The WAVE Report archive is available on http://www.wave-report.com
0521.2 IT Outsourcing
0521.3 Digital Photo Organization
0521.4 Effective Email Marketing
0521.5 Virtual Reality
0521.7 Pen Technology
0521.8 Software Protection
0521.9 Display Technology
Last year the WAVE went to CHI in Vienna. It was an excellent event. Now it has moved to Portland, OR. The event retains its excellent position as the venue to discuss ways to interact with computers. At the opening Plenary the Conference Chair commented that we all thought that Moore’s Law would solve our interface issues. After 9/11, that changed and we found we must focus on community and security. We notice that one loss of the event being held in the U.S. is the drop off of European participation. That added considerable depth to the event last year.
Randy Pausch opened his presentation with the comment that if he was not provocative, he was not being effective. His web page was shown with the advice: “Don’t be afraid to be silly.” The title of his presentation was “Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration – Confessions of a Technologist who has worked with Psychologists, Artists, Designers and other Creatures Who are Strange to me.” Clearly Randy likes to get attention – of his audience, his students and those around him. He also is a sponge for learning from his students and the professionals he works with. With pride he spoke of the high percentage of women in his programs – one class had 41%. This diversity brings many viewpoints.
A turning point in his career was the one year he spent at Walt Disney Imagineering. The collaboration with artists taught him much and was the spur to create the Entertainment Technology Center. This center has a professional degree with a Masters of Entertainment Technology. All the effort is focused on working as teams of creative artists and technologies in small teams to make things. The strength of the program is the license to break the mold, do collaboration around projects and for the students to have an intense fun experience. Examples of the work were shown that included: networked training for HazMat situations and the development of an interactive animatronic in 14 weeks with only 6 students.
He described his experiences with other professionals, including artists, as teaming. A common thread is that the husband and wife of a long term marriage, 50+ years, usually say it takes a lot of work to make the partnership last. He used this as a means to illustrate that collaborative work with other professionals must be worked at. Points made about collaboration are that these teams work for their self interest together, it is important to understand the motivations of various types of individuals and it takes time to develop a strong working relationship.
Each year Randy holds an effort across many disciplines on campus – such as, art, architecture, CS, design, drama and HCI - to build virtual worlds. There are 50 students that participate and they have 2 weeks to design, implement and test the virtual world. 60 of these are available on the web. Two examples were shown via video. One even used a tire as a control device. The demonstrations were quite good.
The set up is simple: a cube lies on a table surface and this in turn can be on a board game-like surface. A video camera images the cube and substitutes in the video an object on the top of the cube. This is displayed on a notebook which lies under the video camera. Building on this, a rich set of interactions have been developed. This includes board games, the construction of a play house with all the home furniture and the placement of 3D objects on the top of the cubes. The result was quite striking.
The problem posed was that digital family entertainment systems are constrained by physical and social interactions and that online games have no real world social and physical interactions. The intent of the Magic Cube is to combine 3D virtual fantasies with the real world. In addition, the game element was to have more social and physical interactions. To accomplish this, a cube was used as the interactions tool. The result was an interactive environment which could support reading, learning and gaming. Another important element is that this structure would encourage more social and physical interactions among families. At the same time children could interact socially and physically “as we did in olden days.”
There were three themes chosen in the implementation: storytelling, doll’s hours and board game. One of the more interesting was the design of a doll’s house. The interface was developed to allow for the insertion of furniture into the house, the movement of it and even its removal. In the case of the board game the intent is to merge traditional social and physical interaction into a computer fantasy build around a cube.
The end result was quite compelling.
At times today we wondered - Is this a Computer Human Interface conference? One of the papers, from MIT, no less, addressed water as a UI. The best paper we heard was by Microsoft Research in Cambridge, UK, on the dynamics of how the family operates in the home. Another outstanding paper addressed the social changes created by phones in cameras. This felt like a sociology conference and not one with its roots in CS. The WAVE interviewed the conference chairman, Prof. Dr. Gerrit C. van der Veer, CS Department, University of Amesterdam, who summarized this best with “…find out what the people want…don’t bother about technology but bother about the experience of the technology.”
