IT Conversations News: March 18, 2005

(Hear the MP3, which contains far more detail.)

New Shows

I posted three particularly popular sessions this week:

  • Brewster Kahle (rated an amazing 4.7 by IT Conversations listeners), Digital Librarian, Director and Co-founder of the Internet Archive, has been working to provide universal access to all human knowledge for more than fifteen years. Advances in computing and communications mean that we can cost-effectively store every book, sound recording, movie, software package, and public web page ever created, and provide access to these collections via the Internet to students and adults all over the world. By mostly using existing institutions and funding sources, we can build this as well as compensate authors within what is the current worldwide library budget. The talk offers an update on the current state of progress towards that ideal, which would allow us to bequeath an accessible record of our cultural heritage to our descendants. [A presentation from the terrific SDForum Distinguished Speaker Series]
  • Dan Gillmor (4.1), author of We, the Media: Journalism By and For the People and former Business and Technology Columnist for the San Jose Mercury News at the Accelerating Change 2004 Conference. Grassroots journalists are dismantling Big Media’s monopoly on the news, changing it from lecture to conversation. Dan Gillmor discusses the importance of this emerging phenomenon, a deep shift in how we make and consume the news. We the Media is essential reading for all participants in the news cycle: Consumers learn how they can become producers of the news through web journals (weblogs or blogs), Internet chat groups, email, and cell phones.
  • John Buckman (3.9), the founder of Magnatune Records, is interviewed by Dave Slusher on Dave’s series, Voices in Your Head. Magnatune Records is an online record label with the slogan "We Are Not Evil." As a company, Magnatune has embraced Creative Commons licensing, internet streaming and distribution of music, and introduced innovations such as customer-chosen pricing for albums. As of this writing, their catalog consists of 185 artists with 356 albums available and climbing. In this interview we discuss his motivations informing Magnatune, his experiences and surprises in the first years of operation, the potentials for online distribution of music, and much more.

I posted three more sessions from the Web 2.0 Conference this week:

  • Cory Doctorow (3.5) of the Electronic Frontier Foundation presented "Does Web2.0=AOL 1.0?" in which he explains how the sneaky forces of darkness are criminalizing the Web in smoke-filled rooms that you can’t get into.
  • Dale Dougherty (2.6), VP, Online Publishing and Research for O’Reilly Media, asks and answers the question, "What happens when books become online platforms for learning?"
  • Marc Benioff (3.3), the bombastic and outspoken CEO of is always entertaining and surprising, In this conversation from the Web 2.0 Conference, Marc describes how his company has become a force in the enterprise platform space.

And of course, we have three new Tech Nation shows from Moira Gunn. The first two are about gaming and how gamers and gaming are changing the world.

  • Dr. Henry Jenkins explains how video games will revolutionize education. Dr. Jenkins is the director of the Comparative Media Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the co-editor of Rethinking Media Change: The Aesthetics of Transition (Media in Transition).
  • John Beck, a Senior Research Fellow at USC’s Annenberg Center of the Digital Future, warns that the "Gamer Generation" is about to enter the workforce — and that means change.
  • And in this week’s Biotech Nation segment, Dr. Belinda Clarke talks about her beliefs that scientists have a moral obligation to communicate science. Dr. Clarke is Science Liaison Manager at Norwich Research Park, Norfolk, England.

Since I publish the Tech Nation segments too late for reviews, from now on I’m going to tell you avout the previous week’s shows instead of those just launched on the same day as these announcements.

  • David Bodanis (3.7). This week on TechNation, Dr. Moira Gunn speaks with David Bodanis, a writer for Popular Science and the author of Electric Universe: The Shocking True Story of Electricity. This time around he’s explaining man’s fascination with electricity — from entertainment in the courts of French Kings to the modern day.
  • Sir Roger Penrose (3.5). Moira also speaks with Sir Roger Penrose, Emeritus Professor of Mathmatics, Oxford University. He shares the Wolf Prize with Stephen Hawking. They discuss his new book, Road to Reality — A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe.
  • Tim Cook (3.1). And in this week’s BioTech Nation segment, Moira speaks with Tim Cook, managing director of Isis Innovation. Tim tells us how university scientists view industry, and vice-versa.

