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July 30, 2008

Technology of Awareness and Perception Explored at O'Reilly Emerging: Technology Conference 2008

Sebastopol, CA--How does new technology help us perceive things that were barely noticeable before or draw attention to important issues, objects, ideas, and projects, no matter their size or location? These and many other questions around the future of technology were explored at ETech, the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference. This annual gathering of people passionate about computing innovations brought together over 900 developers, technologists, geeks, researchers, academics, artists, activists, and makers in San Diego, California, March 3-6, 2008.

"ETech is a mental battery charge that will last all year, " observed Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Wired Magazine.

The seventh edition of ETech focused on the brand new technology that is tweaking how we are seen as individuals, how we choose to channel and divert our energy and attention, and what influences our perspective on the world around us. Just a few of the topics participants tackled during the four-day event included food, body, and sex hacking; DIY drones and survival techniques; technology lessons from emerging markets; visualization of data; energy, defense, and genetic policy; crowds and ambient data; gaming, both small group and massive; and much more.

A full day of longer, in-depth tutorials was followed by the three days of keynote presentations and breakout sessions. In addition to O'Reilly Media CEO Tim O'Reilly's "O'Reilly Radar" presentation about where technology is taking us, the rich conference program also featured onstage discussions from innovators like:

  • Saul Griffith (Makani Power/Squid Labs), "Energy Literacy"
  • Jury Hahn and Dan Albritton (MegaPhone), "Your Phone is Your Controller: Collaborative Gaming in Public Spaces"
  • Eric Rodenbeck (Stamen Design), "Information Visualization is a Medium"
  • Chris Melissinos (Sun Microsystems, Inc.), "Project Darkstar: Putting the Massive in Massive Multiplayer"
  • Elizabeth Churchill (Yahoo! Research), "Place Matters: Social Encounters between the Physical and Digital"
  • Kathy Sierra (Creating Passionate Users), "How to Kick Ass"
  • Steve Cousins (Willow Garage), "An Open Source Platform for Personal Robots"
  • Tom Coates (Yahoo! Brickhouse), "Ride the Fire Eagle: Open Location for All"
  • Peter Semmelhack (Bug Labs), "Personalizing the Device: How Communities Will Help Actualize User-generated Hardware and the Long-tail of Gadgets"
  • John McCarthy (Stanford University), "Elephant 2000: A Programming Language for the year 2015 Based on Speech Acts"
  • Lawrence Lessig (Creative Commons), "Coding Against Corruption"
  • Alex Steffen (Worldchanging), "Building a Bright Green Future"
  • Lew Tucker (Radar Networks), "Twine: The Social Graph Meets the Semantic Web"
  • Micah Sifry (Personal Democracy Forum), "Digital Democracy 2008 and Beyond"
  • Timothy Ferriss (best selling author), "The 4-Hour Workweek"

ETech's exhibit hall featured the latest offerings from companies at the leading edge of computing, providing attendees with the opportunity to network while learning about new products and approaches. Sponsors included Sun Microsystems, Adobe, Amazon Web Services, The Walt Disney Internet Group, Google, Make, Yahoo! Developer Network, AdaptiveBlue, and Jaduka.

The announcements made at the conference included the news that Fire Eagle, Yahoo's geolocation service, had left the nest and that ETech attendees were invited to participate in its private beta.

Evening events offered attendees the chance to socialize together. Activities included: Ignite ETech, an After Hours Party (sponsored by Walt Disney Internet Group), the first Emerging Arts Fest, EFF Pioneer Awards, Werewolf, BoFs, and much more. Since ETech was held in conjunction with Graphing Social Patterns West, participants also had the opportunity to take in the AppNite Demo contest (sponsored by Charles River Ventures, Facebook, and SocialMedia).

Concurrent conference GSP West was dedicated to exploring the business and technology of social networking. For more information about GSP conferences, visit: http://en.oreilly.com/gspwest2008/public/content/home and http://en.oreilly.com/gspeast2008/public/content/home.

From robotics, visualization, and gaming to defense, ubiquitous computing, and geolocation, ETech explores promising technologies that are just that--still promises--and renews our sense of wonder at the way technology is influencing and altering our everyday lives.

The next edition of ETech will take place March 9-12, 2009 in San Jose, CA. The Call for Participation will open in late July 2008.

For complete information on ETech, visit: http://conferences.oreilly.com/etech

For speaker presentation files, go to: http://en.oreilly.com/et2008/public/schedule/proceedings/

To view keynote presentations, visit: http://etech.blip.tv

For articles, blogs, photos, video, and other coverage of the event, go to: http://en.oreilly.com/et2008/public/content/news-coverage

If you'd like to stay up to date on information relating to ETech and other O'Reilly conferences, sign up for the conference newsletter: http://elists.oreilly.com

To read Brady Forrest's and Tim O'Reilly's take on the future, go to the O'Reilly Radar: http://radar.oreilly.com/

If you have ideas about areas you'd like to see included at a future edition of ETech, send a message to: etech-idea@oreilly.com

For information about exhibiting at or sponsoring ETech, contact: Yvonne Romaine (707) 827-7198 or yromaine@oreilly.com

If you would like to discuss forming a media or promotional partnership with O'Reilly for an upcoming event, contact: mediapartners@oreilly.com

About O'Reilly

O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.

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