IT Conversations News: November 16, 2005

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

New Programs Last Week

Listed in increasing order of listener rating.

  • Balaji Prasad – The Future of the Computer in Your Car (rated 2.9 by listeners) Microelectronics is increasingly being used as a way to control critical systems in vehicles. Wireless sensors, speech recognition systems, and location- determination technologies are being employed to help navigation and improve the driving experience. In this talk from Where 2.0, Balaji Prasad of EDS explains how automotive telematics is helping create a more "Connected Vehicle."
  • The Future of Africa – at Pop!Tech 2005 (3.2) In partnership with Sun Microsystems and the United Nations, Pop!Tech brought together ten young thought leaders from Africa. With moderator David Kirkpatrick, they discussed their perspectives on the issues explored at Pop!Tech 2005, including the role of technology in changing communities, and new and innovative ways to deal with poverty and disease.
  • Peter Norvig – Inside Google (3.3) At Google, engineers and researchers are not two different groups of people. Engineers research products and researchers build products; their functions overlap. At ETech 2005, Google’s Director of Search Quality, Peter Norvig, speaks about how this helps Google increase the interactivity of search tools and relevancy of search results using products such as Google Sets and Google Suggest.
  • The New Legal Landscape for Digital Media (3.4) In June of 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that Grokster and Streamcast (providers of Morpheus peer-to-peer software) could indeed be sued for infringement for their prior activities. But what brought us to this point in time and what will the decision mean for current peer-to-peer companies and software? What does the decision mean for developers in the future? This panel discussion looks to the past in order to discover the legal landscape of the future for digital media.
  • Richard Morgan (3.4) Dr. Moira Gunn spoke with Richard Morgan, author of the science fiction / future noir novels featuring the character Takeshi Kovacs. They talked about what he sees a society’s future social issues.
  • Dr. Ananda Chakrabarty (3.5) On BioTech Nation, Moira spoke with Dr. Ananda Chakrabarty, a Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. Twenty-five years ago, thanks to the Supreme Court, he was awarded the very first American patent on a gene. We’ll find out exactly what he did — and what he’s working on now.
  • Shrinking the Planet – Accelerating Change 2005 (3.5) With every passing day, it feels like the world is getting smaller and smaller. We have the ability to share photos and ideas with anyone in the world almost instantly, and the tools to find cheap gasoline on the road. Peter Barrett from Microsoft’s IPTV and Scott Rafer of Wireless Ink talk about how people and technology create and foster community.
  • Rick Jones (3.5) On another BioTech Nation segment, Moira interviewed Dr. Rick Jones, Vice President for Product Development at BioRexis Pharmaceutical Corporation. He reviews many of the new breakthroughs in treating diabetes.
  • Graham Flint – The Gigapxl Project (3.5) Modern digital cameras take high resolution pictures measured in megapixels, but cutting edge photography is now being measured in gigapixels. These photographs are so detailed you can zoom in to 1/10,000th of the original image and still retain high quality information. Graham Flint of the Gigapxl Project talks about technology and applications of super-high resolution pictures.
  • Ethan Zuckerman – Why Should We Care About Africa? (3.6) Ethan Zuckerman address the direct question: "Why should we care about Africa?" As a technologist, Ethan has spent much time on the ground working with the new generation of African entrepreneurs, programmers, organizers and young people who are hooking up the countinent to the web. These new netizens are changing the way that villagers and urban dwellers learn, organize, network and face the challenges of poverty, AIDS, political strife and making a living.
  • Jack Dangermond – ESRI (3.7) Jack Dangermond has been at the forefront of evolving geographic information services (GIS) for nearly 40 years. In this talk, and in a subsequent discussion with Tim O’Reilly, he outlines his vision for the geospatial industry, reviews emerging geoweb technology, and imagines future directions for the GIS community.
  • John Clippinger – The Social Web (3.9) What is the social web? According to John Clippinger in his talk at Supernova 2005 it’s about creating new ways to help link people, organizations and concepts in a trusted way. Using multidisciplinary analysis and open source software developed by his organization,, he explores new ways for "digital individuals" to interact.
  • Tom Kelley (3.9) Moira Gunn also interviewed Tom Kelley, author of "The Ten Faces of Innovation — IDEO’s Strategies for Beating the Devil’s Advocate. Tom is the managing direcor of IDEO, that innovative design firm known worldwide for its originality.
  • Candice Millard (4.0) Then Moira interviewed Candice Millard, former National Geographic writer and editor and author of "River of Doubt." They take us down the River of Doubt, the uncharted and dangerous river deep in the Amazon Jungle, first charted by Teddy Roosevelt.

The O’Reilly Pick of the Week:

This week’s IT Conversations/O’Reilly Pick of the Week is a program from early 2004:

  • Steve McConnell – Software Engineering (3.7) In an interview with me, Steve explains the important distinction between software engineers and computer scientists. Hear what he thinks of XP and why software seems to be so much less reliable than the hardware on which it runs.

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