Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘sxswi

SXSW Interactive 2010: John Tolva Talks Smarter Cities

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John Tolva has a very cool job.

And in his capacity as IBM director of citizenship and technology in our corporate philanthropy group, John has also worked on some very cool projects.

Take, for example, the Virtual Forbidden City, which launched in time for the Beijing Olympic games in 2008 and helped bring a Chinese cultural landmark to life in virtual reality.

These days, John is very much living and breathing in the real world, helping identify cities around the globe to be candidates for IBM’s “city forward” efforts.

In the process, he’s demonstrating how IBM can help cities become smarter in the way they are built, revised and run, and in the services they can provide their citizens.

You can learn more about IBM’s smarter cities efforts here.

Considering that 70% of the world’s population is expected to live in cities by the year 2050, we all have a vested interest in helping city systems improve no matter where in the world we live.

Listen to this podcast (16:25, MP3) we recorded recently at SXSW Interactive in Austin to hear John explain smarter cities in more and fascinating detail, and also to discuss his experience in the IBM Corporate Service Corps, IBM’s equivalent of the Peace Corps.

Written by turbotodd

March 17, 2010 at 10:03 pm

SXSW Interactive 2010: Smarter Social Media

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Thanks again to everyone who showed up yesterday during the LAST time slot of SXSW Interactive on the very LAST day to hear myself, Adam Lavelle, and our fellow speakers (the hashtag for my talk was #unsociablecompanies).

I called the attendees of the “Fast 15” session the “Green Berets” for having stuck it out so long, and considering we were stacked against Bruce Sterling’s always hilarious and sobering closing keynote, I figured we might only have a few of the Hilton staff stopping by to listen, but in fact there was at one point a line out the door!

Thanks very much for all the great conversation and questions afterward, and the always fun-to-replay Twitterstream.  I saw that a few of you mentioned wanting to have access to the slides, so I’m attaching them below as a PDF.  I’m also included a less-than-10-minute video recap of the session for those of you could not attend.

Expect more blog posts highlighting a number of additional podcasts that Scott Laningham and I conducted during SXSWi 2010, as well as closing day recap along with David Salinas.

For everyone I met and spoke with at the event, I hope you enjoyed SXSW 2010 and learned as much as I did, and I wish you all well on your travels home and your attempts to climb out from under the email pile!

SXSW Interactive 2010: SXSW Interactive 2010 — Smarter Social Media — Final — Todd Watson (PDF, 3.8MB)

Written by turbotodd

March 17, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Finding Your Way Through The IBM Cloud

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Greetings from the Austin Hilton.  It’s the last and final day of SXSW Interactive 2010.

My digits are numbed, my pixels depixellated, my neutrons no longer firing…all of which is a good thing considering that I have to speak this afternoon here at the Hilton.

Folks keep asking me where I’ll be speaking about “Smarter Social Media,” and the answer is Hilton Salon D, 4th Floor.  The session’s an extended one, from 3:30 CST until around 6:00.

I’ll likely go on somewhere near the 5 o’clock hour, but it’s one of those sessions that it’s difficult to know exactly.  Look for our panel chair, Adam Lavelle (Chief Strategy Officer of search firm iCrossing), and follow the bouncing ball.

Of course, I’m never too busy to mention some great news emerging from behind the Big Blue firewall.

Today, IBM announced plans to go online with its commercial cloud service for software development and testing.

IBM, which already delivers a test and development cloud, is now allowing enterprise and government clients to test and develop on an IBM Cloud.

Following a successful beta program, IBM is working with partners in cloud management, cloud security and software development and testing support to provide businesses with a unique mix of flexibility, scalability, enterprise-grade security and control for development and test on the IBM Cloud.

Here’s a sound byte: The average enterprise devotes up to 50 percent of its entire technology infrastructure to development and test…and yet typically up to 90 percent of it remains idle.

