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CHI update - Accretions

Fata Morgana
2004-04-29 11:50
CHI update
Public
One thing I really like about conferences is hearing about and discussing such a plethora of ideas - it helps me narrow down and get excited about my own research ideas and plans. On Tuesday, some MIT architecture folks described IN-visible, a project that will give subway riders a sense of the city above them and vice versa - very much in the same vein as my Healthy Cities stuff. Yesterday the most interesting talk I heard was on a project at UW I was already somewhat familiar with, though I hadn't heard any of the results: The Watcher and the Watched, which is exploring perceptions of simulated windows (in the form of plasma screens with live video feeds). Batya, Peter, et al. found striking gender differences in how people respond to being "watched" via video feeds in public places. I also attended an interesting philosophical talk on cognitive friction and interaction with computers, and a talk on the responses of seniors to AIBO. One talk I couldn't make but wanted to was "Banner ads hinder visual search and are forgotten." I'm not sure how much my research will be aligned with CHI in the future, especially if I pursue the social science side of technology and development, but I certainly enjoy attending it.

I met one of the comic artists of OK/Cancel yesterday while I was working at the information booth, and was given two "trading cards" featuring Adaptive Path Voltron. He was honored when I said that his comic and Ph.D. were the two online comics I read fairly regularly. (There's also Doonesbury, Foxtrot, and archives of Calvin and Hobbes, but those are just on my Livejournal filter, and aren't only online.) Today I also bought Reload: Rethinking women + cyberculture to read on the plane on the way back. At some point, I have to work on my final project for animation as well. :~) I spent most of my time on the way over reading Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace rather than animating - thoughts on that will follow when I have time to write them up. I'm looking forward to having a lot of time to read over the summer.

At the conference reception on Tuesday, I caught up with A.J., Janet, and a bunch of other UW folks. Batya and Peter brought their daughter along to CHI, but unfortunately she is barred from attending the conference this year. (Usually there's a CHIkids program, but this year it was cancelled at the last minute, much to the consternation of the dozens of CHI parents who brought their kids along.) The reception venue was a gorgeous ballroom with vaulted ceilings and huge chandeliers - one certainly couldn't find a building like that in the US.

Throughout the conference, I've been razzed by various Carnegie Mellon folks for being the only prospective student to turn them down (aside from one CMU student who was already planning to go elsewhere). "It's not too late!," I keep hearing, and also, "Where's the ring?" (since I had mentioned my two-body problem when I was visiting CMU). I learned that I've committed several social blunders by not announcing my graduate school decision to everyone I should. None of the schools had any instructions regarding who to tell, so I generally emailed the professors with whom I had had previous email contact, along with the person who seemed to be the graduate admissions coordinator. But in at least one case, a professor is upset about hearing about my decision second-hand.

A.J.'s presenting our paper on remote usability at 2:30 this afternoon - more later!
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