Peer-to-peer pressure

I get the NY Times delivered home every morning, and so do a lot of people I know. Lots of other people — a rapidly growing number — read the on-line version. Yesterday, just in time to herald the dawn of a new year, and our young century’s second decade, I realized how much of a disadvantage are those of us still clinging to our sad twentieth century ways.

Like most days, I woke up in the morning, grabbed the copy of the NY Times that was waiting outside my door, made myself a nice fresh mug of hot coffee, and began to read about the day’s events (well, actually, the previous day’s events). But then something funny happened. I started receiving emails — at first a trickle, but then a barrage (a very nice barrage) — of congratulatory messages from friend and colleagues, for having been written up in The New York Times. Yet the story they were all talking about appeared nowhere in the paper I was holding in my hands.

It turns out that these friends and colleagues (who have all decisively made the transition to the twenty first century) were reading Nick Bilton’s on-line BITS Blog. “BITS”, rather cleverly, stands for “Business, Innovation, Technology, Society” — hmm, maybe that would be a good name for a programming language (just kidding).

His post yesterday was about our new start-up company Touchco (an outgrowth of some of our research at NYU), which has developed a very cool new kind of pressure-sensitive multi-touch input technology called IFSR — basically a better mousetrap for multitouch. Not only do IFSR devices provide an unlimited number of touches, but you can also use them to write or draw (or erase!) with the same subtlety that you now only get with a real pen or pencil.

Friends as far away as Paris were sending me congratulations on the article, and Touchco’s website began to get flooded with inquiries. I realized for the first time that the on-line version of the NYTimes might very well have a larger information footprint among the technorati (who are, after all, the people you hope will read such an article) than the old dead trees version used by troglodytes such as myself. I suspect I will be switching over soon, so I guess this is the high-tech version of peer pressure.

Or maybe it should be called “peer-to-peer pressure”. Hmm.

In any case, by the time I do switch, I hope The New York Times itself will be available on some portable platform that uses our IFSR technology, because then I’ll be able to keep on doing the New York Times crossword puzzle in pen, with my morning coffee.

Happy New Year everybody!

One Response to “Peer-to-peer pressure”

  1. [...] had a version of that article about our multitouch interface research — the one the Times reported in its on-line BITS Blog on December 30. The version in the physical paper shows up near the end of today’s Business section, on page [...]

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