Archive for the ‘misc’ Category

Google are our big brothers. Masters of our Universe.

July 7th, 2008

And we thought google was just a search. Well, for the past few years they have come up with some cool tools. But now it seems their cards are on the table, their intentions are clear. Its world domination by surveillance culture. We are just data and google aims to “own” us.

Think of  Will Smith in the film “Enemy of The State”, and then maybe we are getting close. Google in two months, two years, or twenty years.  Maybe its cool we can all watch each other going peacefully about out business as long as google make our faces blurred, what planet are google on, google earth?…yeah right.

So just what are Googles longer term intentions here? Spying on us through serach algorithms in the digital world is one thing, tracking us via open internet is another….time for the ethical debate to be brought to the centre stage with some creative input other than it makes the world a safer place.


Google has defended its controversial Street View photo-mapping tool, saying it will meet local privacy laws in European countries at launch.

The tool, which matches real world photos to mapped locations, has drawn fire from some privacy campaigners.

In the UK, Privacy International said the tool could breach data protection laws if people’s faces were shown.

Google has said it is using face blurring technology to preserve the privacy of individuals photographed.

“In our view they need a person’s consent if they make use of a person’s face for commercial ends,” Simon Davies, of Privacy International told BBC News.

Street View has already been launched in the US and includes photos of streets in major American cities. Photographing of areas in the UK, including London, is believed to have started last week.

Mr Davies has written to Google asking for details of the face-blurring technology, saying he would ask the UK Information Commissioner to intervene if he did not receive a satisfactory response.

He told BBC News that he was concerned that Google’s technology would not work.

Google’s senior privacy counsel Jane Horvath has responded saying that the technology had already been deployed.

So Jane I guess thats all right then is it.?

Copyright Image by Stanza

Copyright Image by Stanza: Globals live visualusation of media over the net 2004

Shows my live maps work from 2004… google maps can just take what they  want.

They  even have a photo of me in my house on google earth that they  took just as the google van passed…( glad I had my shorts on)..? Will google become the enemy of the state? ….

Stanza image from 2004. Global…Never the same again always different….forever.” by Stanza 2004

From Fixed Assets to open Systems and Media visualisations.

July 1st, 2008

Stanza. Pervasive Media in The City. 2004

From Fixed Assets to open Systems and Media visualisations.

The new-ness of the internet is still a viable claim. The internets ability to draw assets and data to create post modern allegory allows all sorts of media visualisations. The internet presents of a myriad ways to create ephemeral art across cross networks using all sorts of data information and media. The internet provides gateways and access for all, the editing process, mash-ups, authors as editors, as choice makers, as decision makers.

One can create these gateways oneself as artists to allow other access ones information and data create organic, generative ever changing artworks and experiences which is what Stanza does.

The development of Stanza’s work has shifted from asset gathering and media collection as artworks into a new studio space online. In earlier works Stanza used video cameras and sound recorders to gather assets or media to edit and make into artworks, that would be presented in various forms. Mostly edited and then used for distribution as editions or later online or displayed as output as art in an art gallery.

Even in earlier interactive pieces circa 1998 – 2002 Stanza was using assets and remixing re working these assets in system, usually mouse controlled and all displaying some level of user control, and generative visual aspect. IE in these interactive works Stanza is manipulating or allowing the user some control over my content , a remixing of this content.

Stanza Generative software map maker.

Stanza Generative software map maker.

This body of artwork has moved from fixed assets to interactive systems to open generative systems.  In 2002 Stanza started to develop less fixed systems that culled data and media from other sources. These mash-ups or interactive collage systems. ie Subfusion ,  CITYV etc.  In these systems there is no fixed tangible lists of assets (ie the are not databases) they are drawn or harvested via software from spaces.

What is data.  Sensors are affected by changes in the environment and these are the results ie numbers are polled of the sensors which are then interpreted via custom code.

