Second half of the Digital Conference – VP Al Gore, Richard Sarnoff from Random House Publishing and Lawrence Lessing from Creative Commons Sound off against each other about Googles plans to scan in all of the books in the public libraries, Art Coviello of RSA Security and John Thompson of Symantec talk about security, Demo of the new Zing Music Player, Antonio Perez CEO of Kodak talks about their late shift to digital and new advances in imaging, Barry Sonnenfeld of Right Coast Productions (brought us Men in Black and the new movie RV), Vinod Khosla from Kohsla Ventures talks about how we really could go to Ethanol in the US for auto fuel, and finally a teen panels view of technology.
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correction from last week
Listener Margaret is trying to take Quality Control Director Steve’s job – she noticed that last week in my discussion of how Google bent to the Chinese government’s demand to block certain information, I referred to the massacre in Tiananmen Square as having taken place in 1997, and in reality it was in 1989.
I got a fantastic email from Sebastian Prooth from the Global Geek Podcast at globalgeekpodcast.com/. His podcast is geeky like I love, and manages to have a silly flavor that makes the learning go down easily! Anyway, his email was very flattering, and he even said I should read it online, so who am I to argue with him? He wrote:
- “Just wanted to leave you a quick note. I have been listening to your show a little while now, ever since we talked together on the TechPodcast roundtable. I really enjoyed your show where you talked about the Digital Convention #46, it was the best podcast for information and entertainment I have heard in a number of weeks. I never miss an episode of your podcast these days, just loving it. Thanks and Rock On!”
Rock on I will, Sebastian, and thanks for the very kind words!
Dr. Mark wrote in and asked about the physicist I mentioned in the last show – Dr. Richard Feynman. He wanted to get some links and info on this guy. Dr. Feynman won a Nobel prize in physics for his Feynman diagrams, worked on the nuclear bomb program, but is remembered by most people for figuring out why the Challenger shuttle blew up. He held up an O-ring during a press conference, dipped it in ice-water and then held it up for the camera as he showed that it didn’t compress as much and they snapped a legendary photo. In one of the books about him I read that he didn’t even think this up, it was the guy next to him, but he’s the one who dipped it and he could never convince the press otherwise!
I was taught physics in college from the “Feynman lectures on physics” but nowadays I like reading about the man – he was quite colorful. feynmanonline.com is a link that might be interesting, but just googling on feynman will find many hits! My favorite book about him is titled “Surely You’re Joking, Dr. Feynman”. There’s a part in there that talks about how possibly the greatest mind of our time spent an entire afternoon training ants to leave his pantry instead of killing them. He made little paper elevators that he used to convince the ants to turn around and leave the kitchen. That visual just cracks me up! there’s a sequel that’s pretty good too, called “What Do You Care What Other People Think?: Further Adventures of a Curious Character?”. There’s great stories of how he took a long sabbatical and went to South America to learn to play the bongos. Before I forget, Dr. Mark also said “Thank you so much for all you do for me in your research and thoughtful commentary.” Well Mark, the pleasure is all mine – as long as i keep getting great feedback like this I’ll be sure to keep it up!
Listener Neil checked back in to let me know he’s still listening – yay!!! and told me that he really enjoyed the show this week and said It was a nice change…He’s also interested in the this weeks Kodak CEO comments He uses a Kodak product at the hospital to display/store medical images. He appreicates all the hard work I put into the podcast It IS a ton of work, but it’s such a labor of love that I enjoy every minute of it! I think that if you do what you’re passionate about it doesn’t seem like work at all! Oh, and Neil finally got his new roof finished yesterday – it got destroyed by Hurricane Wilma. Hey Neil, I used Google Trends to figure out when Hurricane Wilma was, and it looks like it was around September of last year – do you have pretty much the worst contractor in history? Oh wait, maybe you did it yourself, and I just insulted you! oops. Oh well, glad you’re finally roofed.
