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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Ericast 255 - Driving the Beam

You know those "iPad-on-a-stick" robots like the one Sheldon was driving in "The Big Bang Theory"? Ever wonder what it would be like to drive one of those?  I did.  Here's your show.

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This past week has been a really strange blip in the personal and professional schedule.  (See "Gus T. Guppy" as an example, though you have to listen to the episode to find out how that's even relevant to anything.)

Note to non-Ericast-fans: The core of the Beam discussion starts at the 8:00 minute mark.  If you want to skip the context on who I am and what I think of remote conference attendance, you can jump to that point.  But if you can spare eight minutes, I'd suggest listening to the whole thing...

So... the primary focus of this episode is my driving a Beam Pro robot from Suitable Technologies.  (Which is quite a bit more elegant than Sheldon's "Mobile Virtual Presence Device")

The venue?  The EduCAUSE ELI 2015 conference in Anaheim, California (which generated a lot of Tweets with the #eli2015 hashtag...)

How'd I get picked?  I said "Yes".  I'm not sure if having met Malcolm Brown had anything to do with it, but I had indeed met him in Madison, Wisconsin at the 2008 EduCAUSE "Learning Technology Leadership" program.
  • Driver's Education memories.  Scary, unfamiliar.
  • Robocop reboot movie mirror "reveal" moment.  Clip below (not for young kids!)
  • Paparazzi. Now I know exactly how the stars feel, except that I totally don't.  Being a Beam driver was a privilege, and I'm not complaining, but it's still distracting to have "fans"
  • Accessibility.  Being dependent on a technology-mediated experience and human "handlers;"
    • I knew I was being awkward/embarrassing to those around me -- trying to have the experience but also trying to be out of the way.
  • Cool to encounter people. "Felt" like making connections Malcolm Brown and Veronica Diaz when I saw them in front of me.
  • Might not be terribly practical, but most F2F stuff isn't.


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