Gnomedex. bad news. good news.
Fun to watch the Gnomedex on and off [videos], the biggest sold-out geekfest for the 7th time, being broadcast live via ustream.tv. Chris Pirillo showed great enthusiasm and showmanship as always, even putting a shoe on his head. Love their alt conference philosophy and making room for an unconference too.
The first keynote Robert Steele [video] was interesting, to say the least, with schpeals of bad news. Notable as the #1 non-fiction reviewer on amazon.com, he’s well read with tons of knowledge and statistics, but came to different conclusions than I would. He ranted and raved about political conspiracies and how Americans are lethargic. The underlying point is that we as bloggers do have the power of influence in an open source world, even though we’re not using it for the utopian world he’d prefer. His “Open Everything” presentation is online, and he even made a preview available for Gnomedex overachievers: 2007-07-31 Steele at Gnomedex Preview 3.9 (2 min at 100MB).
[update 8/12] View this interview by Cali Lewis with Chris Pirillo about starting and ending with controversy — the rationale of this madness: to get conversations going and to look beyond the laptop.
Biggest good news to date, while f2f negotiations continue between Taliban and South Korean offiials: Taliban: 2 Female Koreans to Be Freed (AP wire):
A Taliban spokesman said Saturday that two sick, female South Korean hostages would be released “soon” for the sake of good relations between the Taliban and South Korea. Neither the international Red Cross or the Afghan government could immediately confirm the claim.
[update 8/13 13:00 GMT] Taliban frees two South Korean women hostages
Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan freed two South Korean women hostages on Monday, officials in Seoul said, and they have been handed over to the Red Crescent.
Reuters witnesses said the two women arrived in the village of Arzoo, near the city of Ghazni, in a saloon car driven by two tribal elders.
“We saw them getting into a Red Crescent vehicle,” one of the witnesses said. “They were able to walk and appeared to be well, but they were very emotional and were crying.”
South Korea’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that two Korean women were freed.