CyborgCamp is Back! Join us in Portland, Oregon on November 3rd, 2018!

CyborgCamp is back! Last held at MIT Media Lab in 2014, CyborgCamp is returning to Portland, Oregon this November at the Pacific Northwest College of Art!

We’d like to thank the 12 local speakers and performers helping bring CyborgCamp to life!


1. Stephanie Mendoza, VR art, development and activism (morning speaker)
2. Shashi Jain, 3D printing (morning speaker)
3. Reese Bowes, experimental DJing, sound design, and percussion (pre-party performance)
4. Erin Cooper, experimental music (pre-party performance)
5. Myles de Bastion, deaf musician and interaction designer (morning speaker and performer)
6. Deborah Heath, Anthropology professor, cyborg anthropology midwife, biodynamic food researcher (morning speaker)
7. Dave Moiser, artist 3D scanning (pre-party and CyborgCamp daytime 3D scanning)
8. Jeff Brown, food activist, robotic growing enthusiast, restaurateur, food sponsor (morning speaker)
9. Body Shame, solo experimental music performer (pre-party performer)
10. Amber Case, CyborgCamp founder, cyborg anthropologist and author of Calm Technology (morning speaker)
11. EddyEddyEddy, experimental music duo (pre-party performance)
12. Klint Finley, writer, journalist, and game designer (morning speaker)

On the fence about going? There are still a few tickets left! Can’t go? Consider sponsoring low income attendees by buying a couple of tickets! The cost is only $20, and you’ll be helping someone out!

What’s a CyborgCamp?
CyborgCamps are small, in-depth unconferences about the future of the relationship between humans and technology. Attendees discuss a variety of topics such as the futures of identity, privacy, surveillance, hardware to wetware, drones, 3D printing, cyberpunk, human augmentation, constructed reality, the second self, ethics, robot rights, sexuality, urban design, and anthropology. Topics are discussed the morning of the conference and scheduled into the conference grid by attendees themselves, making it a DIY conference experience.

What’s an Unconference?
An unconference is a conference organized by the attendees on the day of the event. Although CyborgCamp will have some morning speeches to kick off the day’s events, most of the day will be made up by talks and breakout sessions organized by attendees. The unconference model allows one to really determine what they’re interested in learning, instead of being tied to a very stringent conference agenda. Each CyborgCamp has its own mix of topics created by what the attendees want to discuss. All CyborgCamps follow a Code of Conduct.

CyborgCamps are Small
CyborgCamps generally have less than 100 attendees, making it easier to have more in depth discussions with people across different fields. The small format increases the chances getting to really know your fellow attendees.

CyborgCamps are Diverse
Every CyborgCamp welcome people from different backgrounds, including social, business, academic and trade-related. Just as cyborg studies sit at the crossroads of multiple academic disciplines, we like to invite people at the crossroads of different disciplines and boundaries as well.

CyborgCamps are Designed by Attendees
At CyborgCamp, attendees make the conference. Some attendees come prepared with ideas of what they want to talk about, and others come to listen and learn. Some attendees have relevant experience and prepared talks, and others just have a woolly idea needing discussion. At the start of the conference, attendees write their ideas up on a board and the conference begins!

How can I attend?
Clear your calendar for November 3rd, 2018 and register for CyborgCamp here!

The conference will be held at PNCA on Saturday, November 3rd, 2018 from 9am-6pm. On November, 2nd, we’ll have a pre-party with live tech performances, 3D scanning and other treats from 7-10pm at a secret, undisclosed location. Anyone interested in making a post-conference zine is welcome to join the CyborgCamp writing party on Sunday, November 4th!

Get your ticket!
CyborgCamp has always been an affordable conference. We use sponsor funds and a low ticket price to provide meals, entertainment and unconference sessions to everyone who attends. Tickets are $20 to encourage people of multiple backgrounds, especially students. If you’d like to help sponsor the conference, simply buy a bundle of tickets, and we’ll use the funds to provide scholarships to those who can’t afford the ticket price.

Feel free to visit CyborgCamp to learn more! We’ll be announcing a full lineup of morning speakers and performances soon. Tickets usually sell out, so get yours asap!

