The Happy Birthday app is one simple and cute app I made (about 7 years ago) that uses the alternative interaction of blowing at the phone to put out birthday cake candles. One cool thing about this project was to actually use the “puffing” interaction for the first time. Also, I had the “joy” of noticing my first big ethnographic mistake: We published the “Feliz Cumpleãnos”, a Spanish version of this app for Latin America. I noticed download numbers in Mexico were not too great, as opposed to the ones in English and Portuguese. Months later I was in Mexico to talk in a developer conference and I heard people singing the song “Las Mañanitas” at a restaurant one night. My colleague (Ludwig Villareal) explained to me that people don’t sing happy
birthday in Mexico – they sing “Las Manãnitas”. A simple phone call to any Mexican person could have solved this. I started to take ethnography more seriously and it is actually *really* interesting. So many obvious mistakes can be easily avoided. Check out for some inspiration.

They say “never meet your heroes”…

…well they were wrong.

This is a late-late post (this was in NordiCHI’14), but I just had to write something about it. Dr. Norman (chillin’ with me in the picture) is basically the icon for user-centered technology. The Design of Everyday Things (originally POET) is an awesome book and it changed the way I was doing my job.


Thanks Don, I hope we meet again!

Keeping up with 2014… oh wait..

I feel I have been out most of 2014. It was a full year and I feel justified on my absence from the blog.

Here is a list of checkpoints I should/will? narrate in the following posts:

  • Presented at Multimedia HCI (MHCI) in Prague, Czech;
  • Got Married <3
  • Honeymooned in NYC, Mexico (various cities) and Toronto
  • Presented at MobileHCI2014 in Toronto, Canada
  • Presented at NordiCHI2014 (met Donald Norman there) in Helsinki, Finland
  • Presented at ASSETS2014 in Rochester, NY
  • Presented at SIGGRAPH Asia 2014 in Shenzen, China

Most of these presentations were related to non-verbal communications in mobile devices.

I will share more in the near future. Stay tuned 🙂

My pants saying “to go”

Non-verbal is all I think about these days. As some of my work is under revision, I will refrain from sharing too much at this point..

..But I really enjoyed visiting (recommended by carlos rosas) and seeing this post


Clothing really communicates non-verbally.  🙂

I am hoping to associate clothing/wearable-computers/non-verbal communication. Maybe present new possibilities on this through design fiction.



Human-Computer Interaction – Campus Party 2014 – M-Inclusion

Hello All,

It seems this is my first post this year. Sigh.
I will work on my posting rhythm, promise.

This was a talk I gave in M-Inclusion Panel at Campus Party. M-Inclusion is a Support Action, co-funded by the European Commission under the FP7, with the aim to create a cooperative framework between European and Latin American mobile solution developers and entities. The objective is to encourage the use and growth of innovative, user-oriented, and affordable mobile solutions in order to promote social integration among people at risk of exclusion.

They invited me to share some of the findings we collected from our experiments on Mobile HCI. Thank you Telefonica and Polytechnic University of Valencia for the event!

Campus Party 2014 – Brasil – Human-Computer Interaction – M-Inclusion

Brigadeiro candy video is out!

This is a short video created and produced by Deborah Nogueira. I was kindly invited to participate by doing the drawings on chocolate mini-drops. We hang a Nokia Lumia 920 on the top of a kitchen table and I sat outside the video frame, reaching my arm to do the drawings.
The video tells the story of how the brigadeiro candy was created. Fun stuff!


Comfort Zone

I just had to reblog this.
I am looking forward to taking the comfort zone concept to materialized software pretty soon. Stay tuned.
Also, I really dig Savage Chickens

My rubber duck’s recorder.

On the way home after the first post on this blog, I was thinking that in a short while there is a huge chance that the things I write here will get embarrassingly obsolete. There is also a huge chance that the words I write here have not the same weight as they do in my head.

There is a code debugging method in programming called Rubber Ducking. Let’s say the programmer is trying to find what is wrong with his code. He has written the code based in a certain logic, which makes perfect sense in his head, and “there is absolutely no reason why it would not work”. After various line-by-line scanning attempts, him and a rubber duck, will have a serious sit down, where the programmer will tell the duck what is trying to do and how he is trying to do it. In details.

The process of speaking to an inanimate object will give the programmer the chance to listen to himself and perceive the dissonance between his actions and beliefs. And find the bug.

I wish this blog will be my rubber duck on the conceptual technology thoughts that rise while in reverie.

Paving the way for the short-film : branding


I get very excited every time I see an argument that supports the idea of this short-film I’m working on.

Without mentioning what it is about, I want to start making sense of it by throwing here some posts found elsewhere to equip forthcoming debates.

Here is  why branding is an artifact of the past, by Brian Millar. In this post, he compares branding to “flat-earth theory” 🙂

Some important quotes (the bolding was up to me):

In Mary Poppins, we learn about Mr. Banks, the children’s father, and what he does for a living.

“He sat on a large chair in front of a large desk and made money. All day long he worked, cutting out pennies and shillings and half-crowns and threepenny-bits. And he brought them home with him in his little black bag.”

It’s a charming way to describe something that only a small child, and possibly Robert Mugabe, could ever believe: That you can make money by literally making money.

Yet many people seem happy to apply this Mary Poppins logic to branding: Brands are valuable, so you need to go to work to make brands. There’s a category mistake at work here. Money isn’t valuable because the paper it’s made of is valuable. It’s valuable because we all agree it’s valuable. Society creates that value, not the printing presses or the mints or the chaps in storybooks who cut pound notes out with scissors.

So we go to work to make things and do stuff that people value, and are willing to pay money for. Similarly, to build a brand your organization needs to do and say things that people find valuable.

But it’s consumers who create the value intrinsic in brands: We all judge companies by the things they say, the things they do, and how those two things match up.

Another one:

But the more we understand about the way that consumers make choices, the less brand thinking and traditional brand-tracking research make sense. Brand tracking often makes artificial distinctions for consumers that really don’t model the way we make a buying decision. They ask things like: Does A wash whites better than B? Which performs best on coloured clothes? They rarely give consumers an option that says, Meh. I just don’t care.

And this:

So the classic simplified branding model, where you make a promise, deliver on the promise, and then repeat the process, actually worked pretty well. Now the situation is a lot more complicated. Consumers don’t just form opinions in their own minds any more. Instead, we have conversations. And one vociferous consumer who, say, writes a song about your airline can earn a louder voice than the biggest brand can buy. So brands are even less of a property than they used to be.

It seems branding is overrated these days. Keep it somewhere you won’t forget 🙂