AllThingsD, Apple, Journal, Technology

At the D8 Conference in Rancho Palos Verde

D8 If you love technology, you’ll want to tune into the D8 Conference, where I’ll be for the week in beautiful Rancho Palos Verdes, California. We have a terrific slate of speakers being interviewed by Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, including Apple’s Steve Jobs, on Tuesday evening. Check out the complete list of speakers and visit conference web site for live blogs, photos and video highlights from every session!

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AllThingsD, Apple, Photography

Photographing the iPhone 3.0 Event

iPhone 3.0 event

I was at the iPhone 3.0 event today at Apple’s Town Hall this morning, covering the event with John Paczkowski for AllThingsD.com. I ran into a number of people that I know from both development and media circles, including Raven Zachary and Eric Savitz. The crowd was comprised of about 60% developers and 40% media.

When I shot the MacWorld Keynote this year for All Things Digital, I was missing a critical piece from my computer and photography kit, a BixNet battery to power my Cradlepoint EVDO/Wi-Fi router. Without the battery, I had to manually transfer images from the camera to the computer to SmugMug. At the time, I was pretty efficient, but I wish I could have removed those extra download and upload steps.

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AllThingsD, Apple, D5, Journal, Microsoft, Photography

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates at D5

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates

The highlight of the D5 Conference last week was without a doubt the joint interview of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. If you haven’t yet seen it, the video is available in audio and video podcast form on iTunes, and you can see highlights on the AllThingsD.com. The D5 site also contains the complete transcript and John Paczkowski’s live blog of the event. The interview been covered all around the blogosphere and was even mentioned at last night’s event at the Computer History Museum.

I want to talk briefly about the media workflow that we used during the conference. The goal of the D5 website was to be the best source of commentary, photos, and video on the web. Because media would be coming in from and used by multiple groups — Asa Mathat for photos, Fourth Wall Media for digital signage, Kodak for poster prints, Trillium for video, and John Paczkowski for commentary — close coordination was needed between everyone. My role at the conference was to make sure the site was working properly and that content got up in a timely fashion.

At the beginning of each session, the ATD staff began writing a new post for the current speaker. Within the first few minutes of the talk, Asa delivered a few photos which his assistant (and wife) imported and annotated using Photo Mechanic and iView. These photos were then rsynced to a hard drive operated by Fourth Wall. They had their own crew selecting and processing images that would be displayed on the large-screen monitors throughout the hotel. They also supplied these images to Kodak, who were printing and hanging large prints outside the Grand Ballroom following each session.

Walt Mossberg holds up a print of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates

As for me, I created iView catalog that updated whenever new files were added to the repository. From there, I selected the ones that I wanted to post to the website and imported them into Aperture. If necessary, I performed some quick adjustments to the image before captioning the photos. Finally, I uploaded the images to SmugMug (using the Java web uploader) and used a customized version of my WP-SmugMug plugin to display the images in WordPress. As more images came in during each session, I repeated the process of (1) importing and selecting in iView, (2) processing and annotating in Aperture, and (3) uploading to SmugMug.

Video was handled a little differently than photos. There were typically three sessions before a break, during which time we received a hard drive containing QuickTime movies of the previous talks. Our video editor used John’s blog posts as a guide to create a five minute highlight reel for each session. Ali did a fantastic job at quickly editing down and exporting the videos so we could upload them to our video provider, Brightcove. From there, we tagged each video and updated the blog post with a link to the video.

With the exception of the Gates-Jobs interview, each session resulted in one blog post, five to fifteen images, and a five-minute video. For Gates-Jobs, we created a five-minute highlight reel and had the entire session available in seven segments. Eventually, we were able to deliver Apple a version that they then used to create the video and audio podcast. Last I checked, the podcast was one of the most downloaded podcasts on iTunes this past week!

If this workflow sounds a bit complex, it was. That said, everyone involved in the conference was top-notch and worked really well together. Of course, there’s room for improvement, but that’s what D6 is for! I think we’ve seen a glimpse at how conferences will be run in the future. Near instant availability of commentary, photos, and video will become the norm, rather than the exception, for conferences.

Fortunately, I had some time to sneak out of the control room to watch the talk live in the Grand Ballroom. Seeing Jobs and Gate on stage in person was far more interesting than watching it on the TV in our room. The photos below are from Jobs’ solo interview with Walt Mossberg and the joint interview with both Kara and Walt. Enjoy!

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AllThingsD, D5, Journal

Day One at D5

John McCain kicks off D5

Today was the first day of the D5 Conference for attendees. Industry luminaries such as Steve Ballmer, Arianna Huffington, Martha Stewart, Jeff Hawkins, George Lucas, and many more were seen strolling around the Four Seasons Aviara today.

The conference was kicked off by U.S. Senator, John McCain, who engaged in a spirited discussion with Walt and Kara. Everyone got a kick out of McCain’s joke that he’ll be appointing Ballmer and Chambers to his cabinet if elected. Things turned serious when Walt asked about the War in Iraq and McCain’s stance on the United States continued role in the area. I’ve gone back and forth as to what we need to do. I can understand both viewpoints: the desire to stay and secure the area and the need to get out immediately.

Tomorrow’s going to be real busy as we dived into the meat of the conference. Ballmer, Jobs, Gates and Jobs together, and more. The team at AllThingsD accomplished quite a bit today, including launching a new section to the site, d5.allthingsd.com, which has continuing coverage of D5. John Paczkowski of Digital Daily will be live-blogging during each session. We’ve also created a special low-bandwidth page for those people who like to reload every minute.

Photos are being hosted by the fantastic team at smugmug, with D5 videos being hosted by Brightcove. We’ve posted a 5-minute clip from the McCain session. Check it out and more over the next few days!

Here are some photos taken throughout the day. The official photographer for D5 is once again the excellent Asa Mathat. I first met Asa at a Palm conference over 7 years ago! Everything is coming full circle!

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AllThingsD, Journal, Running

Craplets at D5

Craplets at D5

As a surprise for Walt, the D5 staff all wore these great Mossberg Craplets t-shirts from Mule Design. Kara posted her thoughts on the surprise, along with a video of the proceedings.

I’m putting the finishing touches on some updates to the allthingsd.com site before the conference begins. I didn’t get to see much of the beautiful weather outside today, sadly enough. Perhaps tomorrow, I will have a little time to go out for a nice POSE run. One good thing about having Puma H-Street shoes is that I can fit them in my suitcase very easily. Typical running shoes are really bulky and take up so much luggage space. H-Streets are the complete opposite: light, flexible, and easy to pack.

The Four Seasons is a very impressive hotel; it reminds me of the time Rae, her family, and I spent on the Constellation during our Northern Europe cruise. The constant pampering from the hotel staff is a little bit awkward, but that’s par for the course at a five-star hotel. The service is definitely a step-up from a Best Western!

Some photos of the Craplets t-shirt surprise for Walt below!

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AllThingsD, Development, Journal, Technology

All Things Digital Launches

We launched the new All Things Digital today! This will be the new home for The Wall Street Journal’s technology columnist, Walt Mossberg and his partner in journalistic crime, Kara Swisher. Also joining them with witty daily videos and posts is former Good Morning Silicon Valley journalist, John Paczkowski. Expect to see tons of great content — both written and in living color — in the coming months.

Alex and I were the primary developers for the site, and we were matched with a fantastic design firm in Mule Design Studios and a kick-ass team from Automattic. Thanks go out to everyone else who helped on the project, Beth, Brian, Raanan, Lia, and John!

All Things Digital Web Site

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