The Future of IT Conversations

I’ve been researching, scratching my head and talking to people for the past two months or so, and I wasn’t planning on announcing my plans for the future of IT Conversations for another month or so. But I was being interviewed by Cameron Reilly for the G’Day World podcast, and I just couldn’t help myself. Cameron asked me point blank about the future, and I decided to spill the beans. Cameron gets the scoop.

I’ll have more details here in the blog over the next few days, and in the IT Conversations news podcast this weekend. But for a preview, listen to my interview on G’Day world. We start talking about the future of IT Conversations at 16:50 into the show.

A Record Day

Thanks to the new traffic from iTunes, Tueday was an all-time record day for IT Conversations traffic: 378.32GB. That adds up to more than 11 terrabytes/month. Thank you Limelight Networks for your awesome content-delivery network. We literally couldn’t do it without you.

iTunes: Day One

Today was the launch of iTunes 4.9 with support for podcasting, and IT Conversations is proud to be among those included in the initial iTunes directory. The presentation is a bit of a mess, and over the next few days I hope to find time to add the iTunes-specific tags to our RSS feeds.

iTunes has been responsible for a 31% increase in our traffic today, and I can say that with a fair degree of confidence. The reason is that Apple chose to include our AAC/M4B feeds rather than our MP3 feeds. Normally — and it’s quite repeatable — AAC/M4B accounts for about 10% of our traffic, but today it looks like the AAC/M4B traffic will account for 38% of the total, which can only be attributable to iTunes.

IT Conversations News: June 26, 2005

(Hear the MP3 version with additional commentary in beautiful monophonic audio.)

New Programs This Week

Listed in increasing order of listener rating. For descriptions, visit the IT Conversations home page.

  • Ken Berryman – Software Company Building Blocks (rated 2.6 by listeners) Ken Berryman’s presentation outlines the new factors affecting the industry and how companies can adapt to remain a force in the game. The belief that software companies can work under different rules than companies in other sectors no longer holds water. The world has changed and the demands of customers and the market have become more sophisticated.
  • Allen Husband – BioTech Nation (3.1) On this week’s Biotech Nation segment, Dr. Moira Gunn interviews Novogen Research Director, Dr. Allen Husband, who tells us how a dietary supplement which relieves menopause symptoms in women shows great promise as a cancer drug.
  • John Hagel – "The Only Sustainable Edge" (3.3) Moira also speaks with John Hagel, who with co-author John Seely Brown, has written "The Only Sustainable Edge," a new perspective for business. (See also more with John Hagel.)
  • Jim Griffith – eBay’s Dean of Education (3.3) "Griff" is the official dean of eBay education and eBay University instructor. Larry Magid speaks with him about how sellers make a profit by simply buying product X from Wal-Mart for $20 and selling it for $25, and what buyers should do before they get out their credit cards. It’s a must for all kind of eBay retailers. Fact: there are approximately 430,000 eBay sellers who either make a profit full time or part time in the US alone.
  • Wil McCarthy – Voices in Your Head (3.4) We’ve all imagined teleporting from place to places and making clones or copies of ourselves. But have you ever wondered what might happen if we were actually able to do so? Host Dave Slusher speaks to renowned science fiction author Wil McCarthy about what these advancements might mean and about technology, science and us.
  • Todd Cochrane – Geek News Central (3.5) On this week’s Web Talk, host Rob Greenlee speaks with Todd Cochrane, host of the Geek News Central Podcast and weblog, and the author of the first book on podcasting, "Podcasting: The Do-It-Yourself Guide". Todd also talks about topic-based podcast networks and how they might just be the wave of the future.
  • Lawrence Lessig – Re: Mix Me (3.6) Culture is remix, and remix, culture. That’s the message from an IT Conversations favorite, Lawrence Lessig, at O’Reilly Media’s Emerging Technology (ETech) conference in March. After Larry’s presentation, Cory Doctorow of the Electronic Frontier Foundation engages him in a Q&A session.
  • Tim O’Reilly – "Make" Magazine (3.7) Dr. Moira Gunn speaks with Tim O’Reilly, the founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media. Just to give you a new project or two to build over your next free weekend, we’ll hear about their new magazine "Make."
  • Guido van Rossum – Open Source Projects & Community (3.9) From the SD Forum Distinguished Speaker Series, the creator of the Python programming language reflects on the early days of the Python community, describes its development into maturity, and explains why he is still having a good time after 13 years of herding cats. In an entertaining and informative talk, he also describes the origin of many of Python’s most characteristic features and compares Python to some of the other languages in widespread use today. In two parts.
  • Peter Norvig – Web Search as a Force for Good (3.9) Web search as a Force for Good? No, we are not talking about a new beta service from Google! Peter Norvig, Director of Search Quality and Research at Google, says that when web searches are not actually saving people’s lives they are improving them by saving time! He talks about how the 4 billion web pages Google indexes can be harnessed to actually make a difference in the everyday lives of people around the world with the innovative new services that Google is coming up with.
  • Rob Curley – The World Company (4.9) Since the dot-com days, nearly every newspaper in the world has made use of the Internet and now has a website where readers can get their news faster than they can get the hardcopy paper. But just having a website is one thing. Doing it right — which is what Rob Curley is known for — is another. Hear Rob’s fascinating keynote presentation from the Integrated Media Association’s New Media Summit in which he gives examples of how he and his web-development team at the Lawrence Journal-World continue to do it right.

