The Dissapearing everything…

So i was reading half interested CNN article on information overload in our society and wondered whether i was really dreaming when i read that a 22 year old thought that:

“”The library is daunting because I have to go there and everything is organized by academic area,” Quaranta said. “I don’t even know where to begin.”

Were books as easily searchable as Web pages, she’d reconsider.

Otherwise, they might as well not exist.”

This in my view is an interesting conflict between the real and the virtual world. Its a visualisation problem as well, by this i mean that it reminds me of the tree/forest paradigm. When you look at the forest it might be impressive and make you think: boy ill never find the tree that i want! But inversely when you’re only looking at a tree, then another, its easy to ignore the forest or even not know how big the forest is.

So i think that books in a library give you a good understanding that knowledge is not encapsulated in that one element but that there may be others you might bump into along the way which might inspire you or allow you to make connections which would never have been possible.

Web pages are bad for that, the web is a very limited way to search or see the forest, its query based, so its only based and will only look for what you know or think you know, but seldom gives you accidental access to things you didnt know or didnt know you didnt know, as the famous mapping goes…

Review 2

So my second thesis review took place in Milan this monday. It was very constructive and i got a lot of very useful feedback. Present that day were a few external people: Gillian Crampton Smith, Phil Tabor, Jochem Straatman from Cibic & Partners, Marco Palmonari from exit Consulting and finally Ashley Benigno from 3 were present and gave us great feedback. Ill post up my presentation next post…

Sex sells…

well the opposite sex.. this is not necessarily related to thesis directly but i thought id rant about it, because this BusinessWeek article on Dell suddenly realizing that women buy electronics too is maddening. This is more than obvious and slightly frustrating that in 2005, after more than 20 years of computational history, they would snap out of it and do more than “ooo lets make the ipod cover pink!”… Brings me back to a blog post on 37 signals which debated the very silli question of whether software was developped for men and not women. I mean this is a little bit of a double edged sword in a way because if that’s what companies are suggesting, that women are different types of users, then how? and when are they going to cater to them, and how on earth are we different users? I think they should spend more time thinking about making things easier generally and more specifically for people with disabilities who have more direct issues with technology then the color of the interface…

Colin's feedback…

This is the feedback I got from Colin Burns last month who was talking about his work for an R&D team a few years ago:

We created good experimental evidence that authentic (i.e. from the real
context) objects are a highly effective trigger for reminiscence and memory.
(e.g. Souvenir of a trip, family members hat, etc…)

Much of the work in this area up to now focuses on the “mindful” capture of
memories (e.g. The photograph, “Kodak moment” scenario…). More mileage is
to be had in so called “quotidian” capture (see Proust, I think (or one of
those philosopher types..!) …) – i.e. those everyday things that at the
time don’t seem significant.

Patterns of “quotidian” data are highly relevant. (e.g. What would it be
like to have access to your lifetimes’ telephone records – what would that
reveal about certain periods of life…)

Thesis feedback…

I thought I would publish the feedback I’ve been getting from Lee Feldman from Blast Radius, a canadian born web company. He is part of the group of people who I am actively informing on my thesis process which includes Colin Burns, ex-head of IDEO London with whom i had the pleasure of working with this summer at the Design Council, then Jonathan Chapman author of “Emotionally Sustainable Design and founder of Safe house creative.

So here’s Lee’s take on my thesis that he sent out this week.

The first is/was/continues to be the interesting reality of Peak Oil
(,( The second
is status/reputation systems, the third is networking and gaming as social
collaboration and prototyping tool, the fourth is Japan, or perhaps more
precisely, Tokyo.

Peak Oil is the “scare tactic” that might drive a lot of usage pattern
change. does a nice job of suggesting new living
patterns based on more community and communal living post-oil crash.
Wal-Mart relies on cheap oil to get its cheaply made products to market.
What happens when oil is no longer cheap? Will the Wal-Mart model fail, and
increasingly local markets, based on coopetition, re-emerge?

Status and reputation systems, specifically networked, are creating a
“semi-non hierarchical” meritocracy and putting more power into the
hands of consumers. Web 2.0 ( is extending the system
from pure consumptive environments like Amazon, to bloggers, podcasters
etc…So every individual has an opportunity to express themselves, and be
open to rating, criticism in a democratic market of ideas- beautiful.

What if we could extend the reputation system, starting on a voluntary
basis, to peoples’ actual consumption footprint?
( Can we replace “bling”
with “fling?” fling being the temporary usage of something, rather than
the full-blown ownership of the thing ( Can fling be
a new reputation based on sharing? How can status be conveyed? How can
it be “branded” so that fling becomes the more desirable?

What if we could make a game out of this? The game requires community based
teams to collaborate on web/social network based services aimed at
maximizing resource usage. The game environment might be a habbo-like space
( that resembles your neighborhood so that you can
configure your ‘hood and and start iterating and prototyping service
designs. Key data is entered and an AI system, based on known behaviours can
run simulations (the sims). All totally possible now ! Combine it with the
reputation system, combine it with real usage……

Japan…post-post industrial, people living full lives in tiny spaces. They
CANNOT accumulate stuff, so they seek out quality, craft, or become otaku
and focus on collecting. The problem in Japan is not overconsumption it is
hyperconsumption. No second hand market for electronics, cars BUT huge
market for vintage clothing. Why? The homogeneity/individuality paradox.
CRAFT is the way young Japanese who do not want to be salarymen or office
ladies express their individuality. ( Produce AND
consume (Prosume) precious things.

SONY or Panasonic will reinvent consumer electronics to be
reusable/upgrade-able (like Toyota making 100% recyclable cars), and/or
create precious objects that become collectible…Sony needs help
right now…

Open paragraph

Welcome to the thesis blog of Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, second year student at Interaction Design Institute Ivrea in Milan. This blog will act as a point of information and gateway into my thesis to help me find and document all aspects related to ownership and relationships taht people entertain with objects in order to apply these principles to shared or communal objects.