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A list of books I recommend in my talk, Becoming an Agent of Change in your Organization:
Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
You and Your Research by Richard Hamming
If I forgot one, please @10ch me and let me know.

A list of books I recommend in my talk, Becoming an Agent of Change in your Organization:

If I forgot one, please @10ch me and let me know.

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I have had so much fun designing our next experimonth investigation, a game called Frenemy.  We’re working with social scientists around the world to create a game that’ll give them data to study about how people cooperate and compete.  Sign up to play and help me test out the game so that we can make it better and run it worldwide next year.

I have had so much fun designing our next experimonth investigation, a game called Frenemy.  We’re working with social scientists around the world to create a game that’ll give them data to study about how people cooperate and compete.  Sign up to play and help me test out the game so that we can make it better and run it worldwide next year.

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Think of an object you wouldn’t trade even if someone offered you more than $100,000. Describe it.

I’m testing out some software and I thought useum readers would be a good place to start. Consider the question above and record your answer. Feel free to do so anonymously by hitting send w/o entering your email or a message. Thanks.

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For Experimonth: Race, we have a confessional, where people can write about something they don’t feel comfortable posting on Facebook and we have a closed group where those confessions go and experimonthers can talk about them.  
So far there have been over 7,000 words written and I took a moment this morning to visualize the top 100 in this word cloud.

For Experimonth: Race, we have a confessional, where people can write about something they don’t feel comfortable posting on Facebook and we have a closed group where those confessions go and experimonthers can talk about them.  

So far there have been over 7,000 words written and I took a moment this morning to visualize the top 100 in this word cloud.

Tags: experimonth
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Sorry for the long-time-no-post, but here’s a new thing.
We’ve created an Experimonth Headquarters space at the museum to see how a project that was born digital fares on the floor of the museum.  So far, we’ve realized it in a number of ways, one of which is this skin tone visualization.  Visitors pick paint swatches, match their skin tone as best they can, and slap it up on a sticky wall.  This visualization was from this past weekend.  

Sorry for the long-time-no-post, but here’s a new thing.

We’ve created an Experimonth Headquarters space at the museum to see how a project that was born digital fares on the floor of the museum.  So far, we’ve realized it in a number of ways, one of which is this skin tone visualization.  Visitors pick paint swatches, match their skin tone as best they can, and slap it up on a sticky wall.  This visualization was from this past weekend.  

Tags: experimonth
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After my recent trip to Games for Change, I came back home and realized vine borers had gotten into my summer squash and any hopes I had for celebrating sneak zucchini onto neighbors’ porch day were gone.  I was pretty frustrated and felt like giving up on the garden — just for a minute, but still, the thought was there.  It wasn’t a day later, after I’d replanted squash seeds to try again, that I realized that learning’s biggest enemy is not failure, or frustration, but rather giving up.
I’m attempting to learn Processing again. This time with a longer timeline and a bigger book.

After my recent trip to Games for Change, I came back home and realized vine borers had gotten into my summer squash and any hopes I had for celebrating sneak zucchini onto neighbors’ porch day were gone.  I was pretty frustrated and felt like giving up on the garden — just for a minute, but still, the thought was there.  It wasn’t a day later, after I’d replanted squash seeds to try again, that I realized that learning’s biggest enemy is not failure, or frustration, but rather giving up.

I’m attempting to learn Processing again. This time with a longer timeline and a bigger book.