Alex Taylor of MSR Cambridge spoke of the artful systems in the home. This was a field study of organizing family life. Three simple examples were given of a school pickup, how one family used a chart to organize the daily activities and what Alex called a petal-board. He called these organizing systems based on artifacts and social practices. In his description of the social character of organizing systems he described them as: ad-hoc, continually evolving, personally crafted and shared but centrally overseen. As a side comment Alex stated the some enterprise planning systems made by some companies are just not suited for these home conditions. That got a good laugh. These socially organizing systems are a part of home making, it is an expression of the family and home. There are social roles and division of labor and an implied moral order in the home.
This was a powerful talk which examined processes in the home. From this, many lessons can be learned. We took away the notion that creating tools which support the diversity within the home and many variations across families is a formidable challenge.
Steve Mann, Queen’s University, UK, proposed digital eyeglasses which do continuous recording and archival of what an individual sees. These would result in eyeblog archives based on eye contact. One design is in place and it was suggested that a new design would use fiber optics to minimize the size and intrusiveness of the glasses.
Nancy Van House, University of Berkeley, School of Information Management and Systems, discussed the why of Personal Networked Digital Imaging. The premise of this presentation is that digital cameras and, in particular, cellular phone cameras, are part of a sociotechnical system. Images we create are tied to time, mortality, relationships and making sense of our lives. In order to understand the forces shaping use, one must look at the “higher-order, enduring activities and purposes.” From their assessment, camera phones are potentially as influential as the introduction of film itself. These are digital, networked, programmable imaging devices. As a result they make photography pervasive and an every day activity. From this will come, and it already has, easier sharing of images and more varied uses.
Their assessment describes the social uses of personal phones and camera phones as fitting into the following:
It was implied that we have only begun to see the impact of camera phones.
Ted Selker, MIT Media Lab, and Ernesto Arroyo, discussed why water is an important UI. To illustrate their points, they have created a number of “interfaces.”
In the case of Heatsink the water is illuminated with LEDs and the color reflected from the water represents hot and cold. Cleansink was a project done for Kaiser to better support hand washing compliance in hospitals. Waterbot is an add on to a water facet to make the water flow illuminated and encourage conservation.
Alvaro Cassinelli at the University of Tokyo was showing a device which tracked a finger in free space. It was infectious. Using only 200 nanowatts of power from a laser diode the tracking laser would plant a circle on the tip of one’s finger. This would then be tracked as one moved the finger. Maximum finger tip velocity is 3 m/s. Seen on the screen would be the track of the finger tip. In the Interactivity Chamber, we transferred the tracking from the finger tip of the person in the booth to mine. There was even a mode where the laser would write numerical information on a surface, such as the palm of one’s hand. The key to this was its ease of use. Gesture became a real input means.
It was a good paper. Given in 3 minutes by Dan Maynes-Aminzade, Stanford University, it was a spoof on how we now need to make the transition from GUI to TUI (world) to EUI (Food as Interface). This was being done to make the HCI delicious. Two interface examples were proposed: BeanCounter EUI which dispenses jelly beans and the Taste Screen EUI which dispenses food on the front of a display, from which it is eaten. The response from the audience was tremendous.
There were many interesting insights from the poster papers also.
Intel was showing an Ambient Display for the home. It was called CareNet and was contained in a digital picture frame. The information collected included medications, meals, outing activities, mood, falls and calendar.
The MIT Media Laboratory was showing Sparks, an ambient social networking and communications facilitation network. This was quite interesting in that a circle was placed around an individual on the ground below their feet. The characteristics of the circle are called auras. These rotating rings provide the name of the individual and the interests of the person. The system also tracks Pads, which is the detection of a group.
Fidelity Investments was using personal photos as a means of pictorial passwords. This is meant to increase usability, enjoyment and security of an authentication system.
The University of Tokyo showed Toss-It which enabled for information transfer between mobile devices. One could pass a file from one PDA to another or print an image to a printer with a toss action. With a horizontal swing action, a file can be passed from a PDA to multiple users.
The New Jersey Institute of Technology explored the impact of place on individual’s social information needs and willingness to share personal information. This was called a P3 – System: People-to-People-to-geographical Places. They showed that over 40% expressed an interest in location others in various sites and a majority were willing to share.
