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3 April 2000

This is not my best work... not by a long shot.
-- Leland Gaunt (Max von Sydow), Needful Things (1993)

In response to my nudging last week, Seth Golub muses on voice interfaces (I knew he'd have something interesting to say):

  • VUI [AI Geek]
    There are plenty of applications where a voice UI dumber than a cockroach is better than a knob. The ones that spring to mind fall into three categories: we can't be bothered with a knob, there's no room for a knob, and there would be too many knobs. There are cases in all these classes where we'd be better off with an unnatural voice UI than a physical one.

    But the article isn't about voice interfaces in general, it's about natural language interfaces. As with any UI widget, it's more important to know when to use it than how to make it work properly. A finely crafted knob is frustrating if a button is more appropriate.

    As our tools allow more flexibility, the interfaces become more complex, the cost of learning them increases, and the cost of cleaning up after ambiguity shrinks in proportion.

And... could it be... the beginnings of a Seth-produced log/journal/news site? (Helpful context: he's an American attending graduate school in Scotland.) Cooooool.

I thought one of the funnier jokes on Saturday was Salon's Bush-tweak:

  • Bush to sell Alaska if elected [Salon]
    The proceeds would not go toward paying off the national debt, but would instead be converted to cash and dropped on taxpayers from low-flying airplanes.

    Bush claimed that Hawaii was in no danger of being sold since "you cannot sell what you do not own." He was willing, however, to "fight for Hawaii," and vowed to make "a free Hawaii" part of the GOP platform.

I miss Whim & Vinegar! Jen, hope you feel back to 100% soon.

Barring Unforeseen Events, I'm going to try to make it to the Chicago gathering of midwestern weblog folk (see 4/2 entry) sometime in June. Should be an interesting bunch of folks.

Shouldn't BUE be one of those common net-abbreviations like OTOH or IIRC? Maybe I'm the only one who says it often enough... Or how about "Unless Something Bad Happens" (USBH)? Or maybe there's another expression being used for it that I'm unaware of?

And hey Dan, I run an e-mail update-notification list of my own. Folks can just let me know if they want to be on it (or off, naturally). And thanks for understanding/forgiving my all-too-human updating pace.

Scott McCloud's next book, Reinventing Comics, is coming in July (and comic shops are soliciting orders for it now). Anybody who liked Understanding Comics, take note.

McCloud talks about it briefly in his FAQ (though for some reason his site isn't reachable as I write this):

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