Article: Modes of Interaction with our Filtered World

I've written an article entitled Modes of Interaction with our Filtered World.

“This article discusses how we perceive the world through filters (our senses) and how modelling these filters can be useful when designing human-computer interfaces. It goes on to attempt to classify modes of interaction using the criteria of sense and dimension for application in Human-Computer Interaction.”

The World According to Einstein

This is a time when we traditionally think about our priorities in life, as we see in the new year. It's a time in my life when I am struggling to comprehend the actions of both family and strangers in the name of religion.

I have found these words comforting.

An essay by Albert Einstein entitled “The World as I see it“. Einstein said that he did not persue ease and happiness as ends in themselves, but followed the ideals of Kindness, Beauty, and Truth. He said that he occupied himself with the objective world and the eternally unattainable in the field of art and scientific endeavors in order to fill his life.

He describes a knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds.

I've been named Time Person of the Year 2006!

This year Time has announced that you are Time Person of the Year. “Yes, you. You control the Information Age. Welcome to your world.”

They're talking about user generated content and community collaboration on the web having taken off this year. They mention Wikipedia, MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, SecondLife, Amazon, blogging, podcasting and open source software.

“This is an opportunity to build a new kind of international understanding, not politician to politician, great man to great man, but citizen to citizen, person to person. It's a chance for people to look at a computer screen and really, genuinely wonder who's out there looking back at them.”

Google Web Toolkit Open Sourced

Google have released the latest version of the Google Web Toolkit under the Apache 2.0 License. The Google Web Toolkit is a toolkit for creating “AJAX” web applications by creating a Java application, then “compiling” it to JavaScript and HTML.

I've always been quite interested in the toolkit, but “compiling” Java to JavaScript always seemed like a novel but messy idea to me. However, after to listening to two podcast episodes by its creators, I've become more interested.

It seems that the choice of the Java language is purely based on the tools available to create applications with that particular language. The GWT is for creating cross-browser JavaScript and HTML user interfaces without having to worry about browser quirks, using existing powerful development tools. You can use any server-side language to generate the JavaScript & HTML once you know what needs generating, so GWT could easily be used in conjunction with PHP, Python et. al.

Something I particularly like is the philosophy of not forcing you down any particular design path, but supporting as many as possible. For example, if you happen to be using the Model View Controller design pattern, GWT would be brilliant for creating the “view” part, and you could use something else for the Model and Controller parts. Or you could not use Model View Controller at all. Also, you don't have to use the whole toolkit, you can use just parts of it, the components are designed to work independently of one another.

I'm still not sure that “AJAX” web applications are the best solution for software as a service in the long term, but they're certainly the best technology currently widely supported, even if you have to deal with browser quirks to ensure compatibility.

Arthur Francis Benjamin Guinness

Laura just pointed me towards this Wikipedia entry which names an Arthur Francis Benjamin Guinness (1937 – 1992), known as Benjamin, who was chairman of Guinness from the 60s. As far as I can tell, he was the great great great grandson of the original Arthur Guinness who purchased the first brewery in 1759 and was a member of the House of Lords and the 3rd Earl of Iveagh.

People who know me will know that my particular love/obsession with the black stuff makes this quite a weird coincidence!