UnLondon Lumarca

With the world’s attention focused on London from March 11th to 17th, a number of UnLondon members thought it a fitting time to display the kind of projects that this organization prides itself on executing.

After much brainstorming, planning and late nights, Fred Cahill, Devon Elliot and Titus Ferguson have installed UnLondon’s first piece of public art in Downtown London: a 200 string Lumarca.

The Lumarca is a volumetric display, or a 3-dimensional representation of an object. There are 200 vertical strings, hung from another 200 horizontal strings and supported by a strong metal frame (electrical conduit). The project is positioned so that its projection fits perfectly on the shape of the strings. A true “hack”, this project only requires a computer, projector and common hardware store supplies.

Each string can be lit up individually, and the colour, length and pattern can be changed on a string-by-string basis. By alternating which strings are “on” and their attributes, an impressive pattern can be displayed.

The UnLondon Lumarca uses the programming environment processing to create the images that are projected. As an open-source technology, there is plenty of potential for iteration and improvement.

Pictures and video are only able to capture so much. If you are able to head downtown to see it in person over the next couple of days, you absolutely should. However, the Lumarca will likely make another appearance at UnLondon related events in the months and years ahead.

Learn more about the lumarca project and its origins

PodCamp London – Law of Two Feet

I’m in the middle of PodCamp London and, as usual, completely blown about about the quality of talks, the attendees here and the overall excitement that is taking place around the Convergence Centre.

One of the major parts of PodCamps is the Law of Two Feet. At its core, the means that anyone who is in a session and wants to leave is encouraged to.

However, my fear is that this in fact encourages a type of attention deficit disorder. If the speaker isn’t engaging you, you just get up and  leave. But perhaps if you were to “stick it out” an attendee would benefit from staying there.

These thoughts lead me to to look around the web, and eventually the “user guide for the open space world” and this quote:

Finally we come to the One Law of Open Space. It is a law only in the sense that all participants must observe it or the process will not work. We call it the Law of Two Feet. Briefly stated, this law says that every individual has two feet, and must be prepared to use them. Responsibility for a successful outcome in any Open Space Event resides with exactly one person — each participant. Individuals can make a difference and must make a difference. If that is not true in a given situation, they, and they alone, must take responsibility to use their two feet, and move to a new place where they can make a difference. This departure need not be made in anger or hostility, but only after honoring the people involved and the space they occupy. By word or gesture, indicate that you have nothing further to contribute, wish them well, and go and do something useful.

I know that personally I’m going to work harder to exercise the law in this way and when I leave, its because I wish to further the experience for others and not just myself.

Canada: Politically and Digitally

Walking up in Stratford on May 3rd and I’ve got a lot of Canada on my mind.

The results from the general election are all in, and we have both a similar and radically different government. The next four years will be an interesting time in Canada and I’m both nervous and excited to see what will happen now. Its been a long time since we last had a majority government and I hope no one get to excited too quickly.

Also on my mind, and the reason I’m in Stratford today, is the Canada 3.0 conference. This is my second year attending and I”m hoping for a radically different impression then I had last year. Already I know that London Ontario is going to make a difference and a scene here and that will help the overall conference feel. Check out www.ldn30.com for London content live from the event and our live video broadcast.

Canada is at a cross roads now, both politically and digitally. I’m hoping that I can play a role in the latter and shape the future of Canada’s digital space. I’m raring to go and show what can be done through dedication and commitment and how the digital future will be driven by grassroots efforts.


I’m a little bit late to the discussion around the shutting down selling of Delicious but I’ve taken the time to think through exactly why this move is so strange.

Yahoo! has come out firmly as a content company. They want to produce and package information to be consumed by the masses of internet users. If we applied a Technographics profile to their ideal audience it would be Spectators.

Now the interesting thing about being successful at creating content; you need to produce information that enough people want to engage with. Ideally you need to have a finger on the pulse of society before society knows that they really want to learn about.

The best way to find out that information is to crowd source it. Essentially take advantage of a thousands of people who are curating the web and identifying trends as they become trends.

See where I’m going with this? Delicious provides Yahoo! (and anyone else for that matter) with real time information about what people are finding interesting and what to know more about. For a media company this information should be incredibly valuable.