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4/3
… or “I don’t need Christmas this year, I’ve been to Eyeo”
When I think back to my childhood, all of the good Christmases sort of merge together in this one really awesome event where I spent lots of time in magical anticipation and where the holiday itself exceeded my ridiculous expectations and surely raised them for the next year.  This was sometime before I got all Charlie Brown about things and started to complain about the commercialism and reasons for the season and agonize about what to get people or how to react when I open gifts.  At one point in my life Christmas was better than I expected it to be and I expected it to be the most awesome thing ever.
Eyeo has been the same sort of expectation exceeding event — a Christmas for a conferenced-out Charlie Brown — and it has been that way from the beginning. I suspended my jaded outlook on conferences for this one, willingly.  I told complete strangers about how excited I was about it, months ahead of time.  I expected it to be the most awesome thing ever.
And it sort of was.  As I tweeted at the end of day one, it seemed like the creators looked at how conferences are typically run and asked in every way, “How could we do this better?”
The days began at 10am — waking wasn’t stressful and the extra time allowed for a brief check-in with email before being away from it for several hours.  There were enough breaks, but they weren’t too long, leaving me with the sense that I needed to *do* something in between them.  There was another break at the end of the day to check-in with work again before festivities continued into the night.  
Each morning was filled with inspirational talks, each afternoon with hands-on workshops, each evening with blockbuster speakers and free alcohol. Wash, rinse, repeat. 
What I’ll take away:
#1 - As readers may already know, I spent last December trying to learn Processing and ultimately gave up on it, frustrated with the lack of practicality in the tutorials I was following.  I decided to give it one last chance by attending a Data Viz-specific workshop with Jer and Eyeo. 
Over the past two weeks, I feel like Processing won an argument I’d been having with it for months. 

Beck in December: Whine, whine, whine… Processing you’re too hard!
Processing in June: Suck it up, Beck. Good work is hard.

So I’m going to try again.  There are just too many awesome things to be done to not try.
#2 - I’ve always leaned toward sharing my work and when asked to share code or PSDs, I always oblige.  Now I’m going to make it explicit.  I registered a new domain name during the last session of the festival and am committed to launching it with my first processing project.  More details about this one soon.  
#3 - The start of something. At the end of his last talk, Jer compared Eyeo to the root node of a Cascade and said that he hoped that in 10 years, we’d all look at Eyeo as the root node to really successful projects careers.  I want that as much as he does and can see the trajectory unfolding already.  
#4 - The end of something. As much as I enjoyed myself and was inspired by Eyeo, I think it would be sort of awesome if it didn’t ever happen again.  Or if it didn’t happen again for another 10 years.  The line-up was awesome, the energy, the time, the place… it all worked.  It doesn’t have to be bigger or better. In fact, I think it would be more special if it stayed what it was.  Eyeo, avoid the mistakes of Christmases past. Let us miss you.

4/3

… or “I don’t need Christmas this year, I’ve been to Eyeo”

When I think back to my childhood, all of the good Christmases sort of merge together in this one really awesome event where I spent lots of time in magical anticipation and where the holiday itself exceeded my ridiculous expectations and surely raised them for the next year.  This was sometime before I got all Charlie Brown about things and started to complain about the commercialism and reasons for the season and agonize about what to get people or how to react when I open gifts.  At one point in my life Christmas was better than I expected it to be and I expected it to be the most awesome thing ever.

Eyeo has been the same sort of expectation exceeding event — a Christmas for a conferenced-out Charlie Brown — and it has been that way from the beginning. I suspended my jaded outlook on conferences for this one, willingly.  I told complete strangers about how excited I was about it, months ahead of time.  I expected it to be the most awesome thing ever.

And it sort of was.  As I tweeted at the end of day one, it seemed like the creators looked at how conferences are typically run and asked in every way, “How could we do this better?”

The days began at 10am — waking wasn’t stressful and the extra time allowed for a brief check-in with email before being away from it for several hours.  There were enough breaks, but they weren’t too long, leaving me with the sense that I needed to *do* something in between them.  There was another break at the end of the day to check-in with work again before festivities continued into the night.  

Each morning was filled with inspirational talks, each afternoon with hands-on workshops, each evening with blockbuster speakers and free alcohol. Wash, rinse, repeat. 

What I’ll take away:

#1 - As readers may already know, I spent last December trying to learn Processing and ultimately gave up on it, frustrated with the lack of practicality in the tutorials I was following.  I decided to give it one last chance by attending a Data Viz-specific workshop with Jer and Eyeo. 

