Wrapup of Mashup Camp 6 over at WebGuild.org.
Today will bring the most fun AND educational part of Mashup Camp which is the speed geeking of new mashups.
Here are listings of the first four camps:
- Mashup Camp 1 Speed Geeking page
- Mashup Camp 2 Speed Geeking page
- Mashup Camp 3 Speed Geeking page
- Mashup Camp 4 Speed Geeking page
The best source for mashup info remains:
Mashup Contest for students – from Microsoft:
Microsoft Press Release:
To raise awareness for Microsoft’s Live@edu, Microsoft is holding a contest among student software developers to see who can design the best application for Windows Live!
● One Grand Prize Winner – $10,000 cash
● Two Runners Up – $2,500 cash each
● Two Third Place Prizes – XBox 360 Halo 3 Prize Pack ($500 value)
Sample Mashups and how to get started:
– JUDGING –
● 25% Public Opinion (GET YOUR FRIENDS TO VOTE!)
● 25% Usage of Windows Live Tools
● 50% Creativity and Utility of Application
Participants must submit their application by March 31st, 2008!
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.
Here at the blog I have noted before that I think the Ted conference has a pretty high elitist component, and although I’ve warmed to the idea that most of the speakers there have important things to say I’m still concerned that the TED and other expensive conference formats somehow create a lot of unintended biases and effectively censor people and content in a way that is akin to our problems with US politics where purchasing access to things trumps giving access to the maximum number of innovative and clever ideas and deserving people.
There is now an alternative UNconference called the Bil Conference, and to TEDs credit they appear to be supportive of this venue which will be just after and near the location of TED, but won’t cost to attend.
Of course *free* conferences can also suffer from the challenges of non-representativeness. I do think the costs of transportation and lodging provide a barrier to entry that keeps out those who are just looking for a free lunch or to annoy people from the soap box provided by UNconferences to anyone who cares to speak.
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.
Yahoo’s social networking tool “Yahoo Mash” offered up a good first entry into the social networking space by a major player. But I’m noticing how it seems to be languishing after the initial positive buzz, and I think this is because Yahoo’s taking too long to go out with full bore, full online network promotion.
Yahoo Mash offers some features I really like compared to Myspace and Facebook. It’s an open architecture meaning that you can mashup mash with modules that show pictures or RSS feeds like this blog. I think my favorite thing about Yahoo Mash is the way the comments stream from profile to profile, so you don’t have to keep bouncing back to a single spot to remember what you said to somebody. I’m not enough of a social networking person to know if this is a real innovation or not because Myspace and Facebook also have some features that cross pollinate across profiles, but somehow Mash feels more like a “social networking” experience to me, even though I with it had the kinds of business networking features you find at LinkedIn.
If Yahoo Mash is just working out kinks and getting ready to scale up to full release soon that is fine, but if the idea is to scale the project *slowly* over a year or so I think they are making a big mistake. Why? Because social networking is an explosive phenomenon both in the sense that it has quickly become a key online activity across all users but also because it seems to me that social networks don’t gain momentum gradually, rather they become “in fashion” as did Myspace and Facebook and grow quickly and explosively. Facebook is still in this growth mode while I think Myspace growth is tapering off (I’m too lazy to go look at graphs to see if this is true).
Disclaimer – I’ve got some Yahoo stock. Not enough to prejudice my views, but perhaps enough to make me unreasonably optimistic.