Monday, March 25, 2013

Saturday Keynotes: The Pit is Always Smaller than the Plum

RootsTech’s Saturday keynote session featured the last two of seven keynote speakers. Maybe that word—keynote—doesn’t mean what I think it means. Actually, with my short attention span, I think I like having more, but shorter keynotes. Now, what was I talking about? Oh, right. Saturday’s keynote speakers were David Pogue and James Tanner.

David Pogue was a RootsTech keynote speakerWhat do RootsTech, HOGs (Harley Owners Group), and a Tattoo convention all have in common? David Pogue pointed out they were all being held at the Salt Palace Convention Center at the same time.

Pogue is the weekly personal-technology columnist for The New York Times and a monthly columnist for Scientific American. He is also an Emmy Award-winning tech correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning and the current host of NOVA ScienceNow.

He also noticed that the theme for the conference, “Find, Organize, Preserve, and Share,” form the acronym FOPS. Perhaps RootsTech organizers hadn’t thought that one through…

Pogue spoke—humorously—about disruptive technologies. Disruptive technologies change everything.

Web 2.0 is a disruptive technology. “Web 1.0” refers to websites where the website creator supplies the content. FamilySearch Historical Record Collections is an example of Web 1.0. “Web 2.0” refers to sites where users supply the content. FamilySearch Family Tree is an example. Twitter is another.

Pogue asked Twitter users several questions for a book he was writing. One was, “Invent a Chinese Proverb that sounds authentic.” He got some really great responses like, “a pig with a cold still makes good bacon.”

“App phones” (iPhones and such) are another disruptive technology. With a toolbox of components in an app phone, app writers can be incredibly creative. Pogue showed us the Ocarina app. It turns your iPhone into a flute-like instrument that you play by blowing into the end and placing your fingers on the stops on the touch screen. I have an app that measures your heart beat using the light and the camera. He pointed out the Word Lens app. Point it at a sign in Spanish and the screen will display the same sign in English!

To sum up his presentation, “the pit is always smaller than the plum.”

James Tanner was a RootsTech keynote presenterThe scheduled speaker from MyHeritage, Gilad Japhet, founder and CEO, was unable to come to RootsTech because of a death in the family. Our hearts and prayers are with them.

Ori Soen, chief marketing officer of MyHeritage, spoke for a moment and then introduced someone to give Japhet’s presentation.

That someone was fellow blogger, James Tanner of the Genealogy’s Star blog! James did a great job, making all us bloggers proud. Now we can say that a genealogy blogger has given a keynote presentation at a national genealogical conference.

I’ll defer on reviewing the presentation, since it was MyHeritage specific. I’m snowed under trying to cover Ancestry.com and FamilySearch presentations and my mind can only fit so much inside at a time. It’s true. The pit really is smaller than the plum.

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