Monday, April 28, 2008

Journal #25: Johnny Lee at TED

Carnegie Mellon researcher Johnny Lee recently made a presentation at one of the famous Technology, Entertainment, and Design exhibits. Lee is known widely for his hacks of the Wii remote for many different uses (multitouch display, whiteboard, mounted head gear...). Moreover, he is a guy of seemingly endless talents, which is apparent at his site Little Great Ideas. Either way, you can watch the TED presentation here.

After watching you kind of get a feeling of how great it is to see someone who absolutely loves their work, and is mostly free from any sort of industry desires. My favorite quote, after discussing how quickly the video gaming companies incorporated his work, was "i was just pretty excited to see some sweet new games."

This is also pretty interesting to me as I had to take an architecture course this semester (to fill my CIT depth requirement as their LEED class got cancelled 5 days before classes started!) and I learned to do things like create my own infrared pen or headset with relative ease (check out some of my projects). I had watched Lee's YouTube videos at the start of the semester, and never dreamed of making something like the headset or pen, but now it seems like a weekly assignment.

Lee's comments on the influence of video sharing communities like YouTube are also insightful, and are relevant to the blogging community too. It's also funny to me that this ability to share ideas and commentary can receive serious backlash from professionals. The one I'm most familiar, mostly because I read a lot of them, are sports bloggers. There is constant criticism from professional sports journalists that these are untrained writers who know nothing of professional courtesy/code. Still, the bloggers argue (and many of the best ones are the ones that actually are professional journalists in other subjects) that they provide a unique perspective that most everyone else has; watching their t.v., talking with their friends, and reading articles. I find myself much more attached to my blogs now than anything written in Sports Illustrated.

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