Today on Radio New Zealand National I broadcast live from the Webstock conference In Wellington. This is an amazing event run by volunteers in Wellington every year. If your day to day business involves creating things on the web, you should definitely go.
Q: Webstock! Tell me about Webstock
A: It’s a conference for people who do things on the Web and on social networking. The first Webstock was two years ago in Wellington, and it was a stunning success, and so it was again last year.
Q: What sort of people do you get there?
A: Anyone who works on the web. Designers, programmers, people with cool Internet ideas. Some government people, a lot of private sector people. And they get some very good speakers. Many well known New Zealanders, of course, but also:
- Annalee Newitz – your business plan is science fiction. She thinks that’s a good thing, by the way. Annalee is a tech journalist who has been covering the Internet since the beginning. She’s also an activist who worked for the Electronic Frontier Foundation for a while. Annalee has a weekly column called Techsploitation that gets syndicated all over the world.
- Ben Goodger – a retrospective of ballet classics. I didn’t know Ben was a ballet fan, and I suspect he’s really talking about web browsers – he did write Firefox, after all, and now I think he’s the person behind Google’s latest browser, called Google Chrome. Ben’s a New Zealander who works for Google in California. Incidentally, a lot of Firefox development still goes on in New Zealand. There are several Firefox developers in Auckland, led by Robert O’Callaghan.
- Bruce Sterling – Bruce is an amazing guy. He’s known mainly as a science fiction author – he wrote Involution Ocean, which is a sort of science fiction Moby Dick, and The Difference Engine, which is set in an alternative future where Charles Babbages Victorian designs for computers were actually built and used to control the population. One of Sterling’s themes is how technology changes society – that’s in common with a lot of science fiction, of course, and that’s very much what you see in action at a place like the Webstock conference.Sterling is a founder of what is called the Cyberpunk movement in science finction, along with people like William Gibson and Neal Stephenson. In fact, someone once asked Neal Stephenson who would win in a fight between him, Gibson and Sterling and his answer was eloquent and hilarious. It’s in today’s links, enjoy.