Archive for the ‘Conferences’ Category

BarCamp Leeds

I spent a very enjoyable Saturday attending BarCamp Leeds yesterday, I gave a modified version of my talk called Is That a Computer in your Pocket which went well, standing room only (small room !!)

I ended up spending most of my time talking to folk rather than attending sessions, the Futurology session given by Paul Robinson was interesting and keep an eye out for Doodol over the coming months. I’m terrible with names and don’t have a schedule to help me but if we talked, I had fun, even when trying to convince folk the internet will all be mobile in 5 years :-p

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Future of Mobile

The notes below are a tidied up version of the live blogging notes I did at the event, not as extensive as I would once have done but the wrists aren’t what they used to be…

Full schedule for the day is here
09-06-48 : 2007-11-14

Brian Fring – Blue Flavor

Overview of global population, growth, what percentage use or are projected to use mobile, in short a lot.

LBS is a radical transformation of how we use data, a small dig at the operator for why LBS services aren’t bigger, (truth is they are not but will be, once better access is figured out)

He sums up with the statement that we are at the ‘precipice of the future of the web’

Tony Fish – AMF Ventures

We start with his background – lots of education, likes, uses etc etc done Dick Hardt style but not as slick, I’ve tried it myself and it’s no mean feat to pull off

facts & figures – etc

tries to break down age by usage of phone, if you can’t use the keys due to fat fingers you are 40, if you can text behind your back you might be 20

the new world is built on connecting

convergence is not understood as everyone has a different view of what it means

iPhone joke about saving the 3rd world…hehehe

why is there no one to converge on?, we are no longer market segments but are all now creators, we need a creative balance

cost of creation is now Zero (- not quite…what about network access even on broadband, we all pay an ISP somewhere)

increasingly Telcos give away the device (- erm always the case in the UK surely)

6 Screens now:

  1. Cinema
  2. PC
  3. TV
  4. Airplane in seat
  5. Mobile
  6. Gameboy / Nintendo DS etc

IPR theft is the single biggest activity on the web

Digital footprints are not identity – they are just where we’ve been

my footprints are mine, Google get your grubby hands off it

not interested in Android… (-saying this while presenting as a Mobile2.0 expert seems odd)

Imagine that a billboard serves ad that fits the crowd in front of it however the weak get marginalised by the stronger views, if we only listen to our own voices we’ll end up with terrorists !?!?!?

talking about video iPod (when a mono old school mini is on screen) and a long story which ends up about Harry Potter and shuffle joke – the (older) user is stupid

loyalty is dead

trust is the challenger (- authentication, reputation)

No questions

Luca Passani – AdMob

1994 early mobile content was crap – not monetising – standards got made before monetisers could screw it up though which was good
09-42-42 : 2007-11-14

device / browser fragmentation are all big problems – mainly as they were an afterthought, (- perhaps because people are trying to make the phone be a computer first rather than making data truly mobile)

has a dig at Voda & Novarra over uaprof thing, he has created a site to complain about it, seems like a crusade

the next slide shows the attempts made by OMA & W3C to fix the problem with more about how Voda is breaking the basics of the mobile web
09-48-26 : 2007-11-14

Overview of Wurfl up next including some examples from WALL

Questions:

w3c co chair working group best practices says Luca is an angry man and has it wrong as lots is being done, and I’m sure he is right but easy to stand up and spout when you are angry about something (- taking about the Voda thing again)

Andrea Trasatti – dotMobi

.mobi – simplify dev – the truth about mobile web dev standards

here to help the growth of the mobile web

w3c best procice
mobileOK
core vocabulary
API

a list of best practices from 60 defined

mobileOK basic tests

description of w3c group workings

some discussion at the end on location contextualising the info that .mobi may serve you – it should know where you are – not quite the same thing though surely

Steve Page – Mobile Commerce

Orange search box mentioned (- i thought it was Google !?)

they see all our search terms – social sites top of the list

story about moving from subscription to ad funded and how it’s unrealistic

more about ads – they bid heavily for adwords
11-38-02 : 2007-11-14-1

above and below line click through rates
11-42-00 : 2007-11-14
Prashant Agarwal – Refresh Mobile

Mippin – cool service – using it already !

downloading appications to mobile devices is hard which is why Mobizines changed to Mippin
11-50-26 : 2007-11-14

design for mobile
11-51-20 : 2007-11-14

make the most of each device – not lowest common denominator

Guillaume Peersman – Dialogue
11-52-24 : 2007-11-14

Overview of PayforIT and how they have a solution in place for billing from different channels
11-55-32 : 2007-11-14

this ‘panel’ felt more like a products & services track, maybe it was and I missed that …

Daniel Appelquist – Vodafone

“not here to defend the indefensible ” (- Novarra thing i presume)

He recalls attending in 1993 the 1st internet conf and how things were not clear then on what the web would be (- his blog post about it is here)
13-08-58 : 2007-11-14

a quick overview of Voda activity related to Web

in 5 years time will the majority of web usage be from mobile devices? he thinks yes (- so do I )

will forget about the mobile vs PC talk , its all mobile…

huge culture clash between ;
web + mobile
and mobile app and mobile content
13-12-50 : 2007-11-14

why mobile is different – UI challenges are raised…
13-14-46 : 2007-11-14

best practice details – makes sense of mobile in the mobile context
13-19-48 : 2007-11-14

all the w3c talk is about serving the majority of devices out there now – Ajax is looking forward

huge need to understand limitations of current devices – ref to WALL again

DOJO toolkit has refactored well

iPhone alert – facebook application shown in a low quality video
13-28-44 : 2007-11-14

SVG tiny 1.2 – check it out – browser will integrate it soon
13-29-32 : 2007-11-14

WiCD – wicked, good things coming

finish with plugs for dev.mobi and betavine

Charles McCathieNevile – Opera
Easily the best talk of the day (for me)

13-33-42 : 2007-11-14
13-35-10 : 2007-11-14
Japan – cool phones, reasonable networks, PC decline?
developing countries due to crap network
13-39-32 : 2007-11-14
props to Shibuya display screen and how its a mobile web app
13-37-18 : 2007-11-14
browser dies, eats battery = no calls – sucks
13-42-42 : 2007-11-14
good points about how had doesnt grow and working at a desktop is ok

dont want to share mobile porn with family

joke about browser context showing google in Hebrew while visiting there
13-43-54 : 2007-11-14
key point – data needs to move too
13-45-46 : 2007-11-14
ecmascript 4 – next gen of ajax

javascript kills battery – ecma trying to fix that
13-54-42 : 2007-11-14
key takeaway – better standards support is important especially as diversty is increasing (more devices etc)
13-56-42 : 2007-11-14
Nokia pushing webkit for all browsers in mobile space at same time as launching mozilla products, plus there are two branches of webkit , programmers are to blame

