Mashed


Day ONE of Mashup Camp has ended with Yahoo Martinis at the Computer Museum. They were great but I’d have to give Microsoft the kudo of the day for hosting an espresso coffee bar for the duration of the conference – outstanding and the only way I could prepare my brain to absorb the number of companies, mashups, ideas, and APIs flooding this infospace.

This open conference format is very nice. It only took about 30 minutes for the group to pull together an excellent agenda that certainly was comparable to what I’ve seen at other conferences, and tended to involved the audience to a much greater degree. As organizers Gold and Berlin indicated (and we all have noted) the coffee breaks and bar time are often the most productive part of a conference, so why not build the conference around this and the participants rather than hope to anticipate what they’ll need/want/listen to.

I’d have pix if my Treo was synching, which it’s NOT….

For details on the sessions go HERE

Are Mashups Napsterization….backwards?


I can’t get over how hard the big guys are working to feed handy APIs to developers at no charge and with little obligation. In the session I’m sitting in right now, led by A9 search which has basically turned over the search key to the vault to developers. Good for them. Disruptive and destabilizing = more fun, opportunity, and innovation.

I get the feeling from developers that people are tired of the current broad, scattered search model. A9’s suggesting, I think very correctly, that the future is in vertical search where specialists in various niches use open search models.

Mashup Camp is rocking..


Kudos to all associated with Mashup Camp here in (chilly) Mountain View CA. This “unconference” has a lot of the normal conference perks but has brought a lot more attendee input to the table by using the “open conference” format. This morning attendees proposed sessions and there was no shortage of great ideas and themes. I’m sitting in the “Monetization” session now enjoying a spirited discussion of how/what/when can you monetize the mashups and how this may impact your relationship to the API providers, many of whom are represented in this session.

Mashups


Programmable Web is a great resource for more information about Mashups and at the link has a GREAT summary of APIs available to mashup developers.

I’m very anxious to get going on my own mashup which is fairly simple but I think will be helpful and popular as part of my growing Highways.TV / Highways.com project. I’m taking the camera images from Caltrans and some other sources and mapping them to CA roadways along with weather information. Caltrans does this for some districts but not others, and confusingly Caltrans cams are sorted by district rather than roads. Districts may have some bureaucratic logic but travelers are not necessarily going to confine their interest in that fashion. Oregon’s TripCheck system is a much stronger presentation of cam info than Caltrans’. Weatherbonk is doing a nice job integrating weather, maps, and some cam info but they are really short on traffic cams and the site seems to be clunky and slow in the display – though I’m not clear if they are simply suffering from popularity and can upgrade to speed things up or if the mashup itself is burdened by too many calls out to the data sources. I’m noting that Caltrans real time TV cams are hard to get to display and the lag time is so great even on a fast connection that it’s not a very useful feature even when it does display.

Mashup Camp


What do you get when you bring together in Silicon Valley:
* A bunch of API, food, and party providers like Google, Yahoo, MSN, Ask, and Amazon
* Hundreds of people interested in Mashup technologies, and wazzup with web 2.0
* Yahoo and MSN’s top blogging dudes Scoble and Zawodny ?

The first Mashup Camp “The unconference for the uncomputer”

Thanks to what must have been a somewhat tireless effort over the past several months by David Berlind and Doug Gold with help from the Friends of Mashup Camp, the event will showcase many new enabling technologies like mapbuilder and ning
along with many mashups to be unveiled at the conference in competion for the first prize – a supercharged Sun Microsystems server delivered to the winners by no less than the president of Sun.

I’ll try to post some pictures on Monday of the event.

Leyte


The news is just coming in about a mudslide on the Phillippines island of “Leyte” that appears to have killed almost everybody in a village of over 1700 people. Only a handful have been rescued as of this morning with 1718 still missing.

Unfortunately there’s very little to do in a case like this in terms of “helping”. Money and volunteers are not a key issue here. Contrast this with the Tsunami where the world rose to the occasion in spectacular form and donated enough funds to completely rebuild the devastated areas (this according to the Charlie Rose interveiew with the the UN guy in charge). However he noted in that interview that the Pakistan Earthquake, which potentially may affect comparable numbers of people, has only a fraction (I think he said 20%) of the relief money needed.

