Human computer interaction – introduction

I am currently taking the Human Computer Interaction class, and unlike last time, will make notes during the course and not after.

What is Human Computer Interaction?

HCI is the design, implementation and evaluation of user interfaces.


Good design is a pleasure to use; it increase efficiency and prodcutivity. Whereas bad design can be frustrating and in extreme cases can even costs lives.

Design using Prototypes

Prototyping is the single most important strategy for effective design. It should focus on the goals and not get stuck with some (current fad) design idea.

Design prototype as like software prototypes. Quick approximation of the idea, that helps collect feedback and iterate towards the final (design) goal. They let the users experience what the final product might look like (feel), work like (implementation) or the UX (role).

Education Technology

Machine Learning: My notes.

I recently finished the machine learning class offered online by Stanford. It was a great experience. Since I would not be using ML any time soon, I plan to make a few blog posts to capture my learning while they are still current. This should help me recollect the concepts on a later date. If someone finds these notes useful, that is an added benefit.

Machine learning

Arthur Samuel (1959): Field of study that gives computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed.

Education Everything else

Coding is like cricket

With the stunning world cup victory behind us, it’s time to reflect on what lessons we can learn from it. I am sure cricket needs no introduction, so let me get on with what I have learnt from mostly watching, and very little playing, cricket.

Uncertainty, the name of the game

Cricket is the game glorious of uncertainties, and developers’ lives are no less uncertain, just not glorious. Both cricketers and developers need to be flexible and adjust to new situations. Be it change in requirements or the target score. Deal with the uncertainties of the pitch or the legacy code base.


Programming for kids

logo-easter We spent the long Easter weekend, lazing happily indoors since the weather did not permit going out. I wondered if the time could have been spent better, and started researching if my older daughter is old enough to start programming.

Little background

My daughter will soon be six and she can use the computer very well for the usual tasks and I think she is a bit ahead of the curve, but that might just be a father speaking 🙂

The big bottleneck, I see, is her poor English skills. English not being our native tongue and she going to a German kindergarten, has limited her knowledge of English to a few words and phrases. Thus reading and writing code is going to be a challenge.

Visual programming

Given the language ‘handicap’, I started looking out for what the best way to visually teach programming, which does not involve much reading and writing. A little research resulted in 3 options, 2 of which are old and I had come across and one that is pretty new.


Kid Project: Making paper

I was trying to explain paper-recycling to my daughter, then thought it is best we do it together. Thus came about a weekend project to make paper from waste papers. Although the end result was not that great, I think she understood the concepts.

She was super excited and did most of the steps herself, including taking the pictures.

Here is a pictorial guide to making your own ‘hand-made’ paper.

Education Everything else

3 Idiots – The nitpicking

3 idiots I watched 3 Idiots yesterday, and could not resist reviewing it. This review is not about how great the movie is. There are several of those on the net.

Let me be quick in saying that my family and I loved the film and think it is one of the best movie. It is a good take on the state of education in the country, a subject I feel strongly about. This is also not about Chetan Bhagat, although the nit-picking could apply to Five Point Someone as well. But I haven’t read it, so can’t say.

I expected more from Aamir, the perfectionist.

I was born in 1978, the same year that Farhan Qureshi (Madhavan) was born. So I felt more connected to the movie than the current generation. This also means that the college period depicted in the movie was the same period I was in college, which is roughly 1995-1999.

So what?

Well you see, a few of the things shown in the movie are, let’s say, futuristic.

Mobile Phones

Mobile phones were launched in India after 1994. The call charges in a ‘scheme’ were 16 Rs. incoming/outgoing. They were not mainstream until 2000 when charges began to drop. Even then, in 2000, I was the only one in my MBA college to have a mobile phone, and that too was given to me by my employer.

So showing engineering college students carrying a phone, pre 1999, was a bit of a stretch.

Mobile Internet

Even if you think ‘chote’ (Rancho) was rich enough to carry a mobile, the movie shows mobile internet being used in the hospital for video conferencing.

  • Internet in 1999 was the good old modem based dialup internet at blazing speeds of 56 kbps. Broadband Internet was unheard of until 2005.
  • Mobile Data Cards / USB Modems were launched in 2008/2009.
  • Even then, I don’t think the speed that Airtel EDGE gives is insufficient for video conferencing. I don’t know for sure, since I am not using one.


The scooter that Pia (Kareena) drives looks most certainly like Kinetic Flyte, which was only launched in 2009.


With a little research, which Aamir Khan is known for, the film could have been more realistic. Anyways, if you haven’t seen the movie, please do, it is really good.

P.S. Happy New Year.