Sunday, November 15, 2009

Time Machine Reloaded - November 8th

Hi folks!

It's the right time to set the time right ... This is the last day of my little Time-Machine-Blog which still covers the adventure Conference 2009.

November 8th

It seems that the today's weather wants to ease our goodbye - in the morning it rained and the sun (lowercase letters!) was nearly gone. There were still a few hours until my flight to Germany, so we decided to store my luggage at the main station and to see as much as we can.

Yesterday I talked about the time constraints and that we were not able to get into the Colosseum. Today, we joined a tourist group which dramatically reduces waiting time and provides some more historical facts. But here, the only thing that really matters is a picture...

Above, you see the inside of the Colosseum. Or let's say the remaining parts, since we already look at the basement. Many of the precious goods have already be taken away, for example the marble decorations. We have been told, that the walls have been completely covered ... and now we also know that the holes in the walls have been used to attach the marble tiles.

Although sometimes it might feel different, I think that theming the UI of is far more easy than to cover a zillion square meters with extremely heavy material :-)

Okay, we didn't only stare at holes ... we also moved on to get into the Roman Forum. To give you an idea that I had to hurry up, I will only provide one picture (Do I hear any relief for saving you some time? *g*). Funnily, the place had been a private "theater" for the emperor. Nice idea ...

That said, I had to hurry up to get to the airport. After saying goodbye to André, I went towards the main station. Due to my time buffer, I had the chance to enjoy my very last cappuccino. Sigh.

The rest went rather well and so everyone - and everything - landed safely. I mean, also my bag arrived without any further deformation :-)

Different to me. The last thing I thought was "bed, sleep, bed". Well, I had some nice dreams ...


I hope you enjoyed the last days. If you have any comments, proposals or just critique, then please let me know! To me, it was a great pleasure, because i had the chance to experience some tiny details again. Details which have been covered by the whole buzz around the Conference.

Literally, see you next year! :-)


PS: It may bother you, but for Planet readers it might be worth to have a look at the original blog posting which better preserves formatting

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Time Machine Reloaded - November 7th

Hi again,

the Conference is already, but when going 7 days back in time, we are still in Italy.

November 7th

Originally, some of us planned to reside some days longer in Orvieto and to eventually visit Rome by train. Some things changed after the announcement that there will be a strike by the railway employees. Jacqueline and André managed to get some rooms in Rome and to discuss the issue with our hotel. Fortunately, the hotel personnel was extremely kind and agreed to change our reservation. Thanks!!!

We moved on to Rome - and to my surprise - the neighborhood was extremely nice. As you will see on the picture, we saw a building with an orange tree (for everyone living in warmer regions, that is something special for us).

After dropping our baggage, we instantly moved towards the center of the city to visit some sights. Here is the well known Colosseum. I provide a picture without tourists - the amount of people there is a bit annoying ;-)

Besides the Colosseum, the whole site offers a lot to see. Due to the limited time - we wanted to continue our sightseeing tour by bus - we just had a brief look at the Roman Forum. Funnily, we've met Andreas who helped us to get some "inside" pictures. Mmh, the gate on the picture lets it look like a prison ...

As I already said, we continued the tour by bus and got of at special places. One example is the "St. Peter's Square" in the Vatican City.

As you can see, it is rather large. But that doesn't guarantee that you will only meet strangers - it seems that the people are just everywhere :-) That time, we met Rene who joined us...

Once inside, we decided to take the over 500 steps to enjoy the great view from the dome of the St. Peter's Basilica. Have a look at the shadow in the center of the picture - no, that's not my head ;-)


The building is absolutely impressive; outside and inside. Here just a brief look on the altar ...


Fast forward. We continued our bus tour until it gots dark ... and cold; as you may guess on the picture below. So we went back to our hotel and finally found a nice place to get our dinner. The very last evening with both Jacqueline and André. Somehow :-(

That's it. We will finish our journey tomorrow, after a short look inside the Colosseum.

Until then, please have a nice day!


PS: The original posting with preserved formatting is located here.

Time Machine Reloaded - November 6th

Dear readers,

even today we do fight against some time constraints. So let's have a look what happened on ...

