Saturday, October 20, 2012

Asking questions

From the Wikipedia entry on phrases from the Hitchiker's guide to the galaxy;
In the first novel and radio series, a group of hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings demand to learn the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything from the supercomputer, Deep Thought, specially built for this purpose. It takes Deep Thought 7½ million years to compute and check the answer, which turns out to be 42. The Ultimate Question itself is unknown.
When asked to produce The Ultimate Question, the computer says that it cannot; however, it can help to design an even more powerful computer, the Earth, that can. The programmers then embark on a further ten-million-year program to discover The Ultimate Question.
Questions aren't easy. They can also be very dangerous. People are killed for asking the wrong questions. But here's a little guide to how to ask questions in conferences. Thanks to Mia for linking it in the #IR13 twitter stream.

Knitting a community - at IR 13.0

While I have noticed that people start giggling the moment I start to talk about knitting, I never knew how surprising it would be for people to discover that I knit. Seriously, I am a middle aged Norwegian woman, grown up in a small town, and I have children. The chance that I would not at least know how to knit is very small, and it's quite likely that I am decent at it. As a matter of fact, I suck compared to my Norwegian neighbours and relatives, likely because I spend so much time gaming.

Now that's said, I am presenting some very early thoughts on traditions, crafts and community exemplified by knitting here at IR 13.0, and I want to share with you some links from the presentation.

Davadottir sells her own creations, and shares the love of knitting with her mother.
Majken's corner is the blog of Davadottir's mother, who still lives in the Faeroe islands.
"Prunes from everyday life" is the blog of another woman from the Faeroe islands who shares her patterns and the stories of her past with us.
I am not using examples from Ravelry, but from - a norwegian site for sharing patterns.
Gudrun & Gudrun are the designers of the sweaters from "The Killing".
On the blog "slaughter a holy cow" Liselotte asks who are copying.
The second sweater used by Sarah Lund did not cause the same kind of controversy, as Gudrun & Gudrun published the pattern.

And for some more links I looked at, but didn't manage to stuff into this presentation, two of my tags on

Friday, October 19, 2012

Salford, Internet research walking in circles

Today at the first plenary of Internet Research 13.0, the discussion turned to the reality of realities. Some of the heavy hitters discussing identity and online ethnography stated once and for all that it "Virtual Reality" was not where we were going, it was all realities. Susanna Paasonen arguing for the importance of materiality, Tom Boellstorff countering with the analytical power of virtuality.

Flashback to 1998 (yes, last millennium), and the discussions of IRL (in real life) and IRT (in real time) in games (MUDs, can it get more last century?), and how these were indeed parts of real lives and happened in real time - nothing virtual about them, the real virtual reality is between our ears.

I am feeling extremely old on this conference. It's not just the cancelled flight sending me on a 4 hour busride from London to Manchester in the middle of the nights, nor the fact that I can't eat most of the food (I expected that. We're in UK.) (Quick word to the organisers here: I don't doubt the quality. Others say it's really good.)

No, the sense of being ancient comes with the sense of having been there, done that. Even the most engaged of discussions trigger layers and layers of earlier discussions. The floods of literature now published in the many different digital research areas carry with them a sense of "good, somebody wrote about that, so I don't have to stand there explaining it singlehandedly."

I want to be wowed again. And not by another release of additional content. Not the pandas of Internet research, please, but... but... Well, if I could tell you that, I'd implement it. I'll get back to you all on that.

In the mean time: Internet researchers at The Lowry, Salford. Young, fresh, lovely, and I am so happy to see them, I get all warm and fuzzy over being here, really.