Demo is quite a conference.
I just had a nice talk with Russell Beattie (for those of you who don't know, we've had some public disagreements in the past). But, the company he joined, WaveBlog, is doing one of the more interesting things I've seen here at Demo. Here Russell shows off what they Demo'd here.
Yeah, he hates Microsoft. Yeah, his company is building on top of Linux. But, it still is cool and I can't wait to try his system out.
Speaking of anti-Microsoft stuff, yesterday Evermore showed off a copy of Microsoft Office that was coded in Java. Funded by Chinese government. Oh, great, not only are we competing against programmers who get paid $2500 per year (or less), but we're competing against software funded by governments now too. Yeah, it's OK, they are just beating up on Microsoft, right? Well, wait until their government comes after your job. Is this having a chilling effect on the industry? You betcha. I was talking with several VCs this morning and they are looking for things that pay them back their investments even faster and for things that are harder to copy.
It's interesting, because of my role on stage at yesterday's weblogging panel (here's a Red Herring report on that) VCs are asking me about whether there's money in weblogging. I ask them back "if we talked in 1994, could you have told me how you would have made money with HTML?"
One knock against weblogging and potential businesses that are being built around weblogs is "they are technically easy to reproduce."
So, what's the coolest thing I saw? I agree with Amy Wohl that Total Immersion had the best demo of the two days. These guys came out on stage. In the demoer's hands was a flower. At least that was how it looked on the 15-foot monitors at the front of the room. But, he didn't really have anything in his hand.
Soon the demoer had a light saber in his hand. My son would have loved this system. The demo moved to a table with real models laid out (sort of like a city). On screen the demoer dropped a virtual car onto the table. It started driving around and interacting with the "real" city. Then, he showed that the "real" city could be augmented. Changed. Played with.
This stuff is so amazing I simply don't know how to describe it in ASCII text. Soon he had a helicopter flying over the hybrid real/virtual city and, even, the audience.
I saw Paul Allen walking around the show floor yesterday, and his new company, Vulcan Ventures, had the sexiest thing. A tiny laptop running Windows XP. Not much larger than a PDA, but that has a 1024x600 resolution screen. I want one, although I'd be more likely to spend the $1500 on a new Tablet PC.
I've always wanted to videoconference with my brother-in-law who works at Apple (among others) but there was never a good cross-platform system. SightSpeed showed me their new system that works on Windows, Linux, and Macs. Very excellent video quality, although the audio crackled a bit while they were on stage.
AlMiMedia made me want to get a Windows Media Center. And that was built on .NET too.
My friend Buzz Bruggeman just won a Demo God award. Congrats!