Over the past two weeks, I feel like Processing won an argument I’d been having with it for months. 

Beck in December: Whine, whine, whine… Processing you’re too hard!

Processing in June: Suck it up, Beck. Good work is hard.

So I’m going to try again.  There are just too many awesome things to be done to not try.

#2 - I’ve always leaned toward sharing my work and when asked to share code or PSDs, I always oblige.  Now I’m going to make it explicit.  I registered a new domain name during the last session of the festival and am committed to launching it with my first processing project.  More details about this one soon.  

#3 - The start of something. At the end of his last talk, Jer compared Eyeo to the root node of a Cascade and said that he hoped that in 10 years, we’d all look at Eyeo as the root node to really successful projects careers.  I want that as much as he does and can see the trajectory unfolding already.  

#4 - The end of something. As much as I enjoyed myself and was inspired by Eyeo, I think it would be sort of awesome if it didn’t ever happen again.  Or if it didn’t happen again for another 10 years.  The line-up was awesome, the energy, the time, the place… it all worked.  It doesn’t have to be bigger or better. In fact, I think it would be more special if it stayed what it was.  Eyeo, avoid the mistakes of Christmases past. Let us miss you.

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3/3
The third and final day of Eyeo was no exception to the inspiration I’ve come to expect from the festival.  The day was a bit shorter than the previous two, lacking an afternoon workshop and evening sessions, but the morning and midday were jam-packed without any break, so it was still a full day.
Up first was Nicholas Felton, who goes by the online moniker “Feltron” (I’d always thought his last name was Feltron, but it isn’t).  He talked about the data collection process he goes through to create his annual reports and I found it comforting to see how laborious the process is for him.  There are many people, of which Nick is one, that just. work. hard. It’s nice to see that effort is required to create such beautiful pieces. 
After Nicholas, Mark Hansen, who I first heard about at a conference back in 2008 and have even exchanged a few experimonth-related emails with, spoke about programming people instead of pixels through a project he’s collaborating with the Elevator Repair Service.  Using Processing, he’s remixed three books into one play/reading and then serves up the lines to the actors via iPhones, live.  The actors, who know the books intimately, read them in the new order.  The whole thing takes about eight hours and in addition to remixing sentences and their order, he also assigns the actors various locations, which have them move about the performance space (picture a large place like the NYPL), sometimes joining together, something moving apart.  It’s a very interesting expression of data and while I’m not sure how applicable it is to my work, it has definitely pushed the boundaries of what output I see possible from a piece of code.
After Mark, Jer Thorp spoke about several projects he’s done in the year he’s lived in New York.  Jer’s so smart and approachable, I’m really becoming a big fan.  It was great to see Cascade through his eyes: I see now that it’s a reader/story analysis tool for NYT staff, not necessarily a toy for the end user.  What will stick with me most from his talk, however, was the process he went through to visualize the names of 9/11 victims for the 9/11 Memorial and Museum (I won’t go through his talk as it’s well documented here). What I loved most about his process was that he used Processing to figure out the solution to a problem, without making Processing the product of that solution.  I also appreciate how the visualization wasn’t done after Processing had everything figured out.  (He created a interface for the output so that the visualization was editable by the architects before becoming final.)
Aaron Koblin was up next and he showcased several awesome projects that I never realized were done by the same person.  The sheep drawing, Johnny Cash and Wilderness Downtown projects were all, at least in part, his creation.  He also showed a number of projects that I’d never seen, but were similarly delightful.  In the science museum world, we have citizen science.  Aaron’s work is like citizen art.  Lots of people create small parts, which comprise a whole that they’re often unaware of until it’s complete.  There is a gestalt that is really moving about these varied, but cohesive expressions.  Like Jake’s talk the day earlier, I was on the verge of tears at several points.
The last talk of the day was a panel, Data Viz & Social Justice. Laura Kurgan, who pointed out that no data is raw, immediately earned lots of head nodding from me.  As did an audience member who later asked the question — What are we doing to communicate that in our visualizations?  And why aren’t their error margins in them? – to which the audience spontaneously applauded.
In my work with scientists, I’m exposed to different approaches to data.  Some scientists don’t even look at data until they have their questions and hypotheses defined and documented.  Others consider the inability to shift gears while exploring the data a major weakness in research methodology.  I don’t know where I am in that continuum, but I don’t hear us (designers, developers, data viz geeks) talking about it at all.  Someone mentioned that these sorts of things should be covered in a future Eyeo.  I do and do not agree (more on that in my final Eyeo installment).
After the wrap-up, which involved lots of clapping, I spent the afternoon over at the Walker and then out to dinner with friends new and less new. My thoughts on the festival in general and what I’ll take away will be posted tomorrow.

