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Zocalo: An Open Source Toolkit for Prediction Markets July 3, 2006

Posted by Bill in SIG Meetings.
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In August, on Wednesday, August 9, to be precise, the Emerging Technology SIG will feature Chris Hibbert, talking about Zocalo.

Here’s the abstract:

Zocalo: An Open Source Toolkit for Prediction Markets

Prediction Markets are a 15-year old idea that have been getting attention recently for their ability to provide improved and continuously updated forecasts.  Participants back their estimates of the likelihood of different outcomes with real or play money.  The incentives reward honesty, insight, and information sharing.  The result is a projection that accounts for the strengths of different opinions, and attends to contributions from people whose opinions would be ignored by polls, focus groups, or official forecasting departments.

These markets are being used in a variety of contexts, including sports betting, predicting Hollywood box office returns, and projecting the spread of infectious diseases.  Trials in leading companies have shown that they can improve on corporate forecasts in areas ranging from predicting product sales to comparisons of market demand for different product features mixes.

Like other open source projects, the Zocalo effort intends to make the technology more accessible and to codify the state of the art so additional development can focus on expanding available features rather than reproducing basic functionality.

Mr. Hibbert will show that Prediction Markets would be a valuable addition to any organization that wants to know more about what the employees are doing or what the customers want.

Cool stuff.


No July Meeting July 2, 2006

Posted by Bill in SIG Meetings.
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We had a killer topic and a great panel. Then … as is sometimes the case, things began to shift around. Some panelists cancelled. Other panelists didn’t return our confirmation e-mails . And while some panelists were good citizens, we decided that we weren’t sure we could put on a great SIG meeting this month.

And so we’re cancelling it.

We’ll be back next month (in August) with a great talk by Chris Hibbert (the author of Zocalo).

Wandering Again June 20, 2006

Posted by randism in Future of the Web.
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Our own Bill Grosso seems to be blogging with regularity again with his aptly titled musings over at Wander, Think, Repeat. He was a little distracted there for a while, and it is good to finally have him back. He wasn't gone that long, but it seems to have just hit him that the Web is changing. Also, he has some pointed comments on Krugle, as well as expounding the virtues of Google Tech Talks.

O’Reilly Books Raffled Off at Emerging Technology SIG June 11, 2006

Posted by Bill in Python, SDForum, SIG Meetings.
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This week's Emerging Technology SIG promises to be a great one.

Not only will our speakers talk about Python on cell-phones.

Not only we will get a chance to discover, first hand, whether Mike Rowehl is serious about a diet of pure monkey chow.

We'll also be raffling off O'Reilly book (Python and Ruby related). So if you want to win a copy of the Python Pocket Reference or the Python Cookbook, stop on by. We'll be raffling off two of each.

Python, Smartphones, and More at the Next Emerging Technology SIG May 27, 2006

Posted by Bill in Python, SDForum, SIG Meetings.
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Mike Rowehl and Hartti Suomela are our guest presenter’s at this months meeting (Wednesday June 14). The topic this month: Python for the Nokia Series 60 Smartphone. Python is poised to play a significant role for Smartphones with Nokia’s latest S60 release. Mike and Hartti will be discussing the latest Python for S60 release as well as demonstrating just how easy it can be to create Smartphone applications.

Where: Cubberley Community Center, 4000 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto,
Room H-1. Here's a link that gives directions to Cubberley:
When: Wednesday, June 14, 2006
7:00 Registration, Pizza, networking, and small-talk
7:20 Intro by Rand Bradley, Emerging Tech SIG Co-chair
7:30 Mike Rowehl and Hartti Suomela, Python for the Nokia Series 60


Have you ever wanted to develop Smartphone applications, but were put off by the intricacies of high-performance C++ programming? Now you no longer need to be a Smartphone specialist to develop applications for the Smartphone. Nokia is continually making application development easier and easier by releasing language platform SDKs for Java and more recently Python.

Python is considered one of the easiest programming languages to learn and is noted for its ability to rapidly building applications. Nokia brings these strengths to the S60 platform by fully integrating the Python language. All API’s and hardware features are available to Python as well as a fully integration user interface layer for building native look and feel applications. On top of that, Nokia recently released Python for S60 under the Apache license (see http://sourceforge.net/projects/pys60).

At this month’s meeting, we will learn more about the capabilities of Python for S60 and an introduction to just how easy it is to create S60 applications with Python. The presentation will also demonstrate:

  • Using the python interpreter interactively from a PC
  • The native Smartphone UI library
  • Capturing an image from the built in camera
  • Communicating with other devices via Bluetooth
  • Making requests via the cellular interface
  • Communicating with web services (Yahoo, Flickr, Ning)


Mike is an independent consultant and contractor working on mobile systems. He's the organizer and co-founder of the Silicon Valley chapter of Mobile Monday (http://www.mobilemonday.us) and has been instrumental in spreading the group to other areas. Mike has a particular concentration on open source in mobile solutions, both on the server and device sides. He has 12 years of experience programming with and for Linux based solutions and has made extensive use of web tools and techniques.


