John Kestner


Socially motivated productivity


Daydar is a framework that makes the process of getting things done social: Can you learn from the working styles of others? Can you collaboratively create an environment of healthy competition by being aware of your friends’ daily accomplishments? Can this help you to find a better balance between work and play?

I first wrote the Daydar service, which aggregated a social group's to-do items from the Remember The Milk to-do list service and produced RSS feeds categorized by a sort-of Maslow's hierarchy of needs: physical, work, social, intellectual, and creative. We then built a series of physical and digital artifacts on this data, exploring ways to improve productivity, as well as the darker side of quantifying it.

Doing Doing

The socially aware alarm clock that ensures that you get out of bed in the morning—because others do. When you hit snooze, a bell pings once every time someone else checks off a to-do item. Hearing the activity nudges you out of bed, or if it’s quiet, you can laze in bed knowing that you’re not falling behind in the rat race.

Prototyped with the Daydar service, Arduino, solenoids, PVC, and a bunch of alarm clocks.

Daytona 30:00

A playful competition examining peer pressure and support. Two friends working in remote places agree to a 30-minute sprint before taking a break. Whenever one person completes a task, a photo is taken with her webcam and is sent to taunt the other player. Whoever finishes five tasks first wins. A diagrammatic record preserves the shared experience.

Prototyped with the Daydar service and Processing.

Life Balanced Breakfast

Instead of reading the nutrition facts on your cereal box, use the most important meal of the day to check your life/work balance and plan your day accordingly.

Imagining a future toaster/printer, we mocked these up with a laser cutter.

Daydar Desktop

How to balance work and play over the course of a day? Everybody has different strategies and you can examine them here. This desktop background provides an ambient sense of the kinds of activities you're engaged in daily.

Implemented with the Daydar service and Quartz Composer.

Collaboration with Richard The. Exhibited at Ars Electronica.