Drift v2+ : Looking for Friendly Android Developers


Maybe you’ve used Drift. If you’re on the iPhone anyways. We’ve never had the expertise or resources to pull together an Android version of our psychogeography-inspired app, but we’ve consistently had a lot of people ask about when we would. The answer has always been, hopefully soon.

Today, we’re reaching out asking for some help. If you’re an Android developer who might be willing to lend a few hours of their expertise, please get in touch. Technically, the app’s core is written in Javascript, HTML, and CSS, and wrapped in PhoneGap to access the iPhone’s core functions. We’re looking to port that over to an Android-friendly version.

We’re also looking for someone with some expertise in PHP to pull out all the great contributions people have made to Drift and make a web-app that features their adventures.

While we don’t have funding to support this project right now, we can promise you credits in the app, on our website, and our sincerest thanks, and if you’re in Windsor, we’ll definitely buy you a beer.

Get in touch!

Acrylic and Aluminum Laser Cuts & Drift V2 ready for review, plus notes on AJAX problems + solutions

One of the best things ever is receiving a bunch of laser cut material in the mail. That means, today wound down with one of these best things. We’ve ordered through Ponoko in the past and we’re continually surprised with how an Illustrator drawing can turn into a physical object so easily. Yes, above that is laser cut aluminum.

Sharp edges! Remember these mock-ups we did a few weeks ago? Well, these are a lot bigger! The aluminum is also really scratched. Hadn’t realized it would be like that, but also not a big deal for our purposes. I guess there wasn’t any kind of protective sheeting like the acrylic, I’m sure that has something to do with it.

And we also cut mirrored acrylic — so mirrory under that protective sheet! Really excited to peel the entire thing.

The acrylic was also etched from behind.

I can’t give away the entire thing in full scale just yet … but soon. And of course, this all comes just in time for a cold snap here in Windsor.

Also, I’ve been putting in some time to try and get Drift v2 up and running. See that new icon…?

And now, a new loading screen too. But, of course, that’s not all. This update fixes some major stability issues and adds sharing functions for Twitter (so you can tweet each step in your Drift) and email export (so you can get your Drift ready to repost on your blog of choice!). These extra functions are made possible through the fantastic set of plugins for Phonegap / Cordova.

Here’s something worth noting, in case someone as confused as I was stumbles across this page as they’re struggling to make their Phonegap / Cordova + Javascript + HTML app work. I’m not sure why this broke, or if in fact it was a combination of other webkit changes in iOS 6, but something was definitely causing Drift to cache queries and returned data. This created a mess for trying to do just about anything in the app.

While I was working to try to get the Twitter and Email composer plugins working, I realized this caching issue may have been happening on a far more frequent basis than I had imagined. So, after some digging (and unfortunately I’ve lost track of exactly where I found it), but it seemed like the jQuery ajax function was caching the ajax call. So, below, please note the cache : false settings. As per the jQuery manual, this forces requested pages not to be cached by the browser. Setting cache to false also appends a query string parameter, “_=[TIMESTAMP]”, to the URL.

And, just for the record, I updated all ajax calls in Drift (which is basically the entire core functionality, with these ajax calls connecting with a bunch of php scripts and classes), as below:

type: 'GET',
url: '',
cache : false,
data: data,

The good news is that after four days of trying to pick up where I left off with Drift earlier in the summer and another update to iOS and Xcode, here’s the payoff…

Screen Shot 2012-12-11 at 8.22.14 PM

I also had to revoke certificates, as the updates to Xcode and my own screw-ups along the way of starting a new Xcode project and initially renaming the app (adding a -v2 to the end of the bundle name), but finally, it comes together.

Screen Shot 2012-12-11 at 8.22.31 PM

Drift being uploaded for review…

Screen Shot 2012-12-11 at 8.24.38 PM

And now, we wait!

Also, I’m very excited to get back to CIVIC SPACE, it’s been a busy five days. Monday night we wrapped up with the last All Tomorrow’s Problems for the year … and here’s the gist of what we came up with:


Anyone check out Skills for Good(s) with Arturo tonight?!