MacBook Pro status
when last we left our heroine, she had a MacBook Pro that was hot enough to grill fajitas, and after a long time of that she couldn’t unplug power or the darn thing would shut down. Minor inconveniences like the buzzing sound when the brightness was down one notch or the screen dimmed.
got it back from AppleCare, and all they had to replace was: battery, video inverter, sound card and the motherboard. yes, the keyboard and diskdrive and display appear to be original equipment! maybe the usb ports too. here’s the wild thing – this baby is as hot as its ever been. Maybe i just demand too much of my computer? the other night I was having a normal evening – watching a video of Leo on VLC, I had Mail and a couple browsers up, of course Windows was in the background, along with calendar and bittorrent running, oh, and I was burning a DVD. I wonder why my computer runs hot?
Now that I have the MBP back I got to hop back into using Parallels. they now have a product called Compacter, which is supposed to shrink your installation. To review, when you create a Parallels OS installation, you tell it how big the guest OS is allowed to grow. When I first set up Windows, I set my the install to take no more than 12GB. Remember, that’s the maximum it can grow, not how much it takes when you start. After I first installed all the apps, it actually took up around 4GB. Parallels creates a single file you can look at in your Libraries folder so you can keep track of it.
Over the last month it was growing at an alarming rate – I would install no apps, and save no files in it, and it would grow by a gig in a few days! I just realized that it had grown to 10.85 GB, so I gave the compacter software a try. that took about 45 minutes, and now it’s down to 2.66GB! The software is an additional $50, well worth it! it comes in the Release candidate, same place you go to install Parallels tools.
One more thing on Parallels – Release Candidate 2 now adapts to network changes – I had it plugged into the hardwired ethernet at work, put the Mac to sleep and woke it up at home on my wireless network and I got right online! This is new, used to have to reboot Windows to do that. I still can’t get the command-tab thing working to switch between Parallels and other Mac apps, so if anyone listening knows how to make it work I’d sure appreciate the tip! I’m really happy with the development speed of this product, it’s growing in capability so fast, and it’s not even released yet!
Digital Conference – part 2
I promised I’d give you the second half of the All Things Digital Conference this week, and here I am blathering on and on about all this other stuff! Let’s dig in then!
Vice President Al Gore
Interview was odd to me he started out charming, engaging and very very funny. Evidently Walt invited him there to talk about his network connect which I think is a cable network which has a lot of user-created content videos. When Walt asked him how this came about, he went into a history lesson starting with the Guttenberg Printing Press! His point was that the printing press allowed literacy beyond the elite few monks and out to the masses, and the analogy was about how the internet is allowing all of us to participate in the collective works of the world. The problem with this was he took about 20 minutes to get to the 21st century, as he taught like a history teacher giving a lecture.
The second half of his speech (not really an interview) was dedicated to his work to encourage us to take action on global warming. While he seemed to know what he was talking about, and he had a few good scientific points, but then he would wander off topic and make silly comments that degraded his credibility. He also spent about the last five minutes turning into a revivalist preacher still on the topic of global warming but he even referred to the topic as a spiritual commitment. It was fascinating to listen to him preach, but I think he could have delivered his message better if he had not gone to that angle. He also gave no actions we could take only talked about fear and how we should be alarmed, but did say its not too late, but no solutions.
Richard Sarnoff from Random House and Lawrence Lessing from Creative Commons
Brought Sarnoff and Lessing together to address Googles project to scan in all of the library books, and the publishing industrys lawsuit against them for doing so.
Sarnoffs position was that copyrighted material cant be copied without the express permission of the copyright holder. Lessings position was that 16% of the 18M books are in the public domain already, only 9% are copyrighted AND in print, and 75% of the books out of print, and yet copyrighted, so theres no way to find the copyright holders.
Lessing made a really good point, when he tried to explain that if this material isnt digitized, the young people will never know it exists explained with example young intern told to find collective works of someone from 1960-1990, came back and said, how odd, this guy didnt write ANYTHING before 1985. She simply didnt realize that there was content no already in digital form.
