bug_photos.gifView images from the Web 2.0 Expo 2008.

Featuring some of the most successful Internet figures in the industry, the Web 2.0 Expo is a world-wide gathering of technical, design, marketing, and business professionals who are building the next generation Internet model.

Working hard over the last year to build four media studios, my focus on Internet technology had dwindled to nothing. In technology, a year is a long time, so what a wonderful way to baptize myself back into what is relevant.

Traveling on the Design and User Experience track, I placed 5 stars beside the items that interested me the most or made reference to the newspaper and media industry. Read the rest of this entry to follow my four day journey.

View from conference center to hotel and view from hotel to conference center.

Web 2.0 Best Practices
Niall Kennedy (Hat Trick Media)
Web 2.0 Fundamentals, Workshop

In this session, we discussed how to package your site content for redistribution across the Web through popular feed formats.

Packaging your site’s data is just the beginning. We took a glance at widget development platforms and how to place your site’s content on Google, Facebook, MySpace, Windows Vista, iPhone, WordPress, and more with specialized tools and interaction models. All of these are some of the building blocks of Web 2.0 and the basic components of any Web upgrade.


Mobile 2.0: Design and Develop
for the iPhone and Beyond
Brian Fling (Fling Media)
Design and User Experience, Workshop

View Brian Fling’s workshop presentation.

Web 2.0 has completely redefined how we make and use web sites. Now with the iPhone and other modern mobile devices, this same revolution is coming to the mobile space, but on a far more massive scale as internet-enabled mobile devices overtake the number of desktop and laptop computers. This is what Brian Fling referred to as Mobile 2.0.

In this workshop we learned the basic principles and history of mobile web design and development, and explored the more advanced capabilities of Mobile 2.0, including markup and advanced CSS techniques.

Designing the RIA Experience (Adobe “Thermo”)
Steven Heintz (Adobe Systems)
Design and User Experience, Demo

Adobe gave us a sneak peak at “Thermo” (code name), a new design tool that will enable designers to become more like developers throughout the process of creating applications.

Thermo will change the way development and design occurs by allowing a designer to specify fluid application transitions and motion. Thermo will allow the designer to have control over the interactive user experience without hounding the programmer with multiple requests to try different experiences. This is great news for designers and old dogs like me.

Developers will use Thermo to selectively turn artwork components into functional controls and assign design-time data so interactions and behavior can be visualized when access to final data isn’t practical.

The code Thermo creates is extremely clean. I was impressed.

Get more info about Adobe Thermo in development.
Public beta expected late this year.


Taking Web 2.0 Offline and On the Desktop

Ryan Stewart (Adobe Systems), Dion Almaer (Google)
Web 2.0 Fundamentals, Demo

A whole new way to create rich internet applications that can work off line and on the desktop has emerged. Two speakers, from Adobe and Google, demonstrated tools to develop the next generation applications that run seamlessly across operating systems — in the browser and on the desktop, both on and off line.

Adobe Air 1.0
The Adobe AIR lets developers use proven web technologies to build rich Internet applications that deploy to the desktop and run across operating systems

Google Gears, Beta
Google Gears is an open source project that enables more powerful web applications, by adding new features to your web browser. Google Gears lets web applications interact naturally with your desktop, store data locally in a fully – searchable database and run JavaScript in the background to improve performance.


Children of Flickr: Making the Massively Multiplayer Social Web

Justin Hall (GameLayers)
Rajat Paharia (Bunchball)
Christopher Chapman (Areae)
Gabe Zichermann (rmbr)
Design and User Experience, Discussion

Today, the children of Flickr are continuing to work massively multi-player game mechanics into social web sites. This panel discussed strategies, models, and pitfalls for harnessing the power of play to promote the social Web.

The presenters on this panel are each working to integrate video games into an online virtual life.


web2.O EXPO Hall.


Responsible Web Design
Scott Fegette (Adobe Systems Inc.)

It’s not enough to be a strong visual designer these days – web design has become a more technical discipline. In this session, we explored the current standards and best practices for web design, along with a sneak peek of the upcoming release of Adobe Dreamweaver. The next update will allow you to edit the page script in real time.


Copy as Interface
Erika Hall (Mule Design)
Design and User Experience, Workshop

The description for this class says, “Effective language is essential to a usable, appealing, platform-independent interface.” Translated. Keep it simple and conversational.


