Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Triple boot lectern in Tasmanian Oak

RSISE  lectern The Australian National University's Hitech RSISE presentation room has a new lectern. At a glance this looks like a piece of arts and crafts era antique furniture, perhaps something by Marion Mahony and Walter Burley Griffin for Newman College. But under the elegant Tasmanian Oak top it has built in a triple boot Apple mac computer running Apple's Unix based OS X operating system, Ubuntu Linux and Microsoft Windows XP. iMac LecternThere are USB slots on the desktop for USB Flash Drives. There is a full step by step description of the construction of this unit by Matt Gray is available.

Hi-tech lecterns are not new. IBM sold one in 1954:
To meet the needs of public speakers in business and elsewhere, IBM's Time Equipment Division brought to market in 1954 a state-of-the-art multifunctional lectern. The lectern offered a number of useful features, including a clock with edge-lighted dial, a speech time warning light, indirect table lighting with control switch, a speech timer with edge-lighted dial, satin chrome side-mounts for microphones, push-button elevation of the lectern, push-button adjustment of the table's angle, and a removable console unit. ... The base section provided ample cabinet space for installing additional equipment, such as a tape recorder, amplifier, record player or TV monitor.

From: The IBM Lectern, IBM
One enhancement for then ANU lectern might be a screen of the front of the lectern. Often if I am sitting in front row of the audience I have trouble looking at the screen beside the presenter. Also it is embarrassing to not appear to be looking at them, but at the screen instead. A screen on the front of the lectern would allow the audience to look at the presenter and the presentation slides at the same time. For a small audience, it may be all that is needed, providing a self contained system.

The screen mounted behind a tinted sheet of plastic, so it is invisible when not in use. One of the wide screen LCD panels would do, or even an LCD TV (the resolution of the screen need not be very high as the audience will not be too close). For an Access Grid room, such as used by Grangenet, you could use three small LCD panels.

Perhaps I need to get Matt to build one for my Smart Apartment.

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