AVI 2008

Although it’s a bit late (almost a month after the facts), I finally found some time to blog about Advanced Visual Interfaces (AVI) 2008 in Naples, where Jan presented our paper about Gummy.   I liked it very much: the conference had good quality papers but was still reasonably small (around 150 attendants), and of course the weather and the Italian … Read more

Demo video of a Smalltalk environment

Just a quick update to my previous post. I can imagine that my discussion of the advantages of Smalltalk might be a bit abstract for people who never used it. So here’s a short demo video of a Solitaire game running in a Smalltalk environment (via David Buck). It clearly illustrates features such as full introspection (e.g. by using the object … Read more

Back to the future: Smalltalk

I spent some time last weekend looking into Smalltalk again. The first time I did this was somewhere around 2004, when I played around with Ruby and discovered that it was strongly influenced by Smalltalk. Back then I watched an old video by Dan Ingalls on object-oriented programming which finally made me fully understand the essence of OOP: it’s all about messaging  … Read more

OneNote: a hidden Microsoft Office gem

Last week I discovered Microsoft OneNote 2007, and I am (honestly) impressed. Actually, the first time I ever heard of OneNote was when I read the FAQ of InkSeine. Here’s part of the product description: Office OneNote 2007 is a digital notebook that provides people one place to gather their notes and information, powerful search to find what … Read more

Job interviews and the attraction of excellence

Steve Yegge (known amongst others for porting Ruby on Rails to JavaScript) has a great article on job interviews. Although these guidelines are targeted specifically towards landing a job at Google, they are probably applicable for most technology companies. Certainly an interesting read … Steve used to work for Amazon (he is at Google now), and has blogged before about Google’s recruiting … Read more

First experience with IE8

Although there has been quite some debate about the newly introduced X-UA-Compatible meta tag in Internet Explorer 8, I noticed it is only necessary for backwards compatibility (at least in the developer beta). If a website does not look good on IE8, designers can add a special meta tag to indicate which version of IE it will be rendered in: <meta http-equiv=”X-UA-Compatible” content=”IE=7″ /> … Read more

Gummy UI improvements

I am currently working together with Jan on improving the Gummy tool (website still under construction). We have come a long way since Jan wrote the first version for his Master’s thesis. I figured it might be interesting to share a few screenshots of different phases in the development: Here’s the first version (June 2007):   A version … Read more

Full paper on Gummy accepted at AVI 2008

Our hard work before the holidays has paid off  We just heard that our full paper submission for AVI 2008 has been accepted.   Jan Meskens, Jo Vermeulen, Kris Luyten and Karin Coninx. Gummy for Multi-Platform User Interface Designs: Shape me, Multiply me, Fix me, Use me. To appear in Proceedings of AVI ‘08, the working conference on Advanced visual interfaces, Napoli, Italy, May … Read more

How to give a great research talk by MSR

Lode recently blogged about a seminar by Microsoft Research on how to give a great research talk, starring John Krumm, Patrick Baudisch, Rick Szeliski and Mary Czerwinski. Some other resources I recommend are “How to give a good research talk” by Simon Peyton Jones, and the Presentation Zen blog. These should already provide you with the basics for giving a good (research) talk. Here is what I … Read more

Anniversary lecture by Gerard ‘t Hooft @UHasselt

On Wednesday I went to one of our university’s anniversary lectures (celebrating its 35-year existence) by Professor Gerard ‘t Hooft. Professor ‘t Hooft is a theoretical physicist who received the Nobel Prize in Physics for “elucidating the quantum structure of electroweak interactions in physics”. The lecture was very entertaining and interesting. He started with the physics of very small, elementary particles … Read more

MIT Media Lab wearable projector prototype

Lode pointed me to an interesting article on Wired about research done at the Fluid Interfaces group of MIT Media Lab. The article was based on the recent TED Talk by Prof. dr. Pattie Maes (who is a Belgian by the way :-)). In their prototype, the user carries a wearable projector that projects information on physical surfaces or objects. This is essentially augmented reality but without … Read more


At Ubicomp 2007, there was a book stand by Springer just outside the conference room. On the last day, the volunteer behind the stand told me that I could choose one of the books that were still lying there. I didn’t see anything interesting at first. Since a few people at our institute are working on multimodal systems, … Read more

Johnny Lee interviewed by Hacked Gadgets

I just read a (short) interview with Johnny Lee by Hacked Gadgets. I covered a few of Johnny’s Wii projects in my blog before (the finger tracking and interactive whiteboard hacks). His latest project uses the Wiimote to perform head tracking. Apparantely, even when Johnny is procrastinating, he is doing interesting work  JL: I guess I just spend a lot of time on … Read more

Creativity and scientific thinking

During the holidays, I spent some time reading about creativity and the basic principles of scientific research. We (researchers) are supposed to come up with innovative ideas, but no one ever told us how to do that exactly. Great ideas are often said to be discovered by accident. People assume creativity is a talent, something … Read more

How to decide if a chatterbot is intelligent

I experimented a bit with Jabberwacky today. Jabberwacky is a chatterbot that won the Loebner Prize in 2005 and 2006. It learns from the interactions it has with humans. This sometimes results in funny conversations. Here is an excerpt of the conversation I had with it: Me: Hey, don’t be rude, you are the robot, remember? Bot: You are not a … Read more