IT Conversations News: August 28, 2005

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

News and Housekeeping

  • Gone Fishing? Not quite, but I did miss publishing an Update last week, as I spent the weekend at FOO Camp (Friends of O’Reilly) in Sebastopol, California. IT was a great opportunity to meet with some very smart people. Our plans for the new non-profit IT Conversations were discussed and very well received. I’m back, but that means we’ve got twice the usual number of things to talk about.
  • Tips! One problem with missing a week is that I’m not in your ear, reminding you about contributing to our tip jar. As the end of August approaches, I notice that the tip jar isn’t as full as usual, even though the members of Team ITC are working harder than ever. So if you like IT Conversations, put your money where your ears are and contribute. Remember that 100% of your donation will go to those members of Team ITC who produce all of our programs in their spare time.
  • Conferences. You may have noticed that we’re hot and heavy into the middle of the conference season, and for the next few months we’ll be publishing 10-12 programs every week in order to keep up. And speaking of conferences here are two terrific ones that you may want to attend face-to-face to get that elbow-rubbing experience:
    • European OSCON 17-20 October in Amsterdam, with a terrific lineup of speakers. You can save €400 if you register by 29 August (tomorrow)!
    • Accelerating Change 2005 will be September 16-18 at Stanford University, and as in 2004, this looks like one of the top events of the year.
  • Stringers Needed! And speaking of Accelerating Change 2005, we need some help recording the conference. We’ll have all the equipment, but if you have some skill with audio, mixers, etc., we can get you a free registration in exchange for your help capturing this event for later publication on IT Conversations.
  • iTunes Tips. Remember, if you’re using iTunes to subscribe to our RSS feeds, you may be missing many of our programs. By default, iTunes only grabs one show per day, which means that you’ll miss nearly half of our 10-12 programs each week. The solutions are to change the options so that you download all programs, not only the most recent.
  • Web-Site Update. I’ve spent a little time this past week on the long-neglected website.
    • Downloads. One change you might have noticed immediately is that you can now download audio files directly from the show detail pages. Previously, you had to click through to a separate download page. It’s now much easier.
    • M4B Files. The reason I could do this is that I’ve finally completed the de-commissioning of the M4B/AAC files. In other words, everything is now MP3 only. I received a few complaints from people who miss their bookmarks on iPods, but when I explained how much overhead it has been to produce M4Bs, they understood.
    • Lists. And you know those lists on the left-hand side of our pages? The ones labeled Highest Rated and Most Listened To? You may have thought those were maintained though some fancy software, but no — I have to maintain them by hand. And like everything else, they had been ignored for too long. I finally brought them up-to-date, so check there. You may find some great programs you hadn’t heard before.

New Programs This Week

Listed in increasing order of listener rating.

