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  Friday, June 14, 2002

Busy week

So, last week was the IBM Make IT Easy conference, plus the end of finals for Warren at York School, a farewell to York's outgoing Head of School, Willy's rehearsals for and performance in Mount Madonna School's fantastic production of The Ramayana, and building a gate across 22' of driveway.

Next week I'll be in class at PeopleSoft's facility in Pleasanton all day every day, then flying to San Diego on Saturday for a friend's wedding, and back the same day. Then on Thursday, June 27, Silicon Valley STC has its annual volunteer appreciation meeting, including entertainment from Comedy Sportz. We'll also induct the new administrative council (including yours truly as vice-president) with a non-oath of office.

8:08:11 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

Catching up

Last week I squeezed in mornings at IBM's Make IT Easy conference at their Almaden Research Center (ARC). While largely a showcase for IBM's admittedly impressive "User Engineering" practice, the conference provided a handy (for me--no travel expenses!) opportunity to hear from a range of developers and researchers, such as:

  • Usability practitioners from Bank of America, AT&T, and the U.S. Army presenting their success stories;
  • Dr. Marti Hearst, UC Berkeley, on an automated Web design advisor;
  • Dr. Clifford Nass, Stanford, on how we respond to characters;
  • Industry views from Humancentric, Amazon, and Mike Langberg of the San Jose Mercury News;
  • News and views from Nokia, Samsung, Cooper, and Nathan Shedroff, who riffed off Cliff Nass' piece on characters--who hasn't treated the computer as if it was a person?;
  • A rousing rapid-fire presentation from Marissa Mayer of Google, including how they make judicious use of humor. For instance, did you know that at least 30,000 Google users set their language preference to "Bork, Bork, Bork!"?

I missed the workshops and tutorials, but much of the material is available on IBM's Web site (link above).

Best of all, and the real reason folks attend conferences like this, was making contact with others, forging bonds, establishing relationships. I chatted with Lori Fisher, a high-level documentation manager for IBM, who turned me on to their DITA information architecture, complete with XML DTD available for download. And I met up with several members of the PeopleSoft User Experience team, with whom I had been intending to make contact. Needless to say, making contact in context beats a cold call any day.

7:40:31 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

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