Liveblogging a session at Iceweb 2006 (; )

Hallgrímur Thorsteinsson from NFS, an all-news station, introduced the session at 2006.04.27 09:36.

This will be an English-speaking conference. My name is Halli Thorsteinsson; I’ll be chairing this conference today. Minister, “good guests,” as we say in Icelandic, welcome to this first Iceweb conference. I want to congratulate the Icelandic industry, first of all, for finally getting together and forming an organization like this. I was under the impression they already had. But no. Formally it’s on now, and that’s nice.

We are very fortunate today and tomorrow for this conference to have the cream of the crop of Web development in the world today with us. A great bunch of speakers, great bunch of people here today. So we’ll be honoured to get their expertise in a setting which, I think, is favourable to this sort of thing. It’s a setup that even the guests are sort of wondering about sitting at a table like this, but I was saying maybe they could start some working groups in the area here to work on some of the aspects of what they’ll be talking about. But anyway, I’m rambling on.

I just wanted to note how remarkable the Web is. I’m in the media now, but a few years ago, I had some years in this business, looking at it now, it seems like it’s grown up a lot, but really it seems like the Internet in its infancy. But it’s nice to be on a platform like this here today. This is the way the Web is organized – loosely, on the ground. These are the grassroots, and this is the way the Web is working.

Looking at the group of speakers, you can trace the origins of the Web, because they have been instrumental in some of the standards that are at work today, and they have worked with some of the people who have been instrumental to this revolution. Every time we talk about the Web, it’s still a fundamentally democratic institution and technology, and it makes it very, very special.

Let me introduce our Ministry of Finance and Industry – Industry and Commerce.

(Ms) Valgerður Sverrisdóttir: It’s my honour and pleasure to open this conference which headline is Iceweb 2006. The Icelandic government has placed emphasis on further development of Internet society in Iceland. The country is in a favourable position to use information technology. Icelanders have been at the forefront of using public computers and the Internet. The same can be said about other aspects of information technology, which can be compared to other European countries. According to a new report, Iceland is number four in the ranking of the World Economic Forum’s World Technology Report 2005–2006. In some areas, however, development has been slower than expected.

The company SJÁ (interface testing and consulting) conducted a survey for the PMO in 2005 on all the Web pages of ministries, institutions, and local municipalities. SJÁ looked at whether the sites were interactive and how usable they were. The results were clear: We had to make a lot of improvements. Only four institutions offered full interactivity, meaning the public could conduct their business through the Web. As a result, the government intends to place more emphasis on making it possible for the public to send applications to the government and get responses via the Internet. [A project will be launched.] We do hope that the use of electronic signatures will be more in next years than before. [Carries on.]

Ideally the user will not need to know in advance which ministry handles which service [at the portal Iceland.IS]. It is absolutely essential that it is usable; it’s made for the public and the public should be able to use it without restraints.

On a personal basis, I find the Internet to be a wonderful tool to express my views. I have a private Web site on which I post short articles. The media reports it if it is of general interest to the public. In a way, I am not dependent on television or newspapers to share my views with the public. I have tried to make my homepage usable, as it is essential in my view.

With these words I declare the conference open. Thank you very much.

Halli: There’s a lot of ambition in the public service and elsewhere in Iceland. If they’re not number one in something, they’ll try to make it so. Formally we were recognized as the country with the most broadband use – finally officially recognized. So that’s an indicator.

Let me introduce the chairman of SVEF, the Icelandic Web developers’ union. Hugi [“Huggy Bear”] Þórðarson has been very instrumental in the organizational things for the Icelandic Web awards through the years and now is the chairman of this new operational body.

Hugi: You might find it odd that we’re speaking English, because we wanted to make this something more international. If you don’t speak English, you’re going to have an interesting two days. [Thanks everyone under the sun.] We started this organization last December, a very modest organization of 36 people. Now only four months later, look where we are [140 members]. I know that some of you here are not members of SVEF. Imagine what we can do on Iceweb 2007 if we have a full year to prepare. So if you’re not part of the organization, [lightly] I beg of you to join the organization. I and the board of SVEF hope this conference is only the first Iceweb of many more to come, because in 50 years I want to recount how Internet Explorer didn’t have CSS2 support when it all started [and still doesn’t].

Halli: Imagine that – a few months and it’s grown to cult-like status. In America this would be a membership of 140,000 strong, a political force to reckon with. Anyway, let’s go to the speakers, which are phenomenal. Molly Holzschlag is here in the deserts of Arizona and is finding it “cool” to be in Iceland, I think. She’s a well-known Web-standards advocate and instructor. She’s a group lead for the Web Standards Project and an invited expert to the Internationalization working group at W3C. Among 30 books she has written, one of the recent ones is getting a lot of attention, The Zen of CSS Design, which she coauthored with David Shea, which is also here, speaking tomorrow. You can see her at Molly.com. You actually got that early on, didn’t you? [Molly: “Shows how long I’ve been around.”]

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2006.04.27 06:20. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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