Friday, 26 June 2009
My lecture was on principles and technologies for communication (in German) and we looked fundamentally at what information is, how it relates to probabilities, how to encode information, and what devices people used and use for communication. For me this was a very exciting experience and also showed that we (as a discipline Computer Science) should probably look more into didactic and how to communicate fundamentals of our subject in school. So far many students associated computer science with using PowerPoint :-( but there are interesting starting points, e.g. a German book on algorithms for school children .
 Vöcking, B.; Alt, H.; Dietzfelbinger, M.; Reischuk, R.; Scheideler, C.; Vollmer, H.; Wagner, D. (Ed.). Taschenbuch der Algorithmen. 2008, ISBN: 978-3-540-76393-2
Thursday, 25 June 2009
What can one say? Congratulations and a quote from Mark Twan: Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
PS: Found myself checking two things: (1) where Tasmania is and (2) when I have my next sabbatical ...
We use the hardware from http://nabaztag.com/ (Ztamp:s and Mir:ror) as the focus is on the concept and application and not on the underlying technology. To ease development Florian and Ali have developed a little system that offers WebCallBacks (students can register a URL and that is called when a tag is read).
Linking by tagging of objects has been well explored, e.g.  and , and I think it is about time that this technologies will make an impact in the consumer market - the technology gets cheap enough now (and perhaps one of our students has a great idea).
Some years back (in the last millennium) a company tried to push linking of paper adverts and digital content with the CueCat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CueCat) - I was impressed and inspired at that time but in my view it had two major weaknesses: (1) technically too early and (2) encoding of serial numbers instead of URLs. The RadioShack catalog and the Wired Magazine that included codes showed the potential - but it was too cumbersome as it was restricted to the PC …
We did some work on the topic, too around that time - at RFID reader integrated in a glove - which resulted in a Poster at ISWC  and a patent .
 Want, R. 2006. An Introduction to RFID Technology. IEEE Pervasive Computing 5, 1 (Jan. 2006), 25. DOI= http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/MPRV.2006.2
 Harrison, B. L., Fishkin, K. P., Gujar, A., Portnov, D., and Want, R. 1999. Bridging physical and virtual worlds with tagged documents, objects and locations. In CHI '99 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 15 - 20, 1999). CHI '99. ACM, New York, NY, 29-30. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/632716.632738
 Ljungstrand, P. and Holmquist, L. E. 1999. WebStickers: using physical objects as WWW bookmarks. In CHI '99 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 15 - 20, 1999). CHI '99. ACM, New York, NY, 332-333. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/632716.632916
 Schmidt, A., Gellersen, H., and Merz, C. 2000. Enabling Implicit Human Computer Interaction: A Wearable RFID-Tag Reader. In Proceedings of the 4th IEEE international Symposium on Wearable Computers (October 18 - 21, 2000). ISWC. IEEE Computer Society, Washington, DC, 193. (Poster as large PNG)
 US Patent 6614351 - Computerized system for automatically monitoring processing of objects. September 2, 2003. http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/6614351/description.html
Wednesday, 24 June 2009
The presentations were not really surprising and also the short intros by the participants remained very generic. Seeing the call that is now finalized and having been at the consultation meetings it seems to me that the focus is rather broad for a proactive initiative… but with many people wanting a piece of the cake this seems inevitable.
I presented a short idea of "breaking space and time boundaries" - the idea is related to a previous post on predicting the future. The main idea is that with massive sensing (by a large number of people) and with uniform access to this information - independ of time and space - we will be able to create a different view of our realty. We think of putting a consortium together for an IP. Interested? Then give me a call.
Saturday, 20 June 2009
The symposium at Schloß Birlinghoven featured an impressive list of people and I learned more about the history of German computer science. It is impressive to see that many people that shaped AI in Germany worked at some point together in one project (HAM-RPM, HAM-ANS, see ). This highlighted to me again the importance of education people in research and not just getting research done - as nicely described by Patterson in "Your students are your legacy"  - an article worthwhile to read for anyone advising students.