“ECHOES: Encouraging Companionship, Home Organization, and Entertainment in Seniors” was shown by Indiana University Bloomington. A Teletable and Pitara are used to encourage daily social communications. These devices are used to help seniors redefine their lives after the loss of a companion.
Vienna University of Technology was showing Homie, an artificial companion dog which emphasized happiness and health. Homie has emotions, it can notify, it helps with health care, is a remote control and can dispense pills.
Mary Flanagan, Hunter College, New York, spoke of how she and others at NYU developed a game called RAPUNSEL to teach young teenage girls how to program JAVA. The students came from a diverse population such as that seen in New York City. The game element is to use programming to cause characters to dance. The game allows children to share code and the code developed is full JAVA, not a simplified form. Some of the observations from Mary were particularly interesting. Many of these children have a game console, such as PS2 or xBox, but do not have a computer. More importantly, many of the subjects refuse to type. Thus, instilling an interest in programming, even if in the form of a game, is particularly difficult.
Alias, Toronto, Canada, discussed the concept of a spotlight on a large wall size display which is used to direct attention to a particular section of a display. The spotlight is actually a region of the displayed image which has normal brightness and contrast while the rest of the image is grayed out. This is important because it has become economical to assemble such large visualization rooms due to the low cost of projection displays and the ability to drive these with PCs. Alias found the application of Spotlight to be useful in target acquisition compared to a cursor- not surprising. Alias has a number of spotlight techniques to further highlight areas but these have not been implemented.
Laurel Swan of Brunel University, UK and Alex Taylor, Microsoft Research UK, used ethnographic studies to assess the role of the refrigerator surface in the home. Their work points to the complexity of this surface. Factors observed include: function of what is placed on the surface, the location of the placement, the pointing of the refrigerator surfaces to the rest of the house and the time elements of information. The authors saw the refrigerator surface utilization as a part of the home organizing systems.
Driving further how to make the technology interface more useful, Indiana University proposed Fridgets which are smart magnetic refrigerator magnets. These consists of a touch panel display which is wireless to the information source. Frigets are topic specific and include a Community Calendar and a Weather Fridget. This concept is intended to be applied to seniors with no skills in using technology.
We assess that the application of Fridgets could be broader than just seniors. The work, described above by Laurel Swan and Alex Taylor, is important to understand the role that refrigerator surfaces play.
The Institute of Industrial Science at the University of Tokyo came up with an interesting application of head tracking. The problem is cursor management in the area of interest when there are multiple monitors. The intent is to reduce the amount of mouse movement and have movement only in the areas of visual interest. This problem gets more complex with multiple monitors. The technique used by the authors is to have eye tracking shift the mouse cursor to the screen of interest. The results showed that users like this but that the task time actually increased. It should be noted that just eye tracking is difficult when there is a large shift in eye movements coupled with head movements, which are seen as common with multi-monitor display environments. The authors used a vision-based head tracking system, which they had developed, to accomplish the tracking.
Columbia University tackled the same problem - how to minimize the mouse transversal in multi-monitor display configurations. The technique creates a virtual mouse cursor on each of the monitor screens. Using mouse buttons or the keyboard, the user shifts to the screen where the mouse cursor is active. Thus, there is no movement of a mouse across multiple screens unless the more traditional mouse usage is required.
CHI provided an excellent context in the changing role which computers have in daily lives. It provided a glimpse into the future of the role of computers from the perspective of the users. In particular, as computers disappear, what are the user interface issues? Yet, what we saw at CHI barely scratched the surface. CHI comes from computer science not sociology or psychology.
We were left wondering - how do the results of the research seen at CHI scale to mass markets? Are value issues of technology best addressed by the market or research? For example, is it best to research refrigerator surfaces or to make products, such as the Fridget and put it into the market? Traditional consumer product research, especially in foods, relies heavily on test marketing. This certainly implies that the best indicator of the value of new products is done in the market.
Also lacking was a balance between the science/research and the practical applications of the research. For example, the Equator project practices getting out into non-laboratory conditions to evaluate technology. We did not see enough of this.
