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DECEMBER 10, 2007  

iPaq screen showing markers set to my back yardMediascapes

"Experience fragments of media as you walk around a space."

"It's like a treasure hunt."

"It's like a historical marker."

These are all definitions of "mediascapes" taken from the mScape.com website.

To me a mediascape is another step in the evolution of interactive media/storytelling. The best part about it is that takes place in the world, away from a computer screen. I've long been convinced that the mouse/keyboard/monitor technology we use for so much interactive media (think Web, CD-ROM , etc.) is a de-humanizing factor that's hard to overcome.

By putting the software on a small hand-held device (here, an iPaq Travel Companion) that you can take outside and watch/listen to as you explore the real world, the technology becomes less central to the whole experience. I'm excited about exploring this approach, and hope to incorporate at least one project of this type into next semester's Interactive Media class.

For now I'm trying to put together a prototype for a proposal that's due next week. On the screen above you see my first effort using my own yard and a few photos I had on hand. When you walk to the back where I had a garden you see a photo of pepper plants and hear a short description. Walking the other way, if you go near the fence you see/hear something about my neighbor Jim's yard. Heading further toward W. 32nd St. you soon encounter the photo/comment about the front of my house.

Nothing spectacular, but you need to crawl before you can walk. So here are my first halting movements forward.

Incidentally, the best thing is that the mScape software is a free download (for Windows XP only).

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