etech day three

morning
we heard neil gershenfeld of mit’s center for bits and atoms talk about a portable $20k fab lab he took all around the world (india on the border of pakistan, ghana) to expose adults and children to the wonders instant fabrication and custom circuit design.

cory read his “all complex ecosystems have parasites” speech which didn’t have the same oomph or pizzazz as the talk he gave at unc. i love the guy, but it’s like he’s got this overhoned stump speech without any new information coming in.

jimmy wales talked about wikipedia (soon to surpass 500,000 articles in english) and the new, for-profit wikicities. says they’ll soon surpass the new york times in terms of popularity (according to alexa). sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

clay shirky and tom igoe, both from nyu’s interactive telecommunications program (itp), separately gave brilliant talks/demos of the some of the projects they and their students have been working on like pac manhattan. itp is “half engineers who care about human factors, half artisans who aren’t afraid of machines.” and/or itp is the “center for the study of the recently possible.” clay says the phone is now a universal thing that people carry with them at all times, a new addition to the purse/wallet and keys.

afternoon
joel spolsky pretty much rocked my face off. the word is his presentation may appear on the web later in audio or video form. essentially it started with brad pitt and jennifer anniston and ended with a meta-analysis of his own presentation style. somewhere in between he explained that aesthetics are everything in application/hardware design.

followed that with jason fried giving his development mantra developed during the making of basecamp. he said embrace your constraints. and some other stuff.

celebrity sightings
meg hournihan. larry lessig.

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