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Gnomedex 8.0 Day 2 – Saturday Afternoon Sessions

by Steve Fisher on August 28, 2008

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After another great lunch and conversations in the hallway, we began the final afternoon session of discussions. If it was anything like yesterday, it shouldn’t disappoint.

Jon Malkin of Vocal Joystick

Jon works with user interfaces and there is no easy way to describe this session other that a really cool way to interface with a computer. With the use of vocal tones he was able to program the mouse cursor do all kinds of things and when used in combination he was actually able to play a video game. All everyone talked about how this could do amazing things for disabled individuals to interact with a computer when they never could in the past.

The Hubble Project (not the telescope)

The Hubble Project was presented by Arvind Krishnamurthy and Ethan Katz-Bassett. Hubble helps find black holes across the internet. Specifically, looking at why some websites become persistently unreachable. A black hole is when paths are available to a web server, but traffic persistently does not reach the server. So how long do black holes last? According to a 3 week study start 9/17/2007, 31,000 black holes involving 10,000 network had 60% last more than 2 hours each.

For more information, check out the website and to see it working go to http://hubble.cs.washington.edu

Boxee

Gnomedex 2008 Seattle

Dave Mathews is serial entrepreneur having served as the Forward Thinker at Sling Media, identifying consumer trends leading to the development of the latest in digital media products. Prior to Sling, Dave was handpicked by the former chairman of Radio Shack as the Director, Product Innovation to develop their modern home strategy. Before joining Radio Shack, he was co-founder of Digital:Convergence – creator of the CueCat – a first-ever consumer barcode reader, distributed through Forbes, Wired, Parade and Nielsen Media publications.

He is the “user experience guy” at boxee and a consumer product expert, specializing in the convergence of digital entertainment devices. Boxee is essentially an open source version of Apple TV that allows you to put it on any kind of hardware. It is currently in Alpha and I just got an invite to try it out. I will do a review in a future post.

Mars 3.0 with Scott Maxwell

Gnomedex 2008 Seattle
Wouldn’t it be cool to drive the Mars Rover? Scott Maxwell does it every day. He talked about the evolution of going to Mars in its 1.0 and 2.0 iterations. He clued us into why the rovers have gone so far past their 90 day mission – they expected to have the solar panels covered in dust making it inoperable but they didn’t anticipate high winds that would clean them.

Scott’s goal for the presentation was this:

“Ultimately, my goal is to ask the audience to help design the future of space exploration — what I’m calling, admittedly with a certain bias, “Mars 3.0.” How could NASA use the Net not just to communicate better with the public but to actually enable the public to meaningfully participate in this grand adventure? To help the audience help me, I start with some background about JPL’s role within NASA, summarize how Mars 1.0 and Mars 2.0 worked, and describe how we drive the Mars rovers today. Then I discuss some of the legal, contractual, and practical restrictions on involving the general public in our mission. Finally, I’ll invite the audience to suggest approaches and help solve some of the problems that currently stand in the way of Mars 3.0.”

He showed beautiful pictures of the Martian Landscape and blew people away with pictures of wispy clouds that you would have thought was taken right here on earth. He showed Mars moons eclipsing the sun, how far the sun was and how small it was compared to what we see on earth.

Then came the little yellow dot.

At the end of his presentation he showed a picture of a small yellowish dot. I thought it was another picture of the sun, but it was a picture of earth. Sounding like the Heir Apparent to Carl Sagan, he had the audience in complete silence as he said “everyone we know, we love and ever met, all our wars, our disagreements are on what Carl Sagan calls that Pale Blue Dot”. It brought chills to me and everyone in the room and showed us for that moment how things we think are so important are so insignificant in a huge universe that is just waiting to be explored.

He finished and then…

HE GOT THE FIRST STANDING OVATION FOR GNOMEDEX 2008 and the SECOND IN GNOMEDEX HISTORY. This picture below shows it. It was awesome and would compete with any presentation given at TED. It was very cool to be a part of this kind of history.
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BugLabs Overview with Jeremy Toeman

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Jeremy said he had a hard act to follow after Scott’s presentation, but he didn’t disappoint. He talked about the past history of hardware and its closed environments. He showed of the modular systems from Bug Labs which are different kinds of modules that can be programmed to do certain things and joined together to perform even more powerful functions.

Here is a link to his presentation slides and video of his presenation on the Bug Labs site.

He also announced a contest for everyone at Gnomedex and watching to come up with their own use of the Bug Labs components. It is located here. Enter (here) by Friday, 8/29. Reps from Bug Labs and Gnomedex will review the submissions, and pick the winners!

Gnomedex 2008 is a wrap

With a final session of Ignite Seattle! we are done. Some closing thoughts in my final post.

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