I think the single most profound contribution to humankind would/will be to find a way to successfully “market” and spread the word in a huge way the simple notion that raising the standard of living for the world’s poor is 1) fun, educational, empowering and 2) in the best interest of even the most selfish rich person. Ironically it’s becoming the wealthy and powerful who often articulate this case the best. Bill Gates, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, Jerry Yang, David Filo, Pierre Omidyar are among the wealthiest and most influential voices of the American business elite and they’d all agree.

Unfortunately most mainstream media is now mired in the commercialization and monetization of the news and is no longer a friend to clear thinkers, preferring to discuss Scott Peterson’s case more than the fact that thousands die *daily* from easily preventable diseases. Major networks largely ignore much of this incredible story – a story which may lead to the most dramatic changes ever seen by humankind as globalization and human rights start to shine in even the darkest corners of a challenged world.

You busy?


I’ve almost become obsessed with the implications of almost everybody saying how busy they are and *really thinking* they *really are* busy.

But they aren’t . YOU ARE NOT BUSY! Sure, you are OCCUPIED with activities and sure a FEW people out there really are busy, but most folks should more honestly report “I’m prioritizing stupid assed things that I hold dear” than complain about how little time they have to get things done.

There are 24 hours in a day and only about 10 of them are taken up by “necessary” things like sleep, dressing, making meals, and errands required for life (groceries). Conventional workers will have another 8-9 hours for work and commute M-F. If you have KIDS then you have more things that are reasonably considered “necessary”, but most kid related errands do NOT stem from necessity, rather from choices and preferences and …. stupid assed priorities that are generally not strategically designed to save time. Also, in many families the caregiver for the kids does NOT work full time and/or things like daycare provide some relief from errands.

I’m looking for time and motion studies to see what it is we do during all that extra time we have on our hands. I suspect TV is the big “time eater” for many and for onliners silly things like blogging or news searches.

I’m NOT saying doing things you hold dear is a bad thing – I just wish people would stop acting like they are “prisoners” of their terribly busy life rather than prisoners to their silly assed priorities.

IF Web 2.0 > Web 1.0 THEN Yahoo > Google


I think the most profound issue in the online world right NOW is “where are we going with web 2.0”?

I hope to answer this question, at least in part, at next week’s mashup camp
in the heart of Silicon Valley. The event is really shaping up to be great, with 300 developers, observers, and API providers coming in from all over the country to share ideas, mashups, and a few beers. In addition to API folks from Google, Yahoo, Amazon, ASK, and others two of my favorite bloggers will be there – Robert Scoble from MSN and Jeremy Zawodny from Yahoo. These guys are among the best known tech evangelists for their companies and what THEY blog about is often what *everybody else* will be talking about in a few weeks or months.

Digg.com …. NOT FUNNY


WoW, I posted my mildly offensive parody of the Dick Cheney shooting incident at Digg.com and you would have thought I’d shot somebody myself! Spam! cried most of the commenters, suggesting that it was inappropriate to place a parody in the pristine Digg “security” section.

I’ve never really understood the Digg.com community or, more importantly, why people think Digg is such a big deal. The stories are typically weak and of only minor significance.

I think my recent incident shows that that this particular niche is a very curious combination of people who 1) love trivial BS stories about silly but true things 2) Love gaming and junk computing items 3) are rabidly protective of keeping the community free from anything that does not fall into their subjective categorizations of what makes the world relevant.

So, the question is “can Digg scale to mainstream success?”. I say probably NOT. In fact I think the challenge for Yahoo, which is adopting Web 2.0 like it found it’s own long lost relative, is sorting the few wheaty items from the huge amount of chaff. If they succeed they could leapfrog Google which is offering more standard 2.0 fare like mapping APIs and minor mashup support. More about “is Web 2.0 > Web 1.0” later.