Friday, 22 February 2008

February in NZ Tech - KiwiFoo, Webstock, Amazon...

So I'm both late and lazy getting around to my writeups!

KiwiFoo was awesome! So many interesting people, and everyone was open for sharing and discussing - the corporate walls were down for a couple of days. I was involved in some great sessions - both issues I'm passionate about - open government data, student internships, IE8, developing OSS communities; and stuff that was just plain interesting - Meraki, getting Internet to Puhoi library, blog ads. There was a bit of linux-ness (Toby trying to use my Macbook for his 3D augmented reality demo didn't go as smoothly as we'd hoped), and hundreds of chats with like-minded and interesting folk. The weather was great (even a bit of cricket on Saturday night), and the venue and food was top notch. Nat may have gotten us there, but Jenine made everything work, and we appreciate it!

Last week was Webstock, and 3 of us took the trip to Wellington. Simon Willison's session on OpenID was great - particularly how Sun has OpenID identities for each of its 34K employees. For SaaS applications, especially cross-company collaborative ones, this is fantastic. The authentication stays inside each person's 'home' company, but any service anywhere can easily utilise it, and thats just the first benefit. Microsoft: add an OpenID provider to Windows Server!

Lots of other memorable stuff, but Nigel Parker's 5 minutes on online privacy in social networks had lots of peoples eyebrows climbing up their foreheads. And as he said, for his daughter he's making decisions about whether and where she'll be online before she knows what online is. It's standard for me to drop names of people into Google to see what comes up and what I can find out about their backgrounds and involvements - and not just job applicants, but any business or personal contact.

Heading down to the Brewery Bar on the waterfront on Thursday evening for a few beers outside was great, especially with the background sounds of Phoenix Foundation's gig up the road. Thanks again to Mike, Tash, Siggy and the others for your hard work! And to the ProjectX and PlanHQ folks for hanging with us visitors :)

This morning I was at Mike Culver's presentation on Amazon Web Services put on by the UoA Centre for Software Innovation. A good mix of people who quickly grasped the issues. AWS makes it so easy for US businesses to get off the ground without investing huge amounts in infrastructure and the ops to make it work. The problem from this (and other) ends of the world is international bandwidth costs. As far as I'm concerned, the NZ government should be bending over backwards to get the likes of Amazon to set up here to help our software startups get up and running and growing (as should every other government, but they're not mine). Mike's talk in Wellington went well too, so at least he knows we're all enthusiastic.

Only downside: another mention from an international guest of how NZs broadband is sucky and expensive. As Rod said, this is our national reputation to global influencers. Not good.

1 comment:

Robert Coup said...

Of course I would mention the Auckland Web Meetup, except I managed to injure myself and had to give it a miss. Bring on March :)