· 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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