I live my life entirely on the road and have done so for the last 2 years. I know some of my fellow digital nomads will feel me on this one. Home isn't where the heart is, it's where you make it! Home is where the WIFI connects automatically. Home is where I plug in my laptop and get down to work.
Of course I miss some of the comforts of having a traditional home but I wouldn't trade anything about this life for a normal life and a normal 9-5.
Right now I am exploring rural Belgium and getting down to business. Next week I am heading to Poland on Easter Sunday. I will have to watch out because the following day is Śmigus-dyngus, the day where it is typical for people to throw buckets of water on you! I hope I will not be caught off-guard!
The illustration above can be purchased as a poster, card, sticker, tshirt or many other products from my Redbubble shop.
This is a zine I illustrated that addresses some of the basic and important issues of the Internet today. The zine covers How the Internet works, some info on Net Neutrality, a description of what users and innovators want from the internet, some frequently misused words and terms, and prompts the reader to get involved in skill building and to consider their privacy and anonymity on the web.
The zine was researched and written by Jennifer Rebbetoy, a friend and former classmate of mine.
A philosophical question
How can humans & computers relate in a symbiotic relationship?
A historical summary
DARPA, founded by the US Department of Defense, unified all the networks popping up all over the world with ARPANET using internetworking. Now Internet is used as a noun instead of a verb. In 1989, Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the worldwideweb and various browsers, search engines and software were created to enhance the usability of the Internet. With the advent of mobile devices, we are still in an emerging Web 2.0, a state driven by user generated content.
A technical definition
We are connected to the Internet either by TV cables, DSL phone lines or fiber optic wires. There is ongoing research into new modes of connectivity. Speeds are advertised by ISPs as bits per second (bps) and data storage as bytes (B).
A sociological consequence
We're really connected but as the Internet transitions from novelty to everyday tool, are we overwhelmed with options to the point of immobility? Like cars and the modern traffic jam?
In his 2008 Ted Talk, Paul Stamets says, "Matter begets life. Life begets single cells. Single cells become strings. Strings become chains. Chains network and this is the paradigm we see throughout the universe" to describe the rapid growth patterns in mycelium, our brains, the universe and the Internet.
Why You Should Care About Net Neutrality:
A Local Narrative
In 2009, the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) made a ruling that ISPs have to disclose their policies to try and appease complaints regarding throttled ISPs speeds. So if they throttled speeds to provide similar service to all their customers at peak times, they had to disclose that on their website.
Today ISPs often end up over promising what they can deliver and still charge exorbitant prices with little repercussions from the CRTC.
It is becoming common for service providers and content producers to merge, which will hurt diversity like it did to TV.
The TPP will impose traditional copyright laws on the Internet. These stipulations ignore the importance of viral content to the culture of the Internet, which comes form remixing and sharing each other's content.
The ongoing battle between Oracle and Google surrounds whether API packages can be copyrighted and possibly deter future innovators. The current ruling states that Google is seen to be using API packages fairly.
The EU recently made Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Microsoft sign a code of conduct to delete hate speech within 24 hours. Will this make the Internet more accessible to users who are afraid of trolls?
Normal, everyday people have power
For innovators: popular code libraries rely on the open source community (i.e. npm); there are alternative manifestos to help us break free from the constraints of proprietary software (i.e. the free software movement); it is the under supported moderators who truly decide what free speech is online.
For users: anonymity doesn’t have to be synonymous with criminality (on the Dark Web); globally people are more tech savvy than they get credit for (through the sneakernet) and capable of keeping up with memes and shutting down non net neutral initiatives (like Free Basics).
Google, Photoshop, Power Point, Skype
Avoid using these words as verbs; they are nouns. They are simply names of just one search engine, one photo editor, one presentation maker and one VoIP service.
SaaS or SaaSS
Stands for “Software as a Service” or “Service as a Software Subsitute” both describe an injustice. The point is that you can control a program but you have no control over someone else’s service. Never give up control if principle software will work.
This is meant to describe Uber and AirBnB but it is a stretch of the term “sharing” which usually describes noncommercial cooperation. A more accurate way to describe these business transactions is “ piecework service economy.”
It’s used to describe many different activities. One meaning describes storing your data in online services. This exposes you to surveillance.
Content can more accurately be described as "publications” or “works.” Otherwise it turns them into a commodity and disparages the work.
This is someone who enjoys playful cleverness, not always with computers. In the ‘80s, journalists mistakenly took the term to mean “security breaker” but it’s not true.
It sounds too close to the deity, The Creator. These people are authors.
