Monthly Archives: August 2009

Alberto Camerini, prophète du spaghetti cyberpunk

1983. Le magazine Time attribue le prix “personnalité de l’année” à un ordinateur. William Gibson travaille encore le manuscrit de Neuromancien. Steve Jobs regarde dubitatif le prototype du premier Mac. Les hackers du Chaos Computer Club de Berlin préparent l’hold-up électronique de la Hamburger Sparkasse. Donna Haraway se demande qu’est-ce qu’un cyborg.

Le chanteur Italien Alberto Camerini, compose “Computer Capriccio”, chanson qui préfigure les communautés virtuelles, les MMORPG et les médias sociaux.

Voilà un extrait live (en playback, Eighties obligent)


Melbourne workshop on HCI and sustainable food culture

Hungry 24/7? HCI Design for Sustainable Food Culture, OZCHI 2009, Melbourne

Call for Participation

24 Nov 2009, The University of Melbourne

This workshop proposes to explore new approaches to cultivate and  support sustainable food culture in urban environments via human  computer interaction design and ubiquitous technologies.

Food is a  challenging issue in urban contexts: while food consumption decisions  are made many times a day, most food interaction for urbanites occurs  based on convenience and habitual practices. This situation is  contrasting to the fact that food is at the centre of global  environment, health, and social issues that are becoming increasingly  immanent and imminent. As such, it is timely and crucial to ask: what  are feasible, effective, and innovative ways to improve human-food-interaction through human-computer-interaction in order to contribute  to environmental, health, and social sustainability in urban  environments?

This workshop is an open and active forum for forward- thinking practitioners and scholars across disciplines to discuss this  question, and plan and promote individual, local, and global change  for sustainable food culture.

YOU DO NEED TO BE HUNGRY (for networking, knowledge, creativity, fun, and of course, food!)

Hidden track #5: The Sultans of Ping FC nostalgia post

A long, long time ago, in the 1990s, the word “Britpop” still meant something. Unfortunately. Young lads like me didn’t have much of a choice, musically speaking, if not between the revolting Oasis and the obnoxious Blur. Those were dark ages, indeed! Yet, in those gloomy years, a bunch of Irish punks kept the torch of music shining: The Sultans of Ping F.C.


The name was taken from the Dire Straits song “Sultans of Swing.” As for the short-lived F.C. (Football Club) suffix, it was justified by the fact their first successful single “Give him a ball and a yard of grass” was given away for free as a flexi-disk with a 1993 issue of the English soccer fanzine Nottingham Forest. Of course, “successful” is an overstatement. At best their singles reached 21 in the UK Indie Charts, their concerts packed 3,000 people tops, and in 1996 they finished their musical career becoming one of those bands that are “big in Japan” – where their songs were used for commercials and kids TV shows. (more…)

Vintage Swiss giant robot: "how much ya bench?"

Yes, I know. As of lately, I’ve been an absent father to this blog. It’s the summertime and I’m just trying to snatch a little holiday between my upcoming projects and my close-to-finished book. So I came to Zurich to enjoy the lake, the sun and my cryptic interests – which include giant robots. Yes, I know. I’ve been watching too many Mazinger’s anime as a kid. Which would probably explain my childlike fascination with Sabor V, a 237 cm, 270 kg pile of metal and transistors I discovered at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK).

There are so many reasons why I find it intriguing. I mean, the first prototype was built in 1928, just a few years after the actual invention of the word “robot” by Karel Čapek. At the same time I find it so wrong – on so many levels. Starting with the name: who would call a robot Sabor V? It sounds something halfway between a demented Spanish king and a Hungarian supervillain. But then again, I also find it so profoundly representative of the 20th century notions of humanity –  or at least of the notion of humanity a Swiss engineer could have back in the days. I could go on and write a lengthy essay developing all these topics. But as I said at the beginning: holidays, rest, lake. No writing. So I’ll paste a series of questions and a bunch of links and let you, Beloved Reader,  do the thinking. Enjoy.