3/3

The third and final day of Eyeo was no exception to the inspiration I’ve come to expect from the festival.  The day was a bit shorter than the previous two, lacking an afternoon workshop and evening sessions, but the morning and midday were jam-packed without any break, so it was still a full day.

Up first was Nicholas Felton, who goes by the online moniker “Feltron” (I’d always thought his last name was Feltron, but it isn’t).  He talked about the data collection process he goes through to create his annual reports and I found it comforting to see how laborious the process is for him.  There are many people, of which Nick is one, that just. work. hard. It’s nice to see that effort is required to create such beautiful pieces. 

After Nicholas, Mark Hansen, who I first heard about at a conference back in 2008 and have even exchanged a few experimonth-related emails with, spoke about programming people instead of pixels through a project he’s collaborating with the Elevator Repair Service.  Using Processing, he’s remixed three books into one play/reading and then serves up the lines to the actors via iPhones, live.  The actors, who know the books intimately, read them in the new order.  The whole thing takes about eight hours and in addition to remixing sentences and their order, he also assigns the actors various locations, which have them move about the performance space (picture a large place like the NYPL), sometimes joining together, something moving apart.  It’s a very interesting expression of data and while I’m not sure how applicable it is to my work, it has definitely pushed the boundaries of what output I see possible from a piece of code.

After Mark, Jer Thorp spoke about several projects he’s done in the year he’s lived in New York.  Jer’s so smart and approachable, I’m really becoming a big fan.  It was great to see Cascade through his eyes: I see now that it’s a reader/story analysis tool for NYT staff, not necessarily a toy for the end user.  What will stick with me most from his talk, however, was the process he went through to visualize the names of 9/11 victims for the 9/11 Memorial and Museum (I won’t go through his talk as it’s well documented here). What I loved most about his process was that he used Processing to figure out the solution to a problem, without making Processing the product of that solution.  I also appreciate how the visualization wasn’t done after Processing had everything figured out.  (He created a interface for the output so that the visualization was editable by the architects before becoming final.)

Aaron Koblin was up next and he showcased several awesome projects that I never realized were done by the same person.  The sheep drawing, Johnny Cash and Wilderness Downtown projects were all, at least in part, his creation.  He also showed a number of projects that I’d never seen, but were similarly delightful.  In the science museum world, we have citizen science.  Aaron’s work is like citizen art.  Lots of people create small parts, which comprise a whole that they’re often unaware of until it’s complete.  There is a gestalt that is really moving about these varied, but cohesive expressions.  Like Jake’s talk the day earlier, I was on the verge of tears at several points.

The last talk of the day was a panel, Data Viz & Social Justice. Laura Kurgan, who pointed out that no data is raw, immediately earned lots of head nodding from me.  As did an audience member who later asked the question — What are we doing to communicate that in our visualizations?  And why aren’t their error margins in them? – to which the audience spontaneously applauded.