Sarnoffs view was that Google needs to come ask permission and theyll figure it out together. Didnt offer any solutions or alternate paths, just that Google should contact their lawyers. He got more weasly as the discussion went on, while Lessing came on strong for the common good. Lessing might not be providing a method for the copyright holders to get their remittance, but it sure felt good for the masses. When told to talk to the lawyers he made a great quote Remember, Lawyers suck value out of the economy.
Security Art Coviello RSA Security and John Thompson Symantec
Walts premise is that our security model is broken, its as though you had a different security system on each window and door of your house with a different password to open each one. Theres a burden on us and its too noisy in our environment.
Thompson from Symantec 100 high profile worms/viruses in 2005, 6 in 2006. Why is that? Have they gotten tired? Theyve moved from attacking your PC (shutting it down) and moving to stealing your identity in a quiet way. Macs are so far invulnerable, but most of the attacks now are social attacks that fool you into giving them information. For some reason our 6th sense that tells us not to walk down a dark alley at night doesnt seem to work when we go online.
http://safetytown.com – its little 4 session movie that talks about what you should and shouldnt do its intent is to educate, and we need to do more of this.
Coviello from RSA said theyve been working on phishing attacks said theyre running 3500-4000/month explain phishing
o working with access pattern technologies that authenticate the user without them even knowing thats going on.
o When you go online, looks for your ip address, time of day, etc. and looks for anomalies. working with access pattern technologies that authenticate the user without them even knowing thats going on.
Walts complaint included this analogy – in the real world the police dont knock on your door in the middle of the night and tell you they found a suspicious guy in the neighborhood and ask you what you want to do with them, quarantine it? Why do these applications have to bother us so much? Why WOULDNT I want the definitions downloaded? When will you stop annoying us and please stop telling me the difference between a virus a worm, etc. Just take care of it!
Thompson next generation of Symantec anti-virus, if we recognize youve been to this site before we wont bother you, make it less noisy. Because weve been transparent in the background though, users think they shouldnt reup their subscription because they think we havent done anything for them.
o W cant you just have a version for stupid people then?
Demo Zing Music Player
Basic music player, cool equalizer, receives Internet radio from Sirius, plays on the big screen (not sure how it did that), can send recommendations to friends for what they listen to, shows friends in the menu, can see what theyre listening to if you dont have it in your library, you can get it by purchasing. Subscription, owned music and ripped music. If the song they recommended was on Internet radio, I could flip over to the song playing on that station. Looked pretty cool, nice design and layout, but when Walt asked them about it they said they wont be selling their design, theyll be helping others to develop hardware and interfaces.
Antonio Perez CEO of Kodak
I found Perez really interesting. When he took over in 2003 they were doing very little digital, had 2 camps, one for film one for digital. The film side was powerful because they had 60-70% margins. He had to get these guys out of there. Now he believes they have some very powerful Intellectual Property (or IP).
Another interesting point in trying to sell printers, afraid their Kodak brand wouldnt be recognized for printers, only cameras, but turned out their brand really is the image when you think of Kodak, dont you really think about the picture you took, not the camera or the film?
Walt asked why they bought Ofoto (now named KodakGallery) how does it help the business, no money in it
The ultimate picture tragedy is that your photos are on your harddrive and are not indexed in anyway, even worse if you lose your drive. They can derive metadata from the photograph patterns identify the event. Efinder can recognize a birthday cake for example. You dont know when youre taking a picture how youll want to look for it later. E.g. I want every picture of my daughter over every year in front of her birthday cake
o our scan technology can scan in an analog photo and will figure out things from the surface finish, the type of ink, the aspect ratio can figure out when the photo was taken to some extent
When questioned by audience member on when theyre going to help with this whole battery mess rechargeable proprietary vs. AA, etc. he said its not on the top 5 list of priorities in camera-buying decision points, so theyre not going to focus on it. I guess he knows what hes talking about, but thats still annoying.
