Streams and Dreams

Recently I’ve been trying to look at the tech with fresh eyes, I have a strong sense that there are gamechanging things on the horizon (again), but then by definition unexpected innovations are hard to predict (again). But it is possible but chuck Monte Carlo noodles in the dark and see which stick. Yeah, mixing metaphors is kinda where I’m going here. Unfinished melody.

I’m rather pleased to find the agenty kind of view of the Intersewers I was framing things (for my own understanding, mostly) a few years ago was adequately correct, though I never expected the Code on Demand bit of Roy’s thesing to get such prominence, with Ajaxed JSON and jQuery and co. 

I’m still very enamored with the conceptual engineering style of RDF and co, especially since it’s got fully webized conceptually as linked data (lower case on purpose). But increasingly the bits that are interesting have got increasingly distanced from straight 1990’s HTTP. The naming of things remains as a hitch up onto the horse, cheaper than identification by description. Provenance to date has been quite a static thing, but if the data is coming from a broken hydrant (and we do want the kiddies dancing in the street) then that too may change just as fast.

 But all we need is a reasonable history, then you can backtrace for provenance. Storage and processing power should not be a problem in this day and age. Bandwidth…soon.

But more than provenance, if you can watch things changing over time you can capture not only the facts (at a point in time) but also the derivatives of facts – by which I mean dy/dx

Step back.  I was trying to think of a way of totally revolutionising the chat-like timeline (small aspiration) while working on an outliner (hierarchical lists, todos mostly) and making something visual to go with a tune. Having done the PowerPointish sort of thing more times more times than I care to mention, it occurred to me that a cool thing I could do with the outliner was show things changing over time. Still not thought it through properly, but that is pretty much the nub. C’mon, what was that dc:date there for really, if not cheesy animation.

We can apply theories like those of physical laws to good effect, age-appropriate, from the Greco-Roman or Hindu pantheons to get you through the seasons and mishaps, through Newtonian God and apple, Einstein’s patented hair lacquer then whatever the hell vision Higgs saw. But isn’t the really cool bit that these things changed over time, the process.

What’s really interesting about a foaf:Person is not that they wear this brand of aftershave today, but that they went from using their father’s Old Spice, before deciding Brut was, well, brutish, to wearing none (and smelling like a hamster cage) to being resigned to weekly baths. Mention a product there because that’s an indelible thing, the product, the salesman, the orthogonal information system of money. One day these things won’t be orthogonal, ask The Doctor.


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