I'm Going to Write an eBook [en]

For some time now, I’ve been toying with the idea of writing an eBook (well, more precisely, of starting to write eBooks in general). Now that my life is un-hectic and a little under control (fingers crossed, let’s make it last) I’ve decided to get to work on this project.

First, obviously, I need something to write about. My general problem rears its ugly head again here: I’m not sure what to choose (too much choice often turns into “no ideas”).

I’ve used the poll below to jot down some ideas that I could imagine writing a short eBook about.

– My survival guide to starting to blog
– Utiliser WordPress.com pour créer son site très simplement
– Freelancing: lessons learned
– Some advice for first-time conference organisers
– De l’usage sage de Facebook
– Adolescents sur internet: des chiffres, quelques principes, pas de panique!
– My life improvement tricks
– …

I’m open to other ideas, of course, but please use the poll below to let me know what you think would be the best pick? What would you want to read? What would you share with your friends? What seems most useful?

Thanks a lot for your participation and help!

Lift09 — Vint Cerf [en]

Story of the talking dog. Excitement, but nobody is paying attention to what the dog is saying.

Vint feels like the talking dinosaur.


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The Internet works because there are standards, and people cooperate to work together around those standards.

Jan 1983, 400 computers, official launch of the Internet.

Now: 542 mio hosts, 1.464 mio users. Doesn’t count computers behind firewalls.

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Other relevant phenomenon: 3.5 bio mobiles have come into the system. The first experience of the internet for many people in the world is going to be through mobile.

More internet users in China than in the US

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Asia biggest number of users, then Europe. Hard to make predictions about Europe as it keeps adding countries.

Astonishing: the kinds of things that people put on the net! Fridges and picture-frames! (Sounded about as useful as an electric fork…)

steph-note: internet-enabled picture frames sound cool, to share photos with family around the world

Internet-enabled surfboard. Surf the internet while waiting to surf the next wave, with wifi hotspot on the beach 🙂

Vint seems to have the house of the future: sensors all over the place, network, monitors temperature of the wine cellar for example, and sends and SMS when something is wrong (happened to him when nobody was home, so got one SMS for every five minutes for the next three days of his trip, and when he got back the cellar was a bit warm…)

For the moment, all Vint can tell is that the lights have been on in the wine cellar, but not if somebody took wine. RFID: could put a chip on the bottle, so would know if it walks away. But you could drink it and leave the bottle! So put something in the cork… steph-note: wild!

This year is a significant year of change for the internet. moving to run in parallel with the IPv6 something or other (steph-note: fuzzy for me)

In the seventies, nobody could decide how much address space was needed for this “experiment”. Someone wanted variable length fields, too much computing power. 128-bit addresses (3.4 X 10^38 sounded like a preposterous number of addresses to ask for for an experiment).

The experiment never ended… we’re living in it.

Non-latin characters in domain names — that’s happening now. Hard to integrate that in the current domain name system without disrupting it.

Multi-core chips. (steph-note: technical stuff I’m not following, about clock speeds and chips and stuff and how this relates to the internet)

Conventional relational databases are not scaling up to the sizes people are looking at today. Petabytes of data…

Bit-rot problem: it’s 3000, can you interpret a 1997 Powerpoint? Big big problem. Application software needed to interpret our bits not available anymore. Need to maintain access to application software after support is dropped.

Before: computing utility = big building. Today, big buildings with lots of computers and people use the internet to access it = Clouds. Cloud makers don’t usually worry about dealing without other clouds. No vocabulary to talk about other clouds. How does one cloud communicate with the other? How do you tell Cloud B to protect the data that’s just been copied to it in the way that Cloud A was protecting it?

Privacy and acceptable behavior: how will we agree on what privacy is online, and what is acceptable or not there?

Big clash between copyright policies and the structure of the internet. Legislators and technologists will have to come together to figure out stuff that will hold in a world built by copying.

Digital libraries. Most works will hopefully be available in online form.

In 100 years we’re going to say “can you imagine that at some point, we had books that did not talk to each other?” How do you navigate a dynamic world of books.

