March 30-31, 2007: Cambridge, MA


Call for Papers



Reception; Friday, 7:00 pm-9:00 pm, March 30, 2007
Dinner Talk

Interfaces for Everyone
Interfaces are everywhere. It is impossible to perform almost any task without an interface of some kind or other. Some of these interfaces are a joy to use: light switches, simple FM radios, and fire alarms just to name three. But despite the fact that virtually all commerce depends on computer interaction -- whether it be credit card processing or just simple cash-register-based inventory control (never mind the back-office systems that enable the functioning of any larger business) -- computer interfaces are rarely described in joyous or rapturous terms. From punched cards to DOS commands to UNIX/Linux to Windows, some nontrivial fraction of the tremendous computer-based productivity gains is lost to the inefficiencies and ineffectiveness of computer interfaces. This talk will explore the paradoxical idea that "ease of use" equates too often to "inefficient and/or ineffective use". We will briefly explore how different audiences react to different sorts of interfaces and hypothesize a solution to this tremendous loss of productivity.

Rob Kolstad, Ph. D.

Dr. Rob Kolstad is now a roving consultant, most recently devoting time to the security analysis of voting machines. Previous he was Director of the SAGE system administrator organization and Program Manager at the SANS Institute, an educational foundation specializing in system administration, networking, and security. Berkeley Software Design, Inc. employed Rob from 1992 to 1998, during which time he served as program manager then president for several years. BSDI engineered and marketed a complete UNIX-compatible operating system for IBM PCs and clones and won the internet server of the year award after its inaugural shipment. Rob is the head coach of the USA Computing Olympiad, the organization that chooses the set of four pre-college computer programmers to represent the USA in international competitions. He is also the head judge at the Pikes Peak Regional Science Fair. Rob earned his Ph.D. in software from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign after completing an M.S.E.E. at Notre Dame. His undergraduate B.A.Sc. degree from Southern Methodist University was among the first computer science bachelor's degrees offered in the United States.

Buffet style dinner will be served in the meeting room.

Important Dates:

February 27, 2007:
Advance Registration Ends

March 29, 2007:
Web Registration Ends

March 30-31, 2007:
On-Site Registration