NYT on finding ourself in the cloud

Interesting bit from an article in the New York Times about self-tracking – this bit rang a bell in my head around humanity / culture driving technology creation to fulfil its desires.

NYT Article
One of the reasons that self-tracking is spreading widely beyond the technical culture that gave birth to it is that we all have at least an inkling of what’s going on out there in the cloud. Our search history, friend networks and status updates allow us to be analyzed by machines in ways we can’t always anticipate or control. It’s natural that we would want to reclaim some of this power: to look outward to the cloud, as well as inward toward the psyche, in our quest to figure ourselves out.

Affinity, Humanity and Disability.

Screen shot 2010-02-01 at 5.39.01 PM

The other day whilst reading a feed somewhere in my hundreds, I came across a link to a video .. this video in fact :

I instantly felt a recognition and affinity and especially wth the subtleties in the kaos (yes, oh yes, there’s subtleties), so much so it sent me hunting for more. I found it’s a creation by John Callahan who has a wikipedia entry here.

If anybody really knows me they’ll see why I like this so much. Some, like the person who complained about the ‘insensitivity’ of the cartoon shown above, won’t see anything, as they really don’t wish to see the reality of humanity in all its raw openness anyway.

You see I realise the affinity I felt was with John’s humanness, not specifically his disability.

I’m not gonna say much more except this guy has insights only other quads could recognise and does a bloody fine job pointing out some of the idiocy anyone with a disability lives around and through. A true artist.

Here’s links to some of his other stuff worth a watch:

Interview snippett

Part 1 of a tv documentary shown on Dutch TV:

and his other ‘Quads’ animated cartoon series

and his songs on youtube

For many years I’ve had an image in my head of an absurd cartoon that I’ve just been waiting for opportunity to be drawn. It’s the kind of image I think someone like John would appreciate and could really do justice – If there ever was such a thing in this world.



A Giant Zero kinda experience


“The Net is a giant zero. It puts everybody zero distance from everybody and everything else.” — Doc Searls

I think it’s a Giant Zero kinda experience on the Live Web when this happens :


“The Net is a giant zero. It puts everybody zero distance from everybody and everything else.” — Doc Searls

Roy’s Because Effect

UPDATE: Roy was interviewed on the show about Visual Facilitation – see the youtube video here.

My mate Roy Blumenthal from South Africa, who is the man behind my portrait on my lifekludger blog, has scored himself a gig as a weekly co-anchor of CNBC AFRICA’s business magazine show, ‘Kaleidoscope‘ where he employs his visual facilitation skills to draw the info under discussion live on screen on his tablet pc.

While Roy’s talent is undisputed, I rekon this is a great example of the “Because Effect” (as termed by Doc Searls) as an indirect outcome of Roy’s digital networked life of openness.In the connected network world,  the Because Effect feeds on openness. And it’s more than an API.

Kudos Roy.


Post Industrial Context Shifting and Network Productivity

Back in 2005 after thinking about “Attention, Recognition & Context” I wrote in 2006 that I was “hung up on the concept of context“  and a bit later “On context and openness

Which lead to the thinking about how I do what I do at Lifekludger, documented in the “Contexts and Clues” section of the About page as — “To get from one context to another takes a Kludge!“….

So just the other week I get a ping from @fang about the book kluge —–

Then I see a tweet from @kanter asking “what is the sweet spot between personal productivity and connectedness?

My response (below) gets quoted by her in a blog post “What’s the sweet spot between personal productivity and social productivity?here ……

Which leads me to read Stowe Boyd’s post about “Information Overload, Schmoverload“, and his thoughts on network productivity here ……

Then I talk about it with Mike on our podcast here …..

And so there I am, reading Stowe again, critiquing more mainstream media articles on the so-called ‘curse of multitasking’ and the over emphasis placed on ‘personal’ productivity – “…the war on Flowhere ….