November 6th

The last day of the conference. It might be good for you that most of the day has been spend with personal chats and discussions. That makes this posting a bit shorter...

The first presentation I attended was "A new logo for" by Bernhard of the Art team. You may remember the poster stand which had been organized for that - I talked about that earlier. If you are interested in some more information, the presentation material has already been made available here.

After that, there has been the excellent presentation by Jacqueline and Oliver-Rainer who talked about "Lists and Outline in Writer" to be found here. Although the slides are available, you might miss the live demo unless you have a look at the video (starts at 57min).

Then, the day passed by ... unbelievably fast. Especially since there were many private discussions, even targeting critical questions with regard to the development of or the communication activities of Project Renaissance. I'd like to say "Thank you" to these people, who hopefully already know about that.

At the end of the day, the organization team offered a "town walk". Great, since there were some small sights and musuems we had not known about. On the left you see a picture which had been taken in the "Pozzo della Cava".

Time went by and it got dark outside. Let's share one of the night views of Orvieto.

Finally, we made it to "San Giovenale", a veeery old church built in 1004 (the picture on the right). I'm still somehow surprised how good the original picture looks for not having a tripod, using a consumer lens and an exposure time of over one second.

Okay, since we are discussing pictures and cameras - here is Bernhard who also tries to capture some of the nice parts of the church.

That's all for today, since I don't have pictures covering a very funny pizza (and many more things we'd tried) dinner in the late evening.

Oh, by the way, I already said that this was the very last day of the conference. So I would like to express my deepest thanks to all people involved.

Thank you for organizing, attending, chatting, improving, ...

But to me, it's not over yet. There are still two days of sightseeing I would like to share. Tomorrow, we will move on to Rome. Stay tuned :-)

Have a nice evening!


PS: The original posting and formatting can be found on UX Team Blog.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Time Machine Reloaded - November 5th

Hi everyone,

let's go back the usual 7 days to re-experience the OOoCon 2009!

November 5th

From our point-of-view, it was "the day" of the conference. It was packed with User Experience related topics (conference program, page 2). Here are some highlights...

Ma Li from the IBM Lotus Symphony gave some nice talks, especially since he had used very entertaining and sometimes funny slide designs. Here, I can can only provide a picture shown the "default" design.

Basically, everyone talked about the same - how to better suit the needs of our users. Okay, we've also been reminded to avoid the impersonal term "user", so please exchange it with some person unrelated to but related to you. Then you better get the idea of what we are talking about.

Of course, Andreas talked about it, too. In his workshop "The role and the methods of user experience in product design" he took a more general approach why some products are more successful than others. Or let's say, what are the ingredients to develop a product which has the potential to be really successful.

After Andreas finished his workshop, there were about 10 people who attended our workshop "User Experience Done "Live" Based on Expertise and Usage Data". As far as I know, the attendees were volunteers and employees of Sun Microsystems and IBM. Since the workshop did take place in one of the usual presentation rooms, the equipment was somehow optimized for presentations instead of workshops. So we had to rely on the funny ODF note pads we brought with us - and the PLIO people, who were so unbelievable kind to provide a second data projector in the last minute. Thanks a lot for that!!! Unfortunately, there was somebody missing ... Mr. Internet Connection left the room right before and so we had only very rarely access to the Internet and the web sites we wanted to work with. What a pity, especially since some time we kept trying to get it working. However...

First, we presented our backup topics to let the attendees chose what to work on. Backup topics? Yes, because although we did some requests on mailing lists and in blogs, we didn't get any worked out proposal. Maybe our ideas were so bad that - at the end - the people in the workshop presented their own ones. So we got three excellent ideas to work on (described here). Due to the Internet connection problems, the attendees chose to work on "How to improve the quality of search results on the extension website?". Funnily, this idea had been brought in by Frank Mau (Sun Microsystems) who is also responsible for the User Feedback Data tooling. This data could have been used for questions dealing with the core product

Frank explained the problem "offline" - if the user searches for extensions, the search results were sometimes sub-optimal which is related to the underlying search algorithm. Before starting to work on that topic, I gave a brief introduction of "user search strategies" and how this related to todays website features like: hierachical menus, tags and tag clouds, text search with synonyms. Concerning the search we worked out that a plain "text search" does not work well if a) there are far too many search results which might even be unrelated, and b) it doesn't work well if the user does not even know what term to search for (we tend to think technially, but most of our users are technically unbiased).

