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Re: new members; recent happenings

Hey Eugene, fellow Old Fogies, and all you New People,    (01)

As one of the older and fogier people, let me say welcome, and I look forward
to meeting those of you in the Bay area.    (02)

While on the subject of new members, there was a person whose name came up as
being a potential invitee and that was Harvey Lehtman.  I spoke to Harvey last
week, and he was very enthused about this group and the possibility of being
involved.  What do you think?    (03)

Sorry to have been so out of touch, between moving, finishing the IDG Wireless
Usability Study and completely revamping my resume, I've been really heads
down.    (04)

Then, when the WTC/Pentagon thing hit, I just kind of turned off.  A few years
ago I did some work on a Navy thing called the Copernicus Project.  The first
day that casualties were released, I found my group leader on the Pentagon
list.  The next day, the entire rest of the group, 6 people, were up there.  I
simply could not process this and shut down for a week.    (05)

But time wounds all heels, so here I am.    (06)

Several weeks ago, when Eric and I met over Eugene's place, Eugene had asked
me to take a look at the OHS-LC wiki and suggest some interface improvement
ideas.  I've been bouncing around on our site a fair amount, considering, and
have also been taking a look at a number of other wikis out there to see what
other people are doing.    (07)

I still need to organize my thoughts a bit before doing a more serious
write-up, but here are a few general observations.    (08)

First, almost all wikis look almost entirely alike, albeit with minor and
marginal differences.  They all essentially have the same good and bad points,
strengths and weaknesses.    (09)

They are all so extremely text heavy that they corrode your visual system -
pretty unpleasant to use.  This is really unfortunate, because they do convey
a great deal of very useful information.  For example, the way you are
oriented in a directory is like having a built in site map on every page.  You
always know where you are.  It's just so buried within all these other words.    (010)

Unfortunately things look so much alike that you may find yourself in either
the same place over and over again, or worse, a similar but different place.    (011)

Also despite it's advertising, it's actually difficult to get anything done.
You get asked the same information repeatedly, many questions are cryptic, and
the "accept changes" buttons are not readily apparent.  I'm still not sure
much of the time whether I'm actually logged on as myself or as "Guest."    (012)

In general and in short the best thing to do would be to remove as much as
possible, and increase the "graphicalness" of it.    (013)

Eugene, I know you said that they included a number of templates, but I was
wondering exactly what sort of templates these were.  Did they get into any
sort of graphics at all, or were they strictly a textual interface?    (014)

Comments?  Opinions?    (015)

As far as my own projects go, there are currently two of them, the Assistive
Living Companion and the Reading Tutor.  As an example of my wiki experience,
I've been trying to get the Reading Tutor up on the site for a month now.    (016)

The Assistive Living Companion is coming along well. The page of rough notes
is slowly making the transition to a formal paper, currently at about 3 pages
or so.  I recently discovered someone at the EOE (Educational Object Economy)
has an idea for a project called Little Learning Engine that would essentially
be an earlier and differently targeted version of the Assistive Living
Companion.  We've been talking and exchanging a lot of e-mail pursuing some
ideas for exploiting the considerable overlap.    (017)

I've also been working with a friend and colleague who runs Information In
Place Technologies, the current custodians of Jim Spohrer's WorldBoard.  This
technology (among others) is key to this project, so being able to integrate
this concept at the beginning is great.  He's offered to work with me on a
grant proposal and do it through his company, which will give it much more
clout than simply coming from me.    (018)

OHS technology and particularly DKRs have been a big part of my thinking in
this project and I've now started to write specs and do some product
sketching.  Screen prototyping is not too far off.    (019)

The other project, the Reading Tutor, is moving along quite well.  The program
spec was written quite awhile ago and then back-burnered.  I was able to pick
it back up about 6 weeks ago and have been starting to prototype.    (020)

Essentially, this program helps people with various learning disabilities,
particularly visual/perceptual problems, learn to read.  There is a framing
mechanism that allows you to display as much text at a time as you want,
words, or syllables, or letters can be highlighted as you read, and it can
speak along.  There is a provision for stereo audio processing as well.  I've
also got some basic perceptual diagnostics into it, a little module based on
the Hooper Visual Motor Inventory.    (021)

Ultimately, the program should be monitoring the user and make self correcting
course adjustments in teaching methods.  Also, there will be a library of
remediative perceptual tasks to draw from to enhance the reading instruction.    (022)

DKRs form the basis of all things self-monitoring and self-corrective in this
thing.  Without that dynamic quality, you have a useful program, but with
nowhere near the diagnostic and remediation capability.    (023)

All for now, time for sleep.    (024)

Nighty Night!    (025)

---Sheldon    (026)

Eugene Eric Kim wrote:    (027)

> Hi all,
> Lots of news to report.  First, several people have recently joined our
> group: Simon Buckingham Shum, Alex Shapiro, Gil Regev, Peter Jones, and G.
> Ken Holman.  Stephen Danic will be joining us soon.  Simon's already sent
> an introduction, and the others should be sending intros soon as well.
> (Hint, hint. :-)
> Second, it's been a while, and it would be great to hear from the old
> fogies on the list.  Drop an e-mail to the list, and let us know what
> you're up to and the status of your projects.
> Third, this group had a stated expiration of six months or sooner.  It
> looks like it's going to be sooner, as the Bootstrap Alliance will most
> likely be forming an official group based heavily on the Launch Community
> with official responsibility for the OHS's specifications.  I'll post more
> on this soon.
> In the meantime, I encourage you discuss your OHS-related projects on this
> list and any thoughts or questions you have about the OHS.
> More soon.
> -Eugene
> --
> +=== Eugene Eric Kim ===== eekim@eekim.com ===== http://www.eekim.com/ ===+
> |       "Writer's block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they        |
> +=====  can have an excuse to drink alcohol."  --Steve Martin  ===========+    (028)