Year: 2016

Prodding existential crises

When my internal dialogue slips into the negative realm (of despair), I believe its the best opportunity to prod myself with mental enquiries: why is life “life”? What do you want to do with your existence? Does it matter anyway? I suppose I am torturing myself, but it returns some of the best insights into my life. I am fortunate enough to be capable of doing so. I have close relationships to individuals who wouldn’t prod themselves in the same way. To them, their anxiety disorder or diagnosed depression could be worsened via further negative thoughts. I suppose this is true, I am inclined to test out the outcomes of their hypothesis on them, but I care for them too much to pressure them either way. I provoke my existentialism like fire. On occasion it burns me, or perhaps scares me, but often I’m in awe of its appearance. I have a strong mental state – it rarely wavers.  My outlook on my existence is daring and hopeful, as I am training to make the …

Do more with Audiobooks

Audiobooks now fill up the silence in my days. Whether I’m cleaning the house, driving, or going to the gym; I start playing an audiobook. I’ve increased my reading from 3 books last year, to almost a book a week this year. But reading audiobooks did more than increase the amount of books I’ve read. It made starting and completing those mundane habitual tasks an exciting prospect. Instead of dreading the time wasted, I look forward to the time I can read while completing tasks. Overall I’m learning more and more every day, in whatever spare time I have. First, find yourself a pair of lightweight and durable headphones – mine are bluetooth wireless (no cables allow for freedom of movement). That way you can hang them around your neck wherever you go and read your audiobook whenever possible. Also, lets make this clear: listening to audiobooks is reading. Why? Because visual and auditory systems are similar cognitive processes. So much so, that our listening comprehension correlates with our reading comprehension. But why read an …

APIs: a Human Social Interface

Jay Cousin’s conceptualises Personal APIs as Social APIs. Put simply, a Social API is a means of creating an interface of yourself for organisations and groups. In his blog, his conceived Social API is a list of common responses to selected topics (like a FAQ), detailing his preferences for email length to comfort food. Cousin’s reasons that this presentation was conceived around the idea that humans have an interface problem. “I find this notion of Human as software interesting, I would like to make my own behavioural code open source, which could also make memetic and behavioural replication easier.” The conception of a Social API as open source behavioural code suggests that the aggregation of personal data could assist in social interactions with the individual. In Naveen’s commentary on his own API, he conceives his project as a virtual me. The virtual me is defined by all published quantifiable data publicly available. The aggregation of data from multiple platforms would produce the quantified self. So, if the human is defined as software then the quantified …

APIs for Students

My exploration of the API focusses on its ability to assist in agency for an individual within a system. I’m exploring beyond the grounds of feedback systems, and assessing other forms of potential Edutech platforms. APIs – application program interfaces – provide a programme to access and interact with datasets within another program. APIs let you build, hack and remix current systems. For example, a student has utilised Twitter’s API to post (on their behalf) data pulled from UOW’s Parking API to build a (somewhat satirical) Twitter account that tweets out parking availability amongst social commentary. Or, something more elaborate that integrates data from BOM weather mapping, and Livetrafic feed with UOW parking data. Both of these (Indie edutech) platforms are possible due to the availabilities of APIs. Essentially, connecting two (or more) data sets from separate systems produces more value than either of them could independently: an API economy. Within an API economy the value exchanged is our own data. It’s the standardised value exchange when signing up for (particularly free) services online. In …