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Interviewing Daniel Miller

Today we interview Daniel Miller, artist, web designer, programmer, and no fan of the National Hockey League. He is also one of the early bloggers. First with blogspot and later at Daniel’s Journey where a variety of CMS’s have been tried and even developed there. He is also the founder of Intregration Research, a cultural and technological incubator in the form of art collective, publisher and software developer.

What’s your age and occupation? How long have you lived there? Where did you come from, and where do you live now?

29 year old artist, entrepreneur and web developer. I’m originally from Pennsylvania and over the last 10 years have lived in Tucson, Ft. Lauderdale, Washington DC, Sarajevo, Florida (again), and now Dallas, where I’ve lived for one month so far.

You are a well traveled American. How does the rest of the world see America right now compare to how you see your country? If there is a difference? What is causing it?

I feel like I should ask you that question since you are not an American. :) I’ve become un-nationalistic in my approach; I’m more interested in broader trends in power-based relationships, social dynamics, and the like. I actually hate politics, and have observed how it corrupts even at its lowest levels, so I try to keep my own personal politics to the voting booth.

To answer your question, in my experience many people would prefer to see a different president in the next term, and in that we agree. But there are bigger things at work, and I think we are in a unique time where we can all, travel or no, get a better idea for the world’s common values and concerns and work collectively to try and address them.

What is the coolest gadget that you have ever owned?

I’m a pretty low-tech geek; my two main gadgets are a 3 year old Dell laptop and a very pedestrian pair of headphones. I have a Korg D-12 digital recorder that’s nice; we’re about to be reunited after 10 months apart.

Can you tell us a little about Integration Research? Can you give us a glimpse at some of the projects you are working on?

I’ll try to make this brief without giving the standard line. Integration Research (IR) has been fashioned to try and work out new ways for creative people to approach the processes of cultural production and dissemination. We’re specifically looking at technological solutions that facilitate a cultural dynamic that benefits all. The web, blogs, digitization of cultural artifacts, ubiquitous broadband, and the low entry price for professional-level creative technologies have all contributed to a rapid de-centralization of cultural control; but we have yet to develop models that successfully reward these new creators, because culture industries are historically so centralized. We are in a transitional moment, and IR is trying to examine this space and create solutions that work within its new landscape.

Our first project is a piece of personal library management software. It will allow you to enter in anything from books to blenders and then attach metadata to those items–lent out or borrowed and to/from whom, queued for future interest and/or added to your Amazon wish list, for sale and/or added to your Amazon sale items–and keep a historical record of those artifacts. It will also support publish/subscribe via RSS, so that, for example, you could easily publish information about your cultural choices on a blog, and, most importantly, find out what resources are available within various
communities you participate in.

Another project that is in the works is what I call creative management software. It is like blogging with a twist, and will hopefully retain the power of micro Content Management Systems (mCMS) while making all that data more useful and navigating it more intuitive.

We’re in the middle of developing some white papers on all of these topics, so stay tuned in the next few months for that.

What’s the coolest part about living in the Dallas megatropolis?

Decent weather and people. I’ve lived enough places to find my niche anywhere, and know that having community is essential to making a city one’s home.

Your blog has seen a couple different programming languages and content management systems over the years. What has been the best you have worked with? The worst?

Every language and system have their good points and their bad, and they are usually opposite characteristics across platforms. Blogger is simple but feature poor and inflexible; Moveable Type is more flexible but convoluted. One programming language makes X hard and Y easy, the other Y hard and X easy. I’m never going to develop a programming language, but I hope the mCMS that I’m building strikes a good balance between simplicity and flexibility.

There hasn’t been a best and worst yet. This space is still young.

What’s the worst airline or train traveling experience ever?

I’ve spent so many nights in airports or negotiating with sketchy cab drivers that they all blur together. The physical act of traveling is rarely fun or relaxing, but the payoffs and surprises are well worth it. I got lost once walking back to Johnny’s at 4am, and it was cold and I was tired, but at one point it was like a music video–there were people falling headfirst out of pubs onto the sidewalk in front of me, a car pulled up and a gang of people jumped out of it, ran into an alley beside me, and two of the guys started fighting. It was frightening and invigorating and I remember that 2 hour walk fondly.

9pm, Wednesday night – what are you doing?

Sitting at my computer answering your questions. :)

Mac or PC?

Both if I could only afford a Mac.

If Integration Research could get any celebrity spokesperson in the world, who would it be? Why?

Madonna. She personifies success under the old/established structures of cultural dissemination, so there would be a beautiful irony there. She’s the most powerful relevant public figure I could think of and her pocket change could fund IR forEVAR.

If you could summer anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Dang these are good questions! I’m going to have to go with……Vienna. Beautiful, diverse city to begin with and a hop-skip to a lot of interesting places. Wait. Or Sydney, for the same reasons.

Best three weblogs you are reading right now?

Amateur Hour: the me in media, Purse Lip Square Jaw, dooce.

What is one thing that the National Hockey League could do to make you into a diehard hockey fan (for the Canadian readers of my blog)

Um, go back in time, transplant my DNA, and drop me in Saskatchewan maybe?

All of the interviews can be found here (well, except the ones that I haven’t posted yet)

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