Monday, February 28, 2011

Embodying Deixis over Surfaces

I recently finished work on characterizing how people gesture above surfaces in collaborative tasks. We looked at pairs and groups of people sharing information over maps in a variety of settings. The result of the research was a set of five design principles for representing deixis (mostly pointing gestures) over surfaces (such as a map). Here they are:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

An Agile Orchestra

I've started talking about an agile orchestra in the last few weeks and I thought I'd describe a little further what I mean.  In computer science and the IT industry, we've developed a new set of processes for building things called agile processes.  Agile processes involve small, focussed teams working in a series of short sprints of activity towards achievable goals.  (I'm generalizing, but trying to pull out the most useful aspects.)  Teams define a finished product (not necessarily a final product) they would like to achieve within 2-3 weeks of work and each team member identifies daily (or very short term) goals.  Progress is monitored in daily meetings (often called stand-up meetings, because they're short and nobody is allowed to sit down) where members report their progress on their last goal and identify their next goals.

Monday, February 14, 2011

We're Paid to Perform!

My sister, Anna, plays in a US symphony orchestra and has been involved, heavily, in the negotiation process on the player's side for several years. I sent Tony Woodcock's blog post (by way of Greg Sandow) to her and she responded by saying that the changes suggested by management scare a great many musicians in orchestras.  She pointed out the DSO player's blog which includes a piece by Doug Cornelson called "Defining 'Redefining'".  In it, there's a short passage that captures much of why players are objecting to changes:

Rebooting Computer Science Publications: Organic Processes

A recent ACM Communications viewpoint by Jonathan Grudin (login required) summarizes the reasons for the current emphasis on archival conferences over journal articles as computer science publication venues. His final paragraphs suggest some possible new directions for conference publications that could potentially alleviate the challenges he identifies as the result of low-acceptance conference venues (loss of community, deleterious effects on reviewing, perceived emphasis on incremental results). Certainly, there has been much discussion of these topics of late in our field, including a CHI workshop in 2010 on precisely these issues.  However, Grudin's most radical suggestion is as follows: