Thursday night, I met Greg Elin at a BBQ and he told me about Fotonotes, his evolving protocol for annotating images in marvelous and hitherto-unimagined ways. If you work with images online you know that the image info that travels with an image is static, limited and nearly useless if you want to know anything besides caption and credit. What if instead images came with a flexible architecture of annotation? What if you could string together multiple narratives based on segments of images or even connotations of an image? What if the annotation space was extensible based on user input and response? The possibilities seem pretty limitless. It only makes sense that we should shake off the notion that an image is inert and sacrosanct in what it’s doing and what it’s about. We respond to it with a rich context of associations, why not embed more of that into the experience? I gotta go to more barbecues.
Friday I got schooled by Michael Weinstein, who explained some of the work the Robin Hood Foundation is doing developing standards for measuring programmatic success. Michael’s an economist and a former member of the NYT editorial board, and I’m just an English major bumming around in the NPO world, but the rigor and cross-program standardization he was talking about sounded like a long-overdue leap in depth and accountability for the murky world of “demonstrable outcomes” in the civil society sector.
Then later Friday I got schooled by Ken Jordan, who’s editing the piece Rob and I wrote for the Planetwork journal. I’ve been obsessed with Grateful Dead alumni culture (which I’ll tell you about another time), and Ken made some characteristically astute observations about the relationships between pop culture, counter-culture and movement culture before, during and after the Deadhead heyday in the 70s and 80s.
Later that day I got schooled about the T’ang Dynasty and ancient Chinese figurines. That’s another story, but, dude, if you want to get schooled in peaceful spots in the middle of Manahatta, check out The Astor Court at the Met.