etech day two

some high order bits from the morning

danny hillis of applied minds demoed some of their mindblowing work, much of it in robotics and hardware, but really in every conceivable technological field.

imagine a plasma screen tv oriented like the surface of a table, with a touch sensitive surface that you could use to manipulate a global map interface. zoom from earth to high resolution images of actual buildings, swipe various layers of GIS information across the map. he showed a video of this demo given to an esri conference of geographers, which he said brought some of them to tears—then he showed us the next version with a “programmable surface”, which deformed to the surface chacteristics and elevations of the map.

super great talk about von neumann, by george dyson, brother of esther dyson and son of freeman dyson. grew up in at princeton’s institude for advanced study in the shadows of einstein, godel, turing, and john von neumann–the man credited with inventing the modern computer architecture.

dyson got access to several boxes of archives from the ias with details of their original computer development activities, which he had annotated and assembled into a very engaging, entertaining presentation about some of the history of our collective hacker culture.


vigorous discussion with patrick on microsoft, mozilla, open source, web standards, economics, etc. over a juicy pub burger.

talks from the afternoon



Goddamn. Can you drop any more names that make me sick with envy? At this point I hate you and Patrick. Hate in a good way, of course. :-) I fully expect the next post to be about how you ate sushi off of naked geisha’s with the cast of BoingBoing.

dude it’s totally sick. i mean, jeff bezos is just walking around, ben trott, cory, peter norvig and nelson minar from google, joel spolsky.


Thanks for the posts, I’ve been enjoying them. I have two questions. First so far what are the top three emerging technologies that you’ve seen and why? Second, with all the big-names attending, why are they there, and what are they getting out of it?

the following things seem to be on everyone’s mind (realize so far i’ve only been through a single day of the conference plus one day of tutorials so far):

-open apis (flickr api, yahoo api, technorati api, etc.)
ajax (asynchronous javascript and xml, aka xmlhttprequest)
-hardware hacking

why? because the theme of the conference is remix, so all these tools can be used to hack existing information sources (or objects) to make cool or useful or interesting things.

as far as why everyone else is here? i don’t know, partly to show off, annouce products to the alpha geeks (e.g. yahoo buzz game), socialize, meet up with old colleagues, scope the latest developments, hear from the up and coming tech people.

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