IBM has seen that taking advantage of cloud computing within development and testing environments can help reduce IT labor costs by 50 percent, improve quality and drastically reduce time to market.

IBM’s enterprise-friendly approach to cloud complements clients’ current data centers and traditional development efforts, helping clients:

  • Reduce provision cycle times from weeks to minutes
  • Eliminate software defects by up to 30 percent.
  • Reduce time required for test and quality assurance
  • Enable rapid redeployment of environments across multiple IT projects

PayPal, the e-payment service, is extending its global payments platform, PayPal X into the cloud.

PayPal is working with the IBM Cloud Labs to allow its ecosystem of developers to not only innovate on the IBM cloud, but to quickly monetize new applications developed and made available via smart phones.

“We want to provide a very simple way to make payments available on all platforms including mobile applications,” said Osama Bedier, PayPal’s vice president of platform and emerging technologies. “The IBM cloud provides a platform for developers to come together as a community, to create, develop and test new applications. We look forward to seeing the payments innovations our developers create through the IBM cloud and bringing the wallet into the cloud.”

Having heard the interest being expressed in cloud testing by customers at the recent IBM Pulse 2010 conference, this is exciting news and also great to hear the likes of PayPay taking advantage of this new capability.

You can learn more about this and our new cloud partnership services here.

Written by turbotodd

March 16, 2010 at 7:44 pm

SXSW Interactive 2010: Day 3.5 Podcast Recap

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Scott and I sat down in the very loud foyer of the Austin Convention Center yesterday, after a very long day, to talk about monkeys with Internet access.

Really.  We did.

And we talked about all the other sessions and highlights from Days 3, 3.5 and 4, including the Clay Shirky and Evan Williams’ keynotes.

Which is a good thing, because I think I can speak for both of us in saying we’re about Southwested out.

Click here to get the podcast. (19:07, MP3)

Written by turbotodd

March 16, 2010 at 2:31 pm

SXSW Interactive 2010: Clay Shirky Keynote Debrief

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The title of NYU ITP professor and author Clay Shirky’s Sunday morning keynote was enough for a major draw: “Monkeys with Internet Access: Sharing, Human Nature, and Digital Data.”

And amusing as the title session was, the title was serious enough to jump up straight to the top of my personal SXSW Billboard charts for best session, because it was a session that got down beneath all the pixels, HTML code, and social media splatter to really focus on the underlying human motives that drive our behavior, in the digital realm and off.

After thanking the sleepy audience for “getting vertical so early” on a Sunday morning, Shirky explained his talk would be broken into three key segments:

Buses and Bibles, Monkeys and Balloons, and Lingerie and Garbage.

He started his talk explaining that oftentimes, our recommended approaches to solving problems is too simplistic. Congested traffic? Build more and bigger roads. Or provide better public transportation as a viable alternative.

But as in the case of PickupPal, a ride-sharing service in Ottawa, the inclination towards sharing (in this case, providing information for ride shares) existing code (in this case, laws) can conflict with the opportunity for efficiency (getting people from point A to B with limited utilization of petroleum and the roadway).

In other words, PickupPal was too efficient to be legal, and the Ottawans had to change the law to accommodate its excellent opportunity for efficiency.

This was really a fight about sharing, and how much efficiency could be allowed.

Gutenberg was another example. His original product was the selling of published indulgences, and the press was originated to enable the publishing of more indulgences faster and cheaper (as opposed to those published by handwritten scribes).

Soon, Gutenberg turned to publishing bibles and Martin Luthers’ Theses, and before you know it, the Protestant Reformation was in full bloom (and as a reaction, the scribes begin writing slower). By 1600, Catholicism was simply another religion.

Shirky’s point: Abundance breaks more things than scarcity.

When things are scarce, we know how to deal with them. When they’re abundant, the price goes away. Things we previously thought were scarce we don’t know how to price or value.

In this case, it was bad news for the scribes, and ultimately the medium destroyed the message.