The afternoon and evening was much too short to catch up with everyone. It was great to meet Christian Bauckhage, who took over my office in Bonn, in person. He is now professor at B-IT and at Fraunhofer IAIS and I hope we have a chance to work together in the future. At WWW2009 he published a paper on a new approach to social network analysis  applied to Slashdot. This approach which discriminates negative and positive connections could also be an interesting approach in social networks that are grounded in the real world… seems there is already an idea for a joined project.
After telling Karl-Heinz Sylla that I am currently teaching a software engineering class he recommended me the following book: Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship by Robert C. Martin . The books looks good and one interesting argument is that programming well in the small (clean code) is a pre-requisite for large systems - or the other way round you break big software systems by bad programming in the small. Perhaps there is some time over the summer to read the book.
PS: Thomas chose an interesting option for birthday presents: bicycles for Africa - a quite remarkable project. I will see if I find the URL and post it in a comment...
 Wolfgang Hoeppner, Thomas Christaller, Heinz Marburger, Katharina Morik, Bernhard Nebel, Mike O'Leary, Wolfgang Wahlster: Beyond Domain-Independence: Experience With the Development of a German Language Access System to Highly Diverse Background Systems. IJCAI 1983: 588-594
 Patterson, D. A. 2009. Viewpoint
Your students are your legacy. Commun. ACM 52, 3 (Mar. 2009), 30-33. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1467247.1467259
 Kunegis, J., Lommatzsch, A., and Bauckhage, C. 2009. The slashdot zoo: mining a social network with negative edges. In Proceedings of the 18th international Conference on World Wide Web (Madrid, Spain, April 20 - 24, 2009). WWW '09. ACM, New York, NY, 741-750. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1526709.1526809
 Robert C. Martin. Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship. Prentice Hall International. 2008 (Amazon-Link)
Friday, 12 June 2009
Thinking more about it I was wondering how toys are really going to change in the future and to what extent this is going to happen. Technically a lot is feasible as it is well demonstrated by Steve in his thesis (photo from www.vs.inf.ethz.ch); if you do not have time to read the thesis I recommend to look at two of his papers:  and . They give a good overview of the systems he created. In the discussion we could see that there can be very interesting business model involving third party developers for such toys.
… but nevertheless the playing experience is something very special and I would bet the augmented toys will come but the ordinary non-augmented dolls will stay.
PS: The cafeteria at ETH provided another example of my collection "if you need a sign/label - you have got the UI design wrong" - great example how gestalt law would have been so easy and arrows look so bad ;-)
 Hinske, S. and Langheinrich, M. 2009. W41K: digitally augmenting traditional game environments. In Proceedings of the 3rd international Conference on Tangible and Embedded interaction (Cambridge, United Kingdom, February 16 - 18, 2009). TEI '09. ACM, New York, NY, 99-106. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1517664.1517691
 Hinske, S., Langheinrich, M., and Lampe, M. 2008. Towards guidelines for designing augmented toy environments. InProceedings of the 7th ACM Conference on Designing interactive Systems (Cape Town, South Africa, February 25 - 27, 2008). DIS '08. ACM, New York, NY, 78-87. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1394445.1394454
Monday, 8 June 2009
Thursday, 4 June 2009
While reading a thesis I was reminded of an interesting paper on tangible programming  from a special issue of Personal and Ubiquitous Computing we did in 2004. The paper situates the topic historically and gives an interesting introduction.
In recent meetings as well as in airports around the world one can observe a trend: wired telephony! Whereas people with traditional mobile phone walk up and down and talk on the phone iPhone users often sit wired up to the next power plug an phone... seems apple has re-invented wired telephony ;-) and other brands will soon follow (make sure to reserve a seat with a power connection).
 McNerney, T. S. 2004. From turtles to Tangible Programming Bricks: explorations in physical language design. Personal Ubiquitous Comput. 8, 5 (Sep. 2004), 326-337. DOI= http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00779-004-0295-6
Not really complaining as there is a set of inspiring articles about the digital economy: