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Current Topic: Human Computer Interaction

Google Wave 1.0 = RSS, the Sequel. In Other Words, DoA ... for Now
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 9:08 am EDT, Jun 11, 2010

Steve Rubel:

Wave requires a new way of thinking. Sure, we're capable of it as humans. But... we like linearity...

RSS is one of the greatest Internet innovations of the last decade (thank you Dave!). So why did it never take off with consumers? Simple... It only solved problems that some, eg info junkies, had. And it required a new way of thinking and operating...

But what about Gmail you say? Gmail too was a complex beast when it debuted with its conversation views and interface - and it caught on. Yes, but Gmail was different. It solved problems: mail storage quotas and killer search. Thus people were willing to make the investment to master it.


These prophetic comments echo a lot of my experience with MemeStreams.

Noteworthy, from November 2008:

It's like an endless cry in the wilderness, but no one is listening.

The zeal of the True Believer frequently leads to such outcomes.

Douglas Engelbart comes to mind. In a 2007 seminar at MIT, Engelbart spoke with some inspiration for more than an hour about his ideas for harnessing and augmenting our "collective intelligence". But his true passion emerged only at the very end of the seminar, when he pulled out his beloved chord keyboard and proceeded to demonstrate its unsurpassed superiority to all present. Were we not convinced? How could it be? The audience's less than compelling response led to a near-harangue about why his mouse succeeded wildly while his chord keyboard failed utterly. In his view, the chord keyboard is unquestionably far superior to the QWERTY. People did not adopt chording because they lacked the persistence to overcome the mental hurdle of learning it, and they lacked the imagination to envision their lives on the other side of the hurdle. So they sat dumbly, QWERTY in hand, pecking away without satisfaction. It was his duty to carry on the struggle. Eventually all would see the light ...

Google Wave 1.0 = RSS, the Sequel. In Other Words, DoA ... for Now

See the world, Asciified, with The Matrix Goggles
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 9:50 am EDT, Sep 16, 2007

Russian artists from Moscow presented in London a totally useless but somehow cool device: goggles that you can put on and feel like somebody from "cyberspace."

Click through for the video.

See also HasciiCam.

See the world, Asciified, with The Matrix Goggles

Highslide JS - JavaScript thumbnail viewer
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 10:19 pm EDT, Jul 27, 2007

Highslide JS is a piece of JavaScript that streamlines the use of thumbnail images on web pages. The library offers these features and advantages:

* No plugins like Flash or Java required.
* Popup blockers are no problem. The images expand within the active browser window.
* Single click. After expanding the image, the user can scroll further down or leave the page without restoring the image.
* The approach uses two separate images. No heavy full-size image packed into thumbnail display size! The full-size image is loaded in the background either on page load or when the user clicks the thumb. You specify this option in the script's settings.
* Compatibility and safe fallback. If the user has disabled JavaScript or the JavaScript fails in any way, the browser redirects directly to the image itself. This fallback is able to cope with most exceptions and incompatibilities.

This is actually quite slick....

Highslide JS - JavaScript thumbnail viewer

Social Visualization, MAS.965, Fall 2004 | MIT OpenCourseWare | Media Arts and Sciences
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 3:42 pm EDT, Apr  3, 2007

Millions of people are on-line today and the number is rapidly growing - yet this virtual crowd is often invisible. In this course we will examine ways of visualizing people, their activities and their interactions. Students will study the cognitive and cultural basis for social visualization through readings drawn from sociology, psychology and interface design and they will explore new ways of depicting virtual crowds and mapping electronic spaces through a series of design exercises.

Check out the readings for pointers.

Social Visualization, MAS.965, Fall 2004 | MIT OpenCourseWare | Media Arts and Sciences

Topic: Human Computer Interaction 3:42 pm EDT, Apr  3, 2007

The InfoVis:Wiki project is intended to provide a community platform and forum integrating recent developments and news on all areas and aspects of Information Visualization.

Using editable–by–anyone Wiki technology turned out to be the only way of keeping the presented information up to date and knowledge exchange vivid.


Chat Circles
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 3:42 pm EDT, Apr  3, 2007

Although current online chat environments provide new opportunities for communication, they are quite constrained in their ability to convey many important pieces of social information, ranging from the number of participants in a conversation to the subtle nuances of expression that enrich face to face speech. In this paper we present Chat Circles, an abstract graphical interface for synchronous conversation. Here, presence and activity are made manifest by changes in color and form, proximity-based filtering intuitively breaks large groups into conversational clusters, and the archives of a conversation are made visible through an integrated history interface. Our goal in this work is to create a richer environment for online discussions.

Chat Circles

Martin Wattenberg
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 2:13 pm EDT, Apr  3, 2007

See more at his personal site.

Martin is a mathematician whose research interests include information visualization and its application to collaborative computing, journalism, bioinformatics, and art. Before joining IBM, Martin was the Director of Research and Development at, where he designed internet-based financial software. His work at SmartMoney included the groundbreaking Map of the Market, which visualizes live data on hundreds of publicly traded companies.