18 764 7504 493 606 195 11 18 764 764 4 518 612 339 203 12 16 778 779 6 515 485 417 196 2 2 764 764 7 482 481 321 291 19 16 778 606 195 11 18 764 764 4 518 612 339 203 12 16 778 779 6 515 485 417 196 2 2 764 764 7 482 481 196 2 2 764 764 7 482 481 321 291 19 1 18 764 7504 493 606 195 11 18 764 764 4 518 612 339 203 12 16 778 779 6 515 485 417 196 2 2 764 764 7 482 481 321 291 19 16 778 606 195 11 18 764 764 4 518 612 339 203 12 16 778 779 6 515 485 417 196 2 2 764 764 7 482 481 196 2 2 764 764 7 482 481 321 291 19 1 18 764 7504 493 606 195 11 18 764 764 4 518 612 339 203 12 16 778 779 6

Stanza: CCTV  Media Visualisation 2005. Large print On Canvas.

Stanza: CCTV Media Visualisation 2005. Large print On Canvas.

Surveillance in the city.

May 8th, 2008


stanza image

Stanza proposal for new CCTV sculpture system in Piccadily London. We bow down to you…..the mother of big brother. copyright Stanza 2006

DNA clock. The DNA clock is playing with the idea of a code clock, a system within a system.

January 9th, 2008


stanza image of dna clock installation

The DNA clock is playing with the idea of a code clock, a system within a system. The clock is a code for life that is represent by time. In fact to count or watch all the 3.3 billion letters will take one hundred and four years disclosing the ‘meaning of life’ in the process. By sitting in the gallery for one hundred and four years you will also have an exact replica of Stanza DNA and the source code to copy the artist via duplication (clone). Alternatively you can buy my DNA which will be auctioned on Ebay soon.

The original concept and intention as well as being developed as an artwork was to make a business. In short a database placed online would require users to submit a copy of their DNA. Once the first 100,000 subscriptions had been made then an IPO, an initial public offering would be made. The company formed on the stock market would exploit any patents, intellectual property and any derivable income would be shared among the subscribed user group. The shareholders in this company would be the subscribers who have placed their DNA source code. This project was to counter the exploitation of DNA by large corporations who do now exploit the right to this source code, a code that should be equally beneficial to all. This database is still in progress and further funds and financial backers are needed. This concept is copyright / and left. Stanza 2003

The DNA is an operating system consists of 3.3 billion bases that is the letters ACTG. There are also the chromosomes and either the X or Y depending on if you are male or female. My thinking is if you remove parts of the operating system then you stop working. Indeed part of any OS consists of objects, functions or blocks of code that do specific jobs but also relate tasks to the whole. This idea is expanded when we consider that some of the code can actually change, evolve or shifts over time. An interesting term that relates to a huge chunk of the code sequence; in fact more than 95 percent of all DNA, was called “Junk DNA” by molecular biologists, because they were unable to ascribe any function to it. However the issue here is that the function of the code is not yet properly understood. What does the function do within the operating system?

There are other projects and works associated with my dna sequence including musical interpretation and generative reworking of my DNA sequence online.


Code represented by code and taken from blood.

The Internet is Just a bunch of links. Digest 2004 – Stanza.

January 9th, 2008
stanza image

stanza image 2002.The Internet is Just a bunch of links.

Digest 2004 – stanza. Just a bunch of links

It could be argued that any submission to an exhibition about net art should just be the link to the work. The link is the work – its address, its location in the virtual world, its place within the system. The net itself can be interpreted as just a long list of links. As the net has become such a long list then maybe there’s a role for some curation after all. I didn’t believe this initially. Now I’ve come to believe that at least some focus on issues such as what may or may not be net art is surely a good thing. It seems too obvious to suggest this. But why not, when the burgeoning of net art has led to the proliferation of organised lists of links which are called online exhibitions.

The development of types of experience called net art has expanded to such a degree that there are now many genres of art on the net. In so much as seeking an absolute definition is futile, it could be said that net art is or has become a combination of many things incorporating some new technologies (ie. html , java, shockwave etc.), but also other disciplines such as music, programming, design, fine art and many more. And depending on which discipline you’re coming from, you might prefer conceptually led works or video based works or whatever.

Is there any good net art?

