Thursday, November 22, 2007

Microsoft Surface

Thats really amazing.
It is not an innovative technology, but the fact that is Microsoft that proposes this technology makes us believe that we are entering very soon a world where digital based interaction is escaping computers and come to mobile devices and alternative wearables.

Well done Microsoft!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

CLAD papers and presentations

At the beginning of this month a research team to where I belong, make a panel on the use of digital facilities and local e-government at the 12ยบ CLAD conference at Santo Domingo, in Latin America.
IT was a great time and a nice opportunity to learn more about a world region where it was my first time.

I was involved in two papers, for each I present the English abstracts. One of the papers was co-authored with my brother.

Outcomes from a digital cities approach for local administration
Joaquim Borges Gouveia, Luis Borges Gouveia

Nowadays, a high number of digital cities inititatives have been deployed in many countries and within a multitude of contexts. Considering the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) and a high level vision for their use regarding the territory, the people and activity within a given region, we can consider that such digital cities initiatives have some impact in the way local administration took both its operations and even its governance. As a result, the paper will advance a discussion on the impact that digital cities can have in local administration and how we should benefict from following such perspective to take advantage of ICT. The discussion follows the author experience in the leadership of one of such initiatives and its experience on the Portuguese digital cities programs since the 90’.

Towards a territory oriented perspective for local e-government
Luis Borges Gouveia

The idea of local e-government has been developed and enhanced for the last decade. The quality of approaches and services already provided has also accomplished to fulfill the initial perspectives and intakes new ambitions. One viable direction to improve the quality of local e-government is to relate all available information as part of the territory knowledge and consider it as georeferenced and the most possible real time usable. Such vision, although is not possible at the moment, may be a direction that provides a new level of possibilities and services that this paper discusses.
As a result, the author defends that a vison where we can deal with generated and usable information related to the territory potentiates both its economy and people, as well turns possible to foster the concept of an intelligent territory. Along with the discussion of the concept, a brief introduction to its implications for local e-government is made.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Fluid project

FLUID Project, a new collaborative project to improve the user experience of community source software. FLUID includes members of the Sakai, uPortal, and Moodle communities who are working together to address the precarious values of usability, accessibility, internationalization, and more within academic software projects. The project is supported by a two-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. For more information about FLUID and to get involved in this open project, please visit

Goals of the FLUID Project

Our goal is to help improve the user experience of community source web applications including Sakai, uPortal, Kuali Student and Moodle. FLUID will combine both design and technology to create a living library of sharable user interface components that can be reused across community source projects. These components will be built specifically to support flexibility and customization while maintaining a high standard of usability, accessibility, internationalization, and security. The FLUID framework will enable designers and developers to build user interfaces that can more readily accommodate the diverse personal and institutional needs found within community source. We will integrate these rich, client-side UI components and the framework to support them into existing presentation technologies used in Sakai and uPortal.

In order to encourage user-centered design within community source software, FLUID will also create a designer's toolkit that will offer useful design, accessibility, and usability strategies and documentation. This toolkit will include the results of several heuristic analyses and usability studies, a collection of design models such as user profiles and personas, and a growing library of UI design patterns. Members of the FLUID team will be available to provide usability and accessibility support within the Sakai, uPortal, Kuali Student, and Moodle communities.

Who is Involved?

FLUID is a community source project open to everyone. The project is led by University of Toronto with UC Berkeley, University of British Columbia, York University, and Cambridge University. Other partners include Michigan State University, University of Colorado, University of Michigan, Sun Microsystems, the Mozilla Foundation, and IBM. The FLUID Project is funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. New participants are welcome, and we encourage you to visit our website at to learn more about the project and get involved.

How will FLUID help Sakai?

Our goal is to improve the user experience of Sakai and other community source software projects. The FLUID team is already deeply involved in the Sakai community, and will continue to ensure that our priorities and deliverables are closely aligned to the needs of the community. We will contribute all of our design and technical work to the Sakai community under the ECL and Creative Commons licenses. This will include:

* A collection of well-designed, accessible, and reusable UI components
* Integration of the FLUID framework and components into Sakai tools
* New usability and heuristic studies of Sakai
* Ongoing user research and synthesis of usability data in Sakai
* New patterns for the Sakai UI design patterns library
* A library of user research documentation including personas, profiles, scenarios, and other design models for Sakai
* Increased involvement and input from skilled designers, accessibility experts, and UI developers

Friday, November 02, 2007

Some Sakai important papers

Although such paper are somewhat old, they may be interesting to take in mind when we need to evaluate Sakai as an option for choosing an Collaborative Learning System.

1. Final Report to Mellon Foundation - Sakai Project
A report by Joseph Hardin (addressed to the Mellon Foundation) to describe the activities of the Sakai project (2004 - 2005). It provides an historical context to the current Sakai Foundation activity.

2. Interoperability Roadmap (2006)
A roadmap which proposes a number of tasks (without resources or deadlines) that need to be addressed going forward in Sakai.

3. Two Page Overview of Sakai
An overview of Sakai suitable for printing front and back as a handout to introduce folks to Sakai.