And what do I read? “In the wonderful book, Kluge, Gary Marcus makes a solid case that the human mind is really bad at memory, and that we have developed all sorts of compensating techniques to counter that weakness. Our memories can be demonstrably changed by simple shifts in context ….

From Context to Context via a connected kludge.

We need connection to others and to other’s thinking if nothing more than a technique to counter our weaknesses – we need a networked life.

And this holds true in any area of application – personal or professional.

That, my networked friends, is life network productivity.


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Openness thoughts grab from Supernova

Here’s some interesting grabs from Twitter during the following discussion at Supernova on Openness I caught this morning.

Kick-Off Discussion: The Value of Opennessjp rangaswami

JP Rangaswami (BT)
Elliot Maxwell (Consultant)

From: @wseltzer on Wednesday, June 18th at 00:17:54 [link]
To: @rafik
Supernova is http://www.supernova2008.com/ — good discussions of openness and innovation

From: @sarahdopp on Tuesday, June 17th at 21:24:14 [link]
We’re all stealing each others’ laptop powercords here in theelliot maxwell openness panel. Openness is not hoarding the juice. #supernova2008

From: @carterkr on Tuesday, June 17th at 21:15:18 [link]
Pondering the Zen of Openness.

From: @abbepatterson on Tuesday, June 17th at 21:02:39 [link]
Is openness something society can effectively legislate or is it cultural and a state of mind?

From: @factoryjoe on Tuesday, June 17th at 20:56:24 [link]
Elliot Maxwell’s (http://emaxwell.net) talk on openness was very good. All openness is not created equal. #supernova2008

From: @LangDavison on Tuesday, June 17th at 20:51:47 [link]
#supernova2008 Elliott Maxwell: openness in health care will lead to evidence-based medicine, because you have information about what works

From: @wseltzer on Tuesday, June 17th at 20:51:27 [link]
JP Rangaswami: airport gate standardization as a model of openness: standard enables competition, transactions, scale. #supernova2008

From: @abbepatterson on Tuesday, June 17th at 20:45:28 [link]
How does the innovator, the entrepreneur make money? Who will invest in this business? Who licenses openness?

From: @abbepatterson on Tuesday, June 17th at 20:43:40 [link]
Technology is an openness enabler, true, but what is the business model for enabling openness?

From: @Ross on Tuesday, June 17th at 20:42:26 [link]
“openness isn’t about moving bits, its an attitude about letting people contribute their best”

From: @debs on Tuesday, June 17th at 20:35:17 [link]
openness is a continuum – me like that – death to binary thinking

From: @BJ on Tuesday, June 17th at 20:34:50 [link]
Openness is better because it fosters and creates community – at #supernova2008 from JP at BT – inspirational

From: @sarahdopp on Tuesday, June 17th at 20:34:01 [link]
“Openness means having no place to hide.” -@jobsworth #supernova2008

From: @Casablanca on Tuesday, June 17th at 20:33:36 [link]
To: @jobsworth
“Openness means having no place to hide” #Supernova2008

From: @AjitJaokar on Tuesday, June 17th at 20:33:20 [link]
JP Rangaswami at supernoava 2008 – Openness has value because of the community it generates

From: @gapingvoid on Tuesday, June 17th at 20:32:31 [link]
To: @jobsworth
: “There is no reason to believe in ‘Openness’ if you don’t believe in ‘The War For Talent’.” Totally, totally spot-on.

From: @LangDavison on Tuesday, June 17th at 20:32:08 [link]
To: @supernova2008
JP Rangaswami (BT) “No need for openness [in corporations] if you don’t believe in the war for talent”

From: @ccarfi on Tuesday, June 17th at 20:23:05 [link]
To: @jobsworth
openness “sets an ethics platform” and openness “attracts talent” #supernova2008

From: @davemorin on Tuesday, June 17th at 20:13:56 [link]
At the SuperNova Conference with @jsmarr, @daveman692, @t, @johnmccrea, @jobsworth and many other incredible people. Talking about openness.

