Friday, February 29, 2008

Having misplaced my TED program this afternoon (in which I wrote all my notes) my posts from now on may be much shorter! I hear a collective sigh of relief from many at that comment.

Today, Friday, was a magnificent TED day and I think all the TEDsters are still flying high. The party at the Aquarium was magnificent. How can you not like a party where the food station servers' backdrop is a tank of jellyfish?

This seems like a good opportunity to describe some of the other embellishments of the conference, in the hopes that I'll find my program handed in somewhere tomorrow and return to comprehensive posts. If not, the posts will be much lighter.

Celebrity spotting. Despite the disdain I feel for celebrity hawks, it's hard not to notice the array here. I see so many of the big names of Silicon Valley and the Net - Jeff Bezos, Scott Cook, Craig Mundie, Bill Joy, Larry Page, Sergei Brin, Steve Case, John Doerr, nathan Myrvold, Pierre Omidyar, Vinod Khosla, and many more I just didn't recognize. Even the stars you can easily miss. I bumped into someone at the food line today, and looked up to see it was Cameron Diaz. During the meditation session, I was sitting almost facing Goldie Hawn. Meg Ryan and Forrest Whittaker are the other stars I've noticed. Again, there are probably others I just didn't recognize. Add to that so many speakers from past years, and it's quite the an array.

I've talked to all sorts of people during the conference - lots of technology folks, publishers, private equity people, and a guy who's started centers to teach sewing to kids. It was wonderful to talk to the CTO of Dreamworks. He was saying his work is centred on 3D, and explained that the most difficult part of the exercise was to manage the transitions between different distances without making people sick. I also talked to the very interesting man who runs the Recommendation system for Netflix. I would have liked even more time to hear more about the details of their algorithms.

There are a number of art works on loan from the West collection to catch your eye as you walk around. One is a large sculpture carved from phone books, about person height. You can walk inside to see the spines of the books that were used.

I've already mentioned the Google Snack Bar. The break food is completely imaginative each day. And you can't let a day go by without checking the Vosges chocolate bar without seeing what they've got out for sampling. Yesterday they served a bruchetta type offering, with chocolate on the bread, and a slice of bacon and sage leaf on the top. Yummy. My favourite today was the chili-fired toffee covered in chocolate, although the chocolate-coated tortilla chip with a slice of brie on top was a close second.

Until tomorrow....

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