Wow, I've gotten some excellent comments from Marc Canter. For those who might not know, Marc is the founder of MacroMedia. In this context, it's perhaps worth pointing out that the company's name was originally MacroMind, a great name for a great vision. At the time, it was one of a handful of Mac software shops in the greater Chicago area (yep—this was before a move to San Francisco). There was some friendly rivalry, of a sort, between MacroMind and my employer at the time, the late, lamented ICOM Simulations, purveyors of fine adventure games and Macintosh debuggers. Marc and my boss' boss, Tod Zipnick, had the occassional wonderfully boistrous conversation. I'll attempt to respond to Marc point-by-point.
Thanks! I'm all in favor of having ideas critiqued; that's the cornerstone of progress. And heaven knows I've lapsed into too-personal argumentation myself. It just seems to me that, in Ted Nelson's case, this kind of response comes out of the woodwork, and it's the repetitious nature of it that bothers me, I suppose, as much as the content.
Not that I'm aware of. The closest thing to it would likely be XLink, but it's not clear to me exactly how the spec maps to bidirectionality, and XLink is also a relatively recent W3C recommendation. Short of having it baked into popular browsers, it's also hard to see an adoption path.
Thirdly - I have to stand on my own soapbox and point out that: a) HTML sucks and that HAS to be a better way of presenting on-line media and b) let's not stop with hypertext - let's go all the way to hypermedia!
Wholeheartedly agreed. The web today is an excellent proof of concept, and we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to those who have found innovative ways to extend the foundation beyond anything that TBL had in mind at its inception. But to translate that gratitude into inertia seems not only ill-advised, but also contrary to the spirit of the pioneers of the web!
This is what we were trying to do at MacroMind - before the VC's and caretakers took over and then at Kaleida Labs - with ScriptX.
I remember ScriptX being quite powerful. An acquaintance of mine at the time whose name sadly escapes me now—a wonderfully gregarious Aussie gentleman who'd written quite a nice object system for C called, simply enough, "Objects in C"—was involved with ScriptX. It's a shame that ScriptX also didn't see wider adoption.
Finally - what's especially onoxius and pisses me off - is how much time and effort Autodesk spent on trying to build Xanadu - while 1/100th the amount of money was spent to create HTML, Mosaic and ALL the other elements combined - which lead to the www. If we could only have funneled those resources to be better spent!
Quite right. Unfortunately, it was almost certainly impossible to predict, at the time, the extent to which Xanadu's use of then-state-of-the-art tools—the only ones that realistically offered them any hope of having adequate infrastructure on which to build—would hamstring them in terms of deployment, productization, and so forth. That's assuming that they would have eventually solved things like the distribution problem.
My position remains that Xanadu attempted to tackle several open research problems (distributed storage, collaborative editing, arbitrary versioning, consistent attribution, micropayments...) all at once. Meanwhile, each of them has had entire teams treating them as separate issues. Perhaps now, at last, we have enough background to attempt to unify these disparate disciplines.
And yeah, having Autodesk-at-its-peak resources to do so would be nice!
Well put. So what can we do? It's too early to give up. I sense some unhappiness with the MacroMind/MacroMedia story. If we had a tabula rasa (but with the background information and material available, a kind of Library of Alexandria, if you will), what could/should/would we do?
This is pretty ironic as totally unfair claims go. Even if you ignore Ted Nelson ensuring that hypertext was a well-known concept by the time the medium we're debating it in was invented, this statement also conveniently ignores the Udanax site where both the Green and Gold systems can be downloaded; ZigZag, which is more recent work of Nelson's; Palimpsest, and in fact the entire history of hypertext at Brown University; Halasz's work on NoteCards; and the excellent work of Eastgate in hypertext, especially with their new tool, Tinderbox.
The thing that always strikes me about the backlash against Nelson is that no one is willing to address his points about the disparity between the Web and Xanadu. No one has the intellectual honesty to examine the materials that Nelson has made available—whether it's in the form of writing, such as Computer Lib/Dream Machines, or in the form of the Xanadu Green or Gold code or the ZigZag code—and explain why Nelson's specific architectural vision is wrong. All of the attacks are ad hominem in nature. All of them stem from the grand American anti-intellectual tradition. All of them argue solely on the basis of the Web's popularity.
Well, almost all of them. I'm delighted to find this excellent essay, "Ghosts of Xanadu," on disenchanted.com, on the relationship between "backlinking" and the two-way links originally envisioned by Nelson. They do this the right way: giving credit to Nelson, but offering a thoughtful and balanced assessment as to some reasons that Xanadu didn't take off ("his project was hampered by the technology of the time as well as Nelson's noble flaw: a passion for maximum efficiency and correctness.")
