NetSquared Vlog

Along with the GETV stuff that’s been keeping me busy, I’m also doing a videoblog for NetSquared, a community that is a product of the good peeps over at CompuMentor and TechSoup. NetSquared’s mission is to turn on nonprofit organizations and world changers to “social web” technologies. Basically web 2.0 for the nonprofit set. I’m shooting and producing three videos a week, short form interview style of interesting people using technology in innovative, save humanity kind of ways. I’m also producing a weekly wrapup podcast for NetSquared that includes the audio from these videos. Check ’em out and let me know if there are any world changers out there that I should interview. turns 10! Experience

February 23, 1996 will live in infamy. Yes friends, that is the date I registered This domain,, has been in my possession for 10 YEARS! Dude, that’s like almost before the Internet was invented. Seriously, I didn’t think I’d live long enough to have had a domain for that long. Wow. As a fitting tribute, here’s my own personal wayback machine of the way things looked in 1999.


I digg it, man

People power is finally organizing on the Internet in interesting ways., a site I discovered barely a month ago, has quickly become a favorite place to kill time. Digg is essentially a place to find interesting links to news stories, blog entries or anything of interest on the world wide Internet. It’s mostly tech oriented right now, but that’s about to blow wide open real soon. What makes digg different than most other link aggregators is that editorial control is done by you, me and anyone else who cares to jump in. Anyone can submit a link they think is cool or interesting, but it’s gonna take a small community of people to agree with you for a much larger community of eyeballs to see it.

The way it works is pretty simple. You peruse for something interesting in the “digg for stories” queue, the place where all new submissions get tossed. When you find something you like, you click the “digg” button next to a link’s title and it is “dugg”. This increments a number next to the submission and adds the link to a personal bookmarks collection. Kind of like, which anyone else can see. When an article or link gets enough diggs, the article is “promoted” to the home page. This boosts the visibility of the article enormously and many more people get a chance to find it and hopefully also digg it.

What’s really amazing about digg and why I think it’s future is really bright is that it empowers the reader of content to decide what is interesting. Contrast this with the current model of the media in which you have a cadre of editors who decide what stories they think are going to gain the biggest audience or sell the most papers. We’ve all seen plenty of bad TV and read really crappy articles. What digg does is it flips the control of interestingness from the editorial ivory tower to the unwashed masses who ultimately consume the stuff. digg isn’t a media desitnation itself, merely a smart pointer to intersting stories and links that others create. Digg CEO Jay Adelson describes the symbiotic relationship he sees with the mainstream media in a recent interview with Mad Penguin.

I believe that the role of the New York Times, just to use them as an example, will be to go out and find the news and to interpret the news. We are going to bringing people to the New York Times IF they make the right choices. I believe that it is a very symbiotic relationship. Perhaps what we will provide organizations like newspapers is some insight into what the mass audience really wants to read about today, at least the on-line Internet audience.

Digg isn’t perfect. Yet. Some popular articles get repeated, some lame stuff bubbles up and it remains to be seen how the digg’s current audience will receive or adapt to non-tech categories. These are all relatively small issues that will evolve solutions. The decentralized editorial approach is amazingly powerful and the mainstream press are waking up to it as they see spikes of traffic from digg.

GETV - Kevin Rose

I recently had a chance to meet Kevin Rose, founder of digg, at a geek party. Very cool dude. He agreed to do a GETV interview, posted yesterday. If you like it, be sure to digg the interview and embrace your new found editorial power. It can be addicting.

BrainJams Saturday

Tomorrow/Saturday is the day for remixing brains over geek and non-geek stuff at Chris Heure’s BrainJams event. It’s a collaborative, relatively freeform shindig that revolves around the nebulous concept of “knowledge sharing”. The gist is you spill your passion or project to fellow ‘Jammers and grow from there. Nate and Chris‘ posts explain this much better than I currently understand, but it seems much like the Advocacy Dev shindigs I’ve participated in in the past. Check out the wiki for more deets and register. Oh yeah, it’s in Shallow Alto, but don’t let that freak you out. Added bonus: GETV will be there to cover the fun.

Make your own stereo digital camera for under $25

Instructions for hacking a couple of $11 Dakota digital cameras into a stereo digital camera rig. You’ll need a couple of Dakotas, two male USB ports (salvaged from mice) and some Lego. Apparently you can get these “disposable” cameras from Wolf and Ritz Camera stores, though I haven’t tried.

read more | digg story

This site will be handy for figuring out the USB pinouts.

TechSoup for Your Soul


I’ve been asked by my good friend John Lorance to help eliminate the buzz around Web 2.0 in an online technology forum next week put on by TechSoup. I’m not quite sure how this thing will unfold, but it looks like it all takes place in virtual space in these online message boards. TechSoup does good stuff, connecting non-profit organizations with technology so non-profits can do what they do better. If there’s anyone that knows how to not make a profit, that’s me. Here’s the official announcement:

It’s happening in TechSoup, a five-day online event:

The Impact of Web 2.0 on the Nonprofit Community

Join CompuMentor’s community engagement program director John Lorance and a host of leading Web technology advocates as they demystify Web 2.0 technologies and illustrate how using new socially oriented technological innovations can help the nonprofit community. Web 2.0 technologies such as tagging, social bookmarking and online social networks, blogging, content sharing through Wikis and RSS, and new Web widgets need not only be in the hands of well-funded developers; but also can be used by organizations to further their missions.