Tim O’Reilly (O’Reilly Media)
Keynote Address, Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tim O’Reilly is the founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, Inc., thought by many to be the best computer book publisher in the world. O’Reilly Media also publishes online through the O’Reilly Network and hosts conferences on technology topics, including the O’Reilly Open Source Convention, the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, and the Web 2.0 Conference.

bug_camera.gifWatch Tim O’Reilly keynote address.

Tim’s blog, the O’Reilly Radar “watches the alpha geeks” to determine emerging technology trends, and serves as a platform for advocacy about issues of importance to the technical community.

Tim says, “Every true Web 2.0 company is building a database whose value grows in proportion to the number of participants – that is, a race to accumulate network-effect-driven data – with accelerating returns to the winner – because bigger is better. Applications built on open, decentralized networks lead to new concentrations of power… unless we build in interoperability at each new layer.”

He also added that company’s need to turn themselves inside-out and release the data they’ve had stored in their back rooms and give it to the public before some young start-up does it first.

He stated that true future mobile apps live in the cloud and are not just restricted to mobile devices or Microsoft platforms but will live on different devices backed by large databases.


A Conversation with Max Levchin (Slide)
Keynote Address, Wednesday, April 23, 2008

bug_camera.gifWatch Max Levchin keynote address.

Max is the visionary behind Slide, the largest social software company in the world. He is also renowned as the co-founder of PayPal, an expert in combating online fraud and one of the hardest working entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. Before starting Slide, he incubated several other start-ups, including Yelp, where he currently sits as Chairman of the Board. Max started PayPal in 1998, immediately after graduating from college, and sold it four years later to eBay for more than $1.5 billion at the age of 26. Originally from Kiev, Ukraine (then part of the Soviet Union), Max moved to Chicago at the age of 16.

Considered to be one of the biggest brains in business, Max is featured on the latest cover of Portfolio.

Related links:
Slide’s Levchin: Measuring success in virtual pregnancy tests,

Cnet News, April 23, 2008

Max Levchin Becomes the Internet’s New Wacky Pix Guy!

All Things Digital, April 23, 2008

Slide: Max Levchin’s Next Act,

Business Week, August 23, 2007

bug_camera.gifWatch Marc Andreessen keynote address. John Battelle, right, on stage with Marc Andreessen – co-founder of Netscape, Mozilla-Firefox and Ning.

A Conversation with Marc Andreessen
Marc Andreessen (Ning)
Keynote Address, Thursday, April 24, 2008

Marc Andreessen is a multi-millionaire software engineer and Silicon Valley “whiz kid” entrepreneur best known as co-author of Mosaic, the first widely-used web browser, and co-founder of Netscape Communications Corporation – now the Mozilla – Firefox Internet browser. He was the chair of Opsware, a software company he founded originally as Loudcloud, when it was acquired by Hewlett-Packard. He is also a cofounder of Ning, a company which provides a platform for social-networking websites.

Marc said, “By enlarge, I think most of the major media companies are still largely unprepared for the shift – which is ironic given how long this stuff has been. If you look at what’s happening in newspapers right now. They’re just in absolute free fall from a business stand point. It’s an ironic sort of time for the media industry, because for newspapers and magazines, it’s not uncommon for them to have ten times the readers online but a tenth of the online revenue as in the print revenue, and really no idea of how to bridge that gap. So, I think there’s a whole story for the future of the media industry that has yet to be written.”


The Future of the Internet – And How to Stop It
Jonathan Zittrain (Oxford University) Blog
Keynote Address, Thursday, April 24, 2008

bug_camera.gifWatch Jonathan Zittrain keynote address.

Jonathan Zittrain holds the Chair in Internet Governance and Regulation at Oxford University and is a principal of the Oxford Internet Institute. His book The Future of the Internet—And How to Stop It, was available Spring 2008 from Yale University Press.

Without regulation of the Internet, Jonathan is concerned that we will end up in a world were we won’t even know what we’ve lost. He believes that like our founding fathers with United States 1.0, the Internet needs a foundation or set of regulations that protect and guide the user and the developer.

Related Links:
Book review: “The Future of the Internet (And How to Stop It)”
O’Reilly Radar, April 14, 2008

The Future of the Internet-And How to Stop It
Yale University Press

News.com talk: ‘The Future of the Internet – and How to Stop It’
Cnet News Blog, November 28, 2007


Yahoo! and Open Platforms
Ari Balogh, Chief Technology Officer (Yahoo!)
Keynote Address, Thursday, April 24, 2008

bug_camera.gifWatch Ari Balogh keynote address.