After some discussion it was raised that there were - literally - no resources to realize huge changes for the Extension Website. Keeping that in mind, we worked on some tiny but powerful proposals how to proceed (see here). If there would be a little bit more support, we also discussed how to re-arrange the elements on the website to provide access to the elements which were rather suited for the search (e.g. moving the tags a bit up). Finally, we had some intermediate result to further work on after the workshop.

Time was running - and still no internet connection - so we proposed to further inform about User Feedback Data and how to use it in the daily work. Agreement - and so Frank Loehmann gave a short presentation and I added a bit more "playing detective" with the source code browser OpenGrok to better understand the raw data. This could also be used for reference in the further analysis in the Project Renaissance.

Result: The workshop itself was quite interesting, especially for me :-) There has been positive feedback after the workshop, so most likely we will offer it again to further strenghten the cooperation in the community.

If you want to know more, here is the workshop wiki page, the videos / video streams and the presentation material.

And what is a day without a closing event? We enjoyed the party which has been organized by the NLC. Many thanks to the whole team!

That's it. You may now enjoy your very personal espresso - just go on. We'll see each other tomorrow!


PS: Not to forget the reminder for the planet users, who want to see this posting well formed.

Time Machine Reloaded - November 4th

Hi TimeMachineFriends,

we already explored the November 2nd and the 3rd, now it is time for the first day of the conference ...

November 4th

The first "real" day of the conference started in an unbelievable room in the Palazzo del Capitano, which mixed both historical and technical elements. Here, we heard the welcome speak and the keynotes - especially the first one was very interesting to me.

If you are interested in any of the talks, the video streams can be found here. Unfortunately, they don't work well on my computer, so I cannot further comment on it...

However, you may notice that some of the folks (especially the people from the German community) have been quite busy during the talks. Maybe they already typed a live-transcript? ;-)

After the that, we moved on to hear Louis speaking about the state of the project in 2009. And - really great - he referred to Project Renaissance!

What a luck - Andreas and Frank gave a nice talk about the project right after. Unfortunately, the presentations files are not yet available, so you may prefer the video streams of the morning talks.

From my point of view, Andreas prepared a great presentation "to inform, to clarify, to motivate". Some people might have missed some examples, but from my point-of-view, the focus on the topic was quite right. Although the Q&A session afterwards showed, that we have to invest even more effort into communication.

For example, on person asked why we didn't work on "Macro Recorder" improvements so that everyone would be able to automate his tasks. To explain it a little bit further, Andreas talked about identifying and re-designing tasks which are important for the majority of users. For example (my example), inserting one or more pictures is a task which today requires many steps... Using the macro recorder would just mean to automate inefficient tasks which are still inefficient when used manually. And since selecting and positioning pictures still have to be done manually, that wouldn't change (or improve) that much. However, you might have a look at the videos for the Q&A.

Looking ... that reminds me that Bernhard from the Art team took the opportunity to present some of the logo ideas in one of the halls - the picture on the left. This hall did also accommodate the company booths.

After that day, we moved on to enjoy the dinner which - as usual - gave the opportunity to have nice chats with the others. For example, I would like to thank Frank Mau for his patience to explain of the tooling to me.

Besides the talks, I noticed some great wall decoration featuring some nice pieces of wisdom. You may notice that the following one seems closely related to usability and user experience in general.

That's it for today. Still, we didn't get any proposals for our workshop, so it seems quite necessary to finalize our own ones to be fully "backuped". We are really much looking for our workshop...

As usual, for the planet readers, you may better enjoy the "well formatted" posting on the User Experience blog.

Update update update: Andrea Pescetti of the Italian N-L provided a link to downloadable OGG video files of the talks. You find it here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Time Machine Reloaded - November 3rd

As I said yesterday, let's push some buttons on the Time Machine to - again - go back 7 days. Let's re-experience some of the precious moments during the OOoCon...

