Adam Curry's Keynote at Gnomedex

Post ImageAdam Curry is on the stage, here’s my notes as the keynote progresses:

  • He’s recording episode #200 of the Daily Source Code right here at Gnomedex.
  • That’s going to be a very historical opening for the DSC, the entire auditorium loud with applause to open the show.
  • Adam just played a mashup, and Scoble started a big party with dancing and goofiness featuring his infamous red couch.
  • Woodstock was 20 years ago today, and Adam says that today we’re jamming with new instruments, and the world is listening.
  • It’s been said at Gnomedex that we’re not the early adopters, we’re the “lunatic fringe”.
  • Adam: We need fuel. From Microsoft, Apple, Audible, etc. We’ve got things we want to accomplish.
  • Adam: The magic really happened when him and Dave Winer switched places, when Adam became the developer and Dave became the user.
  • Adam: “Here’s what I learned as a developer. This shit is hard work! Its an art form, it is 100% art.”
  • Adam: “This power of subscription is really changing everything.”
  • Sounds like Adam is a big advocate of aggregators and other applications just supporting all of the feeds and moving forward. No squabbling, just do it and go, because the end users don’t care.
  • Adam announces that he fully intends to support and use BitTorrent.
  • Music today has the advantage of promotion through radio, though it started to be less of an advantage as radio has become so encumbered by marketing and packaging, etc.
  • Adam is playing a track by Rob Coslo that he thinks is really beautiful, and it is. I turned to Dickson, the piano expert, and he says “pretty good tune.” Apparently Rob has been booked in large venues and is selling his music, and has been asked to do movie scores. The revolution is that we’re sharing, and as a result, generating revenue for Rob. He didn’t need a record label.
  • Time is up for the source code, so Adam shouts out to the developers, to Dave Winer, Robert Scoble, Chris and Ponzi.
  • Now Chris says that he and Ponzi might be doing something for Podshow, that should be interesting.

If you’re going to listen to a single Daily Source Code episode, definitely treat your ears to number 200, recorded at Gnomedex 5 in Seattle, Washington on June 25th, 2005.

Read: Gnomedex

Today's Digital Legalities

Post ImageSome notes from the digital law session hosted by Denise Howell, Buzz Bruggeman, and Jason Calacanis:

  • Very cool website that lets you subscribe to new patents: PatentMojo.
  • Denise: Law firms are starting to wise up to the fact that maybe they need to look at communication differently, and blogging is leading the charge.
  • Jason: If you get a letter from a lawyer, pick up the phone and call the lawyer to find out what they are really after, because the letter generally won’t tell you that. You have to try to understand their position.
  • Jason: “I force [laywers] to file papers, because it’s a significant amount of work.” Good strategy to find out how serious they are. Also, Jason says to extend discussions, because the longer you can extend them, the more likely things will go your way.
  • Denise: “Jason is a warrior on the frontlines of participatory law.”
  • Hanging up the phone is Jason’s favorite technique for dealing with attorneys.
  • You have to be careful about how you phrase things on your blog. Unless you absolutely know something to be true, phrase it in such a way that your source is clear (using words like “alleged”, “claimed”, etc). Also, if you make a mistake, be sure to update quickly. And don’t ignore comments!
  • Incorporating your blog doesn’t reduce the chances of getting sued, because filing a complaint is relatively inexpensive.
  • Jason: If you get a letter, post it on your weblog and talk about it.
  • Buzz: Don’t throw anything away.
  • Jason: If you care about a project enough to put effort into it, document it.
  • Jason: Don’t do any business deals without having everything in writing, it’s really not worth your time.
  • If you’re a podcaster looking to use some music, whether recorded or live, pay attention to the proposal recently released by the copyright office that attempts to have a one-stop shop for purchasing production licenses. Jason’s personal advice: Follow the definition of fair use, and keep the percentage of what you use down to something reasonable.
  • Denise: The problem with fair use, is that its decided on a case by case basis.
  • Jason: If it’s good enough for Google, it’s good enough for you. Denise: And it’s good enough for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals who decided thumbnails such as the ones you would find on Google Images are fine (75 pixels by 75 pixels or less?).
  • Some related links for this talk at delicious.