Brian Fring – Blue Flavor

they have a jargon bucket at work (web2.0, convergence etc)
14-10-40 : 2007-11-14
14-15-40 : 2007-11-14

what he took away from the 1st mobile 2.0 conference

We get shown a video on YouTube of a deposition in America where Devitt(?) is having a go at the Wireless industry
14-16-16 : 2007-11-14

iPhone is unique
14-26-42 : 2007-11-14

I think this is one message I took on board since I don’t really get the iPhone hype, I had accepted that they have done wonders for shifting the perception of how important the UI is.
14-28-42 : 2007-11-14

We finish with a list of 10 unique things:

  1. First smartphone for the massess
  2. flat rate data (in USA – we have it here in Europe for a while)
  3. sold and supported outside carrier
  4. no subsidisation
  5. updateable software (iTunes)
  6. location awareness (if in Starbucks)
  7. bandwidth expectations
  8. portable device convergence
  9. web & mobile standards
  10. impact on web communities

14-32-22 : 2007-11-14

Dave Burke – Google/Android
This session was live blogged over at TCUK

15-01-48 : 2007-11-14

overview of OpenHandsetAlliance
15-03-24 : 2007-11-14

and why Android matters

Some brief details – linux 2.6 kernel and drivers, java language framework ( no mention of Dalvik)

mult task – true back stack
15-05-26 : 2007-11-14

complete two way sync
15-12-24 : 2007-11-14

powerful software emulator

open APIs from google

powerful simple framewirk written in java

architecture breakdown – can’t see well and missed picture

Dave moves on to create a new browser which can also read the address book in 7mins 58 seconds, impressive stuff, we finish with the recently announced developer challenge
15-23-22 : 2007-11-14

Simon Rockman – Sony Ericsson

T68 landmark phone

3-5 year adoption in mobile whether operator driven or not

doesnt believe in UMA – people pidgeon hole devices

nokia 5100 rugged phone for india

pink razr – outsold all nokia efforts at that time

increasing trend – not iphone vs gphone – what will win is devices for a specific need

Julie Strawson – Monotype Imaging

adding design to typefonts adds emotion

from monotype – leading global provider of text imaging solutions

at the end of the session people are banging on about costs of fonts, they should be free etc, nice thought

Matt Millar – Adobe

16-33-42 : 2007-11-14

glossy presentation as expected, just use Flash to design everything…..
16-34-34 : 2007-11-14

operators are holding it all back of course…

We finished with a panel discussion put together at the last minute due to a hiccup, nothing to report on that really other than another mention of how better phones for the elderly like Vodafone simple phone (neglected to mention it had been canned due to poor sales)

Summary
I have to say that I agree with some others about it being more about Mobile Web now rather than the Future of….and I chatted briefly to Ryan before the event started about how tough it is to get a decent European event going (we were talking about the web2expo in Berlin last week) and there’s always the problem of who is in the crowd.

I didn’t learn a lot new this time (I guess my OPML file is still pretty good then) but I did meet various folk that I’ve either been trying to meet for a while or happened across so the event was very worthwhile for that reason, it does remind me of several conversations I’ve had on conference formats and how it’s often about meeting people, let’s see how well BarCamp works this weekend.

The truth is that it is very hard, nay impossible to please everyone in a diverse crowd but in the end it was an excellent attempt, the venue was ok but not conducive to live blogging even though I did get some power, my N95 died before the end which was a shame as started using it to capture slides rather than type given how awkward that was.

Alex Linde (Colibria) – WidX – think Widsets but built on open standards (which is much better)
Rebecca Snook (Spoken Group) – short audio stories on your phone done easily
Prashant Agarwal – Mippin – bring the fun back to RSS
Ribot – I owe you a drink (or two)

3rd Era of computing ?

I was at the session Tim refers to during the executive briefing at OSCON, it’s good to see a well reasoned post from Tim on what happened but I’m not overly interested in that aspect, what did catch my eye is the summing up of computer ‘eras’ at the end of the post and what appears to be a call to action:

My Tongue-Lashing from Eben Moglen:
Meanwhile, I continue to feel that the focus of the free software movement on “software” rather than on “freedom” is the real lost opportunity. In the first era of the computer industry, lock-in was provided by hardware; in the second era, it was provided by software; today, it is provided by centralized databases driven by winner-takes-all network effects. Focusing only on free software is as limiting as focusing on free hardware. It’s freedom that matters. I would have thought that Eben and I could have found common cause there, and would love to have a real conversation about these issues.

I wonder in which era we will see truly free data that belongs to the people that create it no matter what they do, and software that is not dependant on an OS for that matter…

OSCON07 Executive Briefing

Opening remarks from Tim:

  • every open source project has mechansms for control as well as participation
  • web2.0 projects drive participation levels beyond the wildest dreams of open source yet enable massive centralisation of power
  • are we asking the wrong questions

How do we measure Freedom? use/build on and adapt / participate / “fork” / switch

Look at sendmail, it was the king but by being open it has now been superceded by other options, when did you last hear of anyone doing something with sendmail?

Stallmans Four freedoms of the FSF

how do you maintain? when:

  • running it requires 100s CPU and constant updates to petabytes of data
  • when SaaS is based on proprietary algorithms and data
  • when redistribution is no longer necessary for everyone to have access
  • when improving the program may be less important than improving the shared data

Is free as much a component of the success of Open Source as everyone believes?

24072007052-1

all the top opensource projects are P2P free file sharing progs, such as eMule (bet no-one from that team is here quips Tim)

24072007053

Larry Walls Onion Theory of Open SourceS

24072007054

Dave Morin – Senior Platform manager at Facebook joins Tim on stage for a ‘fireside’ chat:

Tim: whats the API platform built on ?
Dave: LAMP entirely and almOpen Sourcet all code in PHP, Facebook is committed to Open Source and thinks about it all the time, whenever they do something they think Open Source first and foremost.

Tim: Is all your source code available ?
Dave: certain parts of code are not fit for showing in public (it’s the usual story of dirty code not being something they would want people to see, I often wonder about this one, either it is but would still be useful to coders or it isn’t in which case there is another reason it is not being released)

Tim: What about the user data that people create on Facebook?
Dave: Facebook respects user ownership of data, they will allow people to delete data but not move it

(Some application statistics are given by Dave in relation to the new API but I missed them, however I’m sure Google will provide many answers)

Tim next question is based around how he gets friends requests and doesn’t even know who they are (an increasing problem for anyone using social network services, I get several unknown friend requests a day now spread around Twitter, Pownce, Facebook, LinkedIn), Dave says they allow many ways to define a relationship through a two directional confirmation of details (they do provide much more granularity in defining a relationship to Twitter or Pownce)

Tim: why should we (Open Source) care about Facebook?
Dave: because we’ve spent many years developing in Open Source, supporting it and they like to give back to it whenever they can, in essence – they care…and they will continue to release as much of their software as they possibly can unless it’s too baked in to the system, often software is too entwined in the overall platform to allow easy Open Sourcing but whenever you can you should, especially if it will help someone else with a similar task, as in do it when it makes sense..