We’re looking for a handful of sponsors to provide sign language, closed captioning, and other accessibility support for the conference. The best thing about sponsoring? It’s tax deductible! Please contact caseorganic at gmail dot com with any inquiries! You’ll get a small sponsor packet and a non-profit donation instructions!


Domain Name Purgatory

After a long period of reasonably healthy restraint, I found myself once again buying domain names today. Not just one or two of them, but six in a row. It’s been a problem for a while, and I thought I broke the habit, but I just discovered a bunch of great short domains that I had to get “right away”. If you’re one to buy domains compulsively, you know how it is.

I agree that domain names are fun to buy, even more enjoyable to think of what to put on them, but once that excitement wears off, you get stuck with a bunch of empty property. Empty lots where you don’t have the time to develop a home but you still pay property tax. “When am I ever going to have the time to develop these?”

I know there are other people out there with plenty of domain names and the same issues. Lots of great names, no time to develop on them. Sometimes developing needs a little catalyst. That’s why I propose an un-conference day where attendees do something with the domains they’re sitting on before the day is over. This doesn’t have to be a silly domain. It can simply be working on your own personal domain you’ve ignored due to your busy life. To combat domain ownership guilt, one of the sessions could be domain trading. You could kick off the conf by trading domains with each other, then splitting up into teams or individually developing the domains for the rest of the day. At the end there would be a show and tell and prizes for the best use of domain name, or the most progress on one’s personal site.

What do you think? Would this be a fun event to attend on a Saturday, or maybe as an evening meetup/workgroup?

Here are the domains I have to contribute:

WhereCamp PDX | September 25th, 2010 | An Unconference on all things Geographical

WhereCamp Portland 2010

WhereCampPDX is a free unconference focusing on all things geographical. This informal meeting of minds welcomes all geo-locative enthusiasts, anyone who asks “where am I” or feels the need to “know their place”.

WhereCamp is my #1 favorite Portland conference besides Open Source Bridge. In 2008, it was where I came up with an idea that would later become Geoloqi. Little did I know that Aaron Parecki was working on the exact same thing at the exact same time.

WhereCamp Portland Reid Beels

The great thing about WhereCamp is that is brings together a bunch of really intelligent people interested in GPS and geolocation. There’s so much data to absorb that the conference feels like an adrenaline rush to the brain.

What’s an Unconference?

An unconference is a conference planned by the participants, we all convene together, plan sessions, and have break-outs into sessions. This gives everybody an opportunity to bring to the table the things that interest them the most and lets us talk about new topics that are still new and exploratory. Part of what is important to hearing new voices and getting new ideas is lowering barriers to participation – this event is free and it is driven by the participants.


  • Friday, September 24th: Evening kickoff party, location TBA
  • Saturday, September 25th: Unconference from 10AM-6PM at Metro, followed by dinner and hacking, location TBA.
  • Sunday, September 26th: Games and other fun activities, around downtown/Old Town, details TBA.


600 NE Grand
Portland, OR 97232

RSVP on Eventbrite

Wherecamp is free, but we need to know that you’re planning to come! Please sign up on Eventbrite and put it on your calendar. This year’s event is going to be excellent.

WhereCamp Portland Sessions

Session Ideas?

We’re welcoming all session ideas. The best place to put them is on the WhereCamp wiki!

Sound Good?

Hope to see you there! If you’re interested in WhereCamp, you might want to also check out CyborgCamp, which will happen only a few weeks later on October 2nd at Webtrends.



Amber Case, (@caseorganic) is a Cyborg Anthropologist studying the interaction between humans and computers and how our relationship with information is changing the way we think, act, and understand the world around us. She’s obsessed with compressing the space and time it takes to get data from one place to another, especially when the final destination is the mind.

Geolocal AutoSubscribing RSS Feeds | A Shift from Responding to Place to Making Place

WhereCamp Portland in the Yahoo! Pipes Session I organized a session at this weekend’s WhereCamp Portland called ‘Geolocal AutoSubscribing RSS Feeds’, and began the session by drawing a big grid of Portland’s quadrants on the white board. I labeled them NW NE SW SE and N, before drawing circles all over the place. The circles represented ranges of ‘hearing’ that a mobile device might have to RSS feeds. I pointed out that as one progresses from street to street, quadrant to quadrant, one’s phone should understand this and automatically subscribe the user to the geolocal RSS feed for that area. That way, data can be very relevant and contextual to the area.

