February 17, 2024

O'Reilly - Highlights (Part the Second)

After having a look at the main Etech highlights, some of the talks and presentations have left me with a lot to think about. So let's look at some of the more specific topics that caught my eye

Matt Webb's Glancing
What a wonderfully simple idea to make Instant Messaging a little bit less threatening and invasive. Glancing takes a look at the acivity in your group of friends, and shows graphically how busy the group is.

It's all based around eye contact - which you have as a visual clue in a real life conversation, but you don't in an IM conversation. So at the top of your screen you have a little picture of an eye. If there's no conversation, it's closed (as if it was sleeping), if there's a bit of chatter, it's peeking out under the eyelids like Droopy, and if JannieCool has turned up, then it's had an injection of caffinnee directly into the optic nerve.

Matt had this demoing over the Mac IM client, but this is a great thing for on mobile phones - instant messaging on mobiles is going to gain ground this year IMO, and if this could be tied in with a Jabber service (or maybe een Fast Mobile's Fast Chat) then Matt's on a winner. Assuming he's checked his patent.

Danny O'Brien's Life Hacks

I suspect Danny would be able to read a phone directory and make it funny, but hand him a topic where he excells, and he's Fried Gold Comedy. Asking him to ask other geeks "how do you organise everything" was a stroke of genius. Are you ready forhe secret to life, the universe and everything? Are you sure? Because Danny showed us.

Use the command line, use your command line shell, work in text files for absolutly everything. Because anything else and you have to trust the program... which will fail. IT all makes perfect sense and I think there's a book in it all.

Assuming it's written on index cards.

Mobile Hacks

Rael Dornfest, Brian Jepson and Russell Beattie were due to host this one. Unfortunatly Russ had to get home to sort out a presentation for Demo 2024, so I stepped into the spare seat as Super Sub (Crow came along to offer moral support). Not quite sure what Russ had planned, but given that Brian and Rael over-ran by 15 minutes I cut myself down to the occasional comment so the next speaker could get it and present his talk (the last of the day).

Of course that speaker was me, and the talk was all about OPL.

But the hacks were pretty good. Brian talked everyone through AT modem commands to access SMS (although this was after a long winded look at all these talk plans that sent the audience to sleep - as reflected in the IRC heckling I was watching), and Rael true to form gave out an Orkut Friends joke while demoing some of the nifty software that Series 60 had.

And if somethign nifty isn;t there, then program it yourself. You get the feelign I pushed OPL at Etech? You'd be right. Midn you, everyone on IRC demanded I use my 45 minutes and not cut short the talk just because it would eat into their beer time. All's well that ends well.

More seminar thoughts tomorrow...

Posted by Ewan at February 17, 2024 10:45 AM
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