Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Turning Our Personal Devices into Social Devices

Our smartphones allow us to connect with the rest of the world from anywhere. Ironically, however, they also tend to disconnect us from the world immediately around us. But rather than fight the creep of technology into our social spaces, there is the opportunity to reframe our personal devices as social devices.

As we start using our phones to interact with the people who are near us, there are a number of unique aspects of our interaction that mobile applications can capitalize on. Co-located collaborators can see each other, talk with each other, and share surrounding context. This is why it is easier to have a conversation with someone while driving if the other person is in the car with you and not on the phone. A person in the passenger seat can pause when the road requires your attention. A person on the phone can’t see when your attention gets diverted or the road conditions change.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Formula for Academic Papers: Introduction

The Introduction to a paper is a place for you to tell the story of the research that is presented. That story is not what you did to complete the research, but rather why the work is interesting. And while the research you are writing about in a paper might be part of a larger story (e.g., your thesis), the paper’s story is also not necessarily that larger story. Instead, it is the story that frames just the current work and its contributions as clearly as possible. The goal is to capture the reader’s attention, provide context for the included research, and set expectations for what is to come.

A simple, reliable Introduction outline is:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Related Work: Ensemble

Ensemble: Exploring Complementary Strengths of Leaders and Crowds in Creative Collaboration
Joy Kim, Justin Cheng, Michael S. Bernstein
CSCW 2014

This paper looks at crowd-supported creative writing. It presents a system, called Ensemble, that supports structured creative writing. There are a number of examples of massively collaborative writing, including:
  • Ensemble: Structured creative writing, with the author leading crowd workers in the task.
  • The Collabowriters: An experiment in collaborative novel writing. Users write short sentence candidates for the next sentence in the novel, and then vote on which one is the best.
  • FoldingStory: A group storytelling game.
  • Massively Distributed Authorship of Academic Papers: An experiment in collaborative academic writing by Bill Tomlinson and 29 others for alt.chi at CHI 2012.
  • Soylent: A crowd-powered word processor that uses Mechanical Turk workers to help writers proofread and shorten their document.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

100 Mile Walk Scheduled for July

Cale and I now have a date for our 100 mile walk to Great Wolf: July 18 - 27. Hotels have been booked, deposits have been paid, and I've filed for the time off from work.

Friday, March 14, 2014

100 Mile Walk: Day Three

[This post is part of a series detailing Cale and my plans for each leg of our 100 mile walk to Great Wolf. Our goal is to establish a safe route that follows sidewalks and trails as much as possible, and provides good places to stop, refuel, and refresh along the way. We actively solicit your suggestions if you know the area we will be walking through.]

Looking at Day Three of Cale and my 100 mile journey, it seems relatively unexciting. We will follow the Pacific Highway for pretty much all of the 15 mile journey.

Start: Cedarbrook Lodge, 9:00am
End: Emerald Queen Hotel and Casino, 5:00pm
Total distance: 14.9 miles

Breakfast: Cedarbrook Lodge
Snack: Anywhere along the road
Lunch: Pac Island Grill
Dinner: Emerald Queen Hotel and Casino

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Microwork as a Way to Collaborate

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.