ETech Day Two… (*very* rough notes)

Nat strolled though some of the rationale for this year’s ETech before handing off to Stanford’s John McCarthy – the inventor of lisp!

Steve cousins, an open source platform for personal robotics…willow garage is an R&D lab for non-miltary robotics
. impact before capital. components include navigation, object recognition, object map, manipulation. domesticon bot poses an existential threat to my mum!

kathy sierra asked the audience to tell the person next to them what they really really wanted to be good at! how can we surpass dabbling and get a high-res of experience in a new field. neurogenesis and neuroplasticity implies it’s not about natural talent but ability to put in the time to practice, focus and concentrate. real experitiuse is less about what they know but what they do; chess masters can recall the patterns on a board. 9 expertise hacks… mirror neurons allow us to visualise or run simulations of another person’s brain (direct observation) reduce the interference or mental chatter. time between interruptions is too short…we can;t lose the ability for intense concentration and putting in the hours.

Tom Coates’ talk on ‘Ride the Fire Eagle: Open Location for All’ driven by the need for a back end for ubiquitous computing, decoupling the creation and usage of location data. Fire Eagle enables location to be broadcast to a platform which brokers this data to other applications for permission control. dopplr is one of the first partners, supplying data that can broker location to other apps via fire eagle. spimes and sensors indicate some of the vectors that location can be drawn from.

peter semmelhack of buglabs (also an eComm speaker) speaking about the long taol of gadgets, what they refer to as ‘community electronics’. LEGO mindstorms represents an OS for innovation in hardware…LEGO factory is one of the models for BUG. Most interestingly Peter demonstrated the BUG development environment. Pluggin in the base baord shows visually which modules are available as well as their scriptable properties. Each module produces a web service, abstracting a lot of the functionality, making for example the camera addressable by a URL (to retreieve the image)

talked to mehrshad and peter about european activities

bumped into gina, talked about oscon’s mobile track and how well ecomm’s doing – gnat manhugged me and i said hi to evan from brickhouse while picking his brain on eComm and  microhoo! 🙂

project sunspot – basic three layer device with a battert, processor board with radio and a sensor board that’s application specific (accelerometer, light, temperature, push buttons, LEDs, analig inputs, speakers etc) demos include autonomous light air vehicles. automated helicopter piloted by sunspot drops another sunspot at a programmed location! also using sunspots to track ccondiions of sun’s blackbox in transit!

came across scott varland of ITP and between sessions 🙂

visualisation, beyond the RSS lava lamp (J.C.Herz) moving beyond beauty of visualisation to looking at utility of visualisation – what’s the purpose? some principles…don’t show everything right now – what’s actionable and what matters – tracicalt precision and strategic sloppiness. what’s a useful question? how do yo ask new questions? avoid being decor!

narrative vs hypothesis generation and testing – surfacing consequnces of the data (legislators and relationships to various parties). what’re the impictions of scale and resolution, situating urself in data, broad/deep, trend analysis, statis or dynamic alerts, speed of data pipette/firehose, highly dimensional data demands choices

demo of tripledex ‘necklace’ no more than 100 dots on screen, visualising relationships between rael and other entities – number of connections and affinity (number between 2 entities). high affinity, low connectivity reveals clustering (e.g. pattern of coinvesments between silicon alley VCs)

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