Tech Update: Drift & Window Install + Twitter

Paul writes with great news that the Max patch he’s been working on for our window installation project can now capture audio, upload it to a server and tweet a notification. We’re meeting on Wednesday to discuss the next steps and to plan workshops for the winter!

Also, with Twitter, I spent a bus and train ride working on an overdue update for Drift. It’s now integrated with Twitter and you’ll be able to export your Drift through email. Hoping to release this soon.

Drift v1.5 Available Now: Some Updates to Help You Get Even More Lost in Familiar Places

Drift v1.5 is available now on the iOS App Store


Great news! Drift v1.5 is available now on the App Store.

There are some really useful changes, including a better way to navigate from step to step in your Drift, some light tidying up upon registration, longer sessions to keep you logged in, and some fixes and adjustments to the photo upload process. All of that means that it’s easier to use and the documentation from your Drifts should look great!

The other major change is that Drift now requires iOS 5.1 or later.

And, if you haven’t already checked it out … if you mark your photos public, they’ll now appear in our sidebar with the instruction and a link to Google Maps with the location of where you took the photo, and of course credited to your name.

Drift helps you get lost in familiar places by guiding you on a walk using randomly assembled instructions. Each instruction will ask you to move in a specific direction and, using the compass, look for something normally hidden or unnoticed in our everyday experiences.

This project was generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council Media Arts Grant for Emerging Artists.

iPhone/mobile app dev diagraming

It’s been a long time coming, but I’m getting a lot closer to completing a mobile app. I’ve abandoned objective-c and native app development in favour of what I actually know how to do — namely php, html, css, and a bit of javascript.

Access to phone hardware to make this app do what it needs to do will be accomplished through phonegap.

I’m aiming to try to wrap up a working version of this in the next 10 days or so, baring any major issues I could very likely run into. I’m anxious to share this!!!

Monday Night Drift: Volume 1, South Windsor

Armed with an algorithm from Sara, Michelle, Rosina, and I headed out on a walk on Monday night. We had decided at our last meeting to roam around some South Windsor neighbourhoods — seeing as we rarely get a chance to venture into that part of town — and we were surprised by how much familiarity we encountered.

For starters, we began the walk at the site of one of our first installations (not accidentally), but it was still incredible to be at that same spot nearly three years later.

Rosina and Michelle, bundled.

Along the way, we also took note of a variety of spatial activities — things that demarcate or suggest a curious use of the things around us.

The algorithm Sara gave us guided us through a series of things to find (these are documented at the end of the post), but we also improvised in finding other things. Above, the undulations of the chain link cage.

Michelle demonstrates of they’re made.

And, in an especially great moment, the remainders of that installation.

It was really incredible to take a moment and think about the morning we installed the project.

The algorithmic booklet in Rosina’s hands.

After crossing the overpass, Michelle and Rosina look at the neighbourhood.

We begin to document the space — above, a fair representation of the housing stock in the area.

Rosina marks the booklet — the first step, find a site of protest, and we select the installation site of our work.

Shortly after, at the base of the pedestrian ramp for the overpass, we find a portal — the next step. Rosina stakes out the portal, while Michelle heads back up the ramp to send messages.

Michelle sends messages through here.

Rosina listening.

The “portal”, up close. Rosina also reminisces about the area as a site for nearby high school students to congregate. Maybe these used these drainage tubes to send their own messages. Maybe we heard echoes.

We walk around, trying to imagine the construction of these huge spans of free-floating concrete.

We’re amazed in a way.

I was also curious if each light post has its own number, or if this is some kind of other demarcation.

Echoes of covered graffiti, essentially cemented over.

More housing stock, a friend’s place.

In trying to find the next step in our algorithm — a place to change — we all interpreted it as a place to change your clothes (perhaps we were all imagining being on some neighbourhood-wide capture the flag tournament, needing to further camouflage ourselves). We found this large tree.

And then another large tree — these would seem to make the perfect cover.

