Facebook hosts F8 conference
April 18, 2016
by Mark Ollig

I received an email recently about Facebook holding an F8 conference.

I had always thought F8 was a keyboard shortcut, and didn’t know what Facebook’s F8 meant.

After performing due diligence research, yours truly learned Facebook held eight-hour “hackathon” sessions for software programmers and code developers.

These eight-hour hackathon sessions became a Facebook tradition known as F8.

The first Facebook F8 developer conference was in 2007, a year after Facebook became publically available online.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, spoke at this year’s F8 conference last week at the Fort Mason Center, located on the north end of San Francisco, on Pier 2.

I signed up on a Facebook website, www.fbf8.com, to watch the live-streaming video coverage of F8.

This website also showed the building layout for the conference, including the “hacker tent” located just outside the Herbst Pavilion, where the keynote speech by Zuckerberg was given.

Twitter used the hashtag #F82016, for folks posting photos, video, comments, and other information related to Facebook F8.

“The line for coffee and one-hour-early mob waiting to get into the keynote. @ Fort Mason...” one hashtag tweet, posted by @curiouslee said.

An attached Instagram link, showed two photos of people waiting outside of the Fort Mason Center.

A reported 83 countries were represented at this year’s F8.

So, what happens during a Facebook F8 conference?

For one, the software application (app) developers and writers of computing code, spend time in breakout lab sessions, and “development garages,” where they experiment with, and create new software apps.

One phrase heard during F8 was, “Code to Connect.”

The software coders and developers write the programming code which becomes the working software apps used on the Facebook platform.

Facebook uses apps to enhance our online experience, and generate statistical information.

Some apps employ social graphical interface programs, which monitor our Facebook activities.

Apps generate revenue for the businesses using them, the developers who created them, and, of course, for Facebook.

These Facebook apps offer tempting links for us to click on.

We’re drawn to them because they’re personalized to suit our own individual tastes.

Facebook currently serves more than 1 billion users.

The present population of our planet, according to Worldometers’ data, is estimated to be a little more than 7.4 billion.

Some 4 billion people in the world have no access to the Internet; let alone Facebook, so there is still much work to be done in getting everyone on this planet connected.

Last Tuesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took to the F8 conference stage amidst loud applause.

He addressed the 2,600 in attendance with, “Hey everyone! Welcome to F8.”

“Today, we’re going to do something different. We’re going to walk through our roadmap for the next 10 years,” he told the attentive audience.

Zuckerberg put emphasis on how connectivity will become available to everyone, not just the one-third of the people in the wealthiest countries, and that all will have access to the opportunities of the Internet.

“We stand for connecting every person, for a global community, for bringing people together, for giving all people a voice, for a free flow of ideas and culture across nations,” Zuckerberg said.

The following statement appeared in large font size on the display screen behind Zuckerberg “Give everyone the power to share anything with anyone.”

The 10 year roadmap focused on Facebook’s platform and associated apps, along with its Instagram, Messenger, and video products.

Zuckerberg pointed out their WhatsApp Messenger service, sends some 60 billion messages each day.

The roadmap included technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), and AR (augmented reality).

Software developers have made over a million apps for Facebook’s platform.

Zuckerberg acknowledged 70 percent of the software apps Facebook uses are created by developers in communities outside the US; citing India and Africa as two of these developer communities.

“A lot of things we think about today as physical objects, like a TV in the living room, will just be $1 apps,” Zuckerberg predicts.

These types of apps will have us wearing what looks to be a regular pair of eyeglasses; with no ancillary device or gadgets attached to its frame, like Google Glass had.

VR/AR eyeglasses will cause us to believe we are seeing and speaking with someone, or even throwing a ball back and forth with them, as if they were physically in the same room; even though the person could actually be located on the other side of the world.

Zuckerberg also showed video from Facebook’s VR app, Oculus Toy Box.

In one scene, two people appear to be playing ping-pong with each other; even though both are physically located on opposite sides of the Earth.

“I think that virtual reality has the potential to become the most social platform, because you actually feel like you are right there with another person,” Zuckerberg said.

Yours truly foresees future VR/AR apps providing people total sensory immersion from inside virtual-reality venues.

Conceivably, these virtual-venues could contain anywhere from one, to tens of thousands of people sharing the same VR experience.

After all, it’s about bringing people together; even though it’s within a virtual reality.

Follow my somewhat virtual adventures via @bitsandbytes on Twitter.

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