Jon Udell's Interviews With Innovators
Interviews With Innovators
by Jon Udell
Jon Udell is an author, information architect, software developer, and
new media innovator. In his day job with Microsoft, and also here on
ITConversations, he explores a wide range of issues at the
intersection of technology and society. These conversations are
sometimes deeply technical, sometimes broadly social, and frequently both.
They always aim to connect the dots.
Adrian Holovaty recently launched EveryBlock.com, a service that generalizes ChicagoCrime.org's style of hyperlocal news to other cities and to a broader range of data types. Six months into a two-year project funded by a Knight Foundation grant, he discusses EveryBlock's accomplishments and aspirations.
Valdis Krebs has been mapping and analyzing social networks for over 20 years. He doubts that Facebook and LinkedIn will survive in their current form, because they require us to connect within artificial environments. But he sees them as stepping stones to a world in which technology and sociology align more closely.
Dr. Joel Selanikio is the co-founder of DataDyne, a non-profit consultancy dedicated to improving the quantity and quality of public health data. He works mainly in developing countries where the dominant computer is the cellphone, and the dominant network protocol is SMS, a phenomenon that he calls "the invisible computer revolution."
Bill Buxton, a principal researcher with Microsoft Research, is the author of Sketching User Experience. In this conversation he talks about design thinking -- a way of producing, illustrating, and winnowing ideas about how products could work.
ITConversations executive producer Phil Windley, who teaches computer science at Brigham Young University, has worked with students to develop a general framework for online reputation. In this conversation with Jon Udell he discusses the goals and status of the project, and explores ways in which online and offline reputations are both similar and different.
Stefano Mazzocchi, the creator of Apache Cocoon, is now an MIT research scientist working on SIMILE, a series of projects that take a pragmatic, grassroots approach to bootstrapping the semantic web. The SIMILE team has learned that you can't mandate coherence. But when people can create and mix data to suit their own tastes and purposes, it may emerge.
IBM researchers Fernanda Viegas and Martin Wattenberg are the creators of Many Eyes, a new kind of social website dedicated to data visualization and analysis. Members upload batches of data - about politics, weather, or anything else - then chart, interpret, discuss, and even re-visualize one another's data. The process is fun, and it also points toward a future in which our collective interpretation of the world is more firmly rooted in data.
Neil Giarratana, president of a small web software firm called Lucidus, is bucking a demographic trend. According to the United Nations, 2007 was the tipping point for world urbanization, and migration to big cities is expected to be a huge continuing trend in the 21st century. But Neil moved from Fairfax, VA to Keene, NH to combine high-tech business with small-town New England life.
Richard Wallis is a technology evangelist for Talis, a UK-based provider of library systems which has chosen to base its next-generation platform on semantic web technologies. The company doesn't talk about its mission in those terms, though. In a white paper, it describes the mission of the new platform as: "Harnessing mass collaboration on a global scale."
Matt MacLaurin, who works for Microsoft's Creative Systems Group, is developing a game -- and game-development platform -- called Boku. On this episode of Interviews with Innovators, host Jon Udell asks Matt about his own early experiences writing software for systems that invited hacking.