Entries from Sep 2006 ↓

Wachovia building imploded with controlled demolition one block from my home!

This morning at around 8:15am the old Wachovia Building on 615 Peachtree Street in Midtown Atlanta, Georgia USA was imploded using controlled demolition techniques. This was filmed from North Avenue just east of Piedmont Road. Check it out!

 

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Attention has become Worth More than Protection



The world has changed:

Attention has become worth more than protection.

Unfortunately, companies like Disney and trade groups like Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America have yet to realize this with websites like RespectCopyrights.org, interviews like ‘DRM’ Protects Downloads, But Does It Stifle Innovation?, and crackdowns like Music, Movie Industries Target Theft On Internal Campus Networks. But they eventually will. It’s starting already.

As almost anyone reading this blog already knows, the Internet has made possible products and services that could never have existed before.  The Internet invalidates many prior business models replacing them with different and often potentially more lucrative business models, eBay being a great example; just think of all the businesses eBay has negatively impacted while at the same time all the other businesses is has empowered. Alternately, the Internet has turned some hugely profitable businesses into much more competitive and hence less profitable businesses such as term life insurance.

But with the growth of blogs and tools that make it easier and easier for practically anyone to create a significant web presence, there is more content then ever. Protecting new content is now the foolish thing to do. Instead creators should be empowering their content to gain as much attention as possible. For example, photos that have a Creative Commons license[1] empower others to give the creative work an audience that it might otherwise never get thereby raising the status of the creator. Those who leave their photographs on Flickr with the default “Copyright” (or anywhere else using a non-explicit Copyright) are guaranteeing that no one will happen across their photos and choose to use them in an unexpected beneficial context.

Annie LeibowitzThis also creates a decline in the value of lawyers and an increase in the value of (good) marketers. Overbearing parents, take note.

Clearly there are caveats to this. Those who have already established their reputation for the quality of their work would probably do better economically if they protect their works with copyright. After all, Annie Leibovitz would almost certainly not choose to allow unlimited free use and derivatives of her work.

But the writing is on the wall. Those who pursue protection over attention are the world’s next dinosaurs.  Embrace attention and prosper.

Footnotes

  1. I ideally recommend an “Attribution” or an “Attribution-ShareAlike” License, but even an “Attribution-NonCommercial” or an “Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License” is in most cases better for the creator than a typical “fully broad” Copyright these days.

dasBlog 1.9: Not ready for prime time yet…

I blogged about dasBlog 1.9 on Friday and was planning to upgrade, but I’ve been monitoring the developer list and it seems there are still a few too many little problems to make upgrading a smart proposition, at least for me. Better to wait a bit for the dust to settle.
 

 

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dasBlog 1.9 Just Released!

Just a few hours ago, dasBlog 1.9 was released! I’ll probably upgrade my blog to use it, hopefully this weekend. It has tons of new features over 1.8 which is what I’m using for this blog at the moment.

dasBlog LogoThe following are the new features that I found most interesting:

Kudos go to Scott Hansleman, Omar Shahine, and the rest of the dasBlog team. If you are running dasBlog, looks like a worthy upgrade. Or, if you are new to dasBlog and are interested in consider it, now’s a great time to download it and check it out!
 

Finally: Community Server Hosted Edition!

It’s about time! Teligent Systems is finally offering Community Server on a hosted basis! In my experience, trying to install Community Server a total of four times over the past so many years, and .Text before that, I must say it is the most infuriating and difficult to install application I’ve ever come across! The only time I was able to get it installed was the most recent time for an as-yet-unannounced new website, and it wasn’t easy; believe me!

Telligent also appears to have followed Google’s lead and are calling it a Beta even though it is a live hosted account.
 

Personally I can’t believe it should have been that hard to install, I just think Teligent did not put enough effort into their installer. And I believe that fact alone cost Telignent a huge opportunity in the market and significantly less marketshare than was possible otherwise. Although there are many aspects about CommunityServer that I don’t like, there are many more that I do especially its blog and forum integration. There are better forums and there are better blogs, but nothing integrates like CommunityServer, at least not of which I am currently aware even on Linux.

Pricing for the service feels a little steep, but maybe not depending on the revenue generated by the forum. Clearly it’s harder to cost justify for someone putting up a new community site than it is for a company using it to support and promote their products.  Here’s the pricing at the time of this writing:
 

Standard Plan

  • Unlimited members
  • 5 Blogs
  • 10 Forums
  • 500Mb of Files/Photos
  • 200Mb of SQL Space
  • 15Gb of transfers/mo

Plus Plan

  • Unlimited members
  • 15 Blogs
  • 25 Forums
  • 2 GB of Files/Photos
  • 650 MB of SQL Space
  • 50 GB of transfers/mo

Platinum Plan

  • Unlimited members
  • 50 Blogs
  • 75 Forums
  • 5 Gb of Files/Photos
  • 1 GB of SQL Space
  • 100 GB of transfers/mo
$49/mo
 
$99/mo
 
$299/mo
 

So if you run a business and don’t have a blog/forum to promote and support your products, check it out. Teligent finally made it easy.

