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"ACM SIGCHI WWW Human Factors (Open Discussion)" <[log in to unmask]>
Chris Forsythe <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 10 Jul 1997 08:34:47 -0600
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Michael DeBellis <[log in to unmask]>
Chris Forsythe <[log in to unmask]>
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I appreciate your cynical, but true reply.  Lots of people are asking can I
dream of it and can I do it, but few ask should I do it.  Now allow me to
rant a moment.  A common falacy propogated, unqualified, by many pushing
web technologies is that there is gain to be had by migrating business
practices from their current apparitions onto an intranet.  In many cases
there are benefits, yet in far to many cases the net result is to push work
done by support staff, who will likely be laid-off, down to technical
staff.  For example, it now takes me four times longer to do my timecard
via the web than when I completed it on paper.

What is curious is to see how of the numerous applications that I have seen
developed for corporate intranets, the one's actually used.  For example,
an application that does nothing more than allow the user to enter
information about a person - name, building - is by far, the most widely
used application.  Similarly, an application that allows people to query
corporate records to find their vacation balance is used more often than an
electronic timecard which employees are manadated to use at least once a
week.  It sounds odd, but the numbers work out.  My point is that these
applications provide functions from which users actually benefit.  Cool and
flashy they are not, but practical they are...   Chris

At 9:18 PM 7/9/97, Michael DeBellis wrote:
>>now that we're dreaming...
>>I'd like my desktop to show me a radar map of my region,
>>forecasting local showers in the -say- coming three hours. do I need an
>umbrella or not?
>As opposed to looking out the window or checking your morning paper?
>>now imagine an agent that knows me well, robotting arround the web for me,
>>and then popping up with info that is only relevant to me personal.
>>on my desktop, and in my electronic agenda. (seminars, tv programs, events)
>Is there really all that much great content out there that you need this? So
>maybe without your personal agent you miss the first showing of Buffy the
>Vampire Slayer, its not like it won't be shown again (and again, and again,
>and again). Ditto with seminars.  I don't know about you but all I need to
>do is check the ba.seminars newsgroup.  There are for more interesting
>seminars than I have time to go to.
>Also think of all the bandwidth that is going to get chewed up if each one
>of has our own agents rooting around the web. The Internet is grinding to a
>halt as it is.
>>imagine my agenda hooked up with traffic information!
>>"better leave half an hour earlier, cause it's busy, on your way to x".
>Think about how much computing power, memory, advances in AI, etc. is
>required to do this as compared to the added value of maybe not being a half
>hour late.  Is it really worth the price?  Even more to the point for your
>personal agent think of all that it has to know about you. Do you want
>something with all your personal information stored somewhere?
>>hello NUI, but also hi AUI "Auditive User Interface":
>>I dont want to press crtl+enter to send this mail,
>>I want to say "send to that list at ACM, err, I don't know exactly what's
>the address, but you know. right?"
>Oh yeah thats a lot easier than doing what I just did... taking your message
>and doing control-C on the "To" field and then control-V into the "To" field
>of this new message. And imagine the joy of working in one of those new
>wonderful open work environments with lots of co-workers empowered by
>Auditive User Interfaces.
>>all common stuff in 10 years or less, I expect.
>I don't think so.  Not so much that it couldn't be done but that its not
>worth the effort.
>Sorry if this posting is overly cynical but I think your vision of agents is
>an extreme example of a trend that I think is disturbing (and I don't mean
>to pick on you. Of course lots of people share your vision of agents). The
>trend is the same thing I was complaining about in my previous message in
>regard to MS Word.  Adding features to software that provide little real
>value but that take up lots of memory, processing, network bandwidth, etc.
>Michael DeBellis
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Chris Forsythe
Statistics and Human Factors
Sandia National Labs
Albuquerque, NM 87185-0829  USA
(505) 844-5720  FAX (505) 844-9037
E-mail  [log in to unmask]