17th level Hacker

ETech Peeps

Most people blog about the famous people they run into when they go to confs like ETech, so I’m gonna blog about some of the people you might not know who I ran into at the conference instead, and some of the kick ass stuff they’re working on.

Albert Drouart (Tomo Software, Sora) - Albert pinged Russ and I cause he’s looking to start a MobileMonday in LA. Tomo is working on something that seems like a merger of MMORPG and alternate reality gaming, the beta is called Sora. They have a “virtual world” that runs like a simulation of a large set of rules. You have a persona/avatar that you control by setting preferences (Does my avatar like to ski? Or gamble? What kinds of clothes does it wear? What kinds of possions does it have?) that guide the progression through the world. The game is basically there running on the server all the time, and you connect to check up on your alternate persona and make changes if you want. I think it sounds pretty interesting. It seems to hit that sweet spot of providing a “rich game” but without making you sit there for hours playing it at a time. Little slices of updates, little tweeks here and there. But an expansive world that’s being exposed to you bit by bit. Really reminded me of what Tom said about Casual Gaming not needing to be shallow. Nice! Albert, it was great to meet you. Good luck setting up the new Mobile Monday, and keep us posted!

Anthony Eden (Tagsurf, dotMP) - I’ve exchanged emails with Anthony before, I got a developer key for Tagsurf so that I could play around with a few things. Anthony is working on some projects with Russ, but also involved in the dotMP top level domain. I had read about what they were doing, but apparently I didn’t really grok it. After talking to Anthony I have a completely different take on what the service provides. For the geeks, they have a system which allows them to setup the dotMP TLD for you and provision email, blogging, and WAP/XHTML serving. For the non-geeks it provides a way for you to personalise your online activities. For those of you who have seen the WINKsite style services, this is a similar set of features with a TLD tied to it. It could potentially add a layer of virtualizatioin to the online service component of any carrier service offering. It’s interesting stuff for the geeks, and probably would be of value to the nongeeks, but it’ll take figuring out how to simplify the value proposition so that people who aren’t already in the industry will understand it. Hell, even I glossed over it the first few times I read about it and then stopped paying attention. Apparently the press they got at the start wasn’t that great, the authors were enthusiastic but unfortunately a bit underinformed. I think the service is worth another look, even if for no other reason than Anthony is an obviously very smart guy who’s enthusiastic about what they’re doing. If you buy into the concept of building a microcontent stack that folks like Tony Gentile have mentioned before, the dotMP project represents a big chuck of the stack for mobile devices.

Ewan Spence (AllAboutSymbian, The Mobiles Show) and Crow- Ewan I know from #mobitopia on freenode.net IRC, but this is the first time I’ve met him in real life. Ewan participates in AllAboutSymbian, a great community site, and has been extending into doing podcasts recently (I commented about them a little while ago, I really liked the first few episodes). Ewan grabbed me to talk about the Mobile Monday events in the US, and we recorded a bit of audio that may show up in one of their future shows. He’s also going to be doing a rock podcast, showcasing unsigned bands from his home area for The Podcast Network. Sounds like some of the stuff that Eric Rice was talking about with his “bringing podcasting to the people” kinda rants. Maybe these two should hook up? We’ll have to see if we can get Ewan to visit us over in the Bay Area at some point.

Tags: ETech2005