For some time now I’ve felt the proliferation of different net art linked shows has detracted from this issue. Although we should focus on the nature of specific works there is a problem when the works then become subsumed by the politics of the curation process. The beauty of art on the net, networked art and net art itself is that it is art for everybody. You can engage with the work at whatever level you want. But when the major curatorial institutions start to engage with the work, they bring their baggage to the party. And who are they to say what is good and bad net art?

Stanza. Networked and connected systems. Map Software.

Stanza. Networked and connected systems. Map Software.

Rather than read pages of text (like this) let’s just look at the work and engage with it. When we go to a gallery, do we read and study text before experiencing the work? But net art shows are increasingly text driven in order to explain away the concept or process. Maybe this isn’t a bad thing, but it occurs to me that rather than lots of curators in many different museums pitching to arrange shows on this theme or that, would it not better serve the artists’ needs if these museums considered a different approach. Maybe they should first find out what it is the artists need.

A national virtual new media (data) centre. {developed art techology assembly}

What is needed is a stronger virtual infrastructure, not for net art to be presented in a physical manner. Imagine a virtually networked national new media centre with a solid technical backbone, back end systems, fast delivery, and capable of running whatever one wanted. This would be like building a new Tate Modern except for the virtual world. Maybe we could call it ‘Tate Virtual’, maybe the netart museum. Such a system would allow the curator to come in and re-interpret the works, to redesign from a back end and arrange and re-arrange at will. They could recommend work, and archive and re-contextualise it.

The new media centres and museums could team up, dare I say it collaborate, in order to represent the new work that exists online within a larger umbrella structure. This approach would be better, cheaper and offer the artists more scope. I’m not just talking about a virtual museum but a real delivery system through which curators can mobilise the artworks. Certainly in terms of any arts funded project this would be a very good way to collate, archive and reference the work from an art historical point of view. It would also be useful in terms of accountability. Sooner or later someone is going to ask what the return has been on all the investment of public funds into new media art.

A good idea. Memes

I’ve spoken before about the need for collaboration within the convergent media process. With the phenomenal rise in the number of artists using computers to make art, this is self-evident. But what’s far less obvious is what’s happens to all the work. And whether it’s graphic, music or emergent interactive works we’re talking about, there’s lots more of it on the way. Well curated online art spaces allow artists to show their work in online communities relevant to the work itself. Such sites can provide a specific platform, for example, for a streaming service for digital video, internet art specific projects, or java networked projects etc etc. My idea was/is to create a media arts portal under the name, ‘The Armchair Universe’. I started this back in 1997 but it proved too large an undertaking without funding.

The most succesful of the sites I’ve developed is It now has over one hundred artists’ works exhibited online, and specialises in audio visual work. The idea has been to develop these projects and link them together in a media arts portal. Not just for delivery but as a virtual community on the net.

Imagine a situation where artists that use computers make works and share these works online with other users and artists within a global network. Artworks can be posted up, and other people can vote for their favourite works. The most visited works can be highlighted and users can write up reviews and comments.

An environment like this, if funded and developed properly, could have a very significant impact on the art and culture online. Online users making digital TV could create their own schedules for an online community to watch. Generative music systems could be deployed online to play across networks. The promised new media revolution could become a reality rather than a disparate network of links that are variously alive and dead.

My existing sites are already attracting thousands of new users and tens of thousands of hits per month. With funding, a major online media portal such as this would also provide invaluable information. It would be a research and development resource revealing what people are actually creating with the computers of today. This information would enable us to better know what artists and creatives want from the technologies of tomorrow.

Everyone as artist

A media environment such as the one I am proposing would change the way people use their computers – and the users would become artists by exhibiting the work they create. This new media network would enable that process. Any company advertising or building such an environment would be making artists out of users/consumers. So let’s have some corporate involvement from the computer industry itself!

A national virtual new media data centre

I’ve attempted a few times to curate and show ‘exhibitons’ which explore the diversity of net art. (See links below). My idea was and still is to form a network of new media situations that represents the variety of artwork available online. is a space for artists at the forefront of the audiovisual field, where they can show work which focuses on a developing artform area. Soundtoys can be described as “new audio visual experiences”, or multimedia experiments, which explore the parameters of our new media world. They might be described as the fusion of audio and visual output through new technologies available on the internet.

