Bill Gates on the second “digital decade”


Tonight at CES Bill Gates delivered his final CES (and perhaps final in the industry) keynote. The key announcements included a partnership with NBC to deliver video online for *every single sport* at the Olympics – some 3600 hours in total and I think he indicated close to real time. Also impressive was Microsoft’s work with partner “Tellme” and MS mapping to bring powerful voice and map navigation capabilities to the mobile space. They noted that mobile advertising will be some (11 billion?) by 2011, and that although they feel PCs will remain very important it’s clearly the mobile phone space where a lot of key innovation will be seen.

Back at MIX06 I noted that Microsoft had not yet embraced the social media revolution that clearly was going to dominate the online experience. I think they have now done so, but they may be too late. The demos of something called “Zune Social” were neat, but I noted the key feature was the ability to integrated with a Facebook profile. I’d argue that Open Social (or some variation on that theme), that is very largely company agnostic, will ultimately prevail. I didn’t get the idea Zune Social would be a big winner over time, but …

(posted from the CES Bloghaus! Thanks Seagate and Podtech!)

Update:  Engadget will have an interview up soon 

Samsung Q1 looks pretty cool


Samsung launched the Samsung Q1 tablet PC today. I’ve paid virtually no attention to this market since attending MIX06 last year in Las Vegas and playing around with some of what were then the latest and greatest ultra mobile PC devices. I’m beginning to think Scoble is right – the tablet PC will eventually become a key device for most of us – it just has not got the respect it deserves, perhaps because early models were too far ahead of their time.

My Treo 650 was the best phone last year but I’ve never been happy with the tiny screen that makes browsing problematic at best.   I’d be happy to carry around a somewhat larger gadget if it gave me decent browsing capabilities.    I think the Apple iPhone is on to something with it’s relatively large touchscreen interface.

Press Release on Samsung Q1

BarCamp USA 2007


Wow, if BarCamp USA <<too bad… it’s been cancelled >>really pulls in 5000 technology enthusiasts it could be the best conference of the year, and in Wisconsin no less. At a cost of $50 it’ll also be close to the cheapest.

What? You don’t know what a BarCamp is?

I love the unconference formats. After attending about ten computer conferences over the past 18 months including Microsoft’s MIX06 and WebmasterWorld’s in Las Vegas and Boston, my favorite conference was MashupCamp 1, a dynamic gathering of startups and mashup developers down in Silicon Valley at the Computer Science Museum. Dave Berlind, Doug Gold, and supporters did a fantastic job with these Mashup Camps and I’m sorry I missed the one just held in Boston and will miss Mashup Camp IV in July because I’ll be in Pennsylvania for our family reunion.

Organizers of the BarCamp USA say they expect 5000 but could handle up to 20,000. I sure hope this approach prevails in the conference space rather than the expensive and exclusive conferences that are tailored primarily to support existing large companies and sales efforts. I should say that Brett and his crew do a fine job making WebmasterWorld an inexpensive and great conference compared to the alternatives.

Fancy Las Vegas parties at nightclubs like TAO and PURE are really fun and neat, but the really profound changes in technology are only partly happening over cocktails in Las Vegas. They are ALSO happening inside laptops plastered with goofy stickers, handled by young geeks who haven’t even learned how to do laundry. BarCamps cater to that crowd, and that’s a crowd you want to pay attention to if you want to better understand where tech is headed … and headed fast.

Bill Gates and the Bloggers


James Kim Search Discussion – Click here | Mount Hood Climber Search

Some very high profile and clever folks in the blogging community got to head up to Microsoft HQ and meet with Bill Gates yesterday to discuss the future of the internet, especially ways to make the upcoming MIX07 conference relevant to the needs of those attending.

