Now blogging at diego's weblog. See you over there!

comments, comments, comments

No doubt I'm going to forget about some of the things I wanted to comment on, but here are a couple.

First, Scott in a funny-titled entry Diego, Diego, Diego or "A Conspiracy Theorist's View of WinFS" or Scott Supports Microsoft comments on my views on WinFS, Cairo,

[...] but isn't the answer here, what it always is, $$$? I mean if you are a product manager on OS stuff at Microsoft, you're not only concerned about the current release of the OS but, just as much, the next release
Actually, when I talked about "lack of resources" in my previous posts I meant exactly what Scott is saying. They have admitted as much at least regarding security:
Microsoft is considering charging for additional security options and acknowledges that it didn't move on security until customers were ready to pay for it.
So I actually don't take a conspiracy theorist's view (although maybe Scott was saying I'm not pro or con, but "other" :))---It's all about resources (in the end, money, as Scott says). Sometimes though, money is not a factor---or does anybody doubt that MS was ready to spend whatever it was necessary to stop Netscape? With WinFS and things of that nature, there is no inherent threat to which they're responding, which theoretically means that it might not be released, as has happened many times in the past (and no, Google doesn't qualify, in my mind, for something that spurs WinFS development, although how Google affects the resources of MS's new Search effort is another matter--Pure search and "the quest for metadata" are related, but separate). On the other hand, at some point the engineers would get anxious to get this out so I think the odds are on WinFS's favor. :)

Related to this, Jon has some interesting comments to an entry by Dare on the relationship between XML, Databases, and the applicability of different tools for different problems.

Second, Patrick, regarding my "as we may think" post, said:

[Diego] says:

Two of the most influential people in the history of computing have been, without a doubt, Ted Nelson and Doug Engelbart.

Big call. They were certainly infuential in the history of the internet, but in computing? I wouldn't put them in the same ballpark as Alan Turing or Claude Shannon. Would you?

I think I didn't say what Patrick read, but just to make sure: I said "two of the most influential" not "the two most influential". Partly, the difference is because Patrick considers the Internet as separate from computing. Which is a valid view. But I think that the Internet, Networking, GUIs, etc, etc, are central to computing as we know it today (In my mind, for example, people like Bill Joy or Tim Berners-Lee were also highly influential, though for more "practical" reasons). They certainly wasn't important in 1950--they didn't exist. But the same can be said of many things, including databases, microprocessors, and even stuff that we take completely for granted, such as rasterized displays (for a while, Vector-based displays were hot stuff). All of these ideas are intertwined over time, crossing back and forth and building on each other. But of course, in the end the further back we go the shorter the list of "influential people" becomes, and the more theoretical it becomes: As Patrick mentioned Shannon and Turing, I could add a few others: Von Neumann, Shockley, Eckert, Mauchly, Wiener, McCarthy, Minsky... ok, I'll stop. That's not the point :) Patrick's comment did lead me down memory lane in other directions and made me realize that I implicitly consider computing to be broader than other (maybe most!) people.

Update: The comment I attributed to Patrick was actually from Justin (here) and Patrick was just quoting it. Thanks Justin for noting it--sorry about the misquote.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on November 27 2003 at 2:48 PM

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