What was at CHI was socio-technology issues, not HCI problems. What was missing from the interdisciplinary discussion, even that by Randy Pausch, were sociologists. Greater attention needs to be paid to the social dimensions of the issues being addressed.
Finally, the impact of the research efforts in Europe was missing from this CHI. The last CHI conference in Vienna had a much more international scope. IST funding in Europe is having an impact on wireless technologies and ambient intelligence. But we saw a number of tenants from the European research get imbedded in the U.S. work. Ambient is no longer a strange word.
***Best Practices in Government IT Sourcing; Gordon & Glickson Releases Information Technology Outsourcing: A Handbook for Government, Second Edition
Information technology law firm, Gordon & Glickson LLC, announced the release of its new book Information Technology Outsourcing: A Handbook for Government, Second Edition. Created to serve as a starting point for local, state, and federal government officials, this handbook lays the framework for all of the necessary business issues that must be considered when forging an information technology sourcing agreement with a private sector company.
Divided into four chapters, Information Technology Outsourcing: A Handbook for Government, Second Edition, provides an executive overview of outsourcing, a rundown of the central issues to be worked out in any outsourcing agreement, a catalog of potentially costly issues to be considered, and a short discussion of human resource concerns in information technology outsourcing. For ease of use, the book also includes two checklists, one at the beginning that outlines the high level business and legal issues that arise during the evaluation of any IT outsourcing opportunity, and one at the end that serves as a template for an IT outsourcing contract.
Information Technology Outsourcing: A Handbook for Government was first published by Government Technology in 1998. The second edition, published by International City/County Management Association (ICMA), has been updated and revised to address the concerns of medium-sized and smaller governmental entities and to reflect recent developments in best practices for sourcing.
***Digimarc Launches Public Beta of Desktop Search Tool for Digital Photos
Digimarc Corporation has announced the public beta of Digimarc Image Search, an new desktop search tool designed for the rapidly growing digital photography market.
The free tool, downloadable from Digimarc's website, works in conjunction with popular desktop search tools such as Google Desktop Search, MSN Desktop Search, and Yahoo! Desktop Search, enhancing the image search capabilities of these tools. Current desktop search tools have limited image search capabilities, typically looking for the file name in the header of an image, which can be easily changed or forgotten. Most professional and many consumer photographs are distributed today in digital form with an extensive array of associated information or "metadata" carried within the image files. Digimarc Image Search works with and extends existing desktop search tools by enabling users to:
This beta release supports web updates for images from the Corbis stock photography library and for all other images that use Digimarc digital watermarking products.
According to a report by Lyra Research featured in Photo Marketing Magazine, more than 80 billion digital photographs were estimated to have been taken in 2004. In 2005, IDC predicts that the number of digital images captured, shared and printed will grow by 35%.
Digital photography is often digitally watermarked by its owners using Digimarc software for a variety of purposes, including copyright protection, facilitation of licensing, and the monitoring of Internet marketing programs. The Digimarc software enables users to embed an imperceptible digital watermark that identifies the image's owner and registers that image in the Digimarc online registry. For images with embedded digital watermarks, Digimarc Image Search can retrieve current and dynamic information about the pictures from Internet resources; for example, identification of the owner of rights to facilitate licensing or additional keywords to improve search results.
Digimarc Image Search Beta is available now as a free download at
***Study Compares Email Campaign Practices of Major Retailers; Silverpop Reviews Emails of 175 Companies
A comprehensive study of retail email practices conducted by Silverpop reveals that most marketers only need to make a few simple changes to leap ahead of competitors.
The Silverpop project reviewed the registration procedures, marketing messages and opt-out practices of 175 companies, including nationally recognized names such as Crate & Barrel, Neiman Marcus, JC Penney, CompUSA and many others. The findings present best practices and enable marketers to identify elements of sophisticated email campaigns that can help set their own programs apart from the competition.
For example, personalization is a simple yet effective tool when it comes to establishing a relationship, yet few companies take advantage of it. Silverpop's study found that three-fourths of retailers don't respond to prospects' requests with even simple personalization like the recipient's name. Recent studies by JupiterResearch have shown that response rates increase when even simple personalization is used.
