OpenTech Notes

Some very rough notes from OpenTech. There was really only one panel I took proper notes on, the rest were better spent actually listening.


Increasing hard drive densities bring us this awesome PVR-a-like thing from BBC R&D that simply stores the entire multiplex for the past week, not individual programs. Really nice paradigm shift as to what you should expect from timeshifting. One to watch. Probably the most impressive thing I saw.

Media Hacking:
I was very impressed by iPod Linux, not only does it look like it almost works but the synthd voice speaking the postion in menu/track name when it’s selected was an excellent example of just why open source is really useful, to allow people who would never normally be able to use a product (in this case the blind) to have a fairly decent experience with it. Great hack. When they get FLAC to realtime playing without killing the battery life I will so be there. Also watching video on it made me really happy inside.

Mobile & Wireless Panel:

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They try and reach women w/ wireless tools, becuase of their non verbal signalling properties. Also people with fairly extreme disabilities. All sorts of smart clothing, limbs etc. etc (they’re part of Central St Martins, in part)

She uses IE5 on the Mac which is faintly silly in this day and age.

They’ve got a ‘new type of games‘ creation gig. It doesn’t look as if they’d approve of the PA getting games into hospitals thing. Because they’re trying to make new games, essentially to calm people down rather than raise heart rates. Non competative games as well. Which is a bit silly from a ludological POV as far as I can see since they has to be some element of competitoon otherwise it’s not a game, just an excercise. They’re partnered with Microsoft to do this which seems fun. All their funding comes with no strings attached, they won’t take it if there is. Which is cool.

They *love* the word ‘haptic’.

This is sort of just a walk through their websites. I get the impression that their projects are very high maintenance in terms of talent manpower. Possibly not sustainable/scalable.

They’re deliberatly unclear on their websites about the tools they create due to IP difficulties with giving things away but tehy love the open source.

Ah! it’s cybercafes! hurrah! but cybercafes with staff trained in talking about domestic violence which seems a bit of a cunning plan really, neutral space and all that.

Wireless London:

A really cool aggregated captive portal thing for open information. Uses stuff like open guides, evnt and open streetmap to do a customised ‘what’s on’ for the access point becuase of course you know where it’s located. It’s static! All the content flows back and forth between the open sites etc. seems to be a very virtuous circle. Available as a new firmware for your WRT etc. this’d be really cool to add to my network. They need more open access points. So get going!

anarcho-silliness but one really fabulous idea. - will launch very soon. The aim is to turn Charles Clarke (the home secretary) into the most survailed man in the country using the power of mobiles. A fine plan indeed. They could probably use some sort of mobile means of delivery as well/instead of their mms via email approach. Budget probably precludes sadly.