UPDATE: Podbot @ Gnomedex

Post ImageThings are going quite well with the Podbot! The wireless network here has been kind of spotty, so at times we have lost control. We only had one problem though, someone accidentally hit the side of the Podbot when it started moving after receiving a delayed command. The Podbot survived, but one of the side panel screws popped out, so we’ll have to fix that later.

We were able to record something at the start of lunch and get it uploaded, but it’s been quite difficult to be connected long enough and well enoungh. We’ll keep trying though!

The Podbot has been featured on Engadget today, and the Channel9 team from Microsoft was here at Gnomedex recording some video, so you should be able to see it there later too.

Read: Podbot

Microsoft: Browse. Search. Subscribe!

Post ImageHere’s some notes I took from the keystone by Dean Hachamovitch from Microsoft:

  • Longhorn *heart* RSS
  • Microsoft is betting big on RSS for Longhorn. They want to “RSS everything”.
  • They are using IE7 to show off the RSS experiences in Longhorn. This is the first public demo of IE7. IE7 now supports auto-discovery of feeds much like Firefox, an icon lights up on the toolbar. You can also view a preview of the feed, complete with search-in-page functionality. You can then subscribe to the feed in much the same way as a user would add a Favorite in IE today.
  • Now they are using MSN Search to search for Gnomedex, to display that it has an RSS feed that you can subscribe to.
  • Longhorn has the concept of a “subscription store” called a “common feed list”, so that all applications can hook into the same collection of feeds using the Windows API. This is the killer RSS feature for Longhorn, IMO. They are showing how this works with a new build of RSS Bandit.
  • They just thanked Dave Winer for inventing the enclosure tag. Was that necessary? You can only beat a dead horse so many times…
  • Now they’re showing how the Outlook calendar works with the whole Subscribe mentality. They visited the HTML schedule page for Gnomedex, and created an RSS feed from it. Now they have a special program that looks in the common feed list for feeds with calendar objects, and then adds them as appointments into Outlook.
  • Wow, someone at the front made a comment and just got chopped.
  • Oooh, pretty little demo of a photo blog being downloaded and the photos displayed in a screensaver complete with captions and descriptions. Very neat way of visualizing a photoblog.
  • Now they’re talking about the extensions to RSS that they are proposing. One of them allows RSS to work better with lists. Another allows a publisher to describe the content of the feed. They worked with Amazon.com to create RSS feeds out of the Amazon Wishlists as an example.
  • The specification for the Simple List Extensions is going to be released under a Creative Commons License. They played a video from Larry Lessig welcoming Microsoft into the CC family.
  • As of noon today, there will be an architectual overview document on RSS in Longhorn and specs for the Simple List Extensions avaiable on the web.
  • Schedule: Longhorn Beta 1 is set for PDC05, and will contain some of the envisioned RSS experience.
  • “This is the start of the conversation.”

All pretty cool stuff. I can’t wait to see the first beta of Longhorn, it should be pretty awesome if all of this stuff is implemented and working well.

Read: Gnomedex

Notes from Dave Winer's Keynote

Post ImageHere are some notes I wrote down during Dave Winer’s keynote:

  • Both Marc Canter and Dave agree that the web allows multiple little islands, instead of big continents
  • Dave remarks on the Microsoft announcement expected later today – “we can all participate, but none of us get to be the platform vendor”
  • According to Dave, technology control is behind us, and doesn’t think that the W3C has been effective, mainly because there was a single vendor that had the power to decide what lived and what died on the net
  • RSS is great at sharing news, but it doesn’t do a very good job of distributing information that isn’t news
  • Dave says that outlines and similar structures are the future of the web, and may be just the thing to supersede the HTML web
  • Shared a demo of the open source OPML Editor
  • To Dave, a blog is a document, that’s his perspective
  • The song they chose is Yellow Submarine, and the entire auditorium sang along! Definitely find a podcast recording…it’ll be worth it.

Is it just me, or does it seem like Dave’s who “unconference” concept is really just about him having control of the talk? First he says it’s all about a discussion, instead of just having a speaker. Then he says that he should control who gets to talk, and for how long. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems as though Dave keeps coming up with ways to maintain control of the talk while telling us that he’s giving us control.