Tim:Foxmarks piggy backed on Firefox to get usage and is now 30-40% of size of Del.icio.us, there are always examples of open sourcing up front working out…How high up does open source go in Facebook?
Dave: it flows in our veins all the way to the top and we have more cool stuff coming….

Let’s hope you do as well as Livejournal quips Tim as they are the gold standard in this space….

Next up is the Firefox Extension system:

Mike Shaver of Mozilla

Tim: How many extensions are there currently on the Firefox platform?
Mike: 2400 or so on main site, various levels of complexity (he mentioned a Dark matter answer but failed to state what it was)

Tim: Fireox can slow down at times and I’m left wondering if it is an extension or some problem with a new release
Mike: probably a bit of both

Matthew Gertner – AllPeers
Approx 400K downloads
51-100K active users perhaps

Garrett Camp – Stumbleupon
We enable people to find new sites that match their interests through leveraging community aspects of browsing.
about 2.9 million registered users with about a third active (I’m a registered non-active user and don’t have it installed anymore as I have no need to find more sites to browse)

Tim: IE has built an extension mechanism much like Mozilla so why Firefox?
Garrett: Because they (Firefox community) are more active and provide very good feedback

Tim: do people get the source when they get an extension?
Matt: AllPeers is mostly binary but you get the source code as its javascript so you get it all, useful to learn (view source effect)

Mike: Firefox provide souce code but do not provide documentation to the level of MSDN but are getting there..

Matt: why Firefox? – for us we were all using Linux and Macs so it made sense, personal use dictated the choice as they didn’t use IE

Tim: what did Ebay actually acquire (when purchasing Stumbleupon)
Matt: they want the technology, alludes to Ebay using their technology to help users find other useful things perhaps?

Tim: is allpeers looking for a similar exit?
Matt: well it’s a standard thing these days! , they started in IE as they were all Microsoft development experts, when they did the beta they were asked to make it more llike a browser so they needed to make it cross platform and at that time Firefox was way ahead of IE so logical choice then

Licensing in the Web2.0 era
Eben Moglen’s opening quote as he approached the stage during Tims introduction “I’ll talk about licensing but web2.0 era doesn’t exist – it’s a bunch of hooey created by self promoters”, this pretty much set the stage for the ensuing hubris. This session garnered a lot of attention due the personal attacks on Tim and passionate statements made by Eben who clearly had a bee in his bonnet, I decided to sit back and enjoy it mostly but captured some points..

Google will be the biggest secret service force in the future leading us to store things ourselves (cheap storage will mean we will all store our own data rather than getting it free from Google)

on the 10 year timephase all this web2.0 is thermal noise

we need to get back to the concept of Freedom, Google is right that you dont need to ask someone to run a program

you should be allowed to make changes (to Open source code) and keep them to yourself, making people expose them is like the CIA asking to see your filing cabinet….

google do not infringe any of our rights but in the long term they might (not sure i understand why still)

what will end it all ? – the discovery that advertising revenue business is not worth all the money that is being pumped in to it

more ability to create software now (more processing etc) in the room than there was in entire IBM on 70s

90% time worrying about 2% of distribution

net net is worrying about principles rather than vapouring about Open Source we wouldnt be here now, still got patent problems, lots of work to do now that should have been done 10 years ago instead of talking about web2.0

Google Moglen on Google video to get an hour long video of his ideas

Facebook is what the kids are doing this week, doesnt care they’ll be doing something else next year

Moglen “we carried your water for 10 years while you made money”

all this user data in the hands of companies that can be made to give it out to goverments whenever they like, it’s a huge problem that isn’t being challenged now.

another dig at the people that left the free software movement early to go make money…

a good analogy that companies have privacy officers and investors (rapist or something) and who do you think will win when it comes to a matter of money over privacy??

long discourse on GPLv3 and the opportunity it took or didn’t

gplv3 gives us a 10 year timeframe to sort this stuff out

Eben’s closing quote after a clearly unsettled Tim suggested they stop…

“i invite you to a conversation you have been ignoring for the last 10 years…”

I enjoyed this session, not because it was confrontational or that Tim was on the end of some personal attacks but because there was vigour and passion in it, it made me really think about what was being said on stage, it was a new viewpoint I hadn’t considered before, it wasn’t rhetoric on a service I was familiar with or had already used, it was a call to action. I don’t know much of the history to this, I’ve met Tim a few times and have been to Foo before, I think he has done a great job of focusing people around a theme and it doesn’t bother me that he’s made money doing it (it seems Eben is bothered by it) but I can also see Eben’s point of view.

Having thought it over it’s clear there are bigger issues at stake than open APIs and friend requests that are not being addressed in the general arena, having said that the issues are being discussed in what is still a small group, most of the planet don’t have a clue about open source or web2.0 and most likely don’t care either…

After the break – Tim quips that “the future of web2.0 is dust under our feet” in reference to the last session and then introduces another slight change to the plan, instead of seperate talks the next speakers will all get on stage toghether.

Brad Fitzpatrick of SixApart, Doug Cutting of Yahoo! and Simon Peyton-Jones of Microsoft join him on stage for another panel session

Tim: Is Yahoo! getting in to Open Source because Google is?

no comment basically

disc seeks are the problem now and are relatively slower than before – tape based technologies are more relavant today?

Doug: explains the history of how the name became Hadoop, it was a small yellow toy belonging to his son (following some humour on how his other childs toy was called NeighNeigh (sp?)…)

Tim: EC2/S3 are great training wheels for people building systems that could turn big but how hard is it to move off these platforms
Doug: very easy if your approach is similar to what Amazon do now (I assume he means that by using structured APIs in the same fashion you could swap out the backends that EC2/S3 currently provide)

There is some discussion on how S3 could have used Webdav to make things more standard given the widespread adoption already out there, the fact is they haven’t though.

Next up Roger Magoulas does the trends review through book sales review this year titled “Trends in Open Source Adoption” this session should be familiar to anyone that’s been to an O’Reilly conference ( I wish he would update the picture on the opening slide!!) and provides some factual insights in to what’s hot or not in programming and open source adoption (I tried to take pictures of the slides like earlier but failed for reasons I wont go in to here hence have no data – Ruby still hot I think though !)

