Today Nancy Scola introduced me to a delightfully quirky character named Carl Malamud in her June 13, 2010 article entitled “Washinton’s IT Guy” in The American Prospect. So impressed was I by her description that I visited Mr. Malamud’s website Public.Resource.Org where I found a link to this video. In this amusing and informative presentation, Mr. Malamud describes his 10 rules for radicals and relates the story of his mission to make “Government Information More Accessible.”
Oh, by the way, in case you are wondering about the title of this post, it comes from Ms. Scola’s article. Here’s the quote:
Malamud, who has made a career of exploring and developing the transformative technology of the latter 20th and early 21st centuries, was eager to convert the job of public printer, which traces its roots to Benjamin Franklin, into an Internet-age publisher. He started a campaign for an appointment under the slogan “Yes We Scan.”
Though I’m sure there’ll be reservations about this development, I can hardly wait for it to be available. Having already connected my HDTV to my computer via HDMI cable, I already appreciate what the bigger, clearer screen means to using the computer. Being able to use the computer to find and watch TV shows with the power of Internet search technology is a far cry from the days when my father would tell my mother to “change the channel” — and she would do it compliantly.
I only hope I live long enough to see it and that it isn’t so expensive that I can’t afford it.
Another digital photography resource that I’ve used for a long time is Digital Photography Review. The various topic specific forums (fora?) on that site are a wonderful way to delve deeply into a subject of interest and profit from the experiences of others. Sites like these two and a multitude of others illustrate how the computer can be a patient educator, in addition to its more common use (for many) as a source of entertainment. As I think Yogi Berra is reported to have said, “You can observe a lot by watching.”
Instead of sending my friends links and suggestions that they watch this kind of content, I’m taking Leo Laporte up on the opportunity to embed his content here on this site. TWIT (This Week in Tech) is frequently interesting and almost always informative. I enjoy watching it even if some of my more tech savvy friends may look down their noses at it.
I have just created a free basic subscription at Vimeo. Running the HD video there through my HDTV is stunningly spectacular. Even it you never upload a video there, it is worth creating an account just to be able to save your favorites from this fount of creativity and beautiful imagery. Here’s one example.
I recommend that you click on the button at the bottom right of the video (with the arrows pointing to the four corners of your screen) to cause it to display in full screen mode. It warrants every pixel you are willing to devote to it.
This video is one of many HD videos available at Vimeo.
Last night I attended a board meeting where in an attempt to discuss some financial issues several of us huddled around one fellow’s laptop to try and see the spreadsheet he had worked on. He had done a nice job on the spreadsheet … I’m sure. And if we could have seen it, I’m also sure we would have all been duly impressed and greatly enlightened. However what that experience impressed on me was that even with a group as small as four, huddling around a computer monitor to try to look at content is at best unsatisfactory and at worst a frustrating waste of time. That’s why I’m excited about a solution I’ve found to that problem.
Take a look at this 69 second video demonstration of what I’m talking about.
As you may suspect from watching the video, my original reason for wanting to show my PC screen on my computer monitor had nothing to do with the problem I encountered at the board meeting last night. Originally I wanted to take advantage of those times when my computer was displaying my screen saver by having my big screen HD TV in my great room serve as a ginormous digital picture frame, cycling through my collection of photographs. But what I realized last night at the board meeting was that it would be a great solution for that issue too. I had previously thought of it primarily as a decorative scheme for my house that I am remodeling but now I can see it as being utilitarian too.
The technology involved is the InternetVue IV-2020 receiver. This device connects to the computer wirelessly but it must be plugged into the TV on which you wish to display the image. There are both video and audio connections that you attach to the TV. If your network router is close enough to the InternetVue wireless receiver, you can connect them directly with an Ethernet cable. I’m sure that is the most desirable way to make the connection since it eliminates the vagaries of the intermittent strength of the wireless signal to the network. So I expect to make that change when the renovation is closer to the end.
Another way I’ve anticipated using this setup is to demonstrate things in an instructional setting. It would also be awesome if I could get GotoMeeting to project onto the TV for a group. Had I discovered this tool last year, I would surely have used it as a digital scoreboard and feedback display for the call center I ran. The cost is minimal and the payoff in what you can display is high. It would have been very helpful and I regret I didn’t think of it then. For a couple of hundred bucks you can use all of that TV screen real estate to show a blown up version of you PC’s display. While I’m sure this isn’t the only way to accomplish this goal, and maybe it’s not even the best way, but it does work.
When you comment on one of my blog posts, if you should ever do so, you’ll note that Echo is now enabled on this site. This video interview by Robert Scoble of Khris Loux the co-founder of JS-Kit will explain what Echo is and how it works.
It might be worth making a comment just to see how it works!
You may remember that I wondered a couple of days ago whether you were permitted to and if so, how you might go about setting up more than one Twitter account. The answer, as I read the service agreement, is that it is permitted primarily because it is not expressly prohibited. My reason for wanting to know that information was so that if it were legal and possible, I wanted to create an account to post updates on my friend Paul Moor’s condition. I have now done that. It is called FriendsofPaule and it is open for anyone who chooses to do so to follow.
I was able to get around the fact that Twitter wants a “different” email address for each Twitter account you create by using Gmail’s flexibility. Gmail permits you to append a suffix, for instance, “+ TwitterPaule” between your email username and the domain name, i.e. Gmail.com, and still Gmail will treat it as if that suffix wasn’t there. There are many clever uses of that feature, but for yesterday’s obstacle, that did the trick. So I created the feed for informing Paul’s friends of any “little bits” of news I might have about him as illustrated in the following photo.
Two of the three of those so-called “tweets” are exactly 140 characters long which is the maximum allowed. I enjoyed immensely thinking to name myself, the author of that feed, Paul’s amanuensis because that is essentially what role I am performing. At the moment he can’t access, or possibly even absorb, Twitter, but as his amanuensis, I can convert what he tells me into tweets. And thus his friends, if they should be challenged to cite on what authority they may have declared something to do with Paule, may simply say a little birdy told them so.