Ari said that Yahoo! is not creating an new social application but is re-wiring Yahoo inside-out to be more social. For example, embed your twitter buddies into the browser next to your news. In the future, their mail app will begin to float your most interactive friends to the top of your mail in-box. That’s pretty cool.


Designing for a Web of Data
Tom Coates (Yahoo! Brickhouse)
Design and User Experience, Workshop

What happens when you’re pushing into web apps or social media? What do you do when design practice blurs into URLs and data structures, and where your service breaks the frame of the browser and starts appearing in hardware, in desktop applications, or on other people’s sites?

In this session, Tom Coates talked about designers needing to build things that are native to a web of data, the blurring and interplay between designers and developers.

BTW. Yahoo! Brickhouse makes bets on the future for Yahoo!

Related Links:
Yahoo Taps Its Inner Startup,
Business Week, February 9, 2007

Yahoo’s FireEagle: Fire Eagle is the secure and stylish way to share your location with sites and services online.

Other sites that track your location are Doppler, Plazes, Loki, Navizon, Zonetag Photos, Wikipedia/nearby pages, Fireball (Used at web2.O EXPO), Apples Friends and Family widget, Proximizer, Twitter/maps and Twitterific.

Last.fm is the social music revolution that connects you with your favorite music, and uses your unique taste to find new music, people, and concerts you’ll like.


My thoughts…

One reoccurring theme I keep seeing at this conference is “How do I get data to people in their current location.” What’s nearby, who’s nearby and how do I get there from here? Who do I know that’s in San Francisco at the same time I am? Where are my friends now? Is there any historical interests currently around me? Are there photos to back it up? I’m hungry. Where are the closest Italian restaurants? What is the exact location of the train I’m waiting for? How much time do I have to spare?

“Time is our most valuable asset, and if it’s being wasted,
we’re not going to take it, We want out time to be well-invested.”

– Chris Heuer, Social Media Club

Knowing that we have all this data and a wealth of networked information at our doorstep, what do we do with it? It’s like discovering we have electricity for the first time. Now what?

All of this makes me think the Wingo project is truly headed in the right direction.


Speaking of Italian, Buca di Beppo Italian Restaurant serves wonderful authentic Italian favorites and a sculptured bust of the Pope made out of butter. Does anyone care to play “spin the Pope?”


Web 2.0: Fabulously Useful and Confusing
Leanne Waldal (OTIVO, INC)
Megan Koroshetz
Victor Tom (Retired)
Becky Haycox (UCSB)
Susan Harris (Susan Diana Harris Interior Design)
JP Singson (E-Loan, Inc)

Design and User Experience, Discussion

What happens when average consumers use Web 2.0 sites to share, find and communicate? This was a presentation of Web 2.0 user research and live consumer interviews demonstrating the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Leanne Waldal presented research findings with short video clips from OTIVO’s research, which demonstrates the users good and bad comments.

Leanne also brought a panel of five to express how they are confused by using Web 2.0 sites. The panel fits a specific variety of demographics and discussed how they used and whether they were confused by these Web 2.0 sites.


10 Tools for Managing a Creative Environment
Bryan Mason & Sarah Nelson (Adaptive Path)
Design and User Experience, Workshop

There’s a lot to learn from how other industries manage creative professionals. Bryan and Sarah introduced us to 10 techniques used by creative management to get great work from their teams.

10 Tips to energize group work-flow is based on the creative process of several creative industries like an orchestra, a TV writing staff, and a drama-theater production group.

01. Cross-train the entire team.
02. Rotating creative leadership. (Helps with burn-out and gives opportunities to others.)
03. Activity around the corner. (have celebrations)
04. Know your roles. (…and responsibilities.)
05. Practice as a team. (Not just improving as a team, but as individuals.)
06. Make you mission explicit. (Know your companies goals and creative mission – be clear.)
07. Kill your darlings softly. (Have a nice way to say “no.” to bad ideas.)
08. Leadership is a service. (You need to help people do their job well.)
09. Generate projects around creative interests. (Create side projects in addition to your bread and butter.)
10. Remember your audience. (Give them what they want or expect.)
11. EXTRA: Celebrate failure. (Know that you are going to fail. Make it safe to take risks and know that you will not be punished for it. But, learn from your mistakes.)

