I learned too much from the audience at last year’s RedMonk Unconference at CommunityOne last year to not attend this year. I got there a little later in the day, so I missed some of the early sessions, especially on TaskTop ;-(

The discussion on Cloud Computing was very well attended and nearly everyone at the table contributed. Interestingly enough the discussion centered on the security of data that lives in a cloud. Someone from the audience made a comment to the effect: “the biggest issue isn’t multi-tenancy, it’s data concurrency; it’s your data sitting next to someone else’s”. Atlassian’s Mike Cannon-Brookes mentioned that they are helping companies take advantage of Amazon’s EC2/S3 to do builds in the Cloud, but that customers were concerned about their proprietary code (i.e. data) being compromised. This is where I think that Clipperz could play a big role. I also learned that the majority of revenue from Amazon’s EC2/S3 is driven by workload that isn’t related to web serving in any fashion. Apparently the New York Times processed a job involving 12 terabytes of data on Amazon’s cloud. The fact that NYT didn’t run this workload on IBM, Sun or HP’s “offering” should be troubling to these vendors.

As a Twitter newbie, I learned a lot about how to effectively use Twitter. James made a great point that “people think Twitter is a publishing platform; that’s b/s, Twitter is a listening platform.” James also described Twitter as a platform for application developers, which I hadn’t thought about before. I can see many uses for Twitter inside the enterprise, especially in the middleware arena. I’ll have to think about this one more.

The RIA discussion benefited from the “industry experts” from Adobe and Sun (i.e. JavaFX) in attendance. Surprisingly enough, we couldn’t agree on a definition for RIA. Adobe’s James Ward suggested that “RIA is anything that lets you interact with computing in a way that you would with the real world”. Someone asked if the Wii was a RIA using James’ definition and James agreed that it was. Others felt that RIA was just another name on things the industry invented 15-30 years ago. Everyone agreed that not all applications should be RIAs. And that a pretty app that is useless is still a useless app.

Some funny quotes from the day…as best as I can remember them:

Sun’s Simon Phipps in response to a statement about Sun’s “execution challenges” in the past:

“We didn’t fail. We succeeded in establishing business models for others”

Dain Sundstorm (ex-Gluecode guy):

“I didn’t say that RIA is a load of b/s. I said this discussion is b/s”

James, Cote, Stephen, thanks for another great unconference! See you guys next year!