Friday, August 05, 2005

Friday morning keynote

First thing that struck me when I walked in, much smaller room. The movable walls of the room where the keynote is being held hadn't been, well, moved as much. Attendence on the Friday is down on the rest of the week, I guess with the exhibit hall closed today all those guys went home...

After the kick-off from Nat Torkington, the first speaker was Asa Dotzler the "community guy" for the Mozilla Foundation, who was talking about Linux on the desktop after his controversial post in his blog last month.

As I briefly mentioned on Wednesday, in response to one of the other keynotes, I think this is pretty much irrelevant now. The entire point of Web 2.0 is that the desktop isn't important any more. Why are we still worried about this? Asa made some good points, although I disagreed with a lot of what he said, but I'm confused as to why we're even talking about this...

Perhaps to follow on from last years discussion with Freeman Dyson about hacking the physical world, the next speaker was Drew Endy, from the MIT's Biological Engineering group, talking about Open Source biology.

He started off talking about genetic sequencing, apparently you can just go to to a company website, type in the DNA sequence you want, and they'll ship you the genetic material. That's pretty odd...


Drew Endy talking about open source biology

He went on to talk about genetic engineering and the trend towards patenting DNA, and the counter revolution of open source DNA, and the worrying legal issues surrounding this new technology which currently holds out so much promise. This was really interesing stuff, I think I'm going to have to start doing some reading.

The next speaker was Tony Gaughan from Computer Associates, who talked about their open sourcing of Ingres. I guess we've been lucky, this was pretty much the first corporate shill of the conference. If it wasn't obvious from their stand in the exhibit hall that Computer Associates just didn't get it, I think this talk cleared up any doubt. I haven't a clue what the guy said, my brain turned off.


On Evil...

The penultimate talk was given by Danny O'Brien, from the Need to Know site, who talked "On Evil", which was perhaps the funniest talk of the conference so far although he had some serious points. Mind you, these
Clowns have been at stage two, they laugh at you, for 400 years...
and
Ruby, who went from 'they ignore you' to 'you win' in three weeks...
weren't them.


Nat Torkington introducing Saul Griffith...

The final speaker of the session was Saul Griffith, from Squid Labs, who talked about hardware hacking and teaching kids how to build their own toys.