October 29, 2005

Steve Gillmor, Microsoft and Attention

Historically, I've assumed Steve Gillmor is just doing poorly at self-medicating himself, but recently I dredged up the coherent flotsam and jetsam out of his stream of consciousness labeled as 'articles'. His recent post about the Attention Bunny provided a succint summary of what he believes the coming Attention Economy is all about:

The key to this reboot is the understanding that page rank, and the fundamental search methodology of people looking for information, is about to be flipped on its head to a new model where the information is provided gestures of intention that allow it to target the user.

In my words - "You don't find the information, the information finds you". The difference between 'subscription' and 'attention' is the difference between boolean logic and fuzzy logic - one is a discrete 'subscribed or not subscribed' the other is a summarization over many events that signify interest in a subject or topic. Basically, pub/sub on acid. (You heard it here first...)

This is also interesting, in an 'opportunity' sense (emphasis added):
Gestures that span multiple engines and transports (AIM, GTalk, Skype IM, and Yahoo; Bloglines, Rojo, MyYahoo, Google Reader, Vista; the coming round of calendar gadgets; etc.) will inherently become more trustworthy as signals of interest than gamed links, walled garden cross and up-sells, and attempts at supplying authoritative information from incumbent publishers who can't or won't intermingle content from their competitors.

October 25, 2005

Google Base == Amazon Simple Queue Service++ ?

Hmm, this is interesting.

Dare Obasanjo aka Carnage4Life - Google Base == Amazon Simple Queue Service++ ?:

I'm still unclear as to why this is an interesting idea although I'm sure some clever geek will find some way to build something cool with it. I also wonder if this will spur Amazon into doing more interesting things with their service as well.

Well, one 'suggestion' from Google sounds suspiciously like Craigslist - "Listing of your used car for sale". As for spuring Amazon into doing more interesting things... hmm.

Information is no longer a scarce resource - attention is.

This is a pretty interesting piece from NYT - not ground breaking, we all know that we are more interrupt driven every day, but seeing it put into context is eye opening.

And of course, the obligatory quote:
Meet the Life Hackers - New York Times:
Information is no longer a scarce resource - attention is.

October 20, 2005

Intermind Communicator - Back to the Future

And I thought 1998 was a good year - this is an article from Oct 1996 issue of Tidbits about the now defunct
Intermind Communicator product (which really opened my eyes to the possibilities of the Web):

Intermind Communicator relies on the Web for transport and display, but builds in the active part of email, changing the dynamic of the communication process. Let me give an example of how this will work with TidBITS, since TidBITS is also being published via Intermind Communicator, using what Intermind calls a 'hyperconnector,' a small file that contains information about the item being published, including publication name, description, polling frequency, and so on.

First off, you install Intermind Communicator, which runs on your computer and uses a Web browser as its interface. If you want to receive TidBITS via Intermind Communicator, you subscribe to our hyperconnector, which is a matter of following a Web link to download the hyperconnector file and automatically add it to your Intermind Communicator database. Once that's done, Intermind Communicator reads the contents of the TidBITS hyperconnector and checks our Web server for updates once each day.
At its base, it's a database combined with a Web server that only works for a Web browser on the same machine.

The cool thing about Intermind Communicator - which sunk many years ago - is that it was an HTTP server on the desktop. Just like Google Desktop Search is today. And UPnP in Windows. And so on...

(But they don't have the cool 90's icon of Intermind...)

October 19, 2005

WHAT-WG - The Storage

Another really great capability that has been missing from browsers and the WHAT-WG is building is persistent client-side storage - see the Web Applications 1.0 spec for details.

The interface is also interesting - a uniform API with get/put semantics.

This will open up a lot of new application capabilities.

October 17, 2005

Web protocols, past, present and future

In his blog
Web Things, Mark Baker points to some original work on XML-RPC from 1998. This reminded me of some earlier work on XML over HTTP that was published on the W3C site. Here's an interesting quote from that paper:

Predicating the system on HTTP, URIs, and XML tightly constrains the solution set thereby increasing interoperability.

Another great quote:
One of the principles of this design is that if a client needs asynchronous notification then this should be accomplished via the HTTP protocol. This implies an HTTP daemon on the client. By unifying the Web client browser with a small (code of less than 2K in size has been realized) HTTP daemon, notification can be realized without undesirable timed polling, a bandwidth wasting technique which is beginning to appear more often.

Ah, those were the good old days... but the irony doesn't end. The current WHAT-WG is actively defining a new protocol for network connections within a browser, in order to provide a stateful asynchronous protocol for bidirectional realtime communication capabilities. I just say, put an HTTP listener inside the browser instead - httpd on the client.