Guide Description:

As part of the Techno-Galactic Software Observatory, we will collectively produce a Software Observation Guide [[so, not survival ... Software REVIVAL Guide -- think important to insist on observation]]. The guide will lay out ways to achieve critical distances from the seemingly endless software systems that surround us and will offer practical tools for the tactical (mis)use of software, empowering/enabling users to resist embedded paradigms and assumptions. The guide will include a description of the myths and realities of software, a list of currently available methods for approaching software including their risks and benefits, and a glossary of terms. Participants will contribute to the guide by naming and describing methods of observing software, by nominating and defining terms for the glossary, and by sharing personal stories of close encounters with software.

Saturday afternoon:

A document that can support the clinic with the work we have been doing so that you can know where the exercises came from

Printed menu/program?

People are interested in what we have done

For Group 0 For Monday - how will we get this produced? ie. naming convention or protocol for getting contributions from groups [[falling apart while/through being observed]] #include as way to copy/paste from pads for output sub-typing of or What do you want to do during the clinic? (searches through system for vocabulary?) What tools they know about, want to use, what they want to include

Introduction on Observation will be transcription of conversation tomorrow morning [which maybe then gets a light edit]]

Definitions of Software (collected from last few days, from online searches, relation betweens, from software studies)

On Expertise?

Intake - How to you address/approach observation


Different relationship to expertise

Reflexivity (how will we observe ourselves)

Elevator Performance

reverse engineering to flow chart

Agile Yoga


Zenit interface analysis


!http://etherbox.lan:9001/p/ !http://etherbox.lan:9001/p/ !http://etherbox.lan/page/part2.pdf#page=21

Time conversion


Bestiary of Tools

pdftk --- look at - look for apt-get install

Deeper questions/conversations that produced the exercises and that will be carried forward

Time Essay, written and visual essay


What is Software/Becoming Software discussion notes

Research report from Flow Chart Ideology-what is it like to be an elevator?

Materials from the reader (or elsewhere) that have been touchstones

Kittler: There is no software




Close Encounters

Jean Heuns


Selection of pictures from Computer Museum in Namur with captions



Removal of Vocabulary

excersise: 1-reverse engineering of flow chart 1-zenith-modelinganalysis? 1-cultural symbol analisis?

2-sitting in the middle of a room

3- time converter? synchronizations?

4-vocabolary operations.. as a service? 6-agile yoga

tools: 1-flowchart 2-simmtm 3-unix-timebomb 4-aquinas?

xx-intake scripts?

other elemets: time-text aquinas man page zenithed flowcharts

Friday afternoon proposal for Guide structure and contributions

Table of Contents


Reflecting on/performing observation and frameworks

Bare Necessities

Becoming Software, different ways of doing software history

Definitions of software: Origin stories, multiple births of software (when, where)

Doing software

Software environments

Techniques of Observation



Close Encounters with Software

Personal Stories, Anecdotes, Journals, written Reports from Clinic

Test Environments

Negotiating Time - Sundial Time Computer


[[notes and reflections on friday afternoon work on structure of guide. it feels a little rigid right now. in the desire to leave things open for what will happen in the next few days and to be responsive to what is currently emerging, we are letting go of many references to the survival guide, which is in turn leaving things a little general. what are the qualifying adjectives that we want to use? throughlines that are less obviously topical but have repeatedly emerged are ANIMALS, DIFFERENT TYPES OF TIME, ]]

Discussion on Thursday afternoon

turning observation sideways invasive observation one minute it is about self-tracking, another on knowledge production attention to the unequal power relation observing software would set up

situated observation

why this focus observation? (so what is our agenda / what are our agendas)

observation and speculation becoming ?

... and what about critique?

observation and critique:

is it the difference between passive and active observation

how about kinds of action:

who is the audience for this work of observation?

for us, and who are we non experts and experts keeping the conversation flowing instead of a one-way channel of communication patience and generosity respectful and disrespectful accessibility

(depends on what you are looking at) confusion

what are our core values and ground truths? bringing our concerns and issues in the debate patience and generousity theory of power attention and care agency, choices take the time, time to observe confusion play situated observation and knowledge,%20Situated%20Knowledges.pdf

What to do with observations? what do observations do with us? immediate/intended/unintended consequences meta-observation/long duree of observation/impact observation relational observations

nice to have: what are the tools that we currently use --> see below techniques of observation

Mapping (?) observations atlas - collection of representations constellation is map/representation compass (ref. speculative design) -- tool of navigation


Observation can be captured by devices

"to make a system that allows observation only, it seems rather impossible"

Techniques of the observer - note taking -command line -debugging -browser dev tools - poking around -sniffing -conversation

distancing  no distancing critique

Enactments/Forms of Observations Representations Simulations (Models?) Reparative Critique (Eve Sedgewick -

Table of Contents:

Inspiring section from the SAS survival handbook ; strategy (strategy to study software...) camp craft (tools, set up our observatory, finding our research site...) reading the signs (signs of problems, traces of solutions, hidden paths of inquiry...) disasters (software breakdowns, reading the ruins, tactical pratices of provoquing a breakdown )

Myths and Realities

Paradigms and Assumptions (ex: user vs programmer. hardware vs software, ...)