The site looks at issues around interactive arts, audio visual synthesis, generative art, and the history of interactivity. It looks at how artists are exploring, researching and playing within the parameters of online art. The site attracts a diverse and convergent range of practitioners including designers, fine artists, programmers and musicians who are all expanding their creativity within the online audio visual domain.

The convergence of hardware and software has further encouraged convergence between different creative disciplines. Perhaps now some curation and critical perspective is needed. And the constantly changing and developing nature of technologies also allows for nature of the artwork itself to change. We’re starting to see a greater emphasis on works that generate and evolve. Formal relationships within art will change as the artist’s relationship to the process changes.

Online we have net art – artists who are specifically addressing the uses and abuses of the Internet as a medium for creative expression. Within this context artists are exploring many technologies including shockwave, flash, vrml and java. Offline we see more application driven interface experiments using technologies such as max, super collider, and exploiting multi user systems, generative audio, and graphics displays. addresses the blurring of these boundaries and presents artists working at the edge of software development and at the interface between art and new music.

However this is just one site amongst many that are dedicated to various forms of net art and new media. Rhizome,Turbulence, Futherfield – there is now a growing list that exists in the virtual world. And in the physical world in the UK we have Watershed, Fact, Hull Time Based Arts, Lighthouse Media Centre..etc etc.

Alive or Dead

My Netart museum ( Now also dead) was a links site which also attempted some chronological overview of the net art scene. To my amusement the last time I looked most of the work from 1997 is now dead links, in fact over 500 dead links. This is the true nature of the web and really the whole point of the web as an emergent system

The web as an emergent network

Image: Stanza City Souel

Image: Stanza City Souel

Cities hold a fascination for me in that the more you become familiar with navigating a city’s structure, the less likely you are to get lost. But even in a familiar city, it’s still possible to find new spaces and ones which have changed and evolved; or places that are no longer there. Buildings, estates, streets come and go – they have their own life cycle of birth, decay and death. When streets are demolished other spaces are left behind. The city is a truly emergent space. In looking at art on the web with all its convergent plurality, a similar pattern is emerging.

In the past five years alone, hundreds of thousands of artworks and websites have been created and leave their footprint of connectivity online. Occasionally these sites last, but more often they are taken down, or replaced when they become obsolete. This is the nature of the internet, of new technology and of emergent systems – things change, situations evolve. Contemporary artists working online tend to focus on connectivity and realise their work across networks, or within databases and information systems. And while artists are busily creating works as emergent systems, or to create metaphors for situations that evoke connectivity, the web by its varying defaults has created its own emergent system.

Error 404s as dead spaces, as voids, as the death or obsolescence of what was once there – representing a place for contemplation, transience and the eternal hope of renewal. These spaces are the memories of things past. You might come across them by accident, only to find on the error 404 page a description of a page that no longer exists.

But these pages make up an obsolete and emergent system of their own. Probably the most common page of information on the web is a web page that suggests it has no information. And yet these pages are all different, with different layouts, fonts and languages but the same message. Type error ‘404’ into a search engine and thousands of results are displayed. Information consigned to the cemetery of the internet

A small footprint for contemplation

The search engine displays information about the information you seek, but the information you seek is no longer there. My favourite website is this space, that has been created not by the process of artistic endeavour but by the medium of the internet itself. It’s a self-regulating body of images and texts. In the sense that it is a space to reflect, a space for memories and feelings, the 404 page creates a small footprint for contemplation.

So in an ideal world, it would be nice to customize your error404.html pages within websites(and certainly you can do this), and make artworks to go in these spaces. Then we’d have hundreds of thousands of error404 artworks. Which I guess is like putting a tombstone over the grave.

At (main stanza site)


The New Decayed Painting by Stanza: Private View Invite.

December 17th, 2006
Stanza artworks 1990 Oil On Canvas

Stanza artworks 1990 Oil On Canvas

































stanza image

Stanza: Private View invite. (Ten years online…The New Decayed)

There are several of my artworks about data cities and how this can be represented and visualized online. I have interpreted data from security tracking, and environmental monitoring. These artworks involve collecting the data, visualizing the data, and then displaying the data. The outputs from the online interfaces and online visualizations are realized as real time dynamic artworks as diverse as installations, and real objects, made out of new display materials back in physical space.

