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TEDx Reflections 19 April 2010

Posted by Not JCVD in Reflection.

I’m prepared for this to be one of many TEDx Seattle posts, and I’m okay with that; it was such an inspiring event that it deserves due conversation.

A couple of the talks (Ron Krabill’s in particular)  reminded me of a story I once heard. Ballpoint pens don’t work in space, which astronauts discovered while floating around out of Earth’s orbit. So, NASA invested millions of dollars to invent a pan that could write in zero-gravity. The Soviets had a simpler, more cost-effective solution: they used a pencil. Technology solved the problem both ways, but one was more efficient than the other.

Hanson mentioned a similar instance. He wasn’t sure how to manage his introductions: Netbook? iPad? He mentioned this dilemma to Krabill, who said, “how about a pen and paper?” It’s Occam’s razor:  “the simplest solution is often the correct one.”

We are so caught up in the quest to use new technology that often we forget to ask whether or not that technology actually simplifies or improves the action we need it to accomplish. In the case of Elan Lee’s AI game, or his friend’s Cathy game, complex technological integration was absolutely necessary to create the best user experience. However, The Seattle Fandango project proved that sometimes the best way to bring people together is to physically bring them together in one room.

To make TEDx relevant to this class, we can think about these situations when designing our own web pages or those for our clients. Also, having Lara in class on Sunday is yet another proof of how helpful human interaction can be. Everything she taught us is available on the internet; we could find a website, podcast or YouTube video to show us how to set up a WordPress site, but having her there was much more helpful and efficient. (thanks Lara!)



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