Saturday, 01 July 2006
Winners are not determined by who gets the last word or who attacks whom.
Or as one common user just said: "What I see here is ego overcoming ego." Could not be better said. The ego in this room is suffocating. The thought leadership is suffering as a result.
Typical of me, I didn't realize the first day of Gnomedex that the guy sitting on the floor behind me was oh, one of the co-founders of Firefox. I figured that out pretty quickly when I did the "okay so that name sounds familiar, ummm, uhhhhh.... Oh!"
Yeah. So I'm getting old. Hey, at least I figured it out.
At any rate, I enjoyed the few quick chats over the past couple days while sitting with Blake Ross, who as it turns out is a nice guy and and is obviously wicked smart. He also cares about what he builds and the people who use it, and it shows.
Unfortunately, what I will call "the predictable regulars" here at the conference apparently seem to think they have a monopoly on caring. Unless you agree with these people, you lose. They scream and bitch and moan if they can't finish a sentence, and they complain about one person controlling the conversation, yet they cut others off when they try to participate in the conversation or when they - God forbid - try to defend themselves.
At any rate, Blake stepped on the stage today to talk about how Firefox went from zero market share to millions of downloads without a marketing budget and almost exclusively through community driven effort. It's a success effort worthy of review and notice. But the conversation - predictably - was dragged off by the predictable few into a pattern of argument and conflict. Blake tried to steer the conversation back to the topic at hand (which is what discussion leaders were supposed to do, let's be clear on that point) and was attacked for doing that, too.
What it specifically wasn't intended to be: A talk about features, bugs, roadmap or the future of Firefox.
And as Jeremy Zawodny said at the start of his presentation, which followed Blake's, the participants in this room sure do like to bitch. And so it goes.
So let me say this to Blake: Thanks for a great browser, and keep it up. Winners are not determined by who gets the last word or who attacks whom or how loud our little tiny echo chamber is. We all know that when it comes down to it.
And next year, maybe we should suggest they rename this conference if this is the way its going to be. BitchCon maybe. Or give each person two comment tickets at the door, and when you've used 'em up you can listen but not bloviate. I dunno - I love GnomeDex but I also long for the days of the enthusiasts and the practical, even while enjoying the debate that Gnomedex has brought us this year. But the change has been fundamental, core and pervasive. It's a whole different show. Not a bad thing necessarily, just very different.
A Gnomedex discussion took place earlier in the conference about sharing intimately personal things on weblogs and in public forums. There was a lot of other stuff in the conversation, too - but what I took away from it was the "what do you write about, why, and is it a good idea?" theme.
Some people are a truly and completely open book (crime, sex and all) on the Internet, while others who used to be quite open in their blogging have since changed and have pulled all the personal stuff back in, only writing about things that are not descriptive of real life. Kids these days (that's my old dude comment for the week) seem to post all kinds of things that some find both shocking and concerning.
For my part, I write both. I would never write about certain things that are definitley best kept private, and there are a number of specific things that happen in my life which I choose not to post here. But people do sometimes comment about things I write that are quite personal. It really doesn't take courage (people often say "I wish I had the courage to..."), just some common sense and a desire to think things through sometimes, which I find works out well by writing.
I often write (both the personal and the tech stuff) to clear my plugged up brain so I can sleep better. So I guess whatever comes out just comes out. With a filter. Like it or not. Good or bad.
Friday, 30 June 2006
Wednesday, 28 June 2006
Time sure flies when you're having fun (or when you're working like crazy). I can't believe it's already here: Gnomedex starts Thursday evening, and I'll be heading to Seattle Thursday afternoon to check into the hotel and disconnect from the rest of the world and plug into the ultimate geek fest. It looks to be a very interesting and exciting time. I am sure Chris and Ponzi will once again outdo the past shows.
If you'll be there, let me know. My mobile number is over on the right side of this blog, as is my email address. Or just comment here.