Check out the site

An idea for another way of Funding….2004

October 22nd, 2006

stanza-art-032In order to do something special and unique that would respect your audience, you have to give them that. So give them something new, something special, something out there, something blue sky, something different for London.

An idea for another way of Funding….

I wrote this in 2004 when I was asked about typed of festivals for London.

Anyway I decided to put it online it was addressed and sent to the arts council.

Why does London need a new media festival just because everywhere else has a festival.

A call for a new type of engagement with interactive new media and a call for a new type of gallery with a new a new understanding.

There are many festival worldwide specialising in attempts to bring new media art to a wider audience. Indeed if it is really the intention to have a media festival here, one could do no better than to visit some of these around the world. If one wanted to adopt a model for a London festival there are many. I have exhibited at seventy in the last two years and been to many of these. Pick the one that takes your fancy. But some decision would need to be made about the reasons for doing this.

What London does not have is a focused attempt to bring together and represent what artists are currently exploring in new media. The Future Physical programme attempted this in some way with commissions, exhibitions, forums and discussions, Cybersonica has a go, Dorkbot has a go. I had a go my with project. But to understand this properly it needs to be seen in a broader framework than just laptop music or projected video. There are currently no real attempts to understand the interactive, generative and locative aspects of the current climate of new media. This is what is needed.

London does indeed lack a central hub, it had one in the LUX but even they didn’t understand the nature of the ‘new’ media. And the ICA which has always positioned itself at the forefront for the ‘new’ in media has wasted numerous attempts. What London really lacks is the ability to focus on what it has to offer and demonstrate this coherently.

I would propose to build a venue, a unique responsive architecture for new media that would be a world focus for new developments in art. The UK now has more than a handful of major media centres dotted around the country. And the most relevant observation here, is the lack of communication between these organisations in the way they share resources, data, exhibitions and technology. A major capital building in the city with a national DATA centre to unite all these enterprises would be a great thing to do. (for further reading read text at

Galleries and institutions do understand the nature of new media to a certain degree; but often they are faced with budget restrictions that means that they have been slow to adopt these new works. The galleries probably also have deep reservations when they are dealing with the promises of new technology because it often doesn't often communicate what it is supposed to. Some work looks good in funding forms forms I am sure but many fail to deliver. It is a fact the technology must work.

It is also true that media art does have a tendency to dissappear.

The V2 is one organisation which has always understood the “unstable “ nature of the practise. Artists more than most in this field also recoginise the need for art historical provenance and documentaion. But within this context the Arts Council should already have mechanism in place; ie they fund most or the work, somebody should be there to do this. Curators already have much to say, maybe they could be invited for comments also or to flag up curators ideas. But more importantly maybe its time to let the practitioners develop the agenda. The historical continuation and context for which new media is understoood will only really placed in an art historical context when some history has passed ie, when some time has passed . If curators want to discuss art historical values they should set up their tent and agenda in the field also. Because of the nature of the intergrated technologies involoved it would also be prudent to involve technologiest artsists that understand this unstable nature and ask them.

Overall my view from this is that someone needs to decide what they want and not what is needed. All the issues in a consensus lead to a summative conclusion that really doest take into account the nature of these new types of works.

My view is that one has to understand the nature of the media and where it is going in order for an audience to be able to relate to it. There are now many specialised areas of interest from robotics, mobile, new architectural, generative systems, new musics, nano-techs, 3d imersives etc etc.... I think you need a broader range of artists with more experience of the ‘media’ than on your list if you truly want an opinion.


All these opinions wont really matter and you will need some ideas. There are now many festivals worldwide, as I have said, and they often often repeat the same work, and make the same catalogues, design the same websites but all in their own cultural domain. And as each year passes then a new thing is in fashion; this year for example its locative, mobile, wifi.

In order to do something special and unique that would respect your audience, you have to give them that. So give them something new, something special, something out there, something blue sky, something different for London.