Flash forward a few hundred years and enter Napster, the fastest growing software in history (in 1998-99). It garnered 70M+ users in a very short period of time, and it had not a trace of geekiness anywhere.

At the time, the crime rate had fallen to historic lows, and it was only the “theft” of recorded music via digital means that was a major issue. Shirky compared this to the sharing of primates, who had different modes of sharing for good, services, and information, the last being the most frictionless.

And in Napster’s case, all it had done was to take a world of music that had previously been constituted as a good or service (something you could buy), and instead turned it into one of information (something you could easily share with no real cost to you).

Here’s this song for so-and-so, put it online, and watch it take on a life of its own. Like monkeys, we have positive feelings about sharing information with one another – we’re biased to like doing so, which completely freaked the music industry out.

We do NOT voluntarily withhold information if sharing it made someone else happy, and this was the case with Napster.

We have positive feelings about sharing information with one another (like monkeys). We’re biased to like doing so, which freaked the music industry out. We didn’t voluntarily withhold information if sharing it made somebody else’s life easier, because the barriers to doing so were low and it we like helping others if it takes no greater effort on our part.

But in this case the music industry shocked and spiteful when we didn’t do what they wanted us to do (not share).

We didn’t voluntarily withhold information if sharing it made someone else’s life easier. The industry was shocked, spiteful, when we didn’t do what they wanted us to do.

Shirky then launched into the “Balloons” part of his talk, referring to the DARPA Big Red Balloon Challenge.

Last December DARPA said they would give away $50K to anyone who could identify the lat/long of ten large red balloons.

They figured it would take up to a month for someone to identify all ten. A team from MIT found them in about ten hours.

But to help with the find, there was a need to have a link to a spherical trigonometry formula that would help seekers with accounting for the earth’s spherical shape in their quest. Where did DARPA link to?

Wikipedia. Why? Because a link to the same article on the online Brittanica would have required registration, etc. Wikipedia was faster, cheaper, better. Wikipedia was all about sharing.

Finally, Shirky moved into the Lingerie and Garbage section, starting with references to “LOLcats” and the three wolfs howling at the moon t-shirt phenomenon, but ended up in some very serious situations around the globe, one where people have taken to sharing to create civic value and to help change the culture participants find themselves embedded in.

Places like PatientsLikeMe.Com, where patients who suffer from the same conditions come together to document their symptoms (and treatments) in excruciating detail.

Places like India, where females came together to challenge the extreme male Hindi power structure through online and offline activism, and who now speak with a common, group voice that India politicians can no longer ignore.

Places like Kenya, where in December 2007 the Ushahidi movement originated by Kenyan lawyer and blogger, Ory Okolloh, helped build an Internet mapping tool to allow people anonymously report violence via cellphonee, and which was able to collect testimony of incidences of such at lightning speed.

Ushahidi was also used recently to help out in the Haitian and Chilean earthquakes.

Shirky suggested through these tales there has been great progress. Ten years ago, we couldn’t have even tried such things. Now, with these tools available, our motivation has swung to help one another.

Anything we formerly did in terms of intrinsic motivation was often with small groups. Now, we have the capability of doing revolutionary things on a much grander scale.

Moving ahead, the only question becomes, will we do them, or will we stand by and be paralyzed, as in Darfar, or Sarajevo, or other places around the globe?

Only time, and possibly a few revolutions, will tell.

Written by turbotodd

March 14, 2010 at 7:20 pm

SXSW Interactive 2010: Day 2 Recap Podcast

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Scott and I took our weary bones (and minds) into the front foyer yesterday, found ourselves a table, and had a nice twelve and a half minute recap of the day’s topics, including the disruption of business models, privacy, influence, education, and more.

Go here to check it out (12:30 MP3)

Written by turbotodd

March 14, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Best Marketing Idea of SXSW Interactive 2010…So Far

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Chevy Volt wins for best marketing idea at SouthBy Interactive 2010 so far.  They identified a need, and then they delivered.

