Making '2.0' Useful

SAN FRANCISCO -- I'm scouting out the Web 2.0 Expo today, hoping to snap enough pics for a photo essay to publish tomorrow. Exhibits don't open until 12:00 noon, though, so I'm twiddling my thumbs for a couple hours this morning.

The keynotes, extending throughout the morning, are punctuated with "High Order Bits," short talks intended to expand your thought processes. (That's what the Web 2.0 staffers say, anyway. Full disclosure: My employer, CMP Media LLC, is a sponsor of Web 2.0 Expo, and I can't help it if they pick these names.)

The High Order Bits are mostly blather, judging from the program. But here's one that was honestly interesting. James Baty, a distinguished engineer with Sun Microsystems Inc. , talked about Architecture for Humanity, a collaborative project to create sustainable housing for crisis victims, or for the masses who live without sanitation or clean water.

It's very Web 2.0, Baty argued. The process involves sharing documents and drawings worldwide, and tapping other folks for information like the local building codes in a given country.

Nice to see Web 2.0 is useful for something more than video blogging about your cat.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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