Non-Google project here: Interplanatary stuff. Point-to-point transmission is ok if you don’t have to talk to too many devices or spacecraft. Design a space communication system that is as rich as the internet. Why not use TCP/IP? doesn’t work because the distance between planets is astronomical… it takes 3.5 minutes for a signal to propagate to mars (20 minutes at the furthest). TCP/IP is not designed for 40 minute delays. Other problem: celestial motion. Planets have the nasty habit of rotating and we haven’t figured out how to stop that yet.

Disruptive and highly delayed environment. Devised new protocols. Went to test them in tactical military communications because it’s also a highly disrupted environment. DTN.

DTN transfered way more data than TCP/IP, and the marine corps ran away with it. Where is my experiment?

NASA: Deep Impact Testing. launch a probe and get data, but the spacecraft is still going round the sun, so they used it to test data transmission from and to it. Neat!

This summer they upload the protocols to the space station. August, another craft. October, another, so three nodes. By the end of the year, will have formally qualified the interplanatary protocols, and they’ll be able to offer them to standardize communication in space. => interoperability between space missions, if desired!

Next step: interstellar network. But… today it takes long to get over there to the other stars. So need to work on a propulsion system to fix that. Lot of work to be done!


  • Are you happy? Yes, internet shows people are willing to come together and collaborate. And the WWW has demonstrated that sharing information is power. Happy to be at Google, because they’re too young to know “you can’t do that” and so they just go and do it. The reason things didn’t work out 25 years ago might not be true anymore.

  • Can we keep the internet open? Amazing pressures in the network today. At the time, academic geeks who were happy to work together. Pressures to try and control the network and the way people use it. Not necessarily all bad. Privacy questions. Protecting people. Legal system needs to be adapted. Tension between the open internet and being so shut down that nothing is possible. Somewhere in between the network is openly accessible, things can be tried out. Committed to keeping it as open as possibly.

  • Semantic Web, will it become reality? You should ask TBL… Was feeling sorry for TBL because the idea of the semantic web was moving as quickly as IPv6 into the public internet… Link = “something over there that is of interest”. What if we could add a “semantic hyperlink”? Jaguar can be a car, operating system, animal… (steph-note: this is what wikipedia disambiguation pages do) More hopeful.

  • Is Google the real Big Brother? Doesn’t think so and hopes it never does become it. Helping people manage their information. How well is the information managed and protected? Google recognizes that separate access and privacy is important. E-mail is always read by programmes. The one that puts ads in Gmail just does pattern matching.

Lift09 — Open Stage: Daniel Kaplan [en]

How do we expose ourselves online?
How do we choose our online friends?
Results from a new kind of online sociological survey.

Survey: you can’t just go and ask people to put words on their practices. Designed it like a game. Shown images / I values and U values.

– “I” values: traditional – the more revealing the picture, the less people are expected to see it.
– “U” values: things you feel strongly about

People have a strategy! they know what they’re doing…

– traditionnals
– exhibitionnists
– immodest
– trash/playing with the game

Traditionals, biggest group:

– don’t display more than what you would put on your desk or in your sitting room

Are social network equalizers? No, we mingle with people who are like us or of higher social status.


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Lift09 — Baba Wamé — L'appropriation de l'Internet par les femmes camerounaises [fr]


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Cameroun: petit pays d’Afrique Centrale (11 fois plus gros que la Suisse). 18mio d’habitants. Langues officielles: anglais et français. Villes: Yaoundé, Douala, Bafoussam, Garoua, Maroua, Bamenda.

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Internet dès 1997, 400000 utilisateurs internet, dont 50000 en connexion directe. 2500 cybercafés dont 500 à Yaoundé.

Chatteuses camerounaises: sur internet pour chercher un mari. Profil bien défini. Entre 18 et 34 ans, niveau scolaire assez bas, élèves/étudiantes. Parfois inscrites comme célibataires alors qu’elles sont mariées (mari peut-être d’accord). Sud = chrétien, Nord musulman. Chatteuses plutôt du sud.

