Bill and Tim’s Excellent Adventure


Geek 2.0 meets Geek 1.0

If you’ve been following the “Web 2.0” conversations, are interested in the future of web technology, or just have a half hour or so to kill, you should check out this video of Tim O’Reilly and Bill Gates. In the video from Mix 06 O’Reilly leads off by drawing a paralell between Web 2.0 and Microsoft’s Live Software, a parallel which I’m afraid Gates didn’t (or didn’t want to) understand.

Common Web 2.0 topics came up, like perpetual beta, user added value, RSS, etc. Not surprisingly Gates was clearly uncomfortable with the topics. For example, when O’Reilly brought up the topic of perpetual beta, Gates went to his comfort zone and talked about how Microsoft’s plan to upgrade IE as often as three times per year was cutting edge. Similarly when O’Reilly mentioned the mashup of craig’s list and Google Maps as part of the evolution of the web as a platform rather than continue on that topic, Gates shapes his response into a description of the products Microsoft is developing to compete with Google Maps.

Through the whole presentation it becomes increasingly clear that Gates is only comfortable speaking about his own company’s technology while O’Reilly is talking about the direction of the industry. This is why I say Geek 2.0 meets Geek 1.0. Geek 2.0 (O’Reilly) speaks in terms like standards, technologies, trends, platforms. Geek 1.0 (Gates) speaks in terms like program x, technology b, product t. Geek 1.0 thinks their software vendor should and will innovate within their field, while geek 2.0 reaches out to open-source products and custom mashups and software which will evolve with usage.

Watch the body language in this video. O’Reilly looks like he could be sitting in his living room talking to someone. Gates looks like he’s on trial. Pretty bad since the Mix conference was hosted by Microsoft.

Check out the video here.

Thanks to Ken for pointing this out last week.

microsoft, oreilly, o’reilly, web 2.0, web20, web office, software, software development

MAKE Volume 2: More Good Stuff

Make: Vol 2In the gaps between teaching, work, bloging and working on some pet-projects I have finally finished MAKE: Technology On Your Time, Volume 2. Chock full of home entertainment projects, I am yet again impressed with the quality and quantity.

Highlights include HDTV on Your Mac, Atari 2600PC, and instructions on how to build a twitchy little robot out of a computer mouse. I’m glad the magazine only comes out quarterly… I could spend three months working on the projects from just one issue!

While the quality of the projects outlined in MAKE is undeniable, I am finding the true value of the magazine is how it has changed the way I look at things. I can only equate this to when I learned how to pick locks. Once you have picked a Masterlock and a few door locks your attitude toward locked doors changes. What was once a barrier is now a challenge, even one to look forward to.

MAKE has changed the way I view the world. A broken answering machine, old mouse, dead entertainment system, even a cheap Commadore64 direct-to-TV game have taken on a new value. I’ve always been a hacker, never afraid to take the screws out and rewire, but this is going to a whole new level!

More than a book full of projects, MAKE is full of new ways to apply technology, new tools, and true “maker” attitude. The value of MAKE, and it’s true spirit, is realized when you view it not as a bunch of projects and reviews, but as 200 pages of raw information just waiting to see how the reader will put it all together.

Will I build a Lego robot controlled by an audio chip? Podcast a lecture for a class I will be teaching? Perhaps build a desktop linear accelerator to annoy and harm my cube-mates! (just kidding)

Well, one thing is for sure… I’m glad my girlfriend got me a subscription for my birthday. Time to dig into Volume 3. I’m afraid I’ve only got a couple months until Volume 4 will arrive.

For more information on what started this new obsession of mine, check out this article about MAKE, and this retrospective on Volume 1.

make, oreilly, make magazine, hacks, hack, hacker, electronics, electronic, entertainment, technology, electric, home entertainment, diy, do it yourself,

Make Vol 1: Final Thoughts

Make: Vol 1I finally finished Make: Technology on Your Time, Volume 1 and I must say I am more excited about the magazine than ever. Chock full of projects like “5-in-1 Network Cable” and “How to Make a Magnetic Card Reader” I can see that, though I’ve read every word between these covers, the fun is not nearly over.

Articles about heirloom technology and backyard monorails and other crazy stuff that I can’t believe I didn’t know about already round out the magazine.

There are three impressions I would like to share about this issue. One is am astounded at the consistent quality of the articles. As I delve into issue two and three I can only hope they can maintain the quality of content. I’ll let you know.

Second, I am pleased at the level of advertising. The magazine reads more like a scholarly journal than a trendy tech magazine. There are ads, but they are few and far between, and never did I feel I was distracted from an article by them.

Finally, I was surprised to see so much reference to Macintosh and Mac OS X. Without inciting a platform war the writers have included a lot of information pertaining to OS X. Being a long-time Mac user (now cruelly forced to work on a PC by the evil overlords of… oh wait a minute, getting off topic) I was glad to see the Mac being treated as an equal, if not preferred platform.

So I’m digging straight into Volume 2 and I’ll report back more as I get through. In the meantime I am starting to gather the parts for my home-built mag-stripe reader. For more about why I just had to have this magazine, check out my original article on Make. For anyone who is still just considering buying Make, just one word. Yes.

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MAKE: Magazine, A Must Have!

A MUST HAVE for fellow tinkerers, hacks and geeks!

Friday afternoon I was chatting with a coleague when I saw this magazine on his desk:

Make Voluem 1

Immediately intrigued by the image of a kite tied to a title that read “Aerial Photography Now With Kites!” and additionally drawn in by such cover stories as “Backyard Monorails” and “iPod Tricks” I asked if I could borrow the magazine.

Upon closer examination I noticed the magazine is published by O’Reilly. How could that be a bad thing? Naively believing this would be a magazine I would read only a few articles from I promised the coworker I would return it to him on Monday.

That night I started flipping through the mag and looking at the articles. After going randomly to three or four I realized I was going to read every article in this magazine (those of you who know me will understand how sinificant that is.)

Full of intriguing articles such as “Desktop Rail Gun” and “XM Radio Hacks” this premiere volume of MAKE shows a lot of promise. If you, like I, have a need to know how things work and like a glimpse into cool things going on out there (such as the “Fab Lab” at MIT) then you need this magazine!!!

Well, I’m going to go back to reading about “The Open Source Car” but you can expect to hear more about MAKE from me in the future. For now, they currently have three volumes out which can be purchased individually through Amazon (also through the MAKE website, but cheaper through Amazon.) You can also subscribe through Amazon or MAKE’s website.

Here are some links to get you started:

MAKE: Magazine at

From Amazon:

Volume 1: Premiere
Volume 2: Home Entertainment
Volume 3: Cars and Halloween
Subscription to MAKE

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