January 9, 2006  ·  Lessig


As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been looking for a simple way to make presentations that link my slides with my voice. Leonard Lin did it originally with my OSCON speech in 2002. He even built a simple way to take timings from PowerPoint and include them in the import into Flash. But that proved too cumbersome for this sad soul to use, and so for four years, requests for copies of my talks have come in, but I’ve had no easy way to provide them.

I may, however, have made some progress. Phil Pickering suggested (comment 7) the idea at Doug Kaye’s Blogarithms. I implemented it, using Keynote and iMovie, as follows:

(1) print the slides from Keynote so you can see what’s coming
(2) export the slides as JPEGs
(3) import the slides into iMovie
(4) import the audio into iMovie
(5) using the bookmark function, listen to the audio, and bookmark where there is to be a slide change
(6) marking all the slides, extend their length to the maximum (30 seconds)
(7) then starting from the beginning, advance to the next bookmark; split the image (apple+T); delete the half to the right; and repeat to the end
(8) Export to mp4

Once I programmed the keystrokes, this turned out to be pretty easy. The first completed example is a talk I gave about whether Google Book Search is “fair use.” Here’s a torrent for the (large) mp4 file. The torrent is hosted by Prodigem. (Get your BitTorrent client here. As the BitTorrent beautifully puts it: “BitTorrent is a free speech tool.”)

The only difficult part about this was listening to myself again (and again) as I built this. The bubbling inarticulateness in it terrifies me. But anyway, in the spirit of the experiment, here it is.

My hope is to put every presentation I’ve made, with audio and the source files, up for anyone to do with as they wish. That turns out to be harder than it should be. Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated.

Meanwhile, here’s my wishlist for technology to do this (Keynote developers — please please please):

(1) The ideal would be a simple SMIL like technology that would make it trivial to synchronize audio and images
(2) It would produce a flash-like output that would be small (unlike the MPEG4 video I’ve produced). In principle, there’s no reason it needs to be big, since there’s just a smallish number of images and an audio file
(3) The tool would enable simple bookmarking of transition points
(4) It would then automatically map slides to those transition points
(5) It would allow me to dump the resulting presentation in any format (so, e.g., I don’t have to watch it across the web)
(6) It would run on many platforms
(7) It would allow me to run the audio at a slow speed when indicating the bookmarks
(8) It would not require me to buy a huge new system to do it.

What’s distinctive about my style, as you’ll see, is that I have MANY slides. Some are just one or two words. Some are on the screen for just 1 or 2 seconds. Systems that imagine cutting up the audio and attaching it to the slides (i.e., PowerPoint) won’t cut it. “

January 5, 2006  ·  Lessig

Two hours ago, New Jersey Acting Governor Richard Codey signed into law significant modifications to the New Jersey Charitable Immunity Act. No longer is a charity immune for negligence in hiring an employee who commits sex abuse on a child. This is fantastic news for New Jersey, and for children in New Jersey. It obviously strengthens the appeal in the case I am involved with: If a charity is not immune from liability for its negligence in hiring an employee, it would be bizarre to imagine them immune from liability for intentional torts. But the big news is the bigger picture: It just got much better for kids in that state.

January 4, 2006  ·  Lessig


We beat the target by lots. When all the check from the mail were counted, by about $30,000. And then by about $120,000 when we add the downpayment on the biggest surprise — a $1,000,000 gift by someone who (for now) is anonymous. More as soon as we can, but for now, thanks to everyone.

January 2, 2006  ·  Lessig

So I was on the “Docklands Light Railway” in London, reading the ads above the passengers’ heads. Here, by far, is my favorite:

Abuse, Assault, Arrest:
Our staff are here to help you. Spitting on DLR staff is classified as an assault and is a criminal offence. Saliva Recovery Kits are now held on every train and will be used to identifty offenders against the national DNA database.