Jon Udell

Technical Evangelist, Microsoft

The Other Digital Divide
72 minutes, 33.2mb, recorded 2007-01-24
Jon Udell, Scott C. Lemon
Generally, the term "digital divide" refers to the gap between those who have regular access to digital technologies and those who don't. However, a second divide exists between those who understand programming and the technical aspects of their computers and those who do not. Jon Udell of Microsoft joins Phil and Scott in a discussion of how geeks can better work with the non-geek world.

Scott first talks about the problems he had upgrading his system to better handle video editing. His experience clearly shows how much trouble someone without much computer knowledge would have trying to do the same thing. The average user would not be able to do it.

Jon reviews his decision to move to Microsoft, including his desire to become more involved in outreach to connect to more people than ever before. He discusses how poorly regular media covers technology, as well as his experience working with people lacking knowledge to work with useful data. Training people how to better use current software has become more important in a world where using the right mouse button is unknown to many.

The group also discusses how young people use computers with ease for tasks that an older person would see as a huge proposition. However, it's clear that youth aren't being trained well on basic computer tasks. Jon believes that educators are spending time on keyboarding without considering such things as learning how to create a useful Google search. Jon believes that his position in Microsoft will allow him to better interact with both geeks and non-geeks to continue to make technology useful for all.

Jon Udell is an author, information architect, software developer, and new media innovator. His 1999 book, Practical Internet Groupware, helped lay the foundation for what we now call social software. Udell has been a software developer at Lotus, was BYTE Magazine's executive editor and Web maven, and has worked as an independent consultant.

A hands-on thinker, Udell's analysis of industry trends has always been informed by his own ongoing experiments with software, information architecture, and new media.

From 2002 to 2006 he was InfoWorld's lead analyst, author of the weekly Strategic Developer column, and blogger-in-chief. During his InfoWorld tenure he also produced a monthly series of screencasts about software, and a weekly series of audio interviews with innovators.

In January 2007 he joined Microsoft as a technical evangelist. In his new role he'll continue to explore and explain a broad portfolio of technologies, both inside and outside Microsoft. He aims to build bridges not only within the technical community but also, and crucially, across the chasm that divides elite technologists from everybody else.

Co-host Scott C. Lemon is CTO of MediaForge - a next generation viral marketing and web enhancement company - and founder of HumanXtensions - an Internet R&D company. Scott's recent history in the computer industry include several small start-ups, along with being Chief Technologist at SCO, Chief Strategist at Vultus, and holding numerous positions during his four tours of duty at Novell. Scott's expertise ranges from computer and wireless hardware technologies, to networking and distributed software applications. As a futurist studying the patterns of evolution, his past experiences in operating systems - CP/M, DOS, Windows, OS/2, NetWare, UNIX, Linux and others - is allowing him to explore the new levels of abstractions provided by the Internet.


This free podcast is from our Technometria with Phil Windley series.

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