In a change to the published programme Cory Doctorow speaks next in a session about privacy titled Privacy Isn’t Dead — Let’s not Kill it (I last saw Cory talk at Etech 2005 I think and am interested to see what his take is)

The essence of his talk is about how we make decisions about technology that puts it more or less in control of our lives but ultimately its up to us to decide

One quote that stood out (enough to be twittered in unison with Nat) “I call that the Urinary tract infection business model, where the internet that once came in a rush is now a painful dribble”

Post lunch – what happens when a young open source company grows up? The session quotes Mark Twain in it’s description

“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

It’s a lot easier to be a sassy teenager than a responsible adult.

Always Better?

Tim wants these guys to ‘fight’ over the idea that all software should be free but not sure there is an argument to be had here as they look uncomfortable with the idea, (I find it disappointing in the extreme that a mock fight is being setup to which the contenders clearly don’t feel comfortable with, shouldn’t this have been cleared up before they took the stage,especially as the website states “We’ll get these guys going head to head” – lame)

Vmware taken the Open Source lesson to heart without being Open Source…. (this is the only thing I wrote during the session and looking back now I’m not even sure why)
the result is an uninspiring session that fails to produce anything of note sadly.

(The remaining sessions find me writing little down either as interest wanes, not just from me but I find myself exchanging looks with those at the table with me as laboured themes are gone over again, maybe my imagination but even Tim seems to be struggling to keep the momentum going, the desire to keep on the open source theme seems stretched and strained even, I find myself wondering and hoping that this is not a sign of the says to come)

A chat with MySQL CEO Marten Mickos about the impending IPO titled as “The Path to IPO”

During the chat Marten asks the crowd “why does change happen so slowly?” he wants things to happen quicker, I see what he means but as referred to earlier it will take even longer for the mass market to adopt (perhaps this is what he is referring to, if so then the answer is that the need just isn’t there imho)

Managing Linus Torvalds and Other Small Challenges is an impressive sounding session mentioning “game plans for world domination” no less, it’s an interesting insight in to the challenges of managing a diverse development group that has garnered global interest and therefore diverse opinions.
Why Free Software Values Work for Business a chat with founder Mark Shuttleworth around how Ubuntu has become the fastest growing Linux distribution by clinging fiercely to the free software principles.

Ubuntu – launchpad – web2.0 approach to Open Source …? upping the collaboration, good marketing of a well designed product with a good and vibrant community behind it
Next up is a showcase session with three companies selected:

Ohloh.net – service that allows developers in Open Source to compare what ‘stacks’ they are using and therefore build a community view of the best set of tools for a particular mode of development
OpenADS – open source ad server that has built a network of thousands of publishers that rival the big ad networks
OpenCV – listed but either didn’t show or I didn’t register them on stage

Open Source Hardware – A panel session moderated by Phillip Torrone, Senior Editor, MAKE Magazine with :
Christy Canida, Community and Marketing Manager, Instructables – a vibrant community of people building things (guns, ferris wheels) from K’Nex [edit: Christy left a comment that points out they do a lot more than K’Nex, I apologise as I should have checked but as I have a son mad with the stuff I focused on the K’Nex bit!]
Brad Carlile, Sun Microsystems – open source chips? myself and others at my table couldn’t help but wonder why – it’s not like just anyone has access to a fab plant to make one?
Limor Fried, Adafruit Industries – suppliers of kits and parts for original, open source electronics projects, parts are made specifically easier to solder and use
Andrew Huang, Vice President Hardware, Chumby Industries – it really is going to be released soon apparently – wifi internet browsing device (I really can’t believe this is onstage again tbh)

I’d have preferred to see 3D printing in this session as this has more power to disrupt than making bigger things out of toys, one off devices out of circuit boards or fluffy wireless lcd displays that can show you content from the web, the end of the exec briefing seems to be forced and running out of steam, as are my wrists and patience.

Why Congress Needs a Revision Control System – Karl Fogel from QuestionCopyright.org
The notion behind this is very interesting albeit only tangentially linked to Open Source (there are non open source version tracking products) but the ability to put effective version control on acts of legislation as they get amended and passed through government is a valuable one, i think the UK site TheyWorkForYou has some form of this in place. It makes me wonder about how well this could work in a corporate environment with regard to policies and mission statements. The point being to be able to accurately track changes in any important documentation, not just that for code

Open Source Documentation
I’ve yet to meet a good coder that likes to write documentation, if freelancers didn’t have to provide it as part of a contract it would be worse than it is now I’m sure, Andy Oram talks about some methods he is trying in order to get better documentation in place, he shows us some open source software that adds polling to documentation to get an idea of how accurate/good it is, I didn’t really follow along with it

We finish with a showcase devoted to OpenID with David Recordon and Simon Willison

After a quick overview of what OpenID is they run through some stats, the most interesting to me is that at this point they have approx 120million registered IDs (of which 60 million or so are from AOL) but as more companies adopt (Plaxo for example) the graph is looking nicely exponential for them at this point. There is some debate both internally and externally about how relevant OpenID is vs Liberty Alliance or Cardspace, I find these arguments moot now since mass adoption by web users to simplify their online identities and logins, essentially providing single sign on for the web will be a deciding factor, will banking use it for online banking? perhaps not. There is little interest from operators due to it not being seen as secure enough at this point (I had a chat with David and Simon about this later and the final outcome is that there will probably have to be some hybrid solution if the customer is going to come first in all of this) I’ve written before about how in my ideal world my OpenID is based on my MSISDN which is something I personally see as a unique identifier to me and something I almost always have with me, I’d hate to see the two competing although two identities is preferable to the 50+ i have now of course….. (including 3 OpenIDs only one of which I am using thanks to the excellent Sxipper) I’d really like to have something like [MSISDN].openid.com work for me with access from the mobile being automatically authenticated but I digress.

The Exec briefing was informative a the start but ultimately fizzled out for me in the end with too much showcase and not enough engaging debate.

The NextWeb

I’m at the NextWeb conference in Amsterdam, Patrick promised it would be a great conference when I met him last year so let’s see if it lives up to expectations.

First impressions, the venue is quite stunning ! A very ornate and old fashioned theatre, I’m sat in a comfy plush red chair that is pretty damn comfortable so far, let’s see what it’s like at the end of the day since I usually think that when going to the cinema but inevitably end up with a numb behind after a long movie, oh and there’s no power and no sign of wifi so far sadly

I met Marc Canter again and he told me that Arrington has failed to show up, he is getting a reputation for that after he failed to show for LeWeb3 last year, I’m sure he has a good reason though…

Scott Rafer starts out with the important stuff, like how wifi works, they wanted to turn it off in sessions etc, it may be slow etc but then manages to not tell us anything about how we should be able to access it after all so no connectivity, maybe a good thing but the topic of in conference wifi has been widely debated, I’d prefer it was on and working..

