A way of being, a way of meeting

The most dif­fi­cult chal­lenge fac­ing human­i­ty is not devis­ing solu­tions to the ener­gy cri­sis or cli­mate cri­sis or pop­u­la­tion cri­sis; rather, it is bring­ing images and sto­ries of the human jour­ney into our col­lec­tive aware­ness that empow­er us to look beyond a future of great adver­si­ty and to see a future of great oppor­tu­ni­ty. -Duane Elgin

That was the note on which we start­ed, the pitch pipe to which 30 peo­ple in the room adjust­ed their fre­quen­cies as we began a four day adven­ture into the unknown. Our band of adven­tur­ers includ­ed the usu­al sus­pects: the marine biol­o­gists, ex-fish­er­man, polit­i­cal judoists, an activist climber, a vol­un­teer coor­di­na­tor, sailors and salty dogs, the peo­ple you would expect Green­peace to gath­er to plan some cre­ative mis­chief in the name of Moth­er Ocean. But on this trip, we brought oth­er adven­tur­er-guides: a poet, a visu­al artist, some sto­ry­tellers, and a bee­keep­er. Con­tin­ue read­ing “A way of being, a way of meet­ing”

Hashtag-detecting toy protests Shell Arctic oil rig

Greenpeace’s cam­paign to get LEGO to sev­er its rela­tion­ship with Shell prompt­ed me to reach out to the mak­er com­mu­ni­ty on one of my favorite sites, Instructables.com, with this lit­tle project. It’s a Shell oil rig being board­ed peace­ful­ly by a lit­tle LEGO minifig who cel­e­brates every time some­one tweets the cam­paign hash­tag, #BLOCKSHELL, by mak­ing some noise, flash­ing a light, and send­ing the lit­tle activist dude up his climb­ing rope. The instructable for how to make it is here.

But seri­ous­ly, LEGO, build­ing this remind­ed me of just what an amaz­ing toy you have, and what a huge respon­si­bil­i­ty you have to be inspir­ing human inge­nu­ity among old and young alike to do some­thing about the cri­sis our plan­et faces, rather than let the halo effect of your won­der­ful brand get used by an oil com­pa­ny to make more mon­ey on its destruc­tion. LEGO, do the awe­some thing. Stand up for the future of the kids you inspire.

UPDATE: Thank you Lego, for doing the right thing and part­ing ways with Shell. If more com­pa­nies fol­low your exam­ple, we can #SaveT­heArc­tic.

Japan cancels whaling expedition: go celebrate!


IWC Brighton
July, 1982. Sid­ney Holt, David McTag­gart, and Iain MacPhail cel­e­brate the pas­sage of the mora­to­ri­um on com­mer­cial whal­ing by the Inter­na­tion­al Whal­ing Com­mis­sion.

To: David McTag­gart
Hon. Chair­man, Green­peace Inter­na­tion­al

Dear David,

About half an hour ago, I heard that Japan can­celled its 2014/2015 voy­age to the South­ern Ocean to kill whales for “Sci­en­tific Research,” an announce­ment which would have sent you over the moon with jubi­la­tion.

The first image that flashed into my head was the pic­ture at right from July of 1982. You were cel­e­brat­ing the hard-won vic­to­ry in the Inter­na­tion­al Whal­ing Com­mis­sion, when they declared a mora­to­ri­um on com­mer­cial whal­ing — the cul­mi­na­tion of years of work that you, Green­peace, and dozens of oth­er groups and indi­vid­u­als had done in pub­lic, as well as behind the sce­nes, below the decks, and under the table. At the time, you thought that was it, that you’d won, and that Japan’s whal­ing pro­gram­me was over.

It wasn’t, of course. Japan would sim­ply dis­guise their pro­gram­me as sci­ence. You and Green­peace would fight on — you to the end of your days, Green­peace for decades after you passed, along with an entire move­ment that sprung up from those first mist-shroud­ed voy­ages to save the whales.

