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Thu, 19 Aug 2004
Some IT Conversations
Here are some of the IT Conversations that we listened to in the car, and points that stuck out to me.

Ray Ozzie talked about uses of Groove in Iraq, as a demonstration of where things are working "at the edge" (this was a Supernova talk). He made some interesting points about workspace based awareness/presence. He also claimed that the experience must be simple and local. It's the need for a local feel that is difficult for web applications to achieve. There were interesting non-technical observations as well. Politically, servers are a center of territorial power. People who have accumulated that power are loathe to give it up. As a variation of t his, he pointed out that transparency is threatening to people who spent their careers keeping people from talking to each other -- something which apparently happens in some application areas.

Julie really enjoyed Ozzie and Robb/Krebs (below), but the most interesting of the recordings for me was Tom Malone's Supernova talk. He was talking about the ideas in his book The Future of Work. The key idea: It is now possible to have the information benefits of large organizations with soft benefits of small organizations. He described several ways of decentralized organization/decision-making: loose hierarchies, democracies, and markets. Examples of each way were provided as well.

Tom Malone is famous for quite a few things, but I always remember his work on the Information Lens and Object Lens.

There were some good questions from the audience about whether the trend Malone describes will really result in something better. I agree with Malone that the trend is inevitable. The question is what we'll do with the opportunity. This book is definitely going on the "must read" pile.

Most of the interesting parts of John Robb's interview with Valdis Krebs weren't technical, they were about human issues. Particularly the importance of total trust to network reconection - terrorist or military. There was mention of Kathleen Carley's work on Dynamic Network Analysis, as well as some work which tries to model specialization in the network nodes (for example people that have special training of some form). It seems to me that there's lots more room for more detailed network models.

Now I know that Jonathan Schwartz is crazy. He admitted that he wanted to tag his kids with RFID tags. Most of this conversation was about his ideas regarding commoditization, including his views on open source.

Alistair Cockburn described a few principles that he's seen on the many software projects that he's observed: "People trump process" and "Politics trumps people". I did like his characterization of software development as "a cooperative game of invention and communication"

The Gillmor Gang for 5/21/2004 talked about the various methods for using DNS extensions to combat spam (SPF/Caller-ID). There was an interesting observation that DNS has a defined extensibility mechanism, yet all these extensions are being dome by jamming the needed information into text record which weren't designed as an extensibility mechanism. There was a discussion about the utility of extensibility mechanisms -- the DNS example is not an isolated one. I also liked Doc's idea of a directory of blogs, which is kind of like a blogging specific wayback machine.

Mitchell Kertzman was the guest on the Gillmor Gang for 6/18/2004. Kertzman is now a VC at Hummer Winblad, and apparently they are looking at funding a real LAMP company. He had some interesting perspective on open source, Linux and Java. One of his claims was that Linux has destroyed the appeal of WORA for Enterprise servers. The argument was that since "everybody" is running Linux, the portability argument of Java is reduced. Also since data transfer is moving away from binary and towards text (XML), we should be looking at languages like Perl, Python, and others which are stronger at text processing.

Kertzman also had an interesting position on the platform wars. He says that at the enterprise purchasing level, Enterprises describe their technical platforms as either Microsoft or non-Microsoft, and that the nuances of .NET versus Java (or LAMP for that matter) are not the high order bit of characterization. He favored open sourcing Java because he believes that open sourcing is the best way to take advantage of the commoditization/customization of the platform.

He also had some interesting comments on DRM. He felt that both the RIAA/MPAA and the anything goes file-traders were trying to destroy the notion of fair use, and that we might be making more progress on the DRM front if there were proposals oriented around preserving (not repealing or broadening) the intention of fair use. RIAA and MPAA are trying to repeal fair use

[00:07] | [computers] | # | TB | F | G | 3 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
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