Wednesday, January 15, 2003

PARC: Speakeasy

I finally got around to reading about PARC's Speakeasy project - and it's really cool. Not only does it raise interesting questions about interfaces, distance and proximity - it draws strongly on notions of emergence and flow. I'd love to spend some time with these folks and ask them what it means to go anywhere and be everywhere, and where we might locate resistance and accountability...

"Typically, communication among devices or services is structured into layers of protocols. Agreement on all layers is required before the devices and services are built. Developing and gaining acceptance of these agreements is a long, costly process that depends on broad industry consensus. Instead of working out all agreements in advance, Speakeasy specifies a few very general agreements in the form of domain-independent programmatic "meta interfaces". These meta interfaces use mobile code to allow new agreements to be put in place at run-time, enabling devices and services to dynamically extend the capabilities of their clients."

And of particular interest is the article Designing for Serendipity: Supporting End-User Configuration of Ubiquitous Computing Environments (pdf) - which focusses on recombinant computing, end-user discovery, configuration, interconnection, and control of devices. The paper also discusses their approach to interface design and usability testing.

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