He goes on to say that Google is dominant now due to math, whatever happens next needs to be different, if you look around the next thing is people, look at Facebook for example, makes sense due to the the way broadband is going, USA sucks but mostly it’s getting better, more bandwidth makes the experience workable, seamless, pictures are instant, the depth of representation online is getting bigger, difference between online and offline us is getting smaller.

With the stage set so to speak the opening keynote starts

Saul Klein – flush with cash from Last.fm deal, successful angel investor and the man behind OpenCoffee

Why Europe needs to seed the growth of its new stars

Saul shows us several picture slides to illustrate the point, a map showing silicon valley and seattle – should we envy them he asks?

Several more pictures to show the starting point of several well known companies now

Yahoo – Amazon – Ebay – Google all good market cap figures so why not envy $553 wealth creation ignoring other big companies like HP , Intel etc

Forgetting paypal – YouTube, Facebook

Ecosystem primed for success, 3 great universities, money and thousands of seasoned entreprenuers

Europe has prodigies, good brands, define fashion, create entertainment etc

10 European countries with more young R&D per 1000 population than USA

Europe now has experieinced and willing venture capital that are willing to start web business

Starting to see decent exits now, uswitch last.fm, skype, lastminte, Kelko

iliad in France, $4.2bn company, leads the world in triple play offers (?)

and some good ones to come, Bebo, Netlog, King.com, Habbo, Betfair, FON, Joost, netvibes, figleaves.com (#1 global player in lingerie)

UK is almost 2x ahead of US in terms of online advertising, we have 10 European countries in top broadband penetration, we have opencoffee !

great entreprenuers are like cartoon characters, think big, learn from mistakes but keep trying, Wylee Cayote shots on screen

we close with lets build Europes first $10bn web business…..

It’s a familiar topic for European based Entrepreneurs, Web geeks etc, I think the culture is changing but it has a lot of catching up to do to match the headstart Silicon Valley has built up, a question from the crowd emphasises this “Not enough college students leaving saying I want to be the next Larry & Sergy”, Imran’s recent post on Innovation in the North of England gives us some encouragement, in US they have been building this for years whereas in Europe we are just starting

We move on to the first showcase of the day, it’s a product pitch effectively with the spin being that ‘the grumpy old men’ will give us instant analysis, the ‘men’ were scheduled to be Marc Canter and Michael Arrington, I spoke to Marc just before the start and he told me he was looking for another grumpy old man to replace Michael so I offered my services for a laugh “Stranger things have happened my friend” he said as he carried on searching, it turned out to be Jeff Clavier in the end…it’s certainly an interesting concept but not sure how well it might work out, it shows that conferences have to keep inventing new ways to engage the audience and make their particular event stand out from the crowd

ZYB

Operators are too slow to do this sort of thing – this thing being to enable customers to store all their mobile data with no client to download and install, works on many phones and is operator agnostic.

Using Zyb it’s possible to store contacts, calendar and you can forward SMS (although this is pretty clunky right now), the contact sync works like Plaxo does in that if two people both use Zyb and one updates his contact details it is automatically updated in the other users address book (one of many things I like about Plaxo)

after 11 months in operation they have 137,897 users, 6.5 million stored contacts, 1.2m events, 41K messages plus have done deals with 9 major companies, although he doesn’t tell us who they are (aside: uses the word crazy a bit too much, it’s not a crazy idea at all, I had it a long time ago and there are various implementations of it around already)

contact is king (not content) imagine data mining everyones contact details, they want to get all the worlds mobile numbers in one database and test the 6 degrees of separation rule, nice thought but I can’t see a single global contact database ever becoming a reality, perhaps a federation of globally placed ones yes, something I’d very much like to see as the apparent benefits are pretty compelling let alone the non-apparent (!?)

It’s also a bit like Photo Contact Sharing, go to their website and enter your number and see who knows you and if you like you can tag pictures with contacts

Pretty smartly they have a major division on the site – Me & Us – so you can use the service in just your sync mode for contacts etc but if you want you can get in to the social network stuff and try out the 6 degree or contact search

Grumpy Old Men: If you had a silver bullet who would you use it one?

He would like to kill the walled garden operators that are holding him back and jokes that what he would really like is a nuclear bomb rather than a bullet, as usual all Operators are lumped together as one single ‘evil entity’ by the web crowd, it’s rare that anyone realises that there are more progressive operators around now

Jeff Clavier

Investing Globally The New connectedness is the listed talk but after a quick bit of background on himself he changes the title to Investing in Silicon valley building a part of the new connectedness

Investing 2004 v 2007

  • 2004
  • cheap and available talent
  • lots of open opportunies
  • building next generation services and new markets
  • leveraging global broadband
  • 2007
  • very tight and expensive hiring
  • numerous white spaces overcrowd (too many video startups)
  • mashing up services to deliver incremental (limited?) value
  • laughing at US broadband

What defines the new connectedness
– new experience
— richer quality/interaction
— gaming as an interaction paradigm
–shared

-multi personal instantiation modality
–blurring of online, offline, virtual me
–a bunch of me’s with me in the middle
—cross device

-my web, my world, my life
–personalisation will reac a point of total freakiness
—cntent, context loation, time behaviour
–across my me’s

-automation pushed to the edge
–robots sensors and fulfillment
–less utility, more entertainment

its the usual tale but candidly told “sandhill road doesn’t give a crap about Europe” but with bigger exits coming up now they are starting to get interested now and want in on the next round of funding on some of the European activity.

He is telling ‘us’ to think out of the box and go for the throat, out innovate the US, it’s very easy to tell people to do that of course, but it needs someone to actually do it and have that idea in the first place….

A culture shift is required, away from employee culture to risk taking etc

Key point he makes is that USA is years behind on mobile technology, I see a lot of this sort of talk, the fact that Europe is way ahead of the US in mobile technology isn’t as true as it used to be but the gap is still there, their SMS usage is still not as widespread which is another reason Europe has this big advantage I keep hearing too, I get the feeling that people forget the cultural differences, think about Push To Talk vs SMS for example.

After the break we get a Silverlight demo – read the web, do a Google search if you want to know more since the demo was exactly that, a simple demo, however it does look very cool in what it can do, in the same vein up next is an Apollo demo which involves subscribing to (RSS feed) TV shows or Podcasts and then be able to watch offline

Deborah Schultz is up for the next keynote, I’d never met her before but as I was going on to the conference in the morning Marc Canter introduced us and we had an engaging chat while navigating our way to the coffee.

