Saturday, December 7, 2002

A bunch of disarticulated thoughts and links

Discussions around WiFi are fascinating me, mostly because this "phenomena" has not reached Canada. We have a national mandate to give everyone broadband access first. And wireless access, although available, is still cost-prohibitive. I checked into 600 min/month wireless plans, and they're running between $100-$200 a month! Add that to my cable, land lines, DSL and cell phone bills every month, and I wouldn't be able to afford my other vices ;) And this just reminds me that (dislocated) wireless still requires (located) hubs - an odd tension arises between everywhere and somewhere.

A few weeks ago I linked to this handy database of internet researchers, and didn't even notice that I was included in the list ;) And speaking of lists, I loved Fabio Sergio's post about this Userati list. I was *shocked* to see my name on it, and likewise assume it has something to do with Mr. Greenfield and Mr. Merholz. Thanks guys, but I somehow feel as though this is undeserved recognition ;) I am but a lowly researcher who likes to think out loud...

Jill Walker recently posted on users - which, following Brenda Laurel, is a word/description I've never really liked. Laurel argues that "user" conjures an unequal power relationship and Jill says that's exactly the point: "Part of the pleasure of being a user is precisely submitting to the machine. Why are we drivers of cars but users of drugs and computers? Computers are often presented as a substance that is easily abused." Hmm. Good points. I like to route around these types of distinctions by saying that we're not dealing with "computers" or "users" but rather the "computer/human". And there, Jill, in a nut-shell, is the notion of a non-human actor: no objects OR subjects, just collectives of humans and non-humans, reciprocally constituted and hybrid.

Via nosenseofplace: "A North East writer has been given a grant of 2,000 to use sheep to create random poems, which also utilise the deepest workings of the universe. The money has been provided by Northern Arts for Valerie Laws to create a new form of random literature. Each of the animals has a word from a poem written on their backs and as they wander about the words take a new poetic form each time they come to rest." I love it!

And last, but not least, Torill Mortensen graciously links to a dissenting position on her claim that "it's not logical to demand from games that they should tell stories." Let's get past criteria of "logic" and "demands" and just explore *how* a game might act in narrative fashion. Can we not explain interaction in terms of discourse, which also conjures narrative or story-telling? Maybe *games* don't necessarily tell stories, but in playing them, do we not create narratives? What do you think, Torill?


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