Creativity has two phases or periods (Divergence to Convergence)

It’s important that the group understands which phase they are in. You don’t want people in both at different times. Divergence is the non-role playing and creative idea phase. The convergence is the “get-R-done” and execution phase.

bug_camera.gifWatch Jonathan Schwartz keynote address.

CEO Sun Micro-Systems

Jonathan Schwartz (Blog)
Keynote Address, Friday, April 25, 2008

Jonathan Schwartz is chief executive officer and president of Sun Microsystems, which recently acquired MySQL.

MySQL is a multi-threaded, multi-user SQL database management system which has more than 11 million installations. The program runs as a server providing multi-user access to a number of databases.

A leader behind many of Sun’s open source and standard setting initiatives, Jonathan’s been an outspoken advocate for the network as a utility with more than just value for the computing industry – but as a tool for driving economic, social and political progress.

Related Links:
Sun Microsystems Announces Agreement to Acquire MySQL,
Developer of the World’s Most Popular Open Source Database

Sun Microsystems, January 16, 2008

What Sun’s acquisition of MySQL means for the software industry
Cnet Blog, January 16, 2008

Systems Grow Big in Texas
Sun Microsystems, March 11, 2008

The Sun Modular Datacenter S20 (The Blackbox)
Sun Microsystems


Daniel Lyons “Fake Steve Jobs” (Blog)
Senior Editor, Forbes magazine
Keynote Address, Friday, April 25, 2008

bug_camera.gifWatch Daniel Lyons “Fake Steve Jobs” keynote address. [EXPLICIT]

Daniel Lyons is a senior editor at Forbes magazine. He writes a column called the Digital Tools. His recent book, The Secret Life of Steve Jobs, is a Parody . He also writes The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs, a popular blog and parody of Apple CEO Steve Jobs, under the fictitious name.

Referring to his blog, Daniel said, he thinks what’s happening in media is kind of profound and interesting. This is all very wrong – obviously stupid and primitive, but it’s a great way to learn about how new media might work. He thinks the biggest change we’re going to have is the involvement of the audience. Internet media is going to get interesting, when we start exploring the unique capability in it, rather than stifling creativity.

He went on to say, the first generation Forbes.com is just taking a Forbes magazine and putting it online, or Hulu is now taking TV shows and putting them online. He thinks when we start involving the audience and having people able to form a group and entertain ourselves thats when it’s going to get really interesting.

Daniel said it occurred to him that people reading his blog could have been watching TV or reading Doonesbury. They’re now finding entertainment online, where they can be reading Doonesbury and send the guy an e-mail right away and say, “you should right about this,” and tomorrow it shows up in the newspaper.

In the next ten years Daniel predicts that the big media giants are going to move in a big way. Having a foot in both worlds, one in the business world and one in the blog world, he gets the sense the big media guys are now getting it. “They’re totally getting the internet. Rupert Murdoch gets it. Tim Forbes absolutely gets it.” he said.

Quoting Lou Gerstner, former CEO of IBM, Daniel said, that all these little .coms, like pets.com, are little firefly’s before the storm. The real storm is going to be when big media companies harness the power of the Internet to streamline their business. He has the feeling this is happening now. Blogs are going to roll up into big media companies or become big media companies themselves.

In closing, Daniel thinks that in the media world, newspapers and magazines are too obsessed with the latest polls results and how much destruction is going on that they loose site of what’s springing up around them. “In the next ten years, what we will have will be so much bigger, better, wider and richer than media has been in the past. We’re crazy to focus on too much of what’s been destroyed. We’re lucky to be here,” he said.


What Dash Knows
Rob Currie (Dash Navigation)
Keynote Address, Friday, April 25, 2008

Robert Currie has more than 15 years of experience leading early-stage tech companies in Silicon Valley including TiVo-acquired Strangeberry, a company whose technology enables TiVo to provide unique content to its set-top boxes.

Rob’s experience covers a range of markets including consumer products, and digital-media production. Prior to his role at Strangeberry, Rob co-founded wireless mobile software company Airgomo where he led product development for emerging 2.5G mobile technologies. He previously served as Digidesign/Avid’s vice president of software engineering.

bug_camera.gifWatch Dash Navigation Demo by Rob Currie.

Using cell and wi-fi technology, Dash gives you true traffic reports by the speed of others vehicles. Using an interactive screen or software on your home computer, Dash will track your favorite places and destinations. Send a new address strait to Dash from your home computer, or locate your favorite coffee shop or Sonic Drive-in along the way.