And this is why Yahoo!’s decision to divest themselves of Delicious is so confusing. They’re throwing out their best research tool; information they paid nothing for and which they can easily monetize around. However because you can’t make money off the raw materials they ignore the potential when its combined with other arms of the business.

Maybe I’m overly pessimistic, but is this the beginning of the end for crowd-sourced information gathering?

Museum Telethon

I don’t often talk about the actual on the ground implementation of some of the projects that I’m involved with. Its not because they aren’t really neat, but rather because I’m not one to brag about my accomplishments.  However I have talked before about the need to move from idea into action, so I thought I should share something that I have been involved with recently.

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Moving from Idea to Action

Last night I was able to see my friend Scott on his London stop for his UnMarketing book tour.  As always,  Scott did an amazing job connecting with the audience and explaining why marketing isn’t a department its part of every interaction your employees have.

However, I was left with a couple of thoughts after the evening.

Many people focus on the concept of ideas and get very excited hearing new ones and feeling like they are part of a club that “gets it”.  Unfortunately too many people don’t think that they should implement those ideas and put them into action

So to everyone who was there last night, or people who participated on Twitter, here is my call out to you:

What are you going to do, today, tomorrow and in the coming months to put into action one of the many things you heard Scott say? It shouldn’t be too hard, his talk was full of “actionable items”.

Pick something and make that change in your personal and corporate life. Once we all start implementing ideas rather then just taking about them then we’ll be really “Un” Marketing.

Social Network Organizing

I was listening to this weeks TWiT and one of the hosts, John Graham-Cumming, made a comment about what he uses different social networks for. I’m going to try to implement the same system myself.

  • Facebook for friends and family
  • LinkedIn for colleagues and work contacts
  • Twitter for new acquaintances and information

I think if we start to use this organizational method then fewer people will be worrying about privacy and “information leakages”.

Ignite London

Last night I was able to attend the second iteration of Ignite London. I left throughly impressed and encouraged by the people in this city, and the work that so many are doing to better our community.

I wrote a post last week, but never published it, about how I felt that Londoner’s weren’t getting enough recognition for the many awesome things that we are doing in the new media / digital media space. By recognition, I meant outside of the 519 and 226 area codes. Honestly I think this can be traced back to a larger London problem; that of humbleness to a fault and the urge to rather talk about a solution that actually implement one.

After spending an evening at Aeolian Hall listening to my friends, peers and acquaintances give short, from the heart, pleas about what we could be doing and what they already are, I’m starting to feel renewed.

Its no longer a bunch of people talking about how we could improve Municipal politics; its ventures like Hack the Vote.

We don’t have people complaining that the arts are inaccessible; events like SMarts continue on.

Innovation in the digital media space continues to flourish, and by an active community with varied insights and experiences. They collaborate to build an application like London Trash.

This is just a small sample of the projects in the city that are looking at a problem and tackling it head on. There are many more initiative either in the works and I’m excited to follow them into fruition.

Open Data in London Ontario

The City of London has taken another step closer to joining the ranks of cities like Ottawa, Vancouver and Toronto, and releasing city data in a machine readable format; or Open Data.

This is a result of the hard work of a variety of individuals, including Shawn Adamsson and Aaron McGowan.

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that I think this is a great step forward for the City of London. As more and more information and data sets are released and become publicly available the better our society will become.

I’m also excited about this recent announcement because of the potential for further collaboration that UnLondon and the UnLab could help facilitate by connecting like minded individuals who will continue to iterate and improve upon various ideas, projects, and platforms. .

A citizen led initiative around Open Data has already started in London, and I suggest any interested parties connect with them for more information.

Upcoming Events

I just added a new page to the blog that hopefully will capture a snapshot of all the initiatives I am involved with.

At this point it’s by no means exhaustive; some announcements just aren’t ready for prime time yet. So be sure to check back again soon!

Until then there are a couple of projects that I’d love to draw your attention to.

The first is ChangeCamp London, which is an event that I’ve wanted to do here ever since I heard about it a couple of years ago. I’m ecstatic about the team that is involved, and I’m sure its going to be a great program with definite benefits to the city.

Secondly is the annual PodCamp London that is coming up on May 8th. Be sure to check out the wiki for a list of speakers and sessions. I’m sure regardless of your skill level or interests you’ll find a topic that piques your interest.