Deborah runs us through various tools (twitter, flickr) and the need to be connected, exploring online relationships, and how real they are

“We live again in a relationship economy”

Think of it as relationship bricolage – use things for purposes they are not intended for, you wont know how deep a relationship might become when it starts online

touches on how hard it is to scale customer services, something that a lot of web startups fail to recognise

She goes on to say You need to weave, for which there are skills required
listener
connector
Critic
partial geek
detective
catalyst
diplomat
juggler
approachable
intuitive
inquisitive
driven by relationships

A plea to not build another silo, as in behavioural and not technology, which is a good notion but if everyone wants to do it then it will break I reckon..after all we can’t all hang out in one place, how chaotic would that be!

Once again I feel like it’s grandma sucking eggs to me at least, not sure on the level of the crowd though but I get it all, these people advise and consult companies on this stuff, maybe I should be too
there is some discussion on the difference between friends and contacts, a huge contact list does not mean you have lots of friends (and I’d say vice versa)

Due to a juggle of the program up next from Yahoo! is Director of Front Doors, Tapan Bhat – is the next web an internet at all?

I found this talk hard to accept at face value so short notes below:

from directories to on demand

I’m amazed that he is talking about the Amazon people that brought this paradigm to bear….and how the web has ‘exploded’ and we have too many communication tools

search is not the dominant paradigm anymore

the future of the web is about being connected and pervasive “we’re in an on-demand mixed media world”

TiVo has changed his expectations of how to interact with other media, wants radio rewind button in his car (I can relate to his at least but for me it’s Sky+)

outlining the web mobile tv radio seamless story, start playing a song in your house and being able to go outside and carry on, persistent seamless access

he said Pants on stage a lot – huhuh…

His play is that to date personalisation is actually customisation as you have to do all the work

Y! Front Door (early review) is about being your gateway to the web world, they did a ton of study, everybody loves the idea of a personal homepage, I get it now, he is telling us that they are going to hit the holy grail and create a personal page for you that is dynamically built around understanding what you do and what you like, great if you do everything through Y! of course but he is talking about openness for it to work, which is true

There is a new 5th P
product
price
placement
promotion
and now ….. personalisation

give people the web they want (implication even f they dont know it yet)

build a personalisation Utopia with the best of the webs history, present and future

The Next Web = Built Around People so the call is to make it happen

Someone in the crowd asks what about the Minority Report ‘problem’, the predictable answer is that you cut off from people/companies that do bad things with your data, simple !

It seems to me that IF they can pull this off they will make excellent competition for that heavily fought item, namely the start page of your browser

next up we get a Demo showcase of Ebuddy (Web and mobile messaging, for everyone everywhere), it’s a comprehensive product along the lines of Meebo, issues with connectivity here though

Mobiluck, new localisation technology, its free, its independent of operator and its magic we are told, I recall this as a bluetooth offer and the Google search still shows this, it looks very much like the People Radar project from Boston years back as far as I can tell from what we have seen, they have over 1 million users in 200 countries to date and growing, based on the premise of viral growth through free SMS style messaging

Tariq Krim from Netvibes provides a quick overview of the product and covers the recent announcement of widgetising 500 companies content known as Netvibes Universe. Widgets from their universe are also universal apparently, they have been around since September 2005, have huge community support in translating into 80+ languages, over 10 million users in 150 countries and over 1.5 million unique RSS feeds in the system. He wants RSS to be Really Sexy Syndication from now on by presenting content better, I assume he means in more meaningful widget ways. It will be interesting to track the performance of Bubletop with the growth of Netvibes over time. although Alexa trends could point to a flattening of Netvibes growth already

The next session is a ‘surprise’ iChat seesion with Kevin Rose, bad idea as network is poor, session crashes before the end, nothing new said particularly and falls flat of what it was supposed to provide I’m sure, damn InterWebs…..

Dick Hardt up now with an intro that tells us not to blink, a reference to his fast paced presentation style, impressive that it is the first time you see it the style does get get slightly stale, the Canadian vs USA bit is funny as hell though. He walks us through the current accepted forms of identity, leading to the problems folk face now, injected with some humour on the different amounts of info on identity on various Wikipedia sites (Holland almost none, Germany many many pages!)

You have to prove your identity so many times during your life currently (birth, driving licence, marriage, divorce, death). And now hundreds (geeks) a few (mass market) digital identity. Right now it’s Identity 1.0 he argues, identities are kept behind a walled gardens such as Google’s, some government department etc. Identity 1.0 is a directory entry.
What you actually want is an user-centric identity: identity 2.0

He states six benefits of the Identity 2.0:

  1. minimal passwords
  2. rich portable profiles
  3. portable credentials
  4. agenda/delegation
  5. reputation services
  6. identity services

His company has an answer to this of course and it’s called Sxipper, I’ve been using it since it came out and I love it, it’s one of the first extensions that goes in to Firefox for me, an invaluable assistant to someone that uses as many sites as I do.

After the break Nokia Widsets does a short spin, like they did at the chinwag event in London recently, nothing new specifically

Slurpr is a 6 channel wifi router, they want to make it a product but are doing the legal issues, getting help from EFF with it too. The idea came from one of the organisers Boris:

“At this moment I can see 8 different signals. Some are closed networks but most are open and available. I can only connect to one at a time so I tend to just pick the one with the best signal. But what if I could connect to all the networks at the same time and combine their bandwith?

Yeah, that is what I need!

A big, fat access point with a large antenna and a bunch of Wi-Fi cards that automatically connect to the strongest signals it can pick up. Then it would combine all these signals into one FreeLoading Broadband Canal for me to use.”

So the premise is that it will bundle together up to 6 different wifi channels and combine into one connection and it will be able to crack WEP networks (KissMac anyone)

The second last keynote of the day is supposed to be starting but there is a MAJOR botch up on video, lack of sound, poor co-ordination, even the slides don’t work, I feel sorry for the presenter on stage however finally all is sorted and we get the video, an emotional video at the and the reason becomes clear, the product is called Respectance , it’s about the loss of family/friends, social networking for people grieving, it’s a very well done vertical niche social network built from the fact that people are expressing grief on MySpace, Facebook etc but they are not well suited to this sort of activity as some people grieve for a long time, their site helps people remember in a respectful way, since read that they are getting series A funding which makes a lot of sense to me, they have figured on a good niche to fill after all.

