Monday, December 12, 2005

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

"Hedonic Computing" by Dr Barry Brown

Dr. Barry Brown of the Dept. of Computer Science, University of Glasgow has visited the IDC and has given a talk on Monday, November 28th on “Hedonic computing: the computer science of leisure and enjoyment”, followed by open discussion.
This talk explores the opportunities for a ‘hedonic computer science’. Within many parts of computer science there has been a subtle change in approach: from video conferencing to mobility, from flight simulators to video games, from artificial intelligence to A-life. These changes open opportunities for a computer science that is as concerned with enjoyment as much as it is with formalism.  I discuss how we might take leisure seriously as a goal within computer science.  In particular, I discuss three examples of playful technologies - a piece of RCA designed furniture known as the ‘drift table’, an online virtual environment called There, and a collaborative tourism system we have designed. These examples suggest how we might build systems differently to support activities such as wasting time, sociability and enjoyment.

Barry Brown, Equator Research Fellow, Dept. of Computing Science, Uni. of Glasgow

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Survival and Demos

Over the past couple of weeks we did it all. The SFI review and then Science Day. Thanks to all brilliant IDC postgrads and staff, it worked. If any of our efforts will bring more resources and more science and technology graduates in the future, it was worth it.
Keep on hacking...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Some Shots from Mikael's surprise party

Thanks to Gabriela, we have these lovely shots taken last week at Mikael's surprise party for his 50th birthday. Happy Birthday again from all in the IDC as it wouldn't be the same without you.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Fivezero experience

So this is it. It’s been a very intense day. The Amazing IDC really got me. I didn’t think it was possible to catch me off-hand like this, but they did. I was aware that there was The Mysterious Flash piece in progress (after walking into the lab and everybody standing around Ian’s desk pretending to whistle). The rest, I wasn’t prepared for.
As I had said before, my expectation was to keep on working and do the fivezero another day, so when the surprise happened, I found myself having very disparate feelings. The Working Man was very angry for getting his schedule wrecked, the Human Man was really wobbly, and in between those two my brain was trying to figure out what the hell to do. I guess I’ll live to see the photos.
I would just like to thank all the lunatics in the IDC asylum, the Masters students on the Insane Media course, and everybody else who made this day a – SURPRISE.
Still, I find it pleasing that I got to the IDC blog first ;-)

Friday, June 10, 2005

Bye Bye Microsoft Windows

After rebooting our exhibit in the City Gallery a few times, I have decided NEVER to use Microsoft Windows again for a public installation. Despite the fact that it's running on a fine little machine (Shuttle), and works fine on any Mac OSX, on Windows XP you get all kinds of trouble. In my case you're talking about a pretty normal multimedia file (Flash), about 230 Meg. EVen when everything seems to be running smooth, suddenly the evil Microsoft stuff pops up a dialogue that perhaps we need a Windows Update! No, no and no again.
So, from now on, if we're putting up machines in public installations, it should be Linux or OSX.
Goodbye Mr Gates. May you rot in reboot hell.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

"Re-Thinking Technology in Museums"

Take a look at the programme for our IDC workshop "Re-thinking Technology in Museums". Really good papers and speakers from all over the world!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Evaluating Roomba

I had the opportunity to borrow a Roomba – robotic vacuum cleaner – from one of my colleagues. For many years, I’ve believed that the touchstone test of robotics is if humans can make affordable machines that automatically can clean a house.
So, what’s the outcome?
In terms of smartness, the Roomba is fine. It’s really blind as its main sensorium seems to be by bumping in to things (touch). It was really amazing to see it drive in under a kitchen chair and developing eventually applying a suitable behaviour to get out of there again.
Did it clean our wall-to-wall carpets, removing both dust and dog hair?
No. It did the dust but didn’t manage the dog hair. Compared to my old Nilfisk industrial grade manual machine, the power of the fan in Roomba is just a fraction, hence it’s understandable that it can’t deal with this kind of situation. If we didn’t have carpeted floors, e.g. wooden floors, I guess it would have worked.
Verdict: Smart but lacking power.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

St Patrick's Day and many of us are NOT in a pub...

It's a strange year. I haven't had time or energy for months now to take a break, go to Guerin's and just live for a while. This St Patrick's Day several of us IDC:ers are busy writing research grant proposals, papers, budgets, etc. It's crazy! Why can't we just tell the world that if it wants our contribution, it'll have to wait a wee while.
Still, I guess I'm lucky. I've been out in the warm and dry weather several times today. My dog Charlie is really great at commenting on my writing when we're out walking.
- Should I cite XYZs paper do you think?
- whoof.
- OK, I'll leave it out.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Sad day in interaction design

Jef Raskin, the author of "The humane interface - New directions for designing interactive systems", possible creator of the Mac, etc., passed away today. He was a good warrior, striving to remove clicks and key strokes, to enhance user experiences.
We'll all miss him.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Where is the new building?

We need to update the IDC web site so that visitors don't go to the wrong (and dreadful) place.
I took a couple of shots of the new building the other day:

Engineering research Building

Engineering research Building at night

Especially the evening shot shows clearly where the activity is at night ;-)

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The move: We made it!

Finally, we're in. OK, there are many things still not working and we'll discover - day by day - that new circumstances will require new working procedures, but, overall I think it feels really good to finally have escaped teh CSIS building.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Moving times

So, finally it's time to actually move to the new building. We should keep track of:
1. How many boxes are lost.
2. How many computers they drop.
3. How long it'll take to get everything writed again.
Still, I'm looking forward to the whole thing. It'll be great not having to go to the CSIS building, unless it's a lecturing day. Over this weekend I've had so many positive vibes - All The Things We Can Build and Do - now that we'll be in a dedicated research space.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

The disappearing sink – Un-building a building

Today we discovered that they had removed the sink, water supply, etc., in our new premises. The whole worktop surface had been replaced, looking like there had never been a sink there! Last week when I checked, while it was still there, it worked fine! I suspect a major conspiracy here – somebody in Campbell Catering Ltd is messing with senior management at UL, to make sure that we cannot make our own coffee and tea (at cost price), to ensure continued extortion of both faculty and students in their over-priced and bad and low quality cafes and restaurants.
I suggest a total boycott on Campbell catering, until we get things the way we want them!

Friday, January 28, 2005

Have you stopped typing?

What's happened to our, normally, dynamic group? I've checked your personal blogs (no action) and this one has gone stale. We should be trashing out current issues here!
- The move to new building.
- New curricula
- Will you get paid next month
- Writing new exciting proposals
- Finding new truths
As I'm kind of off-campus a lot, I look at IDC web activities and see, very little. What's happening?