From: @olivermarks on Tuesday, June 17th at 20:12:50 [link]
#supernova2008 @jobsworth and Elliot Maxwell kick off ‘the value of openness’ open flow track

[Flickr photos by meteo - 1 | 2]

On Forgiveness, Openness and Justice

Father Bob on Forgiveness:

One was a woman from Rwanda where millions were killed a few years ago. She was from tribe A, Tutsi, massacred by tribe B, Hutu. She’d lost husband and children. She was at a “truth and reconciliation” session arranged by South African Bishop Tutu, (Church and State have a different relationship depending on where you are in the world).

She identified her family’s executioners in “court” that day. Then she asked to be lead across the room to the man. I forgive him, she said, and want to take him home to be my son.

Too much, isn’t it! You or I couldn’t do that. We’d want revenge (we call it justice) because we’ve been brought up on retributive justice. We’ve rarely heard of “restorative justice” where all aggrieved parties and the offender(s) are in the same room together to seek truth and reconciliation

The only point I want to make here is that it seems possible to forgive, even if not forget

Powerful stuff from Bob [as usual].

Got me thinking about openness as a restorative agent, or moreso, environment. How much real justice exists in our world, in court or out, depends on how much openness exists in or hearts.

As Bruce Cockburn [another who writes powerfully as usual] wrote :

loves to see
justice done
on somebody else”.

Justice, Inner City Front, 1981″

Think about it. I did.


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People don’t scale, People Networks do.

Cross posted from Lifekludger blog

I read with interest my good mate, Hugo Ortega’s UberTablet blog. Hugo was the very first guest on our Extraordinary Everyday Lives podcast and, outside of my regular colleagues, has been the single biggest supporter of my Lifekludger endeavours, and indeed myself, in a substantial way – providing equipment to try with my mouthstick especially.
So as I read in his latest blog post about how he’s been snowed under with the things he’s been doing to promote all things Tablet in Australia I’m reminded of what Mike keeps telling me and what we’ve been trying to avoid with Lifekludger.

People Don’t Scale – Networks Do.

But it pays to remember I’m talking about people here when I refer to Networks. Maybe it’s better stated:

People Don’t Scale – People Networks Do.

Hugo has found that he’s become a bottle neck – we each only have 24 hours in our day. It’s a lesson we need to heed in this age of exponential growth in available information and rapidly advancing technological growth, if we are to somehow turn it into knowledge and practical outcomes that can benefit and grow us as people enriched by the age we live in rather than enslaved by it.

Just how we grow a network that can scale and how we can do that while keeping the true to the spirit of why the network exists is another matter. It’s an issue that seems to be evolving at the same time as the rest of the technical issues are that are underpinning it. Maybe why we are seeing such attention paid to social networks.

The answer though cannot lie back in the centralised past as centralisation creates bottlenecks. It can’t rest on one point of contact, a single node. The end goal might be node focused but that doesn’t have to mean node centred.
Maybe, like so many other things, the answer lays buried somewhere in the natural world, the small pieces [people] loosely joined [network], the strength of the geo-desic dome, in the triangle of abundant, heterogeneous, creative people – the ecosystem of humanity.

Connection and Openness.

An human ecosystem based on connection and openness [sharing], focused on a node. That’s the Lifekludger vision.


Reference (from Mike coming out of discussion with JP) :

ABUNDANCE: speaks to the post scarcity world of the internet – where the cost of storage and distribution approach zero, some very different rules kick in. Kinda crucial to the longtail and the jewels therein.

HETEROGENEOUS: at the edge things get a little crazy and that’s where the magic happens. Unlike the shallow end of the gene pool, there is lots of diversity which makes for good re-combination – fuelled by the laws of weak attraction.

CREATIVITY: coming up with new ways of doing stuff – sometimes just for the pure fun of it. Whether solving a problem or scratching an itch. Either way, leave your past solutions and old habits at the door. You are not a mindless, replaceable unit of production here!