The New Biskerrific

Hi folks –

Welcome to the new biskerrific.com!

For those who don’t know me, I’m Solomon Bisker. I’m a lot of things, but by training I’m a computer scientist. I’ve been a computer scientist in some form or another for as long as I can remember – but since 2005 or so, I’ve specialized in a growing subfield called human-computer interaction (HCI), which deals with all matters of how technology can be better built and designed for people to use. More specifically, since 2007 I’ve been practicing “interaction design” (IxD), an even younger field – IxD tries to combine technical studies with studio design techniques to discover ways to seamlessly integrate technology into everyday life. That’s a pretty vague definition, but since the field is so young (the phrase “interaction design” itself was only coined in 1989), a better one would be its own entry. In fact, the more I explore it, the more I realize that my concepts of what defines interaction design are shifting under me.

This website is a way for me to try to keep up with the ground below me, by forcing me to write down my thoughts and observations, and by letting me periodically put my understanding of the field into perspective to discuss with others.

It will also serve as a way to share my experiences with my friends back in Boston, who after seven years (and two degrees) I’ll be leaving this August as I move to Pittsburgh. Why Pittsburgh? Aside from a masochistic love of snow, I’m heading back to school there to formally study interaction design. Specifically, I’ll be pursing a Masters of Tangible Interaction Design (MTID) through Carnegie Mellon’s School of Architecture, which I anticipate finishing in December 2010. What is “tangible” interaction design, then? That’s a good question – but I’ll have to leave it to a seperate entry.

For those who already know me, you may remember the old version of biskerrific.com. You may also be looking at this website, and thinking, “Gee, it sure looks a lot like the old version of biskerrific.com. You didn’t even change the Gumby picture. Does just adding a blog make this the “new” biskerrific.com?”

Well, in short, yes. ;) Though let me explain. The old biskerrific.com was nice, but I must confess that it was thrown together in a 72-hour coding marathon, in hopes of find a job at my first human-computer interaction conference (CHI2007). In a lot of ways, it reflected my “coming out” as a designer – my first attempt at presenting my work visually, in a way that could compliment my regular resume (and my traditional engineering skills). Over time, I’ve polished that site into something presentable – but I could still feel that it still didn’t reflect who I was as a person.

A lot has happened in the two short years since I launched biskerrific.com, but chief among them has been the realization that much of my understanding of design – and really, life in general – comes from sharing it with others. So I thought a blog might be a nice way to share my thoughts with the world – and would help transition this page from a plain ol’ portfolio page that talks about past accomplishments, to a place that helps capture and encourage the thoughts that ultimately shape who I am and what my work will become.

So that’s that. Please let me know what you think of things – and I’ll be keeping a blog roll of other interesting blogs that I follow, to which suggestions are more than welcome. Thanks for swinging by!

-Sol

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