ETECH 2006: Real/Unreal mashups and more

Just couple of days (hours?) before the registration closed and the event being declared sold out, I got myself registered for the O’Reilly ETECH 2006 (I really called them and found out that there were only 21 slots to go). The Day 2 was a complete brain awe, with the jaw dropping “pressure-sensitive multi-touch interface” presentation taking the crowd by storm.
The opener on Day 2 had Ray Ozzie talking about a “live clipboard” for the web, where cut-n-paste information from a website goes to the actual clipboard on the PC. The example he showed was a seamless cut and paste of a calendar entry from a website to Microsoft Outlook. Ray’s little prototype hits right on the head and plugs the big gap in the ‘mashup-o-logy’.
Ray talked about “real” mashup in his keynote. I call it “real” ‘coz this mashup does not require a non-techie user to do anything more than install a plugin (maybe this feature will come out-of-the-box in IE7, Ray and his team is already collaborating with the IE7 dev. team).
There were other folks who tried to display some “unreal” mashups using microformats — I don’t really understand why we need a new technology/format viz. microformats — Don’t we already have atom which describes the same things which microformats are trying to achieve? Maybe it’s more? But, that’s what I understood from the 45 minute-4-presentations-4-demos-session.
I call these “unreal” because (a) it requires a geek to do what it is suppose to do (b) it uses some non-standard format to do simple things.
Moreover, Ray envisions that RSS and correctly done “mashup” has the potential of giving the Internet a “Unix pipe” for doing simple tasks on related websites.
I think Microsoft Live Clipboard is a real winner — it’s not about “mashup” of content from just two sites but a chained linkage and that is truly wiring the web.

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