Category Archives: technology

Women Who Tech TeleSummit

Kaliya Hamlin sent the following message to the members of She’s Geeky.

Registration is now open for the 2009 Women Who Tech TeleSummit scheduled for May 12, 2009 from 11AM EST to 6PM EST. I’m so excited about this year’s line up and I know you will be too. Check it out!;

Women have really rocked the tech and social media world this past year and we are proud to be featuring Lisa Stone of BlogHer, Allison Fine of Personal Democracy Forum, Rashmi Sinha of SlideShare, Charelene Li, co-author of Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies, Shireen Mitchell of Digital Sistas, Holly Ross of NTEN, Rebecca Moore of Google Earth Outreach and so much more.

Our thought provoking panels (held by phone and web) will inspire you and give you the latest resources and tools that you can take back to the office and launch a successful and meaningful campaign or build your online personal brand, determine the ROI of your organizations social media outreach, get that big promotion or even launch your own startup. Check out these awesome panels:;

* Launching Your Own Startup * Breaking Through the Digital Ceiling * Social Media ROI * Women and Open Source * Tools Galore in Online Communications * Democratizing Data and Watch-Dogging the Government * Video Activism * Tech Marketing in a Recession * Social Networks and Diversity Barriers * Innovation and Tech Career Reinvention * What Shirky Didn’t Tell Us * Feminine Mystique

Click the link below to view the full panel descriptions and register now! Like last year we expect the panels to fill up super fast.;

Also we will be having fun after-parties after the TeleSummit on May 12th in Washington, DC, NYC, San Francisco, and London so save the date and come get your tech on with us. I will send a follow up email about the after-parties next week. I would also like to thank our amazing sponsors for their generous support of Women Who Tech. FreePress, Democracy In Action, Rad Campaign, Convio, Care2, NTEN, and Massey Media. Questions, comments? Email me anytime at You can also reach me on twitter @womenwhotech.


Smart Pen for Interviews and Other Uses?

This post on the blog Digital Ethnography sent me to the Livescribe site to look at their smartpen.  It records audio.  In conjunction with coded paper in a notebook, you turn the recording on and off.  It also transfers your notes to your computer as images and OCRs (?) them so you can search them.  I figured they would make their money from the paper,  but they say you can print your own.  (Of course, you have to give up your favorite pen and notebook.)

I haven’t investigated this in detail — am posting this in the hope that a reader either has or will investigate further and let us all know, in more detail, what it does and whether it lives up to its promises.

New Course for Spring: Digital Narratives


CCN: 42875.
Time: Wed. 2-4*
Location: 110 South Hall

*May change — contact vanhouse@ischool and I’ll explain.

Current developments in multimedia technology are leading to increased use of a variety of media for representation for communication. These include still images, video, animation and audio as well as text.  A number of existing applications make it increasingly easy for people to develop their own multimodal “texts” without special expertise.  The question is: How are people using these resources? How can they be effectively used?  And how can these resources be better designed to support these efforts?

We will look at two common applications areas to investigate these questions:
(1)    Do It Yourself: construction and use of multimodal resources for showing, teaching, and learning in the field of do-it-yourself  (crafts, building, repair, and related activities without professional help); and
(2)    Digital story-telling, for personal/collective history but for other purposes as well.

MORE about the content of the course below.


Graduate students interested in exploring the confluence of emerging technologies and narratives of various kinds. Could include students from the School of Information, Computer Science, Education, Art Practice, Architecture, Archeology, Film Studies, New Media…a wide variety of areas.   Grad students only unless and undergrad manages to convince us otherwise.


Prof. Nancy Van House, School of Information: has done considerable work on digital personal and collective memory, visual studies, new media.

Dr. Elizabeth Churchill, Yahoo Research: has a PhD in cognitive science. She works at Yahoo on various projects related to digital memory,  user-generated content, and digital resources for DIY (do-it-yourself.)


Our reasons for choosing these two areas:  there’s considerable interest, activity, and user-generated content in each.  This interest is likely to continue and grow (they aren’t current fads).

These areas share some similarities: they can benefit from both pre-existing and specially-constructed visual, audio, and textual resources.  Both are of considerable interest among non-professionals, as leisure activities.   Both have a narrative element to them, whether it’s the story of an event, or how to do something from beginning to end.  The audiences for both are more or less peers.

They differ in their goals, and the kinds of stories that they tell and information resources use and create.

Interestingly, these areas often overlap, as apprentices learn techniques and stories from their predecessors and mentors. In this way, traditions and practices continue and evolve.

Both can benefit from using technology to tell stories and track revisions. And both are likely to be intertextual, linking to and drawing on existing resources.

This is not a technology design course; we do not expect students to build new technologies, although we will explore the space of potential designs to address emerging creative needs and directions.  We will, as far as possible, rely on existing technologies.   However, these will be treated as prototypes; we will ask how these (or similar) technologies could be better designed to suit the understandings that emerge from this course.

