I designed our Masters of Media t-shirts
This morning we, Masters of Media, attended the student seminars at the Cross Media conference PICNIC06 at the Westergasfabriek. This is the first Cross Media conference week in Amsterdam and it seems to be a good initiative. But it’s a rather pricey initiative to attend at the cost of € 750.
To give students a chance to taste a bit of the conference pie as well they organized a guest lecture program for students for free. It was also possible to apply for several partner events, but once they sold out they kicked the (nonpaying) students off the lists.
The organization of the event seemed to be a bit chaotic. Before the event started we received several (contradicting) e-mails about changes in time, location and attendance. But hey, we had a confirmation e-mail, so everything will be fine, right? Well, as we arrived at the registration desk at 09.00 there were no badges for us, and neither were we on any list. While they were sorting everything out we had some nice coffee at the Ketelhuis.
The free guest lecture program consisted of five speakers (Andrew Michael Baron, CEO, Rocketboom (United States) was canceled?):
- John Underkoffler, Chief Scientist, Treadle & Loam and Co-Founder, G-Speak (United States)
- Mary Hodder, CEO, Dabble (United States)
- Gabriele Gresta, Executive Vice Chairman, Digital Magics Group (Italy)
- Joaquín Alvarado and
- Sylvia Paull
Due to a bit of chaos at the registration desk we missed the first part of John Underkoffler who held one of the more interesting talks of the program. He is working at a gestural interface system called G-Speak. He talked about the role of the movie industry in developing future interfaces. The concept of G-speak is used in Minority Report for example. There is a nice development loop here where the concept of G-speak was used in Minority Report and research done during the movie and the actual depiction of the interface served as a basis for further research and development. Jeffrey raised the question of how this interface would work for people with disabilities e.g. when you have no arms. G-speak is not meant as a replacement of our known interfaces (e.g. the computer screen), but rather as a complimentary interface. Underkoffler immediately caught our attention in the early morning as he is an eloquent speaker and brought some interesting visuals.
Mary caught my personal interest because she spoke mainly about the future of search (I wrote my BA paper on Google). Google has a lack of awareness of time since it’s PageRank algorithm mainly focusses on inbound links. Google’s focus is mainly on the Static Web even though it’s indexes now refresh every three days instead of every thirty days. But three days is a long time on the Live Web which is continually being updated. An important part of the Live Web is the blogosphere, as blogs are continually being updated, sometimes even as fast as every few minutes. Technorati’s blog search function shows us a reverse chronological order since the most recent posts are placed on top. It is also possible to sort by authority. This reminds us of PageRank with it’s focus on the amount of inbound links and the authority of these links. But the main difference is that it will take Google three days to index blog posts and it will still lack the time awareness that Technorati has.
Google uses PageRank to measure the importance of a website and until now it seems to suit us fine. But how do you measure the weight of a blog? Hodder proposes several issues that should be studied in the future:
- inbound links: to post and blog
- comments to posts
- ratios within topic/posts/comments
- subscribers to rss feeds/blogs
- incoming traffic links
- outbound blogroll
- tagged urls
A small Italian guy dressed in a smart suit showed us some visuals about the integration of live web cams in Italian television shows. That pretty much sums up his talk. As Twan nicely put it “He learned us more about the typical Italian television culture than the potential of crossmedia”. But credit where credit is due, I now know that Window’s trashcan is called “cestino” in Italian :)
Joaquín Alvarado and Sylvia Paull
After the quite commercial talk by Mr. Gresta they treated us with we-can-change-the-world-with-action-and-humor committee from California, Alvarado and Paull. Their speech cannot be repeated, it went from “tech women unite!” to “why is there a sheep on the stage?” to “we were the first state which had organic vegetables in school lunches”. Twan wandered if Sylvia went to Woodstock. Definitely!
Last but not least they supplied us with a goodybag containing the usual advertising, some pens but also… Web 2.0 water! Just look at the brilliant slogan “whatever, whenever” and the glasstable Web 2.0 logo (there’s a briliant site full of Web2.0 parody logos).