John Malkin – Vocal Joystick

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Jon Malkin is a PhD candidate in Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington. Jon’s current project, and the topic of his talk, the Vocal Joystick (VJ), an assistive device for individuals with motor impairment. The VJ provides speakers with continuous control of devices such as mouse pointers or simple robotic arms using non-speech vocalizations.

The goal of this project is to develop a novel system that we call the Vocal Joystick (VJ). This device will enable individuals with motor impairments to use vocal parameters to control objects on a computer screen (buttons, sliders, etc.) and ultimately electro-mechanical instruments (e.g., robotic arms, wireless home automation devices).

Standard spoken language can be quite inefficient for such continuous control tasks and is often recognized poorly by automatic speech recognizers. The VJ system, in contrast, will allow users to exploit a large and varied set of vocalizations for both continuous and discrete motion control, and its selection will be optimized for high discrimination ability and low communication bandwidth. Furthermore, the users are able to perceive visualized feedbacks from the system and make adjustments on the fly. This may include regular speech sounds, such as vowels and consonants, but the primary focus will be on the variation of individual acoustic-phonetic parameters like pitch, energy, vowel quality and voice quality.

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Ethan Katz-Bassett – The Hubble Project

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Ethan Katz-Bassett graduated from Williams College in 2001, spent 3 years as a ski instructor in Taos, New Mexico, then decided to go to graduate school. He is working towards a PhD in Computer Science at the University of Washington and expects to graduate in about a year. Ethan’s dissertation work is on measurement-based global-scale Internet monitoring systems, and he’ll be speaking about Hubble, one such system he developed. Hubble identifies and monitors Internet black holes, when a network is reachable from some locations and not others for extended periods of time. It has been running for almost a year now, and one of the goals of the project is to eventually have a measurement deployment with probers located in every edge network on the Internet.

Ethan’s primary interests are in networks and distributed systems, especially Internet measurement. He is interested in how we can use measurements from distributed vantage points to infer otherwise hidden properties of the Internet. He likes to build real systems that provide benefits to end-users and network operators.

Global reachability — when every address is reachable from every other address — is the most basic goal of the Internet. It was specified as a top priority in the original design of the Internet protocols, ahead of high performance or good quality of service, with the philosophy that “there is only one failure, and it is complete partition.” However, this is not always the case in practice; traffic may disappear into black holes and consistently fail to reach the destination. This is problematic when the outages are not simply transient, as an operator generally has little visibility into other ASes to discern the nature of an outage and little ability to check if the problem exists from other vantages points.

We present Hubble, a system that operates continuously to find Internet reachability problems in which routes exist to a destination but packets are unable to reach the destination. Hubble allows us to characterize global Internet reachability by identifying how many prefixes are reachable from some vantages and not others, how often these problems occur, and how long they persist. Whereas previous work focused on reachability within the narrower context of an AS, testbed, or set of clients, or obtained breadth by monitoring routes only via BGP, Hubble monitors the data-path to prefixes that cover 89% of the Internet’s edge address space at a 15 minute granularity. Key enabling techniques include a hybrid passive/active monitoring approach and the synthesis of multiple information sources, including historical data and spoofed probes to isolate failures.

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Jeremy Toeman – Bug Labs

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Jeremy Toeman (JT) is an expert in digital media and consumer technology. Over the past ten years he has designed, built, and marketed numerous award-winning products in the “convergence” space. Jeremy is currently the VP of Marketing for Bug Labs, and is also a consultant advising companies on both product design and deployment as well as non-traditional marketing (such as community-driven) strategies.

BUG is a collection of easy-to-use electronic modules that snap together to build any gadget you can imagine. Each BUGmodule represents a specific gadget function (ex: a camera, a keyboard, a video output, etc.). You decide which functions to include and BUG takes care of the rest, letting you try out different combinations quickly and easily. With BUG and the integrated programming environment/online community (BUGnet), anyone can build, program and share innovative devices and applications. We don’t define the final products – you do.

