March 16th, 2005

ETech Day 1

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Here are a few things I picked up on ETech Day 1

a) Daniel Hillis from Applied Minds demostrated some video clips with very cool user interface they developing. Looks like a huge LCD/Plasma on a table, it is able to display map, zooming in, out, pan and flip through ‘layers’ etc very intuitively. And another one that rendered the map into 3d – no really, into a 3 dimension object on the table that you can touch and feel! Damn, I was too stunned to take any photo then!


b) Richard Rashid from Microsoft Research demo a few research work they did. Telsa, a “Explorer” replacement inspired by some of the things happening in the blogging world – photo sharing, tags etc – couple with a Mac-like drag-and-drop interface. Cool! Spoke to Richard later and he said Telsa is so new that they have nothing on their website yet and this is the first time they show it in public.

Another nice demo they did is a 3D Sketching software they did with Cornell university. Basically, you use a TabletPC and draw some isometric images and it will rendered it into 3D. Ah, finally sometime really cool to use with a TabletPC that you can’t do on a normal PC.c) Gary Flake from Yahoo! Research reviewed Buzz, a game that is a fantasy prediction market for high-tech products, concepts, and trends. Think of it like a stock market for technology (instead of company) but you don’t deal with real money. (Would be more interesting if it is real money however :-)

d) George Dyson presented some slides titled Von Neumann’s Universe – documents recently retrieved from the storerooms of IBM on the early pioneer of computers which gives us a glimpse of the hackers and geeks from the 50s. Lots of stuff we use today (e.g. logic gates) and takes from granted (e.g. binary computation) are invented then and the notes and diagrams are there to show. Log books with scribbled notes from hackers with “Dilbert” sense of humors and letter from admins who complain these hackers need “adult supervision” as they consume too much sugar during tea break. Haha, Geeks are always geeks – sugar and getting on the wrong side of “authority” :-)

I got to get those slides!

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