Today’s announce­ment means that whales in the South­ern Ocean won’t be hunt­ed for the first time in 110 years. We don’t know for sure that Japan has given up entire­ly. They’ve said they’ll “com­ply” with the Inter­na­tion­al Court of Jus­tice rul­ing which declared their cur­rent pro­gram­me, in effect, a sham which con­tribut­ed noth­ing to sci­ence and killed more whales than sci­ence would need. The Japan­ese Fish­eries Agen­cy could still, as they did in 1982, find a loop­hole big enough to fire a har­poon through, but not this year. The har­poons will stay hood­ed, the fac­to­ry ship Nis­sh­in Maru will remain moored, and thou­sands … tens of thou­sands… mil­lions of peo­ple who worked for this day will cel­e­brate.

If you were alive, I can only imag­ine how many rum and cokes and bot­tles of cham­pag­ne you’d pow­er through tonight. But I know right now you’d be on the phone, and writ­ing let­ters, and crow­ing to the press, and say­ing thank yous. You’d be thank­ing Paul Spong for con­vinc­ing Green­peace to launch a Save the Whales cam­paign in 1973, Bob Hunter for com­ing up with the idea of maneu­ver­ing tiny boats between the whales and the whalers and so launch­ing the issue as a glob­al “mind bomb” across tele­vi­sion sets the world over. You’d thank Paul Wat­son for the auda­cious courage he showed with Green­peace and with Sea Shep­herd to end the hunt (yes, you’d have swal­lowed a lot of pride, but you’d have done that), and while you were clench­ing your teeth you’d thank Pete Wilkin­son and Alan Thorn­ton who were great gen­er­als in the war for the whales even if you fell out over their resis­tance to your com­mand. You’d have thanked Rex Weyler and Fred Eas­t­on whose lens­es caught those first images of whales dying at sea and the hero­ics of those who sought to spare them. You’d have remem­bered how you and Bryan Adams leaflet­ed an entire the­atre in Japan when he was play­ing a con­cert there, urg­ing the young peo­ple of Japan to speak out again­st the whalers.

You’d have thanked oth­er musi­cians, from Leonard Bern­stein to Paul McCart­ney to Peter Gabriel to the Water­boys to Mid­night Oil to U2 to Steve van Zandt. You’d have appre­ci­at­ed how sup­port for this cause had cut across soci­ety, from the peo­ple in the streets to roy­al­ty like Prince Charles and Prince Sad­drud­in Aga Khan, adven­tur­ers like Jacques Cousteau and Sir Peter Scott. You’d have thanked Kier­an Mul­vaney and Sara Hold­en and Dave Wal­sh and John Bowler and Kar­li Thomas and Frank Kamp and Irene Berg and Grace O’Sullivan and Andrew Davies and Black Bob and Heath Han­son and Pete Bou­quet and every­one who ever sailed aboard a Green­peace ves­sel into those cold Antarc­tic waters to play cat and mouse with the catcher ships, every­one who ever signed a peti­tion or sent a post­card or donat­ed to IFAW or WWF or Friends of the Earth or Earth Island or the Cetacean Soci­ety or Green­peace or any of the NGOs that worked the trench­es to Save the Whales. You’d have told peo­ple to raise a glass to Sid­ney Holt and Camp­bell Plow­den and Michael Nielsen and Leslie Bus­by and Remi Par­men­tier and John Frizell, who ded­i­cat­ed most of their lives to this cause and spent end­less hours in hor­ri­ble meet­ing rooms count­ing votes and lin­ing up polit­i­cal sup­port for var­i­ous par­lia­men­tary judo moves in attempt to coun­ter the bribery and pork projects that the Japan­ese Fish­eries agen­cy brought to bear to buy votes they couldn’t win. You’d have tipped your hat to Steve Sawyer, Kel­ly Rigg, Pat­ti Forkan, Cas­san­dra Phillips, Domi­t­il­la Sen­ni, Michi Math­i­as, Anne Ding­wall, Elaine Lawrence, Cor­nelia Dur­rant, Lyall Wat­son, to Bill de la Mare and Justin Cooke, to the sci­en­tists who mod­elled whale pop­u­la­tions, the politi­cians who had won easy points and made tough stands, the film­mak­ers who had made films and the writ­ers who had writ­ten books and the artists who had cre­at­ed art. You’d have cov­ered your ass about all the names you for­got or left out by men­tion­ing the fact that you’d need an ency­clo­pe­dia to fit all the names of every­one who did their part, and every­one who walked for whales, fast­ed for whales, went to jail for whales, baked for whales, did Karaoke for whales, swam for whales, or ran for whales.

