$50K Worth of Cartography Lessons?!?


Click the picture for a video!

The use of MapBox has opened my eyes to how strictly limited google maps is.

Although streetview is awesome and revolutionary to me, I agree that their ability continute to create more accurate maps is a continually uphill battle. The Atlantic article opened my eyes to the increasing marginal futility of google’s efforts to make their maps more real.

I swing between appreciation for stylistic vs accurate maps. As a high school student, I rode the train every day, and was an avid NYC subway user in general. I noticed places where the map was super accurate; where slight shifts along the 4-train were reflected in the map. I also noticed places where the map simplified things, such as the 63rd Street to 59th Street connection. I think of this map as art.

The maps on map box are aesthetically beautiful but, in my opinion, are not accurate enough to be useful. Although they are certainly great works of art, I hold things like the MTA subway map in higher regard because of the mix of style and information it provides.

Geo-location will become increasingly important as more and more devices are internet enable. I hope google’s monopoly on the Maps process breaks up a little, but also hope to see continued efforts for increased precision and accuracy (such as StreetView) for the maps I have.

What, me worry?


Wow, that Vannevar guy CALLED IT

Camera worn on forehead, the size of a walnut: GoPro

A library of a million volumes compressed into one end of a desk: Hard Drive

Wholly new forms of encyclopedia: Wikipedia, or any wiki for that matter.

He even figured out that digital assets would have a marginal cost of 0 (Britannica example on page 2)!

As Mr. V goes on, he describes what we now know today as Google. He foresees a “selection device” (a memex as he calls it) that helps a user with “selection by association, rather than indexing”. He foresees the deevolution that Nicholas Carr describes.


Carr brings up good points about the associative nature of our apparent neurological rewiring. I believe him. I hate reading. I love the internet and the resources it offers. Although I also am unsure of what the future holds, I’m not afraid. I think it is indeed our “counter-tendency to expect the worst of every new tool or machine” that gives us this initial feeling.

I personally think the machination of these processes will pave the way for humans to be more creative and recreative than ever before. Lets let the robots do all the work. I’ve seen the matrix, iRobot, and all the others. Although I agree we can’t live without computers, I still think we’ve got a long time before computers figure out how to live without us.

Cool, pricey death machine

I chose eBay because the only HTML I’ve ever written was for things I was selling on eBay. The presentation made me nostalgic of the trail-and-error experience I had.

Messing around with the text on well-developed sites is tough. It seems like the code is very well packaged. That being said, one of the most powerful tools for this assignment was the “delete” key.Image

Lukewarm Media

This writing was in response to Marshall McLulan’s interview with Playboy magazine.

On an experiential level, I generally enjoy listening or watching more that reading. I am a product of my generation.

Despite this fact, I feel the order in which I listened to the two assigned works had a large influence on my opinion of the track vs. interview. As the interviewer writes: “Perhaps because the Q and A format serves to pin him down by counteracting his habit of mercurially changing the subject in mid-stream of consciousness” I personally liked the interview better.

I listened to the track during a commute to the allergist. I walked, rode on the 6 train, and waited in a waiting room during the tracks’ length non-stop. As Dan mentioned in class, the work is rather psychedelic. At first the “seemingly disparate elements are imaginatively poised, put in apposition in new and unique ways” messed with my head. However once I got used to this barrage on my sense of hearing, I found some parts boring and other parts entertaining and interesting. The track (supplemented by the Douglas Rushkoff video we watched in class) made his basic thesis clearish: the development of new technology since the phonetic alphabet have changed the way “media” (which he defines very broadly) affects and controls our thinking and, by extension, our lives.

The playboy interview solidified my confidence in what Mr. McLuhan is trying to express. The interviewer does a good job of trying to keep him focused on one train of thought, which made me realize how associative his arguments can be. He refuses to be categorized which he claims is an outdated method of thinking. After reading the interview I don’t really trust that he knows what he is talking about sometimes. He himself says “As an investigator, I have no fixed point of view, no commitment to any theory“. Including your own, Mr. McLuhan?

I’ve got more to say but don’t want to burden readers. For the purposes of this blog, I am a minimalist.

In class, ask me how Matilda (by Roald Dahl) is a counter-argument to some of McLuhan’s theories.