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The Youth of Today


Pages: pp. 2-3

Like many of us with young children, I'm constantly amazed at the speed and ease with which they adopt new technology. My own children (aged four and seven)—motivated by the desire to log on to their favorite websites—could type their names long before they could write. They're as comfortable with mobile technology as fixed technology and enjoy location-based activities such as geocaching (, and the seven-year-old is also becoming a dab hand at programming in Scratch ( The contrast with past generations is stark—when I began my academic career, we were still teaching introductory courses to people who had never used a mouse before. This issue focuses on the new generation of "Connected Youth," and I'm pleased to see that the editors have assembled a collection of articles that describes work affecting a wide range of ages—from supporting collaborative reading between grandparents and grandchildren to technology in schools to the ubiquitous use of social networking among teenagers. My thanks to the guest editors for compiling such an excellent issue on the topic.

The way that today's youth interacts with technology also highlights the pace at which things change in our world. Of particular interest at the moment is the way youngsters will consume media in the future—specifically, the extent to which they'll view print as important. Although I happily read many documents online, I have yet to find an electronic reader that replicates the quality of reading experience print offers. That said, whereas many early e-readers didn't begin to match their print counterparts, the arrival of a new generation of systems, typified by Apple's iPad, signals that all this might be changing. Electronic publishing's role in the future of magazines such as IEEE Pervasive Computing is a topic of much discussion and I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter. Are you a firm believer in print? Would you rather have the magazine invest more resources in providing enhanced digital versions (the whole magazine is, of course, already available in its current form in the digital library)? We already know that different disciplines have different views on electronic publishing—it would be interesting to know how the views of the more youthful among us compare to those of the old hands. Send your thoughts on this matter to

In addition to the themed papers, this issue also features articles from our regular submission queue. In "Understanding Recording Technologies in Everyday Life," Michael Massimi and colleagues provide insights into how users perceive recording technologies—insights that developers can use to help inform the design of future pervasive computing systems. Two articles focus on smart space creation: "Practical Web-Based Smart Spaces" by Christian Prehofer and colleagues and "Space Matters: Physical-Digital and Physical-Virtual Codesign in inSpace" by Derek Reilly and his colleagues. These articles address very different aspects of the problem (system infrastructure and appropriate design based on social behavior patterns, respectively) and demonstrate the large amount of work that remains before the community can deliver widespread smart spaces.

The final two articles in this issue deal with sensor networks and the Internet of Things. The first, "Cooperative Beam Forming in Smart Dust: Getting Rid of Multihop Communications" by Antonis Kalis and Athanasios G. Kanatas, proposes a new system architecture for communicating with sensor networks, while the second, "A Collaborative Recommender System Based on Space-Time Similarities" by Mario Mu~oz-Organero and colleagues, considers how we can use the Internet of Things to help identify similar users as part of a recommender system.

Finally, I'd like to welcome Albrecht Schmidt to IEEE Pervasive Computing's editorial board (see sidebar for details). I hope you enjoy the issue—next issue, we'll focus on the use of pervasive computing in hostile environments.

New Editorial Board Member

Albrecht Schmidt is a full professor of pervasive computing and user interface engineering at the University of Duisburg-Essen. Prior to this, he was a professor of media informatics at the University of Bonn, head of department at Fraunhofer IAIS, senior researcher at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, a research associate at Lancaster University, and a research assistant at the University of Karlsruhe.

Schmidt has a Diplom from the University of Ulm, an MSc in computing from Manchester Metropolitan University, and a PhD in computer science from Lancaster University. His primary research interests are human-computer interaction and ubiquitous computing. His current work focuses on novel user interfaces, interaction techniques, and interactive applications in the context of mobile and ubiquitous computing.

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