“Humans are fallible, and they often operate with half-formed intentions, based on incomplete information.”

– Steve Young, “Cognitive User Interfaces”, IEEE Signal Processing Magazine, May 2010

Taken out of context like this, it’s quite a poetic statement. The entire article is a pretty awesome read on how the user interfaces of the future will have to compensate for our own fallibility.


At work, I stare at a computer screen all day. When I come home, I stare at the TV screen or my laptop; most of the time, I use both. The only time I’ve had a problem with eyestrain is when I wear contacts that get increasingly uncomfortable throughout the day.

IEEE spectrum ran an article yesterday on how the new iPad isn’t a threat to the Kindle because its screen is LCD rather than eInk — that the ease of reading eInk trumps reading on an LCD. As I was saying, I’ve personally never had any problems with eyestrain with a computer’s LCD. To that end, the Mayo Clinic says that eyestrain can be caused from not only extended computer use but also extended reading periods. If it isn’t clear yet, I think the whole eyestrain argument between LCD and eInk is bunk.

However, where I will praise eInk is in being able to read in sunlight. Washed out LCDs are a PITA whenever I use a gadget outside.

Zink in IEEE Spectrum

I was reading IEEE Spectrum today and there was a fascinating article on the company Zink.  It’s a company that started with a group of people in the research department of Polaroid, but became its own entity with Polaroid’s bankruptcy.  Zink itself stands for zero-ink, something that Polaroid was pretty known for while I was growing up.  They’ve been developing essentially the next-gen Polaroid paper.  Instead of ink cartridges, the paper itself contains ink crystals, which respond to heat.

After I realized my own inkjet printer is choking on its own ink, I’ll be happy to never have to deal with ink in the future.