The future depends on skill building
Learn to code for free through:
Or at a brick and mortar tuition based school
Stay informed about Canadian communication law (including net neutrality) through University of Ottawa professor, Michael Geist’s blog:
Anonymity isn’t synonymous with criminality!
Start incorporating privacy into your daily online activities with these four steps:
1. Use the Mozilla Firefox browser instead of Google Chrome or Safari
2. Then add the extension Ad Blocker Plus
3. Choose to open a new window in Private Browsing
4. Set your default search engine as DuckDuckGo instead of Google
A Wycinanka inspired Adobe Illustration that I made in the "Digital Illustration For Designers : Combine Shapes & Texture To Create Intricate Artwork" class
People are quickly becoming familiar with the sharing economy. There are bike shares, car shares, and home shares popping up all over the world and connecting diverse individuals to share resources but have you ever heard of the online learning community Skillshare?
The concept is incredibly simple: instead of sharing physical resources like the aforementioned industries, Skillshare connects teachers and students to share creative knowledge. So cool, right? Remember how much fun it was to learn a new skill in art class, be assigned a project, and then show it off to all of your friends and family? Similarly, Skillshare allows you to engage with your teacher and other students in your class. Once you complete a project you can share it on social media just like putting your drawing up on the internet's fridge!
You can learn at your own pace or sign up for workshops that give you deadlines more like a traditional tutorial. You can test the community out by taking some of their free classes or you pay a small fee that allows Skillshare to pay their teachers. This is a great way to support an artist you love. I have taken courses by some extremely talented artists that I follow on Instagram. I recommend the The First Steps of Hand-Lettering: Concept to Sketch (Lettering I) by Mary Kate McDevitt and Adobe Illustrator: Give the Pen Tool a Day Off by Hayden Aube where I worked on this cute little illustration.
I just picked up this pad of practice paper for watercolor painting and a few new paintbrushes from Mendel's on Haight Street. I was feeling quite inspired by the way Elizabeth Becker renders hair in her peaceful watercolor pieces. The beautiful warm brown hues gave me an idea: to use the leftover espresso in my cup to paint this tiny pinecone. Then I added the lyrics to a hymn I used to sing as a child, All Things Bright and Beautiful, because they've been stuck in my head for several weeks. I was so pleased with the way this little painting turned out that I think I'll try a few more this week.
Have you ever tried painting with coffee? I think red wine could also give some interesting results.
While Williamsburg gets most of the love (and snide remarks) from travellers and popular media, Fort Greene is my preferred Brooklyn neighbourhood. The area is predominantly made up of low-rise buildings and historic brownstone walkups line many of the residential streets. Walking the streets of Fort Greene is an enjoyable experience and not covered in tourists like so many other parts of New York. Many people also praise Fort Greene for it's healthy growth that has managed to temper gentrification in ways that other Brooklyn neighbourhoods have not.
Where to get Coffee
Hungry Ghost has a hip little spot with a couple of tables and perfectly pulled Stumptown espresso. Baba Cool is a cute small spot with an all white interior that manages to look fresh but not pretentious. I definitely recommend getting an amazing salad (I had arugula) or chatting with the friendly staff behind the counter.
Pick from a string of excellent restaurants along Dekalb Avenue or head over to this amazing Japanese fusion joint, Kinjo Sushi on Greene Avenue.
What to Do
Walt Whitman, Truman Capote, Jhumpa Lahiri and John Steinbeck are among many of the famous authors who called Fort Greene home. A great reason to visit the Greenlight Bookstore, an inviting space that is organized, warm and staffed with helpful and unpretentious staff. They have an amazing selection of books about Brooklyn and some unconventional magazine titles.
If you happen to come in the summer, visit the famous Brooklyn Flea, a vintage bazaar and hip food spot (open from April-November).
WHAT TO SEE
Street art is abundant in New York and Fort Greene is no exception! There are tons of murlals and street art to check out. Right around BAM there are several notable pieces, my favourite being this pop and lock bike rack and the women’s faces across the street. Over near Fulton Street you can see the highly Instagramable Love Letter Brooklyn mural by ESPO, a poem written on the side of a building in giant sign-painter style lettering.
How to Ride
It is a long held opinion of mine that the best way to see a city is on two wheels. When you're pedalling around the neighbourhoods of New York you get a feel for the flow of the city in a way that walking and driving won't give you. Sign up to rent a Citibike from a station kiosk at one of the many new station racks in Brooklyn. A 24 Hour rental gives you unlimited 30 minute rentals for $9.95. My pro-tip is to check the station map so you can plan out your route and know which docks are empty and full before you get there.