Thursday, May 04, 2006

technical update

A couple days ago, a collaborator asked if I wanted to confer on an Urgent Social Science issue using Skype. To which I could only shake my virtual head in despair and say, "Skype is so April 2006. Download Festoon and integrate it into your Google Talk and then we can confer."

My goal has been to assemble the components of a Comprehensive Remote Collaboration Solution. Basically, I want to be able to simultaneously talk, type, see and be seen, share my screen, share folders, and be able to write on my shared screen with my TabletPC pen. And, lo, I think I'm there.

Another great thing about the Tablet is that you be taking notes on it and ever so stealthily be monitoring your e-mail (or, even, Bloglines). It's different from people who sit there with their laptops open typing notes, where everyone assumes there's a reasonable chance they're just doing something on the Internet. You can be diligently writing notes and then, tap, you're in GMail or whatever, and tap, you're back to your notepad. It's no more rude than, say, sneaking a peek at your wristwatch.

The major downside of the Tablet is that it's slow. The other downside is that it isn't fully reliable. Tonight, inexplicably, it crashed in such a way that without warning the screen was entirely this uniform shade of teal that I'm not sure I've ever seen in Windows before.

On an entirely different tech front, I showed a friend of mine how she could easily realize her vision of creating Stata-HP, a version of Stata where various commands would be renamed to correspond to spells from Harry Potter. The "quietly" command, for instance, would be reimplemented as "silencio." She had embarked on assembling a list of commands and their spellname equivalents, but I haven't heard back from her since. Maybe its release can be timed to coincide with the final book in the series, perhaps with a set of Quidditch statistics to demonstrate it on.

Update: Of course, all this, and my DSL connection is out. At least my Tablet wireless still works, but that's thanks to the beneficience of an unsecured neighbor.

7 comments:

alan said...

Is it relevant to note that the Skype site features cute computery icons talking to each other, while the Festoon site features a photo of women with wind blowing up their dresses?

jeremy said...

I wondered about the dresses as well. All I know is that it works with my webcamera and let's me screen share with ease.

Anonymous said...

This friend who is assembling the Stata-HP list ... has she finished her dissertation?? Because that sounds exactly like something I would have done in the final few months of finishing mine? Or maybe she has a paper that has to get done for a meeting?

Either way, I love that type of procrastination :)

Anonymous said...

Readers of JFW beware! Jeremy lies and misleads.

First:
"She had embarked on assembling a list of commands and their spellname equivalents, but I haven't heard back from her since."

Jeremy knows I've left 3 unanswered messages on his voicemail since I began my project.

Second:
"The "quietly" command, for instance, would be reimplemented as "silencio.""

If Jeremy paid attention to his emails, he would know that I realized "muffliato" was a way better spell for "quietly" than "silencio" was.

Third:
"Maybe its release can be timed to coincide with the final book in the series, perhaps with a set of Quidditch statistics to demonstrate it on."

Jeremy seems to be putting this forward as an original idea. I guess he has conveniently forgotten the "Quidditch ANOVA" dataset I created as a teaching tool a few years ago.

At any rate, dear reader, be alert for Jeremy's mendacity. CONSTANT VIGILANCE!

Anonymous said...

We know, we know.

Anonymous said...

I wrote the first drafts of all of my dissertation chapters in long-hand, and have found the transition to constructing prose at a keyboard challenging.

Kieran said...

I realized "muffliato" was a way better spell for "quietly" than "silencio" was.

But if you cast is even slightly wrong, you will end up with an Italian sandwich or a car exhaust component.