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Ambient Commons Anyone who has looked at art and sought to understand our perception of it could draw you to some of the embodieddisembodied experiences that McCullogh looks at in this book and in many ways he's applying some old figureground subjectobject dialogues to urban life and an age of superabundant data But what's so good about this book is its timeliness Creative culture just now fueled by corporate commercial interests and their political yes men is slave to 'smart cities' and 'ubiuitous data' boosterism McCullogh raises some important uestions about shared resources and informational ethics Who owns our data Who owns our attention Just as we have a right to be heard and remain silent do we have a right to be left alone McCullough is definitely a curmudgeon and I disagree with the amount of executive attention that he suggests smartphones reuire of digital natives and I think that they have a materiality to them that he does not adeuately take into account but I read very sympathetically when he starts talking about information pollution and rights to attention and silence and the importance of attention and methods to safeguard it But perhaps that is because I am also at heart a curmudgeon This book started off slightly awkwardly like a hermit navigating a cocktail party with teuila shots but steadily evolved into sober coherence In the first 100 pages McCullough behaved as though he only had 1 minute left on earth and you were the only available receptacle of knowledge Mercilessly he cornered you as soon as you made eye contact walking through the door and in between gulps of jungle juice unleashed his data dumpMM HELLO I'm sure it's a relief to you to be retreating from an annoying set of glowing rectangles at work to a soothing set of glowing rectangles at home p51EE Yes IMM Electronic media complicate this overlay Ubiuitous technologies exacerbate this anytime anyplace problem Music and television feeds show up where they are not welcome Mobile phones lead to inconsiderate use Self service touchscreen with network connections mediate ever kinds of transactions As ever diverse media cut ever deeper into everyday life with links and portals to someplace else people suspend not only disbelief about where they are at the moment but eventually also a general sensibility to surroundings p96EE moving down the hallway MM Wait I don't think you realize that the ambient commons of this room is seducing you to move away from me You feel like walking through one of the doorways whether you need to or not p97But then after grabbing a drink and easing into the party you begin to ruminate on what he said and circle back for intriguedMM You again I'm sorryI think I am the embodiment of a new dark age of information superabundance emo tears p 106 EE There thereMM It's just thatair itself is in the air p167EE hands MM jungle juiceMM sobsHis charts were the embodiment of irony as much of his book aimed to draw attention to the overabundance of information I still laugh thinking about page 71 Wading through the semantics was worth it however as McCullough is making a uniue attempt to bridge multiple theories of futurism an intersection of history technology architecture society and the very philosophy of human nature itselfParticularly fascinating was Chapter 11 which delved into cultural interpretations of space the American frontier mentality affecting our policy towards information commons coffee shops as the birthplace of thought exchange and what the cities of the future could look like I found all these interlaced subjects fascinating I hope everyone takes a moment to contribute to the ongoing discourse of molding these what are sure to be breathtaking new frontiers in human societyUltimately this book made me REALLY curious as to what McCullough's personal office looks like A uick Google search yielded no satisfaction but I was unsurprised to find the following profile guy needs a cocktail party Ambient Common is a cautiously optimistic survey of the swiftly arriving era of “pervasive computing” Or call it “augmented reality” or “ambient information” Just as this technology is just beginning to weave itself into almost everything we will use see and touch it has no agreed upon name Malcolm McCullough’s chief concern here seems to be find a middle way that will preserve our commons – our rights to places that are silent and “unmediated” – while at the same time allowing us to realize the benefits of what he calls “ambient” technology That McCullough raises uestions than he answers is fine in a survey like this It’s the uestions he doesn’t ask that are troubling For example if the “internet of things” – digital control of urban infrastructure in real time – is to have untold numbers of citizens reporting in what about the possibilities for hacking and terrorism Still what McCullough has to say will leave the reader with new ways to think about our era of “peak distraction” The world is filling with ever kinds of media in ever contexts and formats Glowing rectangles have become part of the scene; screens large and small appear everywhere Physical locations are increasingly tagged and digitally augmented Sensors processors and memory are not found only in chic smart phones but also built into everyday objectsAmid this flood your attention practices matter than ever You might not be able to tune this world out So it is worth remembering that underneath all these augmentations and data flows fixed forms persist and that to notice them can improve other sensibilities In Ambient Commons Malcolm McCullough explores the workings of attention though a rediscovery of surroundings Not all that informs has been written and sent; not all attention involves deliberate thought The intrinsic structure of space the layout of a studio for example or a plaza becomes part of any mental engagement with itMcCullough describes what he calls the Ambient an increasing tendency to perceive information superabundance whole where individual signals matter less and at least some mediation assumes inhabitable form He explores how the fixed forms of architecture and the city play a cognitive role in the flow of ambient information As a persistently inhabited world can the Ambient be understood as a shared cultural resource to be socially curated voluntarily limited and self governed as if a commons Ambient Commons invites you to look past current obsessions with smart phones to rethink attention itself to care for situated often inescapable forms of information related to how screens and interactive materials are changing architecture and how we think about the configurability of space Interesting but dense Malcolm McCullough is always on the mark This book is a tidy collection of things we should be thinking about as we move along in the digital age but probably aren't Insightful and provocative THIS BOOK WAS REALLY NIFTY AND OFFERED A LOT OF HADN'T THOUGHT OF THAT IDEAS ON HOW TO COMBAT PEAK DISTRACTION inspiring

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