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Mobile Community Design
Research and design information for mobile community developers.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Visualizing Social Networks

The structure of community or group interaction can often be hard to see. There a couple of papers by Dr. Freeman which provide some insight into how groups and networks can be visualized.

Visualizing Social Groups, 1999 - pdf

Visualizing Social Networks, 2000 - pdf

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Automakers campaign for car-to-car wireless network

"According to an article in the India Daily, six European auto manufacturers have launched a joint campaign to enable the cars of tomorrow to beam wireless warnings of danger to surrounding motorists."

This might make for some interesting automated gossiping. "Oh my god, that car in front of me just cut me off!" "Hey isn't that the car of your neighbor, and man was he going over the speed limit!" It's also interesting to think of how many groups we are regularly part who don't have the power to communicate. Cars on a freeway, groups walking down a street or in a theater, people on a train. We are still far from ubiquitous communication.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Work amongst distributed snow plows

This is a very interesting paper concerning how operators of snow plows use VHF radio to coordinate their actions to keep airport runways clear. They were investigating how a new mobile, location awareness system was being used and ended up looking at the larger work issues which were preventing use of it.

Decentralizing the Control Room: Mobile Work and Institutional Order, 2001
Oskar Juhlin and Alexandra Weilenmann
[Full-text pdf]

Use of positioning in mobile discussion

“I’m waiting where we met last time”: Exploring everyday positioning practices to inform design, 2004

Alexandra H. Weilenmann
Peter Leuchovius

Two young men and one woman had their mobile phone usage recorded. This longitudenal data provided insight into how people talk about place and what they use it for in their conversations. Conversation analysis (CA) is used to analyze the data set.

Full-text pdf

Friday, December 10, 2004

Followup on BT virus

It turns out that the suspicious file I got transferred to me via Bluetooth in Sydney actually was a virus. The folks at F-Secure were nice enough to have a look at it. They say it is a variant of Cabir, called Cabir.C.

Read more on their blog.

thanks to Jarno for the update

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Supporting those swarms of nomads

I had the pleasure of meeting Christine at the recent OzCHI conference and am slowly making my way through a number of her recent papers. One concerning designing for communal use of mobile phones is available in this massive compilation of papers from the last UbiComp. Skip down to page 39 for her article.

User Problems - Design Solutions Swarms for Nomads, 2004
Christine Satchell and Supriya Singh
Full-text [pdf]

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Mobile communities in Cambodia

It is oftentimes illuminating to consider the structure of natural mobile communities and mobile group behavior before considering creating new technologically-mediated communities.

An interesting example of a mobile community is the cyclo drivers in Cambodia. When I was there the easiest mode of transit was motorbikes, but cyclos are very common there and in Vietnam. Many of these riders sleep directly in the cyclo (a three wheeled carriage. usually with a bike in back or front).

Many things use social networks, and one of these is AIDS. The virus transmits along social lines and the small world network structure means the distance between an uninfected person and an infected person may only be a few network hops away. Mobility of these networks is not fully understood yet, but mobile nodes may have more links than non-mobile nodes due to increased social opportunities. Cyclo drives are in the business of being mobile and often don't have homes to return to or spend consistent time at. Consequently this news story is looking at targeting these people for safe-sex education and propagating condom memes through their social networks by getting their own members to pass them on. Its a viral meme propagation strategy to combat a virus.

So anyway, what does this have to do with mobile device design? I think there's a lot to be learned about how information flows in these social networks and how mobility of the nodes affects it and the community development.

“We have found that these men are a mobile population who don’t permanently stay in one place,” said the program organizer, Song Ngak.

“They come into the city after the harvest is over when they have no job. They don’t bring their families and so often they have sex outside of marriage. It is when people are away from home that they are most susceptible to HIV/AIDS.”

Cambodia cyclo riders peddle safe-sex message html