Multi-touch Collaborative Diagramming

This term I took Computer Science 444 – “Advanced Methods for Human-Computer Interaction”. The main outcome of the course was to go through the process of designing a user interface and evaluating it using formal experiments, producing a paper at the end.

I had the pleasure of working with 4 absolutely fantastic team-mates, Piam Kiarostami, Gabe Silk, alexandru Totolici, and Jre Sarenac. Each of us intuitively picked a role and we worked like a well-oiled machine.

The project we worked on was a collaborative, tabletop,  multi-touch diagramming tool that we dubbed “collabee”. We compared our interface to the more traditional ways of diagramming collaboratively (whiteboard and computer) then analysed our results. Below are the reports that we wrote, as well as a video on the project that we produced (it’s only 4 minutes and be sure to stick around for the surprise ending).

Continue reading “Multi-touch Collaborative Diagramming”

dev.wpmued is live! Calling all WordPress in education developers to contribute.

At OpenEd09 I was part of a very necessary conversation. We were talking about different ways in which our respective universities use WordPress MU. The consensus was that in order for us to be truly successful we need to be sharing much more. Sharing our frameworks, sharing our plugins and sharing our hacks. Boone Gorges frames the conversation nicely here and talks about what is needed from developers. Enej and others responded by reviving the OLT Dev blog. However, Matthew Gold rightly said this:

But we need to build more lasting channels of communication soon, lest we miss some important connections

So here is my attempt to provide those connections:

WPMU For Education blog

The basic idea is an aggregation blog for “WPMU for education” developers. Jim Groom provided a blog from his WPMUEd domain so that a new channel, dev.wpmued could be created. I used the Add Link Widget with FeedWordPress to turn this blog into an aggregation of content from developers who are working on developing WPMU in education using the method that Jim and I came up with. I seeded it with a few of my often read WordPress MU in education blogs (myself, Jim, D’Arcy, Boone, OLT and CUNY Dev). Continue reading “dev.wpmued is live! Calling all WordPress in education developers to contribute.”

Theme Update

FINALLY. Wow, that took me way to long to get done. So, as I promised in this post here, after many late nights, I have implemented some major changes to the theme of this blog. So for all those behind the feed readers… leave the reader for a bit and click around. Let me know what you think. I spent a lot of time on various elements (including some that I ripped out due to lack of patience) so any feedback would be awesome. Below is a picture of the old home page for comparison (click to see fullscreen):

Screenshot of old theme
Screenshot of old theme

Some features to note are:

  • Snazzy JavaScript slider. Why? Lets me show pictures without taking up too much space. One of my goals for this year is to learn to actually draw well in Illustrator and as is obvious, I have a long way to go and need a place/reason to practice.
  • Proper archives page using the awesome wp_archives plugin. I can’t think of a better way to browse archives (aside from tags maybe). The default WordPress way of dates is stupid… they just have no context. One way in which I might change this page in future is modify the plugin so that I can annotate dates around important events in my life.
  • Social Networks page. This has snippets from other places around the web that I haunt. I’m considering changing it in the future to be a bit of a life-stream, but am holding out for someone to come up with an exceptional plugin to make that happen.
  • Better fonts.
  • More pictures!

Again, let me know what you think in the comments below, any feedback is always welcome.

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Under Construction

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Creative Commons License photo credit: carboila
So as some people have noticed lately my blog’s theme has changed. This is simply due to the fact that since last summer when I coded the old theme I have learned a lot about usability, accessibility and just general good practices on the web. As such I couldn’t stand the old theme any longer (due to its violation of those practices) and had to change.

While the new theme does still break a whole bunch of rules when it comes to accessibility and usability, I will be fixing those as soon as I can. The theme is chosen for its style and how I identify with it more than anything else. One of the key fixes is going to be a nice (really complex to code) JavaScript navigation. However, due to the fact that school is in crunch mode and due to my impending trip to Mexico, I will not be able to fix things up as early as I would like.

So there it is, new theme with many changes and improvements still to come. Comments, suggestions and all that jazz are welcome (especially as I am still on the fence about some of my ideas).

UBC WordPress development out in the open

EDUPUNKING_WP_w_groom
Creative Commons License photo credit: bionicteaching

At OLT we have decided to make our steps to develop the WordPress Multi-user platform into a university content publishing platform more prominent, so as to encourage sharing and collaboration. Before this we were all writing about our development on different blogs dispursed around the internet, but now we will all be putting our thoughts, ideas and code in one place. OLT WordPress Development  now lives on the UBC Blogs site at blogs.ubc.ca/development. It is sparse at the moment, but once all of the developers are contributing their work it should fill out quite quickly.

Now if only WordPress.com would get back to us on allowing us to put our plugins in the WordPress repository so they will all be on the main WordPress plugins page…

Add User Widget

This plugin is a modification of sidebar add user widget by DSader. It adds a whole bunch of control functionality that allows admin to change who is allowed to add themselves to a blog and also what type of permission is allowed. It also changes the way that the widget appears depending on the user’s status. It was developed primarily for course blogs.

Final, final update:

WordPress. org has started to show OLT some love and we are now rapidly publishing all of our plugins there. The new direct link to download sidebar add user widget is here and the plugin page is here.

Final Update:

Now that OLT has a place to house its plugins I will no longer be maintaining add user widget on this site. Instead it will live on blogs.ubc.ca. The direct link is here.

Update: V1.2.4

Fixed the problem with the plugin not reloading user’s status when they first add themselves.

Update: V1.2

Changed the way restricting users works. Now the admin can simply set a password in the widget control menu and users who know the password can add themselves to the blog.

Download V1.2.4

Download V1.2.1

Download V1.0

Installation:

Just drop into the mu-plugins folder.

Any problems/suggestions just leave a comment