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Yanyi Luo
Lives in New York City
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Yanyi Luo

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Wow. +Google+ now looks exactly like a greyscale Facebook. Clunky interface with too much going on everywhere, and too many boxes within boxes. Yikes from a designer's point of view, both in function and aesthetic. The simplicity is initially what appealed to me, so to see this is ... disappointing.
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Yanyi Luo

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"Instead of seeing networks as the wiring through which informational electrons flow, we should think of networks as a kind of molecular bonding in which ties connect nodes into larger groupings that represent a new molecular quality and not merely an extension of circuits to further atoms of the network...In this view of a social network, flows are secondary. Information can be codified, but knowledge is a practice, bound up with particular sociotechnical ensembles.

- Vedres and Stark, from "Structural Folds: Generative Disruption in Overlapping Groups" in American Journal of Sociology.


A good argument for the nonproliferation of mindless social networks today; from my readings for Organizing Innovation with sociologist David Stark.
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Very cool. Sends you chapters of books occasionally in your email -- not that I don't have enough to read. Can't tell if this is just a bandage to a consumption problem or a possible solution (sadly leaning to the former).
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+YouTube's new IntelligentChannel. Pretentious or enlightening?

Thinking about transmedia very much in the past few weeks have made me wonder about the fount of culture in America society. The internet has enabled us to democratize culture somewhat (mainly through YouTube and other "prosumer" service sites), and there are those rare occasions of a crowd-loved cultural icon gaining enough traction to be recognized by large media conglomerates.

Yet therein already lies the problem: we're traveling through a grey area of content re-mediation right now. We're coming out of decades in which we've allowed the entertainment industry and "experts" to determine what we like, what's important, and what we want to be. The top product of the era is not the computer, television, or even the book, but the lifestyle you choose to lead. And brands, most of all, are wanting to sell you theirs.

The fuzzy area is a crucial area. Now is when we, consciously or now, collectively choose which route our culture will come from as information ceases to exist in only limited, physical objects. Now is the moment when we decide to follow these old guard conglomerates into the digital age, or if we'll have the gusto to begin defining our world ourselves.
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Hah, interesting.
Kirby Ferguson originally shared:
 
Obama’s graphics team employed a bit of subliminal remixing during the 2012 State of the Union. This is the titling accompanying his introduction of the Trade Enforcement Unit, a body for “investigating unfair trade practices.”
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Yanyi Luo

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Any +foursquare initiated Harry Potter nerds out there? This application made my morning: https://foursquare.com/app/magic_muggle_clock

The future is realization of my favorite children's novel. ;)
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One more thing: we do not want to pay for our memories. The films that remind us of our childhood, the music that accompanied us ten years ago: in the external memory network these are simply memories. Remembering them, exchanging them, and developing them is to us something as natural as the memory of 'Casablanca' is to you. We find online the films that we watched as children and we show them to our children, just as you told us the story about the Little Red Riding Hood or Goldilocks. Can you imagine that someone could accuse you of breaking the law in this way? We cannot, either.

Posted by +Alexis Madrigal, written by +Piotr Czerski, and translated by +Marta Szerder, this reads like a manifesto that rings far too familiar, far too obvious to me. Perhaps I am young enough.

My worry is that "freedom" is vague, in the way that "liberty" and "inalienable rights" were vague during the French Revolution, but this is only criticism if caution can be called that. We should be wary not to let the word run away with too much meaning too early, for in the name of nebulous "freedom" terrible things were done. Now if we can sculpt from these ideals in a way that would leave the world intact, but dynamic. Hierarchies are less innovative and more cumbersome but they also offer more stability from failure. The trouble with networks is that they're volatile, powerful, and capable of great change and innovation, but the techniques to manage them and the people in them are still being figured out. A simple comparison of mass protests in the past year -- between rioters and regime overthrowers, the freedom of the crowd can do so much, but not always for the better. My heart nods in this direction but everything about this needs caution along the way, and the most daunting task ahead of us is not to overthrow archaic structures, but determining how best to even begin reorganizing them.
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A few days ago, +Jason Farman wrote this article for The Atlantic to challenge the notion that technology disconnects us entirely from the world we live in. In it, +Broadcastr serves as one of his examples in which technology actually adds depth to the experience we can have in our physical worlds.

