Back from the Debian Conference

New blogger in XRDS!

I should introduce myself before jumping in with my first post here in the XRDS blog. I am a long time Free Software enthusiast and developer, and that might be the single item that has most influenced my professional life. I am 41 years old, and have been a systems and network administrator for over half of my life.

As a consequence of my job, I have always been interested in information security. Particularly I’ve interested in the question “how the end user perceives security?” This fragments into more detailed questions such as: How can I implement services securely without it being a major inconvenience for my users? How can I help my users adopt reasonable practices security-wise? How can we as computing professionals influence our societies so that their expectations on security, privacy and reliability are met?

That prompted me into starting a Masters degree on Information Security at ESIME Culhuacán, Instituto Politécnico Nacional. And, in turn, being a graduate student led me to XRDS. So it’s all connected in the end.

Having said that, lets get this blog started!

DebConf: A community-run free software conference

Group photo for the 2017 Debian Conference, held at Montreal, Canada, August 6-13

Fig. 1: Group photo for the 2017 Debian Conference, held at Montreal, Canada, August 6-13

I have recently arrived back home after attending DebConf17 — The Debian Conference, which was held this year in Montreal, Canada. For many of the regulars to DebConf, this is the high point of the year, the two weeks of high bandwidth communications with our online colleagues we eagerly look forward to, and its nearness is easily felt in the different communication channels the project uses for its day-to-day development.

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Presentation smells: How not to prepare your conference presentation

Recently, I was in Austin, Texas to attend ICSE (International Conference on Software Engineering) and MSR (Mining Software Repositories) conferences. The authors presented excellent papers on a variety of topics concerning software engineering. Despite their excellent technical content, I was discontented by the presentation skills exhibited by some of the authors. It’s not only the students, but even some of the experienced researchers gave not so exciting presentations. Continue reading

ICDM 2015 Recap Part II: Sampling

In a previous post I summarized some of the plenary talks from the most recent ICDM held in Atlantic city. In this follow up, I will discuss some of the ideas from sessions.

In the main conference track, there were sessions spanning over many of today’s trending topics in computer science: Big Data, social network mining, clustering, spatio­-temporal and multi­label learning, classification, dimensionality reduction, and online and social learning. The approaches and applications varied from session to session and talk to talk, but there was, naturally, an overarching theme of efficiently and effectively working with data.

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ICDM 2015 Recap

This week I had the honor of attending and presenting at ICDM.

The conference was hosted in Atlantic City, NJ, at Bally’s Hotel and Casino on the boardwalk. It was certainly an interesting choice for an academic conference venue. Though I myself grew up just a few hours north of Atlantic City, and now live about four hours from Las Vegas, I’ve never really indulged in the delights of “gaming,” as the conference program referred to it. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I must say that it was a lot of fun to wander through the casino during session breaks or at the end of the day. The boardwalk itself was a lot of fun (and impressively recovered after Sandy), and not to mention the big outlet mall and Aquarium which was the destination of a group excursion during the second day of the Conference. The organizers did a great job of pulling together a diverse conference in a less-than-conventional place; I think everyone had a great time. Continue reading

CHI Day 3

Disclaimer: CHI is a multiple track conference, with a dozen of parallel sessions, so the truth is: I’ve never felt a bigger desire for ubiquity (the great thing is that this year things are being recorded and will be on the ACM Digital Library soon. Thanks to the SVs for filming the talks!)

In the third day of CHI a lot of attention was given to future interfaces that attach directly to the users’ body. The great thing is that being a research conference, CHI goes much further than the wearables and smartwatch industry so researches here presented developments in haptic wearables that control your muscles (an example of that is my own work presented this year), rings that notify you using temperature (Notiring), interactive tattoo-like stickers that allow you to interact directly onto your skin (iSkin), and even nail covers that allow you to secretly interact with your technology (NailO)!

Some future interfaces that live on your body: a bracelet that reads and writes to your muscles and a Nail interface:
Proprioceptive Interaction

Of course the CHI community is not only about new hardware but a much broader and grounded on the understanding of Computing and Human Factors. This means over the past three days we’ve seen many explorations and studies that provide a deeper understanding of the world of ergonomics, crowd-sourcing, collaborative work, interaction techniques, and human cognition too.

Furthermore, this year there has been an amazing body of work that takes the CHI community to the real world as discusses important, real-world questions, such as “Encouraging Energy Conservation”, “Gender inclusive Software” and a great focus (as always) in making HCI (and CHI) accessible to all people!