Thursday, October 27, 2005

Blind Man at the Visualization Conference

... and I thought I was an outsider! Actually, he's probably not an outsider at all. I imagine that a blind man must have some fantastic insights into a field that is defined by vision. He also might not have been 100% blind.

A Very Good Sandwich

I was going to title this post "Best. Sandwich. Ever." but that seemed like a bit much. For lunch today, I had a Monte Cristo with lingonberry dipping sauce. The words "Thanksgiving between two piece of French toast" came to mind.

I've had a Monte Cristo before but with maple syrup instead of the lingonberry. I love breakfast foods, but I have to say, the lingonberry added a certain something that the maple syrup didn't quite bring. Anyway... I thought it was good.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

VIS 2005: Professional Community Redux

I'm at another conference. This week finds me at the VIS conference (that's IEEE Visualization 2005 for those not "in the know"). Once again, I don't feel at home in the same way that I feel at home at the Game Developers Conference. Re-reading my earlier reflections on this thought, however, I have to say that I disagree with one point.

I have a greater sense of contribution. Although, as an artist, I feel like an outsider here, I feel like that is a strength rather than a liability. I bring a valuable perspective that is practically unrepresented at this gathering of engineers, though this conference is certainly more artist friendly than other engineering cons. This is a field in which an artistic eye can make an impact.

I still prefer GDC. Hm.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Luddite

I'm a pretty tech-positive guy. Not just in the "I-have-a-lot-of-gadgets" sense, but in the sense that I believe that technology does good things for humanity. That said, it's good to think of tech in terms of its costs as well.

Tony Long, the copy chief for Wired News, has started a column at that site called The Luddite, which serves as a nice reminder that we shouldn't blindly leap forward into technologies without thinking about the prices we pay.

Long hits a few particularly apt points:

For one thing, human beings are not meant to go as fast as modern technology compels them to go. Technology might make it possible to work at warp speed, yes, but that doesn't make it healthy. And just because the latest software makes it feasible to double your workload (or "productivity," to you middle-management types), that shouldn't give the boss the right to expect you will.


With cell phones, IM and all the personal-this and personal-that, we're connected all the time, or "24/7" as the unfortunate jargon has it. Is being connected 24/7 a good thing? Isn't it healthy to be "off the grid" now and then? If you can't answer "yes" to that question, you may be a tech dynamo, my friend, but please stay the hell out of my cafe.

These issues are on my mind a lot as I have embraced many of the technologies and associated lifestyles that Long mentions. Do I make myself "too" available to my colleagues and supervisors by answering my cellphone anytime that someone calls? Is my standard of living suffering from my ability (and willingness) to work from anywhere, at anytime? Is my lifestyle hurting the environment and/or other people?