Confluences: GeoProject USA and Google Maps

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    Confluences: GeoProject USA and Google Maps

    This morning I read in the Boston Globe about Google’s decision to allow developers to plug customized data into Google maps, basically legitizing what hackers were already doing (“Google points way to Maps’ code”). They’ve made their API info available at

    When I ran across the GeoProject USA, I noticed they had already put together their own Google map to present geocoded information. The project is an another interesting heuristic for exploring place:

    The objective of Geo Project USA is to visit and photograph every spot in the U.S. where a whole-numbered minute of latitude intersects with a whole-numbered minute of longitude (e.g., 38°14’00″N, 109°55’00″W), in what is better known as a confluence point. 

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    Longfellow Epitaph

    17        There is no Death! What seems so is transition;
    18           This life of mortal breath
    19        Is but a suburb of the life elysian,
    20           Whose portal we call Death.

    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “Resignation” (1886-1991)

    On a gravestone in Mt. Auburn Cemetery 


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    The Quint House Goes Wireless

    Tonight I’m sitting on the porch enjoying the warm summer breeze while working online for the first time–thanks to the wireless network I finally set up last night. I just never bothered to set one up, since our wired network has served us just fine, but now that my third floor room has reached oven-like temperatures, I decided it was time to give myself a bit more mobility to work in other (cooler) parts of the house. For only $40 bucks and about an hour of my time, it will definately be worth it.

    What strikes me about this relatively modesty technological advance is not how easy it was but how long I was willing to put up with sitting in one place in my room, even after I had grown used to working in many other places with wireless networks. I’ve been so thoroughly conditioned to work around what’s convenient for computers that I often forget to demand more user-centered experience from the tools I use.

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    Computers and Writing 2005, Stanford

    Since Wednesday I’ve been in Palo Alto at the Computers and Writing 2005 conference, and tomorrow I’ll be heading back to Boston. The conference has been good–I feel like I got what I came for–but now I’m ready to get back to Boston and finish this rather taxing trip.

    Rodin's On Friday night we had a banquet at Stanford’s Rodin Garden, and I took a particular liking to his sculpture “Spirit of Eternal Repose,” coming back two more times during the week to look at it. I guess I could identify with it–the perpetual sense of being off balance. And yet the figure doesn’t fall, which is important for me to remember, amidst all the anxiety produced by “networking” and talking to folks about the job market for the last few weeks.

    I’ve been staying with Andy and Rebecca in Menlo Park, and one of the perks of this has been having a bike to use to get to Stanford every day. Today Andy and I brunched at Jony’s and then Rebecca joined us for a late afternoon hike El Corte Del Madre (to get my Redwook fix). It’s been good to catch up with both of them, and get a taste of their life here.

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    Rodin’s “Spirit of Eternal Repose

    Spirit of Eternal Repose (c. 1898) by Auguste Rodin, in the Stanford Cantor Rodin Garden

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    CIWIC 2005: Wrapping Up

    Well, the last two weeks are now a blur of class time, lab time, and socializing at various sites around the Keweenaw. The immersion experience has kept me from doing much blogging, and now I have to hit the road so that I can get back to Minneapolis before too late. Perhaps I’ll have a chance later to throw some photos up.

    For now, I’ll post my final Director map project (really more of a prototype, since the content is slim):

    Map|Me (3MB Shockwave file)

    It gave me a chance to wrestle with Director, Photoshop, and Illustrator, as well as conceptualize some ways of designing multimodal place-oriented compositions. Hopefully I’ll be able to work with it more as I begin transferring to Flash.

    Now what need is a long drive to begin processing my first CIWIC experience.

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    CIWIC 2005: Getting Started

    For the next two weeks, I’m up at the Computers in Writing Intensive Classrooms program at Michigan Tech. We’ve hit the ground running the last couple of days, and I already feel like I’ve learned quite a bit.

    In the New Media workshop I’m in, we’ve been discussing the nature of visual arguments, and our first assignments have had us working in Photoshop and Director, two programs I was larglely unfamiliar with when I started.

    Our first day’s assignment was to create a one-page visual argument using photoshop, and the second day’s assignment was to create a sequential argument using Director.

    I took “e-waste” as my topic for both:

    I’m now off to a picnic along Lake Superior, a much-need break from the lab.

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