And a matched set of two of my favorite shows from the archives:

  • Joe Trippi (3.8), the man whose ground-breaking use of Internet-based campaigning propelled Howard Dean from obscurity to early front-runner, takes Teach-In participants inside the campaign’s unconventional experiment in Internet politics, and looks at both victories and lessons learned. The other candidates are rushing to emulate Trippi’s Internet strategy–as Wired News declared, “Internet politics is dead. Long live Internet politics.” This presentation was followed by a Q&A session (3.8) [recorded live at the O’Reilly Digital Democracy Teach-In].

Other Stuff

  • Sound Policy: A new IT Conversations series with Denise Howell. The first edition features Cory Doctorow, Robert Scoble and Martin Schwimmer in a heated debate over Google’s AutoLink feature. Look for it within 48 hours.
  • Help Wanted: Producers, Editors and Engineers. I’ve had a good response, but I still need more volunteers. Help produce IT Conversations and make some spare change, too.
  • SXSW/ETech Double Header. If you missed one or both of these great events this past week, you’ll be able to hear the best presentations here on IT Conversations over the following months.
  • A Creative Commons Update: Yes, I’m keeping the CC license. It’s just a matter of which variation.

Podcasting Awareness ~Nil

According to a survey by Blogads, 92.1% of those who read blogs say they never listen to podcasts. What percentage of the people in the world read blogs and could have participated in this survey? Perhaps 5%? Less? Your guess is as good as mine, but in any case — despite the recent rash of mainstream-journalism coverage of podcasting — podcasting isn’t even a speck on the head of a pin yet.

IT Conversations News: March 11, 2005

(Hear the MP3, which contains far more detail.)

New Shows

  • True Voice: The Profession of Blogging (rated 2.9). In this premiere show, host Stowe Boyd talks with professional bloggers Darren Barefoot and Jeremy Wright, who originally met by selling their blogging services via eBay. What does it mean to be a professional blogger? How is blogging distinct from journalism or corporate PR? What are the ethics of professional blogging?
  • Clark Aldrich – Simulations and the Future of Learning (rated 3.6). Clark is the co-founder of SimuLearn and the author of, Simulations and the Future of Learning. He recently lead the team that created Virtual Leader, the first ever learning experience to follow the development cycle of a modern computer game. It has been sold to some of the largest enterprises in the United States.
  • Search is a Platform. Where is it Going? (rated 3,3). Search is an application that binds the web’s economic, interface, and partnership landscape. Through search, companies like Google and Yahoo have built extraordinarily scaled platforms that have evolved into next generation web-based applications like mail, hosting, and, some claim, an entire OS. John Battelle moderates a panel of search-engine experts who explore the future of search as an application platform.
  • Kent Seamons – Negotiating Trust (too late for rating). How do you establish trust between between strangers on the Internet? Identity federation is one way to create a community of trust, but it relies on establishing the trust domains before the interaction. That doesn’t work for many Internet transactions. In an all-new IT Conversations series, Phil Windley interviews Professor Kent Seamons who exploes in depth some specific ways of solving this problem.
  • David Bodanis (too late for rating). This week on TechNation, Dr. Moira Gunn speaks with David Bodanis, a writer for Popular Science and the author of Electric Universe: The Shocking True Story of Electricity. This time around he’s explaining man’s fascination with electricity — from entertainment in the courts of French Kings to the modern day.
  • Sir Roger Penrose (too late for rating). Moira also speaks with Sir Roger Penrose, Emeritus Professor of Mathmatics, Oxford University. He shares the Wolf Prize with Stephen Hawking. They’ll discuss his new book, Road to Reality — A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe.
  • Tim Cook (too late for rating). And in this week’s BioTech Nation segment, Moira speaks with Tim Cook, managing director of Isis Innovation. Tim tells us how university scientists view industry, and vice-versa.
  • And one of my favorite shows from the archives: Ito and Zuckerman – Emergent Democracy Worldwide (rated 3.9!) While we’re building great new tools to build communities, we’ve done very little to ensure that people around the world have access to them. And even when we’ve made it possible for people in developing nations to speak, we’ve done little to ensure that anyone listens. How do we ensure that the “Second Superpower” Jim Moore proposes includes the poor as well as the rich? When a new democratic structure emerges from highly-wired westerners, how do we ensure it’s fair and just for those currently unwired? The answer is more complex than bridging the so-called “digital divide” – it involves bridging countless cultural divides. Emerging technologies make it easier than ever to bring first-person perspectives, as well as images, movies and music to people in other nations – is this enough to bring cultures together and ensure they care about one another?