The White Man’s Web 2.0 Club

Badge for San Francisco Future of Web Apps September 2006After attending The Future Of Web Apps, I looked around for fellow attendee bloggers and while searching found Chris Messina’s post about the lack of diversity in the speaker lineup.  Several commenters then started getting riled up to the level of a virtual lynch mob with comments like:

Damned if I’m going to give hundreds of dollars to conference organizers who couldn’t get off their butt and mix things up a bit.

In interest of full disclosure, I do need to point out that I am a white male. OTOH, anyone who knows me well knows that I really seek out diversity, especially in my personal life, and that generally the type of people I least like spending time around are white males! But as I already posted, I loved this show. And I think the Carson did an excellent job with such a small staff, so I posted this comment:

I agree in principle with this post, but I have a different view of it (which is ironic, because I would normally be pushing hard for diversity.) I found this conference to be one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended, and I lost count at 50 conferences in my professional life.

It was also by far the best value at $147.50/day (and I even got a special offer for a 15% discount!) Lastly, his company is tiny (3 people?) and they are attempting to do a tremendous number of things for such a small company. I have seen many other conferences run by much larger companies do a much worse job in almost every area so I was AMAZED at how damn good this conference actually was, white man or not.

Could they have done a better job in diversity? Hell yeah. Did they do an incredible job in what they did? ABSOLUTELY! Did Ryan come across on stage as being sincere about wanting to address concerns and constantly do a better job? It appeared so to me. Were they probably overwhelmed by getting the conference implemented and possibly had the stress of organizing it cause them to accidently overlook some idealistic and feel good but hard to implement aspects? Probably. Do you think, now that it has been made a point that they will look to improve the situation in advance and do a better job of recruiting diversity for their next conference? Almost definitely.

So I would propose that before you collect up a lynch mob for this one oversight (”She turned me into a Newt!” “A Newt?!?” “Well…I got better.”), maybe you could consider this post and thread a suggestion for improvement that I’m sure Ryan & Co will see, and then give them the benefit of the doubt until and unless they fail next time. Fair?

A little while later I got an email from someone at Carson thanking me for my comments and saying:

You got it bang on the money, except that we are a 75% female company, soon to be an 80% female company ….

So I took the opportunity in reply to give my suggestions both to address this issue and also generally to improve the conference, as follows:

Thanks for writing. You are welcome.  You guys did an excellent job, as you know my opinion already.

Suggestions:

  1. Ask the community to nominate speakers via a forum, and then use some kind of poll software to let the community vote on who gets to speak with the caveat that not everyone voted for will accept or be able to so they should vote on a larger pool than you actually need.  That will also cause the community to notify the speakers and make your job of contacting them a lot easier.  If the community nominates 90% white male when you announce in advance you are looking for diversity, well then…
  2. Have a conference that ONLY has people other than White Males speak. Enage the community that is bitching about this to help you promote the conference.  Have this conference in Atlanta at The Fox Theatre: I can help; I live across the street. :)  This could offer a serious challenge to the community to put their money where their mouth is. Get them all to do referrals and then we can track who has the most referrals and shame the vocal ones who have few or no referrals.  If you don’t do this, I might. :)   BTW, here is a list of women speakers in tech.
  3. The worse part of your conference (for me) was lack of person-to-person networking opportunities.  It was totally hit & miss. Some thoughts (admittedly random):
    • Set up a tagging system in advance for attendees where they can tag both their involvments (what they work on), their experience, their attributes (who they work for, their title, etc.) and their interests for the conference.
    • Announce meeting locations (you could call them "A", "B", "C" or use some other naming system) so people could coordinate in advance to meet or coordinate during the event to meet. 
      Have the system make suggestions on who they should meet based on their tags in order to kick start the meeting process.
    • Set up "birds of a feather" sessions for 1/2 day based on the interest tags where people could gather to meet each other. Appoint moderaters who would announce ground rules, keep things going, get everyone to say who they are.
  4. Similar to #3, I wanted a chance to talk to some of the speakers offline but I could never find them afterwards. Schedule a time and place where the speakers would be available after their talk for people who want to meet them.
  5. I loved the laminated badges, EXCEPT!  It was almost impossible to figure out who was who.  Maybe use landscape format and for their name and company make the type
    REALLY BIG

    so that we don’t have to feel like we are staring a people or have them think we are staring at them to figure out who they are and what company they work for.

