The Future of Luxury: Avoiding People

Services like Silvercar, Uber, and pay-to-play airline VIP programs help keep the new aristocracy away from the rabble

When I power on my phone upon landing at LAX, a text message is already waiting for me: “Hi Ian, Silvercar here! We have your res at 1:00pm today. Let’s roll!” Silvercar rents a fleet of silver Audi A4s at airports in Austin, Dallas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. A slogan speaks plainly on the company’s behalf: “car rental that doesn’t… read more

Proteus: A Trio of Artisanal Game Reviews

Three reviews as three lenses through which to approach and appreciate an unusual videogame.

Originally published at Gamasutra One: Nil Person Videogames are narcissistic. They are about you, even when they put you in someone else’s shoes. You are a space marine among hell spawn. You are a mafioso just released from prison. You are a bear with a bird in your backpack. You are a Tebowing Tim Tebow. We may think we play… read more

Media Studies at Georgia Tech

Some changes in my role and new initiatives

As my college just announced yesterday, I’ll be taking on a slightly different role at Georgia Tech. You can read the full release, but the relevant bits are as follows: I have been named Ivan Allen College Distinguished Chair in Media Studies I am also now jointly appointed in the School of Interactive Computing in the College of Computing I… read more

The Cigarette of This Century

Notes on the Rise and Fall of Blackberry

In January 1995, a year and a half before Hotmail launched the world’s first web-based email service, a landmark California law banning smoking in most public places went into effect. Back then smoking was already on the decline, especially in California, but it was probably still more common than having an email account. The change was most immediately noticeable in… read more

Making Books

It's not the same as writing books

Back when his book The Textual Life of Airports was published in December, Christopher Schaberg reported what most authors do: seeing his book for the first time. “What a weird feeling,” Chris wrote. “It resembles an object from outer space. Vaguely recognizable, yet totally alien at the same time.” This is the experience of most authors. We say we “write… read more

Frequent Flight

An essay on flying

I will fly more than 200,000 miles this year. It routinizes, like an extended commute. The suburbanite knows every moment of the drive: on-ramp, lane-change, morning-show, cup-holder. I’m like that, but on a global vector: freeway, parking lot, door S-3, South security checkpoint, wallet, shoes, laptop, zip-lock, escalator, train, SkyClub, jetway, seat, jacket, bourbon, nap, tarmac, sky, sky, sky. We… read more

Seeing Things

Video and transcript of my talk at the Third Object-Oriented Ontology Symposium

Below is the video for my talk at the Third Object-Oriented Ontology symposium, which I delivered remotely by video. I intended the video as the way to experience the content, but upon request I’ve also posted a transcript of the material for those who prefer to read it that way. For a larger sized video, watch on Vimeo or select… read more


A review of the book by John D. Kasarda and Greg Lindsay

Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next is a book with a stark premise: historically, cities have developed and thrived around transportation technologies. The present age is that of the airplane, and cities will be built for and around them. What seaports were to the eighteenth century, railroads to the nineteenth, and highways to the twentieth, so airports will be to… read more

Carrying On Over Carry-Ons

A Review of the Tom Bihn Checkpoint Flyer

For years now, it has been necessary to remove laptops from carry-on bags for inspection at airport security here in the States. The TSA imposes this requirement to insure a clear view of the internal components of some electronics. Scanning a laptop separately allows security personnel to insure that a laptop not an improvised electronic device, a process made more… read more