Wednesday, 14 June 2006
Saturday, 28 January 2006
If you're a geek and you don't know what Gnomedex is, you're truly missing out on something amazing. It's an annual conference, spawned from the brain of Chris Pirillo, and it's an event where a whole slew of the ultimate geeks and even some nerds gather and talk about all kinds of cool stuff. For example, last year IE7 was demo'ed for the first time at Gnomedex, where the IE team announced and showed off RSS integration in the browser and Longhorn/Vista OS. And many, many other interesting presentations were made. But most importantly, the people you meet are awesome.
There are 300 seats in the main hall. 100 are already sold. If you're going (or think you might be), act now! If you know a true geek and want to give him or her a great gift, a Gnomedex ticket and a trip up to Seattle is a terrific thing to do for someone.
Be there and be square. Word.
Saturday, 25 June 2005
What is WeatherBug? As a piece of software, it puts the weather on your desktop. It’s live, updating every two seconds. NOAA doesn’t do this – they update every 15 minutes at best. As a company and a bunch of people, here is how they describe themselves:
“WeatherBug is the ultimate geek-ified company. We are about creating cool and fun technology, teaching children, and saving lives.”
RSS weather feeds accessible by ZIP code will be available in July – that will be cool. They will also be shipping WeatherBug for the Mac.
Controversy – because what would a good conference be without it? Lots of discussion here at Gnomedex about the presentation in which this company is being highlighted. About how WeatherBug used to have spy/adware, but that was a long time ago, and now it doesn’t – Seriously. It doesn’t. Also, the fact that I am writing about their product at all (actually I am mostly interested in the 2–second differentiator) is exactly what some people are complaining about here, because Steve Rubel (according to some of the crowd) used this presentation as a vehicle to do PR for one of his clients. So what. Decent example of PR, short time to fill, interesting info.
Whatever. Heh. I still like the every-two-second data update thing. That’s sweet.
Microsoft’s announcement yesterday about support for RSS built into Longhorn has been followed up with the posting of the actual specification.
The Simple List Extensions are designed as extensions to existing feed formats to make exposing ordered lists of items easier and more accessible to users.
The term “list,” as used in this document describes an ordered collection of items with similar properties. For example, a photo album may be described as a “list of photos.”
And it’s licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, which is cool.
Phillip Torrone (often known simply as “pt”) is a geek’s geek. He’s been showing various hacks and stuff between presentations here at the Gnomedex conference.
This guy could do a conference on his own if he wanted to. He’s funny, likable and has lots of fun ideas. I like the hands-on kind of things, the practical stuff. Not that all of it’s actually practical or anything, but even if it’s just goofing around, it’s nifty.
He’s done a few 15–minute demos showing all the stuff you can do with a hacked Playstation Portable. He showed how you can modify a eBook reader with new firmware to break the bad DRM they put on it back in the day, so it can be a usable device today. He even has an old-skoool analog phone (with a mechanical bell and all) that has GSM phone guts built in, and there’s more to come.
But hey – you don’t have to be here to see this cool stuff. You can see pt’s stuff in/on Make: magazine (an O’Reilly thing), and there’s a Make:blog site, as well. I am subscribed to both. Highly recommended. If pt is publishing, it’s cool and fun. You should go there.
Check it out: [Magazine (subscribe) | Podcast | Blog]
Tuesday, 21 June 2005
I'll be heading up to Seattle on Thursday (one of my favorite cities and a quick 2.5 hour drive from my place) where I'll be catching up with all sorts of friends and people I have not seen for some time at Gnomedex 5.0, a confluence of geeks from around the world.
Email me if you'll be there and want to meet/catch up - email@example.com - or call me on my cell - 503-970-1753. I'm arriving Thursday afternoon at around 4 or so.
It's going to be quite a get-together this year - the schedule looks like the makings of a great show, and I hear there are some as-yet unannounced things that should gain some attention.
I'll be blogging some of the fun stuff that happens there. With so many interesting and cool people from so many interesting and cool places/companies, I'll have to fill this weblog up just to be able to remember it all when it's over with.
