CHI 2008
Luca Chittaro (blog), who covers the CHI 2008 conference in Florence for Novà, the innovation supplement of Il Sole 24 Ore, Italy’s business newspaper, continues with his gruelling pace of interviews. Here is another batch:

Technology among the homeless
We tend to believe that technology is improving everybody’s life, at the workplace as well as at home. But what about those who have neither a job nor a home? Christopher A. Le Dantec, together with his colleague W. Keith Edwards, carried out a study on the use of technology among the homeless and will present the results tomorrow at CHI 2008. The paper that describes the study was one of those that received the conference Best Papers awards.

Attractiveness on-line
What does it make an on-line user profile attractive to members of the opposite sex? Andrew T. Fiore and his colleagues at the University of California at Berkeley have selected 50 user profiles on the Yahoo! Personals web site and studied the perception of these profiles on a sample of users in the 19-25 age range

On-line friendship
Imagine you have to move to a distant city. What would happen to the relationships you have with your friends? Which telecommunication tools would you use to try to maintain friendship? A research collaboration among three universities in the US (California Irvine, Carnegie Mellon e Duke) has followed 900 persons who moved to other cities. The interview is with Irina Shklovski (Univ. California Irvine).

Friends and enemies in social networks
Who’s in the list of your friends on social networking sites? True friends? People who you don’t know much? Total strangers? Should those sites offer a richer way of describing your relationship with each of them? A research group at HP Labs has studied the effects of a richer classification on users. Chittaro interviewed Michael Brzozowski (HP Labs).

What do people do with Facebook?
Facebook is definitely a popular site, but what do we know about how people use it? Adam N. Joinson (University of Bath) is studying Facebook users to learn more about it.

Interaction with future cars
Industry is working at cars that will talk more and more to their drivers and some researchers are even working at car interfaces that automatically adapt to the specific user who is driving. David Krum, project manager at Bosch Research, is one of the organizers of the special interest group “Interaction in the Automobile” which met at CHI 2008.

Driver distraction
What human factors issues should future car interfaces take into account? The need to monitor the driver and to mitigate driver distraction and inattention came out often in talking with Brian Lathrop (Volkswagen Electronic Research Lab), Brian is one of the organizers of the special interest group “Interaction in the Automobile” which met at CHI 2008.

Phishing the common user
How do common users react to a phishing attack? To know better, a group of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University (including Serge Egelman) has carried out phishing attacks on a sample of users and studied their behaviors. They have presented their results at CHI 2008, and the picture that came out is not reassuring from the security point of view. For example, 97% of the users believed the phising e-mail and went to visit the phishing site. At that point, 87% of the users which received passive warnings (and 21% of those who received active warnings) believed also the phishing web site and entered their data.

Graffiti-covered desktop
Do users keep their software updated to prevent security attacks? What could the interface do to make users’ more aware of the need to install security updates? A research group from the Georgia Institute of Technology has proposed a new interface to this purpose at CHI 2008. When a security update is available, graffiti appear on your desktop. The more security updates you have not installed, the more the desktop becomes graphically degraded (and graffiti also mask open windows, to make work more annoying). One of the authors (Kandha Sankarapandian) explains the research.