Monday, September 15, 2008

I've changed my name, thanks to Google

Having a common name like Kevin Brown is a bit of a problem when it comes to getting a consistent, unique id on the various different web sites like blogger, twitter and the like. I have experimented with a range of ids... but over this weekend I decided I'd go for a more radical option - to change my name.

I had a search on Google and discovered that kevinxbrown, kevinybrown and kevinzbrown all returned no search results - which surprised me a lot! Have no other Kevin Brown's in the world got a middle name starting with these letters? So I've now adopted the middle name Xavier (well, what other names start with X?) Sorry to my twitter community who I totally confused over the weekend with my little identity crisis - ignore my invitations - I think I'm back in one piece as kevinxbrown.

Yours forever (or until the next name change), Kevin Xavier Brown.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Emerging HCI technologies

I find it very old fashioned and frustrating to sit down in the office every day and look into a box, whilst pressing my fingers rapidly on little pieces of plastic representing letters, and moving a small plastic box from side to side. It's not natural and can't be that healthy - ignoring the mandatory pizzas and Hobnobs consumed whilst doing so. The QWERTY keyboard was patented in 1878, and the mouse is 40 years old - so given the advancement everywhere else in technology, it's about time we got something else that beats it.

The good news is there are many exciting technologies which are either newly with us, just around the corner or have been reduced to a price which is accessible for the average user. I've been following some of them, such as embedded ViaVoice for talking to machines in a natural way, "mind reading" headsets such as the one from Emotiv aimed at gamers and due for release in December, wearable displays which allow you to augment reality with your own data - and mobile phone projectors all to be released in the next few months - as well as haptic user interfaces like this ultrasound device written about on the BBC today. I think the next few months and years will be very exciting! Just been playing with an OCZ NIA but that's a post all of it's own....