You’d have a spe­cial place for praise for the ded­i­ca­tion and sac­ri­fice of Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki of Green­peace Japan who endured arrest, ostra­ciza­tion, and ridicule in their own coun­try for expos­ing the theft of sub­si­dized whale meat to line the pock­ets of cor­rupt offi­cials, only to have them­selves accused of theft for pre­sent­ing the evi­dence. And you’d have thanked Peter Gar­rett and the Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment of Mark Rudd for hav­ing the balls to go to court again­st Japan and the legal smarts to actu­al­ly win that high-stakes gam­ble.

And final­ly, you’d have told them all to do exact­ly what you scrawled across that 1982 pic­ture: “Cel­e­brate.”

Cel­e­brate a vic­to­ry for a threat­ened plan­et, and the hope it sug­gests that if we can save the whales, we can save the world. Cel­e­brate the pow­er of glob­al move­ments, and the patience and per­sis­tence it takes to see the arc of his­to­ry bend toward jus­tice. Cel­e­brate activism, dis­obe­di­ence, speak­ing up and act­ing out. Cel­e­brate courage, and cre­ativ­i­ty, poet­ry and song.

That would have been rough­ly the let­ter you’d have writ­ten, or dic­tat­ed to me to write for you.

Rest easy, David, and let’s just say you wrote it. Now, let’s you and me go get a drink, know­ing there’s a bunch of peo­ple out there rais­ing a glass in return to you, and to the cussed ded­i­ca­tion with which you worked for this day.

Cheers, you old goat. We won.




#Arctic30: The triumph of oil rights over human rights

As I write this, friends and col­leagues and a ship I love are in cus­tody in Mur­man­sk because they made a stand again­st big oil.

Russian Security Services Seize Arctic Sunrise
In an armed assault by heli­copter, Rus­sian secu­ri­ty ser­vices seized the Arc­tic Sun­rise on Sep­tem­ber 19th, 2013

The place they chose to make their stand was in the Rus­sian Arc­tic, where Gazprom and Shell are build­ing the first rig to exploit a new oppor­tu­ni­ty to drill where drilling was once impos­si­ble: the new­ly ice-free waters of the once-frozen North.

Two Green­peace activists board­ed the Pri­ra­zlom­naya plat­form to hang a ban­ner, to throw a spot­light on the dan­gers of oil drilling in the arc­tic in par­tic­u­lar, and our con­tin­ued reliance on fos­sil fuels in gen­er­al. Gazprom was hav­ing none of it. Shots were fired at our activists, knives were bran­dished at them, the coast guard sent a heli­copter with armed agents to seize our entire ship — an ille­gal act under the Law of the Sea again­st a Dutch-flagged ship in inter­na­tion­al waters.

But this wasn’t about law. This was about mes­sage. And the mes­sage was painful­ly clear. Our activists and the two jour­nal­ists accom­pa­ny­ing them were told to shut up. With jail cells. With a very pub­lic show of force to let us, and every­one else who might con­sid­er speak­ing up again­st them, know exact­ly who is boss, and what fate awaits those who might con­sid­er this a cause to join. They’re talk­ing to you.

This is the dystopic vision of a world in which democ­ra­cy has been bought with petrodol­lars, in which human rights can be sus­pend­ed,

Oil spills are a daily routine at the Rosneft fields in Siberia. An oil spill in the Pechora sea would be impossible to clean up.
Oil spills are a dai­ly rou­tine at the Ros­neft fields in Siberia. An oil spill in the Pechora sea would be impos­si­ble to clean up.

ignored, tram­pled upon. It’s a world in which Plan­et Earth is occu­pied by a glob­al tyrant: the fos­sil fuel indus­try. Con­tin­ue read­ing “#Arc­tic30: The tri­umph of oil rights over human rights”

Aaron Sorkin: #FreeTheArctic30

Protest Outside The Russian Embassy, MexicoPlease don’t read any fur­ther until you’ve signed the demand to Rus­sia to free my jailed friends, or tak­en some action, any action, of your own inven­tion to fur­ther their cause. THEYRE FREE!!!!!


