Demo 2004 Series – I

Demo 2004 Series – I just returned from the Demo 2004 Conference, and I have some news and ideas that I will be writing about in the coming days. At the highest level, Demo is a conference that I’ve been going to for years. It is in the same league or family as PC Forum and Agenda. You might call it one of the legacy conferences (… to contrast it with the new cool conferences such as the Emerging Technology Forum and BloggerCon.)

If you are interested in what new products are coming out of the mainstream computer industry, Demo is great. Chris Shipley who is the MC/Executive Producer, selects about 60 products from all corners of the industry representing the latest greatest. The selection criteria, as I understand them, require the products to be new (using a semi-flexible definition of “new”) So it could be a brand new product from a brand new company, or a revolutionary new twist or generation of an existing product. But these are all hard-core-we-intend-to-make-a-lot-of-money kinds of deals, vs. the ‘other kind’ of product.

Products that are especially interesting (to Chris) are put onto a break-neck, 7 minute per demo, one and a half day schedule of stage presentations. They are organized, more or less, by themes with Chris herself providing commentary and context setting as the conference progresses. It’s an excellent format and a great way to see a lot and quickly.

In addition to the stage demos, there are ‘booths’ where you can actually see and touch the product, and importantly, speak to the actual people who invented or built the product, and actually get in depth with them about the products that really intrigue you.

Anyway, I took notes during the meetings and I thought, since I had already done the writing for my own benefit, I’d share them here for yours.

New BlogBridge Web Site and other changes

Happy Valentines Day. As you can see, there is a new web site design. This one was created by a designer in China. I just thought I wanted something a little more professional. As for the software, there are several new developments. We are diving into the questions of unread handling. This is leading to new designs in several areas: there is now a BlogBridge Preferences dialog. Included here will be settings allowing Articles to be automatically set to unread under certain conditions. Also there will be some changes required in the low level persistence handling to track unread.

Pecking order? Puleeze! Joi Ito

Pecking order? Puleeze! Joi Ito writes with apparent confusion about the a comment from Russel Beattie who commented that: “but boy it seemed like there were some serious pecking orders there.” (via Jeremy Zawodny.) While Russel’s comment is about ETech, a conference I am really sorry I had to miss, it certainly doesn’t surprise me, as it shouldn’t surprise Joi or others.

In fact I am always amused and bemused (what’s the difference?) at the highly structured set of social behaviors are exhibited at conferences such as ETech (but equally at Agenda, PC Forum, Demo and I am sure all the others.) I am sure it is in evidence wherever human beings gather: academia, the US congress, high school and on and on and on. It’s kind of funny if people didn’t take it so seriously.

Without spending too much time on it, see if you recognize any of these dances: the “I pretend not to notice the fact that you are trying to get a word in edgewise and just keep on talking.” or the “You turn to face the person you are focusing on (the higher peckee) and actually turn your back to the one you are trying to ignore (the lower peckee – or is it pecker?)” or how about the “Wait here while I go refill my drink, (and never return.).” Some day I should write an article!

Echo Chamber, redux: Are we

Echo Chamber, redux: Are we wasting our valuable brain cells duplicating each other’s work? There was an excellent and thought provoking presentation by Dave Sifry of Technorati fame at the ETech Forum. I wish I was there.

Well, here are four (4) different first hand reports of the same talk: David Weinberger, Joi Ito, Doc Searls, Dan Gillmor, and I am sure there were others.

I wonder how many people were in the audience. In fact we can start computing the BQ (Blog Quotient) for meatspace events, the proportion of an audience which is blogging. As it approaches one, you have to wonder.

Yes, I guess we get different perspectives of the same event, but is there enough attention in the universe to pay?

IMHO: I started and stopped

IMHO: I started and stopped writing this two days ago, mostly because I didn’t feel like I knew any of the people or issues involved well enough to have the right to a meaningful opinion, not to mention that I would be seens as sucking up (people are so quick to judge – but what the hell, here goes…)

But I just feel like I must post a brief note of support and agreement with what Doc and Jon wrote about the recent bit of mean-spirited writing about RSS and its history, both on public blogs and private newsgroups. I wasn’t there but Dave Winer was and I am willing to take him at his word. But you know what, I think that’s ancient history. So for the record: theres no doubt in my mind that Dave deserves credit and respect for the totally central role he played and continues to play in the blog phenomenon. Count me as a fan.

I wholeheartedly agree with what Doc wrote: “There’s so much left to do. Let’s stop making it harder than it already is.” Life is too short.