  • Mark Carges – InfoWorld SOA Forum (rated 3.0 by IT Conversations listeners) Are your organization’s data and processes locked into isolated silos? Do you need to bridge the gaps between enterprise software application and home-grown solutions? Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is one part of the toolkit that can help enterprises overcome these difficulties, and yet in a study done by InfoWorld and BEA, only 28% of respondents have a current SOA project, while more than 50% have no current SOA plans. BEA Systems CTO Mark Carges discusses the results of this study and the needs for an SOA infrastructure.
  • Gary Cornell – Apress (3.2) Gary Cornell decided to ditch academia and become a technical book publisher in 1998, just in time to face a huge downturn in tech book publishing as the dot com bubble burst. Today, Cornell’s Apress is proof of life after the bubble in a competitive market, producing bestsellers from authors such as Joel Spolsky and Dan Appleman. Scott Mace spoke with Gary, the CEO/publisher/co-founder of Apress, about topics ranging from outsourcing to Wikipedia.
  • Kris Lichter – The Genographic Project (3.3) Humans are found everywhere on Earth. Yet how did we get here and why do we look the way we do? IBM and National Geographic are mounting the Genographic Project, an ambitious attempt to answer these fundamental questions. Kris Lichter talks about the how a worldwide, decentralized group of scientists collaborates on the largest DNA sample database ever assembled to understand the story of the human race.
  • Robert "The Scobleizer" Scoble (3.4) Robert Scoble is a Microsoft technical evangelist, but is most know as the world famous "Scobleizer" blogger. He discusses his early days of blogging and how his blogging at Microsoft was often risky. He also explains how blogging is proving to be a valuable corporate communications tool. Robert discusses other important issues such as Windows Vista, podcasting, weblog search, opml and attention.xml.
  • Dr. Hilary Koprowski (3.4) On Biotech Nation, Moira spoke with Dr. Hilary Koprowski, a Professor of Immunology at Thomas Jefferson University. You may not know his name, but half a century ago, he created the live polio vaccine.
  • Daniel Charles (3.5) Moira also spoke with former NPR tech reporter Daniel Charles about a German scientist, who changed the course of World War I. That would be Fritz Haber, who won a Nobel Prize for technology which launched both modern agriculture and chemical warfare. Charles is the author of "Master Mind: The Rise and Fall of Fritz Haber, the Nobel Laureate Who Launched the Age of Chemical Warfare."
  • Justin Chapweske – The Swarming Web (3.5) How do you distribute large files, quickly and securely, to a large network audience without requiring expensive hardware or content based networks? Justin Chapweske, CTO and founder of Onion Networks, presents swarming as a combination of extended HTTP, commodity bandwidth, cheap hardware and software intelligence that addresses modern large file and data integrity problems without requiring expensive infrastructural services or commercial content networks.
  • Dr. Darwin Prockop (3.6) On another Biotech Nation, Moira spoke with Dr. Darwin Prockop, the Director of Tulane’s Gene Therapy Center who tells us why he’s been working with adult stem cells for over a decade, and the mystery of how they work.
  • How to Get Naked – BlogHer 2005 (3.6) Some bloggers bare all on their weblogs. What are the costs and benefits of getting naked before the whole world and how do bloggers balance their responsibilities to their readers and their families? A panel of women bloggers discuss these issues in this Q & A session.
  • Dennis Bakke (3.6) Moira Gunn also spoke with Dennis Bakke, the co-Founder and former CEO of energy producer AES. With 40,000 employees and $8 billion in revenue, he believes everyone can still have fun at work. Dennis is also the author of "Joy at Work — A Revolutionary Approach to Fun on the Job."
  • Jerry Weissman (3.7) And Moira interviewed author and media and presentation coach, Jerry Weissman, about answering tough questions. In these high-tech days, when everything is permanently on the record, this former producer for Mike Wallace tells us what does and doesn’t work.
  • Vint Cerf – Father of the Internet (3.8) "I wish I could’ve predicted more," says the father of the Internet, Vint Cerf. He didn’t think about the worries parents would face ten or fifteen years later of their children seeing pornography, or becoming prey to Internet predators. He didn’t think of the thousands of companies who would try to make money by sending unwanted e-mails, or the hackers who would illegally share movies, music and software. Larry Magid speaks to Vint Cerf about these issues and new developments in the Internet Protocol, IPv6.
  • Mark Cotta Vaz (3.9) Moira Gunn spoke with Mark Cotta Vaz, the author of "Living Dangerously — The Adventures of Merian C. Cooper, Creator of King Kong. He relates the daring exploits of Cooper, the World War I flying ace, who went on the create "King Kong," the 1933 movie which was so far ahead of its time.
  • Chris Anderson – Economics of the Long Tail (4.0) The Long Tail is a phrase coined by Chris Anderson, the Editor-in-Chief of Wired magazine, for the statistical distribution of sales observed by online businesses. In this talk he explores the economics of the long tail and shares his insight on the effects it might have on future business models. He discusses how distribution networks like Amazon, iTunes and Netflix have shown that the right side of the curve which forms millions of niches can be as big a market as the chart toppers.
  • John Markoff at the SDForum (4.1) John Markoff discusses his new book, "What the Dormouse Said: How the 60s Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer." This is a terrific two-part evening. Part 1 is John’s solo presentation. Part 2 is a follow-up panel discussion with Bill Duvall, Lee Felsenstein, Dennis Allison and Larry Tessler.
  • John Seely Brown at Supernova 2005 (4.2) JSB is known for his work on business ecosystems. In this short but focused talk from Supernova 2005 he covers the emotive topic of off-shoring and highlights the advantages that can be gained from understanding that it is never only a simple question of wage arbitration. The examples of innovative business practices he discusses leads to a picture of a global change in business discourse and a re-evaluation of the current definition of ‘the firm.’

The O’Reilly Pick of the Week:

This week’s IT Conversations/O’Reilly Pick of the Week is a great experiment from last year:

  • Lawrence Lessig – Free Culture, Chapter 1 (3.9) AKMA asked, "Anyone feel like recording a chapter of Lawrence Lessig’s new book?" Joi Ito then said, "What a great idea!" And in less than 24 hours, this idea mushroomed into a significant collaboration by a team of bloggers and others to record and publish all of Larry’s book. Here is our contribution, Chapter One: Creators, recorded by IT Conversations host Doug Kaye.

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