Grassroots Mapping

PLOTS as a growing community points out the topic about open technology and science. They open the source of the low-cost mapping tools which brings the technology to the community and also provides the information and outcomes of the whole process to the public. However, the open source brings lights to the question about the word “black boxing”.  Since most of the technologies can be achieved by people, whether people consider how it was developed and whether they will overuse the technology has become a problem. Methodological transparency deserves to be discussed. To open the black box or to keep it closed is the question here. From my personal experience, sometimes the way things work at different level of the narrative is better than letting everyone become scifi geek. Also I am always wondering how people use the date from internet. For example, people nowadays are easy to get approaches to collaborate data and information from internet. So it also depends on the purpose to explore the hard scifi and the purpose is related to ethical and contextual issues. The question here we wanna ask is about how do people think about the connection  between the open source and their projects.

Questions:

1. How do you think about Black Boxing? Do you think it can be a good way for particular collaboration?

2. Do you have any experience in sharing projects into open source? How do you state your purposes and restrictions for other users to prevent the project being mistaken into wrong direction?

3. Please share some good or bad examples of using other open source in your projects and how you benefit from that. Explain what are the things that can be modified to facilitate a better usage of open source sharing.

Peter and Carrol

final project proposal

Our idea for final project is to make the platform for students in Parsons to collaborate.

According to what we presented for midterm, we are planning to make three prototypes step by step.

Prototype 01: The first prototype is a template based on paper which is easy for people to write down what kind of people they need to collaborate with. Also this is a user testing to see what kind of contents collaborators need to know. The following images are three templates we made. So the next step will be test them out and revise them.

collab_photo-01 midterm_2-01 midterm-01

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All those paper templates will be posted on information boards in Parsons buildings. It’s kind of like an advertisement for people to know each other easier and collaborate.

So far all of us already made three versions of templates. The next step will be the user testing.

—Peter and Carrol will be in charge of the design part and Sisi will support to do the advertisement.

 

Prototype 02: The second prototype is about making the website. So the idea is to make the template online and people can find their collaborators out of campus and get the information at any places that have internet. —Peter will be in charge of the coding part. Carrol and Sisi will focus more on the design part.

Prototype 03: The third prototype is to build a physical installation.

Final Project Proposal

Scarlett Nisar, Joamir Salcedo

Objective
Design students are often limited in exploring a set number of skills or disciplines within a given timeframe through school or themselves. In order to enable the exploration and execution of projects that a designer would otherwise be unable to do due to lack of skill, we want to create a tool for New School students for exchanging skills and searching for other people to collaborate with on projects.

Procedure
We will create an app that serves as social platforms that will allow users to search for people with specific skills for collaborations, or to set up a skill share.

The app will be available for New School students, and within the overarching platform users will have the option of being a part of specific networks pertaining to the individual schools within the New School (Parsons, Eugene Lang, Milano, etc.). Within these networks, users will be able to search for people with specific skills they need to collaborate on a project. For example, a student animating a motion piece can search for a composer or sound designer and propose a collaboration. Now everyone involved in the project can use this project as a collaborative portfolio piece. In addition to setting up collaborations, the app will also allow suers to search for others to set up a skill share. Users will be able to plan and arrange the skill share within a timeframe decided by the users involved.

Roles
Both members will be involved in research, wireframing, designing, and prototyping the app.

Deliverables
Research documentation and prototypes.

Schedule
Oct 31: Initial Research, Sketches

Nov 7:  App Map, Initial Wireframes

Nov 14: Prototype 1 Due (Detailed map of app navigation)

Nov 21: Wireframing, User testing

Nov 26: Prototype 2 Due (Present redesign/refinement based on user testing/research)

Dec 5: Documentation of all research, final refinements to design

Dec 12: Final Presentation

Accountability Structure & End of Term Plan

Group: Salome Asega, Ritika Bhagya, Mirte Becker, Justin Charles, Gustavo Faria, Viki Hristova, Mennie Shen

Objective: With so many scattered methods of communication for DT (listserv, Facebook groups, bulletin boards, etc) it becomes more difficult for us to communicate as a group. This program being as large as it is, it’s hard to really feel like a group a lot of the time. 1st years and 2nd years don’t know each other at all. There are even 2nd years that don’t know each other. Social interaction needs to be better facilitated. We have very little idea what people outside our own studios are working on. Bootcamp does an excellent job socializing first years but leaves students to fend for themselves afterward. What if there was a way to continue that experience?

Model/Structure: Consensus
Roles: Floating weekly facilitators of administrative tasks (Meeting planning, note-taking, etc), Two Rotating Facilitators for each prototype
Meetings: every Friday at 3pm, initiating our weekly prototypes.
Deliverables: Documentation of prototypes in appropriate media

Sharing Resources: Google Drive

 

Prototypes

#1: Social Intervention
– Facilitate social interactions between the DT (and TD) communities.