I explained this in the concept of a video game. In order to optimize load time, the content of a video game loads relative to the user. Data streams load from nearby places into the user’s dashboard and notification bar, or ‘feed reader’. There are two types of feeds — the global, overarching data streams of the game, and the feeds that deal with timely events. James Whitley of GoLifeMobile described the future of the mobile device as a remote control for reality.

People, Places, Things

Paige Saez pointed out some of the philosophical ramifications of place, and how the concept of place is constructed. I pointed out that a person can be a place, or an event can be a place. This moved into a discussion of the shift from responding to place (as traditional place is often immobile and very contextual) — to making a place (due to the light modernity and the ease with which place can be arranged) — to people as place (people as an experience, place as an experience, people making place).

We all discussed various use cases of why/where/when/how Geolocal AutoSubscribing RSS Feeds might come in handy. I noticed that the use cases presented by the group members were strongly tied to cultural, beliefs and experience. I think a point was made concerning the structure of systems. I pointed out that a Go board is empty when starting a game, and as the game is played, the Go board allows some structure while allowing many permutations of forms and ecosystems.

Twitter functions in a similar manner. The system allows short turns, similar to Go, and each of these turns contributes to the overall shape of the game. Twitter allows people to be treated as place, and allows people to visit segments of a place, or turn off that place from entering into the environment of experience.

Use Cases

“I’m new to this city/here on business, and I have three hours to do something cool — what is around me that is useful/interesting? What people share my interests?”

“I don’t know this area and need good food.”

People become a location when they’re tied to experience.

Whether you don’t know the area or you do, it can be useful to be able to quickly understand the social/placial cartography of the area.

I forgot who it was, but the system was joking labeled, “a gateway drug that gets you to engage with your neighborhood. That gets you to the people who can make the best recommendations”.

Theses are Geographical conversations. They’re also technosocial conversations, because it’s not the website that has the data, it is the people in the area. But to get to those people easily in a short period of time can often be helped along by technology, RSS, geolocal decides. So, in a way, content is people and people are content.

Community Custodians

Then the discussion went back to video games such as ‘Ultima Online’. We discussed the roles of ‘Gatekeepers’, or ‘Custodians’ that help people into a foreign online territory. Custodians continue to preform these orientation tasks is because it gives them a tremendous sense of use value.

Robots have been programmed to act as gatekeepers to new techniques and experiences, but many have failed (See Microsoft’s “Looks like you’re writing an E-mail – can I help you?” Wizard). It can be noted that humans are matchmakers, not machines. However, a machine can help one human reach another by breaking the boundaries of the distance and time that it takes for those two humans to travel to see each other in the real world. For instance, there is Yahoo! Answers that uses real people to connect Answers to Questions, and Wikipedia for collaborative knowledge creation. Places facilitate conversation, but they must be inhabited by meaning first.

We talked about the semantic web next, and ubiquitous technologies that ID markers and tags might bring. We talked about subscribing to tags instead of feeds (some blogs do this already as a more dynamic/fluid replacement for categories).

Planned Serendipity

We talked about a new kind of serendipity, in which fortuitious and existing social connections and meetup in locations that were predefined as as “excellent” could happen, without all of the hassle of being introduced to a new location. But some objected to this new kind of social relationship. Paige pointed out that it this new kind of serendipity would reduce the organic excitement that unplanned serendipity provides.

To which I pointed out that the modern person is disassociated from a peer group or community, and generally cannot talk to one another on the street. In this way, technology could recolonize the public space with actual social connections instead of shells. Paige, of course, had an excellent point. It is very exciting to come into serendipitous contact with others, but how can one tell if that serendipitous contact will be enjoyable? It is often difficult for a person to walk up to another and ask to hang out. It is sometimes easier with the computer as an icebreaker. When personal music devices isolate people from each other on the street, and laptops isolate one from another at coffee shops, and people cannot look in each other’s eyes on the street, or give another a high five, perhaps it is a clue that we have become afraid of the company of one another, or shy, or disassociated.