Motivations. Que font-elles sur internet, que cherchent-elles en ligne, et quels sont les facteurs qui les font revenir?

  • changer sa vie et celle de sa famille par le mariage
  • avoir des enfants métis, prestige du mariage avec un blanc (métisses privilégiés dans la société camerounaise)
  • facilité d’utilisation d’internet
  • amélioration des lieux de connexion.

Difficultés socio-économiques au Cameroun, peut-être 50% de taux de chômage => dur de trouver un travail, donc possibilité de changement et d’amélioration en partant à l’étranger.

Vision négative de l’homme camerounais (irresponsable, voleur, menteur — Baba Yamé nous précise qu’il ne correspond à aucune des ces descriptions!)

Les sites de rencontre sont beaucoup plus ergonomiques qu’avant. Aussi, Photoshop, c’est extraordinaire. La webcam facilite la communication entre personnes éloignées. Les sites de rencontre sont gratuits pour les femmes aussi, pas pour les hommes.

Cybercafés climatisés, avec boxes privés à l’abri des regards… Fibre optique. “Connexion haricot” — le haricot doit cuire longtemps, donc on utilise cette expression pour parler d’une connexion très lente, genre 10 minutes pour ouvrir Google. Avec la fibre optique, plus de ça.

Techniques pour approcher les hommes sur internet? Pour que ça marche, il faut de la technique!

  • choix judicieux des fiches (âge, pays, race) — les camerounaises sont très pointilleuses (dans quel pays veux-je vivre? en première position: la Suisse!) et elles ne veulent pas des jeunes, au moins 35-55 ans. Les jeunes sont exigeants et barbants! Puis, bon, il faut être blanc.
  • bons rapports avec les moniteurs de cybercafés (apprendre à surfer sur le net, si on n’est jamais allé à l’école… il y a des moniteurs qui tapent pour elles!)
  • régularité dans les échanges, au moins 4-5 fois dans la semaine, ça prend du temps et de l’argent (par mois, 150€ alors qu’on vit là-bas avec moins de 2$ par jour — la famille participe, elles ont des sponsors!)
  • le mystique: marabouts (ne pas boire ceci, aller à tel jour à telle heure…) — catastrophe à Yaoundé (?) le marabout est mort… obsèques avec des tonnes de jeunes filles, incroyable (Baba y est allé)

  • Le coût de la recherche: 8€ par jour

  • l’apport de l’entourage (famille, groupe de monitrices qui animent des groupes — elles sont organisées)

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Les valeurs chrétiennes (affichées sur le profil):

  • fidélité (“si vous êtes marié, passez votre chemin”)
  • Dieu (“je suis croyante” — “si vous croyez en Dieu comme moi, vous êtes l’homme de ma vie”)
  • la prose (textes très bien écrits: du Voltaire, Montesquieu, René Char)


  • entre 10 et 15% se marient
  • 60% de celles-ci se retrouvent se retrouvent dans un réseau de prostitution! (et ne rentrent jamais en Afrique — rentrer pauvre en Afrique, c’est impensable, on est un paria)


  • une Suissesse est une camerounaise qui s’est installée en Suisse et revient montrer ses bijoux et sa rolex
  • chercher son Blanc
  • Mon Western Union (l’échange a commencé, on teste en demandant de l’argent pour l’école et ça arrive par Western Union)
  • Couple Internet (couple qu’on voit passé dont le mari est blanc et la femme noire)
  • Mariage affection.org (mariage fait par le biais d’internet)

Immeubles des “Suissesses” (qui sont rentrées et ont construit): “elles ont construit ces immeubles à la sueur de leurs fesses”

Les femmes qui se tournent vers internet pour tenter d’arriver en Europe, plutôt que par bateau (90% de morts!), c’est une très bonne chose.

Lift09 — Florence Devouard — Update on Wikimedia Foundation [en]

At the start, was difficult for the foundation (not enough money, etc).

During the last couple of years, has stabilized a lot — much better situation.  25 staff members, 350 servers, 8mio dollars budget, audited and located in San Francisco.

