Mashup Camps have been coming to Mountain View for over two years, bringing great startups for their product launches as well as lively discussions about innovations and new products to help the mashup community. There also will be mashup experts from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Amazon, and many more key players. Programmable Web has the best coverage of the Mashup topic.
Convergence will have even more provocative content as the first conference to address the intersection of four technologies likely to shape the world in extraordinary ways: Nanotechnology, Biological technologies (gene splicing, stem cells, DNS mapping, life extension) , Information technologies (internet and computing) and Cognitive technologies. This last would, I think, broadly include everything from brain enhancing drugs and devices to artificial intelligence. AI is the most exciting category for me, and I remain convinced that we’ll see conscious computers within about 20 years – hopefully and very possibly less. Conscious computing is likely to change the entire planetary game to such a degree it’s nearly impossible to predict what will happen *after that*, which is one of the issues that will be discussed at the conference.
My main concern is that proponents and predictions keep things real and this does not become a sort of brainstorming session for half-baked ideas and ideologies.
After millions of years of very slow biological evolution we’ve now entered a new age where technology is likely to eclipse most and probably all of our human abilities. Even that fairly obvious idea – which simply is an extension of current developments – leaves many people skeptical, cold to the idea, or even antagonistic about the changes that are coming. Like it or not … we are all in this together and it’s best to keep it that way as much as possible.
Mashup Camp 6 is in about 10 days and I’m really looking forward to the firehouse of new mashups, APIs, startups, and application information that’ll be there. I attened the first two which were both great, then missed the last three including Dublin which would really have been fun.
Incredibly, this *four day* technology conference is free of charge. This is especially notable because from an education point of view Mashup Camp is arguably one of the very best conferences in Silicon Valley, laregely because it’s run in large part by the participants and this always leads to excellent levels of interaction and information flow. Everybody knows that the best conference stuff often happens in the halls or after hours when you can really get into good conversations with speakers and other folks, where at Mashup Camp this type of interaction is more likely to happen right in the sessions which are generally very unstructured and informal.
Organizer David Berlind had actually started out by charging some attendance fees this time – partly just to reduce the number of no-shows that can make conference planning even more difficult. But concerns about the fees led him to refund them all, making the conference totally free, supported by the many sponsors who help with everything from the espresso cart to the excellent lunches and great Mashup party on Wednesday Night. I’m not clear why anybody would protest the trivial $35 for developers and observers, though people who routinely pony up that much on a bar tab can be notoriously cheap when paying for education. Perhaps though the protests came from some of the Venture Capital folks for whom the formerly free entry fee was boosted to several thousand.
You know mashups have hit the mainstream when they hit the NY Times, and this article is a nice introduction to Mashups and why they have become a key component of “Web 2.0”.
Mashups in music are songs that combine words and/or music from 2 or more songs, and internet mashups are similar – generally they are a combination of the information from 2 or more websites or data sources into one site. Zillow.com, for example, is an excellent mashup that takes real estate information and “mashes it” with mapping information, so you can navigate homes and prices via maps as well as in other ways. Also in typical Web 2.0 mashup fashion, Zillow offers “APIs” or “Application Program Interfaces” which are tools that allow simple integration of Zillow into your own website.
Mashups are not new but as they, and other Web 2.0 sensibilities, become the backbone of the new internet they represent a significant new direction in online life and computing. Although the internet started out as a fairly open environment, the advent of big money led many websites and services to force users to pay for content and services. “Paywalls” at sites like the New York Times, Salon, and others meant that you could not get at the stories unless you subscribed. These paywalls are coming down now in favor of advertising supported revenue models and more open environments where websites tend to share data and even advanced technologies in exchange for the benefit of appearing as a link or an information box within other sites.
Still confused? Frankly, I don’t think anybody can even hope to digest the tidal waves of innovation and information that flood over the internet on a daily basis. But if you want to understand more about mashups there is no better conference than Mashup Camp 6 coming up in in Silicon Valley in March. David Berlind and Doug Gold started these camps a few years ago and they are a superb way to get up to speed very quickly on how mashups are …. changing everything.