Monthly Archives: June 2016

The Atlantic: “Why Flash Drives Are Still Everywhere” by Paul Dourish

June 30, 2016

The flash drive exposes the great lie of technological progress, which is the idea that things are ever really left behind. It’s not just that an obsolete technology from the year of Saturday Night Fever still lurks unseen in the dank corners of a shiny new MacBook; it’s that it’s something that is relied upon regularly. The technology historian Thomas Hughes calls these types of devices “reverse salients”—those things that interrupt and disturb the forward movement of technology. They reveal the ugly truth that lies behind each slick new presentation from Google, Apple, or Microsoft: Technical systems are cobbled together from left-over pieces, digital Frankenstein’s monsters in which spare parts and leftovers are awkwardly sutured together and pressed into service. It turns out that the emblems of the technological future are much more awkwardly bound to the past than it’s comfortable to admit.

Read the full story at The Atlantic.

Mark to speak at Aspen Ideas Festival

June 27, 2016

Informatics Professor Gloria Mark will give a talk at the 2016 Aspen Ideas Festival (AIF), what’s become a public gathering place for global leaders from across many disciplines to engage in deep and inquisitive discussions of the ideas and issues that shape our lives and challenge our times.

Mark’s talk, part of “The Power of Connectivity” track, will delve into how digital media affects our lives with stress, distraction and mood. Her talk and others in the track will focus on the double-edged sword of global connectivity, which allows us to use our devices to shorten the geographic distances between us, empower voices yet unheard, enhance our appreciation of diverse cultures, and to kindle economic opportunity. While, on the other hand, this global connectivity can create new problems in the realms of equity, privacy, safety and crime.
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Slate: “Monotasking” (Mark quoted)

June 16, 2016

“We’re in this environment in the workplace where it’s a structure that’s set up by the technology that makes it really difficult for people to monotask,” said Gloria Mark, professor of informatics at the University of California–Irvine who studies distraction in the workplace. “You can, of course, turn off technology and focus, but then individuals who do that are penalized because they’re not available for interacting with colleagues, they’re not available if their manager needs to contact them, so they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.”

Read the full story at Slate.

NSF awards Dourish $195,000 for software studies-centric research

June 15, 2016

Chancellor’s Professor of Informatics Paul Dourish has received nearly $195,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for his project, “Representational Materialities of Internet Protocols.” The two-year project will study the Internet as a historically and geographically specific object, helping to contribute to the emerging field of software studies. It will “study the material properties and consequences of the way that bits are arranged in wires, data structures are organized on disks, databases are arranged to support specific kinds of operations, and textual and graphical representations are designed for human visual and cognitive processing,” according to its abstract. Ultimately, the project is very multidisciplinary, bringing together technologists, social scientists, policymakers and regulators to “speak to public concerns and policies over internet regulation and network neutrality,” the abstract says.
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UPDATE: Franz, Dourish formally recognized as ACM Fellows

June 13, 2016

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, formally recognized Chancellor’s Professor of Computer Science Michael Franz and Chancellor’s Professor of Informatics Paul Dourish as 2015 ACM Fellows at a special reception and banquet in San Francisco over the weekend of June 11. Franz earned the ACM Fellow rank for his contributions to just-in-time compilation and optimization to compiler techniques for computer security. Dourish was honored as an ACM Fellow for his contributions in social computing and human-computer interaction. For more details about Franz, Dourish and their accomplishment, visit the original fellowship announcement.
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Harvard Business Review: “Some Companies Are Banning Email and Getting More Done” (Mark research cited)

June 9, 2016

Banning or putting restrictions on email, the research suggests, can dramatically increase individual productivity and reduce stress. Researchers from the University of California, Irvine and the U.S. Army cut off email usage for thirteen civilian office workers and measured the effects on productivity and stress. The researchers first took participants through a three-day baseline period in which they were interviewed and observed both visually and with computer monitoring software (to see how which programs they used, how often, and how much their work was interrupted). They even measured the participants’ heart rates (as a proxy for stress levels). Then they pulled the plug on email, installing a filter on the participants’ email program—which would file away all incoming messages for later reading and remove all notifications.

Read the full story at Harvard Business Review.

PRWeb: “Online Minecraft Summer Camps Launch June 27” (Ito quoted)

June 5, 2016

Kids interested in playing Minecraft while gaining game design, engineering, architectural and coding skills are being offered online camps this summer through Connected Camps.

“We’re delighted to be offering an expanded range of camps this summer,” said Mimi Ito, Connected Camps co-founder and research director of the Digital Media & Learning Research Hub at UC Irvine. “We have developed new programs in architecture, engineering, game design, and intermediate coding that build on our kid camp and coding camp from last year. We’ve also learned that sometimes girls need their own special programs, so we are offering girls-only camps in addition to our coed camps to encourage more girls to join us.”

Read the full story at PRWeb.

The Courier Mail: “Technology is creating a generation of dummies” (Mark mentioned)

June 3, 2016

Gloria Mark is a professor specialising in human-computer interactions at the University of California, Irvine. She collaborated on a workplace study that found after only 20 minutes of interrupted performance, people reported significantly higher stress, frustration, workload, effort and pressure.

One possible solution, Mark says, is to design systems that limit the frequency of these technology distractions. The coders who create the distractions can also reduce them.

Read the full story at The Courier Mail RendezView.