Other Stuff

ITC in the Dow Jones Online Retail Report

The Dow Jones Online Retail Report (subscription required) has just published a story entitled “Podcasts Are The New Blogs Of Alternative Media” by Michelle Tsai. I can’t link to it or quote the whole thing, but here’s where Michelle mentions IT Conversations:

Advertisers Follow The Audience

The podcasting world has already turned its attention to monetization through advertising and subscription fees, and podcast networks are in a land grab to acquire podcasts for exclusive distribution, said Doug Kaye, host of IT Conversations, whose series of shows about technology attract about 50,000 listeners each month. Groups like Podcast Network, which now has about 2,000 shows, [I didn’t say that …doug] have sprung up and are adding to their stable of programming as fast as they can, said Kaye.

Podcasters are not all of one mind when it comes to what form advertising should take, however. Kaye is in discussions with international consultancies and mobile handset makers about underwriting his shows with brief messages at the beginning or end of programs rather than full-on commercials.

One obstacle to advertising is the lack of information about who’s downloading the shows. IT Conversations’ Kaye said that while advertisers in most media expect detailed demographic information, those with experience in broadcast media will know that podcasters can’t provide the same.

SXSW/ETech Double Header

Heading to Austin for SXSW and going to miss ETech in San Diego? Or maybe the other way around? Fear not! It’s no longer an either/or choice. Now you can have your cake and eat it, too.

Thanks to the incredible cooperation and goodwill of both O’Reilly Media and SXSW Inc., IT Conversations has secured the rights to bring you the keynote presentations of both of these top events of 2005. I’ll be rolling out the MP3s on a regular basis starting about April 1.

As for me, I’ll be at ETech — not that I wouldn’t have loved to be at SXSW just as much — so please come up and say Hello.

Oops! An ITC Outage.

IT Conversations has been up pretty much non-stop for nearly two years, but earlier today the site was down for about three hours. My apoligies to our listeners. We haven’t diagnosed the cause yet, but the site is back up and stable. No hardware failures at least.

Help Wanted: Producers, Editors and Engineers

Okay…Help! I thought I could keep up. I’ve cut back on my own interviews to produce our other hosts’ shows, but I was still keeping my head above water even cranking out a new show every day. (Nine shows a week if you count each of Moira Gunn’s three weekly TechNation segments.) And although I received many submissions from independent producers, most of them weren’t very good, so it was easy to say, “I’m sorry, but No.” But now I’m getting some great indepently recorded but raw programs that I’d like to bring to the IT Conversations audience, and I just don’t have time to do it.

So I’ve posted the Help-Wanted details on the IT Conversations wiki. As it says at the end, there are a few dollars available — thanks to the doations from the tip jar — but the compensation will be more like a Thank-You gift than real pay.

Particularly if you’re adept with audio editing and mastering, our listeners will appreciate your efforts. Help keep listener-supported IT Conversations alive!

Chris Lydon Returns

It was hearing Christopher Lydon’s interviews online that gave me the idea for IT Conversations, and the day after I discovered Dave Winer had helpped post Chris’ interviews as RSS enclosures, I did the same. (I hand-copied the RSS tags to get the right syntax.) But like many, I’ve missed hearing Chris’ voice. I didn’t know it, but apparently he and his WBUR producer, Mary McGrath, had been fired by then GM Jane Christo. According to an article by Dan Kennedy in the Boston Phoenix, “Christo resigned [last fall] during an investigation into whether she had mismanaged the Boston University–owned station’s finances.”

Dan’s article contains the blow-by-blow of Chris’ situation over the past four years, but the big news from Dan is that Chris will be back bigger and better than ever: both on radio and as a podcast.

Welcome back, Chris. We’ve missed you.

ETech on IT Conversations

In answer to many queries I’ve received in the past few days, Yes, IT Conversations will publish the audio from O’Reilly Media’s Emerging Technology Conference this year, as we did last year. But no live strem this time around. It’s a lot of work to reach just a few hundred listeners, whereas the downloads/podcasts reach tens of thousands. Last year streaming was hot, this year it’s not.

Another benefit of not streaming is that I get to attend without spending all day ‘on the air.’ Instead I’ll have a chance to meet new people and say Hello to old friends.

Thanks again to the wonderful people at O’Reilly Media who allow IT Conversations to bring you their excellent events at no charge. And there are still two slots open for sponsors of our audio coverage of ETech 2005. If your company is interested in reaching 50,000-100,000 serious geeks, please email me at