My suggestion is an event called .....BLUE SKY.

From open submissions and international invite (like an architecture project).

One invites and selects a shortlist of say fifty projects.

The objective is to take 12 of and realise them in London.

12 top mind blowing cutting edge projects.

Set up a web based format to enter so that people can see everyones ideas.

And then an illustrious and knowledable panel shortlists fifty.

They are paid to develop the idea further and then 12 are selected done.

Each project would then be supported by a venue, technically and ...etc etc...

Projects would be international collaborative and original.

The middle men, the festivals, need to be cut out of the funding process—->

the distributers need to go since they distribute; they don’t contribute—>

Stanza. June2004

Crossbow Motes. Details of experience to date. 2004 – 2006

April 9th, 2006

Crossbow Motes.

What follows is a sort of diary / journey of my experiences of dealing and researching new technologies at the fuzzy edge where ‘stuff’ is getting developed and marketed to end users as research tools. The technology in this case is Crossbow Motes.

My interest and work with Crossbow motes (Mica 2 wireless board and sensors) and wireless technology goes back to early 2004 when I went over to Crossbow head office in San Jose and then attended a workshop in Boston in late 2004. For the workshop which costs over $500 dollars, you have to turn up owning or having ordered the technology,I actually wanted to evaluate it or at least see if it worked before I bought. I was looking for a technology that could fit my concepts (live real time data from a sensor network represented online for monitoring public space) and you have to start somewhere, however I paid upfront for the course and the technology , booked the flight from London, and got myself to a hotel in Boston USA.

It should have been a clue as to how difficult XBOW motes actually are. Out of 200 people at the workshop of which they said ten people would turn up to the free two hour session the day before (for the pre install). Well what I mean is, the clue should have been in the pre install day. Nearly every person or group, who had previously bought this technology needed to be shown how to install them. This audience included some navy seals, software engineers with PHD’s and all sorts of BSC and MSC graduates working in professional fields, ie hardware and software engineers. That is nearly everyone who had bought this couldn’t get it to work and needed their hand holding.

Anyway I went ahead and bought the kit at the workshop except the director of Crossbow couldn’t get mine working and he eventually gave me his used mib 510 board.

Its three years I have been messing around with these motes and there are some simple truths.

The first is this is expensive, the second is there is hope offered but failure is always close at hand, the third is your on your own.

I also wonder out of all the people that bought/buy these kits off Crossbow Technology who has actually to used them successfully. If anyone has can you write to me. I did ask crossbow for a list but they wouldn’t give me one. How many of these kits are deployed somewhere and working, or are they all left in dusty cupboards; my guess is the later.

Not only is it difficult to appraise what they should do, they don’t even do what the company promises (more on this later) but to try to develop your own ideas you have to read one of five manuals (which I did) this isn’t the problem, I mean at least there are some manuals. The problem is lots of the stuff is either not true or misleading.( the online forum is useless.)

Maybe I just ask the wrong question, however for three years my question has been the same. Can I get the data online using motes. I want to make real time online environment with the live data, not the local saved data. And after much questioning I was told use XML RPC. The answer to this has always been yes, but how?

They actually sold me software which they said does this out of the box. Well I can tell you and them it does not. It does not take XML RPC into flash for example. The version of XML RPC is proprietory and unique to Crossbow. Believe me it took months to figure this out. ie it’s a non standard version. I repeated the same question after I bought more stuff and they said I would now need to develop either a bridge or a PHP or CGI script in order to do this. (Which I have now also achieved as of 2007.see below.)

I asked them for examples or to at least show me that you at Crossbow have done this and their reply was to say that the code is Crossbow property ie proprietry intellectual property. OK what does this mean. Well first it means that the product doesn’t do what they say it does. Second it means either they are still developing this and also that they weren’t prepared prove to me that this worked. Thirdly it meant that I still hadn’t got my sensors blasting out data online over a network so that I can manipulate it.

However this isn’t the point.

