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  • It was a few days back I picked up the Piratebox built by my friend Zack in California.

    The idea of what to do with it was actually formulated a few weeks earlier, when another friend/colleague Jim Groom, visited me. It was on a ride back from our day trip to the Grand Canyon, in the dark along the Lake Mary Road south of Flagstaff (where I drove carefully given the propensity to have elk cross the road) (of which we saw several).

    But Jim, in his charismatic, arm waving way, really came up with the right phrasing of what The Box could be.

    We talked about te PirateBox being like a time capsule- a way to capture the thoughts, ideas, imaginations of people I met (or at least crossed paths with) on this trip, confined between now, or when I start (June 23) and when I return. A key aspect in our minds was that the PirateBox was a real tangible thing, that would move around, but it was also something not part of the giant flow of the internet, yes, it is very much a capsule.

    The prompt then to put out would be to ask people to share something that represents this time (or the place they lived) to a future generation. What's most important to them tight now> What are they passionate about? What do they fear about?

    And what they share ought to be something that is not on the internet (thus making it special only to The Box). And my task would be to collect it all, and try and make sense of it. And maybe put it online at the end of the trip.

    So while the technology is PirateBox, for my purposes it is a StoryBox, and the story is about this time in our lives.

    This the Storybox project now has a name, and a goal... and eventually a web site I also got the idea to maintain a map of where the box goes.

    Other people contacted me because they wanted to share stuff and were worried they would not cross paths. So it then made sense to set up an anonymous online Dropbox.

    Those were all the mechanics- I now had this device and a quasi plan, and they thing to emerge would be-- what would I get? Would people find it when I had it activated? Would they really share things? And mostly, what the heck could I do with a pile of media at the end?

    I would have to wait and see.

    But mostly, I was so jazzed to have a thing to help orient the trip around. Besides the whole mission of discovery, I have a mission.

    To fill the StoryBox.

    blogged June 1, 2011 at

    I am using Cowbird to share the story of a 15,000 mile road odyssey I took in 2011, which started with me quitting my job in March and setting out in June for a loop around the US and Canada. It's less of a day by day narrative and more of an attempt to tell a story of the story, with some amounts of imagined bits that emerge on looking at the media from the trip, including the more than 1400 images, videos, and audio files collected in my digital time capsule, the Storybox.
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