Miscellaneous and Useless Information

Human-computer interaction

  • Buxton: Jobs revived Apple with people already employed there, such as Jonathan Ives. The culture needed changing, not the people. [original tweet]
  • Gerken et al present method called Concept Maps to elicit developer’s mental model of API. A related resource: apiusability.org [original tweet]
  • Missed Wrangler (creating data transformation scripts interactively), but saw Jeff Heer’s BayCHI talk on it. Good stuff! [original tweet]
  • Substance introduces data-oriented paradigm: data is tree of nodes, facets are behavior that can migrate from node-node [original tweet]
  • Shared Substance is a framework on top of Substance for multi-display apps, supports service-oriented and shared state. [original tweet]
  • For lunch: Japanese-style hot dog (Kurobuta pork, mayo, teriyaki, seaweed) and shio ramen. Made possible by not eating breakfast. [original tweet]

Ethan Zimmerman’s closing plenary: Desperately Seeking Serendipity

  • People move to cities partly because it’s less boring and there’s more choice [original tweet]
  • Cities seem to provide more chances for serendipity, but people tend to stick to others similar to them (homophily) [original tweet]
  • Media consumption also very local. >90% read media in their own country. Leads to Tunisia revolution not well covered. [original tweet]
  • For serendipity, people must be prepared to take advantage of chances, and structures should be in place to create them. [original tweet]
  • What lessons about serendipity can we learn from cities and apply virtually? [original tweet]
  • Worth reading the “extended dance mix” of Ethan Zimmerman’s keynote. Only problem: you can’t hear him deliver it. [original tweet]

And finally:

  • Nirmal Patel: “Updated online CHI program so each paper has a link to the ACM DL page.” [original tweet]
  • Saw and enjoyed last 3 papers of Photo Sharing session, especially Jones and O’Neill on relationship of photo metadata and sharing [original tweet]
  • Will definitely discuss web credibility papers back at work. Need to read other 2 papers in that session. [original tweet]
  • Not tweeting much during CHI 2011 itself: the wi-fi is totally overloaded so I can’t connect [original tweet]
  • Larry Tesler’s talk was great. I knew he’s hugely important in HCI; I didn’t know he essentially invented cut/paste. [original tweet]
  • Kumar et al’s Bricolage (applying existing website’s design to other sites) normalizes DOM. Can see this work applied to lots of other areas [original tweet]
  • HyperSource by Bjoern Hartmann et al annotates lines of source code with related web browsing history. #want [original tweet]
  • Wondering how HyperSource can scale up, e.g., web page on design pattern affects many lines of code [original tweet]
  • Great to see utility of HCI work by Michael Toomim presented at CHI 2011. Eager to see how this work goes from here. +1 for soothing music. [original tweet]
  • Bakke et al adds data types, arrays, references to spreadsheets, allowing them to natively model 1-to-many, many-to-many relationships [original tweet]
  • Collection of iPad UI conventions pulled from frames of Apple’s demo videos. http://j.mp/daLakN (via @manukumar, @veen) #
  • RT @wattenberg a celebration of color (new piece with @viegasf): http://hint.fm/blog #
  • Must check this out: RT @landay nice talk by Paul Gross of Wash U. (C. Kelleher student) on code reuse in end-user programming tool #iui2010 #
  • Google Buzz: someone’s post can pop into my feed if enough people recommend it, even if I don’t follow them. Very useful within a company. #
  • Google’s code name for Buzz: Taco Town. http://bit.ly/afqsIF A lot of Googlers still calling Buzz postings “Tacos”. #

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Congratulations to the HCI researchers in MIT Technology Review’s list of top 35 innovators under 35: Jeff Bigham, Jeff Heer, Shahram Izadi, Shwetak Patel, and Jamie Teevan. Represent!

Last month I had the pleasure of visiting the GVU Center at Georgia Tech and talking with some of the professors and graduate students. Here are my (mostly unedited) notes on their research projects and interests. If anyone wants more info, please leave a comment.


At its Max developer conference, Adobe gave a sneak preview of a new tool code-named Thermo that allows designers to create the front end to Flash-based rich Internet applications without writing code. For example, you can import a layered Photoshop image and convert parts of the image to real UI controls. You can also create dummy data so that you can test out your design without needing the database code to be finished.

Someone posted videos of the Thermo demo on YouTube. I highly recommend watching them; the demo is one of the most impressive I’ve seen, especially in the end-user programming area.

I just watched Steve Jobs’ Macworld keynote introducing the iPhone. Boy, he is a great speaker. His reality distortion field was in full force — an article in Palm Infocenter argues that iPhone’s phone features aren’t new (but they’re sure slick). In contrast, the CEO of Cingular was stiffly reading off of index cards for five minutes. I think any CEO should be able to talk that long without notes, or at most one index card.

Unfortunately, I read in Mobileburn.com and Gizmodo that the iPhone will indeed be a closed platform. Boo! Even lousy low-end phones can download Java apps. I hope Daniel is right and that Apple backs down somewhat by next year. I’ll settle for HTML and JavaScript Widgets at this point…

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