IT Conversations News: March 27, 2006

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

New Programs Last Week

Here are the programs we’ve published in the last week, ranked in increasing order of listener ratings.

  • Joe Paiva – A Warriors Guide to Business Architecture (2.8) When thinking about the technology and the Department of Defense, what generally comes to mind are the technologies involved with fighting a war; weaponry, information gathering, and transportation, for example. Less obvious but no less important is the role of information technology. In this session from the SOA Executive Forum in November 2005, Major Joe Paiva discusses the implmentation of a Services Oriented Architecture in the Armed Forces.
  • Todd Cochrane – Building a Podcast Network (2.8) Creating or joining a podcast network is an important decision. There are benefits such as an increased listening audience, and more revenue. But there are also downsides: dealing with conflicts, sharing the workload and the revenue. Todd Cochrane shares his experiences in running a podcast show and creating a podcast network to help you in considering all the pros and cons that come with being involved in a podcast network. He also outlines network alternatives that may work for you, and what he would do differently in the future.
  • Joshua Spanogle – Isolation Ward (3.8) On BioTech Nation, Dr. Moira Gunn interviews Joshua Spanogle who tells us about his new thriller, "Isolation Ward." It’s a fully-formed biotech thriller — from the fudging of scientific data, to xenotransplantation, to bioethics and the lure of the big money in biotech.
  • Can Open Source Stay Open? (3.9) Open source software and Web 2.O are changing computer and software economics. Tight, centralized control of intellectual property is under attack. Free, self- service access to code, content, and communities helps build new platforms, products, and services. Is rapid, free and open the future? Tim O’Reilly, Mitchell Baker, and Jonathan Schwartz discuss how open source innovation is changing the world.
  • Suketu Mehta – Bombay (4.0) Award winning writer Suketu Mehta tells us that his home town of Bombay and other mega-cities foreshadow the future. Bombay juxtaposes hopeless poverty, crowding, and inequity with riches and a vitality that draws a flood of young immigrants from rural villages. Although Mehta paints a grim picture, he sees hope in the exercise of democracy by the poor and a culture where people help each other while expecting little from their government.
  • Peter Cochrane – Emerging Telephony (4.3) As a major driver of global wealth, the advance of technology is paced by various forces including new discovery and human inertia. In this keynote, Peter Cochrane, the highly esteemed and engaging techno-futurist, delivers a fascinating analysis of change in our increasingly smart, networked world.
  • Scott Anderson – Business Blogging (4.3) The blogosphere is changing how customers gather and consume information about the marketplace. Scott Anderson, Hewlett Packard’s Director of Enterprise Brand Communications took a huge step in bringing his company in line with the principles of open dialogue with its customers through the blogosphere. In this program Scott describes the experience and the challenges of evolving corporate communication beyond the static web and into the live web.
  • Carol Dweck – The Psychology of Success (4.4) Dr. Moira Gunn speaks Dr. Carol Dweck, the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, a recognized world leader in the study of personality, and author of Mindset — The New Psychology of Success."

The O’Reilly Pick of the Week:

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

  • Online Advertising – Gnomedex 4.0 (3.3) Audio from Gnomedex 4.0: The Future of Online Advertising. How to make money from blogs and more from a panel of experts: Dave McClure, Jeff Barr, Henry Copeland, Bill Flitter, Gokul Rajaram and Mark Pincus.

TWiT 47

We tried to pull off a video TWiT on Friday, but the Gods of travel conspired against us. Today, however, Leo Laporte was able to pull together a quorum and hosted a great show with me, John C. Dvorak and Patrick Norton. Hope you enjoy it.

Lessons Learned from

Marc Canter, co-founder and initial funder of has posted his personal comments about the web site’s first year of operation. Although I have been an advisor to — my name appears as Audio scout, whatever that means — I’m not at all close to its innerworkings, and I consider both Marc and co-founder J.D. Lasica to be good friends. I’m not qualified to comment directly on Marc’s post with regard to, but I think he makes some very important points for similar sites including IT Conversations and The Conversations Network. So in response:

On volunteer labor. I agree wholeheartedly with Marc about the fact that you need to pay people if you want to get something done. You can’t depend on volunteers for important stuff, which is one reason why we now pay the postproduction team at The Conversations Network. We always have, in fact, starting with the distribution of the old Tip Jar from Day One, back on April 1, 2005. We can’t afford to pay a lot, but it’s in keeping with the importance of what we do. It’s not as critical as a the activities of a broadcast station or a newspaper when it comes to schedule, but it’s more important than “whenever.”

However (!) volunteers are an excellent way to gauge the passion behind a project, and some projects should indeed die if there aren’t enough passionate volunteers to make them happen. As we roll out our grassroots portion of The Conversations Network, we intend to pay for the development of the software (an infrastructure cost), but not for the producers, engineers and writers. If no one is interested in producing a particular program as a volunteer, that says a lot about its value to our listeners.

Federated IDs are the way to go. Absolutely true. In the new site for The Conversations Network, a disproportionate amout of code, time and debugging went into (and still goes into) the single-signon sytem that couples WordPress, punBB and our custom code. Ugly stuff.

Make sure to make it clear what you expect from investing almost $100,000 into something. Absolutely the case. Perhaps the good news is that no one here had that kind of money to invest in The Conversations Network. Although I and the other managers are essentially working for free — which I admit is unrealistic in the long term — we’ve achieved financial stability for the medium term. We’re about to expand into three or four new channels in April, and the general guideline is that each of them has to be self-sustaining through underwritings, and by the end of this year, I expect those volunteer managers will become paid part-time contractors.

All of us in “new media,” particularly in the non-profit space have a lot to learn, and hopefully we can continue to share the experiences from our successes as well as from our mistakes and our failures.

TWiT 47

We’re taping a video edition of the awesome Leo Laporte’s This Week in Tech on Friday night. Looks so far like me, Leo, John C. Dvorak and Robert Heron. Not sure who else from the usual TWiTs.

Got any topics you want me to take to the TWiTs, all of whom are much smarter and more tuned-in than I?