Not sure why, but last night was a bit of a crazy one in San Francisco. The whole city was jammed with traffic, and it seemed like a “full moon” night. But the reality is that the whole town was abuzz due to it being Geek Dinner night!
Now the invite list is slowly creeping up, but we ended up with a smaller crowd for this evening. Our attendees were:
- Melanie Westlake, from Yahoo!, knows all about mobile media and technology
- Yours truly, from, well, my living room couch. I’ve watched Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins three times this week.
- Noah Wintroub, JP Morgan’s expert on all things digital media. Let’s face it, Noah’s possibly the world’s expert on digital media. Although at last check he still doesn’t have surround sound, so I’ve got him on that one.
- Dave Mathews, Sling Media’s product/technology visionary. Dave, we’re at 302 and counting…
- Brian Curtis, currently consulting in the biotechnology space, also a former VC and expert on interfacing between Chinese and US companies. Currently in possession of the smallest cell phone in the USA.
Nicholas Menaker, got stuck in San Mateo.
We had a great meal at Esperpento (my personal favorite Tapas restaurant in San Francisco) in the Mission district, and between roving Mariachi bands, we had some good geek talk. I asked everyone to list the gadgets they wanted most for the holidays this year: Melanie wants a Slingbox (amazon link) now that they’ve added Mac support, both Brian and Dave want new digital cameras (although Dave mostly just wants a new home in SF… I guess Foster City isn’t so great for the bachelor lifestyle, eh?), Noah wants a connected media player (but he has to wait for me to design a really good one, since the current crop aren’t up to snuff), and I, in a very surprising move, want a new mobile phone.
Mostly because the battery in my current one is dying a painful and awkward death. I charge it, and by the time it rings, the battery meter is down a notch. Within 10 minutes of talk time I’m down to zero notches, but then the phone somehow gives up another 45-60 minutes of talk time. Very weird. I’ll probably just get a new battery, since my beloved UT Starcom 5800 isn’t out yet. My precious…
Next up, our chat ranged to discuss YouTube, and can a sequel emerge. Most of the table felt the answer was yes, reasons given included looking at Friendster v MySpace, as well as the simple fact that there is tons of user-generated content (or UGC as I heard at the Web 2.0
conference trade show summit yesterday), and even if YouTube is the big leader, there’s plenty enough to go around.
Another interesting point arose here, which was the discussion of how we all use YouTube. Nobody in our group “surfs” YouTube, we all go based on people emailing us clips or finding them on blogs. Which led me to ponder: who exactly does surf YouTube? Kids? 20-somethings? Really bored people?
Everyone agreed that Ze Frank (pronounced Zay) is pretty darn funny, and one of the most compelling vlogs (which is probably why he won at the new Vloggies awards event last week). Dave Mathews added a great piece of feedback to all the online video providers: if you are going to throw advertisements before the videos, how about you cache the video locally on our PCs so we don’t have to wait for the same Microsoft SQL Server ad video cache and buffer every time it repeats itself all over the Internet.
The conversation continued through some other topics, from “best technology of 2006” (group: targeted video advertising, icon-based SMS services, cell phone bar code recognition, muvee) to “what’s a good point-and-click digital camera to buy right now” (group: none, because the SD630 is the right size, and the SD800IS is the right feature set -although if you don’t mind the size, it’s awesome). We also debated if the Blackberry Pearl supports UMTS or not (nope) and talked about mobile video messaging services like Veeker. And lastly Melanie makes a critical mistake in her decisions to pose like a rockstar for Brian as he plays with my SD700IS in continuous shooting mode.
Thanks for coming everyone, see you in December!