The study also found that retail email marketers can improve how they encourage Web site visitors to sign up for emails with both stronger calls to action and better placement of registration requests. Fully one-quarter of the companies studied failed to offer even a simple explanation of benefits to incent visitors to sign up for emails. When a call to action was offered, 45 percent offered notices of sales and promotions and 14 percent offered news. An offer for a catalog or other type of direct mail was the incentive used by 11 percent of retailers studied.
Additionally, the study found that the type of information retailers offered was generally limited, with nearly eight out of 10 companies studied offering only one choice of communication such as notices of sales, newsletters or information bulletins, etc. Yet O'Gorman noted that the ability to provide content preferences and a variety of choices can help increase the number of people who will opt-in to receive email messages from a company because they know the communications will be more tailored to their needs.
The amount of information about the recipient that companies captured during the registration process was divided up fairly equally among three options. Thirty-seven percent of retailers asked only for an email address, while 39 percent asked registrants to complete a short profile of four to five lines that typically included a request for a postal address. A more extensive profile that generally also asked for phone numbers and demographic information was requested by 25 percent of retailers.
Only 43 percent of the companies studied sent a registration confirmation message. Eight out of 10 sent confirmations the same day and 76 percent displayed product or brand names in the messages. However, only 12 percent asked to be added to the recipients' address book or white list, and only 25 percent of the confirmation messages were personalized.
A full report of Phase I is scheduled to be released in early June. Phases II and III of Silverpop's "Retail Email Marketing Study," which provide analysis of marketing messages and opt-out practices, are scheduled to be released later this summer.
***InterSense delivers Helmet Tracking Solution for Boeing’s F-15E Flight Simulator Program
InterSense, Inc., has worked closely with Boeing engineers to complete the integration of an IS-900 tracking system into the F-15E flight simulator. InterSense received an order for additional tracking systems to support Boeing’s F-15K Flight Simulator Program for the Korean Air Force.
The integration effort at Boeing’s St. Louis facility required custom fitting of InterSense’s IS-900 acoustic reference transmitters into the F-15E’s canopy bow. This tracking reference system allows a lightweight, inertial-based, helmet mounted tracker to be used with the Boeing VIDS 20/20 Area of Interest (AOI) display system and simulated Night Vision Goggles (NVG’s) providing pilots with realistic night time mission training scenarios. This system provides the pilot with eye limiting resolution in color throughout the full field of view. Full simulator installations for the Korean Air Force are scheduled to begin in January 2006. Additional installations for the U.S. Air Force F-15E Flight Simulators are expected to begin by July 2006.
According to Intersense, InterSense’s IS-900 motion tracking product family was Introduced in 1999 and is an enabling technology used in flight simulation, mission training systems, oil & gas exploration, and other immersive display applications. With over 1000 systems deployed worldwide, the IS-900 product offers reliable & accurate motion tracking for the most demanding applications.
***NetStairs.com Announces New Multi-Video Format Movie Launch
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.
NetStairs.com, Inc. has announced the beta release of its patent pending intelligent movie server, e-iV8. NetStairs plans to provide several product and service strategies primarily as dedicated cluster of servers, as a software license to the market.
What differentiates the e-iV8 patented published technologies are its adaptation of intelligent methodologies in form of real-time algorithms supporting multi-video, multi-bandwidth, and multi viewing full motion media streaming embracing industry standards: HTTP and RTSP protocols. Delivering full motion pictures and without resorting to one specific media format, secured minded content providers may now reach a broader viewing audience worldwide. e-iV8 is positioned to become the choice middleware media server platform for delivering full motion video universally supporting Microsoft Media, Apple QuickTime, Real Network, MPEG and Macromedia Flash series. Coupled with common accounting and billing practices such as: paid subscription, pay-per-view, or movie-on-demand, e-iV8 is destined to become choice standard for video streaming industry.
According to NetStairs, e-iV8 is now offered worldwide in form of turnkey secured servers. Media providers may also obtain a software license supporting either HTTP protocol or assemble an intelligent bridge (gateway) for their existing RTSP servers which they already own.
