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Thursday, April 15, 2004

Golan Levin Course
Former MIT Media Lab member, noted artist, now CMU art professor Golan Levin just announced a class for fall: Fundamentals of Computational Visual Form. The description:

This course is an introduction to the use of computer programming as an expressive visual tool. It is a "studio art course in computer science," in which the objective is art and design, but the medium is software. Rigorous exercises in the Proce55ing flavor of Java will develop the basic vocabulary of constructs that govern static, dynamic, and interactive graphics. Topics include the computational manipulation of: point, line and shape; texture, value and color; time, change and motion; reactivity, connectivity and feedback. Students will become familiar with basic software algorithms, computational geometry, digital signal filtering, kinematic simulation, and the application of these techniques to aesthetic issues in interaction design.

Well. I think my Fall 04 course decision has been made for me.

posted at 01:38 PM in classes | comments (1) | trackback (0) | link


The next four days at CMU are Carnival, when classes are suspended, heavy drinking ensues, rides are erected, and tiny women are sent hurling down steep hills in buggies. Music events happen on several stages for the next couple of days, with the headline act being N.E.R.D on Friday night. Could there be a more appropriately-named band to play on this campus? Probably not.

After weeks of cold and rain, the weather is sunny and warm and glorious. It should be a nice couple of days.

posted at 10:14 AM in cmu, extracurricular | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Picking Fall 2004 Classes
Wow, hard to believe it's that time again. I'm really starting to get an acute sense that every class I pick is a precious one because I have so few left. I am trying to figure out what I will kick myself for not taking after I leave school. But, even with two years, there is not enough time to take everything you want. Things get in the way or the schedule is wrong or the class is only taught one semester a year--at the same time as a required class.

This fall, there's two classes I need to take: Thesis Paper and Thesis Project. Those are givens. And I am desperate for a typography class, so I think Graduate Typography is a must. Which leaves me with only one full-time class or two mini (half-semester) classes to take. There's an interesting variety to choose from: Designing for Service, Conceptual Models, Intro to Entertainment Technology, Intro to Sound Design, Visualizing Stories, Design History, and Adaptive Worlds. Just to name a few. I could probably take all of these and learn a lot. But I can't, so I need to figure out what I need to know before I go, what I won't be able to (easily) learn on my own.

Decisions, decisions...

posted at 02:29 PM in classes | comments (1) | trackback (0) | link


Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Models of Experience
Jodi Forlizzi gave a lecture on Experience and User-Product Interactions last week.

Essentially, there are three models of experience: product-centered, user-centered, and interaction-centered. (And possibly a fourth: system-centered.) Jodi is most interested in the interaction-centered models, which explore the roles that products serve in bridging the gap between designer and user. A very Dewey-centric look at products.

One interesting take-away was the three types of interactions people have with products:

  • Cognitive. These are usually interactions with new and unfamiliar products or sometimes problem products. Users are focused a lot on the product, not the task at hand. These sorts of interaction result in either knowledge (learning a new skill) or confusion and errors.
  • Fluent. Nearly automatic use of a product while performing a task.
  • Expressive. These are interactions that help users form relationships with a product, like modifying or personalizing a product. Like, say, customizing a car or putting new wallpaper on your desktop.

Jodi also discussed the three types of experience:

  • Experience. The constant stream of "self-talk" that happens while humans are conscious. How we constantly assess our goals relative to our context.
  • An experience. In the Dewey sense of the word. Has a structured beginning, middle, and end, and could contain a number of interactions and emotions around an ordered whole.
  • Co-experience. Activities and tasks with a social aspect to them, like cooking a meal or IM chatting.

We also talked about the scalability of experience, how smaller experiences over time grow into larger ones, shaped by goals and by how people relate to their products over time. The presence or absence of other people, products, or interactions can have a profound affect on the experiences we have.

posted at 12:40 AM in design theory | comments (2) | trackback (0) | link


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All straight lines circle sometimes. - The Weakerthans