Aaron Sork­in, I have your next move. You’ve done pol­i­tics in West Wing — show­ing us what politi­cians ought to be as a hope­ful glow and glim­mer beneath the dull and fine­ly observed cloth­ing of what they real­ly are.

You’ve done jour­nal­ism. You’ve shown us the hon­or and integri­ty of the peo­ple who work in The News­room and held it up, in every one of those per­fect­ly penned solil­o­quies by Will McAvoy, as some­thing all of us can aspire to.

It’s time you tack­led activism. Yes, I saw that frus­trat­ed cheap shot you took at Occu­py. But I saw it as tough love. I saw it as the same cocked eye­brow I throw at my own cause, and the organ­i­sa­tion I work for, on any given day when idio­cy or com­pla­cen­cy saps your strength and feeds the teleprompter of your inner voice with sound­bites from your worst crit­ics. But you know as well as I do that’s not what’s real. That’s not what’s at the core. What Occu­py or Avaaz or Anony­mous or 350 or Amnesty at their best have been, and what I saw today from my desk at Green­peace, is a mag­ic I know you can cap­ture: bruised, unbur­nished, and with that ever cyn­i­cal eye that says this isn’t easy stuff, but which res­onates at its core with the music of truth. It’s the sto­ry of ordi­nary peo­ple doing extra­or­di­nary things for caus­es they believe in so deeply that they will go to incred­i­ble extremes, risk impos­si­ble odds, and keep on believ­ing — some­times again­st all evi­dence — that they can change the world. Con­tin­ue read­ing “Aaron Sork­in: #FreeT­heArc­tic30”

Greenpeace: the story that wanted to come true

This is the (most­ly) true sto­ry of a sto­ry that want­ed to come true.

It was Feb­ru­ary 8th, 1970, and a guy named Jim Bohlen was hav­ing break­fast with his wife, Marie, and com­plain­ing about what a bunch of hip­pies he had to deal with. Jim was a mem­ber of the Sier­ra Club in Van­cou­ver.

He was born an Amer­i­can, but he’d moved to Canada to keep his son from being draft­ed into the Viet­nam War, and because of a cri­sis of con­science about his own job. He was an engi­neer with Boe­ing, and had helped design the Atlas Inter-Con­ti­nen­tal Bal­lis­tic Mis­sile, designed to deliv­er nuclear weapons to the Sovi­et Union. Like many of the time, he’d become hor­ri­fied at the prospect of nuclear war, and decid­ed he want­ed no part in it.

Van­cou­ver in those days was a hotbed of peacenikkery. And it was par­tic­u­lar­ly both­ered about a bomb which the US was going to test at Amchitka in the Aleu­tian Islands, which wasn’t very neigh­bourly.

Now this bomb was designed not to test the bomb, but to test the island. The US was try­ing to fig­ure out what the seis­mic sig­nal of nuclear weapons were, and how to dis­tin­guish a bomb sig­na­ture from an earth­quake sig­na­ture. So they’d cho­sen a place where they had seis­mic data on Earth­quakes, because in 1964 the area had expe­ri­enced the Great Alaska Earth­quake, the sec­ond largest earth­quake record­ed in the his­to­ry of the world at that time, 9.2 on the Richter scale. The Tsunami it set off trav­elled all the way across the Paci­fic, and did dam­age as far away as Hawaii and Japan. 133 peo­ple died, and Van­cou­ver suf­fered mil­lions of dol­lars in prop­er­ty dam­age.

So let’s say there was some con­cern about the idea of set­ting off a bomb 400 times more pow­er­ful than the one that destroyed Hiroshi­ma, drilled into the Earth over a major fault line, on an island, in order to test seis­mic reac­tions. You take that and you com­bine it with the fact that this is Richard Nixon test­ing a weapon of mass destruc­tion in the back­yard of the great­est con­cen­tra­tion of war resis­tors, peace activists, and hip­pies ever assem­bled in one place, and you get some idea of the scale of resis­tance the­se tests were fac­ing in Van­cou­ver.

