Inspiring TED Talks

One of the best things about a 45 minute commute each way by train is you can watch some TED videos for inspiration. Here are some of my favorite talks from the series.
Temple Grandin: The world needs all kinds of minds
Temple makes the case that there is a little autism in all of us. Its what makes great minds and needs to be celebrated.

Jill Bolte Taylor’s stroke of insight
What happens when a brain scientist experiences the very thing she has been studying? Jill talks about her experience during a massive stroke which she knows all about.

David Blaine: How I held my breath for 17 min
David goes into detail about the great lengths he took pushing his body to the limit of oxygen deprivation.

Lewis Pugh swims the North Pole
This guy is tough. To help spread awareness to global warming, Lewis swam in the icey waters of the North Pole in nothing but a speedo.

Kevin Kelly tells technology’s epic story
Kevin explains how technology evolves like a cell or a meme.

Hans Rosling: Asia’s rise — how and when
Hans has a thick Sweedish accent that you would expect from a great mind. Here he predicts the exact day when India and China will outstrip the US as the economic powerhouse of the world. I marked the date in my Google Calendar.

Willard Wigan: Hold your breath for micro-sculpture
Willard makes incredibly detailed sculptures out of single grains of sand. His patience for his work, which can be inhaled without thinking , is really mind blowing.

Technology At The Altar

This groom just couldn’t wait to tell the world of his new relationship status. He whipped out his Blackberry, just before kissing his bride, in order to update his Facebook relationship status and send out a tweet. Now with my wedding coming up this May, I got to thinking… but Kristina quickly put a stop to that and banning any sort of gadget on our wedding day. Fair enough.

But I did want to live stream the ceremony. I was thinking of setting up my laptop with its built-in camera streaming everything across the Internet with something like or The venue has wifi and the computer can be near a power outlet. Since my venue is a music center, they should have a decent sound system that I can route to my laptop for a good quality sound source. Kristina and I will be miked-up so everyone can hear our vows and all that.

To top it off, it would be neat if I could get a small, pinhole camera to discretely embed on my tuxedo which could also stream to the laptop and eventually out to the Internet as a second angle. That way viewers could choose the locked down wide angle shot as well as everything going down from my point of view. How cool would it look to see the crowds reaction as we turn and face them after being pronounced man and wife? That would be awesome. Plus, I would record all the footage locally to the hard drive just in case the Internet craps out we’ll still have a copy.

After Googling around for a good mini spy cam, the Mini DV AEE-MD90 seems to be highly recommended. Here’s a good video review of it.

The only problem is there’s no way to stream the live video from it to a computer. The sound is also crap but that doesn’t really matter. Does anyone know of anything like this that would fit the bill? Has anyone done something similiar like this before? Any tips?

Hippie Weirdo Yoga Farmers

Probably the strangest clip I’ve seen in a good while. If this actually aired somewhere, my guess would be Canada… or California public access. Kudos for doing yoga in those tight jeans though.

First Impressions Of Wii Sports Resort


My roommate, Josh, picked up a copy of Wii Sports Resort today and he let me take the first crack at it. Here are my first impressions.


  • Duel – Swing your sword at your opponent and try to knock him off a tall platform American Gladiators style. Pretty fun but too easy. I made it to the Pro status in about 30minutes.
  • Speed Slice – Be the fastest to slice objects in a certain direction. I really liked this mini-game. Requires a lot of focus and quick reactions.

Wakeboarding – Try to get big air while being dragged behind a boat. I haven’t figured out how to tweak the tricks but it’s dull.


  • Frisbee Dog – Throw a Frisbee at a target for points similiar to darts and your dog fetches the Frisbee for you. The controls are really hard to get the hang of. Totally doesn’t feel like throwing a Frisbee.

Archery – Shoot arrows at a bulls eye. The controls feel just like pulling back on a bow using the nun-chuck. Easy to pick up but difficult to master.


  • 3-Point Contest – Take 3-point shots from various places on the court. The controls are a bit awkward as you have to reach down to grip the ball (holding the B button) then you have to do a tricep extension behind your head to simulate a shot while releasing the B button at the right time. My arm started to ache after the first round.

Table Tennis

  • Match – Just like table tennis from the original Wii Sports except you can add spin. It’s not as easy as regular tennis.

