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Re: "destabilizing core technologies: was Re: An RDF wishlist

From: Henry Story <henry.story@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 2 Jul 2010 13:11:40 +0200
Cc: Ian Davis <lists@iandavis.com>, Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>, Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>, Linked Data community <public-lod@w3.org>, Semantic Web <semantic-web@w3.org>
Message-Id: <3EA720E5-8AB7-4DE4-B080-833DB03A3821@gmail.com>
To: Patrick Durusau <patrick@durusau.net>

On 2 Jul 2010, at 12:51, Patrick Durusau wrote:

> Henry,
> 
> On 7/2/2010 5:58 AM, Henry Story wrote:
>> On 2 Jul 2010, at 11:39, Patrick Durusau wrote:
>> 
>>   
>>> Good point. But the basic tools to handle data have been around for a long time.
>>>     
>> The web could only get going in the 90ies when
>> 
>>   1) Windows 95 become (A GUI) widely deployed and relatively stable and had support for threads
>>   2) modems were cheap and available
>>   [3 the soviet unions had fallen, so the fear mongers had no security buttons to press]
>> 
>> In 1997 the SSL layer (https) gave an extra boost as it made commerce possible.
>> 
>>   
> Err, you are omitting one critical fact. The one that lead to TBL's paper being rejected from the hypertext conference. Links could fail.
> 
> That is reportedly one of the critical failings of early hypertext systems was that links could not be allowed to fail. That blocked any sort of global scaling.

The closed world assumption rearing its head again, and always behind this is the desire to
control it.

> 
> Hmmm, wonder what happens when links fail with RDF, considering that it requires the yet to be implemented 303 solution?
> 
> 
>>> Why so long to get to the place where users can say: "I want to make one of those." ?
>>>     
>> 
>>    There are many reasons, but most of all is that people don't in fact understand hypertext, as being linked information. Or the people in charge of data don't think of it that way easily.
>> 
>>   
> Sorry, I don't understand what you mean by:
> 
> "that people in fact don't understand hypertest, as being linked information." ???

Why would they then come up with loads of XML formats that don't have any hyperlinks in them
and think that what they are doing is webby? Ah yes, because they think the magic in the web is XML!


> 
>>    Engineers have for 50 years been educated in closed world systems, every programming language
>> including Prolog and lisp have local naming conventions that don't scale globally, and database people
>> make a fortune with SQL. The people interact only very lightly with the web. Usually there is a layer of "Web Monkeys" in between them and the web.
>> 
>>   
> 
> The reason I don't understand your earlier point or this one is that users for hundreds of years have been well familiar with texts making references to other texts, which to my mind qualifies as "hypertext," even if it did not have the mechanical convenience of HTML.

In 10 years time someone like you will argue that for thousands of years people writing text
were in fact clearly writing about relationships between things, and so that it is odd that people
did not see how obvious it was that any document was hyperdata. 

> 
> What else do you think hypertext would be?

What else do you think hyperdata would be?


> 
>>    So when you ask those engineers to build a global distributed information system, they
>> come up with the closest to what they know - which is remote method calls - and they invent XML/RPC which leads to SOAP.
>> 
>>   So it is not easy to get the knowledgeable people on board. The Web Monkeys are not very good at modelling, and the back end engineers don't understand the web. Finally the business people have problems understanding abstract concepts such as network effect.
>> 
>>   It just took time then to do a few demos, which the University of Berlin put together, slowly getting other people on board.
>> 
>> 
>>   It just takes time to rewire the brain of millions of people.
>> 
>>   
> 
> Well, I am not so sure that we need to "rewire the brain of millions of people." so much as we need to have our technologies adapt to them. Yes?

When it was discovered that the earth was round, the brains of everyone on earth had to be rewired.
Of course people only selectively did that. Those who believed it and understood the implications rewired the brains of just enough people so they could make fortunes, colonise whole continents and rule the world for centuries. 


> Granting that consumers can and do adapt to some technologies, the more consistent a technology is with how people think and work the easier its adoption. Yes?


I'll leave that as an exercise for you.


> 
> Hope you are looking forward to a great weekend!
> 
> Patrick
> 
> -- 
> Patrick Durusau
> patrick@durusau.net
> Chair, V1 - US TAG to JTC 1/SC 34
> Convener, JTC 1/SC 34/WG 3 (Topic Maps)
> Editor, OpenDocument Format TC (OASIS), Project Editor ISO/IEC 26300
> Co-Editor, ISO/IEC 13250-1, 13250-5 (Topic Maps)
> 
> Another Word For It (blog): http://tm.durusau.net
> Homepage: http://www.durusau.net
> Twitter: patrickDurusau
> 
> 
Received on Friday, 2 July 2010 11:12:11 GMT

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