May 19, 2006

An observation on self-mapping

Posted in: Drivel

Let's say you wanted to find out where a place was in the global or regional scheme of things. You're part of a community and folks volunteer their whereabouts and wanna know where they are. How far, what would it cost to travel and hang out, basic stuff like that. For argument's sake let's say you wanted to find out where County Tyrone is. I know a priori it's in Ireland. How would you do it? Of course, you'd probably lean on your favorite search engine, or if you were particularly savvy their map product. But even that probably wouldn't help as gmaps is regionalized and doesn't yet "do" Ireland too well.

But that's besides the point. The point is, when people make websites about themselves they often miss their own position in their regional or even global context. Pick a random place that's not a whole country (because Google Maps does that quite well; make it harder!) and try to get a sense of where it is, e.g. Bracknell Forest. Often you'll end up with a bunch of maps of the immediate area with absolutely no sense of where it is in its country or even the world.

It's incredibly frustrating. So it got me thinking why is this? And is it any insight into who we are at this moment in time, or as a species?

Ken Wilbur talks about levels of awareness from self to tribe to region to global consciousness, how actions and behaviors impact on others within that catchment. Landmark are another group who of all the people I've interacted with over the years seem to have this spiralling-out awareness of how we can affect our environment. Evolution of society and culture seems to proceed out through these spirals encompassing increasingly wider scope at the same time subsuming the inner spirals (this is the genius of spiral dynamics, that perception of our universe consists of viewing concepts as being whole and complete by themselves yet containing and being contained by others in that universe. For example, an atom contains quarks while being contained by molecules, but an atom is something on its own without being "subjugated" or necessarily categorised in a hierarchy).

So my takeaway from my lack of success in finding how regions are located within the world suggests first off people aren't too concerned about the world beyond their immediate borders, unless those on the other side of the border are particularly troublesome. (If you are inclined, check out the Slovenian coastline and ponder what the Croatians and Italians are up to. Yeah, you're still in Europe. Have fun.)

But also the tools to express any awareness are not particularly well understood either. Gmaps covers the world but in varying degrees. I am a great believer in tools enabling folks to consider and deal with concepts much like words in language enable chunking of ideas. But.. what else is there? What's the gap between local and global awareness? Why do some folks care about this and others not?

Where's the gap?

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 20:59 | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Cool new UK phone number

Posted in: Drivel

Thanks to a tip-off from Marta I snagged a SkypeIn number that fronts as, costs the same as, and is otherwise identical to a native Greater London landline +44 20 ... Dialling it connects you to my Mac in Dublin that's running Skype and I even get to see caller-id. Neat. What's really groovy though is that you can pick your own digits so long as they're in Skype's bank of available numbers. So my new phone ends in 7265 which spells PAUL. For the 2600 k1ddies, the number also contains the digits 1337. $\/\/33+!

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 00:25 | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 14, 2006

One year anniversary

Posted in: Drivel

This time last year I was in hospital with two feet looking much like this,

Left Foot One Year Ago
That'll learn ya to go climbin' up the side a' houses after sluggin' 40s ya stoopid dumb shit!

One month in hospital, few months in a wheelchair, and since then gradually being in less and less pain walking. I can pretty much walk like a pro these days although it is still uncomfortable. Which sucks. Walking's a pretty basic activity, as is getting out of bed (although I don't do that so much these days) and being in pain the whole time is irritating. Still it's getting gradually better but I'm definitely into the long tail of recovery.

On the plus side, I can do about everything else again, even "running" very short distances. So, if you've got a calcaneal fracture it ain't

I heard from someone that after a neurological trauma learning to walk is the second last thing people manage - it's really pretty difficult. The first? Brushing your teeth.

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 23:00 | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 2, 2006

South Bay round-up

Posted in: What am I up to

Gosh, two weeks since last entry. I've been having an outrageously good time: Dorkbot SF (RFID implants, music composition in adventure game format), Maker Faire (vegetable oil powered engines, robots, fire, lots of friends, Steve Wozniak getting dunked), Depeche Mode at Shoreline Amphitheatre (free tickets, walking distance from Google), gorgeous Sunday in Monterey visiting my lovely friend and ex-landlady, and last night a Giants game, the first ever game where I've completely understood what was going on, helped considerably by my expert tutor and Club tickets ($20!) from a scalper. Unfortunately the Padres panned the Giants after spooking them with a 7-run third innings, d'oh.

The final notable item is a first rowing workout longer than ten minutes since I was in university. I guess I have to do this every so often to remind myself that yes, I really am just a sprinter. Now I can comfortably leave 10+ min workouts for another ten years...

And finally...

Two Kittens
A friend's new arrivals

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 19:19 | Comments (1) | TrackBack