Peter Morville briefly touches on his interest in ubiquitous computing in the opening page and chapter of Ambient Findability, but he fails to comprehend the pervasiveness of mobile computing to come in the following 5 years after the publication of Ambient Findability. I can't help but be reminded of his recent publication, Information Architect, where he asks himself "Am I getting better?" and "Should I do something else?". Ultimately, he concludes that he is still growing as an Information Architect and that the User Experience landscape is continuously evolving and there has never been a better time to be an information architect.

I'm reminded of his words because of Bruce Sterling's Shaping Things and Mike Kuniavsky's Smart Things. Both authors introduce words to the ubicomp vocabulary including Spimes and information shadows". Mike Kuniavsky gave a very interesting presentation at UX Week 2008 title Ubiquitous Computing and User Experience and Bruce Sterling was the keynote speaker at Interaction '11 in Boulder, Colorado where I got to witness his free-spirited Closing Keynote.

Research has been evolving in this field, since before the early 90's when Mark Weiser published The Computer for the 21st Century identifying the research that the Xerox PARC lab was predicting.

Brenda Laurel recounted her career as a User Experience researcher and designer in another Interaction '11 Keynote Presentation. The most intriguing portions of this talk were the presentation of the portal that appeared in New York City and the work and research that was done roughly 5-10 years prior to Google Maps became ubiquitous.

The main reason I bring up all this information is that with all of this research that has been done around or before "Ambient Findability", why has Peter not brought up any of these topics when he clearly states his passion for ubiquitous computing? Mobile devices are becoming a part of our extended mind and stepping closer and closer to bridging the gap between the 90's virtual reality to a very real augmented reality that relieves the rigors of wayfinding through guided, aided, or augmented reality through the current mobile device screens or advanced computerized eye lenses. Devices seen in Minority Report, Back to the Future II, Avatar, etc. may not be as far out as we think if we consider how we use GPS, iOS, and Android devices currently.

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AuthorDavid Brahler