Interesting Gnomedex link of the day: Podcasting ROBOT to be released at Gnomedex
Heh. Cool if real, funny even if not.
Sunday, 19 June 2005
Gnomedex starts this Thursday evening in Seattle, and it promises to be a great time. Chris and Ponzi are wearing themselves thin getting ready. Lots of cool stuff planned.
Big announcements and a confluence of super-smart people. Gonna be a good one. Definitely not a snorer...
Be there and be square, as they say.
Wednesday, 16 March 2005
Chris has just announced that Gnomedex 5.0 registration has opened up. There are 300 spaces open, so sign up soon! If you've been to a previous Gnomedex, there's no need to explain the why's an how's, but for those who have not, here's a little info:
- It's in downtown Seattle, Washington at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center - a GREAT city and with easy access via air, car, train, or whatever.
- It Begins Thursday June 23rd at 5:00 pm and ends Saturday June 25th at 6:00 pm.
- Gnomedex is a great place to actually meet and talk to a variety of high-profile techies, geeks and other smart people. It's also a great place to form relationships and get cool ideas.
- The Gnomedex blog is right here (clicky-clicky).
- I met a good number of people face-to-face at Gnomedex last year that I am in regular contact with ever since.
- Register here.
I'm already registered, now I just have to rework my crazy schedule!
Thursday, 06 January 2005
Chris Pirillo is a well-known geek and all around goofy (and smart and good) guy. He founded Lockergnome and did a show for TechTV back before that network went straight to crap.
He’s starting his new weekly audio broadcast today, two-and-a-half hours of live talk from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). His show’s new website is online and the live broadcast starts at 11:30am Pacific Time, but the stream is already running so jump in now. Replays available if you miss(ed) the live show, and RSS feeds are on the site for subscribing – I did.
I am working form home today, and so I will be listening to it in the background whilst editing papers and organizing stuff. Good to see you back on the air, friend!
Friday, 01 October 2004
I didn't know I was going to be asked to speak, but Chris roped me into participating in a panel session first thing this morning, the topic of which was “the future of security.” It was an honor to do so, and the conversation was a good one. The audience was involved and had great questions and comments. The participants on the schedule were:
Chris DiBona (moderator)
Neil Wyler aka Grifter
Fred Felman of Zone Labs
Dan Appleman - whose book, Always Use Protection, should be read by every teen (and adult) who uses a computer
Robert Scoble joined in
Picture below thanks to noded.com
Being involved up on the stage, I don't clearly remember everything we talked about in detail. I used/borrowed/stole the “PPT” mantra often used one of my friends and mentors, Jim, in my words during the panel discussion: “Security is about three things - People, Process and Technology.”
Security as a topic of conversation or debate, especially when discussed among geeks, seems always to attract such a strong technology focus. But the other two aspects of security - process and people - cannot be ignored. If you remove any one part from a security effort, it cannot ultimately succeed. If you have a successful security strategy and program already up and running, you cannot afford to forget to address and maintain all three components. If you do, again, it's bound to fail eventually.
Technology is important, though. You can't discount the fact that when you run computers and networks, technology is what you're securing, so you'll almost certainly use more technology to help you.
The panel discussed hardware security technology, and (as expected) the “patch and fix” and other typically Microsoft-centric topics and questions came up.
My response to the Microsoft-Security debate: Think about football teams. The team that plays tough games season after season and gets its butt kicked over and over will eventually learn the basics, and then will evolve into a mature powerhouse of a team. You just hope the other teams (the ones that had been kicking your team's butt) don't get too lazy or take any thing for granted. Or, if they do, that you have not made an investment in that team.
Three years ago, I was looking at Microsoft as a team I had a relationship with, but who I could not count on to win the game. Today my position is just the opposite: Microsoft has learned the hard lessons, has had their butts kicked, and has emerged from the fray a stronger, better and more mature company in the security arena. They may only be 60% there, as Scoble noted on the stage, but this is a team that I feel I can count on to do the right thing and fight the good fight.