One of the comments of the grumpy men is that people will prefer to use the Myspace and Facebook pages of the deceased, where their photos and videos already are, Respectance will be able to use/embed those is the [correct] response, let’s see what happens, I hope I don’t have to use it any time soon though.
The final session of the day is provided by Rod Beckstrom author of the best seling, change your life book, The Starfish and the Spider – after dinner kind of talk which you only have to look at his blog to see , centralised vs decentralised, music industry is a good example, was decentralised when you have to go to someone to see them perform, but then the record labels got in charge when vinyl started, more so for CD, but then P2P has lead to the de-centralisation of it again, it’s a reasonable rhetoric, the whole talk reminds me too much of Frank T.J. Mackey but fortunately a more sedate business oriented version..

Putting the problems with schedule, network and even equipment I’m still not sure I came away with a clear steer on the Next Web but rather a refresher on the trends within the current Web which is partly a shame and partly a good thing as that means there isn’t a clearly defined vision, my personal view is that it’s more about mobile, not that I’m wholly in the Mobile 2.0 camp mind you. One thing that does stand out clearly though is that it is going to be about People and Relationships and how technology can be made to work for people and not the other way round, i.e. simplicity in use and the ability for technology to take away the tedious stuff and leave us with more time to connect and relax.

Etech Conference

I’m at the opening session of this usually excellent conference. In the executive briefing today and will post my thoughts and notes on this later, so far there have been several companies up that I’ve seen before and am familiar with, not as stimulating as I thought so far.

One new thing, or at least a new product from an existing concept is Atten.TV which is based on attention trust, Mac only. Not sure I see the difference between it and Slife so far but not had a chance to look too closely. More later….

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Etech Executive Summary

On the first day of Etech I attended the Executive Briefing session in order to get an overview of the important themes coming up over the following three days.

The format of exec briefings is one I like, more about discussion than simple presentation hence it was relatively ‘ppt lite’

The On-Demand Manufacturing Revolution

In the first session some widely ranged topics are discussed, at one point Tim wonders is the meme of MAKE is getting ‘old school’ in the same way Rock music has over time, and as in fact anything does over time.

Dale Dougherty responds that it’s not just kids, geeks and retiree`s looking for something to do now

One Issue with the last few years is that people can are decreasingly able to fix things themselves, 30 years ago everyone could fix a tractor or their car, now the systems are simply to complex for most to consider, the rising trend in making your own equipment is putting the power back in to peoples hands to repair things

Kite level mapping is now being done, it’s possible mainly because the cost of the cameras has come down so much that it’s ok if the kite crashes and you lose it (later in the conference Microsoft showed the Ultracams they use for virtual Earth data, you wouldn’t want to loose one of them)

Brian Warshawsky from Potenco runs us through the design process and iterations of the hand crank charger they developed for the OLPC project, the main advantage now is that you can make a design in 3D software, send it to US companies and have the parts back within a week, this allows for a much faster process, it’s also important he felt that they built each iteration themselves so that they could amend the designs. They are also using manufacturing in China now where costs are less but it takes two weeks

There follows a quick overview of the OLPC project and the current model is shown, it’s the same one I saw at Kiwi Foo as far as I can tell. The hand crank they have developed will power it for several hours due to the extremely low power consumption it has, unlike a Macbook which you wouldn’t be able to charge (they also don’t charge on planes as draw too much power), he wonders if current laptop makers are paying attention to this, more on energy later

The next speaker to join this discussion is Andrew ‘Bunny’ Huang from Chumby industries. Tim uses a popular description for the Chumby ‘the next-generation wifi-enabled clock radio that you can “hack with a seam ripper”‘ this is due to the fact that the hardware is encased in materials which can easily be modified to your tastes, the one I got at Foo Camp is only recently working but I’ve always liked the concept, Tim likes it so much he says that he keeps it in his toilet, the newspaper being replaced by technology once again.

And finally John Hagel joins the discussion, he is giving a talk on “The On-Demand Manufacturing Revolution later but the main point he makes is that we are in an age where we print circuit boards including the electronics and one everyone can do this then the playing field changes

From Manufacturing to The Attention Economy

This session starts off with an overview of Threadless, Threadless is a user-generated-design, on-demand manufacturing business. Users submit designs for t-shirts and other items, other users vote with their wallet, and when there’s enough demand, the products are created. Threadless has sold out of every product they’ve ever created.

The key point from this is that they allowed a community to form around a shared interest and built trust with that community from the ground up as opposed to a a Big brand down approach, in fact they have been approached by several major brands that want to be successful on Threadless, however they haven’t done anything since it’s not what Threadless is about.

On top of this is the question of why users work so hard designing and running a community for a company they don’t work for, in a similar vein the next speaker Seth Goldstein introduces us to his latest product Atten.tv

Built on the ideals of AttentionTrust (which he founded) and the collection of users Clickstreams the idea is that one persons Clickstream is another’s entertainment. As more people expose more data about themselves at the same time as giving away more privacy the question becomes where is it all going? Seth thinks that Atten.tv is one part of the answer, it’s another way for people to broadcast themselves (the tagline of YouTube of course), while he as showing us some early screens I felt that this was going a step too far, for me at least, I don’t really want to broadcast every webpage I visit, there are controls built in to his product but still, I send URLs I think are interesting to Del.icio.us still which is as far as I want to go for now. Seth goes on to explain that with Atten.tv big corporations can now see what users are doing explicitly and therefore can offer much more targeted advertising, or they can subscribe to a group of people to get a better idea of what they are interested in. Some of these principles are covered in my Personomy paper. It also feels similar to Slife

Jeff Jonas gives us some background on his company and the technology they developed called NORA. He is also delivering a keynote on the same topic. The basis of what Jeff does is a new technique enabling advanced data correlation while only using irreversible cryptographic hashes. This new capability makes it possible for organizations to discover records of common interest (e.g., identities) without the transfer of any privacy invading content. This privacy-enhancing technology known as anonymous entity resolution delivers extraordinary new levels of privacy protection while enabling technology to contribute to critical societal interests like clinical health care research, aviation safety, homeland security, fraud detection and identity theft.

Without going in to the specifics which are very in-depth I could see this sort of technology being very useful if applied across the vast databases of users across FT.

Ain’t Dead Yet: Skyrider and the Next Gen P2P Economy

The references to Skyrider are the hook here (not the worst example of ‘exciting titles’ though) but the basis of XX discussion was around how he belives that P2P wil be the next application, so far it has had a bad reputation by association with Piracy however most people have wrongly labelled the technology/protocol with the applications that people chose to build with it. That statement reminded me of the IMS Debate at Etel and how many people are doing the same thing there, mixing up technology with intention.