November 3rd

I try to shorten this posting a bit - the day itself was quite nice, although you may miss some thrilling stuff. In the morning, we sat together in the lobby of our hotel to work on some mails and our presentations. You may notice that the time buffer for the presentations has been already close to zero...

After that, we continued our sightseeing tour - having excellent weather conditions. Thus, we had been able to enjoy the "Duomo di Orvieto" and the city's surrounding; but see for yourself.

To warm up for the conference, I did a short stop-over at the "NLC meeting". There, procedures and issues with regard to the translation had been discussed. Very interesting, especially since the look at the wider picture helps a lot ... important for UX topics which also heavily deal with texts and terms.

By the way, since many people believe that UX work is just the work on the (graphical user) interface, we went on to have a look beneath the surface :-) "Orvieto Underground" - a labyrinth of caves and tunnels...

Although some people might have wished that we would have stayed there forever, we were guided back to the surface. So we could join the first party were officials of the city welcomed us. Thus, thanks for the warm welcome, the cold beverages and the delicious goodies!

We finished our day in a bar... I'll skip the pictures - you know - low light conditions make it really difficult to work with the camera :-)

Tomorrow, I'll shed some light on the start of the conference and the status presentation covering Project Renaissance. Keep on reading!


PS: As usual, if you miss some formatting, please have a look at the original post on the User Experience Blog.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Seven Days Time Machine

Hi everybody,

some of you might have been at the Conference 2009 or already read some of the (few) blog comments. I'd hoped to provide similar insights like I did in my blog comments covering the OOoCon last year (first posting). Time for changing that!

But is a wrap-up sufficient? Surely not, since many little things happened which are worth mentioning... So what about a "Time Machine" to travel back 7 days? This would be a great chance to re-experience the great time we've had at the conference...

November 2nd

One of the best things being at the OOoCon is to meet other people who share the same ideas. Thus, I have been more than happy to meet André Schnabel right after my breakfast. Even better, he joined me to do some sightseing in Orvieto. There, Andreas Mantke was already awaiting us.

Our hotel was located outside the city, so we moved on until we - astonished - noticed that the center of the city was really sitting on a huge rock. See for yourself...

Once in the city, Andreas joined us and we started exploring. Of course, we wanted to see the famous "Duomo di Orvieto". It is somehow funny to go through tiny alleys and then - suddenly - a very huge building appears.

Don't worry, I'll post some more pictures when the weather improves. It was even a bit foggy that day...

Inside the building everyone will notice how well it is built and how good it was preserved over the centuries. Mmh, that seems similar to what we aim for with regard to ODF - being understandable even after a looong time. Moreover, being independent from the software which was used to create the documents.

Why this sudden change of subject? Because we noticed something noisy going on. So we went inside a building and found the people of the ODF|Plugfest celebrate their lunch break. Did you ever wondered how this looks like? Here are the action-packed photo ;-)

The good thing is, that we've also met Oliver-Rainer Wittmann (on the right) who kindly supported us with a map and some leaflets covering touristic highlights. Thanks a lot!

I'll spare you the rest of the day ... except for the arrival of Jacqueline Rahemipour. After meeting her at the train station, we did one of the best things you can do in Orvieto - getting an excellent meal. You may have noticed the praises by Louis :-)

The choice was easy, since we had already promised to visit a pizzeria proposed by Stefan Weigel. Why? He had to cancel his trip right before the conference, which is still such a pity... we've missed him. However, a picture to prove that we've been there. You will easily recognize this to be a real "Italian" pizza...

Since we prove to be a real community, Jacqueline was so kind to share some pieces - hunger, anybody? The blurry picture is definitely caused by my shaking hands awaiting to eat ;-)

Okay, this was my first full day in Orvieto. Stay tuned for the next day - working, more sightseeing and - of course - the first party. What else should we do?

Time Machine "off" and back to now
: I would like to take the opportunity to express my deepest thanks to anybody who was involved in making the OOoCon 2009 such a great success.

Read you tomorrow,

PS: I know that the Planet sometimes has its own ideas how my blog postings should look like. It might be better to have a look at the original post on the User Experience Blog.