The LongPen

LongPen LogoThe Globe and Mail has a story about Margaret Atwood’s LongPen technology, Border no barrier for Black’s autograph pen. I remain convinced this is a really stupid idea, but I have the feeling no one else does. Exactly why would someone want to not get their book signed by telepresence. The videoconferencing with the author may be a draw, but the remote signing? The answer, according to the site is that,

According to fans, this is a more intimate experience than a traditional signing, as you are looking directly into the face of the fan, as opposed to briefly looking up from your chair when signing in person. The video conferencing also makes it easier for the fan to be expressive about your work, as the technological distance makes them less nervous.

Atwood must really hate book signing tours.

Flores: Upload, Download

Image of Art WorkWhile in Berlin I took some pictures in a gallery of an art installation upload download overload by Dolores Flores. I took pictures of Upload, Overload and Download for the Dictionary of Words in the Wild. What I didn’t realize until I checked the web about the installation, was that the little paper figures were significant. They are “beer people” and, as the web site explains,

The “beer people” were created in the year 1993, in an old Berliner beer “Kneipe”.

Made out of the paper ring that is attached to the bottom of a fresh tapped pilsner beer glass, to absorb the foam drippings. This paper ring was the inspiration behind the making of the “beer people”. Each figure is a unikat, torn, ripped and folded.

As they say, “Do not fold, spindle or mutilate”. and other words in the wild

As I think about and show the Dictionary of Words in the Wild Surreal Headline ImageI’ve come across some neat web sites that deal with public textuality in different ways. is dedicated to tracking public advertising and the law in Toronto.

Melissa sent me a link to a great mashup, The London Evening Standard Headline Generator from She also pointed me to a Flickr collection Evening Standard Headline Crisis 2007 which collects images of the headlines displayed on the boards. Looks like the raw material for the Generator.

The Dictionary of Words in the Wild

Image of Word Cloud The Dictionary of Words in the Wild is an experiment in public textuality that I’m leading. Andrew MacDonald has done the programming and is contributing images (along with others). You can get an account and upload pictures of words or phrases. We have an application programming interface that you can use to then create web applications that call the dictionary. Join, sample, load! We need pictures.

Try a phrase:

James pointed me to a similar experiment, The Visual Dictionary – a visual exploration of words in the real world. This focuses on single words and has a ranking/rating system. It doesn’t, however, have the API we have. I wonder how we can interoperate? Can such dictionaries be a movement?