The proposition here is that his company are developing the ability to provide search based marketing around P2P searches performed across the major networks, this enables them to create targeted advertising based on popular searches (reminiscent of Atten.tv above) They are able to do this by becoming a supernode in the relevant network and collecting the queries ‘as they go by’

We finish with a fairly open statement around the fact that as Broadband penetration grows and processing power becomes increasingly cheaper that (and using P2P to avoid and client/server infrastructure costs “the kids will be doing amazing stuff”

Energy Innovation

Tim opens the post lunch session with a joke about the Irony of moving on to Energy while suffering post lunch Torpor

However the topic itself is an increasingly important one, both politically and culturally.

New data centres are required to support the ever growing need for data in the cloud, Web2.0 is responsible for this in many ways, Amazon and Google need more data centres, or more precisely more data centre space and they are looking very hard at how to reduce the costs, it’s not so much about cpu power but efficiency now.

Climate issues are well versed currently but what are the suggestions to resolve this? O’Reilly are putting on a new conference dedicated to this theme as it’s ‘on the Radar’

During the course of the discussion which revolves mainly around US power consumption and issues (related to any major industrial company though) some new thinking is proposed (new to me anyway)

One idea I liked is P2P power distribution, if I got the idea right the suggestion is to allow people to plug in their cars when not using them so that the stored energy in the batteries can be distributed back out over the grid, the more you contribute the lower your bill, in fact could there be a time when you wouldn’t have a bill? However I suspect it may never get there dues to the inherent nature of some P2P users, they leech and never return, however if the business rules are well thought out then this shouldn’t be a problem.

One thing that struck me is how current grid distribution is built around the maximum capacity model, for the peak times of usage, and how P2P distribution may flatten oout that those peaks and mean less infrastructure costs, the same model can be applied to Mobile networks although I’m not sure how technically that would work just now.

Investing in Data Center Construction

The discussion moves on to what the data centre of the future may look like with the ever growing needs of Web2.0 and the explosion in User Generated content in mind, one point made is that since the 9/11 disaster and the effect it had on the financial systems that there are also additional regulations that have to be born in mind.

Tim asks whether we will see new towns growing around these new data centres like we did in the past around power stations, the answer is it is happening already in the case of the new Google centre for example but to a lesser scale perhaps

The Q&A session revealed one additional concern for new data centres over and above the power consumption which is weight, not such a concern in the US though where land is in ready supply but more for Asian markets

Metaweb: The Semantic Web Meets Web 2.0

Robert Cook runs us through Metaweb, the mission is to create ‘World Scale’ databases, the first instance of which is available now as Freebase. Freebase aims to consolidate massive datasets and treat them as Topics, the example used was Arnold Schwarzenegger, there are 3 main datasets already, as Body Builder, as Film Star and now as Governor, Freebase brings all this data together as a Topic, the main advantage of which is the creation of one place to search for any data. Once again the Skynet reference is made since one ‘machine’ will ultimately hold all human knowledge if Freebase continues to grow.

Metabase provides an API to write on, MQL API, and all applications are built on this API, in the same way Flickr does with its API.

Their music info comes from MusicBrainz which brings up another key point, they want to release the information from existing data silos (rather than license CDDB they went with MusicBrainz) and hope to do this with other sources.

The issue of data spamming came up, it’s always a risk but Wikipedia is held up as a good example, the session ends with some very cool demos of services built on Freebase, I look forward to its more general release.

Web 2.0 and Wall Street

Peter Bloom and William H. Janeway hold a discussion around the financial markets and how Web2.0 relates.

Todays trading systems are now doing trades at 1 per 30 milliseconds whereas only a few years ago they were in the 9000 range. Give up using a mouse to do trades is the quip.

New Direct market access systems are also at the 1000 requests per second speed now meaning a trade can be done in a single millisecond.

One key point I picked up in this conversation, which was mostly beyond me in that it used lots of financial talk, is that latency is compressing, society in general is less tolerant of latency, this means new tools are required that take advantage of reducing latency, however if latency is almost zero and tools are created to take advantage of this then there needs to be conditions built in so that human intervention is possible, i.e. humans are still required to make sure a decision path holds true and these systems need circuit breakers in them

Backing Up Instinct with the Numbers

Hitwise track internet usage to provide market intelligence, the early part of the session related some tales of prediction that were very US centric (Americon Idol) so I tuned out.

However the interest came back when Bill Trancer started to describe how they track the young Digerati and where they go on the ‘net, effectively the early adopter crowd, those that jumped on MySpace, Flickr and others, this leads to the question of where they are now as many have moved away from those services.

Using their systems they pulled out the following sites:

Imeem – an online community where artists, fans & friends can promote their content, share their tastes, and discover blogs, photos, music and video.
Veoh – Your Internet television network
Wikimedia Commons – a media repository that is created and maintained not by paid-for artists, but by volunteers
Metacafe – serving the worlds best videos

Interesting to see that all of them are content related with a touch of social networks….

Roger Magoulas wrapped up the session with some analysis of the trends in computer book sales, how terms change over time with the popularity of certain coding languages, I sadly missed most of this due to an ongoing conversation re the best sites part of the talk..

The exec breifing gave a good overview of what to expect from the full conference, some more thoughts on this in the wrap post I plan, at this point though I felt that there was more emerged tech on show than emerging, as usual though it is always hard to judge what level to pitch these talks at, however the group for Etech is pretty self selecting and mostly technical or geeky in nature, in which case the level pitched so far is not right, the next few days will tell though

Normal Service Will Resume Shortly

It’s been a while since I posted and this has been for various reasons, most prominent lately though has been my almost month long trip to New Zealand where I attended the inaugural Foo Camp (aka Baa Camp) and then went touring the North Island on holiday.

I’ll post my notes from Baa Camp when I get back to work which will be early this Sunday when I head out for Etel 2007, an event I am really looking forward to based on the fact it was fantastic last year (it’s first run) and I’m hoping it will be better this year, I played a small part in being on the organising committee this year which was interesting.

My next post will most likely be reports from there, in the meantime I have a couple of days left to relax…

Reading Up on Widget day

After seeing my colleague Ian Pringles post on Widget day I came across this one, one section I really liked (obvious to those that know me) is this:

“Why the word widget? Where did that come from? When I was at Apple, we used the term widget to talk about controls in windows, in an operating system. It’s also the ball of nitrogen that makes Guinness drinkable.”

(Via GigaOM.)

Orange, Google and Netvibes partner with LeWeb3 conference

I think it’s good that we are sponsoring this event and I may go to it if I can sort other travel things out but I guarantee you I wont be able to find out who is responsible from our side and whether it means Orange employees get a special rate…

Orange, Google and Netvibes partner with LeWeb3 conference: ”

First partners announced: Orange, Google and Netvibes partner with us organizing LeWeb3, along with TechCrunch since day 1. Thank you so much all for so much support. OK, I go back to the program !

(Via Loic Le Meur Blog.)