Interactive Cognitive Computing
For my masters work, I'm currently focusing on creating a framework for classifying computers users as experts or novices. I was very surprised that such a framework or template didn't all ready exist. In most cases, researchers will choose a single attribute and use that to classify users as "experts" or "novices". For example, the most common selection criteria I've seen is to use Web developers as "internet experts", and computer science students and professors as "computer experts".
I've had a few people ask me for information about my research for my MSc; here's an overview of the current state of my research and where I'm headed.
Yet another unpublished entry from my evaluation of the MiniNote; perhaps I should find a way to set up an action / trigger combo to alert me about old unpublished content.
A few things which KDE 3 gets right:
- System tray is populated with WiFi and Bluetooth applets.
- The battery applet is the best designed so far, showing useful information like the current CPU speed.
- The default theme looks good!
Anectdotal evidence of why the Via C7 is an inadequate processor:
Back when I was first using Linux (around 2001), one of the things I really got into was squeezing as much performance as I could out of my old, second hand desktop. At the time, I was running with a Pentium 166 MMX. Playing MP3's actually took quite a bit of CPU power. It was worth my time to learn how to apply a patch to XMMS (a Winamp clone) which enabled MMX decoding of MP3's. With the patch, playing an MP3 would drop from 30-40% of the CPU to 1-2% - an amazing improvement.
I started evaluating the HP MiniNote 2133 back in October; here are some notes I made when I first started using it. In summary: the HP MiniNote is an "acceptable" piece of hardware, but not something I'd recommend given the other solutions available.
- The latchless design is very nice.
- I'm getting used to the trackpad buttons. Having them on the side actually works very well when holding the laptop with one hand. I'm still not convinced though that they are as good as regular under-the-pad buttons.
The iPod Touch is a 90% product; like the first generation iPods, it gets most things right, has a few places to grow, and within a revision or two will be a mature and stable platform for ubiquitous mobile computing.
The HP MiniNote is now up to 3 operating systems: Ubuntu 8.10 (with XFCE, Gnome, and KDE 4.2 RC), Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PC's, and the Windows 7 public beta. Overall, Windows 7 has certainly been the biggest surprise.
I won't go in depth into all the features (or lack of them, really) that I've encountered. They're pretty widely covered on various sites, with a good writeup from Ars Technica. Windows 7 is an incremental upgrade to Vista; it's what Vista should have been at launch. I doubt it will be worth the paid upgrade from Vista, but I think it will finally be at the point where it's not worth recommending users to go out of their way to find machines with XP on them.
I came across this great presentation about the evolution of the Office 2007 Ribbon. While I'm not personally much of a fan of the ribbon, the development process was really interesting to listen to. I found the story of "feature creep" up to Office 2003 to be a really good example of what to avoid in revisions of a product.
Research Seminar Presentation: Increasing Awareness of Privacy Policies through Graphical Representation
Here is a copy of my presentation from my research seminar. Feel free to contact me with any questions you might have.
It looks like Google is pulling the plug on Lively. After our experiences with Second Life, it would be intersting to find out why they're shutting it down. My guess is that it was more cumbersome to their user base than other methods of communicating, such as IM, email, or social networking sites. I think in many ways it's one of the fallicies of virtual worlds. When you interact with a mouse and keyboard, the very method of interaction is broken away from our real-world skills. If physical actions could be translated into a virtual world, then users would be able to take advantage of those skills to interact in a more effective manner. Until such technology is possible, I think abstract user interfaces will continue to dominate.