Rayhan Hasan (RSH)

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Rayhan Hasan

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Personal Info

I am an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland, College Park; studying computer science.

I work part-time at the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS).

Here are some accounts that I have.

Ideas on interfaces

I enjoy using Reddit.com's interface

Reddit.com's interface

Reddit.com is a very simple website, where users may submit links to things that they find interesting. Other users then either 'upvote' or 'downvote' the story, depending on if they like it. The most favored links are then displayed on the front page of the website.

I like this website's interface because the webmasters have shown considerable restraint concerning the design of the website. It is sparsely decorated, and not at all flashy. This speaks to their philosophy that the user-submitted content is most important, and that the website itself is only a conduit. The design of the website does not distract the user at all from the user-submitted content.

I do not enjoy using Handbrake's interface

Handbrake's interface

Handbrake is a program that allows users to convert video from one format to another. It is especially useful for making videos that follow the standards required for playback on the iPhone or iPod Touch.

The program is available in two versions: command line, and graphical. The graphical version confronts the user with a block of options, with little in the way of hierarchy. The user is left to swim around the settings until they think they have set up the program correctly.

In addition, there is no way to take care of a batch of videos. One must add each video, set the settings, and add it to a queue. This system is not at all straight forward, and does not allow one configuration to be applied to more than one conversion at a time.

Users have asked for a batch processing feature in forums, and the developers have said that they are not considering implementing it. The stated reason is that each video encode needs different cropping and settings, and should therefore be configured separately. It's terribly frustrating.


The Impact of MP3s on Global Human Culture

Music, especially regional music, has been an integral part of human culture for all of recorded history. Many traditions were passed orally, in the form of songs. In the history of music, there have been two significant changes to the way human beings consume music, and both happened within 150 years of the present-day (2009).

First, in the late 1800s, phonographs became available to those who could afford them. Music no longer needed to be played live, as recordings could be bought and played back instead. This was the first time it was possible to have a collection of recorded music.

The second large-scale change in music consumption came in the early 2000s. Consumers realized that with an internet connection, they could simply download the music they wanted. In the last 5 years, this has changed the way that people think about their music collection; the technology prompts the user to consume more music. A traditional music consumer may have had one cherished Miles Davis recording, while a 'new' music consumer could have every album recorded by Miles Davis in under an hour. We are free to explore new genres of music, from any decade, from any part of the world. With the digital delivery systems currently in place (the iTunes Music Store and Rhapsody, to name a few), any style of music is within reach.

Human culture has been forever changed by the sudden avalanche of music that has been made available to us.