Augmenting My Mind

How much in technology is augmenting me versus being a digital vampire? How much is one tool or another improving my life vs. taking time and control away?

I’m now about 21 months into having short-term memory problems. I had some kind of a memory degradation when I had a long surgery in early 2018. I began to realize that my best ability to multitask was shredded.

I also tend to work alone or in big complex organizations. As a result, I was jumping between tasks and tools. I was jumping between frantically trying manage my own life while working with other organizations’ project and time mamagement systems. Even in the same organization, I was working in many different tool systems. Each tool has a different assumption about how I interface with it, where are you interface with it, and what it does with my time and memory.

My husband of 33 years claims that I dont have memory problems: I am just now like most people.  That is probably true.

As a result of the shift, I’ve been doing a digital clean up and regeneration. I’ve been trying to build, rebuild, and understand tools, not just the ones that are jammed it me or popular in the press. I’m rethinking tools and looking under the hood about how this one may augment myself or how much that one is a drain on myself.

On another level, I’m looking at how I could intentionally augment myself.

This is awkward work, on purpose.  We are in such a world of abstraction that we are exciting onto tools in our lives that may just be kind of sucks that have really great tools just suck our attention.

More fun to follow…

From Music in LA to Digital and Music in Austin

We’ve just ended the second cycle of our Future of Music in LA projects at the Center for Music Innovation at UCLA Alpert.  We helped run a half-day symposium with the City of LA Dept. of Cultural Affairs and the UC Digital Humanities Initiative.  DCA organized another 11 events across February that connected event spaces, composers, and innovative artists that further stretched and asked the questions of what is Music in LA and whose Music is being created.  You can see the whole spread of events at this link at the CMI website and this link at DCA. This series and the experience of engaging in nearly all the sessions expanded my own vision of live music in a streaming age.  First, the fact that more than half of the RSVPs did not show and did not cancel, within EVERY community, was an intriguing item.  Why is that socially OK for a free event?  Are we in a digital collecting of experiences mode, afraid to miss out in having the option? I’m focusing for now on physical entertainment experiences and local communities, in conjunction with streaming, and just wrapped up our Future of Music in LA thread of events with the City of LA Dept. of Cultural Affairs and local partners….and continuing that work across the year.  It has opened up a lot of avenues for us in terms of looking at tech, music, and social change.  The patterns of creation in different parts of the community and how they are becoming in current regulatory, policy, and digital environments is a very interesting question, as well as what can be done on the more formal and informal fronts to nurture live music is an expanding conversation here.  It is probably launching two new classes here on engaging and creating live performance communities, within or despite our tech-connected world. And I’m still working on different types of tech literacies in a world where the commercial ventures are trying to be “frictionless,” transparent, and increasingly abstract.  Lots of AI/ML events and “listening” to how everyone is talking about a desired digital future.
Playing with Facebook Stories Camera Effects

Playing with Facebook Stories Camera Effects

My Facebook friends must be thinking I’m nuts (again).  I’ve been tinkering with Facebook Stories and its Camera Effects.  In fact, I’ve been playing so much I’m also looking into the Camera Effects and AR (augmented reality) developer group.

First, here’s some of the images that I’ve been creating.  Here are some public images that I was playing with while in Portland at the World Domination Summit.

Changing Camera Effects

I took both of these pictures — the same picture with Camera Effects — while at Directors Park in Portland, OR.  The original picture was a slightly out of focus shot of three young girls playing.  I was sitting near their parents, who were so happy that the girls were enjoying themselves in the water (so the moms could enjoy and talk).  I took the photo, as I was entranced by their joy of play, and then shared it with the moms.  They were so happy with the versions of it that they wanted them emailed back to them.  I also shared it with the girls, who wanted more.  MORE!

Here’s how these were altered with Facebook Story Camera Effect.

  • I took the picture from within Facebook, from Stories on my Moto Z Play Android.
  • I then could either swipe through filters and overlays, or click the Effects icon, which is a magic wand.
  • I could select from options then that included things that looked like hot air balloons, which were combinations of filters that changed the nature of the image blocks, letting me create painting-like effects.