The distributors in UK Willow and Crossbow in USA all said I can get real time data online to my website using the software they sold me for £800 pounds, err that’s why I bought it. They said it is built in. I made several requests about this and they assured me before I purchased that it was. Anyway you can not get realtime data to be presented to an online source using the kits and the software they supply you with. What they said is not true and as such is misrepresentation.

However, I did get my real time data but only after having written my own custom software which was mote proxy bridge in java. (Thanks to Eamonn) There is also way to do this via PHP and postgreSQL , but they didn’t help with this. In other words, you have to do a lot of your own software development to get this to happen, so be prepared.

The other issue with the motes is that I am always having issues restarting the program Xserve and trying to establish re -connections. In other words getting them running is one thing, keeping them running is another.

And of last month (mid 2007) Xbow announced they are now giving the software Moteworks away I bought this from them two months before for £800 ie $1600 us dollars. (No Joke) from their UK distributor Willow Technology. ER can I have my money back?

Recently I updated from version 1.4 moteview to version 2.0 and my mote bridge stops, working. They probably have updated their XML structure, so I rolled back to an earlier version. Well OK I here you say its the cutting edge of technology….er bleeding edge. So my bridge was re-wrote and updated again so I am now running version 2 of moteview with my own mote proxy.

I also bought a “stargate” wireless gateway (It cost £700 pounds via UK Distribution Willow Tech). This was advertised with built in micro wireless camera, err they could have said what it was. The built in micro camera was in fact an external USB Logitec webcam, this is what I got when I opened the box. They charged about £120 pounds $240 dollars for this webcam. The other thing about the “stargate” is it needs a regular power supply. It should be solar or battery powered. It makes no sense to have a battery unit for a wireless sensor network for remote monitoring. (True I can adapt it) At this price I should have just bought another laptop, and that’s what I recommend to anyone else..

There has not been one stage in this process when I have felt like I have had good service either off Willow ( Xbow UK distributors, although Willow tried their best, since their interest is making a sale in redirecting products that come from the USA with 100 percent mark up) or from Crossbow USA who I have dealt with directly.

Although I am still pursuing this project and my research, (I have started so I will finish)…this is more of a warning. Really I feel like should just ask for my money back with all this as it feels like sales misrepresentation.

You see I actually went to San Jose head offices from London and told them what I was going to do and what wanted before I started to invest my time and money in this, this was early in 2004.

Maybe all the researchers use other peoples money so it doesn’t matter and nobody speaks up; but this is just a word to those that might even want to invest in this. WARNING; look at any other wireless technology for sensors platform and avoid Crossbow Motes, maybe gumsticks are better, or build your own. Anyway you have been warned.

Oh, one more thing, I even bought housing to protect them, this does not fit properly and you have to break solder connections to get them inside, and they arent waterproof. This felt like more money wasted.

To conclude you have to do a lot of your own software development to get real time online visualization.

I have also been doing tests for continual running, mainly battery life but also stability and data polling. So far thirty six hours is the longest period I have had my sensor networks running without either a re-start or some other related health issue. Well maybe there is a memory leak in moteview 1.4. Also on this endurance testing during the last month of this two motes have now stopped working in my system. This means that they are fairly unstable for anything beyond “play” development.

Some positive points

I now have written my own custom software which was mote proxy bridge in java to get real time data online. I have tested this now and I making several online real time visualizations. A version mote proxy middle has been made. Current Version 1.23

There is also way to do this via PHP and postgreSQL though opening ports, I have also done this and an online PHP kit Vers 0.9 has been developed.

I am still trying to develop with this, for my Sensity and House project. Its part of my AHRC creative fellowship and I have now set up my studio ie main operational headquarters in the Digital Studios at Goldsmiths College University of London.

Maybe Crossbow would like to support me by giving me a complete set of the new motes and sensors boards with GPS that can network over larger distances.(Imotes and Iris), so I can continue my research..


Wish list

Smaller more stable motes.

Data of much larger distances.

Plug in solar power cell to power them.

Stargate with solar polar or battery

Some decent housing that easy to clip wrong and fits well.

Much better technical support.

Easier set up.

More sensors available that can just clip on and piggyback the set up.


A mote with Ethernet that just clips into a new work ports and configures to send data…that would be cool.