If you’ve been to SouthBy for more than a couple of years, you know that everybody and their grandmother brings their laptop computer.  And after a few hours blog posts, Tweets, and so on, their battery doesn’t have any juice left.

Enter the Volt in 2010.  Chevy placed these cool looking little branded power bars throughout several places in the Austin Convention Center so we could get juiced up during the day….before we go get juiced up in the evening (there were other sponsors for that!).

Hats off to Chevy Volt, where the medium and the message came together in a way that would have made Marshall McLuhan proud.

Over and out for now…

Written by turbotodd

March 13, 2010 at 10:46 pm

SXSW — Day 1 Podcast Recap

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developerWorks’ Scott Laningham and I partnered yesterday afternoon outside Ballroom B at the Austin Convention Center to record this day 1 recap podcast (7:30, MP3).

In it, we lamented the now seeming effortless efficiency with which one can retrieve their SXSW Interactive badge (a big change from the past), a short defrief of Doug Rushkoff’s keynote, and some parallels of that talk with IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative.

Written by turbotodd

March 13, 2010 at 3:34 pm

iPads & Rushkoff

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Okay, so far, I’ve only had two voters in the “Should Turbo Buy an iPad” contest.

It’s 50/50 so far leaning towards don’t do it.

And that’s good, because I wasn’t.  I’ve been burned too many times on 1st gen tech buys.

I’m going to let the “crowd” work out the kinks, let Apple fix the breakage, wait for a 30% price drop, and then get me some new Apple luvin’.

And anyway, after hearing Doug Rushkoff’s keynote talk to help kick start SXSW Interactive this PM, I’m thinking everything old is new again.  Or was that the other way around?

Rushkoff has been a new media soothsayer since before new media was cool.  And he looks like he’s been there, done that (Excuse me while I go check myself in the mirror.)

I don’t want to scare you or anything, but his prognosis seemed pretty grim.  Only now the bad borg ain’t IBM or Microsoft, it’s Google or Facebook, and digital currency could very well “do to central banking what Craig’s List did to classified advertising.”

What, you mean, like, make it really, really cheap?

The title of his talk was “Program or Be Programmed.” I guess I’m in deep doo doo, because I can’t even program my DVR.

Rushkoff started his talk reminsicing about how going online was once akin to dropping acid, and that it would let us change the world however we wanted.

Now, anybody who can go online does so with near triviality.

When I look at economy, the world, government, Rushkoff explained, I feel we are attempting to operate our society on obsolete software.  Legacy systems to legacies we don’t even remember now (including that Y2K COBOL code from 1999??)

His point wasn’t literal, but rather universal, and the idea that we have societal software around the globe but particularly in the U.S. that is completely inappropriate to whatever it is we want to get done.

If we don’t understand THESE programs, he explained, then we don’t stand a chance of recognizing those programs.

They were built atop of the economy, our current government, etc., and if we can’t see through this we can’t see through them.

There’s a fatalism, an automaticness, a doom, an inevitably to whatever is coming and that seems to polarize us into two camps. It’s the beginning of the world and the end of the world.

What I believe, Rushkoff explained, was that we won’t know until we understand how our technologies work, and work on us?

If you are not one of the programmers, you are one of the programmed.  And with that, he launched into his new 10 commands.