I missed meeting Gates at MIX06 earlier this year but I know several of the bloggers that were invited so I’ll have to settle for one degree of separation. I’m a huge fan of Bill Gates’ superb global health initiatives though not at all a fan of many of his “old style” ideas about computing and the internet. I think he, and MS at large, continues to view the internet as primarily a technological rather than a sociological development (clue: it’s 80% sociological, 19% technical and 1% electrical)

The reports are starting to come in:

Mike Arrington

Steve Rubel

Ryan Stewart

Niall Kennedy

Liz Gannes

Todd Bishop

Should Blogging ban Conferences?


Nielsen banned blogging at a recent conference leading Steve Rubel to ask “Should Conferences Ban Blogging?” I think a much better question is this:

Should Blogging ban Conferences?

Over the last 18 months or so I’ve made a point of attending several internet-related conferences. Some were informative, some fun but one of the most important things I took away was how much more I could have learned by simply spending an equal amount of time in careful online study of new developments.

This was even true at the best conference format from the superb UNconferences held by Dave Berlind and Doug Gold in Mountain View. So, why am I heading down to their latest effort, Startup Camp, next Wednesday and Thursday? … Well, it’s because conferences are a very enjoyable way to meet people and learn a few new tricks and “get out” from the somewhat nonsocial work environments in which many online professionals dwell much of the time, especially independents like me.

But blogging those conferences is really enjoyable, creates highly relevant new content for the web, and most importantly spreads the word to people who can’t attend due to expense or distance or whatever.

The idea of conferences banning blogging is very shortsighted from the conference’s financial success perspective since blogging is free publicity for next year and will encourage the growing legions of citizen journalists to attend.

FAR more importantly, Banning blogging is also turning the internet efficiency on it’s head and suggesting that the goal of conferences is the greedy monetization of the conference itself, rather than the appropriate monetization of the education and social experience.

Hey conferences – if you have something worth saying, it’s worth your attendees blogging about it.

UPDATE:  Max has a thoughtful reply, though I don’t agree:

Max this is a thoughtful argument and correctly separates this case from normal conference blogging as I failed to do in my critical post.
However I remain skeptical of any anti-blogging policy since it defies a new open standard that suggests blogging keeps the online world humming along nicely.  This appears to be too close to asserting that it’s OK to profit from online communities and activities with no obligation to share insights with that same community.

Microsoft Vista – a nice lookin’ blog for a nice looking OS.


Wow, Microsoft Vista has a very slick looking blog up here that mimics the look and feel of the new Vista which, for reasons I don’t understand, really had a great look at MIX06. I think it was simply the use of very appealing full screen pix in a copycat move on the new MAC Operating Systems. Dropping in MS LIVE sidebar gadgets (and hopefully Google and Yahoo gadgetry as well) will allow a user to have a wonderfully customized and functional desktop – looking forward to that.

I also really want to give them kudos for making registration (needed to comment) very simple (name and email). MS registrations tend to be so complex I actually almost left thinking “I’m not going to go through a 5 minute registration just to leave a comment!”.

The Gadget Revolution. Gadgets of the world, UNITE!


A nice ZDnet interview with Google’s Adam Sah suggests the increasing importance gadgets will play in the online landscape. I met a brilliantly enthusiastic Adam at Mashup Camp back in February when all this was just starting to take off and it’s great to see Google is now allowing the gadgets to be used on any website.

In March, at Microsoft’s MIX06, the innovative LIVE team was also very bullish on their LIVE Gadgets which clearly are destined to become a major focus over there as well.

Gadgets create some very interesting complications in terms of website stats and monetization. Google has not focused on monetizing this environment yet and it will be interesting to see how they approach that, though it’s easy to predict they’ll create some revenue share with the gadget publisher to keep everybody happy.

The legal fun may come from compatibility issues with IE7 and Vista. Microsoft would have some incentive to prefer their own sidebar gadgets, which will run on the Vista Desktop, to whatever Google gadgets are developed for that same niche. Yet Google as always is ahead of the marketing curve. Pushing gadgets to be compatible with websites, and not just those with Google desktop installed, may diminish what would have been a big MS advantage with Vista.

Hey – that’s a bit too cynical on my part – I think as they often have done Google is just expanding on a great concept that happens to be a good marketing route as well.