Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Recently I have been exploring selfsourcing as a way to help someone perform a single large, overwhelming information tasks by breaking it down into hundreds of easy-to-perform microtasks. Many of the microtasks that make up our personal information tasks need to be completed by the task owner, because they require personal knowledge or context. But not all do. In this way, the approach makes it easy to share aspects of a task with others in a way that is not easy to do for traditional complex tasks. For example, if the process of creating a photobook is broken down into subtasks, different family members can perform these subtasks to create a coherent book. Likewise, multiple colleagues could simultaneously create a single presentation if the process allowed them to brainstorm ideas on a topic and labeling them in parallel.
Sunday, March 9, 2014
selfsourcing). It seems picking up habits can likewise be facilitated by transforming the desired behavior change into micro-habits.
According to B.J. Fogg (via an NPR report I listened to recently), there are three steps you should follow if you want to pick up a new habit:
- Small: Choose a habit to pick up that only take a few seconds to complete.
- Routine: Place this new micro-habit within an existing routine.
- Celebrate: Physically celebrate the completion of your new habit whenever you do it.
Friday, March 7, 2014
Computer scientists are notoriously scruffy. Most days I wear jeans and a t-shirt to work. I've always taken this for granted, and never really thought much about what I wear. I get ready for work so fast in the morning that my children are awake, dressed, and eating breakfast before I even have to get out of bed. I put my clothes on while they put their shoes on so we can head out the door to drive to school. My sneakers are comfortable enough that I can spend all day walking at my treadmill desk, and nothing I wear needs special care in the wash. When I travel to conferences, I pack a week's worth of clothing in a small carryon backpack.
But not today!
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
For many years I had one or more of my four children with me whenever I attended an academic conference (in my arms, or in my tummy, or, quite often, in both). This inspired me to write about conference travel with children and how conferences might better support traveling mothers - but it has also, lately, lead to my being asked at every conference I attend: "Where are you children!?" Because I no longer bring them with me to conferences. This post is about why.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Last week I attended the Seventh ACM International Conference on Web Search and Data Mining (WSDM 2014) in New York City. The conference hotel was located right in Times Square, and I enjoyed visiting Cornell Tech, eating delicious food, and catching up with college friends. I also enjoyed attending sessions. WSDM is single track, which means the research being presented isn’t always directly relevant to everyone, but conference attendees have a shared experience and get exposed to research they might not otherwise.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
We are interrupted every 11 minutes. We are interrupted by incoming email, the phone ringing, and colleagues stopping by our office. We even interrupt ourselves sometimes, to go read Facebook or browse the web. You very well may not make it through this post without an interruption. Research suggests that it is hard to recover from an interruption, with it taking us up to 15 minutes to return to focused activity. Given we are interrupted so often that we never achieve full efficiency, interruptions cause a significant loss in productivity.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
In addition to playing around with the selfsourcing of photo organization, I am also building a desktop selfsourcing application to support brainstorming and create a presentation with the results. A slide from a selfsourced presentation (on the topic of selfsourcing) is shown above.