I was honoured to be on the ETech 07 programme committee. Alas, I can't get there this year due to the very enjoyable reason of recent parenthood. Nevertheless, here are some of the talks I'd earmarked to attend.
Creating Addictive User Experiences (Kathy Sierra)
Is it possible to say too many good things about Kathy Sierra? Any project or product built with attention to her advice about empowering users gets a huge head start to popularity and success. I was fortunate enough to spend a day with Kathy last year on a training course, and it was great to see the passion and commitment from her writing runs through her as a person, even behind the scenes.
Applied Web Heresies (Avi Bryant)
I'd go to this one out of insatiable curiosity. I believe that web conventions enable rapid application design (c.f. REST in Rails) but here's an argument that not following them also reaps rewards. Attend this talk prepared for involvement. I've never met a Squeaker without attitude.
A short product talk, but taking web apps offline is an area to watch. Even if you don't think offline is that important to you, many of the same principles apply to application mobility. Take that key app data off onto your phone, watch or memory stick.
Collective Intelligence, Indeterminacy, and the Illusion of Control (Charles Armstrong)
More user-facing stuff. How do you give a user of a large nondeterministic piece of social software the idea that they're in control? This is an important topic to me: note how many pieces of social software fall by the wayside right away. For some, it's lack of utility, but that's influenced too by the degree of engagement and control a user feels.
There is no good reason not to listen to Tom Loosemore. Especially when he feels strongly about something. The idea of this talk is a "vision of a cheap consumer device sitting under your TV that will capture, store, and share all TV, forever." The TV industry sure needs its visionaries.
Patterns: From Fabrics to Fabrication (Dale Dougherty)
Dale was responsible for getting my XML career off the ground, and you can find him at work behind some of the smartest things O'Reilly's done over the years. Make magazine was one of those, and now he's moving on to Craft. Design patterns for, er, real designs.
RFID Guardian: A Personal Platform for RFID Privacy Management (Melanie Rieback)
Jamming bad RFIDs. Having just taken delivery of an RFID-enabled passport, this is starting to come home to me.
Super Ninja Privacy Techniques for Web App Developers (Marc Hedlund)
Despite the cute title, lots of good stuff here. Expectnation is going to end up with a truck load of user registrations, and their privacy is important to me. I imagine there'll be some good debate in the Q&A session for this talk.
I've recently got the JS bug, thanks to JQuery. It's actually a fun and malleable language to work in. I'd go to this talk looking for fellow travellers and hints, though I'm a bit skeptical about Zimki itself.