Over the last days plans to do research on the use of public date from social networks to calculate someone’s credit risk made big news (e.g. DW). The public (as voiced by journalists) and politicians showed a strong opposition and declared something like this should not be done – or more specifically such research should not be done.

I am astonished and a bit surprised by the reaction. Do people really think if there is no research within universities this will (does) not happen? If you look at the value of facebook (even after the last few weeks) it… Continue reading

The 8th International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia (MUM 2009) was held in Cambridge, UK. The conference is fairly specific and had an acceptance rate of about 33% – have a look at the table of content for an overview. Florian Michahelles presented our paper on a design space for ubiquitous product recommendation systems [1]. Our work contributes a comprehensive design space that outlines design options for product recommendation systems using mobile and ubiquitous technologies. We think that over the next years mobile recommendation systems have the potential to change the way we shop in the real world.… Continue reading

On the trip to Potsdam two young women sat opposite us – discussion one-by-one the pages in the yearbook of their school. The yearbook was from a school in Berlin was from 2009 and printed in highest quality – quite professional. Their discussion had a lot of forward references (what will become of people – and how they see and present themselves now). Looking back 10, 20 or 30 years after leaving school these images and texts are very interesting… There is a real value in paper that cannot be altered – here new technologies (facebook and alike) that evolve… Continue reading

I did a tutorial on Mobile Human Computer interaction at Pervasive 2009. The tutorial tried to give an overview of challenges of mobile HCI and was partly based on last year’s tutorial day at MobileHCI2008 in Amsterdam. For the slides from last year have a look at: http://albrecht-schmidt.blogspot.com/2008/09/mobilehci-2008-tutorial.html

Listening to Marc Langheinrich‘s tutorial on privacy I remembered that that I still have the photos of his HCI library – and to not forget them I upload them. Marc highlighted the risk of data analysis with the AOL Stalker example (some comments about the AOL Stalker). His… Continue reading

Bob Iannucci from Nokia presented his keynote “ubiquitous structured data: the cloud as a semantic platform” at HotMobile 2009 in Santa Cruz. He started out with the statement that “Mobility is at the beginning” and he argued that why mobile systems will get more and more important.

He presented several principles for mobile devices/systems

  • Simplicity and fitness for purpose are more important than feature
  • use concepts must remain constant – as few concepts as possible
  • presentations (what we see) and input modalities will evolve
  • standards will push the markets

Hearing this, especially the first point, from someone from Nokia… Continue reading

This morning I was coming back from Munich* on the train I got a phone call from a journalist from Radio Essen (http://www.102.2radioessen.de/). As their studio is very close to the railways station in Essen I went there spontaneously before going back to University. 

We talked a little about web services for students to rate their profs (e.g. meinProf.de). The numbers of ratings most professors have received so far is extremely small (in comparison to the number of students we teach) and hence you get interesting effects that are far from representative or in many cases even meaningful. Last term I registered my course and we sent proactively a mail to all students who complete the course with the request to rate the lectures. This seems to be a good way to generate a positive selection 🙂 There are many of these services out – rating teachers, doctors, shops, etc. Thinking a little more about the whole concept of rating others one could image many interesting services – all of them creating a clear benefit (for someone) and a massive reduced privacy for others.  To make it more specific I offer you one idea: Rate your fellow students’ professonal capabilities and academic performance. Students have typically a very good insight into the real qualities of their peers (e.g. technical skills, social compatibility, creativity, mental resilience, ability to cope with workload, diligence, honesty etc.). Having this information combined with the official degree (and the transcript the university offers) a potential employer would get a really interesting picture… We discussed this with students last term an the reactions were quite diverse – as one can image.> Obviously such a service would create a lot of criticism (which lowers the cost of marketing) and one would have to carefully think in which countries it would be legal to run it. An interesting question would… Continue reading

Arriving at the new Terminal 5 at Heathrow airport I saw some extra installations (and extra lines) for iris scan immigration. Arriving at 4 am in the morning they were closed and there were not queues – but I could see that it is very attractive at other times of day when queues are long. On the official website they claim that border control will be down to 20 seconds. There is a more detailed document on the schema – I saved the document to have it in 10 years when we will have a very different view on privacy.
In our master course we offer a project on pervasive advertisement (it is an interdisciplinary course project from computer science and marketing) where we look at future forms of advertisement that become possible by new technologies. The students presented a set of really exciting ideas – an I would expect (if they get some of their ideas implemented) that advertising will be more entertaining and fun in the future. For some of the ideas we discussed potential privacy issues and I promised to provide later the reference to the German privacy law that restricts the use of optical/camera devices in… Continue reading

As one issue this morning we came across issues related to privacy. In particular it seems that social network analysis based on behavior in the real world (e.g. the reality mining project [1]) is creating serious interest beyond the technology people. Beyond measuring the frequency of encounters qualifying the way people interact (dominance, emotion, …) will reveal even more about social networks… 

In our discussion I made a reference to a book: “The Transparent Society” by David Brin. Even Though it is now nearly 10 years since it was first published I still think it is an interesting starting… Continue reading

Reading the new products section in the IEEE pervasive computing magazine (Vol.7, No.2, April-June 2008) I came across a child monitoring systems: Kiddo Kidkeeper – In the smart-its project Henrik Jernström developed 2001 a similar system in his master thesis at PLAY which was published as a Demo at Ubicomp [1]. I remember very lively the discussion about the validity of this application (basically people – including me – asking “Who would want such technology?”). However it seems society and values are constantly changing – there is an interesting ongoing discussion related to that: Free Range Kids (this is the… Continue reading

After having a really interesting discussion on privacy with a student at CDTM with regard to implicit interaction I saw the depicted privacy solution on the train back to Bonn. The woman had her notebook camera disabled – not in software – but physically with a scotch tape and a piece of paper. Such solutions are not uncommon and remind one impressively that people want tangible control over their privacy. It seems that people trust in the physical much more than the virtual – and for a good reason.

I reduced the size of the picture as she was preparing… Continue reading