This was a good session, covering a lot of ground. Feedback from audience members afterward was positive, which was cool. Security has become a hot topic in the past year or so in the user world, and will become even bigger in the future.
Again, because it bears repeating: Always Use Protection - buy it now. <eom>
I'm at Gnomedex, in the "Maximize your blogging potential" panel session, listening to all these guys talk. The conversation quickly moved to multimedia content and delivery as well as devices and tools. Here are some of my observations, paraphrasing the speakers.
Adam Kalsey (Moderator)
Adam went from 200 page views a month to thousands a day because he wrote about relevant things that mattered to people. If you're posting content to the web, you have a goal in mind. If you get slashdotted because its interesting to others, but you decide you can't afford it, you'll stop doing it.
On multimedia blogging, he noted that if its going to take off, things like indexing and searching of multimedia formats will have to happen.
In the keyword filtering department as a way to deal with too much content, he points out that keyword searches are not always the best way to deal with selecting information, because of the fact that what I think are relevant keywords may not agree with the way the author wrote the content.
Microsoft employee and internal button pusher, Robert's well-known and got his job at Microsoft in no small part because of his blog. He started blogging because he was running a conference and wanted to document it. He wants to know, "What's undiscovered here?"
"Something has happened in the past month." He notes that PODCasting has taken off all of a sudden. Robert consumes about 900+ feeds a day, compromising about 2000 blogs (some feeds combined). How is he going to deal with 1000 audioblogs a day? With audio he can only consume 2 or 3 shows a night, so becoming a star is a harder things to do.
For text feeds, he's like his news aggregator to start building keyword searches automatically, based on his reading behavior.
Nick is a (great) shareware author of three rather famous pieces of software, and uses blogging for personal and business use. His FeedDemon software is what I use as my content aggregator for tons of blogs and other content sources. He says the biggest problem with information now is that there's some much info out there now that you can't deal with it all, so you don't necessarily know what you're missing. I agree. I'd pay good money for something that would help me see what I need and want to see, inside the content I already subscribe to.
Ross of Blogware says its a pain to do all these different blogging things. The whole Web 2.0 movement should be about making things useful. Lots of utilities are great, but if Dad can't use it?
Audio and other multimedia blogging shows that the Internet is continuing to change and that it's important to give these things a chance and to see where it goes.
Enclosures are binary attachments to a syndication feed, and you can determine when that attachment gets downloaded (send it to me between 2 and 5 am).
Ross also distinguished between managed and unmanaged content, and pointed out that the goal is to get people involved in the creation of content, and making it available and usable by others. If you want to publish your content, you can do it, in your own place.
Jason works at Blogger, one of the huge blogging services, owned by Google. He noted that the San Francisco web design community was one of the first adopters of the technology, because it provided the ability to remove the focus from "I am going to create a page" to "I am going to write about something." Blogger/Google has started to address the "How do I do more than write text" with audioblogger.com and Picasa/Hello/BloggerBot.
"I'm going to go out on a limb and say everything shouldn't be in a blog."
Jason sees blogging and formats as continuing to grow and expand, and that the forms of media, he expects, will change over time. But he wants to have the ability to use the new media formats on the device of choice.
Timeliness of blogs: There is a time factor to all of this. Everything has a time and date. Email has this too, as does IM. He notes that there is a need for a tool that will "bring me all the stuff that's important to me."
Dave writes several blogs, and sees blogs as content and data management systems. He uses one web log to hold a Q&A of common questions he gets from people. He emphasizes the fact that he sees it not as a cool HTML thing, but rather as being all about the content.
"I can publish with anything and boom, I'm out there just like anyone who has a multi-million-dollar marketing department."
Thoughts from others in the audience:
Scott with Feedster talked about enclosure feeds (images, video clips, porn enclosures are common). He notes that the one constant of new media is that when porn starts to become available on a new media format or mechanism, that form of media will succeed. He also pointed out feedstertv.com, which deals with enclosures on RSS feeds.
