[ba-ohs-talk] Obituary and Re-birth
Glad to see OHS/DKR coming to life as spring nears. (01)
On 000927 Eric Armstrong wrote asking why things had been so
"quiet" for a week or so on communication about OHS/DKR.... (02)
This thought occurred recently in recognizing things have been
"quiet" the past few months following the holidays. I checked
the obituaries and was relieved to see OHS/DKR was not listed,
and now today suddenly a whole flurry of letters came in
suggesting things are springing back to life. (04)
That's what happened in 2000. After Eric's letter, Eugene Kim
wrote on 000928 explaining work going on for development of the
Soon, Doug published guidance for a launch plan that illustrated
how to put links in documents on the Internet, and everyone was
off and running. In fact, Eric was ahead of schedule. On 001017,
even before the launch plan came out on 001025, Eric reported
significant progress.... (07)
...and a little later on 001121 he urged others to contribute
because the OHS/DKR work is so critical.... (09)
Following Eric's example, Eugene Kim contributed strong
leadership on 001126 by urging folks to implement Doug's launch
plan using available tools with greater diligence.... (011)
...and noting particularly Doug's call for linking in email.... (013)
This showed good progress maintaining alignment because a lot of
experience shows that people, organizations and even an entire
cultures drift off course due to "meaning drift." Eugene's
incite reminding everyone to follow Doug's lead by aligning
communication and work on the OHS/DKR code with the Launch Plan
was powerful medicine for keeping on track. At that time, Grant
Bowman pointed out that putting links in email is not that easy.
He asked if people are supposed to change their tools from
familiar ways everybody likes.... (015)
At that point, Eugene went to work and on 010131 notified of good
news that he developed new tools which Grant and everyone can
...to follow advice for implementing Doug's call to link things
Well, the rest is history. Soon Jack Park had Nexist going to
improve education and help people with story telling through
narratology. John Maloney related startling breakthroughs with
Grove and Groove. Sergie Brin reported on how meta data and
other searching tools solve the problem Eric related on 011003
that nobody can find anything. Ray Ozzie offered ideas on using
Lotus Notes to avoid the "pain" people experience using email and
weblogs, or something like. