(Almost) Sleepless in San Diego.

by Timothy Appnel

Another Emerging Technology conference is here and like last time I'm exhausted already. This much enthusiasm, creative spirit and technical know-how in one place should be illegal.

This year's conference picked where the last one left off with discussion of social effects of technology, hardware hacking, services and mobile. Apple Powerbooks and iBooks dominate the scene. The phone to have is the Nokia 3650.

Rather then real time blogging, I've been participating in collaborative note taking using the award winning SubEthaEdit. Combining elements of wikis and instant messaging, it's been a fascinating experience that is downright fun. I highly recommend you give it a try. (Don't have a Mac? BOO! BOO! Shame on you.)

Tim O'Reilly set the tone by kicking off the conference with his O'Reilly Radar talk. Tim returned to themes of the Internet as the platform and watching the alpha geeks which included an overview of the latest hacks to get his attention. He closed with a few wishes that technology

Helen Greiner of iRobot showed us the latest in robotics effecting our lives including a demonstration of the Roomba. (I think this is a vacuum that my wife won't kick my butt for giving her for christmas this year.)

I attended Dave Sifry's energetic presentation on Technorati – what's happened and what's new. He demonstrated a new feature that shows information people are linking to on Amazon in real-time and links to other bloggers. Neat. He encourages all to send them feedback on their service adn what users would like to see.

Macromedia's Jim Morris demonstrated his company's forthcoming FlashCast server. FlashCast is a service that pushes Flash-based channels of information and applications over a wireless network to devices. Quite fascinating. I think Flash applications on mobile devices could seriously challenge J2ME. Getting the near universal deployment that the J2ME runtime has will be the deciding factor.

Mike Pusateri, Elizabeth Freeman, and Eric Freeman presented how Disney is levering weblog and wiki tools internally. It's great to see a company the size of Disney deploying such tools and to good effect. I hope more follow their lead.

Sam Ruby gave a presentation of his work as the lightening rod of the project that has come to be known as Atom. Based on his experience, he stated there is no one perfect single tool and suggested a mix of weblogs, wikis and mailing lists be used in such efforts. (Sam has already posted his slides here.)

For a little bit of geek fun, I attended Brian Jepson and Rael Dornfest's presentation on Mobile Hacks which could have been entitled how to trick out your phone and bring it to its knees.

Onward to day two.