On the next steps with categories, filtering, automation, etc: "RSS is the web services we've been waiting for, let's make it DO something."
The TiVo suggestions metaphor: Letting the machine tell me what I want to watch usually produces garbage.
The whole date-based/time-based thing with weblogs is what makes things tough for old stuff. Adding categories, internal or site-restricted search engines. It's a publisher's decision what tools to use to organize information.
The focus of the discussion seemed to settle on multimedia blogging, then multimedia content in general, and what that means to the blogging universe. PODcasting and audioblogging is taking the place of drive-time radio content. Radio broadcasting 's future is in question. ReplayRadio is a new service available to time-shift talk radio content.
Ultimately the answer to most of the questions that came up seems to be "better tools."
Eventually a question was asked about how many people in the audience deal with information overload, and how people deal with the volume. The mix was interesting to see. Some seem to be in a place where their RSS aggregator has consumed their lives. I'm just the opposite - RSS saves me tons of time every day in my job. For others, it takes up time. Apparently it depends on what you do and how you use it.
This was a great session.
Thursday, 30 September 2004
Attending GnomeDex? Grab the PST file and update your Outlook calendar. I did, which means my Blackberry is up to date.
Sheez, that’s sooo lame. But it’s cool. :)
It's about what you'd expect. A group of people from all over the country - well the world, actually - are converging on South Lake Tahoe for a couple days of Geek Fest. What do they want to do? Watch the presidential debates and have WiFi so they can blog about it while it happens. Heheh... Freakin' hard-core blodgers...
I might even join in on the debate action, except that I actually try to stay away from political positions on this site. I lean a little to the right (politically, now stop that), but mostly hang in the middle somewhere. I know who I like for this election (and am glad I feel that I have someone/thing to vote for, rather than having to vote against someone).
On a personal note, I had the opportunity to meet someone here whom I have always held in high regard, ever since we first conversed on the Internet back in 1996. [Sidenote: In our big-small world, it seems people tend to judge others without having actually met them. That has always bothered me, it's a mistake to do that. Forgive the analogy, but fact is you can't tell a book by its cover, and you can tell even less about a book from a picture of it's cover on Amazon. Believing its possible to know someone on the Internet the same way you would know them if you met them face-to-face is short-sighted and plain wrong.] So, while I have always suspected as much, I have now had the opportunity to confirm that Chris is a good and likeable guy, and a hard worker. And Ponzi is very cool, too. Oh and BTW Chris, it was PowWow by Tribal Voice - anyone remember that one??
There are others I am looking forward to meeting, as well - people with whom I have had professional or blogging contact frequently, but whose analog voices I have never heard and whose non-virtual hands I have never had the opportunity to shake. Thats the best part of this event for me - making the virtual relationships real.
By the way... The BlueGo Networks via Proto Networks WiFi hot-spots here suck. If I have to pay through the nose for WiFi, it sure as hell better work, and this service is worse than bad. Argh. It worked last night for the most part, and today it connects for 5 seconds and then drops out, then comes back for a minute or two, then drops. What a freakin' tease! Highly non-recommended.
Wednesday, 29 September 2004
Arrived in South Lake Tahoe this afternoon, and have already started meeting a lot of cool people, some of whom I have interacted with in the past, and a few new acquaintances as well.
Who I met today:
A bunch of great people. We talked geek stuff, politics, constitutional law, you name it (your typical tech conference fodder of course). I helped stuff bags for the attendees. Putting on a conference like this is a ton of work, something very few people actually understand, especially when you're a small company or organization running a show labor-of-love style. And that's what this is - there's no huge up-sell to come out of this, it's all about getting together, geeking out and learning from each other.
Quality is what this is all about, and the more I speak to people about it, the more excited I am to be here. I'd choose a conference like this, with a killer crew of really smart and talented people, over a thousand-attendee marketing fest any day, month or year.
© Copyright 2013 Greg Hughes
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