#Gnomedex 09 Day 2 :Show and tell and observations of the crowd

During the first afternoon slot the floor was opened up for brief show and tells from the crowd, for anyone who wanted to share sites or apps they love, or pose a problem or question.

I collected a bunch (not all, sorry!) of links to sites and apps that were mentioned at: http://delicious.com/orensr/#gnomedex Some very cool sites and iPhone apps!

Observing the crowd’s laptop screens from the back of the room, almost everybody has almost their whole screen taken up with Twitter clients, primarily Tweetdeck. Not much email, no Facebook. And for their contacts people are giving their Twitter ids, not email addresses, whether in presentations or casual interactions.

In response to a question about who has an iPhone at least 80% of the audience raises their hand.

This crowd looks to me to be about 2/3 Mac to 1/3 PC.


#Gnomedex 09 Day 2: Amber Case on Prosthetic Culture and Cyborg Anthropology



Traditionally anthropologists go out and look at other cultures and think it’s strange, but this is about looking at our own culture and thinking it’s strange.

Prosthetic culture – our objects extend our capabilities, phones extend ears, laptops extend fingers, etc.

Where do humans end and machines begin?

For instance – the term Cyborg was coined in 1960 – external components had been added for adapting to environments.

we are all cyborgs navigating this internal 4-dimensional space using our laptops as exoskeletons.

Packaging is in a cybernetic relationship with us as we hunt and gather in supermarkets.

Sci-fi has a nice way of creating the future.

Multiplicity of prosthetics – they’re all over us and attached to us. The best retailer of prosthetic is the Apple store – things that you can attach to yourself and your brain.

We’re all shedding materials. Lots of materials.

We share our prosthetic culture with another creature – the trilobite. Trilobites shed their eyes and grow bigger and bigger ones – so do we.

All the world’s a video game – adding followers and friends is like a massive multiplayer game. It’s also like a giant spreadsheet.

Escape velocity of data – no matter how much data you put in the computer it doesn’t get heavier.

A history of the future – Steve Mann at MIT was the first person to lifestream wearing 80 pounds of computing in the mid ’80s. Others doing that now at glogger.mobi

#Gnomedex 09 Day 2 Mark Horvath on A Conversation about Social Change through Social Media




Mark’s been unemployed for 19 months and lost his home to foreclosure – so if he an be active, so can you.

He’s travelling the country giving a face and voice to homelessness.

He was a television syndication editor and then ended up living on Hollywood Boulevard homeless.

The average homeless person in America is 9 years old (though it’s pointed out in the twitter that the NY Times tried to track down that statistic and found it wanting: http://tr.im/wUrF ). 3.5 million people. 1.4 million children.

Mark introduces James, a homeless Seattle person living in Nickelsville

What can you do? Lobby your legislature. Give socks, bus tokens, underwear.

Homelessness is going to get worse, given the economy.

It’s a huge challenge to go from the street back to housing. We need to work on that.

There’s a cause in your heart – we need to start taking care of each other. The tech and social media communities have a loud voice and lot of influence.

#Gnomedex 09 Day 2: Angel Djambazov on Amazon, Affiliates, and Taxes

A crash course in legislative insanity.

$23.4 billion in Internet advertising as of 2008. Makes it a target, and Amazon is one of the biggest target.

Cas of Quill Corp. v. North Dakota. Says in order for state sales tax to be charged for an interstate xaction. Court found no due process concern where a vendor is not substantially physically present in the state. What’s “substantial?”

Companies sellinc nationally mus juggle compliance in 7500 different tax jurisdictions.

First battleground was the state of NY. Comc book geeg reads a comic blog, which refers him to a book on Amazon. The geek could be in Arizona or Florida, not NY. But the blog site is in NY, so has no part of the transaction. But the states think of the blog as being part of Amazon’s sales force, which makes it taxable.

Fallout from NY passing th eAmazon tax – Amazon and Overstock filed suit. Overstock ane other eliminated NY affiliates, who reported losses of up to 72% of income. Amazon specific changes partially or directly attributed to compliance concerns: Search affiliates removed; Url shorteners banned. These laws have been passed in NY, North Carolina, and Rhode Island. Was defeated in California (came to veto), Connecticut, Hawaii, MD, MN, TN.

Expecting battle to be repeated next year in a hwole bunch of states.

Legislatures need outreach to understand the issues.

