The final keynote speeches of Rootstech started with David Pogue, Technology columnist from the New York Times. His presentation was fantastic. He talked about the way the technology market has been moving at a phenomenal rate. He demonstrated an iPhone app, Ocarina, which simulates the South American instrument. The app has four buttons on the screen that represent the finger holes, and to play it, you blow into the microphone.
He showed some augmented reality apps, including a subway app that recognises where your phone is pointing, and if it is pointing down to the street or footpath it shows you which subways (or underground lines) are beneath your feet, and if you point it up in front of you it shows you where to go to get to the station for each line. There was another app for the colour blind. Pointing it at an item of clothing displayed a colour name and allows the colour blind to coordinate an outfit. There is an app that allows you to point to a building and see how many people in it are tweeting. A really mind blowing app was “World Lens”. You point the phone’s camera at some writing at it instantaneously translates it into English (or whatever language you specify).
This huge trend in apps is colliding with another huge trend – web 2.0 where the audience creates the material, eg facebook, Wikipedia, Flickr, YouTube and so on. Keeping up with all the changes and innovations is like trying to drink from a fire hose.
He finished up by playing a couple of songs on the piano. These were popular songs where he had rewritten the words. The first was the “Sounds of silence” about being on a phone queue, and the second was “I want an iPhone” (to the tune of “My Way”). It was hysterical and the audience loved it and gave him a standing ovation. I was standing next to The Ancestry Insider who said “I’d hate to be the MyHeritage Speaker”
He was referring to the second keynote, Ori Soen, Chief Marketing Officer for My Heritage. He had stepped in to replace the originally scheduled speaker, who could not attend, and introduced James Tanner (from the blog Genealogy’s Star) who talked about MyHeritage, how the process of loading your family tree works, and about the record matching (to people and resources) that can occur once you have entered people into your tree.
The Ancestry Insider was right. David Pogue WAS a hard act to follow....