When
· Naughties
· · 2006
· · · July
· · · · 06 (2 entries)

Measuring the Web · This is the ti­tle of a talk I gave on May 7th, 1996 (over ten years ago!) at the Fifth In­ter­na­tion­al World Wide Web Con­fer­ence, at La Défense in Paris. It won a gold medal from the May­or of Paris (one of two at the con­fer­ence thus dis­tin­guished) which I dis­play in my of­fice; I worked aw­ful­ly hard on that pa­per. I want­ed to cite it re­cent­ly, but the WWW5 Web Site has been AWOL the last few times I’ve tried to go there. Coin­ci­den­tal­ly, I ran across the con­fer­ence CD in a re­cent base­ment re-organization. So I’ve staged it here: Mea­sur­ing the Web. It’s no more than a his­tor­i­cal cu­rios­i­ty now, but it’s a his­to­ry that’s not that well doc­u­ment­ed. Plus there are some pret­ty pic­tures. Oc­ca­sion­al­ly I won­der what might have hap­pened if I’d been smart enough to fol­low up on the sig­nif­i­cance of the no­tion of “visibility”.
 
Microsoft & ODF · I’ve been won­der­ing how to re­act to this Mi­crosoft ODF An­nounce­ment. Andy Upde­grove points out that the news isn’t that new, but still I see this as sig­nif­i­can­t. From a glass-half-empty point of view, I could ob­jec­t, as Bob Su­tor does, to the mis­di­rec­tion and out­right lies in the Mi­crosoft spin. Or I could echo Mark Pil­grim in point­ing out that this is cur­rent­ly large­ly va­por­ware (more de­tails here). But I think that on bal­ance the big sto­ry is that Red­mond has moved from a “There’s no de­mand for ODF” stance to ad­mit­ting that, in fac­t, there is. Cur­rent­ly, it’s large­ly a public-sector thing; and read­ing be­tween the mel­liflu­ous lines of Chris Capossela’s A Foun­da­tion for the New World of Doc­u­ments, I sense a tone of barely-suppressed fear: “We en­cour­age pub­lic sec­tor or­ga­ni­za­tions to move to XML file for­mats but not to man­date a par­tic­u­lar for­mat or implementation.” We can all agree on implementation—that’s the point, af­ter all—but to refuse to bless a for­mat seems to me to ig­nore the les­son of the We­b, writ­ten in let­ters of fire 500 feet high: agree on the smallest-possible num­ber of da­ta for­mat­s, and com­pete on what you do with them.
 
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