Marketplace Tech is broadcasting from South By Southwest Interactive in Austin, Texas, this week. Two of the big themes are data and privacy. One of the big guests over the weekend addressed a sold-out crowd here from outside of the U.S. border. Julian Assange Skyped in from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Plus, a conversation with Guy Kawasaki the best-selling author who brought the first Macintosh to the masses in 1984.
The World Wide Web turns 25 today. But here's a note: If you're in Silicon Valley, never mistake the web for the Internet. It's sort of like being in France and asking, 'So what’s the difference between Champagne and bubbly?' Because back in the 1960s, when we relied on the telephone and the telegraph to communicate, the U.S. military wanted another way to interact, and they wanted to do it through computers. So they basically wrote the protocols -- or rules -- that got computer networks around the world to talk to each other. And really, simply put, that’s what the internet is -- a global connection of computer networks. The web was devised in 1989 as a way to help linked computers share their sets of data with the public.
And now, 25 years on, devices are going far beyond just sets of computers. One modern example is wearable devices, which are delivering data to us and collecting it from us with help from the Web. Wearables are having their moment right now. The Fitbit fitness tracker, Nike's Fuelband -- these wearables use the Web to collect and deliver all the information we need to become fitter, happier, and more productive.
Also, investigators are trying exactly to determine if the presence of two passengers flying on stolen passports are involved in the missing Malaysian Airlines flight. But how much is a stolen passport actually worth? And how would you actually buy one?
It’s a banner year for companies looking to go public. Plenty of IPOs already so far this year; plenty more to come. But there are worries about the stimulus that the Federal Reserve has been providing the economy. So why would you want to go public now? Plus, businesses in Venezuela have had a hard time getting cash. The country’s official currency exchange system is a mess. It sells 11 bolivars for one U.S. dollar, while the black market rate is 80 to 1.