Frankness

 When you started using LimeWire, did anyone ever mention that if you did certain things you might be breaking some laws?

– Why would they put music on the internet and invent mp3 players if it was against the law?

You mentioned you like Sean Kingstone – what if I told you that Sean Kingstone’s boss might send you a letter asking for money because you shared his album on LimeWire? What would you say to him?

– W.E! [whatever!]

Come on, play along with me. What would you say if he did?

– I’d say “tooooo strict!” and anyway he can’t make me do anything. He’s not the boss of me, he’s the boss of Sean Kingstone.

What do you think might happen if you didn’t pay him?

– Nothing. I’m too young to be charged by the government so he can’t charge me.

Inside the mind of a 9 year old filesharer, fascinating stuff.

Technology’s impact on evolution

“While science and technology have the potential to create an ideal habitat for humanity over the next millennium, there is the possibility of a monumental genetic hangover over the subsequent millennia due to an over-reliance on technology reducing our natural capacity to resist disease, or our evolved ability to get along with each other.

Link (via BoingBoing)

The above statements come from a “report commissioned for men’s satellite TV channel Bravo” which isn’t exactly Nature or Science, and you can feel sensationalism all over the article. But what happens in our economy (a growing rich-poor divide) could definitely happen in our genes.

Update: evolution is actually stuck! No need to worry! “For any evolutionary change to take place, the environment has to remain more or less constant for many generations, so that evolution can select the traits that are adaptive and eliminate those that are not. When the environment undergoes rapid change within the space of a generation or two […] then evolution can’t happen because nature can’t determine which traits to select and which to eliminate.” Link

Numbers

Ouriel posted interesting reference numbers, like the market cap of the biggest internet players:

And the evolution of the audience of social networks over the past 12 months:

The LIFT price

I realize I should have done a better job of explaining the new price structure of LIFT before opening registrations. Here is the background information on why we raised the price this year:

  • LIFT is a team of 25 people, with at least 4 of them (outside of me working 100%) dedicating more than 40% of their time to the event. For two years we have done this without salary and this is simply not possible anymore. So we are getting paid for our work, probably at the lowest rate we’ll all been working for ever, but hey, at least enough to keep a roof above our heads. This does not mean the event isn’t non profit, but we can’t have an event like LIFT happening without salaries anymore.
  • The event gets better every year, and this year we will have much bigger (=expensive) social events, and the ticket includes the fondue.
  • We have a five year deal with our conference center where the discount they give us gets smaller and smaller every year. They do this to help new conferences. Year three into the deal, we pay 15% more than the previous year.
  • I decided to put much more budget in the artistic activities around the conference.
  • The price of LIFT was backfiring on us. In the survey one third of people said “LIFT is worth more than what I paid for”. I have had numerous feedback of people who told me “LIFT is so cheap we expect it to be badly organized”.

Regarding the student discount:

  • Last year the price was 400CHF which is ALREADY too expensive for students. 550 or 400 is the same for them. Too much. So we decided to go the way many other conferences go: you charge more to those who can pay and try to setup free tickets for students. So we have these 20 tickets thanks to the GRS, and are discussing with the universities around here to have more. Bottom line we should have around 50 free tickets for students. Now it’s up to schools to get their students in, like the University of Lausanne, the IVREA or the UMEA design institute did the previous years.
  • For the first two years, student price = abuse! We had at least 50% of people asking for the price and NOT deserving it.
  • Overall and before making all these decisions, I made the count and last year we had 50 people from the academic world. This year we should have a similar situation, with them paying even LESS money than ever.

The American digital divide

There are only a few loose indicators of how good a conference program is. We have the satisfaction of the participants (who by definition get very divided on some presentations like this one), feedback from the speakers, and sometimes there is the pride of seeing something we scheduled one or two years ago become a globally hot topic.

After women in technology (for which I caught a lot of heat back in 2006, now a politically correct discussion), the digital divide at home seems to get a lot of attention after a Pew study that found 49% of Americans have “few tech assets”.

pew1.png

Time to look at our Digital Divide: Bringing it home panel video again, with Sugata Mitra, Lara Srivastava, Pukul Rana, Nathan Eagle and the guy who came up with the idea (you see I actually don’t deserve much credit ;), mister Galipeau.

AP CEO on the future of media

From a recent presentation at the Seoul Digital Forum by Tom Curley, CEO of the Associated Press:

“As we consider the digital future though, let’s be very clear about one thing: Technology may change how journalists work, but it has never changed what journalists do. […]

The clear imperative today is that we have to go where the users are, and fit our content and interactivity to the screen they happen to be using. Consumers are consuming more content than ever, but we have to provide it in new ways and under different terms from those that drove our business through the 20th century,”

Link

Great to hear the big execs sing that tune. Now is the time for journalists still feeling threatened by new technologies to realize they are their future, opening unprecedented opportunities for those who embrace them.