#2: Spruce Up D12
– Making D12 a more welcoming, friendly, cheerful environment.

#3: Screens D12
– Aggregating / setting a new communication channel for the 12th floor.

#4: DT Fair
– Talk about work with peers/outsiders.

Schedule

Thursday October 31st
Prototype: Social Intervention

Facilitators: SALOME & JUSTIN

Thursday November 7th
Prototype: Spruce Up  D12
Facilitators: RITIKA & VIKI

Thursday November 14th
Due: Presenting Prototype 1 & 2
Prototype: Screens D12
Facilitators: GUS & MIRTE

Thursday November 21st
Prototype: DT Fair
Facilitators: MENNIE & RITIKA

Tuesday November 26th
Due: Presenting Prototype 3 & 4

Reflection on prior prototypes, planning final presentation

 

Thursday December 5th
Documentation of all prototypes, discuss a system in which prototypes can be implemented in the future, be sustainable (as in will survive over time)?

Thursday December 12th
Due: Final Presentation

 

Final Project Proposal

Untitled by Joely Saravia

Summary: My brother, mother and I all have different jobs and different responsibilities. Sometimes, one of us is ahead financially and the other is behind. I want to figure out a system in which we can lend each other money without it getting too messy. We don’t have a lot of verbal communication in my family so I would like to develop a system in which we could be brought together

Objective: For a family of three to be able to lend and pay each other back money based on a needs and wants system.

Procedure: Construct a board game similar to a calendar that allows the players to keep track of when they get paid, how much they owe, and what they agree to give back.

Each corner of the board will represent the day we get paid, the squares around the board will represent the days of the month. There will be a golden square labeled susu and every time a player passes this square they must put money into the susu. When a player lands on a [cards] square they will either pick up or show a ‘Need’ or ‘Want’ card and explain what they need/want and how much money it will cost. Topics can be brought up in conversation like how much money has already been lent out, how many times each family member has helped another, and if the need is valid. A chart will be kept of how much money each person has lent out and how many times they have paid the other family member back. (almost like the rating system on amazon.)

 

Questions:

Do I make the rules before making the board?

What kind of cards would each player have, given or written?

How  would the voting system work?

How much money do we put in the susu?

 

SCHEDULE

Oct 24: Prototype Plan/ Proposal

Oct 31: Gather research & Design rules to fit around the game

Nov 7: First draft of game board and possible cards

Nov 14: Prototype 1 due

Nov 21: Bring in results from testing on individuals

Nov 26 (thanksgiving.meet Tue): prototype 2 due

Dec 5: Complete Design/branding of board game

Dec 12th: Final Presentation

Collaborative Futures

The DVCS is a great model for people to share, contribute and collaborate. This sort of model does not limit itself to just code, but could also be adapted by other domains like collaborative writing, where authors come together to write stories. What is great about the model, is the power it provides to the authors with all the revisions and modifications saved in the history (also, documenting failure) that the users can go back to at any point to re-modify.

However, the amount of transparency the system provides in a social environment may not be used appropriately by all the other people using the system. For example, I would love to share my code, but if I have created something innovative and don’t want my project to be open source, maybe sharing the project would not work in my benefit. The system does not stop at just sharing your work but moves on to distribution of your work. Which is the reason why, in this day and age everyone seems to have access to almost everything. If you are putting your work out there, it is going to be taken over by someone else.

And this happens not just in development of softwares but in development of any kind of work; design, business models, etc. The owner of the project wants to share his process with the audience out there, however, while doing that the owner is also at the risk of the work being re-done, remixed and re-distributed in the market.

While forking projects and working on them when the previous owner is stuck provides fluid movement within the project and rotation of ownership that facilitates collaboration, it could also possibly result into the goals of the product changing into something totally different from the desired result. Communication plays a major role in collaboration and if the intentions and goals of a project are not communicated well enough, the owner could potentially see the project leading in a different direction, which could work in some cases but may not in others. This kind of communication could either make the collaborative relationship stronger or weaker than it already was.

My questions to you would be; where (or what domains) do you think the DVCS model could be used apart from a coding environment and where could it not be used? What have your experiences been working with a similar model; how did it work in your advantage and/or disadvantage? How do you think ‘documenting failure’ can help us in collaborations outside of this model?

{ from Ritika }

 

Our reading this week totally makes me think of the story of GeoCities, which is an important part of the Internet history.

GeoCities was a free web hosting service which started from 1994. It was once the most-visited site on the Internet, many people were using GeoCities for their personal web pages. However, Yahoo! bought GeoCities in 1999, and after ten years, Yahoo! shut down the service in 2009, thus influenced over 38 million GeoCities users.

