• This is the digital site of paul shen, a #hacker whose formal titles are computer scientist and interaction designer. I live for opportunities to create elegance, whether in code, in interactions, with visuals, with music, with hardware; the list continues. Visit my personal space at hackandsleep.

A little time (about ten minutes) with code can go a long way. Arcs are repeatedly drawn; on each iteration, the arc moves “forward” and makes a slight random rotation. Layering lines with low opacity often gives a nice effect. Code and more images after the jump.

Generative arcs

Concept: Graph the Fortune 500 companies, rank over time

Fortune 500 visualization

Concept: Shade New York using high school SAT scores. Schools have a heavier effect on nearby points.

NYC schools and SAT scores

So you want to pull tweets from the Twitter API or collect news from RSS feeds? All it takes is a little HTTP work and XML parsing. As fast as openFrameworks is growing, it’s definitely not the most stable or the easiest to work with. The following is documentation of the tinkering it took to get happy tweets to show up in my oF app. I mention Twitter only as an example; the following allows you to interact with basically any web service.

There’s no need for a service-specific library; existing oF addons provide all we need. That said, the project will need these addons.

openFrameworks + HTTP requests + XML parser

I’m on pace to complete my undergraduate human-computer interaction major next semester. However, ever since pursuing the major, I’ve been confused about what I’m actually learning.

The following is a collection of thoughts on my academic HCI experience at Carnegie Mellon University.

The Curriculum

Students are required to take a collection of courses from several relevant disciplines as well as three core HCI classes [ link ].

I appreciate how the major emphasizes the interdisciplinary nature of HCI. Students span all majors and the curriculum exposes students to classes in different schools. The prerequisites include:

  • Cognitive psychology
  • Intro to programming
  • Communication design fundamentals
  • Probability and statistics

However, after one communication design class, I still do not feel I have the skills to talk with a full-time designer about his or her work. After several statistic classes, I’d still leave the statistical analysis to the statisticians. But that is not the point of the major.

Not feeling the HCI Kool-Aid