Mon, 03 Feb 2003 20:08:24 GMT

The architecture of data-rich public spaces.
I looked out the window this morning and was greeted by a six-story-high image of George Bush. I was in Times Square, on the 19th floor of a hotel, facing the brobdingnagian information display that ascends and wraps around the Reuters building. Movies like Blade Runner conditioned us to expect these displays. Minority Report updated the concept with aggressive personalization. But the Reuters display is about something different, and far more interesting, than the advertising techniques imagined in those movies. Its designer, ESI's Edwin Schlossberg (yes, that Edwin Schlossberg), has profound ideas about public information display as a focus for interaction. From Wired 10.12:

Schlossberg's next big thing is the Reuters News Index, an addition to the sign that debuts in 2003. Roughly every hour, a 304-foot thermometer will appear onscreen measuring how “hot” the news day is on a scale of zero to ten. Schlossberg hopes it will inspire people on the street to turn to each other and say, “Did you see that? The News Index just shot up to 6 degrees — what have you heard?”

The Index is calculated using Satran's Algorithm – developed by Reuters and R/GA, and named for veteran Reuters editor Dick Satran. Every 15 minutes, the formula crunches four data points: the total volume of stories filed from Reuters' 200 offices in 97 countries; the number of priority one and priority two stories filed (editors assign a priority code to each report coming off the Reuters wires); and the total number of hits logged in the previous 15 minutes. At one early meeting with Reuters editors, ESI design manager Gideon D'Arcangelo recalls, “one of them said that if we really wanted to make the index true to life, we ought to factor in the blood pressure of Reuters editors, too.” [Wired]

[Jon's Radio]

the postmodern megalith of information is upon us, falling from the sky into our vision daily, at least someone is having ideas about it.