This week’s Doug’s Favorite from the IT Conversations archives:

  • Malcolm Gladwell – On Human Nature (4.2) From last year’s Pop!Tech conference, author and New Yorker Magazine journalist Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point has been a tremendous bestseller for over three years and counting. In this presentation he explores why we can’t trust people’s opinions — because we don’t have the language to express our feelings. His examples include the story of New Coke and how Coke’s market research misled them, and the development of Herman-Miller’s Aeron chair, the best-selling chair in the history of office chairs, which succeeded in spite of research that suggested it would fail.

A Pop!Tech 2005 Special Discount

Pop!Tech is one of the most awesome events, and this year it will be held in Camden, Maine, October 19-22. Last year’s Pop!Tech brought some of *the* most popular IT Conversations programs such as presentations by Malcolm Gladwell, Thomas Barnett, Doug Rushkoff, and Spencer Wells. This year’s lineup looks at least as good.

Pop!Tech is all about the future. It’s an eclectic gathering of great minds from a diverse set of specializations. But it’s not just about the sessions. Like all great conferences, Pop!Tech is about being there and getting a chance to interact with a phenomenal group of people.

The good news is that thanks to our close association with Pop!Tech, I have been able to secure a special discount for IT Conversations listeners. The bad news is that it’s only good through the end of the month: another four days. That’s the end of their early-bird discount, which is $300, and for IT Conversations’ isteners they’ve agreed to give an additonal $200 discount, so that’s a full $500 off the July 1 registration price.

To take advantage of this discount, just go to If you’d rather register by phone, call Jamie Griffin at 800.673.4855 and mention IT Conversations. Either way, I hope to see you at Pop!Tech 2005, sure to be one of the most talked-about events of the year.

To register with our special discount go to

You can also peruse IT Conversations’ coverage of last year’s Pop!Tech.

On Danish Radio

If you can understand Danish — to me it sounds like English played backwards — you might enjoy an interview I did with Carsten Nielsen of Danish radio. You’ll have to understand English, too. He replaced his questions with Danish and left my answers in English. It’s like Jeopardy: I know my answers are correct; it’s the questions I wonder about.

IT Conversations News: June 19, 2005

(Hear the MP3 version in beautiful monophonic audio.)

New Programs This Week

Listed in increasing order of listener rating. For descriptions, visit the IT Conversations home page.

  • Ana Marie Cox – Wonkette (rated 2.9 by listeners) Wonkette. If that does not bring a smile to your face, listening to her will. It could, alternatively, leave you frothing at the mouth, but that’s a risk you take with her. Ana Marie Cox, the Wonkette and editor of the political blog, talks about her life, work, blogs in general and life again in this keynote interview with Evan Smith at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival.
  • Daniel Hillis – Remixing Technology (3.1) Do you think that working at Disney Imagineering might be fun? Try working for Applied Minds. In this High Order Bits session from the 2005 O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, Daniel Hillis talks about the work done by Applied Minds, the company he co-founded when he wasn’t having enough fun working for Imagineering.
  • Kim Polese – Web 2.0 (3.2) Does IT really matter? Have we reached the end of innovation in the Software industry? Kim Polese, CEO of SpikeSource, doesn’t think so and makes a convincing case that the software industry is undergoing a revolution, which will create even further innovations. This is known as Web 2.0 and it is changing that way software companies are executing their business strategy. The second generation of the Internet is forcing these companies to transform their development, delivery and licensing models and to re-examine their core competencies.
  • S. Mahalingam – Tata Consulting (3.3) Outsourcing is an integral part of any IT strategy since it can significantly reduce the operational cost of the business. Join Quentin Hardy as he chats with Mr Mahalingam, CFO of Tata Consultancy Services, about the growth in the outsourcing industry and how it is positioned to tackle Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). TCS is one of the largest outsourcing companies in India, which has recorded 143 consecutive quarters of growth and was the first Indian company to reach $2 billion of revenue.
  • Wayne Harris – Gene-Based Medicines (3.3) And on this week’s Biotech Nation segment, Moira interviews Dr. Wayne Harris, Dean of the School of Pharmacy, Xavier University about the challenges for patients taking the new gene-based medicines.
  • Chris Anderson – Wired Magazine (3.4) On this week’s Tech Nation, Dr. Moira Gunn interviews Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine about what’s the hot new thing! Chris joins Moira to review the latest technology coming up at NextFest 2005 in Chicago.
  • Greg Raleigh – Airgo Networks (3.6) How would you like a 10x improvement in wireless bandwidths? Much higher range? Without using more spectrum or more power and available in stores today! You can get it now and it’s not magic but MIMO that makes it possible. MIMO is a new radio access standard pioneered by Dr. Greg Raleigh, the President and CEO of Airgo Networks. Larry Magid talks to Dr. Raleigh about this invention and how it is going to get used, on this week’s edition of Larry’s World.
  • Tod Maffin – Podcasting and Public Radio in Canada (3.6) Web Talk’s Rob Greenlee speaks with Tod Maffin, host of a National Technology Column on CBC Radio (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). Tod also hosts a technology series on CBC Television called "Canada Now". He is also creator of the weblog "" and is also a Podcaster. Tod is considered "one of Canada’s most influential futurists". He discusses the present Podcasting landscape and about the future of Podcasting in Public Radio.
  • Alexis Gerard and Bob Goldstein – Going Visual (3.8) Moira also speaks with Alexis Gerard and Bob Goldstein, co-authors of "Going Visual — Using Images to Enhance Productivity, Decision-Making and Profits," about the next generation of all our organizations. It’s more than just the gadgets themselves. It’s the fact they’ve become ubiquitous — from huge companies to the everyday worker.

This week’s Doug’s Favorite from the IT Conversations archives:

  • Steve Wozniak – Gnomedex 4.0 (4.4)
    Gnomedex 5.0 will be held this week in Seattle, and here’s one of Doug’s Favorites from last year’s event. The Geeks-Gone-Wild crowd was glued to this rare and brilliant presentation by Steve Wozniak, a true geek’s geek. It started with games and pranks, crystal-set radios, reading Popular Electronics. Woz wanted to be an HP engineer forever and never thought he’d start a company, but HP turned down Woz’s offer for the rights to build what would become Apple’s first computer. Part 1 and Part 2.

IT Conversations News: June 11, 2005

(Hear the MP3 version in beautiful monophonic audio.)

New Programs This Week

Listed in increasing order of listener rating. For descriptions, visit the IT Conversations home page.

  • James Goodnight – SAS (2.7) Whereas the life expectancy of people is steadily increasing with time, today’s business life expectancy is actually decreasing. Join Dr. Jim Goodnight, founder and CEO of SAS, the largest privately owned software company, speak on growing and sustaining the long-term enterprise. SAS has been in business for three decades and has sustained a 10-15 percent growth during its lifetime. Listen to discover the SAS secret sauce.
  • David Ewing Duncan (3.3) On last week’s Biotech Nation program, Dr. Moira Gunn spoke with biotech journalist David Ewing Duncan, the author of “The Geneticist Who Played Hoops with my DNA,” who shared the experience of submitting himself to just about every genetics test known to man.
  • Rob Glaser – Real Networks (3.3) Time flies! Would you believe it’s been a full 10 years since Real first got content streaming going on the Internet? How has streaming fared over this period? How does this decade-old technology compete with the music-on-the-go iPods and its ilk? Larry Magid is back on this week’s edition of Larry’s World interviewing the man who started it all – Rob Glaser, founder and CEO of Real Networks.
  • Hoffman and Lauer – Remixing Wikis in the Classroom (3.3) Schools need a system which is simple to use for the teachers as well as the students; one that is secure; which does not require dedicated tech support. And all this without using data servers because the powers-that-be frown on schools setting up servers by themselves. Tom Hoffman and Tim Lauer describe the challenges they have faced in doing this and how they have overcome them with SchoolTool, in their interesting talk at Etech 2005.
  • Sean Carroll (3.5) Moira Gunn also spoke with Dr. Sean Carroll, Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics, and author of “Endless Forms Most Beautiful — The New Science of Evo Devo.” It’s the nickname for Evolutionary Developmental Biology. Among other issues, they discussed whether evolution itself is evolving.
  • Bob Cox – Media Bloggers Association (4.0) Bob Cox, Founder of the Media Bloggers Association and Blogger at and he discusses some of the important legal issues facing media bloggers. He shares his story about his battle with the New York Times that recently got national media attention. He discusses how audio and video is changing weblogs and why he created the Media Bloggers Association. Bob will also talk about the recent BlogNashville event and the hot topics that came out of that event.

This week’s Doug’s Favorite from the IT Conversations archives:

    Joel Spolsky – Joel on Software (3.9) IT Conversations’ producer Doug Kaye interviews Joel Spolsky, the author of Joel on Software. He worked on Microsoft’s Excel development team, still a strong influence on his opinions on software development. Topics include: extreme programming of which Joel has often been a critic, formal testing, particularly on large projects, why "customers don’t know what they want" and Microsoft (why some developers may not move to Avalon/XAML/WinFX, and what will happen to Win32).