Thanks to Tucker Withington, I finally got a peek at the OpenLaszlo Meetup last week in San Francisco. Rain and traffic conspired to delay the return of my Yahoo commuter shuttle back to the city in time for the meetup. As a result, I missed free beer, free pizza, demos of exciting multi-runtime AJAX technology, and what was undoubtedly a cool party as well (see flickr photos).
PhotoBlox pop-up windows
Using rich media while keeping page weight light
|I stumbled across some old tests of ways to incorporate the Laszlo PhotoBlox and realized I could make any in-line image spawn the PhotoBlox in a pop-up window. The small thumbnail to the left works in precisely this manner. This seems like an ideal way to incorporate that rich media widget while keeping page weight to a minimum. Now, if only this were made easier for the general user, the popularity of the PhotoBlox could increase 1000 fold.|
I headed over to the TechCrunch BBQ (#3)last night, in part to find out what all the fuss was about, and to see how the audience might respond to the Pandora demo. This fuzzy cell phone photo captures the attention Pandora attracted. Everbody appreciates a personal DJ at your service 24/7, spinning tunes you love and catering to your every wish. Pandora does just that via a practical AI implementation matched with a zen-simple user interface.
Tom Conrad closed his demo thanking OpenLaszlo, the GUI technology behind Pandora, and gesturing toward Jim Grandy and I. That was most thoughtful of him, and we were surprised by the spontaneous ovation.
Without doubt, the gracious tone of the whole event was set by the hosts and organizers – from opening up their residence, to creating an event t-shirt, and serving food and beverages for 200 strangers. With more gatherings such as this one, Web 2.0 may prove to be a more social version of the original Web boom, in several senses of the word.
Pandora CTO Tom Conrad and lead engineer Neil Mix paid Laszlo Systems a visit yesterday to discuss the experience of launching their new music discovery service. Much of the Laszlo engineering team is pictured here, digesting both pizza and Neil’s remarks on the evaluation process and final decision to base the Pandora UI on OpenLaszlo.
I continue to be amazed everyday by the growing impact of the Web. Perhaps part of the secret behind it all is captured in this photo. Tom and Neil will demo Pandora again, tonight at TechCrunch.
SoundBlox, Remix Culture and the Digital Life
The Laszlo SoundBlox, an open source MP3 blog widget, has quietly gathered an enthusiastic following around the world since its initial release in December 2003. Just this morning, I received a note of thanks from Patxi Trapero from the Basque region of Spain, who informed us of his wonderful use of the SoundBlox, complete with a mix of acoustic music, beautiful photographs and endearing personal videos.
Patxi’s SoundBlox is another example of the human impulse driving what some call the digital life and others dub the remix culture. I find this impulse supremely humanistic and hope-inspiring. Thanks Patxi, for sharing your life, and for having the patience required to program the SoundBlox XML file! The SoundBlox of today requires substantial technical prowess to customize. In the years ahead, Laszlo Systems hopes to make this kind of digital life activity far more accessible to the world-at-large.
Scott Mace met David Temkin and I at OSCON to conduct a short podcast interview. The result is now available on the IT Conversations site. It’s part of an intriguing podcast series called “Opening Move with Scott Mace”
A descriptive synopsis from the IT Conversations web site:
It’s a nuanced ramble on the genesis, status and future of OpenLaszlo. Ideal iPod listening for the home commute :-).
Tom Conrad and I first met at Rob Scoble’s Geek Dinner in December 2004, where Tom introduced me to the interesting work of the Music Genome Project, and I in turn introduced him to OpenLaszlo. Now, 8 months later, the result of our chance encounter is Pandora, a new “music discovery” service that combines a Music Genome recommendation engine with an OpenLaszlo-powered user interface. Tom has received enthusiastic early feedback on this excellent example of where the Web is headed. My only ‘special request’ to Tom is to add more world music to the service, especially from Latin America and Africa. But according to the Pandora FAQ, some of this is already on the way… awesome!
The OpenLaszlo team has arrived at OSCON 2005 in Portland, Oregon. John Olmstead (pictured) has kindly come up early with me to setup our booth. David Temkin will present a case study on Going Open Source. Friend Raven Zachary of the Enterprise Open Source Journal will hook up with us tonight for dinner. We look forward to a stimulating several days.
PhotoBlox touches Rome to reach home
|On the ‘one hyper-linked world’ front, Italy’s Robin Good Blog recently wrote a flattering entry on the Blogbox Project, providing extensive coverage on the PhotoBlox in particular. A few days later, the site got a ‘thank you for the info’ comment post from Cynthia Typaldos, reaching a local personality from the project’s point of origin in Silicon Valley, California!|
Just another example of how the Internet has usurped geographic proximity in the propogation of information. And I admit it is gratifying to see my Southeast Asia travel photos spreading around the world.