The name of the game? No ... the aim!

Anchor for this item  posted Thursday, February 01, 2007 at 12:10 pm MST

What's a steam-engine good for. All it does is turn a shaft. Shaft goes 'round and 'round. No biggie.

Biggie? Biggie is turning a mill-stone, or a carriage wheel, or a saw blade, or a water pump.

Joel Spolsky's "Don't Let Architecture Astronauts Scare You" makes the point about abstraction; philosophically astute as they might be, conceptual constructs detach us from the actualities ... rubber, road, that sorta thing.

eWeek's "Why AJAX Failed (Then Succeeded)" covers Adam Bosworth relating how AJAX was in waiting til PC hardware caught up. At the other end of the specturm, we have "Where's The Software To Catch Up To Multicore Computing?" ... Roadrunner peaks at more than 1.6 petaflops, or 1.6 thousand trillion calculations/s, "multiple heerogeneous cores with a multitier memory hierarchy. It's also built entirely out of commodity parts" So, rockets on the desktop or on the lap, and rockets doing back-end. And to make it sweeter? "'Dumb Terminals' Can Be a Smart Move" ... rocket-fast terminals running browsers, slurping AJAX webservices from rockt-fast server farms. Heaven, no? And that's what I anticipate with such as "Beyond HTTP; Will browsers ever deliver applications instead of documents? "

And how sweet is it, really? Brad Neuberg and SitePen roll out "Offline Gmail and Blogger Using the Dojo Offline Toolkit" ... now that's gotta be sweet!

Me? *shrug* I think it's mostly churn. (What do I mean when I write "churn"? Here's an example: Dropping Knowledge, which calls itself a "Global Dialog Platform". But really, lovely as it is, it's at best a mashup of conventional forum [circa 1995] and WikiPedia verbiage, at the risk of seeming cruel. As far as cognitive ergonomics and discourse augmentation, well ... it's aweful pretty. *sigh*)

Some of us remember when the spreadsheet appeared. That wasn't a tweak ... not even a major tweak ... it was a quantum leap. And that's what I'm talking about: most developments make the steam-engine's shaft spin master using less wood and wasting less water. *shrug*

My "Participatory Deliberation" is about an augmented discourse-based document portal ... but folk love watching the shaft spin faster and faster, forgetting that the point is to drain the swamp. Decision support? Sure, why not. But how about public discussion concerning public policy that doesn't just increase the number of dead-ended forum pages?



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