Day 2

Day two of the speakers part of Gnomedex is over. Sorry I didn’t get to blog any earlier, I had to leave my laptop charging as I forgot to charge it last night, and I planned on getting it during the lunch break, but instead got involved in a lengthy discussion about hardware with Ed from Miami. I would have missed some of Doc’s presentation if I had gone back for it, so I blew it off. 🙂

Today started out a little later for me. I had been a good attendee and checked out all the vendors yesterday so I slept in a little later today. Got downstairs really just in time to grab a seat and get ready for Phil “Pud” Kaplan from F’d He had some advice for avoiding becoming one of those f’d companies, including stories of complete cluelessness from his days at a web-design firm. Stuff like charging $20,000 to develop an email form on a website, that the company actually agreed to pay. ( for those curious sorts.) His basic ideas were to “sell your garbage”, all of the stuff that people send you, or that you collect with a website is useful to someone, who will pay for it. He talked about all of the stuff people submit to his site that he can’t really use, but that people will pay to get access to. He also talked about taking something that is useful to you and understanding that it’s probably useful to others too. That’s the same idea I had for the Access Database I contributed to

Next up was Mark Thompson, the man behind Analog X. He followed in the same vein, talking about how to keep things simple, so that you can admin yourself if you have to. Not getting carried away with the latest greatest tech, but always keeping in mind whether something adds value to your site, and how it brings in revenue. Good stuff for the new, new economy. 🙂

After lunch was the Doc Searls discussing the future of Linux. He compared Linux to the internet, it’s infrastructure, it’s everywhere already. It’s in embedded devices, it’s in servers, and who cares if it’s not on the desktop. The desktop is unimportant, it’s a platform not infrastructure. He then went into the Hollywood/Congressional attacks against infrastructure and how those of us who are part of the infrastructure, the geeks, need to be activists and get involved in fighting to keep it open, while building the commercial stuff on top of it. He really made clear what is at risk with the Berman bill, the DMCA, the CBDTPA, etc.

After Doc, we discussed something that really is becoming part of the infrastructure, blogging, as Evan Williams talked about blogging and where’s it’s going. He talked about blogging being what the web is all about, how it unleashes our desire to express ourselves and communicate with each other. He expects to have more than 5 million bloggers in two years, but with that come the new challenges, discovery, and helping smaller groups of bloggers do interesting things together. He envisions “networked publishing”, where you can take a topic like the Olympics and pull all the posts about the Olympics from the blogger database and publish them in one place with links to the specific blogs they are pulled from. Excellent concept stuff.

After Ev, it was Leo Laporte with the keynote. It was really more of an evangelical speech but man was it good! Leo really focused on telling us how we are at the bring of a revolution. This is the first time in history that it will be your brain that matters, nothing else. But, as other historical tech advances, it will take time for it to really be incorporated. He compared it to the Gutenberg press which wasn’t used to do anything but print Bibles for the first 50-60 years of it’s existance. Or the steam engine, which really brought about the Industrial Revolution but not for another generation. “It takes a generation growing up with a new technology before it becomes incorporated” There was no better proof of that than the 13-14 year old kid sitting at the table next to me with his digital camera hooked directly into his iBook loading pics onto the web in real time. When I was 13-14 I don’t think I could have even imagined that! (And I’m not that old!)

Leo also talked about how we’ll have to fight to bring about the revolution, because we get it, but Congress and other dinosaurs don’t get it. We need to both be activists, through blogging and other means, and educators to our friends, families and neighbors. To educate them about the changes and how they’re important.

One last thing, he also got asked about his show, and TechTV in general. He talked about how much television execs pander to people, and have suggested to him that The Screen Savers needed “more cleavage”. I believe it, it’s not surprising but it’s completely sad. I can’t wait for major media dinosaurs to die. *L*

It was higly motivating and got a well-deserved standing ovation.

More partying tonight. I’m not going to stay out at it all night though, got a long drive to Fargo tomorrow morning!

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