  1. Thou shalt not be always on. If we stay always on, we’ll fry our nervous systems.
  2. Thou shalt not do from a distance that which can be done in person. There’s now a fetishism of these devices where we’re using long distance technologies in short distance situations.
  3. Exalt the particular. Not everything needs to scale.
  4. You may always choose none of the above. Everything digital is discrete, everything a choice. Digital activities are on a landscape of forced choice (Facebook: Single, Married, In a relationship…the problem is when you use things that compel certain kinds of choices, and you start to think that those choices are the preexisting conditions of the universe. They are actually conditions of the programs that you use.
  5. Thou shalt never be completely right. The net reduces complexity. Wikipedia seems complex these days, but in the old days, using an encyclopedia was reductionist and simplistic. In 10 years, 2nd life will be indistinguishable from reality…Philip Rosedale. Kids raised on MP3 have 20% less of the sonic qualities that we recognize. The outcomes then are no longer totally of reality.
  6. Thou shalt not be anonymous. Out of body. Really bad for community and the social contract. We end up becoming parts of polarized angry mobs with no sense of consequence for our actions. Desocialized, tend towards alienization.
  7. Remember the humans. Content is not king in a communications environment. Google v. Murdoch. It’s okay not to deliver what/everything you do stripped out of context. Promotes derivative values from intrinsic ones.
  8. Thou shalt not steal. When there’s no social contract, Openness can continue until there’s nothing left for anybody to give away.
  9. Program or be programmed. We are end users, meaning consumers. Either create software or you are the software. We lend or borrow or live in a world as a result of our refusal to program or be programmed. Rushkoff learned BASIC, today they learn MS Office. The further you keep the coder and the user away from one another, the better. We celebrate our newfound agency in the digital age but we remain one step behind our programmers. I am still profoundly hopeful (not optimistic) that new media poses to society.

Written by turbotodd

March 13, 2010 at 12:15 am

SXSWi: Let the Austin Digital Invasion Begin

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Wow.  Twitter is absolutely on fire with peeps getting excited to be getting on planes to head to our fair city of Austin, Texas for the start of SXSW Interactive.

What was I thinking?  I should hang up the laptop for the day and go out to the airport and sell some hot dogs or something.  Can we fit enough planes into Bergstrom Intl to get everybody here who wants to get here today???

Well, it’s all very exciting, and I want to apologize to my readers for being a slacker (speaking of slacker, I just got introduced to Slacker.Com, the other radio streaming service, and I’m pretty impressed) and not having yet publish the sessions I hope to attend.

I’ve been handicapping for a couple of days, and it’s a work in progress.  This year seems to be an embarrassment of riches, as far as session content, and the venues have expanded to several hotels in and around the Austin Convention Center.

I will refer you to my previous post to get some Austin tips and tricks, but let me just extend a huge, warm Texas welcome to everybody arriving in Austin.  We love having you here every year for SXSW overall, but especially SXSW Interactive.

It’s obviously great for our local economy, but it’s also great for the interactive industry.  And for me, it’s awesome to have some of the best minds in the digital realm showing up in the thousands to share, network, discuss, and learn about the latest and greatest initiatives in our industry.

Though I may be partial, I’ve been around these Web parts for 15+ years, and I’ve seen a few Intnernet related-conferences.

SXSW Interactive stands up there with the best of them, and we Austin digerati are so glad you all have helped make it such a tremendous success.

I’ll be on the ground at ACC for the next several days myself — sharing, networking, listening, learning — and my podcast buddies Scott Laningham and David Salinas will be around as well, and we’ll be working to try and recap some of what we hear and what we think about it all.

For all you weary travellers, take tonight to grab your badge, grab a Shiner Bock beer, and kick back and get ready to fill your head.

As to my schedule, I’m sharing it with you and the world here — don’t hold me to it, however.  I often make last minute changes, and as you can see, I’ve had some challenges deciding across a number of the session slots on which to attend.

My own session entitled “Smarter Social Media” is Tuesday afternoon at 5:00 PM (although there’s a chance I could go on as early as 4:40 PM) as part of the Future 15 series.  It’s in Hilton D.

I can’t tell you how excited about meeting some of those familiar faces I see here annually, as well as those of you whom I’ve yet to meet.

Welcome to Austin, Texas, the live music capitol of the world!

PS  If you couldn’t make it here, fear not.  Just follow the hashtag #sxswi on Twitter and you’ll hear all about it!

Written by turbotodd

March 11, 2010 at 6:59 pm

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