18 December, 2006

Web 3

I went to the second day of the Web3 event in Paris last week and here are my comments after the discussions that have been going on all week. My take on this meeting is that it was worth holding, even if it was too business-oriented for the likings of some. It was stimulating and interesting and a great place to meet people. A pity I hadn't been able to be there the first day too.

I was wary about finding wifi access after reports of the previous day. The only wifi connection in the lobby area and press room was a fee-paying one from Orange. A journalist filing a story told me she was using the Orange ticket she had bought at her hotel. The press relations people couldn't help. Then, surprise surprise, Orange had a stand where they were distributing free tickets for the wifi. A rock-solid connection at the far end of the lobby area, including the press room. Someone should tell the event's press-relations people.
Only after I had filed a story (on a completely unconnected matter) for my day job did I actually go into the conference area. And lo and behold, wifi all over the place, with laptops on knees throughout the hall. Someone should definitely tell the press relations people!

Much has been written about the hijacking of the conference by French politicians. I found that Bayrou came over quite well if somewhat on the long side. Sarko's however was a complete waste of time. He started out by saying that he didn't know much about the Internet. In that case, why had he bothered to come? We know the answer of course, speaking at meetings is what politicians do. The rest of the speech (if you're curious, it's here, in French of course) was about how France should catch up in helping innovative Internet companies, downloading and digital rights. Nothing to do with the subject of the panel debate he had interrupted like an adverising break, which was how blogs affect the democratic process. He left the hall as soon as he had finished reading his prepared speech. I shouted out for "questions",as did a few other people, but to no avail. Nothing interactive about Sarko's approach to democracy. He had obviously been badly briefed about the subject of the day, but it shows how much he doesn't actually care. Confirmation for my anti-Sarko position.

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