Negril, Jamaica

May 2012. Eight couples of college friends all turning 40 this year, a 16th wedding anniversary, rum, reefs, and a commemorative mix of reggae and its descendants, below.

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We kept the spirit alive with a dinner party this weekend after returning home. Jamaican theme, of course.

  • Shellfish watermelon ceviche (with scallops and shrimp, photo below)
  • Jerk vegetables (summer squash, zucchini and mushrooms) and chicken skewers
  • Red snapper in coconut curry broth
  • Coconut lime rice
  • Avocado, orange and goat cheese salad
  • Appleton rum cake
  • Mango sorbet
  • Rum cream over ice


Full photo set here.


Spring’s nowhere near Chicago right now, but the seasonal onslaught of conferences seems not to heed nature’s cycles. I’m going to be in a bunch of places coming up. Would love to meet up if you will be near.


Photo by billypalooza on Flickr

Transportation Camp East
New York, NY
March 5-6

South by Southwest Interactive (+ new day after Technology Summit)
“Smarter Cities: Driving Sustainable Growth”
Austin, TX
March 12 – 16

APA National Planning Conference
“Technology Infrastructure and Planning”
Boston, MA
April 11-12

RPA Regional Assembly
“Smart Cities, Smart Citizens”
New York, NY
April 15

National Mayor’s Summit on City Design
“Design and 21st Century Challenges”
Chicago, IL
April 27-29

Urban Systems Symposium
“Defining Urban Systems”
New York, NY
May 11-12

Full travel schedule here, for those interested. (There’s a good chance I will be in DC a bunch too.)

Oh, the places I’ll be

Leaves are turning, weather’s chilling, Keynote’s revving. Time to hit the road for the fall circuit of conferences, talks, and meeting folks. It’s going to be a crazy slide to the end of the year with two projects launching amidst all this.

Personal Democracy Forum – Europe
Barcelona, Spain
4th-5th October 2010

City Camp London
London, United Kingdom
8th-10th October 2010

IBM Place Summit
Cambridge MA
Oct. 16-19

Open Cities 2010
Washington, United States
4th-5th November 2010

Full travel schedule here. There’s also a great new social site for tracking conference attendance at Lanyrd.


New year, new conferences. And some old favorites too. Here’s a list of places I’ll be speaking in the next few months. If you’ll be at any of them, let me know. Would be great to meet up.

City Camp
January 23-24
Chicago, IL

ORD Camp
January 29-30
Chicago, IL

South by Southwest Interactive
March 13-16
Austin, TX
Panel: The City Is A Platform

IA Summit
April 9-11
Phoenix, AZ
Talk: Metropolitan Information Architecture: The future of UX, Databases and the (Information) Architecture of complex, urban environments — god, who writes that?

I’m sure more will pop up in the first half of the year. You can always follow my public Dopplr profile to see where I’ll be.

Hello, travel!

By southwest

Last year’s travel almost sent me to an early grave and I’m earnestly trying to scale back this year. But there are some destinations I can’t bring myself to skip. Like South by Southwest.

I’m particularly excited about this year’s event, mostly because the panelists on the talk I’ll be moderating are so damn interesting.

Here’s the official panel description:

Entrepreneurship in the Belly of the Beast

Small is beautiful at SXSW. From Getting Real to starting up, the ethos is largely anti-large corporation. This attitude overlooks one of the most satisfying professional accomplishments: doing your own thing while working for The Man. This presentation uses examples to offer strategies for making the corporation work for you.

And the unofficial addendum: this panel at one time had a subtitle that seems to have gotten lopped off: “Why Working For a Gigantic Company Isn’t As Bad As SXSW Would Have You Believe”. The idea basically is to explore the dominant SXSW sensibility that large organizations are somehow inimical to creativity and innovation.

The idea for organizing something like this had been percolating for a while, but was pretty much solidified with this back-and-forth from last year’s SXSW.

The talk is scheduled for Monday, March 16, 11:30am – 12:30pm.

If you’re attending SXSW, stop by and say hello!


Some upcoming talks for those of you who like your rambling in person.

Tomorrow I’m attending the Chicago Colloquium on Digital Humanities and Computer Science at the University of Chicago. It is a small, single-track, free (!) conference that I have wanted to attend for years. I’ll be in the poster sessions, fishing for interest in using our non-profit grid for scholarship in arts and culture.

