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2004 O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference Call for Participation: You Are Here--Mapping the Future of Computing

August 26, 2003

Sebastopol, CA--Are you a technologist, strategist, CTO or CIO, programmer, hacker, entrepreneur, researcher, or standards worker itching to put a particular computing innovation or issue on the map? If so, we invite you to submit a proposal to lead tutorials and conference sessions at the upcoming O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference. The third annual event happens at the Westin Horton Plaza in sunny San Diego, CA for four days, February 9-12, 2004.

Program chair and O'Reilly editor Rael Dornfest notes that mobility will be one of the primary technological directions for this year's conference: what's happening with data, devices, and communication now that they're freed from the desktop and broadcast models of the past decade? The conference will also explore a number of juicy ideas, such as post-browser interfaces for data and services; social software, from Hiptop Nation to weblogs; the untethered world of ad hoc networking made possible by wireless technologies like WiFi, Bluetooth, cellular, and Rendezvous; Geolocation, sensors, and RFID. These themes will be organized under six tracks:

As the laptop, palmtop, and hiptop tend more and more toward mobility, the ways we interact with data and services are changing dramatically. We're reconsidering the browser interface, embracing lighter-weight, component-ized, flexible interfaces such as Sherlock, Watson, Dashboard, micro-content viewers, and RSS. What happens when you turn web pages back into their underlying applications and data?

Social Software
After nearly a decade of exploring the Web's uses as a one-to-many medium, there is a growing excitement about software designed to support the many-to-many interactions of groups of people. Friendster, Technorati, LinkedIn, and FOAF (friend-of-a-friend networks) are a proving ground for describing and exploring social connections. Location and mobility are being thrown into the mix, making possible silly experiments like Flash Mobs and serious ones, like Howard Dean's use of MeetUp for his presidential campaign.

Networks without wires have transformed the tethered user into a high-speed mobile swarm that makes innovative use of Rendezvous, SMS, ad hoc networking, and J2ME mobile development environments. Devices from the likes of Nokia, Sony Ericsson, and Symbian have found their way onto desktops, in pockets, and built into cars loosely coupled via Bluetooth into a personal area network. Wireless electricity is moving from the ideas of Tesla to the realities of desktop trickle-charge.

With people and their array of personal gadgets increasingly on the move, being able to locate oneself, others, and local data and services is key. A bumper crop of navigational devices, geospacial annotation tools, and visualization software are throwing new light on the landscape. Yet hidden in this seeming utopia of location-based services are yet-to-be addressed questions about privacy and security.

Hardware hacks expand the machine in new and powerful ways. Arrays of sensors and RFID tags are finding and interacting with one another, broadcasting everything from product freshness to chemical safety levels to bridge tolls. Clouds of tiny devices running the open source TinyOS are monitoring the conditions around, and growth of, redwood groves. What are the future applications and implications of sub-micro computing?

Business Models
We place a spotlight on people, projects, and technologies that are hovering just below the horizon of commercial viability, and are likely to become very important to the future of internet computing. Equally important is a careful study of what the new business models will look like. Will there be a return to the traditional, or is there room to innovate?

Submitting Proposals
Individuals and companies interested in making presentations, giving a tutorial, or participating in panel discussions are invited to submit proposals for session presentations and tutorials. Session presentations are 45 minutes long, and tutorials are three hours long. The deadline to submit proposals is September 24, 2003. For more conference details and to submit a proposal, visit: http://conferences.oreilly.com/etcon.

If you are interested in participating in or moderating panel discussions, or otherwise contributing to the conference, please let us know (and please include your area of expertise). If you have an idea for a panel discussion or a particularly provocative group of panelists that you'd love to see square off, feel free to send your suggestions to etech-idea@oreilly.com.

"Participation" is a key word at O'Reilly conferences, and the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference has a reputation as an exceptional meeting place for people passionately interested in how technology shapes the world in which we live--not only computing, but communication, lifestyle, business, and education. Conference participants, particularly speakers, can be profound catalysts for change, influencing new applications, network, and online culture. Come be a part of the conversation.

Comments about the 2003 Emerging Technology Conference:

"The annual conference has become one of the key events geeks attend to tune in to the vibrations of trends on the industry's edges, where legions of software developers...are knitting new bits of Net together."
--Scott Rosenberg, Salon, April 29, 2003

"But for hundreds of do-it-yourself technology developers drawn to the O'Reilly Emerging Technology conference here during the past week, prospects have never seemed brighter...this is no fringe-fest, judging from who attends. Software architects from BEA Systems, IBM and Microsoft, as well as computer pioneers such as Alan Kay, who helped coin the term 'personal computer,' and Lotus founder Mitch Kapor came to prove they still have what it takes to be a geek..."
--Eric Auchard, Reuters, April 28, 2003

"The O'Reilly conferences are the gold standard for drawing together a critical mass of thought leadersPerhaps the biggest clue was the presence of star alumna, not as keynotes, but as notetakers. Adam Bosworth sat in Wednesday's Birds of a Feather session on Chandler and offered his (and BEA's) XML Query work to the open source effort."
--Steve Gillmor, CRN, April 26, 2003

"Call it a Davos for geeks...the conference is an umbrella symposium for all the brand-new, up-and-coming technologies that may or may not make a dent on the future. It is one of the primary gatherings of all the geeks and nerds busy inventing tomorrow, and those seeking to make a buck off their ideas. Never mind if you're nowhere near Northern California: It is probably the most blogged event on the planet."
--Leander Kahney, Wired, April 23, 2003

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