I can understand being frustrated with Xanadu. I can understand being frustrated with Nelson. But if you're going to criticize the project, find something to criticize the project about. Complaining that Nelson has (correctly) pointed out that the Web is a trivial subset of hypertext is meaningless in and of itself. Since I have been fortunate enough to get Scripting-News'ed for this, let me point out that I offered a positive suggestion with respect to this. I'd really love to be involved with a small team that just took some basic Nelsonion concepts/data structures/algorithms—maybe starting with the Ent, maybe starting with David Durand's Palimpsest data structures and algorithms—and for heaven's sake, let's just build the simplest thing that could possibly work. Let's leverage the work being done in P2P on node discovery, the work on scripting and persistence, and yes, the academic work in hypertext, and do something. We can't wait for Microsoft to evolve the current web—something they've already indicated they won't do. Let's just ask ourselves whether Nelson's ideas about hypertext sound good to us or not, and then try to prototype them as simply as possible. We have tools that Nelson could only dream of. Why not use them?
Attorney General John Ashcroft has a gift for making the most draconian policy changes sound seductively innocuous. He was at it again yesterday, describing new domestic spying powers for the Federal Bureau of Investigation as nothing more than the authority to surf the Internet or attend a public gathering. That is profoundly misleading. In reality Mr. Ashcroft, in the name of fighting terrorism, was giving F.B.I. agents nearly unbridled power to poke into the affairs of anyone in the United States, even when there is no evidence of illegal activity...
Before it was brought under control, the F.B.I. routinely infiltrated peace groups, electronically monitored civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr., and generally engaged in spying against Americans who were critical of the government. [Privacy Digest]
This is the problem with any desire on the part of the government to expand its powers: it insists that we trust it. Well, Americans of my parents' generation did that, and what we ended up with was the Bay of Pigs, MK-ULTRA, the Kennedy Assassination, the Vietnam War, Watergate, the Iran-Contra scandal, Whitewater, Ruby Ridge, Waco... and all of this is ignoring Hoover's FBI, an institutional evil that I'd certainly felt we'd successfully sent to its grave. Apparently I was mistaken.
The government doesn't need more power in the domestic arena. On the contrary; it already has too much and should be curtailed. If the government wants to help make us more secure, it can cease its multi-generational interventionist foreign policy and concentrate on defending our borders and our rights here at home.
Oh, and stay the hell out of our public assemblies, our phone conversations, and our mail, electronic or otherwise.
Virtual PC is a lifesaver. I only need it to run one thing, but for what I need, it's flawless. Technically, I think it's very impressive that Virtual PC runs a variety of Intel OSes without patches. That's some fine emulation work.
Appropriation of symbols. Maybe I'm just not enough of a player, but I was in the bathroom where there's a copy of _Rolling Stone_ (http://www.rollingstone.com/), in which is an ad for the _Hard Rock Hotel_ (http://www.hardrockhotel.com/) which consists of a big picture of three women clad in leather, posing pseudo-seductively on a roulette wheel, wearing collars and holding riding crops menacingly. I'm pretty vanilla, but doesn't the crop kinda contradict the collar? [Flutterby!]
Some Dominants wear collars that suggest power. Some will wear one as long as it doesn't include a ring for a lead, which they reserve for their submissive(s). Some won't wear one at all for precisely the reason you suggest.
And, of course, some folks switch.
There's as much variability in the D/s community as in any other, despite what I found to be a depressing level of disrespect for the "mundanes," as they were called in at least one munch group in Silicon Valley.
Sam Ruby nails it! - Beyond Backlinks. (SOURCE:Scripting News)-Amen! Sounds like a job for low tech AI! Some type of Lisp revival (despite Paul Prescod's thoughts) seems inevitable to handle these types of apps. It probably won't be done in Lisp but it will be done in a Lisp like style methinks!I don't merely want a backlink - I want that blog entry to appear in my aggregator. And not just that entry, but probably the next several too. While at the moment, this is just wishful thinking at this point. But it seems obvious to me that blogrolls and subscriptions are vital enough elements in the blogging experience that there should be more tools to help manage these resources.
I should be able to define a few parameters, like the optimal number of entries I would like to see in my aggregator per day, and "the system" would discover other news sources and segregate them into sites that I have to visit and sites that I have to be subscribed to. Ultimately, subscriptions should decay unless reinforced by additional links, at which point the source can be replaced with another one that is now more relevant.
By doing nothing more than occasionally linking to articles I find interesting and writing down my thoughts, the system would learn about my interests and would be able to suggest further reading.
Hmmm. David McCusker has expressed his willingness to hack Scheme with me. David and Raph Levien have indicated a strong desire to collaborate. Raph (mind if I call you "Raph?") has designed and implemented one of only two demonstrably attack-resistent trust metrics in the world.
I hereby propose that David McCusker, Raph Levien, and I tackle Sam's idea: a weblog/RSS feed collaborative filtering system.
I'm awfully generous with other people's time, aren't I?
Peter Zaharkiv on the Apple java-dev list (use archives/archives to read).
