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FEBRUARY 27, 2010   

More great ideas

Yesterday I talked about the first few talks at TEDxCLE. They started out interesting and got better and better. During an intermission we watched a couple of videos from TED.com.

This one shows a device that lets a paralyzed graffiti writer continue to create his art. It's oddly similar to the eye-tracking demo I saw a couple of days ago at a meeting of web usability professionals.

As with the TEDxCLE talks, the first demo was interesting but this one—about transforming lives not selling wine—is inspirational.

The Eyewriter from Evan Roth on Vimeo.

Lawyers give back

Even though I have many friends who are lawyers, I'm always suspicious of class action lawsuits. I like the idea of holding corporations responsible for their actions, but multi-million dollar settlements mean a lot of money for the lawyers but only a couple of bucks for each of the plaintiffs.

TEDxCLE speaker Patrick J. Perotti surprised us all with a legal strategy called cy pres that his firm Dworken & Bernstein uses to see that any settlement money not claimed by plaintiffs goes to charity. Big settlements mean big bucks: $21 million to NE Ohio charities alone. This money would otherwise simply go back to the company that was the object of the lawsuit.

Wider use of cy pres is being promoted by a group Perotti helped found: Ohio Lawyers Give Back. Companion bills are being considered by the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives that would mandate that all unclaimed class action settlement money be distributed in this way. Send a letter to your Ohio senator/representative and urge them to pass SB 157.

DIY multi-touch table

You may have seen a video or demo of the cool multi-touch table that Microsoft has created. You can even buy one for $15k or so.

Or with about 1/10th the amount and the help of Chris Yanc you can build your own. Watch the video to see it in action.

Chris is a big supporter of "open source" software. He believes in sharing what he learns with others. See for yourself: take a look at the detailed description of how he built the multi-touch table available on his blog.

Two things that I really liked: the multi-touch interface itself, a way of interacting with a computer that's a lot easier and more fun than using a keyboard and mouse, and Chris' enthusiasm about sharing his knowledge with others. I made a special point of talking to him afterwards to see if he'd come and talk with the Interactive Media class at Tri-C. Not surprisingly, he immediately agreed.


TEDxCLE Pt. 1 — February 26, 2010

TEDxCLE website

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