But they’d done every­thing they thought a protest move­ment could do. They’d pick­et­ed the bor­der. They’d waved signs. They’d signed peti­tions. They’d asked Canada to offi­cial­ly com­plain. And the war machine ignored them.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “Green­peace: the sto­ry that want­ed to come true”

Greenpeace on-board campaign training

Arctic Sunrise
Arc­tic Sun­rise

It’s 4am in the morn­ing and the Arc­tic Sun­rise lies at anchor just off Den Helder, the last Dutch port before you enter the North Sea. I’m in the cam­paign office, a cab­in close by the bridge that reeks of human beings spend­ing too many days in too close prox­im­i­ty under too much stress. Here the action team has just learned that their last 24 hours of plan­ning and train­ing to stop an oil rig from mov­ing into place in the Arc­tic have been for nought. The rig has got wind of Greenpeace’s pres­ence in the region, dou­bling its speed. We can’t catch them in time to provide the planned dra­mat­ic back­drop to the speech of Kumi Naidoo, our Exec­u­tive Direc­tor, before the Unit­ed Nations to call for an end to oil drilling in the Arc­tic.

What the team doesn’t know is that this is a false alarm. It’s designed to test their sleep-deprived deci­sion mak­ing, strain the team and its lead­er, demon­strate the impor­tance of back­up con­tin­gen­cy plans at sea, and stress their over­all per­for­mance in tomorrow’s action. If they analy­se the data close­ly, they’ll fig­ure out it makes no sense and start to ques­tion it. If they don’t, they’ll spend the next hour being observed to see how resilient­ly they react, what they pri­ori­tise, and how well they lay out con­tin­gen­cy alter­na­tives. Then they’ll learn that the infor­ma­tion of the rig’s accel­er­a­tion result­ed from a com­put­er glitch, and they can return to the plan they’ve cooked up with the crew and spent most of the night prepar­ing, but an hour the poor­er in prepa­ra­tion time and sleep.

This is an On Board Cam­paign­ers Train­ing, a reg­u­lar fea­ture of the Green­peace Inter­na­tion­al Action Team’s cur­ricu­lum to help accel­er­ate the tran­si­tion of promis­ing trou­ble­mak­er tal­ent into sea­soned salty dogs. Con­tin­ue read­ing “Green­peace on-board cam­paign train­ing”

Storytelling for activists

Are we sit­ting com­fort­ably?

A while back, a few of us were lucky enough to have a sto­ry­telling work­shop with Jon­ah Sachs, author of Win­ning the Sto­ry Wars and the cre­ative force behind “The Meatrix,” “Store Wars,” and “Sto­ry of Stuff.” Our sub­ject was what the sto­ry of Green­peace might be in the com­ing year; what new roles we might play in the age old sto­ry of the hero, in which a bro­ken world is mend­ed. In the nar­ra­tive we want to tell, how­ev­er, Green­peace plays the role of men­tor, not hero: the Obi-Wan who sets some­one on a jour­ney or the Lady of the Lake who gives them a mag­ic sword. Much of our think­ing about Greenpeace’s val­ue cir­cled around the idea of awak­en­ing people’s inner rebel, and the idea that the hero is the one who hears the sto­ry, not the one who tells it. We played with audi­ence pro­files, with arche­types, with nar­ra­tive arcs, and were set a num­ber of chal­lenges to tell sto­ries fea­tur­ing some of our fic­tion­al cre­ations. Here’s the pro­duct of one of my exer­cis­es — it was writ­ten pret­ty close to what you see here in about twen­ty min­utes, but I keep com­ing back to it as some­thing I may want to devel­op fur­ther. Encour­ag­ing nois­es, con­struc­tive crit­i­cism, and howls of dis­ap­proval all wel­come. Con­tin­ue read­ing “Sto­ry­telling for activists”

Top 10 tips for infecting your non-profit with the Social Media bug

You’ve got wit­ty, inter­est­ing peo­ple with pas­sion, exper­tise, and the abil­i­ty to talk the bark off a tree. You wouldn’t expect it to be hard to get EVERYONE in your organ­i­sa­tion using Social Media, right? Except some­times it is.