Every day we walk down the street or ride bikes or drive cars, and though we are doing the same thing, we cannot speak to each other while doing this. Twitter has allowed a certain type of backchannel to traditional modes of communication that allows for many to communicate with each other on a backchannel while doing the same thing at the same time.

Four Dimensional Search Methods

We talked about fourth dimensional search as a form of data on top of the traditional data flow of real life. Technically, geolocal autosubscribing RSS feeds could be considered forth dimensional data.

Geolocal feeds would allow one to gain information, getting an accumulation of information. doesn’t eclipse the actual experience of getting that information.

Someone blurted out the title of a “New Tech, New Ties”. How cell phone information is affecting us.
The landscape has scaled but we haven’t. Suburbia is so decompressed that huge amount of non-space connect it. These non-spaces take the form of highways and airports and airplanes and bus stops. The inner city — the walking spaces — have many landscapes to them. Stores have microlandscapes everywhere. Food courts compress low-resolution versions of the experiences of other countries into their culinary offerings. Already we have a surplus of landscapes – we have so many that we can’t pay attention to them.

So these landscapes must be filtered. Anselm pointed out a term he invented: “Hygradeing — we filter for the best of the best and leave the rest.” He gave the example of a bag of trail mix being passed around a campfire. All of the good things get taken by the first few people that have access to the bag, so that the rest of the campers have less access to variety.  Naturally humans are able to weed out what is good or not good and unsubscribe from the rest. Geolocal feeds can only work if they have high enough quality. Twitter allows one to block feeds that are not interesting or relevant by simply ‘unfollowing’.

We’re Urban Nomads on limited time scales. We have a limited time to access and filter relevant information. Like actions must be compressed together. We’re changing — growing our own gardens and becoming different people, and

Technosocial synchronicity by topic, location, and person can result in synergy. I’m using the Masuda’s 1979 definition of the word synergy, which is used to describe individuals with similar interests pooling towards a common goal.

Silo Sites

It was O’Reilly that said that Internet is becoming one large database.

The hub sites have been created now. Data has been submitted and receptacles have been created for most data types. One does not have to build a silo but a thing that collects and reechoes. Let people subscribe to a geography and re-echo it back to them.

We’re all living here — there is just too much data in the way to be able to hear each other. This is the period of trilobites. Filter feeders. API’s. Mashups. Yahoo! Pipes. Combined RSS feeds. Dynamic content. Relevancy and efficiency means integrating people instantly into a community of relevant data.

One of the more accessible practical applications of these ideologies could be a simple wake-up device. If you’re on a train and you fall asleep, your phone knows where you are and rings right before your stop to wake you up.

WhereCamp Portland was an excellent and invigorating event. Perhaps some of these discussions will continue through time. Perhaps one day these AutoSubscribing RSS Feeds will be built by someone.

We also discussed some of the apps that currently exist for Geolocal RSS, namely:

1. Geourl
2. Everyblock
3. Fireeagle
4. Icecondor
6. Britekite
7. Twitter
8. Palatial
9. Shizzow
10. Meta Carta
11. Carrot 2

WhereCamp Resources:

From Hazelnut Tech Talk:
WhereCamp PDX Resources | A Combined Yahoo! Pipe for Pictures, Tweets, and Session Notes.
Wherecamp PDX | Paul Bissett on Illuminating the Dark Geoweb.

From the Portland Tech Community:
WhereCamp PDX Roundup
WhereCamp PDX Takes on PacManhattan (Includes an excellent video by Adam Duvander.
NowWhatPDX. A community about social change developed almost entirely at WhereCamp Portland.
Rules for PacManhatten. WhereCamp Portland Resource Drop.

Relating to Geolocation Studies:
CyborgCamp (Dec. 6th, 2008).

Blogs about Online Communities:
Dawn Foster writes high-quality posts about the care and feeding of Online Communities on a regular basis.

Amber Case is a Cyborg Anthropologist and Social Media Consultant from Portland, Oregon. You can follow her online @caseorganic.