Final Day – Future visions

It is always amazing to me how fast this week goes. Saturday came and went, and I am flying home today. I went to two sessions and then spent the rest of the day on the show floor, deciding to skip my last planned session. This ultimately was the right decision, as I got time to see people and booths in more detail.

The first session I went to was on creating eBooks without pulling your hair out.

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My simplistic expectation was that this session was going to focus on Apple’s iBooks, I am so glad that I was wrong. Serenity Caldwell, an associate editor at MacWorld Magazine, and the editor of many of their Super Guides, went thru the workflow of creating three types of eBooks (text only, text and pictures, and text, pictures, animation and video) and how to target the three major platforms – ePub (non-DRM), Mobi (Kindel DRM), and iBooks (Apple’s proprietary format). She explained the tools you need to pick up (both OSS -Open Source Software, and for pay), and even included some of her own code snippets to help you get started… I learned a lot.

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The second session, was a follow-up to a session I went to last year – Student Projects from the Hawaii Prep Academy boarding school on the big island of Hawaii. I have really enjoyed these student presentations, as they show all the passion of science that I had at that age, and they come up with some really innovative ideas. I hope to post a video montage, since I shot a bunch of video on my iPhone. The one and only complaint I had was that their teacher spent too much time telling you about what you were about to see, as well as what they learned, what they used, etc. that the students didn’t have much time to show off their work, nor did they say anything much more than the teacher. I think next year they should let the students talk more. The first student was working with HDR (High Dynamic Range) pictures to build VR (Virtual reality) maps of their campus and the Keck observatory. The second student showcased work she was doing using the Emotiv Epoc headset to research how we react to music. I’ve had one of these at home for a few years, and the technology and API is amazing! The third student utilized the headset to control a AR Drone quadrocopter. The Fourth student was doing research on recognizing patterns in electrical usage within hotels, with the goal of reducing the extreme cost of energy. At the current time, electricity on the Islands is 4 times the cost of the most expensive mainland costs. She got this idea after doing research on DNA. She can now look at a set of waves and tell you what is a Laptop verses a refrigerator. They are also working on identifying GMO in food. Another student showcased how she build a radio telescope and can pick up the Doppler shift of Jupiter. And the final presentation was a student who is from Italy and is studying the three types of waves caused by earth quakes. This is important because the third type, can predict Tsunami’s and since Hawaii is receives no other warnings based on Latin American earthquakes this is critical information. The interesting aspect was that school can get three free sensors from Quake Cather Network, this is a crowdsourcing effort sponsored by Standford. I am going to see if I can order a set for myself.

The rest of the day I hung out on the show floor, and got to see the iPad based robot from Double Robot that allows you to be at the office and interact with people from anywhere in the world. I talked to the guys from AgileBits, Smile, CrashPlan, BlueMicrophones, Ecamm Networks, and many many more. I will try and post some more detailed reviews of some of the other people I talked to and whose software I recently picked up.

Looking forward to going back next year!