Sunday, November 27, 2005

Gems in a treasure chest

Upon learning about Google Base recently, I cast an item: My Thoughts on a Universal Simple Information Store into the ether. I was thoroughly suprised and pleased when a few days later I received a thoughtful and interesting email from Matthew Cornell. And just recently he sent me links to more thought-provoking articles.

It also turned out to be action-provoking. Reading Matthew's blog, and comments on other blogs (How can Ozzie call it a discussion if he doesn't permit comments!?) led me to think about how much richer experience I could have by sharing thoughts and information resources with a wider audience. That, and recent thoughts about simplicity and Getting Things Done. So I decided to stop dithering and start a blogger account.

I don't think Matthew will mind if I share with you my recent email to him, which led me to start the blog before even finishing ...

Matthew,
You've added nice gems to my treasure chest of information about information. They raise wonderful questions. ("Computers are useless. They can only give you answers." --Pablo Picasso)

Memories for life: managing information over a human lifetime by Andrews Fitzgibbon and Ehud Reiter -- I note they bring up the issue of "forgetting" of information no longer useful. I felt a science fiction story, or several, implicit in the questions they raise.

Dabble DB intrigues me. I've signed up to learn more. I like the Smallthought subtitle: "Radically tailorable software."

The discussions there reminded me of the recent Business Week interview, 37 Signals, 1 Clear Message with 37Signals (Basecamp, Ta-da List, Writeboard) CEO Jason Fried, and his mantra of "Keep it simple." Do less than the competition.

As simple and inviting as Dabble looks, I'm looking for something less managed, more "on the fly." I noticed, for example, a Dabble screen showing selection of field type: number, date, etc. In my world, input for everything is text and the software makes sense of it depending on how you want to use it. For example, any of these expressions would be meaningful in a "date" field:
1600
3:30a
four weeks ago
next month

I read about Gordon Bell and his MyLifeBits project in the November IEEE Spectrum. [My! how Google has changed discourse among considerate people. I started to end that sentence with "... in a recent IEEE Computer or Spectrum, can't remember which." But then I thought, I can know precisely where it was. Googling on gordon bell ieee article gave me the answer with the first hit.] He is also of interest in my life because I spent a number of enjoyable years managing the "medium-scale academic time-sharing" systems, consisting of DEC-10 and -20 systems, for UT Austin, during the years of Bell's tenure at Digital Equipment Corporation.

The Ray Ozzie link took me to a highly pertinent (to my interests) article on RSS, SSE (Simple Sharing Extensions) and the idea of Lotus Notes-like replication. (I was also entertained by the comments of other bloggers on his no-comments "discussion.") I can't get to the original referral you made. It shows for a few seconds then redirects me to his current blog. I can't figure out a way around that.

I was faced with a real life example of what Ozzie is talking about. He mentioned something about problems with his feed URL. I wanted to make sure I was current, but when I check my SharpReader subscriptions (on my home PC) I find no entry for Ozzie. Oh, right! I subscribed on my laptop. *sigh*

I'm happy to see that Microsoft released the SSE specification under a Creative Commons license. I hope something good comes of it.

I must go off now to fire up the chainsaw to do a little "simplification" on the property.

--David

P.S. As I went through this post making all my references live links I felt like a huge name dropper. I told a friend recently that it seems to me that object oriented programming is all about a way of managing global variables. I wonder if blogging is all about adding to the thread count of the web. I hope I can also add some original content.

3 Comments:

Blogger Matthew Cornell said...

I'm pleased to see you take the plunge, David. Good luck!

4:29 PM, November 27, 2005  
Blogger Thomas "Duffbert" Duff said...

Welcome to the Blogosphere! :)

2:26 PM, December 04, 2005  
Anonymous marlie said...

Still pedalling but can't catch up. Interesting, nevertheless.
Just noted British spelling of pedalling...chess associates perhaps?
mama

2:05 PM, December 06, 2005  

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