Personal (Information Management) is not (Personal Information) Management

I spent last weekend at the 2012 PIM workshop, located at CSCW 2012.  This was the 5th such workshop.  Appropriately for its setting, this one focused on “PIM in a socially networked world”—i.e., the aspects of PIM emerging in the interactions between multiple individuals.  The focus clearly highlighted the distance between two different notions of [...]

Notes from CHI: "Ambient Help" for AutoCAD, Photoshop etc.

Among the other talks I attended at CHI 2011 was Justin Matejka et al.’s “Ambient Help” (). The Ambient Help system is designed for complex desktop applications like AutoCAD or Photoshop, which tend to come with a steep learning curve, and which tend to require a continued learning process even from more experienced users that [...]

The Toothpaste Problem & Choosing the “right” data to publish

People who visit a toothpaste isle with only 4 products walk away much happier than those who visit the typical supermarket isle crammed with 40 variants of Colgate. Why? Because they don’t get overwhelmed by a tsunami of possibilities that leaves them wondering if they made the wrong choice.
When it comes to a large [...]

Thoughts on NoteWorthy Composer

Many years ago I discovered , and I’ve been using it for music notation ever since.

Unfortunately, I find that NoteWorthy doesn’t scale very well in several important dimensions. In particular, it lacks the ability to:

Let the user manipulate multiple staves at once (even just for copying/cutting and pasting a horizontal section of music from one [...]

Java, OCaml, and F# (<- is it done yet?)

I am in a state of transition: from Java to OCaml.

I like Java as a platform primarily for its matureness, static typing, and great IDE integration (Netbeans in particular). But lately I’ve been finding myself manipulating a lot of tree structures—ASTs, query plans, nested relations, automatically generated GUI layouts—and Java is just too verbose. Even [...]

Getting Acquainted with Access, FileMaker et al.

First of all, what’s a good name for these kinds of applications? I am talking about MS Access, FileMaker, 4th Dimension, Kexi and so on. They are not exactly databases (they can be, but they’re more than that), they are not exactly IDEs (they sort of are, but that term is not specific enough), and [...]

Mouseless Browsing in Firefox

I found a new Firefox Add-on I will never want to be without again today: Mouseless Browsing. The documentation is rather bad (too complicated), but here’s the rundown: with numlock on, press “.” on the numerical keypad to show/hide a unique number next to each link/button/etc. on the current web page. To activate any particular [...]