Social Machines

July 10, 2005

My boss, Jason Pontin, caused a minor ruckus in May while attending D3, the Wall Street Journal’s third annual “All Things Digital” conference outside San Diego. The editor in chief of Technology Review, like many executives, entrepreneurs, engineers, and students these days, doesn’t go anywhere without his wireless gear–meaning, at a minimum, a Wi-Fi-enabled laptop and a cell phone. At D3, Jason was using his laptop to file blog (or Web log) posts “live” from the conference floor, summarizing talks by Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy, and other computer-industry celebrities. But on the third day, he couldn’t find a signal. The Wi-Fi network he’d been accessing was on by mistake, a conference staffer told him. She explained that the hosts of the conference–Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, two of the Journal’s technology writers–had decided that no one should have Internet access from the main ballroom.

Read the Full Story