Sunday, August 29, 2004

Rich's Wedding

In Berkeley right now, hanging out until Rich and Agata's wedding tomorrow evening. Unfortunately, I left my cell phone in Pittsburgh. I think that Andy Clark's thesis in Natural Born Cyborgs might be right, that people adapt to technology and turn them into extensions of themselves, is on the mark. His book definitely went off in lots of odd tangents, but the overall premise is quite an interesting one.

One serious problem with Clark's book, however, is that it doesn't go into enough depth on any single topic. What exactly are the mechanisms for extension? Why does the human brain do that? Is this something that other animals can do too (like those African Gray Parrots)? How does Clark's theory relate to McLuhan's theory of media as an extension of man? Or Cziksentmihalyi's theory on flow?

And, the most important question from my perspective, how do we build applications and tools that fit more naturally as extensions of the human mind?

Well, lots to ponder. But on the plus side, my lack of cell phone didn't prevent me from meeting up with my friends and getting some veggie sushi, something I have been sorely missing in Pittsburgh.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Course Announcement: Research Topics in Ubiquitous Computing

I'm teaching a grad-level course on ubiquitous computing.

http://www-2.cs.cmu.edu/~jasonh/courses/ubicomp-f2004/index.html

Instructor: Jason Hong (Office NSH3613, send email to jasonh at cs cmu edu)
Times: MW 9-10:30
Place: NSH 3002
Course#: 05899
Pre-requisites: This class is a combination of topics covering a wide variety of disciplines that impact ubiquitous computing. These include human-computer interaction, distributed systems, databases, machine learning, security, sensors, with a touch of public policy. While there is no explicit set of pre-requisite courses for this course, the more of a basic introduction you have to these various disciplines, the more you will get out of the class (in other words, you are not expected to be experts in all of these areas, and there are several overview readings to help bring you up to speed). If you are unsure about your background feel free to come and talk to me.

This course is open to students from across campus, although it is expected to consist primarily of SCS students.


Monday, August 23, 2004

New Blog

Starting out a new blog here, just to see what it's like. Interestingly, I discovered that there is a blog for a newborn with the same name as me (Jason Hong), so I decided to name my blog something different.

Today is my first real day here as an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University, in the Human Computer Interaction Institute, and I thought it would be interesting to keep a record of odds and ends of research, interaction design, news of the weird, and just what it's like living in Pittsburgh.

And speaking of news of the weird, while flipping through channels yesterday, I saw that Bill O'Reilly was interviewing Triumph the Insult Dog. On top of that, Bill O'Reilly actually said he liked John Kerry's speech at the Democratic Convention. Maybe there's something in the water here in Pittsburgh that is making me hallucinate...