Read: Gnomedex

Tomorrow's Public Relations

Post ImageHere are some notes on the public relations session hosted by Steve Rubel, and Chris Sloop:

  • Steve: I’m a confessed flack.
  • WeatherBug is one of his clients, and he’s using it as an example during the talk. They used to bundle Gator (adware) and so now they have a big image problem that they are attempting to address through blogging.

What will blogs do to PR?

  • Jack Welch: He says the secret sauce of success in business is candor. “We are socialized from childhood to soften bad news or make nice about awkward subjects.”
  • Steve: “Blogging is PR with candor.”

Here are the WeatherBug announcements being made by Chris during this session:

  • WeatherBug API: http://api.weatherbug.com
  • WeatherBug RSS: Available to the public in July.
  • WeatherBug Mac OS X: A public beta will be shipping in July.

Darren Barefoot just made a good point that this session has simply been a product pitch for WeatherBug. Steve’s response was that he wanted to show what he did and what he accomplished, rather than just get up and talk about new public relations. In this case, I tend to agree with Darren. I think Steve could have delivered a successful talk without all the free marketing for WeatherBug.

Read: Gnomedex

Tomorrow's RSS

Post ImageHere are some notes from the session on the future of RSS hosted by Mark Fletcher (Bloglines), Scott Rafer (Feedster), and Bob Wyman (PubSub):

  • Bob Wyman says that the future of RSS is actually in Atom. Mark counters that there is so much momentum behind RSS that it seems unlikely we’ll get a single standard. Bob says that the work that has already been done on Atom ensures that there will be enough flexibility to do the things we want to in the future.
  • Almost all of the aggregators support all of the different formats of feeds, so the three panelists are saying that there is no need to publish in each of the formats, just pick one, because having all sorts of formats simply confuses users. An audience member counters that some feed formats look different in different aggregators. Bob says that the problem doesn’t belong to the publisher, but rather to the aggregator, and they need to make the aggregator show one format just as well as another.
  • The only problem I see with only using Atom, for example, is that you can’t do things like podcasting.
  • There’s lots of experimentation going on right now with RSS and advertising, and the panelists say there doesn’t seem to be a right way just yet. Bob says that we absolutely need to have advertising in RSS, the feeds need to be monetized.
  • An audience member asked the panelists if they could start their companies again, would they do anything different. Feedster says nope, they’d do the same thing. Mark says that if he could start Bloglines again, the main thing he would change is the name. He says it works for a number of reasons, but it doesn’t work for many more reasons. Bob says the only thing he’d change would be to have started it six to eight months earlier.
  • Someone asked why the companies feel that they cannot charge for their services. Bob replies that they do charge some customers very hefty fees for the same data that you can get for free – the companies pay for quality of service, access to programmers, and that sort of thing. Scott says that while the service isn’t incredibly expensive to run, they do have some relationships with big publishers from which they get paid every now and then.
  • Another audience member asked if the panelists have thought of any scenarios where the current technology is not well suited or maybe needs to be improved. Mark says that Microsoft’s announcement from yesterday will most certainly be supported, but said that you can go a long way with the technology already in place.

Read: Gnomedex

Julie Leung's session at Gnomedex

Post ImageI think I know why people like Julie’s talk so much. Unlike most speakers, Julie tells a story more than she does just talk. And she does so in such a way that it is very compelling! As she talks, she shows a slideshow of images up on the screen. The photos have very interesting perspectives and subjects – some are of family, some are landscapes, and others are closeups of objects. The images serve to provide humor in some places, and reinforcement in others. Above all, Julie is an excellent speaker. She knows just where to insert the pauses, or place the emphasis.

