HCI blog

Friday, November 26, 2004

Itronix GoBook Max: Fastest Notebook

Time, Technology and Travelling are the three T factors heart-rending the computing systems in today's world. Guess what? The Itronix GoBook Max is the fastest known notebook computer in the world as it's highly resistant and surpass even water, dust, drop and vibrations. It can also stand the most severe conditions like extreme cold, torrential rain and scorching heat. With experts' predictions on how global warming can lead human race to another ice age, one tends to think about how these machines like Itronix will fair superbly?

Although the Itronix GoBook is highly durable and full of amazing features its lacking something; An integrated web cam!

The days of text and multi media messaging have been superseded by live video conferencing. If there will ever be an apoplectic event then the GoBook couldn’t do without this.

With just a small simple addition of an integrated camera to this already top of the range computer, a whole new level of communication will be available.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Waiting For Web Sites To Load

I often visit websites where I know exactly how the site it laid out, in particular where the buttons are. And the immediate second I get the option of clicking on the button I want to I will. A popular example of this may be hotmail, once you login in you want to go straight to your inbox by clicking the Mail tab at the top, you usually don’t read the crap on the welcome page.
However certain web browsers like Microsoft Internet Explorer sometimes prevent you from doing this. They prevent you, by showing the entire website in one go, by this I mean you wait and wait then the entire page comes up. All you wanted to do was click on that button at the top so why didn’t you just load that up!

A second reason for downloading the FireFox web browser (the 1st is in my previous blog: Stupid Frame). Whatever graphic/button/text it has downloaded it will show even if its only part of it.


Stupid Frame

Hotmail has this really annoying frame that comes up whenever you click on a link in an email someone has sent you.
I find it annoying because it’s just this block at the top of the website your viewing that you do not need to see. What makes things worse is you can’t remove it easily. When I first came across it I thought maybe the URL address goes something like:
http://hotmailframe.frame.blaa/blaaa…..blaaa:www.thesiteimvisiting.com
and all I have to do is remove the first block in the address, but no!
Instead, each word in thesiteimvisiting.com is separated and imbedded in a massive URL address.
Another thought I had was could this be some kind of security risk. Maybe that massive URL address displays my account details in some form?
You’ll all be please to know there is a solution to this stupid and pointless frame! Download the FireFox web browser and get the frame remover plugin.“I Like” (Borat voice).

Sunday, November 14, 2004

DVD +/-

I never understood why we have + and - DVD's. When I went to go and burn my Photos to a DVD slide show i used a - disc, but unfortunately my player is a + disc reader. Does anyone know why they made two seperate versions? I can understand them putting region codes on commercial DVDs, but the +/- disc are just baffling.

Apple Powerbook 15" and 17"

I have recently been looking at an apple powerbook, and I noticed something quite strange. All powerbooks come with a slot load CD (this is not the strange part, slot load is very cool). the 12" has the slot on the side, so that's great, if you want to load your favourite music cd, just slide it in on the side. However the 15" and 17" have their slot load cd player on the front. So if you have your laptop on your lap (like the name suggests) then putting a CD in can be quite tricky, you would have to slide the 15"/17" powerbook forward and then slot your CD, not very practical if you are in a seat where you are restricted by space.

Where's the toilet roll??

When you go into the guild gents, and have a seat, you read all sorts of comedy on the walls, and some are quite good for HCI blogs, one of which was really interesting was that some graffitied on the wall,

"WOULDN'T IT BE GREAT IF THE LOO ROLL HOLDER WAS HERE!!"

and you think yea you're right, but then I got thinking, ok so if its not here, where is it????? :S

luckily thanks to another piece of graffiti which said

"IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KEEP TURNING AROUND TO GET YOUR LOO ROLL, JUST TAKE A LONG PIECE AND DRAP IT OVER YOUR SHOULDER!!"

So the moral of the story is, ITS BEHIND YOU!!!

maybe there is a reason why the loo roll is not on the wall but above toilet.

Indicators on some foreign cars

The one thing I notice about people that sit in a new car is that you get amused by them when they go to indicate and instead the car decides to give your windscreen a wash. In some countries where cars are driven on the right the indcator is situated on the left. It makes perfect sense, you want to indicate while on a round about you use your left left hand to flick the indicator and the right hand to change gear. Unfortunately Fiat and Peugot have not yet thought of this action when bringing their cars to the UK and all they do is move the steering column over the other side of the car. I learn to drive in a Peugot and it was almost like a fine art to juggle beween the indicator and the gear change. Now I drive a japanses car where the indicator seems to be on the right side of the steering wheel, making life so much easier. Unfortunately my car is an import so my radio doesn't pick up any signal and the handbook is in japanese, but hey at least the indicator is on the right side. :D

Honey, scrape the ice!

Nowadays, every morning on my way to university, I see men and women frantically scraping the frost off their windscreens. They try everything from pouring hot water to anti-freeze sprays. I noticed that all of these methods are time consuming and the driver has to stand out in the freezing cold in order to do them. Also, scraping and pouring hot water on the windscreen can damage the glass.

On another note, in this day and age we are increasingly getting use to a mobile lifestyle. Satellites, which are hundreds of miles away, can be re-aligned and commanded to follow new orbits, and nuclear missiles can be launched from a remote location. Similarly, coming back to our point, if remote assistance in the form of e-mail or text messaging (from a mobile) could be incorporated in domestic vehicles, life would be easier. E.g. imagine this….

