantitative and lasting value. If you share something intimate, you can get multiple comments and multiple likes. You get immediate feedback. It feels good. And the more you reveal about yourself, the more you often get back. Eventually, you can feel a sense of community where you might otherwise feel you don’t. If you think about it, it’s like a cross between playing a videogame and being your own micro celebrity.

. They show up faster. There is more of an adrenaline rush. Every social interaction and success becomes quantifiable. One can get mega points (when their content goes viral) or micro points for micro updates. Analog interaction is less quantifiable and not as far reaching. THis is the same reason why one is addicted to Farmville-like games.

Why are we so okay with sharing everything?

Privacy. Do people really want it?


-Analog Sharing

One to one, or one to group.

Celebrity is one to many.

-Digital Sharing

One to many. Similar to celebrity. Owning the means of producing

systemic value.

The idea of using Brightkite to end a picture of a kid — which is “on my way home”

stays in default public.

there are no replacements. nothing as cool. but their models are default private.

connections breaking connections — accounts deleted.

there’s not    areaway good model right now for amknig stuff product.

their need to monetize this stuff eventually changes behavior.

All this stuff keeps showing up in public when one doesn’t mean it to.

privacy affects us on a person by person.

Data that never should’ve been there goes in there.

the default should be – don’t show this to the world.

sense of place. – read in college.

VCR shifting sense of time and place.

people need some sense of whether something is safe.

trust means – i can walk out of the house and have a sense that people wont steal my stuff…

or people eaving a social network and not having all of their secrets getting out.

I really miss the idea of friend being friend.

kids care about privacy in a  very granular way.

friendship is very granular.


Why is privacy hard? Granularity is complicated, security, & there is currently no model for making money on it. @hotdogsladies #webvisions

What kind of platform requires that your subscription is made public? not google reader, gmail, etc
january – zuckerberg interviewed by arrington – “if we were to create facebook new today, the current settings today would be how we built it now” (everything public by default) — see marshall’s post on “privacy is dead”
when people feel secure knowing how far their informatino will spread, they feel more comfortable sharing more informtaion
realtiy tv, twitter, myspace, letters to the editor of papers left in comments in news websites — general trend towards everything being public
less privacy -> more pageviews
one of the top results in google suggest for “how do i” is “delete my facebook account”
deleting your account is not easy to do
the most viable long-term solution is for social networking to be a protocol not a site. server-to-server communications. it’s inevitable. the alternative is to let the few big companies make the decisions.
Faceook –
By defintion about observing others and comparing and contrasting
based on Harvard
the bulk it’s history was — narcissistic.
by default all of your stuff was there for friends
a number of friends was turned by default to public
people had never changedtheir privacy settings before…
some of it irretrievably public by defa

the thing that pissed me off the most during that period

which of the setting bothered them the most
was the most that the fact that back then you brace a fan of paceges and that was the facebook version of subscribing by RSS
originally — that was something you could ckeep private — that makes snese to me –
as of december one of the changes was that it couldn’t bbe public — even if you were not logged in
could still see people’s fan pages
example i often gave was
“i’m secretly gay tanned no one at the office kows it”
a friend not in the tech sphere — told me — a fan of a podcast
heterosexual couples stuggling to concveive
but didn’t want the world at lease to see that podcast
but it was public from tha point on
iretrivably.fb is incredible in that its popularized the syndication of public content
what kind of subscription would require that your material was put public
another object was that your friends were irrevocably public as well.
day after that “don’t expose this on my profile”
but it was still avaialbe programmatically – -through the api.
the fact tha they enabled it — especially one day after the event
at least human invisible and not programmatically invisible.
Jan – mark zukerberg did an interview with micheal arrington
if we were to create facebook again today we’d have the same privacy settings as we do today. current settings today is code word for
zuckerberg says the age of privacy is dead. people join facebook to be public and not private
but for years — but facebook’s contribution
when people feel secure in where their data will go, they will be more willing to share information
then they feel comfortable sharing more information in total.
head of public comma at fb — public rationale for that — their evidence of the fact that the world was changing in th