What are the paradigms of software ? Kittler basically said : "there is no software, it is only text manipulation", it is a call to study the materiality of tech. Software is a construction in this sense. The paradigm is : softwares are intermediaries, interfaces, layers ? Delegating blame and responsibility to software (how it migrates to the system, the machine, etc) Are we blaming the software because we cannot blame somebody else ? vs. specific choices made by developers - where does the responsibilty for systemic racism lie, for ex. What is logged by a system? How to read log files? How to recognise a software system and what are its boundaries ? Manifestos of blaming/ Normativity of software (the many "right ways" to do software) * Manifestos as programmers' tools agile: process as an outcome implementing agile involves one guy reading the book building software under the contingencies of a moving target Task analysis: starting point software development what is a task, how can this become entangled with more playful takes on observations

Origin Stories - The Multiple Births of Software (and the consequences of each of these definitions, for how they can be observed, the perspectives they produce, with what agendas they are proposed)

Materiality, abstraction and the different axis - legal when are the first software patents? responsibility The break-up of AT&T and the end of its monopoly allowed to sell unix licenses - professional jobs division of labor user/producer - as language, different from data - in hardware - etymology - personal histories - as individual experience with and feelings about software - as data to be sold as product - as data to be used in engineering of software - as a configuration - as a signal - through tools

Tools and concepts

* toolchain: not just crafting so ftware from scratch but setting up systems turn into a house of cards of software production
* repositories: 
* dependencies 
    package managers take care of dependencies

A list of tools - wireshark - oscilloscopes (very cool ones) - em probes (antennas) -

Recognizing software

How does software emerge and spread?

Detecting traces of software (on other surfaces, materials, physical spaces?)

Exercises for experiencing software (performing it, re-enacting, sensing, making it tangible)

Close encounters with software (journals for/from walk-in clinic ... or before? after?)

Methods for interfering with software (recipes ? ), 'tactical (mis)use' (draw it boundaries, count the layers inside)

Detournement of security tools for observation -- conventional tools for observation used/applied/appropriated in a different way

On Contexts and Movements Between


Affordances and limits of different distinctions/drawing lines/making axis for overlap
    - ie. there is/what is the difference between data and execution of data/executability of data

Reader (= edited/updated/completed reader?) http://etherbox.local:9001/p/

Douglas Adams
Margaret Atwood
Eve Sedgewick
I proposed another text from wendy chun in the reader pad

a map somehow, in time and space, of software observations

Topics PING : Network command to check the identity of a server pinging as a way to do observation (and also pong) ping as a command, to connect to a server

    pong (& mechanical pong - niklas roy ?)
ANIMALS (as logos, as observers, as ??)

* bugreporting / between observation and action

A list of existing tools for observing software The menagerie of tools including the Zebra and the Giraffe, wearing magnify glasses, software called Zookeeper. Why a giraffe? Because of the big neck? Why not birds?

* Apache Zookeper
* O'Reilly media book covers also are animals, one animal = one methods or programming language

Reporting strategy

Delegating blame and responsibilities to software "Computer said no" How to blame software (?) in different situations?

ways to critique systemic issues in software forms of critique

Some way to discover/see what are the boundaries of the software system?

A list of programming manifestos -- ways developers re-invent the writing of software (Luis cringing when agile manifesto comes up. It is too hard to get out of because it never ends!) what is made agile ... moving targets

Testing and reporting are now included in the software development process, and more difficult to take seperately.

task analysis how to (re)define tasks and other software design process stages: flowcharts, wireframes, scenarios - this may be only applicable on conventional software, wonder how this way of observation may be applied in experimenatl and conceptual software (there were some interesting flowchart-"sjabloon" in the museum)

"agile in a narrow space"

Observation methods/tools related to toolchains and pipelines "the house of cards of software" and "when you update your system, one of the cards might fall" repositories and where things come from.

Observation methods/tools related to package management automated process that takes care of everything you need dependencies, checking dependencies (so also the opposite boxing/containerization) multi-platform, a way of putting the program next to your ...

reverse engineering : you have insight into the methods clean-room implementations: if a company wants to reproduce a product, but the people involved cannot be tainted by having seen the original one they are put into a "clean room" with the specification to avoid being legally tainted [so: methods for knowing it was really "from scratch". how do you know the room is clean]

Lets do an exercise using axis metaphors instead of line metaphors and see when and where things start blurring

MANUAL TO ETHERBOX MOVED HERE http://etherbox.local:9001/p/

NOTES ON WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON SESSION http://etherbox.local:9001/p/ !!!!

NOTES ON THURSDAY SESSION http://etherbox.local:9001/p/thursday and on SIDE CHANNEL ANALYSIS http://etherbox.local:9001/p/side-channel-analysis