Martin has also worked with nonfinancial data ranging from email archives to DNA sequences. In addition he is well known for artistic data visualization, visualizing such disparate information sources as music, museum collections, and web searches. His artwork has been exhibited internationally, including at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the New Museum, and Ars Electronica. Martin holds a PhD in Mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley.

See papers:

The Visual Side of Wikipedia

Talk Before You Type: Coordination in Wikipedia

Artistic Data Visualization: Beyond Visual Analytics

Martin Wattenberg

Freud in the bedroom and fleshy-colored nouns
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 2:13 pm EDT, Apr  3, 2007

Dozens of blue semicircles of varying sizes meander across a horizontal axis, some repeating in a uniformly-sized arc again and again, while others hop along at random intervals and at random sizes. This, Martin Wattenberg asserts, is the shape of Beethoven’s “Für Elise.” The arcs connect repeating sections of the musical score to convey the overall structure, or shape, of the song. Wattenberg displays the shapes of several songs, from the folk song “Clementine” to John Coltrane.

Wattenberg’s investigation into the shape of song is part of his overall mission to make the invisible visible. He explained the thought processes and engineering behind some of his most interesting projects in his lecture “Revelatory Interfaces,” presented in the comfortably crowded McConomy Auditorium last Tuesday. His Shape of Sound project uses a computer to detect repetition in musical scores and draw the corresponding arcs. “One of my favorite types of music to look at is jazz,” Wattenberg said. “It begins with a series of repetitions and then it takes off and often baffles the computer.”

Wattenberg translates complex social data into images. His images have been exhibited at the London Institute of Contemporary Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, among others. The images are beautiful and artistic, but they are also designed to relay information about our culture. Wattenberg’s visualizations provide everyday people with new toys to play with, new tools for investigation, and new ways of understanding.

See a talk at the Media Lab or a talk at SIMS. See also his exhibit at the Whitney.

Freud in the bedroom and fleshy-colored nouns

Designing Interactions
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 1:30 pm EST, Jan 27, 2007

Business Week: "This is one hell of a book"
Bruce Sterling: "This classic has no rival in its field"
Don Norman: "This will be the book"

Digital technology has changed the way we interact with everything from the games we play to the tools we use at work. Designers of digital technology products no longer regard their job as designing a physical object--beautiful or utilitarian--but as designing our interactions with it. In Designing Interactions, award-winning designer Bill Moggridge introduces us to forty influential designers who have shaped our interaction with technology. Moggridge, designer of the first laptop computer (the GRiD Compass, 1981) and a founder of the design firm IDEO, tells us these stories from an industry insider's viewpoint, tracing the evolution of ideas from inspiration to outcome. The innovators he interviews--including Will Wright, creator of The Sims, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google, and Doug Engelbart, Bill Atkinson, and others involved in the invention and development of the mouse and the desktop--have been instrumental in making a difference in the design of interactions. Their stories chart the history of entrepreneurial design development for technology.

Moggridge and his interviewees discuss such questions as why a personal computer has a window in a desktop, what made Palm's handheld organizers so successful, what turns a game into a hobby, why Google is the search engine of choice, and why 30 million people in Japan choose the i-mode service for their cell phones. And Moggridge tells the story of his own design process and explains the focus on people and prototypes that has been successful at IDEO--how the needs and desires of people can inspire innovative designs and how prototyping methods are evolving for the design of digital technology.

Designing Interactions is illustrated with more than 700 images, with color throughout. Accompanying the book is a DVD that contains segments from all the interviews intercut with examples of the interactions under discussion.

Interviews with:
Bill Atkinson • Durrell Bishop • Brendan Boyle • Dennis Boyle • Paul Bradley • Duane Bray • Sergey Brin • Stu Card • Gillian Crampton Smith • Chris Downs• Tony Dunne • John Ellenby • Doug Englebart • Jane Fulton Suri • Bill Gaver • Bing Gordon • Rob Haitani • Jeff Hawkins • Matt Hunter • Hiroshi Ishii • Bert Keely • David Kelley • Rikako Kojima • Brenda Laurel • David Liddle • Lavrans Løvlie • John Maeda • Paul Mercer • Tim Mott • Joy Mountford • Takeshi Natsuno • Larry Page • Mark Podlaseck • Fiona Raby • Cordell Ratzlaff • Ben Reason • Jun Rekimoto • Steve Rogers • Fran Samalionis • Larry Tesler • Bill Verplank • Terry Winograd • Will Wright

Designing Interactions

It's the Context, Stupid
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 11:36 am EDT, Sep 23, 2006

Found on safari through the early history of Wired, in association with my post on Only Revolutions. The official home of this article is here.

The future belongs to neither the conduit or content players, but those who control the filtering, searching, and sense-making tools we will rely on to navigate through the expanses of cyberspace.

Is it just me, or is it painful to realize that was more than 12 years ago?

It's the Context, Stupid

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