Places to get more info:

Affiliate Voice: http://www.affiliatevoice.com

AICPA: http://www.cpa2biz.com

Center for Democracy and Technology: http://cdt.org/

Performance Marketing Alliance: http:/www.performancemarketingalliance.com/state-legislation-activities

Streamlined Sales Tax Project: http://www.streamlinedsalestax.org/


#Gnomedex 09 Day 2: Lunch conversation with Clint Nelsen from Startup Weekend

Had a great conversation over lunch with Clint Nelsen ( @clintnelsen ) from Startup Weekend They put groups of people interested in entrepreneurial opportunities together in a room for a weekend and have them form teams and come out on Sunday having solved a problem. People of different skill sets, such as programmers, designers, lawyers, and marketers together They’ve had occasions where people have put together ideas and started receiving revenue by Saturday afternoon. Sounds like a great set of events – they’re planning on a whole bunch across the world in various cities during Entrepreneurship Week in November. I’d love to participate in one of these events!

#Gnomedex 09 Day 2: 20 million vs 20: Audience vs. Impact by Jay Grandin and Leah Nelson

They’re not geeks, but they’re trying really hard to be.

They’re from Vancouver – Giant Ant Media, that makes social objects for people – things you can discover and watch online, mostly videos.

This is a story of how they started telling fart jokes on MySpace and ended up making a hip hop album in the ghetto in Tanzania.

They started with a viral video – How to Shower: Women vs. Men that they put on MySpace. Phone started to ring, and it showed up on all sorts of places. MySpace called and flew him to come to LA to talk about a deal – signed with a talent agent in Beverly Hills, thought they’d be the next big internet thing. Then they made “how to conceal a fart” video. What was surprising was that people were actually watching and commenting – they welcomed all the feedback.

While waiting for the MySpace deal to come through, they went backpacking to Europe – they haad about 13k friends on MySpace and asked them if they could come stay at their houses. Brought home the realization that they were reaching real people. Sleeping with MySpace videos. People showed them lots of trust, which blew them away. Sometimes “Friends” are Friends!

Finding: F#ck Viral!

Started making content that really mattered to them – viewership took a nosedive. But engagement went up. Stopped caring about what the agent wanted.

Their friend Dani had been doing research with youth in Tanzania and came to them with the idea to do an album and film. Started a charity to raise money. Worked with 20 guys who live on the street in Tanzania, who make music to keep themselves entertained. Bongo Flava style. Life stories really embedded in the lyrics. There were lots of people online who gave little bits of money. Put $18k of their own money into the project. Blogged the process – really careful to put the best content online during the process – http://bongothefilm.com/ Bongo is the name of the film, which tells the entire story.

Realization is that they were lucky to have a big audience at the beginning, but the shift to those that followed them was really an amazing experience. Through the social networks they’re reaching out to they have the potential to bring the story to many more people. Left a trail of trial and error that they’ll never be able to erase.

They realized that they created a disruptive situation when they went in. Realized that the social fabric on the street was very different in the studio – on the street it was about street smarts, but in the studio it gravitated towards talent, which created conflict.

Buy a CD

#Gnomedex 09 Day 2: Micah Baldwin on Building Influence Online

Expertise – knowledge is gained, expertise is given

Influence – Reach (Brand*Expertise*Trust) – reach is a multiplier of influence

How many people listen? They listen because they trust you.

How to build online influence? Three rules of blogging:

1. Write like no one is reading.

2. Write when you want to write.

3. The moment you think “that would be a good blog post,” you become a blogger.

Become involved – there’s evidence that political candidates that get involved online garner more support (source?). Comment on a post, get on Twitter, etc. You’re building a community. The greater involvement you have in a community, the more people will tell you when you’re not being authentic. The best thing about a community is feedback.

Content discovery and filtering – be a human filter. If you bring people interesting info, they’ll trust you.

Aggregate knowledge.

#Gnomedex 09 – Day 2 – Mark Glaser and Jim Ray – Hacker Journalists

The second morning kicks off with an entertaining talk by Frank Eliason, the famous Comcast Customer Service guy who’s been providing customer service on Twitter, without having had any official permission from Comcast to do so (@ComcastCares).

The second talk is Hacker Journalists by Mark Glaser (@mediatwtit) and Jim Ray (@jimray). Mark hosts the Mediashift site on PBS.

What programmer journalists do is to try think up ways to take public information and mash it up to present the data in a different way (e.g. maps, images, etc). He’s asking the audience to get involved this morning in a contest for the best media hack this morning.

A brief history – there’s always been technology in journalism and there have always been people reporting on tech. What’s different is database journalism and having people in the newsroom who have done programming and hacking. In 1986 a journalist used databases to expose school bus drivers’ bad driving records. Adrian Holovaty put together chicagocrime.org – picked up crime data from police department and put it on maps.

Journalists job – gathering, distilling, and presenting information. That’s what Holovaty was doing, in a new way. Then he created a site called EveryBlock – for some cities aggregates lots of data about what’s going on in each block, pulling things in real time from around the web.

