Dan’s visit to the Apple Store prompts a discussion of the new iPad Pro, and just what you can and can’t do on Apple’s tablet. Are we all just too old to give up our laptops for tablets? The New York Times and Google recently teamed up to deliver another way to use your smartphone – for virtual reality, via Google Cardboard. Is this the beginning of an expansion of VR? Or is it just the View-Master of Mills’ and Stephen’s youth reborn? Finally, we discussed the recent study of media use by tweens and teens by Common Sense Media that highlighted the digital disparities facing low-income teens. In particular, although most have smartphones, they lack access to laptops or desktops on which to do the increasing amount of online homework teachers are assigning. Stephen and Dan talked about the key role of public libraries in giving teenagers access to computers and wireless Internet.Related Links
Running time: 47:50
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We are proud to announce a new and expanded partnership with London- and Dubai-based 2point0 Concepts. For the first time, our unique industrial multitouch tables and walls will be available with local service and support in the UK provided exclusively by 2point0 Concepts. This new partnership expands 2point0 Concepts’ exclusive distribution, which covers most of the Middle East to now include the United Kingdom. Ideum will continue to work with clients all over the world and expand upon the 33 countries, where we’ve already placed our hardware solutions.
2point0 Concepts, established in 2011, offers comprehensive AV consultation services, and ensures end-to-end digital-signage project implementation. With extensive experience in crafting interactive digital signage and touch screen solutions, this passionate group of technologists and strategists is unified by the common mission of blending digital experiences in physical environments. Based in the technological hub that is London, 2point0 Concepts offers a dedicated team of specialists to provide sales, local service and support for Ideum products and their HCI (Human Computer Interaction) services from consultation to design and development.
Our full product line, including our latest designs, is available to domestic and international clients. The recently redesigned Platform 55 4K P-Cap multitouch table now has a sleeker form factor and features 3M’s most advanced 55″ projected capacitive display. A first of its kind, our 84″ Colossus multitouch table, born from a custom project for the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, continues to draw attention. We’ve even customized the massive 84″ display as a wall-mounted unit for a media client in Dubai.
Look for further refinements to our line of products in early 2016, when we expect to release an updated Presenter 65 touch wall.
Here’s the press release announcing our expanded partnership with 2point0 Concepts.
Today is the 200th anniversary of George Boole’s birth, and he certainly merits a big celebration at University College Cork, where he was the first professor of mathematics, and even that rare honor: a Google Doodle. The focus has been on his technical breakthroughs, since his brilliant advances in mathematics and logic formed the foundation of modern computing.
But on this bicentennial it’s also worth looking at the emotional motivation behind Boole’s supposedly dispassionate technical work—and at ourselves in the mirror. As I wrote in my book Equations from God: Pure Mathematics and Victorian Faith, Boole lived in a time of painful polarization, unfortunately not so dissimilar to ours. While his attention was on religion rather than politics (although those were intertwined, as they are in our day), Boole found the divisiveness unrelenting and sorely lacking in compassion.
My thesis, documented in his notebooks and letters home, and in his published articles and books—his Laws of Thought includes as much about social and philosophical concerns as it does mathematics—is that Boole saw his logic as a way to transcend the overwrought differences of his time to find an ecumenical way to work together toward divine truth. Boole hated that it had become so hard for opposing sides to talk to each other about many issues, and that even minor distinctions were amplified by the modes of discourse and by everyone’s quick jumps to strong opinion and judgment.
Boole’s contemporary and fellow mathematical logician Augustus De Morgan summarized the problem when he wrote that if you asked someone if the craters were larger on the dark side of the moon than on the side we can see, “The odds are, that though he has never thought of the question, he has a pretty stiff opinion in three seconds.” To counter this dogmatism, Boole and De Morgan not only created symbolic logic, but also through their generous interactions with those of many sects and faiths, tried to be true to the spirit of their work.
So today let us honor George Boole the mathematician, but also George Boole the human being. His entreaties to respect all sides, to be charitable with those with whom you disagree, to not jump to conclusions but instead to pause and think carefully first, to try to find a way bridge divides—these are all too rare qualities in our age as well as his.
The web search industry is making great progress in transitioning from building tools for finding pages and sites to building tools that leverage and surface facts and knowledge. The local search space - where I work in Bing - is founded on structured knowledge - the entity data that represents businesses and other things that necessarily have a location, and is a core piece of the knowledge space required for this future.
Over the past few years, my team has been working on mining the web for information about local entities. This data now helps to power a significant percentage of local search interactions in a number of countries around the world.
As we have been working on this system, we have come to think deeply about how to build systems for web mining, but also how to construct efficient developer workflows and how to add data management components to these systems to take advantage of human input when appropriate.
These processes constitute what I term Agile Web Mining, the core principles of which are: optimize for developer productivity, optimize for data management and invest in low latency systems. So much of what we hear about in the industry currently revolves around very large data sets (big data) which often entail long processing times and high latency interactions. In contrast, we tend to think of our data in a different way, where the size of data is relatively small (on the order of the size of a web site), but where there are many examples of these small data sets.
We are currently growing our team, and so if you are interested in learning more about Agile Web Mining, please get in touch with me.