What Google Knows About Spam
Matt Cutts (Google)
Keynote Address, Friday, April 25, 2008

Matt Cutts joined Google as a software engineer in January 2000 and currently heads up the Webspam team and wrote SafeSearch, which is Google’s family filter. In addition to his experience at Google, Cutts held a top-secret clearance while working for the Department of Defense, and also worked at a game engine company. He claims that if you give spammers a hard time, they will go away.

Register your site at Google Webmaster Central to get spam alerts. Google Webmaster Central is your one-stop shop for webmaster resources that will help you with your crawling and indexing questions, introduce you to offerings that can enhance and increase traffic to your site, and connect you with your visitors.


High Order Bit: WordPress
Matt Mullenweg (WordPress)
Keynote Address, Friday, April 25, 2008

Co-founder of WordPress at the age of 19, Matt said that WordPress is adding “related blog stories” at the bottom of your personal blog. This will connect you to other blogs to get you more traffic. Before I left the conference, this was happening to my WordPress blog. Scroll to the bottom of this page and you will see it.

Monotone – sites color scheme can be automatically generated by the photo you add.


Next-generation Mobile UI
Ben Bederson (Zumobi)
John SanGiovanni (Zumobi)
Design and User Experience, Workshop

Most mobile applications today are designed for the simplest of devices, utilizing the monotonous up/down/left/right navigation – ushering in a new era of mobile UI. Ben spoke on how research will undoubtedly shape the future of mobile UI, which will in turn affect a number of other related industries entering the mobile space.

Ben and John created a new UI with Zumobli (demo). Allowing your to zoom your phone screen. You can send apps to your friends phone. To me, it looks like a poor mans iPhone.

These guys had some nice little nuggets of UI tips. However, they were obvious competitors with the iPhone interface. So they spent most of their time trashing the iPhone. At the end of the session, no one stayed to ask questions.

Six mobile interface core principles:
01. Immediacy. People don’t want to wait. Pre-sync your information.
02. Device Adaptability. Stay standard with your design. Look at it on all devices.
03. One-Handed Use. Support one-handed use. People are walking, driving, riding a bike. More people walk and use one hand. Standing… is half. Sitting? People used two hands. People prefer using one hand in all aspects.
Mobile touch screen targets area: 9.6… 0.5 cm has a 15% error, iPhone is 10% error. Aim of 1.0 cm for lower target error.
04. Visual Elegance. Phones are moving to hardware accelerated graphics.
05. Put the user in control. Make to user feel like they are the master. Apple is allowing people to alter their screen icons. Making people feel in control.
06. Mobile brings different patterns of use. “Quick snacking” with widgets. People want to check their sports scores quickly, then get on their plane.


Checking the “Feel” of Your UI with an Interaction Audit
Josh Damon Williams (Hot Studio)
Peter Stahl (eBay)
Design and User Experience, Workshop

The best web sites feel smooth and predictable, yet powerful and deep. They achieve this by presenting a limited set of well-chosen interactions that support users throughout the experience.

Using a recent audit of the interaction design of eBay.com, these guys started with an audit of a representative sampling of user flows, data gathered included variability in system response to user interactions with similar controls, multiple paths to accomplish similar tasks, and different representations of similar data objects.

01. They mapped out the ebay site, then they identified the high traffic pages – in order to merge them together.
02. They reviewed each page. Took a close look at text, graphics and structure.
03. They began to analysis the process and flow of the user. Printed out storyboards onto large paper scolls to see the big picture and how everything related around the most traffic pages.
04. Recommended structure report
– ebay was inconsistent with 14 different text link processes, 7 different tabs sets, multiple filter systems and different user ID data and avatar.
05. Interactive goals: (see speaker notes)


Missionary Centre in DR Congo. One of the many projects on the ONA site.

Designing Like We Give a Damn

Katrina Alcorn (Hot Studio)
Maria Giudice (Hot Studio)
Design and User Experience, Workshop

At the request of the TED conference (an organization of greatest thinkers and doers), Hot Studio designed the The Open Architecture Network, (OAN), web site. This site harnesses the best of Web 2.0 design concepts to allow architects and designers of all persuasions to collaborate with and inspire each other on designs that are changing people’s lives. Since the site was unveiled at the TED conference in March 2007, more than 8,000 people have joined the network to improve living conditions for people who have been victims of war, poverty, and natural disasters.

In this case study, they showed how research inspired the design of a system that harnesses the best of Web 2.0 concepts to allow architects to collaborate on humanitarian projects around the world.