You wake up and it’s a winter morning. The forecasters have predicted that there will be sub zero temperatures, there is a high probability of frost, you have to leave your house by 8 am and you are really tight on schedules (i.e. No time for scraping and spraying anti freeze). So, you take your mobile phone and text in “Unfreeze. Inside temperature = 22 oC. Clear Windscreen. Set 8 am GMT”. This message is sent to a smart chip in your car which then authenticates the message and your mobile number. It follows the instructions and also sends you confirmation in a form of a delivery report “Request Accepted”. Then the smart chip automatically sets up the above requirements of the user “Unfreezes the frost using inbuilt heaters, the inside temperature gets set to 22 oC, finally the wipers clear the windscreens and another text message is sent for completion of task. You leave your house at exactly 8 am and what do you find? Your car is all set to go. One could use similar remote control instructions in the scorching summers and other various weather conditions. Won’t that be wonderful?

Monday, November 08, 2004

"Where's my car?"

Last week, we went to attend a fair at the Millennium point and saw a host of people looking for parking. Well, everybody nearly got the parking space and it was quite a big gathering. However, on the way back, it was quite dark and a lot of people were trying to get back to their cars. It was quite an experience finding our own car in such a huge swamp and in an unfamiliar car park.
Yes, I was thinking of a design for that. “Car Finder on the Key.” If we want to spot our own car in an unfamiliar, huge car park and especially during night time, we must use this car finder. This could be like a small button on the key and on pressing this button, an antenna comes out of the car and a signal either in a form of a flash or a customised music tune or a combination of a two comes into the sight. And there we are…..Car Found!
I tried to look on the web if any such inventions or thoughts have put forward for such a design but couldn’t find much. I think this would be a great add on feature that cars can have and the manufacturing companies could modify this idea to customize this feature. Not only can this car finder can help us spot our car but also can be modified to an inbuilt chip, which can help us get more secure and vigorous environment to minimize the risk of thefts or tress passing. A signal can be propelled towards us when somebody tries to get in the car, while we are away.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

wipers on the car go swish swish...I WISH....

As you probably all know Peugeot is a French car manufacturer. As it is made in France, the clever people behind the design of the wipers decided to be "innovative", by making the wipers move in a weird manner. The wipers, when not in use, overlap. So when you initialize them the top one will move to the left and the bottom one to the right. Then the right one will go back to its initial position followed by the left one. The drivers seat is on the RIGHT HAND SIDE in Britain, therefore, when the left one goes back down it sprays all the water that it’s collected back onto the drivers side. How thoughtful. The poor driver cannot see anything as the left one has already moved back down. The left hand side is great, all clear. This is an obvious flaw and is very dangerous when driving it very heavy rain.

Suppose it works fine in France where the drivers side is on the left side, but how hard could it have been to change the wipers around?

Thank you Peugeot.

Hope you understand what I am trying to say...

Closed position…
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Working position…
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Programs should learn!

I was organising my mp3 collection yesterday, a task that took me a long time because of common options taking a long time to access. For each mp3 file/album, I selected it then went to its file ID3 tag (I think that’s what it called) and changed whatever had to be. But to get its ID3 tag was a pain, it was only two buttons away for when organising so may songs it adds up.
What would have been really useful is if the program could identify “I’ve been doing this same thing for the last 40 minutes shall I ask the person doing this if they’d like me to make a shortcut key”. Unfortunately this didn’t happen.
Another idea software companies could develop to save users time would be when you right click in certain programs/icons/windows desktop you get a set of common options, if these options would move around according to which is being used most frequently. Its quite annoying when the option you want is in the middle of a large list, if it was at the top or the bottom it would instant to get to.

SPV c500 SmartPhone

I recently go the new Orange smart phone, the SPV C500. This phone is very impressive – it tells me when police cars and speed camera are near by! And it has ‘predictive WORD text’, by this I mean when typing a sentence that I’ve entered before it knows what word will come next. For example I’m going to type “are you coming today”, I’d type are then press space, then “you” comes up, then space and “coming” appears!
An annoying about it is there’s no option for closing programs once you’ve opened them. And so they stay open using up the phones memory. To close them you have to go into task manager (which they haven’t made instantly accessible, its 4 buttons away) and close it from there. I was wondering why do this, maybe so the program will load up program instantly when you click on it the second time. Experiment – closed all programs in task manager and then I loaded up windows media player, took a second. Then I went back to the home screen without closing media player and clicked on it again, couldn’t tell the difference in loading time!

Umbrellas

Umbrellas are great; they do the job they’re meant to do very well, except however when it gets windy and they turn inside out. I’m sure almost every umbrella user is aware of the problem and so the manufacturers should also be. So why don’t they fix it? It looks like a relatively simple fix – when you pull up the umbrella, its slides up the centre bar and then there’s a little stop that holds it there to ensure doesn’t fall down. All that has to be done is to put another stop to make sure the umbrella doesn’t go up! I really can’t believe how simple it is! Go and have a look at an umbrella and see what I mean. Another option for umbrella manufactures, if they can’t afford to put a stop on every umbrella, would be to create umbrellas that can be turned back the correct way very easily when they do open up.