Martin Porcheron


Summing and Averaging the Length of WAV files

I recently collected a corpus of audio recordings from peoples’ homes and wanted to calculate summative statistics for the collected audio. There doesn’t seem to be an easy way to do this across many files, and so I built a quick Bash script to do this for me.

The script requires the sox command (installed with the SOund eXchange). SOund eXchange is available on macOS and installable with Homebrew with the command brew install sox.

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Collecting and Sharing Photos and Notes on Android

In 2015 I was fortunate to visit the University of Southern Denmark and undertake an exciting project with Andrés Lucero. We set out to explore something that combined our interests in a fun and engaging way; my focus is on how individuals use mobile devices, and his work focused on the use of mobile devices in collaborative task completion.

Together, we designed and built a prototype mobile application for use by designers to collect and organise sources of inspiration, and later share them in a group. The ideas for the design came from both research by others on collecting inspirational sources, chronological organising of design projects, and good research on how people hold and interact with mobile devices.

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CSCW ’17 Workshop: Talking with Conversational Agents in Collaborative Action

I’m co-organising a workshop on Talking with Conversational Agents in Collaborative Action at CSCW ’17 in Portland, Oregon, on 25th or 26th February 2017. Submission due date: 20th December 2016.


This one-day workshop intends to bring together both academics and industry practitioners to explore collaborative challenges in speech interaction. Recent improvements in speech recognition and computing power has led to conversational interfaces being introduced to many of the devices we use every day, such as smartphones, watches, and even televisions. These interfaces allow users to get things done, often by just speaking commands, relying on a reasonably well understood single-user model. While research on speech recognition is well established, the social implications of these interfaces remain underexplored, such as how we socialise, work, and play around such technologies, and how these might be better designed to support collaborative collocated talk-in-action. Moreover, the advent of new products such as the Amazon Echo, which are positioned as supporting multi-user interaction in collocated environments such as the home, makes exploring the social and collaborative challenges around these products, a timely topic. In the workshop, we will review current practices and reflect upon prior work on studying talk-in-action and collocated interactions. We wish to begin a dialogue that takes on the renewed interest in research on spoken interaction with devices, grounded in the existing practices of the CSCW community.

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ACM SIGCHI Template with CSL-based Referencing

Mendeley is, probably, the best reference manager I’ve found (not aiming high). It’s not the best – it’s interface is annoying inconsistent with the operating system and itself, its highlighting is incompatible with Preview in OS X, and its Apple Pencil support is woeful (and so on). Frankly, most of these problems were solved with Papers — but Papers seems to be laden with bugs. So Mendeley it is.

Mendeley’s support for reference formats is rather good – it adopts the CSL format, and the results are mostly good. Unfortunately, the ACM 2016 SIGCHI template hosted by Zotero, and linked to in Mendeley, is wrong in three key ways:

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Using Mobile Phones in Pub Talk

In May 2013 I was presenting an idea for my PhD to fellow PhD students and academic staff (more on what my PhD has turned into in a future blog post). In the presentation I talked about mobile phone use as problematic, I recalled literature, I said this was proof and motivation for me to get on with design in this space; let’s solve all the problems (and other overly ambitious PhD objectives).

Using Mobile Phones in Pub TalkThe presentation went well, I thought, but then came the questions. The first question was “So what do people do with mobile phones when they’re socialising that is so problematic?”. A simple question, perhaps, but at the time I stumbled. Truth be told, I had no idea what people actually did, and certainly didn’t know what was interactionally problematic. My first study was decided there and then. A year or so later I submitted my first paper, designed to answer exactly this.

I set out to identify what people did when using a mobile phone while they were talking in a pub with friends. To find this out, I recruited groups of friends to go to the pub so I could record them socialising. As well as learning a lot about research, I also found out some things. Obviously, this is not a “universal truth” of all mobile phone use in pubs, but it hopefully provides some reflections given the steady stream of rhetoric about mobile phone use in pubs.

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