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Friday, December 12, 2003

Winter Break 2003-4
It's with a mixture of sadness and relief that I close out the first semester of graduate school. It's been a tough semester: emotionally, mentally, and even physically. As Dan Boyarski warned us at orientation, CMU is intense. You can burn out easily. You can get so deep into schoolwork you can warp. Small things take on a heightened importance. Your liver can take a serious beating. I am ready for a break.

But I've done a lot of stuff, learned a lot of stuff, made a lot of friends, and, all in all, it's been well worth my time being here, which I was really worried about. A few of the things I've learned have been things that I've always wanted to but never got around to (ActionScript), but some things I wouldn't have even known where to begin.

So now, my final paper has been turned in. It's time to put down the mouse and the (power)book, and recharge for next semester, which promises to be equally interesting.

I wish you all the best holiday season and a happy new year. I hope you've enjoyed reading about my exploits this past year. I'll see you in January.

posted at 10:00 AM in classes, cmu, student life | comments (3) | trackback (0) | link


Thursday, December 11, 2003

Reinventing Products
Some good advice from Chad had me think of my final paper for Design Seminar as more of a "date" than of something I was going to be married to. After coming up with, oh, 10 or 12 topics, I settled on Reinventing Products (48k pdf). It met my criteria of being not too theoretical while giving benefit to companies, designers, and users. Not sure if it will actually be my thesis topic, but it is interesting to consider as a possibility.

posted at 07:52 PM in papers, thesis paper | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Jeff has posted a revised version of our (and Rob's) final project for Interaction and Interface Design class on rich emotional communication. Echo is a little desktop toy with a webcam inside it. As you IM, it watches your emotional state via facial expressions, gestures, and the text you type, and reflects (echoes) your emotions back at you and to designated users on your Buddy list.

posted at 08:02 PM in projects | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Tuesday, December 9, 2003

Fall 03 Finals Week
It wouldn't be the end of semester without one prerequisite all-nighter in grad studio, working on a final project. Outside, it is dark and freezing cold. A full moon. Inside, weary people toil on.

posted at 02:28 AM in student life | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Sunday, December 7, 2003

Damn You, Hong
Our final paper for Design Seminar is a brief examination of what we think our Master's thesis might be about and how that relates to the materials we've covered in class. Well, up until a few days ago, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what that was going to be: Making Addictive Products or How People Become Devoted to Products. But after our class on design ethics and a subsequent discussion with Hong, I'm probably going to abandon the idea altogether.

Those who profit the most from addictive products are the companies who make them, not necessarily those who use them. Yes, some addictive products are useful (email), fun (games), or both (IM). But when you see surveys like these that rank losing email more traumatic than getting a divorce, then clearly the benefits of addictive devices to mankind are questionable.

So it's back to the molten middle for ideas.

posted at 11:11 AM in papers, thesis paper | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


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All straight lines circle sometimes. - The Weakerthans