In my work with scientists, I’m exposed to different approaches to data.  Some scientists don’t even look at data until they have their questions and hypotheses defined and documented.  Others consider the inability to shift gears while exploring the data a major weakness in research methodology.  I don’t know where I am in that continuum, but I don’t hear us (designers, developers, data viz geeks) talking about it at all.  Someone mentioned that these sorts of things should be covered in a future Eyeo.  I do and do not agree (more on that in my final Eyeo installment).

After the wrap-up, which involved lots of clapping, I spent the afternoon over at the Walker and then out to dinner with friends new and less new. My thoughts on the festival in general and what I’ll take away will be posted tomorrow.

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2/3
If the Eyeo Festival were the golden ratio, we’d already be past the part of ideal transition and focus. There’s only one more party and five more chances to hear folks share their work and wisdom. While today’s sessions brought more inspiration and insight, I made better picks yesterday. Maybe my brain is just getting full. Highlights:
Jake Barton, who’s work I first learned of back in 2007 and who I had the pleasure of meeting briefly in Los Angeles last year at AAM, spoke about Story Corps, Change By Us and the 9/11 Memorial Museum in his talk Read/Write/Speak Memory.  Jake’s work has a relentless tenderness to it and this morning’s list of examples were no different.  There were several times in the course of his presentation where I fought back tears and rubbed my arms to erase the goosebumps.
It wasn’t all sappy, though… Change By Us had me re-imagining my museum as a place where every visitor and staff member is given a post-it notepad and told to make suggestions, ask questions and share ideas about the space.  As with most of the projects people have shared here this week, Jake’s code will be open source and I hope to see how well it works with our museum’s campus.
Perhaps one of the biggest things I will take away from Jake’s talk today is the notion of asking a client (or visitor or participant or colleague) to critique something instead of approve it.  I like how that approach compliments a definition of failure as not something associated with shame, but rather something that indicates progress.  
Right after Jake, Zach Lieberman took the stage for his talk, Drawing, Movement, Magic.  Zach’s talk was impossible to take notes for — so many examples and concepts so new to me that it would’ve taken too long to conceptualize into meaningful doodles or sentences — face projection, eye-movement graffiti, screaming contest apps, temporary media lab space, nighttime projection involving dance, Surface tables and mobile phones.   I have the sense that Zach’s work will sit with me in the way a good movie has you thinking about the characters for days after.
Later in the day, Jer Thorp spoke of his use of transitions in visualizations, sharing many examples with complete and commented Processing code.  One example closely resembles a series of sketches I’ve made of blog posts and I am eager to see if I can reuse it to create dynamic views of the data.  
This brings me to a request for future Eyeo Festivals: I’d like a dedicated space for folks who are inspired by shared code to go and play with it and to get help by folks who know lots about code since we’re all in the same space.  I felt this way yesterday with the ProtoSnap, too.  There’s no way I’m going back to my hotel room to work on code when there’s so much energy and stuff happening at the conference, but I wonder how much more enthusiasm I’d be able to retain for the plane ride home, or the weekend that follows, if I got something started while I’m still here.
There’s something in the air at this conference that has people realizing that they can change the world.  Part of it is surely being around folks who already have.

2/3

If the Eyeo Festival were the golden ratio, we’d already be past the part of ideal transition and focus. There’s only one more party and five more chances to hear folks share their work and wisdom. While today’s sessions brought more inspiration and insight, I made better picks yesterday. Maybe my brain is just getting full. Highlights:

Jake Barton, who’s work I first learned of back in 2007 and who I had the pleasure of meeting briefly in Los Angeles last year at AAM, spoke about Story Corps, Change By Us and the 9/11 Memorial Museum in his talk Read/Write/Speak Memory.  Jake’s work has a relentless tenderness to it and this morning’s list of examples were no different.  There were several times in the course of his presentation where I fought back tears and rubbed my arms to erase the goosebumps.

It wasn’t all sappy, though… Change By Us had me re-imagining my museum as a place where every visitor and staff member is given a post-it notepad and told to make suggestions, ask questions and share ideas about the space.  As with most of the projects people have shared here this week, Jake’s code will be open source and I hope to see how well it works with our museum’s campus.

