Ones, Heroes and Zeros
Dave’s been pointing a guy called Phil Jones recently. He has some interesting ideas and clearly thinks alot about stuff. He’s a professor. Probably paid to. Cool! Today Dave posted a response to some of the points Phil has been raising.
One snippet here caught my eye:
I think DMOZ and Yahoo’s directories are the wrong model, that this all needs to be opened up. There’s no single home page on the web, so why should there be a single home page for the global directory. Let a billion flowers bloom. May the best root win. May there be as many roots as there are points of view.
Now, I like that. Alot. It’s actually more or less the very model I am trying to work towards in thinking about and building a ‘platform’ on which to run a system like podcast.com, for example. Or ‘treedia’ – or feedgang – or feedhive – whateverlist (hmmm). Also, I’m trying to build it based upon ‘standard(ized)’ formats which already exist.
I have built many systems in the past based on made-up bespoke xml formats which I created to do what I needed an app to do – this for example, uses ‘OPML’ and ‘RSS’ (and time events), but none of it actually IS OPML or RSS. But they would have done the trick in retrospect. As would a load of other formats : SMIL, etc.
SMIL gets me thinking about the multimedia systems on the web I have always envisioned (I wrote and sold a SMIL based multi-user publishing system call Smibase a few years back – that’s how I ended up at the Beeb). MPEG4 does this too, or will more once we see more tools to ‘orchestrate’ content. Quicktime also has huge untapped power as a multimedia application wrapper – did you know you can embed Flash inside Quicktime and have the QT ‘talk’ back and forth to the Flash ‘track’? You can. It’s pretty cool. BUT the tools out there to manipulate such formats are few and far between. LiveStagePro was one I used a few years ago to come up with a solution to put up-to-date news on massive screens in UK railway stations. I ended up going back to Director10 (which I hadn’t used since version 4!!) and built it in Lingo, with a WYSIWYG Flash based back end.
The point I’m trying to make is that there’s all these great formats out ALREADY. But people will keep reinventing the wheel and trying to come up with new formats, when I think what we should be doing is building TOOLS to test/evolve/bolster/work the formats we already have. I’m usually pleasantly surprised when I do that. But I admit to ‘making stuff up’ if I can’t find things or am pushed to find a solution (which I know can be fixed later on by someone who rally knows that part of the system – if need be)
And about ‘winning’: Dave and I once had a chat where the subject of ‘heroes’ came up. I think Dave would like to be ‘a hero’ of sorts. And to many he is. My take on it is that you don’t need to be the winner to be the hero or the ‘legend’.
It’s about hearts. Not prizes. They last longer (we pray).