Friday, April 3, 2009

Web 2.0 Expo Day 2

This morning started with keynotes, though there didn't seem to be a theme beyond "here is who we could get to come and talk." The sole exception was the very first speaker, Douglas Rushkoff, was fantastic.  I'm really excited about his new book, Life Inc.  His main theses were that corporations were not created to allow competition and artificial currency was not

Nokia's CEO showed us his vision for ten years from now.  Wearable computers?  Wow, now that's innovative.  He got off on some weird metaphysical rant about projecting our consciousness into the 'net.  What he really means is a constant data stream of my location, mood, and random thoughts.  The only interesting thing he mentioned was geolocation through photography.  I really feel like that is an idea whose time has come.

Next I attended a session that discussed the relative merits of building directly for the iPhone or the web, and the conclusion was use PhoneGap to do both.  it had some interesting points in making the case to stay web-based, but none of them were very convincing.  He attacked the following five arguments for going native:

  • Performance--the recent "fast javascript" movement combined with paring down the page bloat that has occurred in recent years
  • Offline Usage--there is HTML 5 (and thus embedded mySQL support) in iPhone since v2.0
  • Findability--there are now 25K+ apps in the AppStore
  • Device Capabilities (GPS, camera, accelerometer, etc.)--the GPS capabilities are "opening up", and PhoneGap let's you go native
  • Monetization--4% of devices get turned down, people use iPhone apps like tissue paper, you have to sell your app for $0.99 to get any traction

Some valid points there, but it's ironic that the solution proffered is to start web-based and enhance to native.

Microsoft Bizspark were the underwriters for Launch Pad at Web 2.0 Expo.  There were five companies who presented:

Honestly, I wish I had gone to a different session.  I already knew about PhoneGap from the ten other times it was mentioned this week.  What they are doing at 80legs is really cool, but I'm not sure about its applicability.  They've made something that is really hard to do really cheap, but they've not made it easy.  That is, you still have to write Java code.  I'm more excited about what people are doing with it, a sure sign of a platform play.  I hope they get acquired and rewarded for their hard work.  One last thing, there was maybe a hundred people in the room.  Maybe.

I went to a talk from the guys at EngineYard.  Pretty good talk, but really centered on the implications of systems management in the could-era.  I really enjoyed the talk, pretty fun.  The gave it in this paired presenter style where one would pick up where the other left off.  Nothing terrible prescient or relevant to me, but they host a lot of really awesome new companies, like github.