Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Health Informatics Blog moved to

March 28, 2013 1 comment

WordPress has been a wonderful platform for helping me get used to the ins and outs of blogging. However, I have recently consolidated my website and blog into my grant writing & consulting website at  Please visit the blog there:

Categories: Uncategorized

Ambient Computing: convenient, but do we need to be concerned? We certainly need to understand what it is.

Ambient, pervasive, and ubiquitous computing have been seen as the key to a future where people in an almost effortless way can do incredible things by means of technology they do not perceive.
Ambient computing is currently a field in strong development with many applications. It is about moving computing capabilities to constantly and seamlessly adapt configurations of technology to changing situations and needs. Key issues in ambient computing include:
• Invisibility, e.g. that computing is embedded in other everyday objects
• Construction, e.g. that new possibilities can be obtained by putting existing components together.
• Heterogeneity, e.g. that components should function in many fundamentally different contexts and configurations.
• Change, e.g. reflecting that the needs and the technologies are changing continuously.
• Scalability, e.g. that solutions that work with few users and in a limited context, should also work in almost unlimited contexts.
However, as articulated on the site for the Workshop in Ambient Computing in Aarhus Denmark, from a critical perspective this vision of ambient computing is problematic because it leaves the users without control and because the focus most often is on efficient and smart gadgets as such. Only in very few cases is the focus of ambient computing on systems supporting people in understanding what is going on at the level they choose, and supporting them in suggesting courses of action rather than acting automatically. There seems to be a need for a balanced view emphasizing how ambient systems need to be visible, how they can be deconstructed, how coherence can be achieved, how they can provide stability and understandability, and in particular how users can stay in control when dealing with a huge number of autonomous components.
Furthermore, there is room for both deeper and broader perspectives on the consequences of ambient computing technologies. How can such technologies enhance the quality of life, in work settings, in the home, in healthcare, etc? Do ambient technologies generate specific social, psychological or cultural challenges that we have to be concerned with? Which new theoretical, conceptual, analytical, or empirical perspectives do ambient technologies create a call/need for? Do researchers in ambient computing have a specific social responsibility? Whereas some of the established critical perspectives, e.g. in participatory design, have been caught or absorbed in the mainstream and thereby lost their critical edge, ambient computing may be the new battleground for a revitalized critical agenda.
We need to think about that.

EU Site eYouGuide

EU’s eYouGuide

The European Union Directorate-General for Health and Consumers has created the eYou Guide to inform consumers about their rights online. It offers advice to consumers on how they can make their web experience better and safer, explaining rights and responsibilities in a question and answer format organized within Actions (i.e. “Uploading”, “Shopping Online”..) or Topics (“Protecting Privacy”, “Being Informed)..). The site has an informal look and the text is easy to read and understand. In describing its mandate there is a caveat that, due to its informal nature, the information given in this website may not be fully accurate and that it does not aim at being exhaustive. Even so, this is a useful site for reference, because the internet is global and it is not always evident what one’s rights and responsibilities are, particularly with regard to legal questions surrounding copyright and intellectual property. Links to official documentation are provided as “Related Links”.

The site was described in a press release on May 9, 2009:
“The European Commission today launched the eYouGuide, a new online tool giving practical advice on the “digital rights” consumers have under EU law. This guide, which responds to a call from the European Parliament in 2007, addresses consumer issues like the rights towards your broadband provider, shopping on the web, downloading music and protecting your personal data online and on social networking sites. Even though 48.5% of EU households have a broadband internet connection, a new Eurobarometer survey shows that a lack of confidence still holds many consumers back from online transactions. Only 12% of EU web users feel safe making transactions on the internet, while 39% of EU internet users have major doubts about safety, and 42% do not dare carry out financial transactions online. 65% of internet users in the EU do not know where to get information and advice about cross-border shopping in the EU. A third of consumers would consider buying online from another country because it is cheaper or better, but only 7% actually do so. Giving consumers clear information about their rights will increase trust and help unlock the full economic potential of Europe’s single online market, worth at 106 billion Euros in revenues.”