Hartti is a long time Nokian, his current position is Senior Technology Expert in Forum Nokia, which provides developers with a broad range of technical support, knowledge, discussion boards, training opportunities, and information on application testing and usability. Previously he worked in the Software Lab of Nokia Research Center and coordinated Nokia's collaboration with Stanford Media X. During his years in NRC he has worked in various mobile projects in the field of media, advertising, mobile Web, health, and usability.

The Next Yahoo: Defining the Future May 18, 2006

Posted by Bill in Future of the Web.
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If you're at all curious where Yahoo's placing it's bets (and, as a reader of the Emerging Technology SIG blog, I would hope so), then head on over to Susan Mernit's blog.

Today, she's got a 188 page PDF from Yahoo's Analyst day.

Beta Test the Intelligent Shirt! May 13, 2006

Posted by Bill in Free Stuff, Join Us, SIG Meetings.
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Now that we've got four chairs at the Emerging Tech SIG, one of the things we're trying to do is expand our idea of "emerging technology."

One of the places that really interesting thinking is happening is the intersection of software, hardware, healthcare, and the generally aging population. Companies like Posit Science, who combine these interests, are doing fascinating work.

Another thing we'd like to do in meetings is have members present mini-summaries (5 to 10 minutes in length) about technologies and ideas that they find compelling. One mini-chat and one full-length chat per meeting seems about right.

So, here's a chance to both expand our coverage into the world of advanced healthcare technology AND give a mini-chat. Does anyone want to beta-test a smart-shirt and report on what they found out?

Netbeans Day (Monday, May 15, 2006) May 7, 2006

Posted by Bill in Community Events, Free Stuff.

I'm going to the free Netbeans day that Sun is holding right before JavaOne.
I've been telling people for about a year now that Java on the client is going to be a big deal in 2007.

No, really. I mean it.

In the long term, two things are happening. Clients, including cell-phones, are getting more and more powerful. And, at the operating system level, things are fracturing– there's more Apple and more Linux on the desktop (and a ton of different versions of Windows, from 98 to XP and beyond). Cell-phones are equally fractured. And in the "early adopter" and "power user" crowds, things are far more heterogenous than in general.

Which means that some sort of generic client-side programming layer (e.g. a VM that runs on all these platforms) is, potentially, a compelling thing. When you add in the Java-based clients will be able to share some code with servers written in Java, it becomes easy to guess that Java on the client is headed for an upswing.

I also think that the "Generic Client Side Application" model that both Eclipse (as in, Eclipse RCP) and Netbeans have taken is absolutely the correct way to go about this. It's a long term strategy, but building a robust container model for the client-side is definitely an enabler.

Which is why I've been so interested in reading what's going on with Netbeans. And why I'm going to the free Netbeans day that Sun is holding right before JavaOne.

Gary Sasaki Explains the Digital Home to You May 5, 2006

Posted by Bill in SDForum, SIG Meetings.
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The next Emerging Technology SIG, coming on Wednesday May 10, is going to be a great one. Once again, we're privileged to have Gary Sasaki stop on by and explain the ongoing evolution of the digital home.


Many presentations on the "Digital Home" talk about grand visions of the future. These presentations have become a bit of a cliché. Digital Living Eco-lution offers a strategic view of the market, and is aimed at business and technology leaders that are looking for growth opportunities. Instead of simply pointing out opportunity areas, you are shown ways to look at the market so that you can better look at your own business situation. The presentation starts by explaining how the market is currently making a key transition right now, and points out some of the implications. Next, the evolution of the digital entertainment ecosystem and some related value chains are explained. This is followed by a discussion about business models, with some illustrations of how and why they are changing. Finally, a provocative prediction of what the next big thing will be, and why.

About Gary Sasaki:

Gary has been involved in the digital consumer electronics industry, plus various parts of its value chain for over ten years. Areas have included digital imaging/video, digital media, digital displays, digital cinema, digital cable, audio/video networking, telematics, and handheld products.

Some of the places that Gary has spoken or done work include Hewlett Packard, Samsung, Philips, Siemens, Bain & Co., CABA, Pepperdine University, Santa Clara University, IBDNetwork, and SDForum.

Gary is also an analyst for The Diffusion Group.

BayPython Django talk on Google Video May 5, 2006

Posted by randism in Community Events, Python.
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The Django talk given by Jacob Kaplan-Moss at Google on April 26 was recorded and has been posted on Google Video. We hope to have Jacob talk for the Emerging Tech SIG in the future.

The talk was excellent and I highly recommend reviewing the video recording. You can find the video here:

django: Web Development for Perfectionists with Deadlines