Since then, Facebook seemed to get rid of the balloons, and have expanded things that look like spheres.  Each seems to do a different thing.  I also can take photos with a Camera Effect on, and then can add a second Camera Effect with the Effects icon as well.

Here are many of my crazy examples:

Gandalf Plus

This one used the Gandalf-like AR addon, and then playing with the different spheres after the photo was taken.

This was the “first” Camera Effect layer, for comparison.

Comparing Effects – Me and Tree

This was two different filters from the same photo in Portland of me under a tree.

My start – LAX Morning

This was the picture that started it earlier for me, taken at LAX on my way to Portland.

Outdoor Images — Getting the Hang of it

Here’s one I took in Portland, the “wrong way” as a Landscape view.

These were taken in that same park, using just one Camera Effect each.

Simple Morning Shot

This was a simple view from my backyard writing retreat, with one of the spheres.

Down the Rabbit Hole – Playing with Layered Effects

These images above were a morph of a tired me with an overlay plus filters.  The grey is me, not a filter.


Above, here’s just playful me with overlays with no or minimal filters.

CPAP and darkness effect

Yes, I wear a CPAP machine and this is from a nearly dark photo, originally taken with a light red Camera Effect . . . and all the expansions of it with different Camera Effects as a second layer.


Using staggered shots

This was a series taken at an outdoor cafe last night.  The main effect took a staggered picture, and the differences are the second layers.

Using background and patterns

I really enjoy this series, also taken at the outdoor cafe.

Interestingly, I think this was the original.

My favorite Facebook Camera Effect

One of my favorite filters is one that seems to be like a roving watercolor.  Depending on when you click the “shutter,” it captures a different mix of colors and splotches.

Craft, Process, and Thinking of Becoming

Today I’m working on taxes for our two college students’ FAFSAs and watching “Abstract: The Art of Design” on Netflix in the background.  Christoph Niemann is both in his story and telling his story about craft and life.  He is a character and an animated person with his character . . . and a voice.

Two of his statements struck me about the work I’m doing now on career and vocation exploration.

First: “Creating a process to do it allows you to do unembarrassing stuff on command is the only way you can survive . . . if you create an armor of craft around you.”  This makes sense from other work on creativity and boundary-setting.  We often can do better regular, daily work in creative spaces if we set hard edges around the work and create routine.  Having the skills and letting them work in focused settings then lets creative work have a place to build.

Yet Second:  “The one thing that is dangerous about working on your craft and the world around you is that it can keep you from asking the really valid questions . . . what is the real thing I’m trying to get good at?”

Intriguing question.  It isn’t “what am I good at?”  It is a sense of becoming in terms of craft, in terms of skills.  What stands in my way to “trying to get good at” something?  Fear?  Practice?  Focus?  Direction?
I just went to a friend’s 55th birthday party last night, and we told stories of how old we were from when we all met decades ago.  Travel and children were our benchmarks in the time road.  “How are things?”  “Great — I’m planning a trip to South Korea.”  Is how we are doing a postcard or Facebook post about the event-based measures?
The party was at an improv club, which added an oddly critical narrative layer to our gathering.  They quizzed the birthday girl about her daily life and then created an exaggerated parody of her life as a humorous struggle with time and interaction with others.  It broke away pieces of an interaction and circular time life.
None of us in our stories of the evening told stories of Becoming.
Two nights ago I had the honor of talking about the social impact of technology on music with a private group in Century City.  People stayed for hours, talking about our shared Becoming through streaming music’s transformation.  We talked about the Becoming from our work in the world — and continuing the conversation afterwards.
How do we talk about Becoming with others?  With ourselves?  Can we get caught up in so many of our busy metrics with time in a busy personal framing that we (and I) lose track of our shared Becoming stories?

Blending the University at SXSWedu

Thanks to all who attended our 9 am presentation on March 6, 2013 at SXSWedu in Austin, TX, on Blending the University.  We had a full house of 125 seats plus folks tucked along the back wall.  We also had a robust conversation on the question of organizational challenges with blended learning design during the session and following throughout the day.

Please enjoy and share the presentation.