It’s so hard, in fact, that sev­er­al dozen Social Media Man­agers turned up to a work­shop at SXSW to dis­cuss noth­ing but.

Pan­el organ­is­er Beth Kan­ter, author of The Net­worked Non-Prof­it, makes a com­pelling case that the most effec­tive non-prof­its are those in which EVERYBODY in the organ­i­sa­tion does social media pro­mo­tion of the cause, from the Exec­u­tive Direc­tor all the way up to the recep­tion­ist.

Amy Sam­ple Ward did a nice write up of the pan­el pre­sen­ta­tions here, and there’s a Stori­fy treat­ment from Beth here. But the real­ly best ideas came bub­bling up from the col­lect­ed expe­ri­ence in the room, and I keep cir­cling back on juicy tips and tweets that came to the sur­face in this high­ly inter­ac­tive pan­el, and think­ing I should gath­er them up. So here they are as a cheat sheet. Add your own in the com­ments! Con­tin­ue read­ing “Top 10 tips for infect­ing your non-prof­it with the Social Media bug”

Broken Clay Pottery and Shards of Google Glass: SXSW 2013

Pro­to­type device with unclear pur­pose oth­er than trip­ping you up while walk­ing.

The Cur­mud­geon­ly Keynote which Bruce Ster­ling deliv­ers every year at tech con­fer­ence SXSW riffed heav­i­ly this year on the ancient past: the lost desert peo­ple of Wal­nut Canyon, Ari­zona, who, like the flan­nel hip­sters in the audi­ence sur­round­ing me, were once the great­est inno­va­tors of their day. As their cli­mate changed, they cre­at­ed adap­tive tech­nolo­gies: they learned to carve into the cliff faces, to har­vest con­den­sa­tion, to build clay pots to catch and chan­nel snow and rain. They became “the Stan­ford of desert sur­vival tech­niques, the MIT of clay pot­tery.” But they passed. The cold wind blows through emp­ty stone rooms. Their civil­i­sa­tion burned.

For Ster­ling, there’s a para­ble here about tech­no­log­i­cal advance. He had pre­dict­ed a few years back that the blog would be dead by 2017. Four years ear­ly, he asked with some smug­ness, “where at this SXSW were the keynote pan­els fea­tur­ing rock­star blog­gers? What star­tups or roll­outs for blog­ging soft­ware were buzzing at SXSW? Did any pan­el even men­tion a PC?” His point: you live by dis­rup­tion, you die by dis­rup­tion. And when you invent the future, you con­sume the past. So lets leave the shards of Rock­et­Boom and Lone­ly­Girl15 and the lat­est Dell Lap­top on the floor of that adobe cliff home, and con­sid­er what was roast­ing and eat­ing the past with a side of Nokia this year, and pick­ing its teeth with Black­ber­ry bones.

Tim­o­thy Jor­dan of Google prepar­ing his demo at SXSW

This was the year of the Wear­ables and the Print­a­bles. Tim Jor­dan demon­strat­ed Google Glass. He talked com­mands to it and Siri-like, it took his dic­ta­tion and act­ed on it. He tapped through email mes­sages on his ear­piece and sent images of the audi­ence to Face­book. He looked up a word. He gave the sali­vat­ing coders in the Audi­ence tips on how to write a “Hel­lo World” app and four prin­ci­ples for design­ing for Google Glass. There was a super cool video show­ing Pep­si-gen­er­a­tion kids promis­ing our eye­ware will make roller coast­ers more fun.
Con­tin­ue read­ing “Bro­ken Clay Pot­tery and Shards of Google Glass: SXSW 2013”