PolitiFact – had the truthometer during the election campaign. Their latest thing is the obameter – keeping score on 500 promises Obama made during the campaign and keeping track. Won a Pulitzer for the truthometer.

Bronx Rhymes – “located media”. Traces the history of hip hop in the Bronx. Put up posters at important sites, and then asked people to text in rhymes about that site.

Jim Ray, msnbc.com – local, member of original R&D team at msnbc. MSNBC doesn’t have all the baggage and infrastructure of traditional media companies, but a lot of the people there came from traditional companies. MSNBC just purchased everybolock – had Adrian in the newsroom where he faced some tough questions from people. Jim’s team interfaces directly with the editorial team but it’s not part of it. Everyblock was funded by a grant from the Knight Foundation, with a proviso that it be open source. When the grant ended the code was released. So the question was why was MSNBC purchasing it? A lot of it is the people, not the software. For instance, Holovaty is also the guy who invented the Django python framework.

MSNBC projects – Politics Dashboard – pulled data and came up with a county by county map going back the five or six elections including election results, campaign donations, demographics.

Created a map with a live hurricane tracker, then pulled NOAA information back to 1908 and put that in there too. Are people asking whether this kind of thing is valid and will generate revenue? Built it once and then as long as the data is available there are little additional costs. There are questions about the value of news versus background and archival information. What are the things that a journalist knows and assumes the reader knows?

How do we get more tech-savvy people into the newsroom? Also have the inverse problem of techie people who are interested in journalism, but too often it’s the old-school software development paradigm. It’s helpful to start at universities with journalism programs that acculturate people to using technology tools like databases, programming, and think differently about things.

The traditional mantra of journalists is that you’re not supposed to have opinions about the matters you’re reporting on. As journalists are moving beyond just reporting to have personal blogs and other expressions it’s a tricky issue. It used to be the policy that if you’re writing for an organization that you shouldn’t have a personal public expression, but that’s breaking down. The wall between journalism and blogging and professional and amateur is getting very blurry, whether that’s good or bad.

Gnomedex – Bre Pettis – The Robot That Sharing Built

This was too cool! A hackerverse portable 3d printer. Check it out! http://makerbot.com/

Prints on plastic from 3d designs.

They’re working on a 3d scanner that should be out next year.

There’s a cool video of it in use.

The vision is to have the same effect on shopping as the web did on publishing – just make it yourself!

Gnomedex 09 – Christine Peterson – Life Extension for Geeks

Approach has been personal – what should I do extend life?

Have a group in the Bay Area called the Quantitative Self – measuring everything about our lives.

Permanent health, or health squared is a better term than life extension.

We’re made out of meat – eventually things start to go wrong with meat. And our computational substrate is fragile gray pudding which you can’t back up. Would you hit a soccer ball with your laptop? And that’s backed up!

We just want a pill – but there isn’t one and won’t be one soon.

The FDA doesn’t view aging as a disease. Leon Kass, Bush’s Chairman of President’s Council on Bioethics said that to even want to extend health and life was a bad idea.

A couple of ways to come at it – soft way and hard way. Someday we may have machines that can fix the body, but in the short term we’re stuck with biological approaches.

Is your doctor your friend in life extension goals? Probably not, because they’re not trained at all in that approach.

Many things help: Stress reduction, physical risk reduction, mood improvement, sleep, sex, laughter, biomarker testing, supplements.

Start with stress reduction – gains are huge and gives you energy to tackle everything else. When you reduce stress you make changes in your brain. In three months you can turn on or off over 500 genes.

You’re doing an experiment, with you as a population of one. Get a baseline. If you’re in your 20s get a baseline now, when you’re as healthy as you can get. Kronos in Phoenix is one place you can get this done, but it’s not cheap. Life Extension Institute can provide mail order blood tests. Get your insurance in orer before you find out anything bad.

Supplements – Keep detailed records – what did you take, what were the effects? Figure out what to take – levels of confidence: pure theory and speculation vs. evidence. Supplements can do damage!

Medical studies are often done poorly because it’s expensive or sometimes impossible to do double-blind studies. Often rely on patient-reported histories.

You need an advisor – MDs (many won’t give supplement advice), the FDA, RealAge.com, Kronos, ConsumerLab.com, RaySahelian.com, Fantastic Voyage by Kurzweil & Grossman, Life Extension Foundation, Ray Kurzweil’s personal program, with extensive testing. Not for amatuers – work with a professional, get tested. Watch out for additive effects. Watch out for human hormones – they are powerful and can be risky.

Eat less calories. Be very slow and gradual. If you lower calories, don’t come back up.