This is just a potpourri of pitches, specifically the ones that were good and memorable. Includes rare complimentary remarks about Microsoft technology.

Ray Ozzie · He’s pumped about RSS as “the DNA to wire the web”; the connective tissue between active websites. He talks about “Composite Applications”; for example, Unix pipes are weaving together a composite app. Claims < is like “copy”, | like “cut”, and > like “paste”. Then the question arises: “Where is the clipboard of the Web?”

The demo was “Live Clipboard” (integrated with Windows clipboard). “Great way to bridge from Web to PC”. Smart, structured, tagged data on the clipboard. You can paste in a feed object, which then remains dynamic.

Granted, it was pretty well pasted-together vaporware. But the idea might have legs.

Rod Smith · IBM’s VP of emerging technologies showed yet another maps mashup, and the system for constructing it. I wasn’t that impressed. But there was a Big Idea behind it: maybe we’re looking at a future full of applications that are small-scale and transient, rather than big and long-lived. Maybe. Personally, I don’t use any such applications at the moment, and one of the great things about software is that it doesn’t wear out; but this is supposed to be emerging tech, right?

Clay Shirky · In his talk A Pattern Language for Moderation Strategies he said lots of Really Smart Things about how to keep online communities functioning in a non-toxic way. I hadn’t known Clay was working in this space, and will have to check the work out and see where it leads. Having been the victim of substantial toxicity in the Syndication Slugfest, I care about this stuff.

Kevin Lynch · Showed the use of Macromedia oops Adobe Flash/Flex technology as pipe-fitting to put together things that would update in parallel on a web page, in an Excel spreadsheet, and in a Flash app. Which was nifty and got a round of applause. One doesn’t normally think of Flash as invisible behind-the-scenes plumbing.

His notion of a “Service-Oriented Client” made my blood run a little cold though, I thought we could isolate all that layered-services complexity off on the server, which is built to do exactly that. But I bet that Jonathan Schwartz, who tends to see big back-room boxes and little desktop devices as more alike than different, would have been jumping up and down saying “Yes!”

Microsoft · Wow... the Microsoft guy (didn’t get his name) showed up to pitch in a dark (and good) suit & tie outfit. I suppose he parachuted into the conference without checking out the ambiance. The first impression of is really good, and the AJAXy “smart scroll” is really clever. Time will tell whether this is inutile visual sugar, or soon to become an essential piece of every web-builder’s toolkit.

George Dyson · He took an amusing hop, skip & jump through some history of of ideas relating to computation, touching not only on the obvious (Turing) but the forgotten (Alfred Smee, Stan Ulam, and Ross Ashby).

He asked: “Are we searching the information, or are the engines searching us?”

Yahoo! · There were like 300 different presentations by Yahoo people, but the one that made the impression on me was their characterization of all this “Web 2.0” stuff they’re putting together as a “tribal platform”. I’m impressed, they’re thinking really hard about what matters and how to wire the pieces together. They’d like a “common vocabulary” around this stuff, hence their recent patterns library.

Niall Kennedy’s “Feeds” Session · A Microsoft program manager (missed her name) presented the Microsoft feed-using infrastructure. Summary: it looks like the user experience will be good. It runs at the OS-level, with one data store, usable by multiple apps. When she was done, Niall pointed out that the next level up is a Web-level rather than OS-level platform to do these things. Which is obviously, particularly relevant for people who are nomadic from computer to computer; that’s a lot of people.

author · Dad · software · colophon · rights
picture of the day
March 09, 2006
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