Urban Tapestries has recently been covered both in Nature Magazine's online Science Update and in a feature article in the Society section of Geneva's Le Temps – a scanned image of the article is here (thanks to Mauro Cherubini and Nicholas Nova).
I'm surprised at how quickly the UT system has become not just useful and fun wrt to authoring, but how well it adapts to being used as a diary. It's very easy to use the system like a confessional. Unexpectedly pleasing.
One of the best questions (about spam in public annotation systems) got shot down by the moderator -- but people are talking about it over at plasticbag.org.
Thingster is an open-source weblogging service for locative media. It is being developed by Anselm Hook, Tom Longson and Brad Degraf in association with Locative - a multi-disciplinary group of theorists, artists and engineers exploring the implications of attaching information to place.
Users can publish 'virtual post it notes' about any geographic location: a street intersection, a street address, a restaurant, a hiking trail or a geocache.
Some of our ideas for future Urban Tapestries prototypes are taking shape and can be viewed here.
They address the long-term proposal for UT to become a p2p or distributed server platform; a shorter term proposal to re-fit our existing Locustworld MeshBoxes with hard drives and use them as extremely local UT servers providing content to wireless clients; and a range of possibilities for hybrid forms of location sensing using barcode readers for camera phones, WiFi spotters and near field radio beacons.
Today is the start of our latest field trial for Urban Tapestries. Proboscis has recruited 9 participants to test the mobile phone version of UT over a 4 week period to give us a sense of why, what for and how people will use it over time. The recruits are all being provided with Sony Ericsson P800s with GPRS connections. Our partners in running the trial, Orange and France Telecom R&D will be recruiting additional staff members (not involved in the project) to take part too. Overall we hope to have between 40 and 50 participants, each testing the system out for 4 weeks.
The trial covers a 3km square area of central London and uses cell triangulation from the Orange network to assist with location sensing. In addition to their actual public authoring using UT, the participants will be completing user experience questionnaires designed by Proboscis (with help from Zoe Sujon at MEDIA@LSE), which aim to help us explore the experiences of authoring, mobility and social and cultural contexts. The server log data will also be analysed to give us an understanding of such crucial issues as time, frequency, type of content, popularity of content etc...
We intend this trial to help build a picture of the future of public authoring technologies such as Urban Tapestries, and to reveal not only the kinds of uses which we have already identified through our own research, but to allow for new ones to emerge simply by having different people use the system over time.