Everyware : The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing

Adam Greenfield’s book “Everyware : The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing” is about to be released.

I’ve known Adam for a number of years (he was an early advisor of mine while WINKsite was being conceived), enjoying many engaging conversations over many a cup of coffee. “Everyware” is the culmination of his life experiences, thoughtful explorations, and beliefs. I for one can not wait to get my hands on my pre- ordered copy.

Last year, Adam Greenfield wrote an inspring article titled, “All watched over by machines of loving grace: Some ethical guidelines for user experience in ubiquitous-computing settings”. (On the same topic.)

Adam provided some general principles for us to observe, as designers and developers for ubiquitous systems.

    Principle 0, is, of course, first, do no harm.

    Principle 1. Default to harmlessness. Ubiquitous systems must default to a mode that ensures their users’ (physical, psychic and financial) safety.

    Principle 2. Be self-disclosing. Ubiquitous systems must contain provisions for immediate and transparent querying of their ownership, use, capabilities, etc., such that human beings encountering them are empowered to make informed decisions regarding exposure to same.

    Principle 3. Be conservative of face. Ubiquitous systems are always already social systems, and must contain provisions such that wherever possible they not unnecessarily embarrass, humiliate, or shame their users.

    Principle 4. Be conservative of time. Ubiquitous systems must not introduce undue complications into ordinary operations.

    Principle 5. Be deniable. Ubiquitous systems must offer users the ability to opt out, always and at any point.

I, for one, am sticking close and watching Adam. You should, too.

Book Description: Everyware : The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing
“From the RFID tags now embedded in everything from soda cans to the family pet, to smart buildings that subtly adapt to the changing flow of visitors, to gestural interfaces like the ones seen in Minority Report, computing no longer looks much like it used to. Increasingly invisible but present everywhere in our lives, it has moved off the desktop and out into everyday life–affecting almost every one of us, whether we’re entirely aware of it or not.

Author Adam Greenfield calls this ubiquitous computing “everyware.” In a uniquely engaging approach to this complex topic, Greenfield explains how such “information processing dissolving in behavior” is reshaping our lives; brief, aphoristic chapters explore the technologies, practices, and innovations that make everyware so powerful and seem so inevitable.

If you’ve ever sensed both the promise of the next computing, and the challenges it represents for all of us, this is the book for you. “Everyware” aims to gives its reader the tools to understand the next computing, and make the kind of wise decisions that will shape its emergence in ways that support the best that is in us.”

Adam Greenfield
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)

Adam Greenfield is an American writer and information architect. He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1968.

Greenfield attended New York University during the late 1980s, earning a degree in Cultural Studies. By the mid-1990s, he had enlisted in the United States Army’s reserve component Special Operations Command as a Psychological operations specialist, holding MOS 37F and eventually achieving the grade of Sergeant.

Greenfield took up work in the then-nascent field of information architecture for the World Wide Web, holding a succession of prominent positions culminating in employment at the Tokyo office of Razorfish, where he was head of the information architecture department. He is probably best known for having written an “open-source constitution for post-national states” called the Minimal Compact, as well as proposed ethical guidelines for developers of ubiquitous-computing environments. He is also credited with having coined the word “moblog” to describe the practice of publishing to the World Wide Web from mobile devices, and the word “everyware” as an umbrella term for ubiquitous and pervasive computing, ambient informatics and tangible media. He is the author of Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing (ISBN 0321384016) (2006).

He is generally considered to be a thought leader in the information architecture and user experience professions. Greenfield maintains a Web site devoted to discussions of “beauty, utility and balance across the meta-field of design.”

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