Nearly 25 local organizations involved. Got a grant to improve usability. Also a sum of money from the Mozilla Foundation for something around pushing video formats.


  • 250 languages
  • 11 mio articles
  • 200 000 articles for 12 languages

Gone mainstream, so more vandalism

  • bots who track “deceased” or words like that… annoying when people are announced dead and they aren’t, even if it’s for a few minutes
  • flagged revisions: the visitor knows whether the page has been reviewed or is a “draft”; tested on the German wikipedia (there can be upto 21 days of backlog, bringing it down to 7 days). There is discussion to use the same system for the English wikipedia (roughly 60% in favour).
  • approved wikipedians can “rate” articles

Wikisource: online archives

Idea: put an image of the book on part of a page, and the text opposite, so that the digitized version can be checked.


You can create your own book. Define title, chapters, using content from wikipedia.

Wikimedia commons and images

media repository created in 2004 => order posters of images in wikimedia commons (WikiPosters) — available initially in France.

Lift09 — Change — Yeong Roh [en]

Arts: helps her think about herself. Shift of mode from previous speakers. More reflective.

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Change what, and how? and what should we change?

Start with changing our outlook or perspective of ourselves.

I Ching. Book of change. 2800 BC.

Author accused of being a North Korean spy.

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Word for “open up and make connections” = “connect all the way from the earth to the heavens”

Who do we think we are?

4 Dimensions of existence according to Ken Wilber:

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Levels of Consciousness: Senses — Cognition, science — Understanding, culture, values — Spirituality.

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Lift09 – David Rose – How Fiction Shapes the Future [en]

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Persistant needs/wishes fantasies:

  • to know
  • to communicate
  • to heal
  • to protect
  • to create
  • for mobility

Inspirations for where to advance.


To know the truth. Invention and fiction.

  • Marsden (?): here were no cultural icons representing strong women => WonderWoman, with lasso of truth. In its snare, you have to tell the truth.
  • Snow White: mirror mirror on the wall…
  • Conlin: Alexander Crystal seer.
  • Wizard of Oz.

Single pixel browser. Orb. Ambient objects: between push and pull. Skiing conditions, gardening, weather forecast…

Watches are a pretty mature object, but angular perception is not very ambient. (steph-note: I think I may have got that wrong, lots of examples of angular displacement devices.)

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Fridges are a great place to diplay stuff. They’re already expensive, so easy to add an extra screen or something.

Exposing customers to energy prices flattens the demand curve.

Showing us a device with proximity sensor: from far away you see the cross-room view of the weather forecast, and as you get closer, you see more detailed views. (steph-note: wow!)

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Photo frame with presence sensor, and squeeze sensor.

Internet-connected pillcap. Ordering refills. Escalating alerts to take the pills. Share on facebook (I’m on something and I’m doing well). Rewards! Medical records!

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Phasers on stun on Star Trek. Exploring brave new worlds without harming anyone.

Ambient umbrella!!


Robots would give you time to be creative. Roomba!

Painting with a digital brush that picks up color from your environment! (great video)

Guitar Hero.


Flying carpet. Drive in the smart lane, GPS. Marauder’s Map = GPS combined with Google Latitude. Tracking busses in SF.

Lift09 Workshop: Where will you work tomorrow? (Pierre Belcari) [en]

Workshop information. Watch the video.

Developing environments. Different solutions available at the moment in Europe. Evolution of the workplace.

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Where do we come from?

Office: individual offices, cubicles, open spaces

Hoteling: book work spaces when you need them, inside the company.

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Companies might try to encourage people to telecommute: save money on space, and improve work-life balance.

Evolution of technology has made evolution of the workspace possible.

Working from home? social interaction is lacking.

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Coworking: Gathering of people working independantly but sharing values and costs. Synergy.

*steph-note: I talked about eclau and Coworking Léman here.*

Xavier: FRIUP incubator. Very different from a coworking space. Very startup-minded. Need to leave after one year. Have to present a project to a committee who will decide if they can benefit from the incubator.

Nicolas: on the road.

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