Shirky on HistoryFlow / Wattenburg / reinventing email / Microsoft Longhorn

Clay has a commentary on HistoryFlow, an IBM research piece that visualises change in collaboratively-authored content, mentioned (in a rather shallow fashion) here previously.

I hadn’t realised that data-visualisation-diety Martin Wattenberg was involved.

More Wattenburg:

The IBM profile lists a couple of things I didn’t know – that he is a doctor of mathematics, rather than having a training in interaction design or art; and that project of his there is “reinventing email”: a recurring mental note of mine at the moment. Judging [harshly] by what seem to be none-too-recently published screenshots on the IBM site, nothing particularly revolutionary there yet.

Over at the Guardian Onlineblog, they trail some new screenshots of Microsoft’s XP-replacement, codenamed Longhorn.

Longhorn-watching is an enthusiasm of mine, and some of the mocked-up/leaked screenshots have featured novel interfaces for email and personal information management… but as Jack Schofield says it’ll be 3 years till it sees daylight.

3 years to reinvent email…

I’d love to see a HistoryFlow type approach to my inbox, or even Ben Fry’s Valence. Maybe not as a primary task interface, but perhaps as an attract/nag mode, with some Bayesian magic bubbling up the topics and people I most need to get back to, as well as defending me from the offers of masculine enhancement.

That might be cool for my desktop / studyscreen – however, I get the feeling that interfaces which rely on visualisation-fireworks won’t work so well on the mobile devices that we’ll get more used to wanting to fetch our email from in coming years.

Any other contenders you know about / want to speculate on?

0 thoughts on “Shirky on HistoryFlow / Wattenburg / reinventing email / Microsoft Longhorn”

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