Julie talked about blogging and some of the social concerns you might have. For example, Julie posts a lot about her family, but she has chosen not to post pictures of her children’s faces (and thus, Gnomedexers are asked to follow this rule). She has an entire theory about blogging, and how it can be socially beneficial. Here are some of the things I picked up:

  • Bloggers generally do not practice narcissim, but rather create opportunities for the sharing of ideas.
  • It’s okay to post something private or personal, because by doing so you can educate and encourage others. The example she gave was how she posted about her brother passing away.
  • Julie says its about the chronicle. Writing the story so that it can be remembered and shared. Humans enjoy stories from a very early age, and have been creating the chronicle for centuries.
  • Blogging can help us find out who we are and what we’re meant to do.
  • “If you’re willing to make what’s private public, you can plant the seeds of new ideas.”

I really enjoyed Julie’s session; it was definitely as good as people made it out to be (she delivered a very similar talk at Northern Voice in February). If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend attending Julie’s session.

Read: Gnomedex

Seattle Trip Day 3

Post ImageDoesn’t seem like the third day already, but I guess it was, and it went quite well! The conference started today, bright and early at 8:30 AM. We got there a little early (which is abnormal for Dickson and I at conferences) so we were able to get the Podbot up and running. It is definitely the kind of thing where people can’t help but look.

We spent most of our day in the main auditorium, as that’s where all of the sessions were being held. I have never seen so many laptops in a single room before. As a result, the Internet access was virtually non-existent, having been easily overloaded with people uploading and downloading. We drove the Podbot around a little, but couldn’t do too much as the wireless kept cutting out. We only managed to get one thing uploaded at lunch.

In the afternoon I ran into David Geller showing off his Segway, and being the nice guy that he is, letting people give it a try. So, Dickson and I got to try the Segway, and I must say, it was really very cool! It took a few seconds to get used to it, because it seems awkward when you first get on, but once that was overcome, it actually felt quite natural. I was really impressed!

After a quick trip back to the hotel and a bite to eat at McDonalds, it was off to the networking event being held at the Seattle Public Library. The building itself is really beautiful, it was definitely an excellent choice of venue. Tonight was where the Podbot really got to shine! The wireless worked good, and we we ended up recording quite a few episodes. It was neat because we’d record with someone, then we could immediately show them that it was up on the website, and tagged at Podcast Tags. Everything worked smoothly, and it was really quite cool.

In case you’re wondering, the picture for this post is of the Podbot sitting on Robert Scoble‘s red couch. You can see some new Podbot pictures from today here, and you can check out some general pictures Dickson and I took at Gnomedex, including some of us riding the Segway, here.

Read: Pictures

Tomorrow's Open Source

Post ImageSome notes on the open source session hosted by Matt Westervelt, Asa Dotzler (Mozilla), Scott Collins, and Matt Mullenweg (WordPress):

  • Asa: “Open source is changing things, and open source itself is changing.”
  • Asa seems to think that we’re starting to see open source projects be chosen on quality rather than simply because it is open source or free.
  • SpreadFirefox is an example of handing over control of the brand and marketing to the product’s users who are generally more honest and passionate about the product. Scott points out that Firefox is something of an anomaly, there is no plan to enable the same effect with other products. According to Asa, it comes down to the testimonials.
  • Matt M. explains that WordPress is a great example of a community driven project, because it is improved by the people using it, resulting in a much better end product. Instead of developer driven development, you have user driven development.
  • The ad that ran in the New York Times for Firefox didn’t really create a download spike itself, but the associated media articles that covered the event sure did, according to Asa.
  • Scott makes a good point, IMO, Firefox had a really great head start to becoming successful, something that other open source projects can’t match: it exists in a market that was dominated by a single product so consumers were eager for something new, it was incubated by a company with financial backing and a team of programmers to ensure it reached the “it works great” level before being cut loose, and it is a product that people use everyday.

And that’s all I got from the session because after that last point I went to ride David Geller‘s Segway. More on that later!

