Monthly Archive for September, 2009

Conference: The Internet as Playground and Factory (Nov 12-14, 2009)

"Internet as Playground and Factory" conference (Nov 12th-14th 2009)

Media activist, educator and human-connector, Trebor Scholz, has opened registration for his present-future conference, The Internet as Playground and Factory.

If you haven’t guess it, this conference is based on the idea of digital networked labor as it questions whether we are being exploited through our everyday online activities. I often get asked how web services like Youtube and Facebook are “free for use”, so this conference is set to explore what we actually trade in return, be it our individual privacy or labor within privatized commons.

As seen from Trebor’s conference introduction:

[…] The revenues of today’s social aggregators are promising but their speculative value exceeds billions of dollars. Capital manages to expropriate value from the commons; labor goes beyond the factory, all of society is put to work. Every aspect of life drives the digital economy: sexual desire, boredom, friendship — and all becomes fodder for speculative profit. We are living in a total labor society and the way in which we are commoditized, racialized, and engendered is profoundly and disturbingly normalized. The complex and troubling set of circumstances we now confront includes the collapse of the conventional opposition between waged and unwaged labor, and is characterized by multiple “tradeoffs” and “social costs”—such as government and corporate surveillance. While individual instances are certainly exploitative in the most overt sense, the shift in the overall paradigm moves us beyond the explanatory power of the Marxian interpretation of exploitation (which is of limited use here). […]

This reminds me of what iconic Obama street artist Shepard Fairey once said in a CBS news feature: “It’s not appropriate for only advertisers to own the public graphic communication space”. Extending Fairey’s idea across all realms, we are living in an era where all public space is being commodified. Is the situation worse online?

Trebor’s been working on the digital labor idea since I was a student of his, and he’s gathered a formidable force of around 84 artists and academic thinkers (including esteemed friends Alex Halavais, Chris Barr and Stephanie Rothenberg) to discover how legitimately concerned about exploitation we as digital natives should be.

It’s FREE (monetarily at least) to participate, goes from Nov 12th to 14th, and will be held at The New School, Eugene Lang College in NYC (Google map). You’re invited to register and for your convenience, I’ve created an upcoming.org event for it so you can easily add it to your iCal and Google calendars.

Pending available accommodations, I am planning be there to help cover the event. If you’re thinking of going and would like a buddy to introduce you around, drop me a comment. BTW, I found the perfect t-shirt to wear for such an event.

Our Buffalo Tweetup @ Cabana Sam’s


Buffalo Tweetup @ Cabana Sam's - a set on Flickr

Before summer fizzed away, this month’s Buffalo Tweetup was held at Cabana Sam’s in Sunset Bay (see Google map). It’s my first time at a beach in Buffalo, even though it’s technically a lake beach. At last… sun, sand, and “sea”.

Many of us local twitterers were there, including Jim Milles (@JimMilles), Kristina Lively (@KLively), Joseph Hsu (@jhsu), Janelly (@jpineda04), Diana Truong (@ursexyfat). A few new twitter friends included Seon McDonald (@laserfox) from Trinidad, Anne (@Awalterich) who lives by the beach and Michael Rebmann (@mrebmann) who discusses politics on twitter.

If you want in on future Buffalo Tweetups, do join buffalotweetup.ning.com and follow @BuffaloTweetup.

Social Cyborg upgrades: GoPro Hero Cam + Xacti HD1010

GoPro Hero Cam's Delicious Wide Lens!GoPro Hero Cam's Delicious Wide Lens!

GoPro Hero CamGoPro Hero Cam: Driving from Triads apartment to the airport. This exciting wearable camera is actually meant for extreme sports, so I’ll try to be creative in pushing it later. They’ve got tons of mounts for it, including ones for the helmets, surfboards, suction cups for race cars and so on.

I need to fashion a mount that clips onto the front strap of my sousveillance backpack. While it does great video thanks to its bright lens, I like the automated shooting mode which lets me automatically capture five megapixel fisheye photos every 2 or 5 seconds. Though I lose sound in that mode, it’s allows me to quickly browse through a visual record of where I’ve been and who I’ve met.

Don’t forget the latest firmware update which increases recording from 2gb to 4gb per file, as well as improving exposure in bright environments (e.g. snow). If you’re wondering how this camera’s been used in extreme sports, take a look at these nut-jobs! I got the basic GoPro Wide Hero 5MP camera from Amazon for $139


Sanyo Xacti HD1010: 300fps video test with Jerry & Shasha. This is a High Definition 1080p pistol grip video camera with several unique features, including interchangeable lenses, manual controls, and of course, high-speed video capture. I’ve got a few lenses coming my way so I can try more creative shots. I got this camera from Amazon for $349.

theorycast.58 :: Kevin’s Graduation Party @ TLC


Kevin's Graduation Party @ TLC

My colleagues at the Teaching & Learning Center (TLC) threw me an awesome graduation party. Big thanks to @RobinSullivan and Becky for making it happen, and for my friends at the University at Buffalo for coming by, including @ssperson @sunrisesomeday @bschu1022 @jhsu @ChrisVanPatten and @denidzo.