· Naughties
· · 2005
· · · October
· · · · 03 (3 entries)

Jonathan’s Question · Jonathan was giv­ing a keynote and asked the au­di­ence: “Would you rather give up your browser, or all the rest of your desk­top apps?” The an­swer is ob­vi­ous, but the follow-on ques­tions are re­al in­ter­est­ing. Most or­di­nary database-backed busi­ness apps have mi­grat­ed in­to the brows­er and they’re not com­ing back, no mat­ter how great Win­dows Vista is. Giv­en that, what kind of apps jus­ti­fy the ir­ri­ta­tion and in­con­ve­nience of hav­ing to down­load ’em and up­date ’em and back up the da­ta and so on? Jonathan lists a few, in­clud­ing the brows­er it­self, Skype, Google Earth, OpenOf­fice. But what’s the pat­tern be­hind that list? From right now in 2005, I see three fam­i­lies of desk­top apps that are here for the long haul: First the brows­er it­self, in­clud­ing vari­a­tions like news read­ers and mu­sic find­er­s, whether P2P or cen­tral­ized. Se­cond, re­al­time human-to-human com­mu­ni­ca­tion, span­ning the spec­trum from text to voice to video. Third, con­tent cre­ation: Pho­toShop, Ex­cel, DreamWeaver, and what­ev­er we’ll need for what we’re cre­at­ing to­mor­row. And like Jonathan says, as does Tim O’Reilly way down at the bot­tom of Page 3 of his big What is Web 2.0? es­say, as did the Govern­ment of Mas­sachusetts: all those bits and bytes that are the num­bers and re­ports and sto­ries and po­et­ry and pic­tures and mu­sic and video we’re cre­at­ing and ship­ping and search­ing and shar­ing? They’ll be open, non-proprietary, re-use lim­it­ed on­ly by their cre­ator and your imag­i­na­tion. Noth­ing else makes any sense.
Lower than Vole Scrota · ESR has cracked up. It’s kind of sad, Eric Ray­mond was one of my ma­jor in­flu­ences with his es­says on the cul­ture and eco­nomics of Open Source. I didn’t al­ways agree, but they were closely-argued and made you re­al­ly think hard. Now he stands on his blog plat­form and ar­gues that we’re in dan­ger of sur­ren­der­ing to Al-Qaeda be­cause of... wait for it... after-effects of the work done by Depart­ment V of the KGB, es­pe­cial­ly be­tween 1930 and 1950. There are con­so­la­tion­s; his re­ful­gent nut­ti­ness brings out the best in some com­menter­s, for ex­am­ple a bril­liant micro-essay by “Adrian”, from whence this fragment’s ti­tle.
Scoble ♥ RDF · Check out Scoble’s spec­u­la­tion on The Per­fect Search: he’d like to find a ho­tel in New York with free WiFi, a good view, and good food, in a par­tic­u­lar price-range. Rob, meet Tim Berners-Lee; Tim, meet Rob. Rob wants the Se­man­tic We­b. In par­tic­u­lar, today’s fresh­est SemWeb fla­vor is some­thing called SPARQL; see Ken­dall Clark’s human-readable in­tro. SPARQL is an an­swer to the ques­tion “What if I want to do SQL-like query­ing when I know per­fect­ly well that ev­ery­body will be us­ing their own in­com­pat­i­ble database schema?” I’ve been a SemWeb skep­tic, but I look at SPARQL and I think: Sup­pose you could as­sem­ble a ton of property-value pairs about web sites, and sup­pose on the front end you could build a nice re­spon­sive query page that al­lowed you to com­pose queries like Scoble’s ho­tel search; well then, SPARQL would be more or less ex­act­ly what you need to bridge the gap. Hey, isn’t Guha’s Alpiri project more or less that back-end? And isn’t Guha work­ing at Google now? Hm­m­m­m­m­m...
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