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

the network is the disk drive

Sean McGrath: "XML is not - repeat NOT - a 'file format' in the sense that most people use the phrase 'file format'."

Here's his article. Of course he's right. XML is a specification for formats, not a file format itself. It has high-level semantics for defining specific semantics.

But, in any case, when so much of the data we consume flows across the network without ever settling in a well-defined filesystem location, the idea of a "file" stops being so important methinks. Even on the desktop side we are thinking more and more in terms of pieces of information, emails, IMs, webpages--not files.

I am reminded of a short-term backup system someone once described to me: every number of hours a backup would be created, then sent out through SMTP to the company's subsidiary in Australia, where another program would pick it up and then, through direct streaming, send it back. At any point in time there were a number of copies flowing through the system--and if something happened and you needed a certain copy for a certain date, all you had to do was wait for the right piece of data to circle back to you, and you were done (there's a case where a super-fast network would actually be a liability). The same could be easily done today through a couple of daemons and webservices running on top of apache--Rather than Sun's "The network is the computer" it would be "The network is the disk drive".

I forget what my point was.

Ah yes: "A keyboard! How quaint!" (That's Scotty speaking for all out there not fully up to date on your Star Trek arcana).

Let us all put the quaint notion of files and formats behind us and think about where that may take us...

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on June 23, 2005 at 1:09 PM

msr's "bittorrent killer"

Kevin Schofield, on the recent brouhaha surrounding Avalanche. Quote:

Um, let me get this straight. In six days, a research project went from some algorithms in a paper to Microsoft's competitive answer to BitTorrent, to "vaporware" to an evil conspiracy."
MS/MSR is getting a bad rap on this one. They've been working on p2p for some time now, it's just that they've never gotten attention for it. Pastry for example is a well-known (at least within the p2p research clique) overlay network project that has been around for more than two years. And their stuff is pretty good, too.

Now that I'm getting an education on certain effects of sensationalist press coverage, I can't say I'm that surprised. At least weblogs help in getting the other side of the story out there...

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on June 23, 2005 at 12:26 PM

anne's consulting practice

Anne now has a new website for her consulting practice. Ethnographer, anthropologist, ui-social-network-wireless-pervasive-computing-thinker-designer (yeah, buzzwordy, but true), all in one. When she's done with your project, she can also explain the social structure of the Incas, which apparently didn't have computers, cellphones, or wore Nikes. My theory is that this is why they couldn't stop the Conquistadores, but she says I'm wrong for some reason I can't quite follow.

Anyway, if you need someone to analyze and improve whatever cutting-edge product you're cooking, she's your woman!

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on June 23, 2005 at 11:52 AM

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