I had a fun time at Scoble’s Geek Dinner in San Francisco tonight. I met a lot of interesting people including Zack Rosen and Neil Drumm from CivicSpace Labs. CivicSpace Labs provides an open source solution for volunteer, non profit, political and other civic organizations to manage their web presence and includes basic office tools like contact management software. Seems like very interesting work. Apparently these guys worked on the Howard Dean campaign.
We also had an interesting discussion about the state of the music industry, how to reward artists, internet resources for music, etc. They introduced me to the Downhill Battle site which I was unaware of but will check out.
I also met Steve Sloan who is down at San Jose State University and is trying to figure out ways to podcast University lectures. He apparently already has one professor interested in the idea. Personally, to me, I think that we should do everything in our power to bring free education to the masses via podcasting. There are so many people that do not have the time, money or physical proximity to actually attend a University. I think this is great work that Steve is doing but only the beginning. If every college lecture in the world were opened up for podcasting imagine the wealth of information at our fingertips. Further if through speech recognition software, or even simple meta tags if we are not there yet, having the capability to catalog and make available university lectures would be amazing. Steve runs a site called Edupodder Weblog.
Renee Blodgett (yes, that’s her in the photo above on the far right) is President of Blodgett Communications and runs the blog downtheavenue.com. She seems to be doing some very interesting consulting work with a number of significant tech companies and almost has me interested in giving Newsgator another try. It’s not that I’m opposed to this but bloglines just does everything that I need so well. The MCE online spotlight thing might just be the hook for me except that there is just no way in hell I’m ever going to pay for RSS. Renee is all about passion.
I met a few other people as well and as always I’m terrible at remembering people’s names at these things. Scoble did the right thing by walking around with his tablet and getting everyone’s name and blog at dinner. Scoble showed us his Channel 9 video on his Audiovox phone. Pretty interesting and impressive due to the geek factor. I’m still not sure though if in the mass market people really want to watch tiny little screens with tiny little broadcasts. Me personally I’ve never caught on to the whole portable device thing yet. My laptop is my portable device and I can’t imagine wanting to watch an episode of Law and Order on a tiny little phone or even a portable media player when it looks so much better on my laptop. But then again not everyone is as close and romantically involved with their laptop as I am.
The dinner venue was actually pretty perfect. There was some concern earlier about the cost of Lulu’s being prohibitive and this was the second choice apparently. The cost was reasonable and I thought the food was pretty good as well. The restaurant was definitely scalable and it seemed more efficient with such a large group for everyone to order at a counter and then have their food brought out for them. To top it off Matt Mullenweg of WordPress invited everyone to his swank San Francisco apartment a few blocks away from the dinner afterwards to keep the party going. It was a pretty wild party as you can imagine (just look at the photo above!). Matt turned his wi-fi on for everyone which I thought was really cool.
It’s interesting all of the things that come up at these dinners. Terms that I heard more than once tonight: Flickr, Del.ico.us, Blogger, CES, Aggregate, RSS, iPod, Podcasting, just to name a few. Not a whole heck of a lot different than the current online conversation.