how to misuse technology / fall of a giant

I noted two interesting stories about technology gone awry in the last week.

The first is about the misuse of GPS technology in Europe. Looking for shortcuts, truck drivers use GPS devices with maps that don’t adequately show just how small streets in older towns really are. The results are dangerous conditions and traffic jams as giant trucks wander into historic villages. See here.

The second explores the consequences of mobile phone use in automobiles and how a study now prove it makes traffic worse, which of course creates a feedback loop. See here.

Derek Lindner points out that Levitt & Sons is bankrupt. See here and the IHT.

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commuting and class war or, lead us not into penn station

The New York Observer reflects on the great class war between Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station. Connecticut vs. Jersey and Long Island, Bon Jovi vs. Mozart, the Sopranos vs. Philip Johnson.

I, of course, am partial to the last stomping ground of Louis Kahn which after two months of commuting from Montclair to Columbia is beginning to make some sense to me.

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Network Architecture Lab Established

Why has this blog been so barren lately? Am I giving up on the Net? No! Far from it. I have, however, been a little busy lately. Now that the project is safely established, we can announce that…

AUDC Establishes Network Architecture Lab

@ Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation

Formed in 2001, AUDC [Architecture Urbanism Design Collaborative] specializes in research as a form of practice. The AUDC Network Architecture Lab is an experimental unit at Columbia University that embraces the studio and the seminar as venues for architectural analysis and speculation, exploring new forms of research through architecture, text, new media design, film production and environment design.

Specifically, the Network Architecture Lab investigates the impact of computation and communications on architecture and urbanism. What opportunities do programming, telematics, and new media offer architecture? How does the network city affect the building? Who is the subject and what is the object in a world of networked things and spaces? How do transformations in communications reflect and affect the broader socioeconomic milieu? The NetLab seeks to both document this emergent condition and to produce new sites of practice and innovative working methods for architecture in the twenty-first century. Using new media technologies, the lab aims to develop new interfaces to both physical and virtual space.

The NetLab is consciously understood as an interdisciplinary unit, establishing collaborative relationships with other centers both at Columbia and at other institutions.

The NetLab begins operations in September 2006.

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The Next Googleplex

Is exurbia the next frontier for massive digital infrastructure projects? The New York Times explores the construction of the Googleplex on a remote site in The Dalles, Oregon, on the banks of the Columbia River. Google paid $1.3 million for 30 acres! They’re going to be paying a lot more to hook up fiber to the grid out there. Is this a response to the concentrated nature of telecoms in cities? Of course, if you have sufficient means, any place can be made a command and control center for the global city. Silicon Valley was once farmland as well.

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