July 24, 2006

a few notes from NPUC 2006

Just came back from the NPUC 2006 workshop in IBM Almaden (NPUC = new paradigms 4 using computers). Well I left early, so I missed the venerable Sam Ruby talking about teens but I did get to see Rob Miller almost demo Chickenfoot, Ross Mayfield evangelizing sharepoint, er, I mean wikis, and Stewart Butterfield being wonderfully himself. Also, plenty of old friends and colleagues and some pretty good celebrigeek-watching. Maybe some will show up here.

Anyway, a few takeaways:

1. Chickenfoot is neat ("Chickenfoot is a tool that puts a programming environment in Firefox so you can write scripts to manipulate web pages and automate web browsing"). Rob Miller and his group at MIT CSAIL received the best paper award at UIST 2005, for "Automation and Customization of Rendered Web Pages", describing this work. Oh and it has a blog called...wait for it...Chickenfeed. Cuuuute ;-)

2. Ross Mayfield mentioned a few things worth following up on. Benkler's Wealth of Networks and his Coase's Penguin paper, which I've had on my list for awhile. Wikicalc (Ross asks "What happens when a document is a [spreadsheet] cell and a cell is a document? What if each cell has an RSS feed, and with a bit of imagination you have a global collaborative spreadsheet?"). Miki (a mobile device wiki platform -- is this similar to the tiddlywiki I keep on my USB drive?) And oh by the way Socialtext launched an open source version today.

Apropos enterprise adoption of wikis, Ken(?), a person from Socialtext in the audience, suggested that when people ask you for information, you just tell them "It's in the wiki". His view is that is enough to get people's feet wet. Well this is a longer conversation, but I've tried that and in my experience that's a necessary step, but far from sufficient.

Ross QOTD: "pdf: where knowledge goes to die." Bet the Adobe crowd loved that.

3. I guess there is no 3. Wait, yes there is. Stewart gave a typically humorous and rambling talk about flickr, fun but you've seen it before. Then he nailed three good theses to the door:

* Make things massively multiplayer. Flickr is massively multiplayer photo sharing.
* Create an ecosystem, not a distribution channel.
* Media objects are a locus for interaction, rather than things which are passively "consumed".

Square that circle
and smoke it.

4. Maybe someone else has some further insights?

Update 2006-08-16: Presentation material from several of the talks is now available on IBM's NPUC site.

Posted by Gene at July 24, 2006 3:14 PM

Thanks for this! Very helpful.

Posted by: greg at July 26, 2006 3:42 PM
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