Barry Sonnenfeld Right Coast Productions
Havent gone to digital filming yet
o Didnt have full screen chip till recently
o No graininess, looks wrong to the audience, trained for graininess
Digital projection is another thing 4000 line projectors, digital delivery, beam up to Boeing satelling and beam down to projector.
o Business advantage to get more people to theaters MIB comes out, 4th week advertise MIB with 8 more minutes of content theyll come back, maybe even different beginning and ending, easy to have ready, no extra work
o Let theaters broadcast live events
o Maybe bring back serials, half hour and come back next week (Im dubious so much overhead to go to the theater, then only a half hour)
o How about running a 2nd version of King Kong that was an hour shorter? (big applause)
Discussion of window from movie release to DVD release
o Barry thinks its the demise of human society shortening that window keeps people from going to the show together, that shared experience, sit at home and IM each other in the same room, isolating ourselves. People need events acknowledged but Im Jewish and paranoid, my mother taught me everything is about fear.
o I quit the cubscouts because they changed the meeting time such that it competed with the Flinstones.
o Walt brought up the binding experience of IM and online communities, Barry said yes, but not as connected as being together in the same room. In a soulful Karmic kind of way its not as close.
2 funny things he asked Walt
o why 06 on credit card, June online
o why parking lights out on GM cars
o its all going to hell
Vinod Khosla from Kohsla Ventures
Kohsla is focused on getting rid of gasoline dependence in cars and light trucks. Brazil did this using Ethanol 85 instead of gas 4 weeks ago they declared formal independence from petroleum, stopped all imports.
Ethanol is less than half the cost to create in the US than gasoline. use it today as an additive. E85 is 85% ethanol, 15% gas, and theres only a few stations here, mostly in farm states.
Can convert old stations to ethanol – Low cost conversion is $5000, high is $50,000, ave around $20-40K
Most modern cars can run both, no mod required called Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFVs), 6M on road now, shipping 1M a year, only $30 to build a car to do both
Brazil went 4% to 80% FFV in 3 years, VW thinking of only making FFVs for them no one buys gas because ethanol is cheaper
Khoslas proposed mandate:
o Certain percentage of new cars have to be FFV by 2009, 70% by 2014, and 10% of gas stations have to convert to offering at least one pump of E85. (10% only because once it gets rolling theyll build more on their own because people will want to buy because cheaper.)
o We have 4.5B worth of production capacity, we have 1.5B in construction now, even if theres some decline in this rate, we can have capacity for number of cars Ive suggested mandate.
Walt asked about pipeline corrosion
o Switching between gas and ethanol hurts pipes because Ethanol cleans out the gunk, stick with ethanol it doesnt corrode
Gasoline production has gotten more efficient, using less energy to create over time. Ethanol outputs 1.5X what it takes to make it. Nebraska plant now takes cattle-produced methane from poop, uses it to burn to create ethanol, byproduct of ethanol creation is the protein the cows need that they get from the corn, so they feed it to the cows so they can make more methane.
Oil company exec threatened me told me to my face that if we do this, theyll just lower the price of oil. Can you believe that?
Walt questioned whether we can make enough corn
o We only eat 10% of the corn we produce, 50% goes to feed cattle (but if they ate the protein part from ethanol that would be even better for them)
o Some of the rest of it goes to export, we could continue to export or create ethanol and not have to import as much fuel. Corn growers say we have enough for 30B gallons, but experts believe closer to 15B
o We can create ethanol from biomass. Corn stalk is harder to break up the sugars, more expensive process, over time we can make this cheaper. Anything thats plant matter, forest clippings, orange pulp, anything that has carbohydrates and starch in them are fair game. People are asking how we can make more biomass. We can farm enough with technology insertion (by conservative estimates) to replace gasoline. Remember were paying farmers not to grow on their land.