Ideum staff will be attending, exhibiting, and speaking at the Museum Computer Network conference in Minneapolis next week, from November 4-7. Be sure to visit us at Booth 14 in the exhibit hall Thursday and Friday. We’ll be demonstrating several of our recent and notable software projects on some of our most popular multitouch tables. You’ll be able to see recent work we’ve done for art museums, science centers, and cultural institutions. We’ll display a Pro 55 multitouch table and a Presenter 42 on a motorized lift that allows it to be used at any angle.
On Saturday morning at 9:15, Ideum Founder and Creative Director Jim Spadaccini and Dan Davis from Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian will be giving a presentation, Exploring Cusco, about our recent collaboration on a large-scale project, The Cusco Experience, a multiuser interactive exhibit that includes a 3D model of Cusco, Peru circa 1531 which includes a variety of interactive media elements.
Great timing for us, as we record the podcast on the very day the US Appeals Court rules that yes, scanning in-copyright books for the purpose of creating an online index of them is indeed a transformative and therefore fair use. Huzzah! The way is clear for all kinds of things now. We also talk about a new digital humanities / libraries tool called BigDIVA that launched today, discussing mainly its plan to become a subscription-based paid service. That leads into a brief digression on the recent patent win by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation against Apple, which could potentially raise almost half a billion dollars for the University of Wisconsin system (just enough to make up for proposed budget cuts). We refrain from comment. Finally, Stephen Robertson reports on RRCHNM’s plan to build a new tool called Tropy, which would help researchers organize the pictures they take in archives.Related Links
Running time: 44:54
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It’s all but impossible for me to believe it, but 10 years ago this week I wrote my first post in this blog. And, oddly enough, this post is #500. If I were a numerologist I’m sure I could make something of that symmetry.
Way back in 2005, that first post was about my attempts to teach students to be more critical consumers of historical content they found online–and in 2015, I’m still at it. While I’ve tried many different approaches to teaching this skill and habit of mind to my students (some controversial, some not), the biggest change between 2005 and 2015 is that in 2005 I asked them to review historical websites using a rubric of my own devising, in 2015 I ask them to build websites using a rubric of their own devising.
Between then and now, I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned as a history teacher is that students learn best by doing digital history rather than by learning about digital history. I should have known this, of course, because my first true digital history courses were “doing” courses — the first was a seminar at Grinnell College in which my students built a database of historical sources and the second, at Texas Tech, was a seminar in which my students took one of my colleagues online (creating his website for him). And along the way, I’ve taught lots of other digital history courses that involve really doing digital history.
What’s different now–really since 2007–is that I’ve found ways to combine the creation of digital history (which involves a lot of teaching of technical skills) with careful consideration of the underlying principles of digital information and the underlying principles of historical thinking. Once I found that sweet spot, my students’ results improved substantially.
The tools available to do this work are so much more accessible and user friendly than they were in 2005, and I suspect that by 2025 they will be even more conducive to the kinds of deeper learning about the past that I’m after.
When I started writing this blog, Google and YouTube were still very new, and Twitter, data phones, and 3D printing didn’t exist, at least in the commercial space. No one, or almost no one, was talking about “big data” or data visualizations in the humanities. Zotero and Omeka, which I use all the time in my teaching, weren’t available, and the big thing everyone seemed to want to talk about was how to use Facebook to teach about the past (not so much a topic these days).
I’ll also be very interested to see what new challenges the tech innovators of the world can throw at us. No matter what they throw, however, I strongly suspect that in 2025 we’ll still be talking about how to teach students to be critical consumers of online historical content.
Ideum recently worked with Minnesota Historical Society to create an interactive demonstrating the changing landscape in suburban Minnesota over the 20th and early 21st centuries. The interactive will be part of the Minnesota History Center’s Suburbia exhibit. In the interactive, visitors can choose from among familiar malls; the resulting aerial photos will center on the chosen mall. From there, the user can move a slider to change between 5 different photos each from different time periods, to compare and contrast the changing landscapes. The interactive runs on an Ideum Presenter 75 for which Minnesota Historical Society designed and built a custom base.
For this project, we worked very closely with Minnesota Historical Society, creating three prototype options that were extensively tested by staff and visitors to Minnesota History Center. The final user interface design was directly based on feedback from these onsite users. Ideum is excited to see the table in action next month; we will go pay a visit as a part of our trip to Minneapolis/St. Paul for the Museum Computer Network conference. (Please come by and see our booth or attend our Exploring Cusco presentation at MCN.) The Suburbia exhibit opened at the Minnesota History Center on October 10, 2015.
We posted back in July that we were starting to work on an application for the ABQ BioPark that will allow visitors to “Be the Bug.” We’ve made a lot of progress since then, and recently representatives from the ABQ BioPark came to our studios in Corrales to test out the game.
Displayed on a vertically-oriented Presenter 65 Touch Wall , the bright colors and large bug images immediately draw people in. Visitors to the Botanic Garden‘s new BUGarium will be able to choose to become one of three bugs, and are then challenged to mimic that bug’s flight to gather pollen or find food.
Gameplay is controlled completely with body movement; users flap their “wings” to fly faster and rise, and bend sideways to turn. A Kinect sensor tracks a user’s skeleton and relays movement to the game; the bug then reproduces the user’s movement. The application was developed using the Unity 3D gaming engine.
The new BUGarium will open as a part of the Botanic Garden on October 30, 2015. We look forward to everyone trying out their wings!