  6. Have an area where vendors can exhibit using tables only, and don’t charge them much to be there ($500?) Have rules that disallow everything but computers, handouts, and swag (i.e. no booths, even desktop ones.)  Get them a wired connection. :)
  7. Create a clear and obvious signal when the sessions will be restarting. I found myself many times in a break and not realizing that sessions had started again.

 

P.S. While writing the email I googled to find Chris’ post and instead came across Mike Monteiro’s rant entitled The Future of White Male Apps. I was going to leave a similar comment there as well, but stupid VOX evidently won’t let me leave a comment unless I have a membership, and when I "requested an invitation" it told me that I would get one "as soon as we have a spot available." Sheesh! And to think I previously got an invite, tried it, misunderstood how it was handling things, and then deleted the account!

UPDATEChris Messina saw this post and offered me an invite to VOX so I could comment on Mike Monteiro’s post. Thanks Chris!

Great Article: 8 steps to serving better (X)HTML

Earlier today I blogged about Tantek Çelik’s talk at The Future of Web Apps so I decided to mosey on over to his blog. There I found this gem:

8 steps to serving better (X)HTML

Microformats: hCard

One of the things I learned more about at The Future of Web Apps was Microformats.  The talk on Microformats was given by Tantek Çelik who is CTO of Technorati and it was easily one of the more interesting concepts covered at the conference (to me, at least.) I probably appreciated it so much because Microformats potentially solve so many different problems that I have been pondering of late.

I had previously heard about , but I didn’t quite grok how cool they were until Tantek’s presentation.

Anyway below is my hCard, assuming I did it correctly. If anyone knows how to tell, I appreciate it you could let me know if it is correct and if not, why not (Note: I used hCard creator but I added a URL to "org" and I also put "(w)" and "(c)" after my phone numbers and I don’t know if that is kosher.)

 


photo

Atlanta, Georgia  USA

404-474-8948 (w)
404-276-1276 (c)

This created with the hCard creator.


Carson Workshop’s “Future of Web Apps” Conference was Incredible!

Place of the Fine Arts; inside and out The past two days I attended Carson Workshop’s "The Future of Web Apps" presented at The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco and I must say it was one of the best conferences I’ve been to in years!  Every one of the speakers was excellent each providing invaluable insight, and the energy level was just electric! 

I really liked the venure too; an ~800 seat auditorium where the entire single-track conference was held. It had so much better feel than getting stuffed into lots of little breakout rooms at a hotel or a convention center.

Not everything was perfect, i.e. not enough networking opportunities, flaky WiFi, and no exhibit hall, but at $2951 for two days the event was otherwise so incredible that I feel really bad2 even mentioning any negatives! OTOH, Ryan Carson was made fully aware of those problems by people other than me and I get the sense that next time it will be corrected.

Lastly, Ryan announced plans to publish online the audio ala T.E.D. for each presentation which the presenter the agrees, which Ryan definitely encouraged! That’s a very "Creative Commons" approach, and oh so right for a Web 2.0 conference (or any other future conference, for that matter.)

Maybe I had such a good time because I was burned out on 12+ years of Microsoft-oriented conferences and just needed something new.

Whatever the case; Bravo Carson, you definitely made a fan!  If you get a chance to attend one of there future conferences on a subject of interest to you, don’t hesitate, don’t think about it; just do it! I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

Footnotes

  1. The $295 price was also so very in line with the ethos of "Web 2.0"; created high value for little money, and benefitting from the goodwill that creates. I so totally feel like they practice what they preach at Carson!
  2. Of course if it had been a Microsoft TechEd for $1000+ I was have been totally pissy about any lack of perfection, but not at $295 for the quality that Carson delivered!

East Coast Web 2.0 Conference Sept 20th 2006

The New New Internet ConferenceWow. Looks like I’m going to be headed to the "Web 2.0 Conference for Business" in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia (near DC) next week. I’m psyched! Like I said previously, the Microsoft conferences are passe; the energy these days can be found with the Web 2.0 crowd!

The conference is a little pricy at $595 for a one day event, but it is uniquely on the East coast, and it looks like it’s going to be pretty interesting. Lots of the "A" list players from Web 2.0 like Michael Arrington of TechCrunch and Dion Hinchcliffe of ZDNet as well as Hinchcliffe & Company will be there, as well as cool tools like JackBe and the ever present Google and Microsoft plus lots of other. Check it out!

P.S. I’m blogging this while in San Francisco getting ready for tomorrow’s much less pricey "The Future of Web Apps" conference at $295 for two days.