Friday, September 16, 2005

Input and Output at a new level

In today's class I brought in examples of unusual input and output devices. Admittedly, practically everyone has seen a keyboard, monitor and mouse before so I needed something that would get students' attention.

As an alternate input device, I brought in a Nintendo PowerGlove. I have used it to play Tetris, but it has limitations that would keep me from using it for more than 10 or 15 minutes at a time. In the 90's a bunch of computer/tech/hobbyists were trying to get them to connect to their computer to make "home-brew" virtual reality systems. Some of them worked too!

An interesting output device that could go along with the PowerGlove is a head mounted display (HMD). The one I brought in was an old VFX1 Headgear by a company called Forte, but now that same company is still producing top of the line HMDs. You can visit their website here.

After checking this page on their video eyewear, I was reminded of the wearable computer movement. Maybe we can take a look at that in future lectures.

Other links on alternative input devices:
Job Accomodation Network:
EyeGaze Eye Tracking system:

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Why Blogs? Why Blogger?

Why blogs?

More and more people are keeping an online journal or web blog like this one everyday. "Blogs" as they are commonly called should be on a specific topic, but many people post random happenings as they occur in their lives. Some people have been able to gain a huge following of fans simply by writing about their lives everyday, and expressing themselves in an open and honest way.

Blogs started as a simple collection of links that people found that they thought would be of interest to others, so they found a way to share them. That will be one of the purposes of this web log.

Blogs are also making a move into the corporate and academic realm. Many companies feel that by giving their employees permisson to post information on a public web log, they can make themselves appear to be more "user friendly" or more in touch with their customers.

In education, professors who aren't afraid to try out new technologies are using web logs to have their students reach out into the online world as well as hone their writing skills. Some course material is better suited for blogging than others. While not integrated tightly into the CP102 course material, I would like to think of this as an experiment and perhaps something very useful and interesting can come out of it.

Some links on academic blogging:

Why Blogger?

I chose Blogger as an vehicle for this log because of a few reasons. The interface is clear and uncluttered, but it has areas for useful links, and it keeps a menu of past articles at the side. It automatically archives posts so I don't have to worry about it, and students can post comments without having to register with Blogger.

It has a good editor which allows me directly edit the HTML code as well. This helpful for when I write things that don't exactly appear they way I want them to. Definitely nothing wrong with knowing a bit of HTML coding.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

My Purpose Here

Very simply, what I want to accomplish with this page is to be able to give you (being mainly students in my CP102 course for Fall 2005) an idea of different ways technology can be used in our daily lives.

The full purpose of CP102 is simply to introduce all of you to how computers work. The theory gets covered in the lecture, and in the labs you will be learning hands-on skills with computer applications that you be using for years to come.

My purpose with CP102 is to give you a broader prospective of technology and how it can affect our lives. I'll be posting some reference to things that are covered in class but as time and work load permit I'll be posting articles or bits of information (mainly links to other articles) that I think may be of interest to you.

If you are at all interested in how technology shapes our lives (how much time do YOU spend on MSN?) then you might find something interesting here.