Perhaps one of the biggest things I will take away from Jake’s talk today is the notion of asking a client (or visitor or participant or colleague) to critique something instead of approve it.  I like how that approach compliments a definition of failure as not something associated with shame, but rather something that indicates progress.  

Right after Jake, Zach Lieberman took the stage for his talk, Drawing, Movement, Magic.  Zach’s talk was impossible to take notes for — so many examples and concepts so new to me that it would’ve taken too long to conceptualize into meaningful doodles or sentences — face projection, eye-movement graffiti, screaming contest apps, temporary media lab space, nighttime projection involving dance, Surface tables and mobile phones.   I have the sense that Zach’s work will sit with me in the way a good movie has you thinking about the characters for days after.

Later in the day, Jer Thorp spoke of his use of transitions in visualizations, sharing many examples with complete and commented Processing code.  One example closely resembles a series of sketches I’ve made of blog posts and I am eager to see if I can reuse it to create dynamic views of the data.  

This brings me to a request for future Eyeo Festivals: I’d like a dedicated space for folks who are inspired by shared code to go and play with it and to get help by folks who know lots about code since we’re all in the same space.  I felt this way yesterday with the ProtoSnap, too.  There’s no way I’m going back to my hotel room to work on code when there’s so much energy and stuff happening at the conference, but I wonder how much more enthusiasm I’d be able to retain for the plane ride home, or the weekend that follows, if I got something started while I’m still here.

There’s something in the air at this conference that has people realizing that they can change the world.  Part of it is surely being around folks who already have.

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1/3
I am fortunate to be attending the Eyeo Festival, a three day event focused on design and information, interaction and display.  It’s the first one ever and it’s happening in Minneapolis right now. Because there was so much good today, I’m going to chronicle my highlights for future reference and reflection.
At the end of his talk,Truth and Beauty, Moritz Stefaner quoted Buckminster Fuller who said, “When I’m working on a problem, I never think about beauty.  I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.”  I love the thought that truth is beautiful, and trusting that we have an innate ability to know and recognize beauty.  Also, Moritz has created visualizations of argumentation and debate through Wikipedia’s “Keep or Delete” conversations that may inspire some of the ways we look at visualizing the discourse analysis we’re doing on blog posts.
In a later talk, Nick Felton and Jer Thorp discussed data and identity in a panel, Auto/Biography: Data, Identity and Narrative.  As Nick talked about his most recent annual report chronicling the life of his father, he mentioned that without the receipts that his father kept for years, he wouldn’t have had access to the data he used to tell the story of his life.  Later, Jer talked about Open Paths and XML archives of email on your Mac laptop and how ownership of data is important and interesting.  I found the two concepts related and wonder who is educating folks about ways to keep the “shoebox of receipts” version of our accumulated data, especially since so much of it is owned by for-profit companies.
In a very nerdy* talk, Jesse Louis-Rosenberg and Jessica Rosenkrantz spoke about computational biology and using it to design everyday objects like jewelry, lamps, plates and cups with 3-D printers and other maker-friendly fabrication equipment.  I instantly thought of the educational potential using biological processes to design everyday objects could have in informal science learning.
After lunch and much internal debate about which workshop to attend next, I chose to explore Arduino ProtoSnap with SparkFun.  In the workshop, we connected to the panel and programmed it to blink and fade LED lights based on input from light sensors.  We also toyed around with using the buzzer to make sounds that respond to various inputs.  Towards the end, we saw a processing script that interacted with the arduino in a simple, but impressive way (push a button to draw new circles and change their color depending on how much light was available in the room).  It was a great introduction to the hardware and software environments of arduino and the best part was that we got to take home a ProtoSnap for a $20 donation to one of my favorite science museums.
Natalie Jeremijenko began the evening sessions, speaking about the complexity of our environment and how we impact and interact in it. I’d never seen her work and found many of her projects inspiring, particularly from a science museum-y point-of-view. Her work with hacking robo-dog toys to sniff out pollutants, the importance of wetlands, and the potential reality of personal flight, are all readily explorable within my science museum’s community.
It’s possible, however, that the reason I’ve found Eyeo so great so far, is because the day ended with such a compelling and inspiring presenter.  Golan Levin spoke on Gestural Computing and Speculative Interactions, showing examples of computers with senses like vision and hearing.  I found his work relevant and progressive in a way that instantly opened my mind to new ways of thinking.  Perhaps more than anything, Levin helps me better understand what I want to be when I grow up.
Circling items in tomorrow’s agenda is just as fraught as today’s and I’m sure it’ll be as rewarding.  ’Til then.
* Meant only in the very best of ways.

