IT Conversations News: December 4, 2005

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

New Programs Last Week

Listed in increasing order of listener rating.

  • Mike McDougall – Digital Photography (rated 2.2 by our listeners) Digital photography has taken over the overall picture market as well as the revenues of Kodak. In this interview with Larry’s World host Larry Magid, Mike McDougall from Kodak discusses the current trends across this market and some unique elements Kodak is bringing to consumers.
  • Michael Disabato – The Evolving Technology Organization (2.7) Most people who use Information Technology do not care how it works. They just want it to do what it is supposed to do. Getting to the point where IT is reliable and invisible requires some cultural and organizational changes. Burton Group Service Director Michael Disabato discusses the Service Delivery approach with a focus on the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL).
  • Jim Frank (3.0) On BioTech Nation, Moira Gunn interviews Dr. Jim Frank, Director of Biotechnology and Biodefense Applications at Argonne National Laboratories. He tells us that there’s much, much more to biotech than personalized medicine.
  • Pete Friedrich (3.0) Moira Gunn also speaks with professional cartoonists Pete Friedrich, Keith Knight and Lloyd Dangle. They’ve collaborated with some two dozen others to create "Roadstrips…A Graphic Journey Across America."
  • Esther Dyson (3.3) The Internet offers a degree of freedom unlike any space in the physical world. When you come across something on the Internet you dislike, you simply move on. In this conversation with Esther Dyson, participants in the Accelerating Change 2005 conference discuss the unique problem of Internet regulation in this climate of freedom.
  • Mike Homer and Marc Canter – Reinventing Media (3.3) Several new services offer free storage and bandwidth for creative works submitted by anyone. Among them are Open Media Network, described here by Mike Homer, and Ourmedia.org, described by Marc Canter. Quite different in their architecture, they share the goal of giving the masses a way to publish creative works.
  • The Prospects for AI (3.4) Neil Jacobstein, Patrick Lincoln, Peter Norvig, and Bruno Olshausen offer four penetrating examinations of the current and future prospects for the differing technologies of artificial intelligence and the science that underpins them. Increasingly, to the satisfaction of advocates of biologically-inspired design, it seems that the best of the new AI enablers look to neuroscience for the most useful basis for their theoretical models.
  • Daniel Wilson (3.6) Dr. Moira Gunn interviews Dr. Daniel Wilson, expert in robotics and data mining. He mixes the popular zeitgeist of robots with the amazing new capabilities they are capable of. It’s all there in his tongue-in-cheek book, "How To Survive a Robot Uprising."
  • Thomas Barnett – Blueprint for Action (3.7) Thomas Barnett argues that globalization is a force for good, bringing hope of an end to both war and poverty. Connection to the global economy reformats societies in positive ways and helping the disconnected world to integrate is a key challenge. In this conversation with Phil Windley, Dr. Barnett describes the new world order and America’s place in it.
  • James Surowieki – The Wisdom of Crowds (3.8) James Surowiecki offers some insights into both the best decision-making behaviors and the worst decision breaking behaviors of groups both large and small in this entertaining talk from the Emerging Technology Conference 2005. Not only providing insights gained from his recent work The Wisdom of Crowds, Surowiecki also lays out some of the perils of group thinking, and provides food for thought for future discovery.
  • Robert Lang – Computational Origami (3.9) Origami is rarely considered to have an impact on technology comparable to computer science or mathematics. Robert J. Lang may surprise you, however, in this talk. He reveals that the application of mathematical techniques to origami has had an impact far beyond paper folding and can even be compared to the way open source software has changed the world.

The O’Reilly Pick of the Week:

This week’s IT Conversations/O’Reilly Pick of the Week is one of my own interviews from last year:

  • Joel Spolsky – Joel on Software (3.9) I interviewed 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).

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