Monthly Archives: December 2009


by Sally Applin

Last year I wrote that I thought that Africa and all things African were going to make a comeback.

Here we go:

Trends: Trends was on Trend!

©2009-2014 Sally A. Applin. All rights reserved.

~Happy CONtrails to You, Until we Tweet Again~

by Sally Applin

People working in the social application space seem to be interested in contrails.

The Wikipedia definition for vapor contrails:

Contrails (short for “condensation trails”) or vapour trails are basically artificial clouds, visible trails of condensed water vapour, made by the exhaust of aircraft engines. As the hot exhaust gases cool in the surrounding air they may precipitate a cloud of microscopic water droplets. If the air is cold enough, this trail will comprise tiny ice crystals.

Contrails are the comet tails of our digital world. In maps, they are the records of the paths that we take in physical space, represented digitally. They look like lines of paths that one has travelled.

Why are they interesting?

My informal poll shows that they are interesting as an archive of memory. People want to remember where they went, and feel that a contrail map can remind them of the paths they took through the planet at any given time.

I don’t buy it as the entire story. If multiple movements are saved over multiple days, the patterns of data can reveal behaviors about a person’s habits, patterns and places that they travelled.

I think CONtrails are super data rich traces of information.

Its turbo crazy spy wear! Its a trojan horse! Its voluntary participation in a turbo crazy spywear trojan horse!

CONtrails turn a person’s life into data. Clinical output to be measured. A census. A CONcensus. A CONtrail.

CON because–one is conned into thinking on the front end that they are recording paths they’ve been — travel trips, map routes and the like–are just in that moment. Not that they are being recorded and measured against others and other trips one takes and archived. CON because that data is analyzed.

Put it this way: you don’t lose privacy with a paper map.

Trend: the CONcensus is that there are going to be CONtrails. Tread carefully. Decide if you really want to be tracked in the GPS space, for how long, and during what activities. Its coming. Prepare yourself for your Golden Years of looking at line patterns and reminiscing about the good old days before GPS when we used maps and took photographs!

©2009-2014 Sally A. Applin. All rights reserved.