So far we've had 61 bookings for the trial, with around 90 places still available to book.
We're reserving a few spots on each day to allow for people who just turn up, and we're keeping most of the last day of the trial (Sunday 14th) reserved in case there is last minute scramble to take part.
Booking will continue to be open right up until the 6th December, thereafter we will only take bookings one day in advance. To ensure you have aa place on the trial, follow the instructions on how to book here
I had an interesting culture clash moment recently -- looking at Urban Tapestries from two *completely* different perspectives. At 8:00 in the morning, I met up with other students of the "Reading the City" course at Goldsmiths College to walk with Prof. Michael Keith through the Brick Lane area, and hear his commentary on the rich and varied cultural histories of that neighborhood. The entire time I thought: "This is a *perfect* venue for Urban Tapestries -- how else could you portray the wild overlap of cultures that exists here??" My only nagging doubt was that UT was far too technical, upscale and ivory-tower for the average resident of the community. (as in -- who would carry PDAs around here at night -- if they could afford them?)
Then I took the tube to the DTI's Knowledge Transfer Community Seminar in Westminster, where Alice, Rachel and I were representing Urban Tapestries as part of HP's Mobile Bristol project. The difference in venues was striking -- Urban Tapestries easily had the most "street" feel of any display there! (I was also the only male not in a suit, and Alice and I were about the only ones wearing color in the room! You can see us at the back of the shots here) It made me feel that Urban Tapestries had a chance of popular acceptance, especially when compared to the "smart fridges" and other laboratory creations that were on view at the seminar.
Phil Stenton of HP's Mobile Bristol Project gave a nice presentation that included information about Urban Tapestries. It seems like what we're building is complentary to their work in Bristol.
You can check out all the presentations from the Seminar here
The booking system is now ready (a few days later than planned) and information on how to book places on the trial is now up on the project website: here
Urban Tapestries had two more presentations this week: one to the Media and Communications Department at the London School of Economics, and a public talk at the DMZ Festival at Limehouse Town Hall.
Both talks went well – generating lots of questions from the audiences as well as interest in taking part. A number of MA students at the LSE expressed interest in taking part in some way in the research – particularly as we move into the next stage of the project (Social Tapestries) in 2004. There was also a lot of interest from the DMZ audience in taking part in the trial.
Giles and I gave a talk on Urban Tapestries and Urban Tapestries-like systems for museums at the CHArt conference, Birkbeck College London. The focus of the conference was about the convergence of museums, art galleries, the history of art and digital media.
We demonstrated four different scenarios for different potential uses of a UT-like platform, the users being school children, people from different cultural backgrounds, amateurs, scholars and professionals and finally creatives.
We fielded a few questions asked about us making assumptions about the relationship between museums and users, and, although we stressed the likelihood of entirely new devices emerging over the next few years, some were sceptical about our chosen client devices. A lady from the British Museum was quite concerned about the idea on the whole (especially aloowing children to annotate their own commen ts unmoderated!), but no surprises there considering that we have had no responses at all from the British Museum even though Giles has tried to contact them about collaborating on research.
We met a few people who were very excited about the project who have offered to pass on relevant links to the project. Giles also talked to people from the Science Museum developing the Science and Culture project.
I've finally suceeded in importing map data from the OS MultiMap XML format into the Urban Tapestries data model, with only minimal changes to our initial model.
This bodes well for the public trial as it ensures that the system will be pre-populated with a rich set of features onto which we can attach content.
This is a major breakthrough as it both allows us to use "real" map data and proves that our system is compatible with the world of "real" map data.
It was the single most important remaining hurdle for the server-side programming effort, and solving it means that we can import the HUGE xml data files supplied by the Ordnace Survey.
Next step.. We need to generate a map image :-(
Last night was the last of four talks I've given on Urban Tapestries here in New York. Invited by Creative Time (a public art agency), the New School University and Parson's School of Design, the talk was part of a series they are running called Blur
The three other talks were given to students on courses at Parson's School of Design (class led by Andrea Moed), School of the Visual Arts (class led by Kathy Brew) and Tisch School of the Arts Interactive Telecommunications Program (class led by Anthony Townshend).
There is a huge buzz here about public wireless technologies, with 802.11 appearing to be the driver of excitement and innovation rather than mobile phone networks. 10 of the city's public parks now have free public wireless access, and laptops are visible all over the city as people log on in their lunch hours and coffee breaks.
Urban Tapestries has stirred up some excitement about possibilities for the future and there is a lot of interest (as well as offers of support) to stage a trial over here sometime in 2004 or 2005.