Read: Gnomedex

Gnomedex is underway!

Post ImageSomehow, we managed to make it here on time! We just finished listening to Chris Pirillo give his welcome address, and up next is Dave Winer with the first keynote of the conference.

The Podbot seems to be working quite well, though the wireless seems rather slow at the moment. Then again, if you could see all of the computers in this auditorium, you probably wouldn’t be surprised to hear that. Some people have already snapped photos of the Podbot, so be sure to watch Flickr, and the blog sites like Technorati for more.

For those of you who knew the Podbot before Gnomedex, we added the ability to take pictures using the webcam last night. Unfortunately it doesn’t automagically upload them to Flickr, but I will be doing that manually when we get some good ones!

Read: Gnomedex

Announcing the Podbot!

Post ImageI’ve been waiting to post this for quite some time now. I am very happy to introduce to you, the Podcast Wizard Robot, or Podbot for short. You may have heard rumblings about a podcasting robot already, and if so, you heard correctly!

The Podbot is exactly that, a podcasting robot. It moves around like a mini car, and is controlled wirelessly. It’s equipped with a webcam and of course, a microphone. The Podbot has a Tablet PC on board, to act as both the interface and brains of the robot. We control movement, recording, and other functionality remotely using another Tablet PC connected over Wi-Fi.

All of the software is written in .NET. The control software which handles communication with the Podbot and functionality like movement was written specifically for the Podbot. The podcasting software is actually Podcast Wizard, our upcoming podcasting tool. Our podcast is hosted at Podcast Spot, and all of our episodes are tagged with Podcast Tags.

As you’ll see from the website, the Podbot was created by myself, Dickson, Andrew and Ashish. Above all, it was a fun project, and we all learned a lot. Thanks to Andrew and Ashish for all of the hard work you did – the Podbot just wouldn’t exist without you!

You can check out the website for more information on the Podbot, or if you’re at Gnomedex, come see it in person! You can listen to our first podcast with the robot here.

Read: Podcast Wizard Robot

Microsoft to make RSS announcement at Gnomedex

Post ImageThere will probably be quite a few Gnomedex-related posts over the next few days, so I figured the new graphic would be a good idea. I’ll use it for any post related to the conference – that way, if you’re less interested in the conference and more interested in what Dickson and I are up to in Seattle, you’ll know which posts to read and which to ignore.

It has been rumored for some time now that Microsoft is making a big announcement this weekend at Gnomedex, but this News.com article is the first mainstream press to pick it up (that I have seen anyway):

Microsoft plans to announce on Friday that it is expanding its support for the Web publishing standard Really Simple Syndication.

Microsoft is proposing an extension to RSS that would allow it to better support ordered lists of information. Today, RSS feeds are sent and read merely as a stream of messages, with the order being determined according to the time the messages were sent. Microsoft is proposing a way to add ordering information so that an RSS feed could better handle things like an e-commerce site’s list of best-selling items or calendar information ordered by the date of an event rather than when the appointment was created.

Sounds pretty interesting, and the article quotes Dave Winer, which probably means he’s not against the proposed extension. I guess I’ll be able to post details from the conference 🙂

Read: CNET News.com

See you at Gnomedex!

Earlier this week Dickson and I registered for Gnomedex 5.0, taking place in Seattle from June 23rd to 25th. We’re really excited about the conference, and we’re looking forward to meeting a bunch of new people! If the conference is anything like Northern Voice, it should be a great time. We’re still working out the travel arrangements, but there’s lots of time left for that.

Julie Leung is listed as one of the many speakers, and I am really looking forward to her session. I missed her talk at Northern Voice, but it seemed to be one of the favorites. This year’s Gnomedex definitely has the podcasting vibe, with Adam Curry and Dave Winer keynoting, and a bunch of podcasters attending. I can’t wait to see what people are doing with podcasting in two months, it should be amazing.

If you’re going to be at Gnomedex (or in Seattle at the same time) and want to get together, let me know!