Students don’t necessarily need to be interested in either of these application areas.  We’ll treat these areas as examples.  Students may well bring to the course other areas of interest that share some of these key elements.

READING AREAS MAY INCLUDE (with varying degrees of depth and emphasis)

•    Visual studies: what it is; what it says about the role of visual media in general, and contemporary developments.  The relationships among still images, video, and audio.
•    Visual epistemology: the relationship between the visual and text
•    “Visual psychology” (for lack of a better term) – deciding when and how visual media are most effective for different communicative needs/desires
•    Multimodality
•    Narrative and storytelling
•    Objects as carriers of content and symbolic meaning
•    Issues of publicness and media – e.g., images are both more fraught and more evocative than text
•    Procedural teaching and learning


As noted, this is not a technology design course.  We will, as far as possible, rely on existing technologies.  However, existing technologies will be treated as prototypes; one issue will be how these (or similar) technologies could be better designed to suit the understandings that emerge from this course.

These will likely include:
•    Flickr and other photo (and video) sharing sites
•    YouTube and other video sharing sites
•    MemoryMiner or similar – software for constructing personal/family histories

This list is not exhaustive, but indicative.


•    Committed participation: reading and engaging with the course materials and topics
•    Some sort of major product:  probably a paper applying the concepts of he course to some area of interest.  One product could be a technology design: a prototype, or at least design requirements.

I212 Syllabus Posted

I’ve posted a tentative syllabus for I212, Information in Society: Critical Technology Studies: Science and Technology Studies and Reflective HCI.

UPDATE 11/12: that link is now live.

We’ll read some key work in STS and related areas (including distributed cognition and activity theory), and pair those readings with others where authors at least claim to be applying these theoretical approaches to problems related to design, information and information systems, and other areas of interest to students in the class (e.g., probably ICTD).

We’re fiddling with scheduling to try to make this course accessible to the people who want take it (rather than my just picking a time and crossing my fingers that people can show up), so if you’re interested, email me and let me know (vanhouse @ ischool).

Spring I212 — Critical Technology Studies: Science and Technology Studies and Reflective HCI

Spring 09
M 1-4  (but see below)
Location: 202 South Hall
CCN: 42575 (3 units)

This spring’s I212 will combine an intro to science and technology studies (STS) with reflective Human-Computer Interaction(HCI).   The goal is to look at a variety of ways of understanding how people use, adapt, and domesticate information and communication technologies, and how these might affect HCI and ICT design.  We will look at a lot of both theoretical literature and practical studies.

This is *not* a technical class, but will instead focus on how to motivate and evaluate design from many perspectives. It’ll be useful for technology designers, but especially for students interested in expanding their understanding of the relevant literature and theoretical perspectives.

In this class, we’ll define both HCI and STS loosely.  HCI is concerned with the interaction between people and technology, and design that fits people’s practices and needs.  HCI has gradually expanded its scope to include more and more of the human sciences.  Reflective HCI seeks to surface the often-unstated assumptions and values embedded inn HCI.  Science and Technology Studies (STS) is a multi-disciplinary field rooted mostly in the social sciences, but also history and philosophy, that addresses the relationship between society and technology. Much of reflective HCI is rooted in STS.

We’ll look at alternative theories from STS and HCI but also from communications studies and related fields.  Exact topics will depend on who’s in the class and what our collective interests are.

Past offerings of this class have included students from computer science and other engineering departments, education, architecture, and other departments as well as the iSchool.

Because the topic and coverage of this course changes, people who have taken it before can get credit this year as independent or group study.

Syllabus from the last offering, 2006: — it was mostly PhD students (from the iSchool and elsewhere).  I expect this year it will have more master’s students and so more focus on what this means for design and professional practice.

Class will meet Mondays 1-4. However, we may be able to reschedule the course to fit the schedules of the students who actually enroll, so if you’re interested in the course, let me know.

Also let me know if you are interested in particular topics within this area  —  it’s useful to know if people have specific interests.

iSchool Grads’ Fame

Hannes, Kevin, and YimingHannes Hesse, Kevin Mateo Lim, and Yiming Liu’s start-up based on their final project has made the Washington Post and USA Today.

Berkeley, Calif.-based Popcuts, which publicly launched its Web site in early August, charges users 99 cents per song. Thereafter, whenever someone else buys the same song, those who have already bought it get paid in credit that can be redeemed for more Popcuts music. The earlier you buy a song, the larger your cut of future sales.

Good work, guys!

Discounted Macs

MacBook Air

MacBook Air

If anyone is thinking of buying a MacBook Air (which I just did) — I got one refurbished from Apple. It was $300 off the full price, and $200 off the educational price.