IT Conversations News: April 8, 2005

(Hear the MP3 version in beautiful stereo.)

News and Housekeeping

  • Open-Source Audio Production at IT Conversations. Our open-source production model I announced last week here at IT Conversations seems to be working. Not perfectly, mind you, but we’re learning by doing, and we’re managing to get over most of the confusion and other obstacles fairly well. We’ve published two shows by Team ITC so far, and I expect we’ll have 2-3 more each week, and ramp up our production from there.

    I think we can now take on another audio-engineering volunteer, so if you’re interested, take a look at the wiki page. Two things we’ve learned so far are (1) you’d better be very comfortable with your audio tools, and (2) you should have a good idea of the difference between peak and RMS normalization. If you know what I’m talking about and are interested, let me know. Yes, we can take on more producer/editors, too, but at the moment some of the current writers are waiting for audio folks to work with.

  • Tips for the Team. Remember, 100% of your donations to the IT Conversations Tip Jar goes to the members of Team ITC who are now producing an ever-increasing portion of IT Conversations in their spare time. So please donate to Team ITC to keep the audio flowing.
  • With the Podcast Brothers. I was interviewed by Tim Bourquin on The Podcast Brothers podcast, and I explained the new directions in which IT Conversations is heading. Tim and his brother, Emile, discussed these recent developments on the show after the interview. (MP3)

New Programs This Week

(in increasing order of listener rating)

  • Jim Buckmaster & Craig Newmark – Nerd Values (rated 2.5 by our listeners). Nerd Values: Doing well by doing good, or the benefits of sticking with Web 0.0 principles in a Web 2.0 world. Jim is the president and CEO and Craig is the founder of Craig’s List. From the Web 2.0 Conference.
  • Media is a Platform – Web 2.0 (2.9). Under Web 1.0, eyeballs were king and old media was dead. But we’re learning that things are a bit more complicated, and media is evolving into new forms and formats. How can powerful brands like the New York Times thrive in an age where content is understood to be free? What happens when the web is capable of distributing massive video files effortlessly and without significant economic impact? What are the new publishing models emerging on the web, and how can media be used as a platform to leverage them.
  • Suzi Leather on Tech Nation (3.1). On Tech Nation, Moira speaks with Suzi Leather, the head of Great Britain’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. Find out how this nation which permits stem cell research, actually exerts far more government controls than the US.
  • Bill Gurley – The Breakout Business of MMORPG (3.5). Bill Gurley, General Partner, Benchmark Capital, says that massively multi-player online roleplaying games (MMORPGs) are an "insanely profitable business." Hear about a game in China that has 9 million active users, and how players are so fanatical in Korea, that the police have had to investigate the theft of in-world characters. Bill says MMORPGs are a business opportunity far beyond EverQuest. From the Web 2.0 Conference.
  • Oded Shenkar on Tech Nation (3.9). On Tech Nation, Moira Gunn speaks with professor Oded Shenkar about the rise of China, the lessons of history — as well as what’s happening today — to find out just why he calls this "The Chinese Century."
  • Clay Shirky – Ontology is Overrated (4.2). We launch the IT Conversations coverage of the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference with another brilliant presentation by Clay Shirky. Ontology, far from being an ideal high-order tool, is a 300-year-old hack, now nearing the end of its useful life. The problem ontology solves is not how to organize ideas but how to organize things.
  • Will Wright – Sculpting Possibility Space (4.3). From the creator of The Sims and Sim City at Accelerating Change 2004: Games and simulations allow us to experience hypothetical situations in fun and intuitive ways. From the designers’ perspective we need to architect these "possibility landscapes" which players will later explore. Will discusses some of the informal methods, concepts and tools that he uses to approach this design task.

Doug’s Favorites from the Archives

  • Philip Greenspun – Software Engineering. Philip and Alex’s Guide to Web Publishing, was an inspiration to many programmers writing server-side code on Unix/Linux platforms. In this interview Philip describes the evolution of his attitudes towards software engineering and his latest book, Software Engineering for Internet Applications, for a course at MIT where "the goal of the course is that the student finishes knowing how to build by him or herself." Don’t miss the story of how the venture capitalists to whom Philip relinquished control of this $20 million profitable company, Ars Digita, ran it into the ground. There are lessons there for any budding (or experienced) entrepreneur.

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