A bit late to the debate but,
Take this if from a comp.sci student (I don't do HCI, but it's more important than my expected profession)....Respect the work of others, especially from outside your profession. You might be smart, but subject knowledge often matters more. Secondly I enjoy software and computers - so if it talks to me. Yay!. But really most people don't.
Context switches for humans are _extremely_ slow and can cause _errors_!. Humans have to rethink some number of 'instructions' earlier when switching back.
Abstractions and models are everywhere in programming, the same goes for reasoning about human thinking. If you model human thinking as a continuous stream of thoughts (many other metaphors work surprisingly well), imagine the harm done when something requires attention and interrupts the stream.
Anything moving or changing requires a context switch, if noticed. If it requires interaction you just lost at least 1 min. And the point of notifications is, well being noticed ;).