And then, just to be sure, Michelle suggested something in the streetscape she would like to change. Having biked along this road multiple times, she would love there to be a consistent bike lane.

Far int he other direction, there’s traces of just such a thing.

Then through the school yard at Holy Names.

On the search for something new.

Large tires.

We imagine it must be for giants doing army training.

And then we test ourselves.

Such vast space.

Neighbourhoods border the school.

We find something new in a new neighbourhood.

Then off to find a sanctuary.

At the edge of the parking lot, we wonder what might be in here. At its back corner, there’s some chairs, we consider this someone’s sanctuary.

Around the corner of another building…

…we find some very loose tags, and perhaps something leaking.

And then time.

Then back around to the school. Portables that have long since become permanent fixtures — notice the landscaping.

A break in between portables.

In looking for a place of play, we select an elementary school classroom.

Though we originally marked an interaction with some drivers on their evening commute as the conflict we had to find…

…perhaps this as a site of conflict, with the self ().


Rosina taking notes of our second to last step.

We’re east of Dominion at this point, and we continue to explore, beginning to wind our way back to the start.

A pocket of springtime activity.

A garage.

Traces of big bird via Michelle.

Crossing the second overpass as we head back, a really great detail of seemingly improvised repair.

A path that moves pedestrians between backyards and the EC Row retaining wall.

It zig zags to connect corners of south Windsor streets.

And then, a small view onto the EC Row.

Rosina peaks out.

We couldn’t figure out why this would have been designed into the wall — automotive glory hole. (*update: Thanks to Owen for letting us know its to bring fire hoses through the wall in the event of a big accident)

The view from the wall opening.

The path viewing all the way to Dominion from blocks away — made me wonder about how else to formalize shortcuts through in-between spaces.

Cross walk at Dominion, south of EC Row as we wrap up for the evening.

And then, the algorithm with Rosina’s notation.

Thanks to Sara for getting us lost. I’m looking forward to the next one of these. Maybe next week? Who’s in?

Reflections on Circulations

Last Wednesday I hosted an algorithmic walk around downtown Windsor with some University of Windsor Communications Studies and History grad students. The class, led by Drs. Mike Darroch and Rob Nelson, spent about an hour exploring the city, as per the algorithm, in an area between Park and Pelissier and McDougall and Tuscarora. Groups of three spread out throughout the area and stepped through the algorithm in a different order.

The algorithm connected with some readings the class had done on ideas of circulation. It was based on a series of simple suggestions to look for things that disrupt, capitalize, or imagine forms of circulation in the city. At each step in the algorithm, groups had to take a photograph. Below are some images from the walk.

Find an in-between space.

Find an example of urban improvisation.

Find a transaction.

Find a space to occupy.

Find something symbolic.

Dr. Darroch and some of this students on the walk.

Find  an in-between space.

Find something symbolic.

Find an example of urban improvisation.

Find a transaction.

Find a safe place.

Find the heart of the city.

I think this little 8-page booklet format could work well for our upcoming walks. I know we had talked about theming these walks. Any ideas for the first one on the 13th?


Drifting Around Downtown Windsor: Exploring the City Slowly

We’ve been lucky over the last week or so with some surprisingly agreeable weather. The had humidity lifted and with it, the temperature scaled back considerably. So, it’s been pretty much the best time all summer to do some exploring on foot (and sometimes on bicycle) at a pace that really allows for a different kind of engagement with space.

Now armed with an iPhone 4 for an upcoming project, it’s easier than ever to take pictures on a casual exploration. Something like a dérive, though admittedly a little more aimed at looking for some new potential project spaces than a completely free drift, last night was a perfect time to play with thinking about a variety of spaces, slowly.

These slow explorations really give the time to notice and attempt to unfold the curiosities all around the city. A sign like the one above, “PUBLIC STAIRWELL,” notifies passersby that this space is publicly accessible and annotates something unseen, behind the door. I wonder what else we might be able to annotate with the same authority as this sign that could be suggested as being both public and understood as normally hidden (at least in terms of its use by a public).

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