Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Sharing is important....

Over the weekend my laptop died - complete failure of the hard disk. Being a professional I had of course backed up everything NOT. What saved me was sharing - I had shared everything I was working on with other people for feedback, comment, etc. By noon Monday I had all my important work back.

This is not a technique I would ever advise to anyone, but it does illustrate the concept of a simple backup strategy through statistical copy. It does not require sophisticated hardware - just lots of cheap hardware. The MTBF for most computer hardware is probably measured in years now and so for most non-critical data this is probably not a bad technique.

Could this be done with cron,bash and Samba? - seems pretty simple to just keep a list of directories to copy around the network and ensure that all key data was statistically guaranteed to be more than one place. A project to work on in the mythical spare time.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Time for a mobile service approach?

Jon Udell writes in Indexing and searching Outlook email
As I learned this morning, my closing lament -- that the CPython/MAPI and Jython/Lucene halves of this project do not communicate directly -- is somewhat mitigated by the existence of Lupy (1, 2), a Python port of Lucene. But I think the general point still stands. Must every component be rewritten in every language? Let's not go there.

No lets not go there - lets go to a service based approach - if Jon makes this into a service we could all use there is no need for anyone to have to decide among Python and Java.

Nice idea but the issue comes down to the data and how to move it around if I need to send my message store to a service every time I want to do a search the performance will be awful.

Keeping the constraint of I want to use a service and I want good performance - so lets move the mountain. Can the service become mobile and move closer to my application?

Building distributed applications requires balancing the amount of data moved, computation efficiency and granularity of the computational unit. Making common web services mobile and putting intelligence into the network for optimization of distributed applications may solve the problem

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Time to dump Blogger?

Just saw the new graphic for FM Radio it looks really cool FM Radio with enhanced SocialDynamX.

It did trigger a reminder to have a little rant at the Blogger/Google merger - I just read the release notes for Dano and I am not impressed - time to move over to Moveable Type. Hopefully FM Radio will work with that soon.

Friday, May 02, 2003

Social Software Hype or Revolution

Phil Windley discusses the hard question around social software - What is in a Name: Social Software. I think he has it right, while we always get caught up in hype in our industry - the hype usually has some essence. Dave Winer argues this Pig Wont Fly by comparing social software to P2P. Well now that the hype is dying down around P2P there are real applications/businesses being developed around this technology e.g., Blue Falcon. The glamour has gone and it is now down to hard engineering and business building. The same has been true of many hyped technologies.

Social Software should not be measured by the hype but rather what are the fundamental concepts that it creates for moving us forward as an industry. While all our great hype cycles (anyone remember the AI hype...) have generated a lot of wreckage they have all contributed significantly to our knowledge.The wreckage has been mainly create by unwise VC's and pundits following the herd - not by technologists trying to create something new and valuable.

I am not sure Social Software will contribute as much as P2P, OOP, AI or Web Services but we need to hold new ideas lightly and encourage them to grow and develop. If not we will as an industry will cease to be relevant.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Blogging: the search for knowledge synthesis

I was asked why I blog ( or more specifically why I enjoy it) recently. At first I had a fairly lame answer. After more consideration I realize I am searching for knowledge/information - a part of that search is expressing ideas publically and getting feedback. My life is enriched by learning from others but that requires sharing of thoughts - is this the essence of blogging?

At one the recent Social Software meetings I asked what the end goal for social software for users would be. I am not sure I got a good answer, but then I do not believe there is one good answer. On reflection the question may be how does "Social Software" provide an environment (and the tools for Marc) where users can find their own reason to interact and grow in different ways.

Should the goal of Social Software to provide applications or infrastructure?