On Nov. 7 I’ll be speaking at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. The talk is called “Architecting Cultural Spaces: The Past, Present, and Many Futures of Digital Humanities” as they kick off their own Center for study of the same. I’ll post to Slideshare when it is complete.

I’ve had a panel accepted for next year’s SXSW festival. It’s called Entrepreneurship in the Belly of the Beast — basically an anti-SXSW screed about the opportunities for getting away with stuff in a big company. I’ll most likely be booed off stage by startup junkies. Or fired for calling my company the Beast. Win-win.

If you’ll be at any of these events in the coming days and months, please drop a line!

Maine holiday

Just back from a first-ever trip to the coast of Maine. What an amazing place.


Couple of tips for the uninitiated. You’ll encounter lots of puns on the name “Maine”: Maine-ly Antiques, Maine Drag, The Maine Attraction. Avoid these at all costs. Also, an easy clue as to how greedily a place wants your tourist dollars is to note the amount of signage and text that spell things according to the Maine accent. If you see more than one reference to “lobstah, chowdah, and beeya” leave. Immediately. Lastly, if you hate the Red Sox do not visit Maine.

To boil down what Maine thinks it has to offer I present you with the following list:

  • lobster
  • blueberries
  • moose
  • the way life should be
  • a carbonated beverage called Moxie
  • lighthouses
  • puns on the state name

But it is really so much more than that. Have a look.

Hailing a ride in Russia

To an American it seems nuts, but when you think about it it makes perfect sense. In St. Petersburg to get a ride you step into the street and wave at any damn car that comes by. Taxi or not, some cars will stop, you negotiate the cost, and on you go.

My first thought about this, years ago, was: that’s freaking nuts. Who knows who will pick you up. Urban hitchhiking. Cabs for Communists.

But it really is convenient. All a matter of density, really. Think of automobiles moving about the city not as individually-owned but simply as transport from A to B. Chances are good that someone is going somewhere near where you need to be. You’re not hailing a ride to the sticks, most likely. And if the person is not going exactly where you are they (or you) either decline or you get closer to your destination. Let me tell you, for 80% of the year in St. Petersburg this is preferable to slogging through the Arctic bluster.

It’s the ultimate Zipcar, Asimov’s sidewalks on Trantor, and France’s failed Aramis transport all in one. And relatively green too. Perhaps the only environmentally-friendly thing in St. P.

I like.

Austin calling


Not sure if it is the winter weather that gets to me or what, but even when I say I am going to travel less this year I can’t avoid the gravitational pull of South by Southwest.

This year I’m not a panelist or a panel organizer — and that’s just fine by me. More time to wade through the ever-growing lineup of panels. (Note to infoviz geeks: some kind of topic-based link-node visualization of the panels would be mighty helpful for charting a path through it all.)

Looking forward to hanging out with old friends and those of you I only ever see at this conference.

For the morbidly curious, this year I think I’m skipping the Nuclear Tacos. As you know, those bad boys did unspeakable things to my insides. Perhaps this year the tale can be told.

See you in Austin!

Places 2007

Travel. Opens the mind, tortures the back, sates the soul, pays the bills.

Here’s where I’ve been in 2007. Not as eclectic as last year, but more provincial international destinations, which is a good thing.

Update: Using this service (thanks Roo!) it looks like I flew 75,080 miles this year. Yikes.

I’m no longer using overnight stay as the criteria for inclusion. If I visited, it’s here. Asterisks denote multiple visits.

Aransas Pass, TX
Armonk, NY*
Atlanta, GA
Austin, TX*
Barile, Italy
Beijing, China*
Charlottesville, VA
College Park, MD
Galena, IL*
Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees, OK
Hursley, England
Locks Heath, England
London, England
Los Alamos, NM
Los Angeles, CA
Matera, Italy
Naples, Italy
New Orleans, LA
New York, NY
Paw Paw, MI
Portsmouth, England
Potenza, Italy
Ravello, Italy
Ripacandida, Italy
San Diego, CA
Shanghai, China
Southampton, England
St. Louis, MO
St. Petersburg, Russia*
Venosa, Italy
Washington, DC*
White Plains, NY*
Winchester, England

Maybe our paths will cross next year?