URLs are here to stay

The death of the URL? Heck no!

As _why observed (can't find where), URLs are little pieces of hacking that have entered the mainstream.

Far beyond their intended use, scribbling them with lipstick on cocktail napkins, URLs have gone everywhere. Like on buses. And caps. Even to Texas.

I expect to see even more of them, everywhere.

(Interestingly, even ugly URLs work well, like YouTube's. People treat them as opaque most of the time, anyway.)


Social Networking is Hard

By this summer, we will (hopefully) see truly decentralized social networking. The challenges will be formidable.

Social networking introduces a surplus of sense into society, for which we are currently unprepared. Some examples:
  • What does it mean to "like" a horrible news story?
  • Do I really want to follow updates by my boss?
  • Will my boss be offended if I don't follow his updates?
  • etc ad infinitum
Basically, we're at a juncture in human communication, and we don't have answers to most of the questions raised. And we shouldn't expect to have them.

Rather, making sense of all the surplus sense produced by social networking will probably take generations.


The Coming Post-Platform Era

To understand the huge importance of Buzz, we have to look beyond the surface. If Facebook adopts the same mix of protocols as Buzz (and it looks as if they will), we'll be officially in the post-platfom era.

By this I mean, there will no longer be singular, imposing applications that capture people. Instead, the web will be a meta-platform of content flows, unencumbered by actual applications. (Example: LiveJournal/Buzz integration.)

If I am right, this will be the end of silos, and of the platform as we know it.

(One thing I don't understand yet is why Facebook would actually do that, except maybe to battle Twitter.)


Tricycles for the Mind

aslakr / CC BY 2.0
We began to feel as if we really were responsible for the successful, error-free perfect use of these machines. I don't think we are. I think we're responsible for stretching them, setting them off in new directions, and keeping fun in the house. — Alan Perlis
Steve has again shaken up the world of computing.

But the iPad is defeatism.

© Gary Larson

We can't make computers better by simply throwing stuff out.

I think this is the challenge for every self-respecting geek today:

Revive systems research.

It's certain that we can't get to the moon by piling up chairs, but it's even more certain that we can't get there with less chairs.

We shouldn't look at point solutions, but at the whole design space.

Let's not build tricycles, but bicycles for the mind.

Learning to ride a bike is not easy, but once you get the hang of it, you can ride around the world.