Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Microsoft Location Server looks pretty cool - you send it a web request (via SOAP, for those that know) and it works with the mobile operators to provide a lat long (and a map plus mapping services via MS Mapping Server if you want it too). Neat API, a promised low-cost pricing model, and the chance to track your friends, neighbours and colleagues - if they let you..... Cue some neat ideas for applications.....

Monday, October 27, 2003

Currently at the Microsoft Professional Developer's Conference in LA (where the fires are). Longhorn revealed to the world today - the next release of Windows that's as important as Windows95 in terms of new stuff/big changes. Some neat bits in terms of better file system stuff, integration of media, some okay stuff with UI accessibility with X(A)ML and some maybe good stuff with simplifying network accessibility. Developers kit soon to be released; what does this mean for us?

In a few words: know XML, know how to design good user experiences as they'll be more to the fore, understand distributed apps and web services, focus on useful not technology.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Usability News - Review: Moneyclaim Online is an e-Government Success Story

In case you're interested, this was written from a personal perspective, as I sued a company that employed me as a consultant and then refused to pay.....

Human-Computer Interaction: Resources and materials

This page will be updated shortly and will contain blocks for many of the remaining lectures, allowing you to start to read ahead and around the subject. Please continue to use the rating systems to leave your thoughts and guide later students through what's hot and what's not.

Remember that the talks on the Friday are an integral part of the course and that material covered in those is examinable. Also note that if you're doing a talk, you read the title carefully and address the right topic...

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Human-Computer Interaction: Resources and materials

Now sorted out all the links to this page so that it's easier to get to - sorry for the confusion.

Friday, October 10, 2003

HCI :: Index

There's now a general-purpose discussion area for HCI, so that in your explorations of the subject online you can also ask questions, point out things, and generally interact with others doing the course. The aim is for you all to help each other with issues, solutions and pointers, though I'll monitor the site and add my 2p worth occasionally. For now, items of interest from my perspective will go into the blog.....

Currently the forum is unmoderated and open access, though depending on what appears we may have to move to asking people to log in. To comment on the student talks you will need to log in, however!

It'll be only as good as you make it.


Thursday, October 09, 2003

Dynamic calenders Outlook is not known for being compatible with other standards, but by using some php and some though we can make a highly usable system that uses the automitic publishing parts of Outlook to get data to a web server which we can then interpret and publish on the web - so the calendar here is a web-based version of my Outlook calendar and hence shows my up-to-date free-busy information in a generally accessible format. This is less easy to achieve than you might expect...!!

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

At CMU, scientists are building sense into cell phones

This is a very practical example of context awareness - one of the "next big things" in HCI at the moment. the basic idea is that everyday technological artefacts, such as mobile phones, can be made "smarter" and more useful by making them sensitive to what's going on around them, ie the user's context.

Personally I just want people to have phones that can recognise when they're sitting in the "Quiet Zone" on the Virgin Intercity from Bham to Stafford, because their owners appear to be oblivious to the signs...

Monday, October 06, 2003

BT's midband offering gives people like me living in the sticks the opportunity to get faster internet access than the current 56k modem, but with limited hours per month and only joining the 2 ISDN channels for 'big files' (whatever that is) it is an expensive option. But since some of us can't get boradband or ADSL, it may be worth a look. Will check out other ISPs for 128k ISDN access, and look into satellite access too (which, if I act as a reseller and put in a wi-fi network, may even break even if I sell it on to my neighbours as well.....)

Saturday, October 04, 2003

The BCS HCI group has its Interfaces magazine available online in PDF format. It's at this address. Why look at it? Cos it contains issues of current interest to the community, and some insights into the many characters that inhabit our world. If you though computer science was boring, some of these people can change your mind. On the other hand, it does depend on who you meet...

Thursday, October 02, 2003

If you're interested in new internet stuff, check out Google's toolbar which does a lot of things as well as bringing Google to the desktop - it blocks popups, rates pages, and allows you to publish to a blog pretty easily.

Another interesting add-in is StumbleUpon, which uses a community-based ranking approach to guide you to pages that people with similar interests to you really like. It's a neat implementation of an explicit user modelling process (you explicitly say what your interests are, and explicity rate web pages) and so is a lo-tech version of form of the user modelling stuff we are tryinghere. There will be a project available in this area, if anyone is interested.

A blog is a web log: a place for oddments of information that may or may not be interesting. I suggest you look here occasionally to see if there's anything of interest to you - you may also want to create your own weblog to store your thoughts and odd stuff in.....

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