at way as that the fact that reality tv shows were popular, and twitter was by nature public, and also letters to the editor about
why fb changed its privacy policy.
the more people share, the more pages will be read, and the more ads can be served.
less privacy means more pageviews –
helpful to spell out.
well demonstrated by the most recent
2 major things ppl objected to:
1. privileged partners — the fact that exposing your data
when you visit those sites, they look at your facebook cookie – and FB just gives them the data
pandora (microsoft)
2. a much larger nu

a number of websites can be accessed via API level technology.
Facebook will give you an frame – that showed you
visit read white web so it would say – we can see who your friends are – view the articles on rrw –
facebook would serve it up through an frame — and you would click on features that other people have liked on RRW.
the opt out feature is a radical change — vs. opt in (w/facebook connect)
vs. facebook connect — you just “like” things. and that’s exposure of user data.
now, ect is OPT OUT> this is dramatic — UI shift.
people are freaking out about all that. who are some of the people who have quit fb
peter rojas
matt cutts (!!)
leo laporte
they’ve quit bc of privacy concerns
“how do it” google
delete my fb account
diaspora — NYU kids through kickstarter approaching 160,000
super geeky about it.

RRW wrote about them first. i don’t think they have any product at all
lots of other people are building decentralized open social networks.

he most viable
not for social networking
where it lives on your server of the server of trusted providers — all of our social networks are interoperable
how verizon customers can call att cusomers- and take our contacts from one network to another when we leave.
kind of inevitable that that will happen.
leave us subject to their policy changes – -putting everyday people at risk and unhappy. it’s a legit desire of ppl to want to communicate online with trusted friends and no one else.
everyone from marginalized populations to prevent from being exposed to everyone else. that’s a very legitimate need.
howfully social networking as a protocol will return control to users of this really revolutary technology back to the whole world.
now social networking has opened up social publishing to the world. a world changing kind of technology that people should be able to trust. because

Facebook executives are preparing for a ‘privacy summit’ to discuss the site’s controversial new default privacy settings (which do little to protect users’ privacy). But in a world of over-sharing online, does privacy even matter anymore? And have our notions of public and private changed so dramatically that we couldn’t reverse things if we wanted to?

Jeff Jarvis is a journalism professor at the City University of New York and author of “What Would Google Do?” He walks us through the history of privacy, and how technology has changed our definitions of what it is over the years.

And Amber Case is a cyborg-anthropologist and tech consultant. She explains how social networking sites have redefined privacy, identity, a

nd the way we interact with others.

Guests: Amber Case and Jeff Jarvis
Produced by: Kristen Meinzer and Jen Poyant


Spark 114 – May 23 & 25, 2010

On this episode of Spark: Facebook privacy, video game localization, and universal translators. Click below to listen to the whole show, or

Recently, the popular social networking website Facebook changed its privacy policy. That has some people worried that once private information may now be public. Others ask, “What’s the big deal?” This week, Spark looks at Facebook and privacy from several perspectives.

First, Nora talked to Philip Moscovitch and Andrew Jones from the Spark community for their views on Facebook and privacy. (Runs 7:50)

Next, Nora interviewed David Wasieleski about this business ethics of social networking sites like Facebook. (Runs 7:01)

Finally, cyborg anthropologist Amber Case explains why Facebook is “sticky” and how its design decisions encourage participation. (Runs 8:10)

The second self. One must manage both the offline self and the online self. The outer appearance and security of the analog self must be updated an maintained. Clothing and skillets, house and vitamins. One cannot look out of date. The digital self must also maintain the extension of self. Sensors must be developed, even mentally, to ascertain where the boundaries of the digital body begin and end.

Security in real life

Security of the second self.

Thanks to everyone at CBC Radio, especially Carma Jolly, for making this an enjoyable experience!