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Current Topic: Human Computer Interaction

Reality Mining
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 6:52 pm EDT, Sep 27, 2003

We ask how technology can enhance the individual in order to produce organizations that are more creative and efficient, and which better support the individual.

We are developing methods to automatically learn the social network structure within a group based on data collected using unobtrusive, wearable sensors. The questions we are exploring are:

- Who talks to whom?
- How does information flow?
- How are decisions made?
- Who are the experts?
- Can we predict the ramifications of organizational disruptions?
- How can we change the group’s interactions to promote better functioning?

Reality Mining

The Cognitive Style of Powerpoint
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 11:57 pm EDT, Aug 28, 2003

In corporate and government bureaucracies, the standard method for making a presentation is to talk about a list of points organized onto slides projected up on the wall. For many years, overhead projectors lit up transparencies, and slide projectors showed high-resolution 35mm slides. Now "slideware" computer programs for presentations are nearly everywhere. Early in the 21st century, several hundred million copies of Microsoft PowerPoint were turning out trillions of slides each year.

Alas, slideware often reduces the analytical quality of presentations. In particular, the popular PowerPoint templates (ready-made designs) usually weaken verbal and spatial reasoning, and almost always corrupt statistical analysis. What is the problem with PowerPoint? And how can we improve our presentations?

Edward Tufte, author of the classic book The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, has written a short essay about PowerPoint. You can buy it directly for $7.

The Cognitive Style of Powerpoint

Eliciting Honest Feedback in Electronic Markets | KSG Working Paper
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 2:38 pm EST, Dec 26, 2002

Recent work on the topic of reputation systems from U. of Michigan researcher Paul Resnick in collaboration with staff at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

The full paper can be downloaded in PDF.

Abstract: Recommender and reputation systems seek to inform potential customers by securing current consumers' feedback about products and sellers. This paper proposes a payment-based system to induce honest reporting of feedback.

The system applies proper scoring rules to each buyer's report, looking to how well it predicts the report of a later buyer. Honest reporting proves to be a Nash Equilibrium.

To balance the budget, the incentive payment to each buyer is charged to someone other than the one whose report that buyer is asked to predict. In addition, payment schemes can be scaled to induce appropriate effort by raters.

Eliciting Honest Feedback in Electronic Markets | KSG Working Paper

Beyond 'Couch Potatoes' | First Monday
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 9:28 pm EST, Dec 12, 2002

The fundamental challenge for computational media is to contribute to the invention and design of cultures in which humans can express themselves and engage in personally meaningful activities.

Cultures are substantially defined by their media and tools for thinking, working, learning, and collaborating. New media change

(1) the structure and contents of our interests;

(2) the nature of our cognitive and collaborative tools; and,

(3) the social environment in which thoughts originate and evolve, and mindsets develop.

MemeStreams is not Yet Another Web Site.

Beyond 'Couch Potatoes' | First Monday

Building Virtual Communities: Learning and Change in Cyberspace
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 3:30 pm EDT, Sep 29, 2002

Building Virtual Communities examines how learning and cognitive change are fostered by online communities. Contributors to this volume explore this question by drawing on their different theoretical backgrounds, methodologies, and personal experience with virtual communities.

Each chapter discusses the different meanings of the terms community, learning, and change. Case studies are included for further clarification. Together, these chapters describe the building out of virtual communities in terms that are relevant to theorists, researchers, and practitioners.

The chapters provide a basis for thinking about the dynamics of Internet community building. This includes consideration of the role of the self or individual as a participant in virtual community, and the design and refinement of technology as the conduit for extending and enhancing the possibilities of community building in cyberspace.

Building Virtual Communities will interest educators, psychologists, sociologists, and researchers in human-computer interaction.

Building Virtual Communities: Learning and Change in Cyberspace

A Nation of Bloggers and Googling by E-Mail
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 6:45 am EDT, Aug 23, 2002

The number of Weblogs now tops a half-million, by most estimates. So it's no surprise that some bloggers, as the writers of these link-filled, diarylike sites are known, are carving some order out of chaos.

There is no easy way to search for blogs by content or popularity. But a bevy of new sites offer interesting ways, if somewhat esoteric ones, to browse the blog universe.

A Nation of Bloggers and Googling by E-Mail

Yet Another One-hand Keyboard
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 7:55 pm EDT, Aug 12, 2002

It's a pocket-sized computer keyboard. It's highly portable and operated with one hand. It produces all the usual characters with relatively few keys which are pressed in groups, i.e., chords. Production models would include (at least) a miniature joystick.

I had memorized all the chords after a week or so of intermittently playing with my first working unit. After that I quit using my qwerty all together and never missed it.

Yet Another One-hand Keyboard

Stealthy Keyboard: US Patent 6,429,854
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 7:53 pm EDT, Aug 12, 2002

A stealthy, one-hand keyboard suitable for pedestrians is implemented as a frame held between thumb and palm, to which is attached an adjustable array of keyswitches. The configuration is such that the fingers play no part in supporting the keyboard against gravity, nor in retaining it within the hand. This property facilitates faster typing. The keyboard is strapless and leaves the fingers near their relaxed positions. The hand hides the keyboard on one side and chords are entered by small motions of the fingers, actuating contact being via the flesh on the palm sides of the middle and distal phalanges. These properties reduce the keyboard's observability.

Stealthy Keyboard: US Patent 6,429,854

Keyboard for Those on the Move
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 7:52 pm EDT, Aug 12, 2002

John McKown, an inventor in Scottsdale, AZ, abandoned long-standing ideas about how people input data and how computers receive it. He has won a patent for a wearable, one-handed keyboard that lets users type as they pace around an office, walk down the street, lean back in an airplane seat or are passing time standing around.

"Within a week I had memorized all the chords, though I still had to think about them. Within two months I'd learned it all instinctively, and that was through purely accidental learning. I'd pick it up whenever I had a minute. Now I'd never go back to a Qwerty board ..."

Keyboard for Those on the Move

Talking with Terry Winograd
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 9:41 pm EDT, Jul 24, 2002

Convergence, ambient technology, and success in innovation

Stanford professor Terry Winograd was a founder and national president of Computer Professionals for Responsibility, and is currently on sabbatical at Google. He studied natural language processing under Seymour Papert at the MIT AI Lab. He has also worked at Xerox PARC.

Winograd: "Pre-Mosaic, the Web was uninteresting because it didn't have pictures. Transferring text and following links to other pieces of text seemed very academic. Putting images in completely changed the feel.

... The idea that you can index billions of pages and look for a word and get what you want is quite a trick.

... I always was interested in the question of how language worked. So, in that sense, I was a linguist. ... But I was never interested in subtleties about pronoun movement in Swahili."

Winograd to Larry Page, of Google: "There's a lot of stuff you guys are doing that has general applicability to human-computer interaction. It's not just about search engines. It's about how you interact with systems."

Winograd: "[I want to look at Google] from the perspective of what it can tell us about how people interact with systems in general and how might that be applied outside of search engines.

... Great innovations happen from time to time in history, but they're not something you can just will into being.

... Ten years from now there will be a lot more ambient computing. One of the things we're working on is a room that has wall-sized displays."

Talking with Terry Winograd

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