Below are some quick thoughts on some CHI papers which I didn’t get to see in person. These are solely the highly individualist opinions of the author and no warranty is expressed or implied:

Burn Your Memory Away: One-time Use Video Capture and Storage Device to Encourage Memory Appreciation

A typical MIT media lab presentation, neat concept, no technical depth. Use a double headed match to record and play a video, burn one side to record and then the other side to play. The interface constrains you to one playback per video which can add emotional significance to the video. You can send the half match to someone else as a gift. Sounds cute on first glance but I can imagine it being more frustrating that heartwarming. How do I know when I should view the video? Once I find out, I’ve already viewed it!

Designing for All Users — Including the Odd Users

Frustratingly interesting paper. My reaction was “intriguing, but so what”. Talks about a group of gadget freaks who have maintained the HP LX200, an obsolete handheld for 10 years. Good to promote more awareness that groups like this exist but what are we meant to do with the findings? Paper doesn’t deliver the punchline. Sure, it would be nice to develop for everyone but design is about tradeoffs and you can’t please everyone.

Dying, Death, and Mortality:  Towards Thanatosensitivity in HCI

Heard a lot of great things about this talk. Always interesting when the critical theorists wade into HCI. Unfortunately, also written like critical theory papers, bad memories welling up. Paper seemed too timid, setting up the groundwork without pushing forward with something provocative. Yes, we accept death is a majorly unexamined part of HCI. So now what? What do we do?

Productive Love: A New Approach for Designing Affective Technology

There has been little research done on blah blah… these alt.chi papers are starting to sound similar. Designing for productive love, great concept. Good setup, neat ideas. What I really would have liked is examples pulled from the real world. It’s hard to visualise it purely in hypotheticals. Read it if you’re in the space of evoking emotion in software (and shouldn’t all social software be in that space?)

Television on the Internet: New Practices, New Viewers

Telling us what we already know in a way that we never thought about. Television is being sliced, diced and consumed at will by us youngins. What does that mean for the social institution of television? Interviewed 13 teenagers about their television usage. Read it if you’re a new media junkie.

The Doctor as the Second Opinion and the Internet as the First

Telling us what we already know about health information in a way we never thought about. Same deal as the last paper.

Species-Appropriate Computer Mediated Interaction

Human Chicken Interaction… what the fuck?

Citedness, Uncitedness, and the Murky World Between

Started talking about something interesting (impact of HCI work) and then rapidly devolved into something less interesting (are CHI papers being cited?). Yeah, if you can get your paper into CHI, there’s a high likelyhood that people will read it (I’m proof). If you acknowledge this, there’s no real need to read the paper.

HCI for the Real World

Interesting paper on how ethics should be considered within HCI and as a designer. Worth a read for the intensely navel-gazy among us.