South by So Far

It tru­ly is the place where the future gets mar­ket­ed to death before it’s invent­ed. Mid­point mini-take-aways: wear­able devices WAY beyond google glass are com­ing soon and present a huge and excit­ing user inter­face design chal­lenge: and a social inte­gra­tion chal­lenge. I love BUMP’s new abil­i­ty to bump a pho­to or video to your Mac by tap­ping the space­bar with your cell phone. Grumpy Cat rules. And I’ve learned tons about African mobile devices, Digifre­nia and Present shock, tips and tricks for hack­ing inter­nal non-prof­it cul­ture to cre­ate a more social-media friend­ly ecosys­tem, Trig­ger-ties as a viral engi­neer­ing prin­ci­ple, and stuff in the Shut­tle busses, lunch tables, and cof­fee breaks about UFO & con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry, Wal-Mart’s social media strat­e­gy, NASA’s space camp, how to build a Lego Tardis, the his­to­ry of Wired’s inter­nal split over blind opti­mism and “The Long Boom,” how Sier­ra Club is struc­tured, the art of mak­ing a smokey mar­tini, and a Tex­as tra­di­tion called “Chick­en Shit Bin­go.” Who knew?

SXSW 2013 Storified

This is a stori­fied cura­tion of most of the pan­els I saw at SXSW 2013, in reverse chrono­log­i­cal order. Next time, I’m going to break the­se up into indi­vid­u­al pan­els, and hang those on a mas­ter file of linked stori­fied sto­ries. It’s dif­fi­cult to nav­i­gate a long piece like this by pag­ing through until you get back to the pan­el you want­ed. The­se served as notes for my wrap-up blog, Clay pots and shards of Google Glass.
Con­tin­ue read­ingSXSW 2013 Stori­fied”

Tweeting from the clouds: new Boeing 777 is Digifriendly

Post­ed this on their Face­book page:

Dear Amer­i­can Air­li­nes,

I’m fly­ing from Ams­ter­dam today to SXSW in Austin in one of your spank­in’ new 777s, and just want to say THANK YOU for the wifi over the Atlantic, and for the pro­mo­tion­al price of… FREE. You should keep it that way! Any mar­gin­al income you might get from a $19 pass would be peanuts com­pared to the good­will and pref­er­ence you’d get from peo­ple like me who live online. I’m plugged into a 220v sock­et so my MacBook’s bat­tery isn’t rac­ing the clock. I’m tweet­ing from 30000 feet about what a great expe­ri­ence this is. Please, please, keep it that way!

I can’t remem­ber the last time I was seri­ous­ly excit­ed about an air­plane. OK, the Wifi was slow of course, and cut out over the Arc­tic Cir­cle, and the promise of iPod recog­ni­tion and USB thumb dri­ve media access on the USB didn’t work. The air­port maps are unread­ably detailed with no zoom func­tion. The Stew­ardess told me there’s a sys­tem for seat to seat SMS-like com­mu­ni­ca­tion that’s not imple­ment­ed yet. And among the bugs yet to be worked out in the plane itself, seat 33C sticks out into the aisle as part of a 3 seat row behind a two seat row, mak­ing for tricky meal cart nav­i­ga­tion. Ow. OW. Ow. 

But the moment when I real­ly felt like I was in the Matrix was on exit­ing the plane. You look out on a sea of seat-back screens and realise that every one is dis­play­ing a dif­fer­ent stew­ard or stew­ardess. Nice touch. 

Never talk to strangers? F@&!% that, this is #SXSW

I’ve got my mophie charged, my most com­fort­able walk­ing shoes bro­ken in, my hotel was booked last August. My live blog­ging book­marks are all assem­bled on the Mac­book, the sched­ul­ing app is on the iPad and I’m shar­ing my cal­en­dar with folks on the Social.sxsw.com site. Got a stack of busi­ness cards for the 1870s retro crowd and Bump, Ever­note Hel­lo, Sonar, and High­light load­ed on the iPhone. I’m putting exclu­sive air­play and heavy rota­tion on Do512’s Bands-that-will-be-there playlist. I haven’t yet cut back my sched­ule to the real­is­tic but what are plane flights for?

I’m ready for the marathon learn­ing cir­cus and cre­ative geek-out which is South by South­west (SXSW) in Austin, Tex­as.
Con­tin­ue read­ing “Nev­er talk to strangers? F@&!% that, this is #SXSW