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Embedded versus portable interfaces for personalizing shared ubiquitous devices

Figure 1. The "best pick" interface suggests the document (or documents in the case of the printer) the user is most likely to want to use on the PIP-enhanced device (left). Selecting the thumbnail causes a device-specific action to be performed on the document (present for the projector, open for the plasma display, and print for the printer). The user may also select "More" to explore other resources in their file history (right). The left frame allows users to filter the file list in the middle frame. Selecting columns in the middle frame sorts the list and selecting a file causes the right frame to display actions applicable to the selected file, its name and thumbnail, and other file details. The PIP web application then generates the personal interface by fetching and resolving the shortcuts stored in the user's recent file list on their PC. The PIP presents a "best pick" interface with the recent file (or files) the user is most likely to want to use at the PIP-enhanced device (Figure 1 left). The user may then perform a default action (such as present, open, or print), by selecting the document's thumbnail using the touch-screen provided by the embedded PIP. Files are accessed over the network from their original locations, so users needn't plan ahead or copy files anywhere. If the best pick interface does not contain the user's desired document, the user can press the "More" button to bring up the "full" interface (Figure 1 right). This allows the user to access virtually any document (via the device) that they have ever accessed on their office PC. 3.1.2 The portable interface For the portable interface, users point their portable Web browsers at the PIPs homepage. Selecting a PIP-enhanced device from the homepage activates the portable PIP for that device. Standard browser authentication is used to login users. Once authenticated, the PIP application fetches and resolves the user's recent file list in the same way it does for the embedded interface. While we strove to keep the embedded and portable interfaces as similar as possible, we were forced to miniaturize the interface and make other minor modifications for portable devices with small displays, such as Pocket PCs. For instance, the "full" interface (Figure 1 right) was split into two pages: one for the main file list and another to show selected file details. However, the most notable difference comes after a file has been selected for presentation, brainstorming, or printing. Users of the embedded interface can use the touch screen, keyboard, and mouse attached to the device to perform subsequent actions on the device. However, in the portable case, the user may not be close enough to the shared device to control it directly, so we created a simple "remote control" interface to emulate the functions available on the shared device.