December was filled with travel – twice to the US and several trips in Europe – and for the first time in two years I did not really get around to write my blog…

I am still wondering what technology we require that could make physical meetings less important. Video conference is getting better and I use it a lot – but it still does not facilitate a discussion between 30 or more people well. Besides the work that is in reviewing I really emjoy that part of my job – I find it really exciting to see so much… Continue reading

Friday and Saturday we came to Velen (Hotel SportSchloss Velen) to discuss mainly administrative and strategic issues – and there are plenty. The place is amazing and I was annoyed with myself for not bring my SLR… Nevertheless I took some photos with my N95.

Such meetings highlight for me that the German scientific system is undergoing a major change – with many opportunities and risks. A lot of political constraints are pushed onto the university – many seem to be just copies of other systems that are working less than perfect (e.g. bachelor/master, research evaluation, etc.). Being… Continue reading

Since last year we have in Germany a working group on graspable/tangible interaction in mixed realities. In German the key term we use is “begreifbar” or “begreifen” which has the meaning of acquire a deep understanding of something and the words basic meaning is to touch. Basically understand by touching – but in a more fundamental sense than grasping or getting grip. Hence the list of translations for “begreifen” given in the dictionary is quite long. Perhaps we should push more for the word in the international community – Towards interaction that is begreifbar (English has too few foreign… Continue reading

On Thursday morning I flew to Boston for the CHI 2009 PC meeting. The review and selection process was organized very professional and efficient. We discussed all papers in one and a half days – and I think an interesting program came out and I learned a lot about what values my colleagues see or see not in papers. On Friday afternoon I flew back to the UK for the Pervasive 2009 PC meeting in Cambridge (with the same crew on the plane).

Nevertheless the question remains how sustainable is it that 100 people fly to a face-2-face meeting. In… Continue reading

From Friday to Sunday I was in Potsdam for the yearly Emmy Noether meeting organized by DFG (German Science Foundation). The Emmy Noether Program seems to me one of the most attractive funding options for early career researchers I know of (world wide).

This year I was in the preparation team for the meeting and was co-organizing one workshop where we discussed experiences with research funding in other countries and what ideas for improving current programs we can see. The workshop was on how we can benefit from having students rather than seeing them as “teaching load” – especially in… Continue reading

Yesterday night I flew to Hamburg and traveled on to Lübeck – a quite nice town in the north of Germany – for the program committee meeting of Mensch und Computer 2008. This morning I got up a little earlier to walk around the city – as it was my first time visiting. The building I could see when walking into town however was oddly familiar, after some moments I recalled that it is the Holstentor which was pictured on the 50DM note (DM = German Mark – the money used in Germany till 2001 before we exchanged it… Continue reading

Ina Wagner, Volker Wulf and Kjeld Schmidt organized a meeting to get together people from all over Europe that work on human centred computing. We had interesting discussions what is specific and distinct European human centred computing and how well it is represented in organizations such as the ACM.

Some years ago there has been significant support in this area of research on a European level – namely I3 and the disappearing computer initiative. Currently many of us feel that the value of user centred research is not supported enough and hence innovation happens somewhere else which can lead… Continue reading

After having frost and snow yesterday morning in Germany being in Porto (Portugal) is quite a treat. The KDubiq application workshop is in parallel to the summer school and yesterday evening it was interesting to meet up with some people teaching there.

The more I learn about data mining and machine learning the more I see even greater potential in many ubicomp application domains. In my talk “Ubicomp Applications and Beyond – Research Challenges and Visions” I looked back at selected applications and systems that we have developed over the last 10 year (have a look at the… Continue reading

The Pervasive 2008 TPC meeting on Saturday was held distributed over 3 continents and linked via video conference. In Germany we had a really good time slot (12:00 to 20:00) – Australia and California had a really late/early day.

The meeting worked well over video and considering the saved travel time it seems this is a acceptable alternative to a full physical meeting. It was interesting to see that the video conferencing quality did not really improve much over the last years. We ran the TPC meeting for Ubicomp 2003 between the UK and the USA also with a video… Continue reading