And this is where the story begins. While Yahoo! shut down the GeoCities service, many users decided to stand up and collaborate. They created an archive team and started saving all of the datas from GeoCities. They put all of the datas (total is about 652 GB) on torrent, so it requires people who wanted to preserve the datas to seed, and to keep GeoCities alive. This is the beauty of this story to me: A data base survives through people’s collaboration. (The torrent link: http://thepiratebay.sx/torrent/5923737/)

The sad part of this story is, now in 2013, the first torrent of GeoCities has no user who is still seeding the data, which means we probably lose GeoCities again. Our reading mentioned about the strength of different online cooperative relationships, and it also talked about the connectivity between torrent users. It said that since torrent users are anonymous and strangers to each other, so the physical relationship is weaker. Instead, it is more intention-oriented in the torrent world. I feel that intention is more temporary, it is like a single arrow. Once the pointed direction get weaker through time, it will lose its strength and start fading away. On the other hand, I think that’s why the DVCS model is more long-lasting, and some of them, like Github, is still going and getting bigger. Because people are not only collaborate on providing / giving something, but what they provide might be used to create more stuff (Like, the forking function in Github). So it is not a single arrow, it is more like multi-directional arrows floating through the whole model. I think it is the key point to keep the whole DVCS model vivid and energetic, cause there are people’s fluidity inside.

My question from the GeoCities story and the reference of DVCS model is: What do you think is the limitation for sharing resources? Or, what’s the cause that makes people want to share / do not want to share? Also, do you think the fluidity is necessary for a collaborative group?

{ from Mennie }

The Values Americans Live By

The thirteen values deemed American by Kohls are surprisingly resonant when thinking about how Americans live and think and when compared to other countries’ most apparent distinctions. Things such as Russia’s LGBT issues or communist states come to mind; values like equality, individualism, and self-help are neglected to some degree. American exceptionalism seemed to just be a superficial theory, but Kohls gives a lot of evidence that because Americans think by these unique principles and believe them to be wholly true, the U.S. as a whole is generally a distinct country from most others.

Even between the two of us, the differences between cultural perspectives are quite discernible. Below are posts from each of us describing personal experiences and opinions:

Brenden: I, who has grown up in the U.S., have had experiences working with international students where they did not do any work, as if the completed project would be (and was) handed to them. This was possibly my fault as well, though, due to the values I live by: I believed in the work that I was doing myself because it made me feel in control, and I neglected to make any formal structure within the group.
Sisi: Chinese people believe in fate. While we believe to a certain extent that one can have control in changing his or her life, people also have clear expectations about their opportunities based on the family they were born into: rich or poor. Those born in a higher-class family have much more access to ideal education, jobs, and love, and no matter how hard someone from a poorer family works, they cannot achieve the same conditions. In regards to collaboration, Chinese students work harder and speak less, while American students speak more but work less.

Cultural values definitely come into play in collaboration and affect the dynamics of the group. Societal backgrounds and norms partly define us as individuals and therefore how we act within a collective. People differ on what they believe in, what they care about, and how they see themselves—ideas that may have to be agreed upon in order for a collaboration to succeed.

Sisi and I (Brenden) acknowledge our cultural differences, and it may be understood that this post is written from an American point of view. For those who are from a foreign country, what similarities or differences do you see between your country’s values and American values? For those who grew up in the U.S., do you necessarily agree with or live by these values? What happens when these values clash within a collaboration or some other social interaction?

Brenden & Sisi

Final Project Schedule

Hi all, here are the four bench marks for the final project:

  1. Week 09, Thu Oct 24th (Liz Barry Public Lab day): accountability structure (how decisions are made, and who does what), articulated prototyping plan and schedule due
  2. Week 12, Thu Nov 14: prototype 1 due
  3. Week 14, Tue Nov 26 (thanksgiving wk, meet Tue): prototype 2 due
  4. Week 16, Thu Dec 12th: Final Presentations

CASE STUDY: meet at No Longer Empty’s 196 Stanton Street (two blocks east of Clinton Street)

CASE STUDY: Chris Robbins’ Participatory Rural Appraisal methodology as a Curatorial Technique for NLE

Week 8: OCT 17 – Participatory Art: Christopher Robbins from Ghana Think Tank at No Longer Empty space 

  • Meet at No Longer Empty’s temp space at 196 Stanton Street (two blocks east of Clinton Street), 4:00 – 6:30 pm
  • Collaborative Approach: Participatory Action Research
  • Questions: Who are we talking to? Who are we ignoring (without even knowing it)?What assumptions are we bringing with us? What assumptions do others have about us?
    How do our own habits and fears limit who we work with? How can we work through all of this?
  • Discuss: Student moderators lead discussion w/Robbins on: WHO gets to participate, stakeholders, mediation, citizen control