This comes in tandem with a slew of interaction design predictions in the past few months -- one camp famously deriding a future with "pictures under glass," advocating for tactile technologies instead, while Corning, a glass technology company, dreams of it with endless possibilities.

These two particular topics converge in my thoughts here, because I too don't think that the sides of these two situations are necessarily antithetical. In fact, I often think of Broadcastr as a twofold bridge: one which uses technology to add depth to the physical world, and one that can also introduce the morphing versatility of "pictures under glass" to our tactile, spatial, and temporal existences.

Broadcastr is often recognized for the way it adds significance to a place in real-time; indeed, our most shining feature is the Geoplay option which enables users, tracked by GPS, to walk wherever they please and to have nearby, highly rated broadcasts play as they go, ranging from history to personal stories to fictional narrative. It's exhilarating -- a feature that I personally like to call "a temporal X-ray vision." However, this is only the side of Broadcastr in which place gives content significance. The lesser-discussed side -- and the side which, to me, will make Broadcastr relevant long after the mobile tech bubble bursts -- is that content gives place meaning.

We use glass because it's unassuming; the most transparent form of hardware to encase and present the infinitude of software. We use glass because we haven't yet found a way to transfigure the world into a blank slate. Yet, why should we aspire to this illusion at all? Technology, in this way, makes us dishonest.

I see Broadcastr as the catalyst in a new breed of technology: one that builds upon an existing world by uncovering its previous iterations, like America in the 1920s, '50s, '70s; by enabling storytellers and dreammakers to create their visions on top of their own local topographies; and by imbuing our personal voices, our lives, into a world that very much exists already; a world that begins through our attention and care, for which discovery is an act of creation. Broadcastr is a way to leverage technology to redirect our interactions with the world back to, well, the world itself instead of an abstracted place we have created to give us the illusion of power and influence. And I honestly can't be more excited to be a part of that transition.
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"I speak of aurochs and angels, the secret of durable pigments, prophetic sonnets, the refuge of art. And this is the only immortality you and I may share, my Lolita." (Nabokov)

Rest in peace to a great Polish poet, a lover of limericks, and a woman who changed the reasons I write.

The End and the Beginning

After every war
someone has to clean up.
Things won't
straighten themselves up, after all.

Someone has to push the rubble
to the side of the road,
so the corpse-filled wagons
can pass.

Someone has to get mired
in scum and ashes,
sofa springs,
splintered glass,
and bloody rags.

Someone has to drag in a girder
to prop up a wall,
Someone has to glaze a window,
rehang a door.

Photogenic it's not,
and takes years.
All the cameras have left
for another war.

We'll need the bridges back,
and new railway stations.
Sleeves will go ragged
from rolling them up.

Someone, broom in hand,
still recalls the way it was.
Someone else listens
and nods with unsevered head.
But already there are those nearby
starting to mill about
who will find it dull.

From out of the bushes
sometimes someone still unearths
rusted-out arguments
and carries them to the garbage pile.

Those who knew
what was going on here
must make way for
those who know little.
And less than little.
And finally as little as nothing.

In the grass that has overgrown
causes and effects,
someone must be stretched out
blade of grass in his mouth
gazing at the clouds.

—Wisława Szymborska, 1923 - 2012
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Bird Courage -- great big folk sound coming out of Brooklyn these days.
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"This book is about the relationship between three concepts—media convergence, participatory culture, and collective intelligence. By convergence, I mean the flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media industries, and the migratory behavior of media audiences who will go almost anywhere in search of the kinds of entertainment experiences they want."

+Henry Jenkins, Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide.

My Transmedia class is already awesome.
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Apple moves into the book market and Amazon moves into film, and the trend is easy, collaborative development wrapped in the hands of two industry behemoths. I would be wary, both as an author or a filmmaker.

The instinctual argument is these two companies are simply moving naturally into what's popular right now -- that is, consumer-created content. More useful, or potentially harmful, to innovation?

(+Nick Tyson, you'll be interested to see this).
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