February 26, 2007

February 22, 2007

Dave Winer on his ideal podcast player

3. Must be a platform, that is, people other than the manufacturer can add apps.

An intriguingly succinct definition of "platform". You can see how it works. A platform must be something that multiple agents (manufacturers) have to collaborate (and sometimes compete) around. If not, there is no real platform war possible. Platform Wars are competitions for the hearts and minds of developers.

February 21, 2007

Anil Dash on Yahoo Pipes

Points out what a good IDE it is (and analogy with Ning)

February 09, 2007

The other platform I'm going to be watching is, of course, Yahoo Pipes.

By weird synchronicity, yesterday I wrote an email to someone where I was talking about ideas that intrigued me, and I was thinking of examples where you'd want a fluent dynamic gestural device like, say, a pen-mouse or a Wii controller for real-time programming.

And, looking for an example, I went into a crazy rant, inspired by Seb Paquet's Algebra of Feeds.

Here's what I wrote :

Or maybe you can create software "in real-time" by, for example, routing and mixing RSS feeds. Eg. you'd have feed-traffic-controllers, pulling together, mashing up and mixing the outputs of different web-services, maybe by dragging and dropping, or sketching pipelines with a pen or Wii-like controller. 10 years ago, Philip Greenspun needed his own server and to be a serious programmer to make the Bill Gates Wealth Clock. 4-5 years ago, smart people were mashing up Google maps with other services with little bits of glue script. Now we have reblogging services that help automate the process of getting a feed from one place and pushing it elsewhere. And Ning which is a sort of platform for creating mash-ups and reusing other people's code.

Jump forward 5 more years. You can imagine feeds of "objects" (data + encapsulated behaviour) being published. And enterprising people noticing that objects from feed 1 have input signatures of this format, and objects of feed 2 have output signatures of that format and it only needs them to be wired together in the right way, for us to have this useful combination. So how to define the wiring? Why not just draw something like a patch diagram in a virtual modular synth? A diagram of Unix-like pipes. How frequently does this need to be done? As data gets more dynamic, you might want to have people updating the wiring diagrams daily. Why make it hard work? Why not just let them draw it with a pen, or Wii controller.

And now, to quote, Tim OReilly :

Yahoo!'s new Pipes service is a milestone in the history of the internet. It's a service that generalizes the idea of the mashup, providing a drag and drop editor that allows you to connect internet data sources, process them, and redirect the output. Yahoo! describes it as "an interactive feed aggregator and manipulator" that allows you to "create feeds that are more powerful, useful and relevant." While it's still a bit rough around the edges, it has enormous promise in turning the web into a programmable environment for everyone.

These are very interesting times.

February 08, 2007

Yesterday I downloaded Skype 3.0. There are now some interesting plug-ins. There's a cool, shared white-board for collaborative drawing over your Skype call, and a Chinese checkers, a game I used to play a lot with my parents.

What's also cool, of course, is that these plug-ins are viral. Before you can use the whiteboard with other people, they also have to download them. I imagine that makes Skype quite an exiting place to develop software for, right now. A chance for your apps. to take off ... very, very quickly.

There seems to be a torrent-style file-sharing software. Hope it's better than Skype's relay. If it is, and it really is like BitTorrent, it could be very useful.

There also seem to be a couple of plug-ins for finding people and asking for live advice. This is really significant ... Skype could end up really running the "live" web. Especially if they get live people searching. Essentially anyone will be able to set themselves up to sell live phone services without having to work for a call-centre, a phone-sex company or the Mechanical Turk.

What I find strange, though, is that Skype still don't seem to have sorted out some kind of PayPal integration that would allow people to pay for services directly over their call. I don't see a plug-in for that, but it seems obvious. And an obvious revenue stream for Skype. Skype don't charge for the calls themselves but at least skimming something off pay-by-the-minute services should be possible, if they get involved in the payment part. And as both Skype and PayPal are owned by EBay ...

Not sure whether this is actually already going on and I just missed it; or if Skype have a blind-spot about this; or if it's going to be announced next week; or if there's some glaring technical or legal impediment I'm too dumb to notice.

Any ideas from the readers?

February 06, 2007

Steve Jobs says Apple are willing to give up DRM.

It's a plausible story. I imagine Robert X. Cringely won't take it at face value though.

February 02, 2007

I, Cringely:

Mobile phone carriers are eager for video to succeed on their 3G and 4G platforms because it represents a major new source of revenue. Apple's iPhone is the best handset yet for displaying that video. But Apple isn't going to allow this to happen without Cupertino gaining a substantial piece of the action. I'm sure discussions are taking place right now with Cingular where Apple is arguing that the carrier should make its video service iTunes-compatible.