Golf – Much expanded from the previous version with 3 new courses, 3 classic courses and an option for 3, 9, or 18 holes. Josh is super excited for golf.


  • Standard Game – Exact same thing as bowling from original Wii Sports.

Power Cruising (Jet Skiing)

  • Slalom Course – The controls are just like riding a bike and are very responsive. The mini-game itself was ok. There’s not much more to it.


  • Speed Challenge – Paddle around the course as fast as you can. The controls are just like paddling a canoe where you have to keep switching sides in order to go straight. Technically it’s a kayak, not a canoe.


  • Road Race – Try to finish first place in a bike race around WuHu island with different types of terrain. It’s just like the Tour de France. You have to manage your stamina as you can quickly run out of breath from sprinting too much. The controls are just like running in other Wii games. You also have to steer but it’s as simple as leaning left or right while pumping your arms up and down to make you pedal. I can see this mini-game being the most challenging of the bunch.

Air Sports

  • Skydiving – As you’re free falling you have to grab on to other Mii’s and rotate your body so a picture can be taken of you smiling. Points are rewarded for the number of smiles captured on film. At the end you make a formation and have to maneuver through rings. This was fun once but then quickly got boring.
  • Island Flyover – You fly around in an airplane trying to fly through information icons. The format of the mini-game is like a treasure hunt. This concept was a lot of fun. Nintendo should make an entire flight game just like this. It was neat being able to zip around above the island doing barrel roles, and loops for 5-minutes. It’s totally free-form and crashing is kid friendly where the plane bounces. Watching this on a big screen can really make you nauseous.

Note: Some sports have other variations that I haven’t unlocked yet, so I left them out of this review.

If you were a big fan of the original Wii Sports game, then this will be a no-brainer for you. The new games are fun and most look challenging, especially for parties.

My biggest frustration was the 3 minute video Nintendo forced you to watch the first time you played Wii Sports Resort. It was akin to an airplane safety video but instead of talking about features of an airplane designed to save your life, the Nintendo video went into excruciating detail on how to attach the MotionPlus attachment to your Wiimote. Hint: It snaps right into the bottom just like the nun-chuck.

The game is $44.95 on and available now.

YouTube Brings Choose-Your-Own Adventure Videos To The Web

NewTeeVee ran a post over the weekend about choose-your-own adventure videos on YouTube. The creators used the Video Annotation feature allowing them to place a link over a certain part of the video in order to string multiple clips together in a unique sequence. Through careful planning, an engaging, interactive experience can be created just like those old choose-your-own adventure books that were all the rage when you were a kid. Bboy Joker, a stop-motion animation film, is my favorite example of this genre.

Annotations make it possible to link multiple YouTube videos together creating interactive experiences.

I had a similiar idea for a DVD just before I went to college. I failed to act on it however due to the less than stellar experience navigating a DVD menu and the sheer idea of planning a comprehensive story with multiple plot branches. I’m more of a techno wizard than a storyteller. I vaguely remember reading about a professional DVD that pushed the boundaries of DVD interaction by including transparent cut-outs over live video so when you clicked one of them it would take you to a video glossary. I can’t seem to find the link, but it sounded like a ton of work just to author it back in the day.

Adding a bit of interactivity to video is better suited to the Internet, which is considered a lean-forward or engaging experience, as opposed to the traditional TV which is a lean-back or passive experience. While this format isn’t applicable to most of the videos published on the web, for the ones where it does work, it takes the experience to a whole new level.

Graphic Blandishment? What’s That?

A Charlie Brown Christmas was on TV tonight and I noticed the term “Graphic Blandishment” in the credit. Turning to the trusty Internets I found out

“Graphic Blandishment is a term also known as “Animation”. Charles M. Schultz used that term in his Peanuts/Charlie Brown Animation Credits to credit the Animators.” – WikiAnswers

It seems Mr. Schultz wasn’t a fan of hand-drawn motion pictures.

A frame from the Charlie Brown Christmas Special

After the 1965 version there was a newer version which was downright-lame. So instead I went to YouTube and found this NSFW remix. And when they say NSFW, they really mean NSFW.