Co-hosts include:
Marnie Webb of CompuMentor
Ruby Sinreich two-time winner of “Best Blog” from The Independent Weekly
Chris Messina of Flock and SpreadFireFox fame
Marshall Kirkpatrick, trainer and educator on Web 2.0 technologies
Phil Klein, nonprofit technologist of Pen and Pixel
Alexandra Samuel, online community consultant with Social Signal
Michael Stein, nonprofit technology blogger
• Yann Toledano, nonprofit technology consultant and TechSoup forum co-host.
• Eddie Codel, online media technologist and Webzine conference organizer.

These leading voices of Web 2.0 technology will help you bring the ever-changing field of the second wave of Web applications and tools into practical focus. Event hosts will share their real-world stories, demystify the buzzwords, and provide resources. Discussion will focus on exploring the latest trends in Web publishing for all, effective online communications, emerging research and discovery methods, and collaboration tools.

This event will eliminate the buzz and bring into focus how nonprofits can use these tools to learn from other organizations’ Web travels. You will come away with practical tips, models, resources, and tools for bringing collaborative technologies and processes to your own organization.

Save the dates: October 24-October 28

Join us the week of October 24, for a free, five-day online event, in the TechSoup Emerging Technology forum as we discuss issues such as:

§ What do we mean by Web 2.0?
§ How can you use an RSS feed to get pushed information as well as to push your content to others?
§ What on earth is a Wiki? How is it better than the old-fashioned Web site?
§ What is tagging and how is it relevant? How can you learn from others’ Web searches?
§ What are widgets and how can these new tools help you solve age-old problems?
§ How can an online social network help your organization find volunteers?

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Monday brain food

Monday night was rad. Media Alliance did an informative thing at 111 Minna on wifi in San Francisco. Larry Lessig did an incitement and wry presentation and slideshow on the history of communication monopoly, specifically touching on how AT&T stifled any sort of creativity when they felt the least bit threatened. One example of this is being the Hush-a-Phone case. With the FCC in their pocket for many decades, AT&T got their way until they were finally broken up in the 80’s. After Larry, a panel discussion followed by three people representing communities that have stakes in wifi access. A reoccurring point of the evening was that whatever gets deployed in San Francisco, should be ‘network neutral’ and ‘platform neutral’ meaning that the city and the provider don’t get to decide who does and does not have access to the network. Neutrality being the key concept here.

After the intellectual fun, a bunch of us headed across the street to a Thai restaurant to munch and shoot the shit. It was cool meeting Jimmy Wales, the genius behind Wikipedia, one of the best things about an open Internet. Rene shot some video of Irene interviewing Jimmy and Irene interviewing Craig Newmark (yes, THAT Craig).

Party on the VC’s dime like it’s 1998

Or so it felt the other night at Swig for the Colors of Web 2.0 party. The tightly packed geekerati of ’05 were sucking down from the open bar to cheesey disco while the suits exchanged buisness cards. Sponsored by our new cool web friends at, WordPress, Wink, Flock, Technorati, Odeo and Flickr it did indeed feel much like a bubble era dot-com launch party. The difference is that the sponsors of this party are all interesting and truely useful technologies that I actually use rather than some hair-brained VC funded idea to reinvent the selling of dogfood. That’s the best thing about the crash, it finally put all the crappy business plans out to pasture. That and the end to crappy live-work loft construction. I’m hopeful that what is transpiring now is the natural evolution of what could have happened 5 or 7 years ago if VCs actually understood the Internet and how people use it. It’s looking pretty good from where I’m sitting and it’s not just the free gin & tonics talking.

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Lessig at SF Wifi Media Alliance Event

If you live in SF and care about democratizing Internet access, you should attend this free event. Media Alliance is making it happen and Lawrence Lessig is gonna throw down a few words. And check out Awesometown, funny as fuck.

Lawrence Lessig on Wireless in SF: Digital City or Divided City?

When: Monday, October 10 2005 @ 07:00 PM PDT – 10:00PM
Where: 111 Minna Gallery
111 Minna Street
between 2nd and New Montgomery
San Francisco
Description: Join Media Alliance for this dynamic panel discussion on creating universal, affordable Internet access through municipal broadband utilities. Featuring a presentation by Professor Lawrence Lessig and a panel of local community Internet experts, the evening will include Q&A with the audience.

After years of advocacy by MA and other groups, Mayor Newsom announced earlier this year his goal of free wireless Internet access for all San Franciscans. Cities across the country are implementing municipal projects, though with varying degrees of commitment to bridging the digital divide.

This evening will explore the significant opportunities for city-run projects to expand Internet access and usage by under-served communities, and improve cost, service and consumer choice for everyone.

The talk will be followed at 9pm by music from DJ’s Kid Kameleon and Ripley.

Cost: $5, Free for Media Alliance and EFF members

7-9 pm Discussion: Lessig, Panel, Q&A
9-10pm DJ’s Kid Kameleon and Ripley