Upgrading to Google Pixel XL

snowglobe-la After two years with the Nexus 6, a phablet that provided me with a very low-cost and powerful smartphone, I’ve upgraded back to a more pricier model. Not being happy with the bloat-ware that comes with Samsung devices and those devices subsidized through telecom companies and I’ll never get anything iOS again, I’ve chosen the hot-off-the assembly line, Google Pixel XL smartphone.

The first thing I’m pretty excited about is the ability to starting taking high-quality snaps again. I haven’t been able to do this since my Samsung Galaxy. And wow, my Pixel hasn’t left me disappointed. I won’t go into device comparisons between apple and samsung, it’s just nice to have a great point, shoot and send I carry with me everywhere I go.

The next thing I’m excited about is continuing to use Google Fi, which I absolutely love. I’m not sure how long Google’s experiment will last, but I am thankful to not have to deal with Verizon, At&t or Sprint when it comes to cell service. And I still love how Google refunds me for unused data. They treat data as a tangible item, which makes sense since it’s purchased with real dollars. Oh, and Google runs all sorts of fun promos. For the holiday season, they gifted me $10 in Google Play credit. Pretty neat!

Lastly, I love how seamless Google Pay is. I was at Dive N’ Surf in Redondo Beach the other day doing a bit of Christmas shopping and the checkout read ‘Accepts Apple Pay’. Yeah… Right… I put my Google Pixel up and it registered and purchased my items instantly. It would be nice for those devices to advertise for Google Pay as well. I find myself holding my phone up to everything these days…

In the end, while I think that smartphones are reaching the zenith of their wow factor, I like the high-quality nature of the Google Pixel XL. Everything flows incredibly smoothly from notifications, and the ability to respond tomessages in the notifications bar, to application start-times and a simple, quick and easy way to toggle between apps. As a researcher in human computer interaction (or HCI as we dub it), I’m a big fan of high-quality user interface design and Android 7.1 continues to beat iOS on so many fronts. On that note, I also love the fact I still have a 3.5mm headphone jack!

Happy Holidays!


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CSU Channel Islands Reaffirms Commitment to Diversity

CSU Channel IslandsI just finished creating the new webspace for CSU Channel Island’s pledge to diversity. Rather than get into the surrounding politics, the goal of the site is to allow CI community members including faculty, administration and staff to publicly acknowledge their commitment to support students regardless of their background or chosen lifestyles in line with the university’s four mission pillars that center on international affairs, integrative studies, multicultural learning and community engagement.

From the technical standpoint, the backend is built atop PHP and MySQL using Bootstrap to drive the front-end. There is still so much to love about PHP… In the future, we plan to incorporate a blogging engine and file repository for community members to keep the content dynamic and relevant.

Check out more here: http://civalues.org.

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SocialXYZ Presentation @ Cal State University, Sonoma State

The design and evaluation of a sentiment analyzing discussion board was used to support learning and interaction within an existing online social networking (OSN) system. More specifically, this research introduces an innovative extension to learning management software (LMS) that combines real-time sentiment analysis with the goal of fostering student engagement and course community. In this research we perform data mining to extract sentiment on over 6,000 historical discussion board posts. This initial data was analyzed for sentiment and interaction patterns and used as the guiding design principle for redesigning an existing asynchronous online discussion board (AOD). The redesign incorporates a sentiment analyzer, which allows users to analyze the sentiment of their individual contributions before submitting. Through a controlled experiment the software was measured using content analysis, social network analysis and survey data.

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IJAIS Submission

The following tag-cloud and abstract was for an invitation to extend my COLLA 2015 conference paper, “Online Learning Community Software to Support Success in Project Teams”. The new paper, “Online Social Networking Software as Ad-Hoc Project Management Software in Capstone Project Courses,” was submitted to the International Journal On Advances in Intelligent Systems and adds 100% more data, extends the results to incorporate a more in-depth social network analysis and enhances the discussion. Although the guidelines suggest 30%-40% new content, we feel we have far exceeded this amount and offer a fresh take on this study. Below is the abstract and tag-cloud for this paper:


Abstract— In this paper, we explore the use of online social networking (OSN) software as ad-hoc project management (PM) software. Through the adaptation of specialized OSN software, project teams can facilitate group collaboration as they work towards completing project milestones. This study aims to showcase the importance of sustained engagement throughout the lifecycle of the project, across both meta-level engagement with the external community and micro-level engagement within and among the project team members. More specifically, this work identifies how OSN technologies cultivate online community which can be shown to augment project motivation and participation resulting in project success. Under the lens of an existing theoretical model, one which highlights individual collaboration within online community spaces, we measure perceptions of the customized OSN software before and after its implementation. A content analysis highlights how successful project teams maximized features of the system, which is supported by a social network analysis (SNA), which highlights levels of individual engagement across the project lifecycle as they relate to online interaction and project results. Survey data identifies individual perceptions across various aspects of the system as it fosters social interaction and build online community, represented in terms of social capital.

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Amazon Fresh left me feeling dirty…

From Day 1, I knew it wouldn’t last.

Included in our first order was milk, eggs, frozen pizza, bread and coffee. For an order that would require around 3 or 4 reusable bags (maybe less) at the grocery store down the block, our order consisted of six of the bags pictured below. If that was all there was, it would be fine since those bags and the inside foam-packaging are picked up and reused by Amazon. But no. Also included was each item wrapped in a thin-plastic bag (plastic bags are not reused by Amazon, but we are slowly using them as doggy-bags). And included for each perishable item was an encasement of plastic ice-packs (ice-packs are not reused by Amazon, but now I have a freezer full of them).

The strange thing about this process is that I’ve been reusing my personal grocery bags for over a decade. In fact, Los Angeles charges per bag if you forget yours. It’s a good process and minimizes the number of bags that make it to our sewer systems and into the ocean. I imagine in a few years there will be a class-action suit against Amazon for these current practices.

Well, although it was nice to wake up to fresh groceries, but instead I’ll continue to skate down the block and get my shopping from Ralph.


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