1/3

I am fortunate to be attending the Eyeo Festival, a three day event focused on design and information, interaction and display.  It’s the first one ever and it’s happening in Minneapolis right now. Because there was so much good today, I’m going to chronicle my highlights for future reference and reflection.

At the end of his talk,Truth and Beauty, Moritz Stefaner quoted Buckminster Fuller who said, “When I’m working on a problem, I never think about beauty.  I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.”  I love the thought that truth is beautiful, and trusting that we have an innate ability to know and recognize beauty.  Also, Moritz has created visualizations of argumentation and debate through Wikipedia’s “Keep or Delete” conversations that may inspire some of the ways we look at visualizing the discourse analysis we’re doing on blog posts.

In a later talk, Nick Felton and Jer Thorp discussed data and identity in a panel, Auto/Biography: Data, Identity and Narrative.  As Nick talked about his most recent annual report chronicling the life of his father, he mentioned that without the receipts that his father kept for years, he wouldn’t have had access to the data he used to tell the story of his life.  Later, Jer talked about Open Paths and XML archives of email on your Mac laptop and how ownership of data is important and interesting.  I found the two concepts related and wonder who is educating folks about ways to keep the “shoebox of receipts” version of our accumulated data, especially since so much of it is owned by for-profit companies.

In a very nerdy* talk, Jesse Louis-Rosenberg and Jessica Rosenkrantz spoke about computational biology and using it to design everyday objects like jewelry, lamps, plates and cups with 3-D printers and other maker-friendly fabrication equipment.  I instantly thought of the educational potential using biological processes to design everyday objects could have in informal science learning.

After lunch and much internal debate about which workshop to attend next, I chose to explore Arduino ProtoSnap with SparkFun.  In the workshop, we connected to the panel and programmed it to blink and fade LED lights based on input from light sensors.  We also toyed around with using the buzzer to make sounds that respond to various inputs.  Towards the end, we saw a processing script that interacted with the arduino in a simple, but impressive way (push a button to draw new circles and change their color depending on how much light was available in the room).  It was a great introduction to the hardware and software environments of arduino and the best part was that we got to take home a ProtoSnap for a $20 donation to one of my favorite science museums.

Natalie Jeremijenko began the evening sessions, speaking about the complexity of our environment and how we impact and interact in it. I’d never seen her work and found many of her projects inspiring, particularly from a science museum-y point-of-view. Her work with hacking robo-dog toys to sniff out pollutants, the importance of wetlands, and the potential reality of personal flight, are all readily explorable within my science museum’s community.

It’s possible, however, that the reason I’ve found Eyeo so great so far, is because the day ended with such a compelling and inspiring presenter.  Golan Levin spoke on Gestural Computing and Speculative Interactions, showing examples of computers with senses like vision and hearing.  I found his work relevant and progressive in a way that instantly opened my mind to new ways of thinking.  Perhaps more than anything, Levin helps me better understand what I want to be when I grow up.

Circling items in tomorrow’s agenda is just as fraught as today’s and I’m sure it’ll be as rewarding.  ’Til then.

* Meant only in the very best of ways.