ICM – Me, Myself, and Computation

I feel lucky knowing that I lived in a time before web 2.0 or mobile phones really took off. I’m specifically thinking about a time when there were rotary phones, dial-up connections, and illegal pirating of music via napster. I say this because it directly impacted how I interacted with computers. And I truly believe it helped mold my thinking about computing and using it as a tool.

From the days of playing around with Geocities, I was always interested in how typing lines of a foreign language can translate to a creation on this new thing called the web. Fast forward many years and I’m finally realizing that scripting languages can create anything from fan pages to billion dollar companies. It’s that range that I want to explore with computation.

This term I hope to explore projects that range from creating beautiful visualizations to feeling confident that I can write scripts to help automate menial tasks. I’d also hope to take it a step further and learn how to marry both computational media and physical computing. This is an area I’ve only admired from afar, but now can actually explore myself.

Truthfully, projects I love stem from a teacher’s assistant I had from my undergraduate years, Jono Brandel. He’s work spans across graphic design and computer programming in ways that really stuck with me.

In terms of my sketch — I’m not proud of it, but I got my feet wet is all I care about. The coordinates system is something that I’m still trying to get a hang off. It’s tough to think in multi-dimensions and layers when I’m coding. The web editor I think is a fantastic tool. It was so responsive to my varying inputs that my computer’s fan began to really take-off since it was using a lot of memory. If anything this purely highlights that my computer is old.


Did you post any issues to github? Not sure since I’m about to try…

Stay tuned.


What is Physical Interaction?

This process of conversation cycles back and forth, as an iterative process in which each participant in turn listens, thinks, and speaks

As the Chinese proverb says, “I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand.”

These are a few quotes which stood out to me from the readings. If there is one thing that is clear about Physical Interaction, it is that many people define it in different ways based on the Bret Victor’s rant & Chris Crawford’s “The Art of Interactive Design”. However, what did resonate with me is that “physical interaction” must meet three basic components when two actors engage with each other. The three components are: listening, thinking, and speaking.

Let me dissect this further by breaking the phrase ‘Physical Interaction’ down by each word. ‘Physical’ by definition here is descriptive of something taking place in the present tense and within close proximity. ‘Interaction’ by definition is descriptive of some exchange happening between two people or actors. When two people (or objects?) interact, the ideal result is something that is engaging for both parties.

Good physical interaction takes place when all three components are met. Arguably having two of the three components available may yield a physical interaction, but then it’s fair to say the experience isn’t great. Crawford best illustrates this when he describes having a simple human conversation. Let’s use going on a first date as an example. It would be dreadful to be on a date with someone who doesn’t listen, think, let alone speak. It’s safe to say if this happened to me, a second date would not be happening.

Are there works from others that you would say are good examples of digital technology that are not interactive?

This is actually quite tough for me to explore with examples. However, one that comes to mind are future smart cars. It’s unquestionable that modern cars today like a Tesla can listen, think, and speak better than cars from previous generations. Tesla’s can listen for a request from an owner to autonomously meet you outside already turned on with the heater or a/c. Tesla’s can think to see if there are updates available for download. Tesla’s can even speak (read: notify) an owner should there be a technical issue that needs to be reviewed.

I’m using this example because I see this interactivity breakdown based on where the communication originates; it’s always from the owner. The Tesla owner is typically the one always engaging with the other actor on all three aspects.

Then again, I could be wrong since I’m not a Tesla owner. I’ll come back to this question when I have a better answer.