Apple has made the noises of being the 'Java Platform', but has yet to deliver. But as Steve stated,in their defense, they're trying.
That many applications can't be delivered on the Mac OS, is no failing on the developers part. I have been delivering applications to thousands of users ( Win, Linux, Solaris,Mac), but it's been a battle to maintain the Apple implementation. The applications always work 100% uniformly across Win, Linux, and Solaris in JRE 1.3.1 (same bugs and functionality), but 80% of the problems are always in the Mac implimentation.
This points up an unfortunate conflict: a vague, ambiguous language specification that's intended to be implemented compatibly by multiple vendors, but in practice, three implementations (Solaris, Linux, and Windows) all come from Sun, and one comes from Apple. As an inevitable consequence, there are disparities between the highly-unified Sun codebases and Apple's. I know at least one person on Apple's Java team; I know how much effort they're putting into Java on Macintosh.
I'm afraid that I also have to say that if people are writing Java code that has bug/functional difficulties (vs. aesthetic issues like differing font metrics causing weird layout) between [Solaris|Linux|Windows] and Mac OS X, then they're relying too much on accidents of implementation, as Apple's implementation has passed Sun's conformance tests. It's not a valid criticism of Apple's implementation to say that your code works in Sun's implementation monoculture.
This persepctive included the use of resin which I downloaded, installed....edited the config with what would seem to be logical values and *poof* (well, no actual *poof* per se...) it just worked. I was also quite shocked by how much faster it ran then Dynamo. Granted there are some pretty heavy memory requirements for Dynamo so I'm gonna have to build up a better app server to test it but.....all I can say is "YIKES"....seriously...no really...I tried saying some other stuff and all that would come out was that. Maybe I should see a Doctor...
Tomorrow it'll be time to see what my boss has to say about all of this. Our group has little to no budget for new app servers but considering the licensing fees are coming up for the Dynamo Servers we should have no problem slotting these in....though of couse at this point it's all just aimless rambling.....
Substitute WebLogic for Dynamo, and you're recapitulating my experience at my employer (except I already knew about Resin and already have an agreement from management to use it starting on some strictly-internal servers). Resin is, frankly, the best (fastest, most scalable, most featureful, easiest to install and configure, has source code) Servlet/JSP/XML/XSLT/EJB server out there. It also happens to be the least dollar cost commercially-supported option. There's simply no compelling reason to use WebLogic or Dynamo instead of Resin, but people still do.
From the Gadget Department
Anyone who knows me knows that I am the ultimate gadget geek. You can then understand why this Handspring: Treo 270 turns me on. I'm still waiting for true wireless internet that isn't hampered by some scaled down browser (read that WAP). The Japanese sure seem to be going in the righ direction.
I'm pretty excited about the new Sony Clie certainly seems pretty darned...well...gadgety. My only concern is that with it's paltry 66mhz processor can it handle the load that people are going to want to put on it? Will it play an MP3 file while I'm surfin' the web? For the price it certainly seems that Compaq's iPaq 3835 would certainly seem to be a more powerful platform.....so many choices....so few pockets to put a Digital Assitant IN.
Anyone else think that Apple has the right idea with it's iPod? I think it's a little pricey (though I suppose that's always the case for Apple's products) but it has the right feature set. I also like the G4. Saw an amusing review of it and OS X 10.2 on DDJ. Pretty amazing technology...almost makes me wanna run out and buy one.....
The Treo is on my "as soon as I can afford it" list, as is the iPod. People are doing pretty amazing things with the iPod—certainly far beyond what its designers intended. It's got more legs than I thought it would as "just" a portable MP3 player. And the G4 is awesome, and Mac OS X rocks. Jaguar will offer some nice, solid improvements—nothing radical (from the user's POV), just some shoring up that will be nice.
If you're in the market for a new machine, definitely run out and snag one of the modern G4's. You won't go wrong.
Sum of All Fears. I'm not a good movie critic, but I enjoyed Sum of All Fears. I also found it very disturbing. A movie about a terrorist detonating a nuclear bomb is no longer entertaining the way it would have been. The standard action adventure flick became a reminder of the recent past and hopefully not a glimpse of the near future. [Flutterby!]
I'm old enough to remember a portion of the Cold War during which we had periodic drills in which we went to safety zones that were marked by rather ugly orangy-yellow-and-black radiation signs. It's sometimes surprising to me the extent to which we Americans had come to act as if we had a God-given right to a risk-free life. If Americans have become less complacent after 9/11—more willing to take the potential for disaster seriously—then I'd have to say that something good has come out of 9/11.
There are terrorists. They may or may not have nuclear weapons. There are also people wholly committed to the rule of law who have taken upon themselves the onerous task of engaging in counterterrorism operations. Hopefully Clancy's work reminds us of the role of these people in our lives, even though, for obvious reasons, we'll never know just who these men and women are.