Chris Speck and Liessa Aulbach
(Born October 17, 1973, East Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
Christopher Konen Speck is a student at the University of Maryland, College Park, currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science. He is currently two semesters away from graduation, and looks forward to getting back into the job market. Chris has been dating Liessa Aulbach, currently of Houston, TX, for over two years. He has two cats, Sophie and Belle. In past lives, Chris has been a book store manager, a dishwasher, a failed writer, and one of those 24/7 tech support guys.
Link to: Chris's facebook or Chris's photos.
Email me at christopherDOTspeckATgmailDOTcom
Liessa in Rockstar Sunglasses
Woot!'s famous homepage with the BIG YELLOW BUTTON!
EBay has everything under the sun, and Amazon has all the books you could ever need, but Woot! has two things which all these other on-line marketers lack. Humor, and clarity of purpose. First, Wooting is always a humorous experience. With a guaranteed three to five paragraphs of schlocky humorous commentary, a thirty second stop by www.woot.com is always a rewarding experience. Second, Woot! only sells one product a day (except during woot-offs, but thats another matter), so if you don't like it, you just move on... no need to spend a lot of time digging around and seeing if its just the right thing. Woot always displays the product on the web site, just above the humorous rant, and helpfully maintains an open blog of user commentary on the current product to the right of the picture. This simple layout is very compelling for me, and has resulted in me clicking on the damn yellow button in a number of cases where I knew I probably shouldn't.
Microsoft Vista's Control Panel
It seems a rite of passage. With ever new generation of MS's Windows OS comes a "new and improved" Control Panel. Don't get me wrong - I know that there is some measure of change which is not only required, but positive. But it's important to keep in mind that the Control Panel represents the most fundamental controls of the Operating System that most Windows users are likely to ever see, and that changes to this design mandate changes to a user's understanding of how Windows works. Some changes are welcome, like the addition of new features. Other changes, the reclassification changes, are terribly frustrating because they serve no real purpose. Every new Windows release has some of both of these kinds of changes, but the "cleaner" Vista control panel adds an additional layer of obscurity by hiding all of the underlying changes within a new layer of applets. While at some level, these new classifications might have made sense to some people who were not familiar with any Windows OS, they simply make more complicated any operations that might be performed by those with even the most passing familiarity with the OS. What used to require only one or two layers of navigation to find might now take four, five, or even more to reach. Granted, the saving grace is the link that allows you to dispense with the "simple" classifications, but this also serves to highlight just how many completely unnecessary reclassifications were made at the base levels. I have yet to view Windows 7, but this will be, in my opinion, the single most important feature of the OS.
Though the technology has been around for more than five years, I believe that geo-location technologies have only really become affordable in the consumer world in the last five years. Currently GPS is used largely for consumer real-time street mapping and for consumer based emergency services, but its applications extend far beyond those. Cell-phone towers and IP addresses provide imperfect avenues to geo-location, but even so they are providing a world of new applications. If, however, your laptop, netbook, iphone, etc. had an accurate GPS unit which provided information which allowed a mapping or search application to know where you were exactly, you could find find out where the closest hardware store was that had the particular faucet you were looking for. Or, you could could find real-time information on your Facebook friends' whereabouts.
Many of these kinds of applications are filtering down to Joe Consumer, but in the next five years, there will be many more of them. The way that the given applications will work together could well change. Imagine if you could check you handheld and see where your family car was in traffic - you could make a call and have the driver make that stop at the grocery store. Or, if you're ordering your groceries on-line, you could verify your delivery address with the GPS unit.