My view on LeWeb3 2006: Part I

If you were on another planet you might have missed the fact that there was a controversy at LeWeb3 last year. I was there but didn’t have a blog at the time; I now have a voice.

The best summary in less than 10,000 words can be found here: LeWeb3 is actually “Loic for president” at blog.forret.com. Loïc wrote the 10,000-plus word version of events with his response here.

Here’s my view…

First, I had a fantastic time last year. Except for a couple of speakers, mainly in the group discussions, who were more interested in promoting the company logo than being interesting, it was well worth my time and money (I took vacation and paid for myself).

Second, I’d not been to any of the previous conferences and therefore wasn’t looking to replicate something from the past. I’m interested in politics, technology and just about anything that I don’t know. As it turned out, two of the best speakers were not IT speakers at all; Hans Gosling was amazing and Shimon Peres was inspirational and got a standing ovation. There were another ten presenters who were well worth the two days on their own.

Now to how I perceived things. I was sitting at the front at the left and it was very clear that something was happening on the other side of the room as early as the mid-morning on day one. This was before the announcements that supposedly sparked all the controvosy.

When changes were made to the program I just held onto my hat and thought that at least I was seeing something new.

However, when I got home to wi-fi that worked after day one the blogs were very negative and it seemed that I was the only happy customer in the room. By the end of day two the blogs had gone into meltdown and the end of the world was iminent.

The aftermath of the conference was the end of TechCrunch UK v1.0, discussions about starting a “real European conference in the UK” and even the end of Loïc’s career.

I can’t help feeling, even a year later, that most of the fuss was generated by a small group who had a hidden agenda. Conferences are big money and I think that last year was the last chance for someone to get a rival conference off the ground.

We’re now twelve months on and LeWeb3 is back and even bigger, I’ve not heard of any massive life changing conference in the UK and Loïc the poor man seems to have the hottest startup around.

So what was wrong with last year again?

OLPC vs. Intel podcast

Joho the Blog pointed out that TwiT came up with gold this week.

Last week I started questioning why I spend an hour a week listening to Twit and then this comes along, this has to be one of the best Podcasts I’ve heard in a long while.

Just shows what a fantastic media it can be when done right.

PS – Joho will also be speaking at LeWeb3. I’m starting to get excited!!!

Dave Winer is wrong (for once)

Specifically about podcasting (Scripting News)

Every six months or so Dave Winer tells us that the iPod isn’t a good podcast player and that we need to build a new one. The wish-list is always roughly the same and it’s always Open Source.

An Open Source podcast player; the ideal toy for developers, a mobile developer platform.

First, I’ve nothing against the idea, in fact, I think that it would be great.

However, it wouldn’t promote the development of podcasting. The issue with podcasting is finding things that are worth listening to. I don’t have trouble teaching my mother to use an iPod but getting her to subscribe to a feed is impossible.

The solution to the podcasting isn’t the device, it’s the guide.

PS – Dave, if you want to scream at me, see you next Tuesday at LeWeb3!

PPS – While I’m on the subject, why is the iTunes store so difficult to use? It’s impossible to browse for music. It’s fantastic once you know what you’re looking for but I don’t know what I’m looking for!!!

Britain’s Data Chernobyl; there is no end in sight…

Britain’s Data Chernobyl: more lost CDs full of thousands of personal records – Boing Boing

OK, I admit that I didn’t expect the news of the lost CDs to disappear overnight but the fact that it is still being reported as news is interesting.

In the long term, I think that this will have a massive effect on politics in the UK, US and Oz. These countries has gone from no ID laws to compiling massive lists of people post-911.

The pendulum will now swing back. It’ll be interesting to see if it swings back in such a way that the government is restricted in doing its job. After all; the government needs those bank details to pay social security money. If the government is restricted from holding that sort of information, it won’t be able to run social security.

PC? iFon!

iPhone? iFon!

Fon have a great application out for the iPhone, it allows you to connect to open Fon connections while out roaming.

In the comments people are already asking for the Windows Mobile version; yes please!

Why don’t they have this for Windows and Macs; that would save having to always log in using the web pages.

Random thoughts…