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
- Tom Coates (Yahoo! Brickhouse), "Ride the Fire Eagle: Open Location for
- 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
- Micah Sifry (Personal Democracy Forum), "Digital Democracy 2008 and
- 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
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
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:
For speaker presentation files, go to:
To view keynote presentations, visit:
For articles, blogs, photos, video, and other coverage of the event, go
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:
To read Brady Forrest's and Tim O'Reilly's take on the future, go to the
If you have ideas about areas you'd like to see included at a future
edition of ETech, send a message to:
For information about exhibiting at or sponsoring ETech, contact:
Yvonne Romaine (707) 827-7198 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to discuss forming a media or promotional partnership
with O'Reilly for an upcoming event, contact:
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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