***EverNote Corp. announces release of ritePen 2.5 handwriting recognition software
EverNote Corporation today announced the immediate commercial availability of ritePen 2.5 advanced handwriting recognition software that improves the core UI functionality and handwriting recognition on Windows-based pen computers. Since its initial debut, ritePen has become a handwriting recognition software of choice for the OEM pen computing community.
With ritePen, users can intelligently navigate the desktop and write on the full screen in smooth electronic ink - and their handwriting is automatically converted into text and entered into any Windows application. Built on EverNote's advanced handwriting recognition engine, ritePen recognizes unrestricted and continuous writing.
ritePen includes natural editing gestures, provides a list of alternative answers, as well as allows the addition of custom user vocabulary to further improve recognition accuracy of special terms and abbreviations.
ritePen advanced handwriting recognition software is available for Windows 98/2000/XP/XP Tablet PC Edition. ritePen can be purchased online from EverNote's software store. It recognizes English, German, French and Russian languages and is available for a one month free evaluation and for commercial licensing.
ritePen is currently shipping with: Motion Computing's tablet client; the Hitachi VisionPlate tablet; Sony's Vaio U Ultra Personal PC; the Dialogue FlyBook Ultra-Personal Computer (UPC); Luidia eBeam Interactive System and MCC's Modular Computing Core product.
***One Third of All Software in Use Still Pirated, Major Study Finds
Thirty-five percent of the software installed on personal computers worldwide was pirated in 2004, a one percentage point decrease from 36 percent in 2003. Yet, losses due to piracy increased from $29 billion to $33 billion.
These are among key findings of a global software piracy study released by the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the international association of the world’s leading software developers. The independent study, which indicates that software piracy continues to be a major challenge worldwide, was conducted by global technology research leader IDC.
In 2004, the world spent more than $59 billion on commercial packaged PC software, up from $51 billion in 2003. But over $90 billion was actually installed, up from $80 billion the year before. The increase in losses to $33 billion was, in part, the result of the fact that the PC software market grew over six percent and the U.S. dollar fell against many of the world’s currencies.
Among the key findings:
IDC used proprietary statistics for software and hardware shipments, conducted more than 7,000 interviews in 23 countries, and enlisted IDC analysts in over 50 countries to review local market conditions.
***Universal Display Expands Capabilities for Flexible Displays with Novel OLED Deposition Equipment from Tokki Corporation and Hitachi High-Technologies
Ewing, New Jersey
Universal Display Corporation has announced the successful installation and start-up of a novel full-color OLED deposition system at Universal Display’s technology development center in Ewing, New Jersey. Designed and built by Tokki Corporation, working with Hitachi High-Technologies Corporation, and using novel features designed by Tokki and Universal Display, the ELVES020C OLED Deposition System can produce OLED displays on both rigid glass and flexible substrates (e.g. metallic foil and plastic).
This new system is the latest step in Universal Display’s program to develop a broad array of technologies for conformable and flexible, full-color, high-resolution OLED displays. Universal Display was recently awarded a new $1.7 million Federal contract to develop flexible OLED display prototypes, bringing the Company’s overall funded flexible OLED initiative to $6 million total.
Manufactured by Tokki Corporation and sold through Hitachi High-Technologies Corporation, the multi-chamber, semi-automatic deposition system is designed to deposit a variety of organic and metallic films using vacuum sublimation and evaporative techniques with high-resolution patterning capabilities and an entirely new design for handling substrates including plastic, metallic foil, and glass, whether they are transparent, opaque, rigid, or flexible.
***New Quarterly Physician Recruiting Standard Released from Delta Medical Consulting
The newest quarterly edition of the Physician Recruiting Standard contains crucial data which has been gathered during the period of April 2004 through March 2005. This latest survey is now available to recruiters and administrators in Healthcare, equipping them to make informed physician recruiting decisions.
Maintaining federal compliance with the Stark II laws, recruiters must have access to fair-market data. The Standard provides real-time fair-market values, which are gathered through extensive research with recruiters from around the nation.
The Standard reveals vital information such as average placement trends, compensation trends, benefits analysis, physician migration statistics, as well as other important data for Primary Care, Surgery, Sub-Specialties and Hospital based physicians.
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