BUG helps you explore the realm of personalized devices and applications, and find ways to solve many of the problems current gadgets can’t.

For example, with BUG, you can easily assemble and program a GPS + digital camera device that automatically publishes geo-tagged photos as a web service. Integrating with an online photo-sharing service like Flickr is only a few more lines of code away, and now you have your own real-time, connected traffic-enabled mobile Webcam!

The platform is designed to enable a collaborative development environment. BUGnet, our online community, is tied in directly to the BUG SDK, which allows developers to connect with others, share information, and jointly build products or services.

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Beth Kanter – Using Social Media for Good Causes

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Beth Kanter is a trainer, blogger, and consultant to nonprofits and individuals in effective use of social media. Her expertise is how to use new web tools (blogging, tagging, wikis, photo sharing, video blogging, screencasting, social networking sites, and virtual worlds, etc) to support nonprofit. She has worked on projects that include: training, curriculum development, research, and evaluation. She is an experienced coach to “digital immigrants” in the personal mastery of these tools.

She is a professional blogger and writes about the use of social media tools in the nonprofit sector for social change. She was recently named one of the top fifty most influential female bloggers (#29 on the list) and the only blogger who focuses on the nonprofit sector and on a top ten list of female thought leaders in social media. In addition to her highly rated, award winning blog, Beth’s Blog, she is a Contributing Editor for nonprofits and social change for BlogHer and a contributor to NetSquared. Her articles have appeared many online nonprofit publications including TechSoup, Nonprofit Times, and others. She contributed a chapter to the NTEN’s forthcoming nonprofit technology book, to be published by Wiley, on Technology and ROI and she contributed a “thought leader” essay on social media adoption issues to the recently published book “Mobilizing Generation 2.0.”

She is an expert in the use of web 2.0 for fundraising, having raised over $200,000 for Cambodian orphans using her blog and other Web 2.0 tools. She was the first place winner of the Yahoo Network for Good Contest in 2007 (covered by the Wall Street Journal) and came in first place for global causes in America’s Giving Challenge sponsored by Case Foundation and Parade Magazine. Her case studies about using social media to raise money for charities are documented here.

Just after Beth’s presentation, Gnomedexer’s used the power of Twitter (social media at its finest) to raise funds to send a young Cambodian woman to college. In just 90 minutes, we raised nearly $2500.00. How amazing is that? Thanks to everyone who was there to make this happen, and to everyone who promised to donate.

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Amanda Koster – SalaamGarage

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Amanda is an internationally acclaimed photographer who has made it her mission to raise awareness by documenting some of the world’s more compelling issues. For over a decade she has combined her anthropology background with photographic and media-making skills to create inspiring media content as a means for powerful communication, storytelling and learning.

In 1993 Amanda Koster landed solo in Asmara, Eritrea (East Africa) about 1 month after then end of a 30-year civil war with Ethiopia. WIth her were written directions to her friends grandmothers house in Tagrinia (Eritrean language). Regardless of the directions, the cabbie and she were lost for hours. Once Amanda said out-loud the only words written in English, “Salaam Garage?!” (the garage next to the grandmothers house) everything came together. They were there in 5 minutes while the trip changed her life forever.

After about the 25th person asked “…can I come?” we saw opportunities for others to experience and create intimate, social documentary projects and adventures. We do not believe ‘amateur’ or ‘professional’ makes any difference when the goal is to make pictures and tell stories that cause positive change. These days with blogs, web sites, ipods, cell phones, tiny video cameras, electronic and in-person communities, we all have the power to create effective, passionate positive media that can seep into our world raise awareness and cause change.

Salaam Garage connects media savvy travelers and enthusiasts with international Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs). Travelers commit to creating and sharing unique, independent social media that raises awareness and causes positive change. The rest of the adventure is spent touring around the region, experiencing and exploring the culture and environment with an entirely new context. We are the media now. Join us.

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