Revision3 Not Immune From Bad Economy

Internet video may be in the midst of a boom, but the Tech-TV haven Revision3 canceled 3 (how ironic) shows and laid off several well-known production staff today. If you were a fan of the shows PixelPerfect, popSiren, or Internet Superstar you’ll be disappointed to hear the shows have been canned, or more appropriate for the Internet medium, 404’d. Apparently the shows don’t fit in the long-term plan for Revision3 (grow a large audience and make a gazillion dollars.)

Revision3 Cancels Shows

Part of the staffers let go today are producers/talent Jay Speiden, Sarah Lane, and Martin Sargent, and Diggnation cameraman Glenn “Hippie” McElhose who is now freelancing for Revision3. Even though Glenn makes an appearance in nearly every episode, I figured Diggnation would be excluded from cuts due to the popularity/revenue of the show and the low cost of production. After all, how hard could it be to film two guys on a couch who frequently plug sponsors for 45 minutes every week?

I’m sad to hear that Martin is getting the boot. His show Web Drifter was a personal favorite of mine. Seeing the wacky, kooky individuals behind some of the strangest sites on the net always brought a smile to my face on my morning commute. They were supposed to start the series up this fall but it appears that won’t be happening anymore. I wonder what they will do with any unreleased episodes they’re sitting on. I’m interested to see what Martin and Jay will be doing next.

Martin Seargent and Sarah Lane Bricked By Revision3

So while Internet video may be gaining large audiences, they sure aren’t getting enough advertisers to join them. Most of the ads I’ve seen on the shows I watch are for and Audible. I’m guessing the core audience for Revision3 shows is a techie crowd. If Revision3 wants to succeed they’ll need to move more into the mainstream and/or support shows that cost a lot less to make. They are starting to do this with their Revision3 Beta program which has many shows taking cue from the couch-centric Diggnation. Maybe they should adopt a donation model like NPR or the TWiT network. Leo Laporte seems to be doing ok for himself.

Printer Vs. Cat

Printer = 1, Cat = 0.

Video Recording From A DSLR?

Nikon announced the Nikon D90 digital SLR yesterday. The camera is your run-of-the-mill DSLR with 12.3 megapixels, built-in sensor cleaning, and a bigger screen blah, blah, blah! But the feature that that sets this still camera from the pack is the fact that it does 720p HD video at 24 frames per second.

A digital SLR that records high-definition video? Holy smokes! Point and shoots have been able to record video for quite some time. What seperates the D90 from point and shoots is the larger sensor size and the glass in front of that sensor. HD video is known for lacking depth resulting in a bland, flat image. Several companies like Red Rock Microsystems even make adapters for prosumer cameras that enable the attachment of 35mm lenses to get around the issue.

The sample video clips from the D90 speak for themselves:

It seems natural that video capabilities will become standard affair in DSLRs within the next 2 years. How will Canon respond to Nikon’s volley? Nikon has put Canon in an uncomfortable position. Keep in mind, Nikon doesn’t make video cameras. Canon does.

How I Helped Get Two Co-Workers On TV

Paulo on Fox 5 News

My co-worker Paulo was on Fox 5’s News Edge at 11 last night. He shot some video of a large crowd at the Foggy Bottom metro station yesterday morning. For whatever reason two of the three escalators were stopped with the third going down. There were more people trying to go up and out of the station that a huge line formed as grumpy commuters trudged up the long flight of stairs. Some people even decided to go up against the moving escalator fighting the sparse crowd trying to enter.

With a little help from social networking and a lot more luck, Paulo’s footage made it onto the local news. Here is the chain of events:

  1. Paulo shoots the footage on his way to work.
  2. Paulo posts the footage to the DC-centric blog
  3. The story gets submitted to the social news site where I throw my support behind it and give it my vote.
  4. Stories that I digg get posted to my mini-feed on Facebook because I have linked my Digg and Facebook accounts together.
  5. The dugg story ends up in a friends news feed who happens to work at Fox 5.
  6. My friend IMs me thinking I shot the video but I forward him on to Paulo.
  7. Fox 5 sets up an interview with Paulo later that afternoon.

And this is the final result.

Another co-worker Mike Weinstein (guy in blue shirt) made a brief appearance in the video by simply showing up at the same time as Paulo’s interview. I had nothing to do with that one.

Be sure to check out Paulo’s take on all of this.