Panel of Teenagers
Idea was for us to hear from teenagers how they use technology today, and hopefully gain insite. Im not sure we got a good sample set actually, based on their answers compared to my daughters world. These 5 kids were all around 18 years old and in college (as is Lindsay) and she said many of their answers were just weird.
Whats the most important device you use? 1 said iBook, take it everywhere to take notes on lectures, email all day. Other 4 said cell phone. Most didnt know the model number, seemed unsure of the brand. Said most important that it got good service and most did voice not text (said text was too slow, email was better)
o This is not my daughters world she and her friends use their phones for texting quite a bit
Many used cell for games
Walt thought email was for old people, they all said, no, totally not
Walt asked about Instant Messanging 3 were not big on IM, but 2 of them couldnt live without it AIM, MSN and Yahoo at the same time. MSN messenger was very big NONE of my daughters friends use MSN. I have heard its big in Canada.
What search engine? 5 Googles, one said they thought they used Yahoo once. When asked about MSN search, they all had blank stares, said theyd never heard of MSN search! And Bill thinks hes a little bit behind here when I asked my daughter about MSN search, she said MSN is from Microsoft? Oh, well, the colors of the logo are kind of like the butterfly Great marketing Microsoft!
Why do you like Google?
o Safari built-in search bar, easier, first introduced to it, sometimes fun pictures, I like the way it sounds to say it, simplicity of the layout
What bugs them about ads?
o Too desparately trying to get my attention, like games built into banners. They liked Google because the ads were text only and relevant to their search, but still rarely click on them. One girl said if they have a big red button in their ad that says not to push it, she has to push it
o 100% said they had never bought anything because of an online ad
They rarely buy things online anyway I dont trust it, its confusing, mom wont let me, like to touch the things Im going to buy
o Do buy textbooks online because of the price, one guy buys online because he doesnt have a car at school
Heres where they got weird every one of them said they buy their music as physical CDs. Walt said amnesty
o One said buy CD, cant find CD try iTunes, if not gnutella to download illegally
o One said limewire gave her so many viruses she gave up on stealing music
o One said she uses Kazaa but doesnt get viruses, said its not that good of an experience but doesnt feel like changing. Said if she does buy, its the CD in the store
o All thought $1 at iTunes was too much if you can get it for free
o One said she downloads local bands because they like to get their music out there.
o Heres a weird thing only 2 had iPods, the other 3 used CD players (one had a broken CD player)
MySpace vs. FaceBook Im not sure I completely understand these things, but theyre both sites where kids have essentially home pages that they post pictures of themselves and leave messages for each other. Its an odd type of communications mechanism that I dont quite get
o Kids were split some hated MySpace because of all the ways it can be made annoying Bionce songs, flashing lights, some disliked how you had to know html and what a jpeg is, others liked that you could pimp out your page and how cool it was to learn about html and jpegs
o The more intellectual ones veered towards FaceBook, college only, cant pimp it out, more protected feeling
Games were another weird category not one of them regularly plays games their computers, or PS or Xbox! One even had an Atari with 42 games they play pong of all things.
Questioned about Tv all watch real TV, not interested in online TV when asked if theyd like to hook up their computer to the TV they misunderstood thought only that it would be cool to have a bigger screen.
That will wrap up my report on the All Things Digital conference – if anything I think it was even more interesting than the last two years, and I LOVED the last two years! I think I’m becoming more comfortable around all the big names, just old hat to hang with Martha and Bill, you know?
Before I forget, I finally got a gmail account so if you want to send in audio feedback, you can do it now. My address for audio feedback is email@example.com. I’m not a real whiz at cleaning up audio to splice it into the show, so I hope you can make good recordings or it won’t make the cut! in any case I’ll respond to you for sure!
That will wrap it up for this week’s episode of the NosillaCast podcast as well, please keep the feedback coming in, and as always written feedback is very welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for listening, and stay subscribed!