Read: Gnomedex

Today's Citizen Media

Post ImageThere was obviously lots to talk about in this session hosted by David Geller, John Battelle, and Dan Gillmor, but I took one specific thing away from it. Dan Gillmor, in answering a question posed by Darren Barefoot about how the average citizen can become important enough when big media is around, said that what we’re talking about is “mass media” and NOT “mainstream media”.

For some reason, that statement really resonates. Mainstream is quite relative when you think about it. If you read a dozen different publications every day, that’s mainstream for you, even if no one else reads the same publications. Mass media is a much better way to describe the organizations that normally come to mind – the big newspapers, television and radio stations, and websites.

When you think about it, the defintion makes a difference when you try to figure out how joe average can make a successful podcast. It doesn’t matter if that podcast becomes “mass media”, what’s more important is that it becomes “mainstream media” for a group of people. If you’ve got something you’re passionate about and something you want to say, and there are people who want to listen, I’d define that as success.

Podcasting will almost definitely become another technology used by mass media. What will truly decide whether or not it has staying power, is if podcasting becomes mainstream media too. And based on the growth we’ve seen so far, I think it’s a safe bet.

Read: Gnomedex

Tomorrow's Education

Post ImageHere are some notes on Kathy Gill and Paul Vogelzang’s session on tomorrow’s education:

  • The premise here is that students at the University level are still working with newspapers, and old media, and don’t get the connection when someone says “Flickr.” Maybe in the US it’s different, but in my experience, University students are pretty cutting edge.
  • Of Kathy’s students, juniors and seniors in Communications at the University of Washington, 11% had never heard of a blog, and only 7% had heard of Flickr. Only 11% were regular blog consumers.
  • According to Kathy, the most common place to find blogs in education today is in English classes. This is not surprising to me, the fit is so natural.
  • Blogs give instant gratification, something that “cannot be undersold” when you’re talking about University students.
  • How are blogs being used in education – media literacy, managing course content, helps make sure students have read their readings, can be used for collaborative editing, facilitates user-centered learning.
  • Some tips: use common tools for all students, specifiy a minimum post size, provide guiding questions so that students have a starting point, make sure comments are enabled, make sure a marking guide is well defined.
  • Kathy says that online education (distance learning) 2.0 is coming, and it will shake up the current educational institutions.
  • According to Paul, the US federal government is looking at blogs and podcasts as a potentially useful technology. He was forced to read at the start of his talk however, a small paragraph explaining that the government does not current do any blogging or podcasting.
  • RSS makes a lot of sense for government, the biggest reason being cost savings. RSS allows rapid information dispersal at relatively low cost. And, it fosters good social interactions with citizens.
  • In particular, the Treasury Department is trying to get more stuff online, and RSS will be key in that effort.

A bit of a shorter session, and definitely felt a little rushed.

Read: Gnomedex

Tomorrow's Syndication and HiveCasting

Just
listened to the “Tomorrow’s Syndication” session here at Gnomedex,
hosted by Steve Gillmor, Dave Sifry, and Scott Gatz. Here’s a couple
notes:

  • Dave Winer made the point that no one uses attention.xml, so what’s
    the point for Yahoo to support it ? (It does support attention.xml in
    myYahoo)
  • Actually this session was kinda funny because Yahoo was made out to be “the old Microsoft”
  • Basically, a major vendor won’t play ball with a technology like attention.xml on a small level simply because of economics

Yeah I didn’t take too much away from this session, but it appears
that some people did, so that’s good. As I am writing this, B.
Honeywell (dressed in a bee costume) just took the stage to explain
“HiveCasting – the Future of Communication”. Some details:

  • HiveCasting enables hive to hand communication
  • Bee communication is improved by outfitting bees with radios and antennas (some funny pictures on the screen now)
  • Then communication went one step further, by integrating a circuit board into a bee hive
  • Now there’s just a barrage of slides, I can’t keep up, but this is pretty funny 🙂
  • Ah now there’s two audience members dressed as bees, asking questions and making comments. Priceless!

Ah that was refreshing, and good call Chris, a little humor goes a long way!

Read: Gnomedex