What didn't really happen was the large scale collection of data, transcribed or otherwise. I didn't even go out of my way to record new material unless I believed it was a valid target for transcription, e.g. someone wanted it. The major miscalculation on this trip was born out of an idealistic goal. I didn't want to drive a documentary agenda, I wanted to adopt a local agenda. The problem is that a local documentary agenda did not really exist. Even when I asked directly, and suggested some topics like documenting Saisiyat songs in the local school. Let's me clear, any failure on this level is my own. I found it quite hard to context-switch from staring at a screen making tools and the kind of socially engaged challenging foreign land, language, culture environment. The chicken and egg problem: It would have been helpful to turn up with finished tools and a solid experimental plan, but one does not arrive at finished tools or have the ability to make plans without being in-country consulting with your participants.
On top of all of this, the technology space was becoming extremely interesting. In the space of less than a year, I've transitioned to being a pretty serious mobile/web developer. It's hard to impart the level of effort this required, gruelling hours, long days, countless technologies to learn, evaluate and often discard. In this time I went through three main iterations of technologies, two intensely stimulating symposium/workshops on digital tools in language documentation, and finally got into a place where the full picture began to emerge from a design and engineering perspective. With this overview, I'll aim for a couple of follow up posts to talk about specific things that happened over the year up to the present.