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Current Topic: Human Computer Interaction

Ben Schneiderman at RIT
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 7:44 pm EST, Mar 14, 2004

"Visualizations never give you answers. They only give you insights into questions."

MemeStreams needs more, and more varied, visualizations -- of data, of the social network, and of the intersections between them.

I have lots of questions waiting ...

Ben Schneiderman at RIT

You Want Me to Put My Shoes Where?
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 9:12 am EST, Mar 12, 2004

As accomplished designers know, a good appliance blends machine and person for both functionality and pleasure. Cumulatively, all the little machine-human interactions build into psychological and social states of place and culture.

A short article, worth the read, but I especially liked this part.

You Want Me to Put My Shoes Where?

Game Theory Evolves With Mouse, Click, PhD
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 10:52 am EST, Feb 15, 2004

Ever yearn to study "Tetris" as a metaphor for American consumerism?

How about ponder "Grand Theft Auto III" as an examination of the human condition?

Game studies (or "ludology," as it's known, from the Latin for "game") has spawned a new class of academics who devote themselves to analyzing how the wildly popular form of entertainment tells stories -- and what it reveals about how we express ourselves.

What do the social dynamics of online worlds -- those massively multiplayer games -- tell us about human behavior?

In the US, some of the most influential work is being done by Janet Murray at Georgia Tech and by MIT's Henry Jenkins.

Game Theory Evolves With Mouse, Click, PhD

Sensing and Modeling Human Networks
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 3:08 pm EST, Feb  7, 2004

Knowledge of how groups of people interact is important ... Existing studies have either been restricted to online communities or have been forced to rely on questionnaires, surveys, ...

The aim of this thesis is to automatically model face-to-face interactions within a community. The "sociometer," a specially designed wearable sensor package, was built to address this problem.

This thesis develops a computational framework for learning the interaction structure and dynamics automatically from the sociometer data.

The full text of the thesis is available; follow the "PDF" link at the bottom. While only 100 pages long, the file itself is rather large.

A Google search for "sociometer" offers a variety of short conference papers on the topic.

Sensing and Modeling Human Networks

Instant Messaging, Not Information Pollution
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 7:30 pm EST, Jan  4, 2004

Email is ... very close to the breaking point ... [but] it is naïve to believe that IM is the answer to the information overload that's ailing e-mail.

Our culture is hurting from information pollution everywhere we turn.

... one more toxic spill that's directing our attention to short-term minor issues at the cost of procrastinating on important tasks that require more than a few minutes of uninterrupted thinking.

What can we do about this?

Jakob Nielsen makes the case for an "Internet control panel" in a recent issue of ACM Queue.

Again, the article raises important issues, but I find the proposed alternative rather unconvincing. According to Nielsen, it seems that the "solution" is just a matter of loading the right software onto the computer.

At its core, this affliction is not computer related, and no quantity of object-oriented band-aids will eliminate the pain. In context, the problems of email and IM are relatively minor.

Instant Messaging, Not Information Pollution

Microsoft does not understand Systems Administrators
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 9:06 am EST, Dec 31, 2003


See Tom.

See Tom Rant.

Microsoft does not understand Systems Administrators

Too much information
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 11:09 pm EST, Dec 10, 2003

Despite having more information at our fingertips than any generation before, there is little evidence that our ability to make good, timely decisions has improved.

"We are in a time when people can sit in front of the screen and get bombarded with facts and sometimes that's confused for education. But I think that what we owe it to our young people to do is to help them ask questions."

Too much information

The Mad Hatter's Cocktail Party [PDF]
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 12:18 pm EST, Oct 26, 2003

This paper presents a mobile audio space intended for use by gelled social groups.

In face-to-face interactions in such social groups, conversational floors change frequently, e.g., two participants split off to form a new conversational floor, a participant moves from one conversational floor to another, etc. To date, audio spaces have provided little support for such dynamic regroupings of participants, either requiring that the participants explicitly specify with whom they wish to talk or simply presenting all participants as though they are in a single floor.

By contrast, the audio space described here monitors participant behavior to identify conversational floors as they emerge. The system dynamically modifies the audio delivered to each participant to enhance the salience of the participants with whom they are currently conversing.

The Mad Hatter's Cocktail Party [PDF]

Recommending Collaboration with Social Networks: A Comparative Evaluation [PDF]
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 4:54 pm EDT, Oct 11, 2003

Studies of information seeking and workplace collaboration often find that social relationships are a strong factor in determining who collaborates with whom. Social networks provide one means of visualizing existing and potential interaction in organizational settings.

Groupware designers are using social networks to make systems more sensitive to social situations and guide users toward effective collaborations. Yet, the implications of embedding social networks in systems have not been systematically studied.

This paper details an evaluation of two different social networks used in a system to recommend individuals for possible collaboration. The system matches people looking for expertise with individuals likely to have expertise. The effectiveness of social networks for matching individuals is evaluated and compared.

One finding is that social networks embedded into systems do not match individuals’ perceptions of their personal social network. This finding and others raise issues for the use of social networks in groupware. Based on the evaluation results, several design considerations are discussed.

This paper by David McDonald appears in the proceedings of the ACM 2003 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.

Recommending Collaboration with Social Networks: A Comparative Evaluation [PDF]

Ubiquitous Recommendation Systems | IEEE Computer, October 2003
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 4:50 pm EDT, Oct 11, 2003

In many popular visions of ubiquitous computing, the environment proactively responds to individuals who inhabit the space.

For example, a display magically presents a personalized advertisement, the most relevant video feed, or the desired page from a secret government document. Such capability requires more than an abundance of networked displays, devices, and sensors; it relies implicitly on recommendation systems that either directly serve the end user or provide critical services to some other application.

This article appears in the October 2003 issue of IEEE Computer magazine. The author is David McDonald of the University of Washington.

Ubiquitous Recommendation Systems | IEEE Computer, October 2003

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