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Digital Ground: Architecture, Pervasive Computing, and Environmental Knowing
Digital Ground: Architecture, Pervasive Computing, and Environmental Knowing
by Malcolm McCullough
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.66
49 used & new from $2.94

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Looking Forward With Feet Firmly Planted., February 18, 2010
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Malcom McCullough might be one of the wisest voices I've come across in my reading of late. His exploration of the intersection of ubiquitous computing and architecture in Digital Ground is rigorous in its details but thorough in its scope. He not only does the specific topic justice but by the end he synthesizes issues of philosophy, computation, and architecture into the most cognizant argument for sustainability I've heard to date. In general he shows how pervasive computing is not just "new" but how it throws into relief very old ideas that formed our current economic culture. In discussing contextual or situated computing, he doesn't simply provide techno-fetishistic conjecture, he dives deep into what place is, the topology of places we know and will continue to know, the qualities of a place as an assemblage of value, and how value itself is determined. While only pieces of Digital Ground bare particular relevance to my personal research his ideas have led me to invaluable lines of inquiry. I can't imagine it doing anything less for you. Reading this book is time-well-spent.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 31, 2014 10:46 PM PDT


Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames
Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames
by Ian Bogost
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $35.10
63 used & new from $9.63

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable for critical evaluation of games and other designed interactions., January 22, 2010
At the heart this book is how phenomena can be expressed, with a bias, though the simulation of said phenomena. Designed processes contain an idea about how their real life counterparts work. These assumptions (conscious or not) carry an implicit point of view analogous to traditional rhetoric. Bogost successfully situates this procedural rhetoric in a historical context that elucidates the nuances of how games and other media make arguments about the way the world works. The content is invaluable if you're interested in critically assessing or deconstructing games and other designed interactions.

Most of his examples were enlightening, particularly the ones concerning his game Dean for Iowa, which unintentionally painted political action as a process of human-wealth accumulation removed from any form of actual ideology. Less helpful was his characterization of the infamous escape game as a game that "operationalizes the sensations its services seek to countermand" and how it proceduralizes the "anxiety of office work". I'm far from convinced that any procedural argument here has anything more to do with mountain biking than it does with Klondike bars. This argument struck me as so odd that I'm convinced I misunderstood something.

Personally I found Bogost most interesting when providing details that contextualize his arguments; historical perspectives on rhetoric, educational philosophy, advertising, and even references to old school non-traditional physical input devices that I had never heard of (Joyboard anyone?). On the other hand, I feel like I'm still struggling to get a complete grasp on his concept of a "unit operation", based on the "count as one" concept of Alain Badiou (who I'm less than acquainted with). I'll likely have to pull Unit Operations (also by Bogost) off my shelf for some better grounding.

It can be a little dense in places, but not without cause. (I agree with a previous review that Bogost crafted his points very carefully to make specific statements and avoid ambiguity, however they may require multiple reads to parse). This book contains wealth of condensed and relevant knowledge along with carefully made insights.


Designing for Interaction: Creating Innovative Applications and Devices (2nd Edition) (Voices That Matter)
Designing for Interaction: Creating Innovative Applications and Devices (2nd Edition) (Voices That Matter)
by Dan Saffer
Edition: Paperback
Price: $34.36
91 used & new from $27.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars To the point., January 15, 2010
Saffer provides a plain overview of the complexities of interaction design. The book is well suited for students or designers coming form other fields, describing basic concepts and methodologies that can help them grasp the outlines of the discipline.

Note: I removed my previous review. In hindsight, I held expectations about the content that were not warranted.


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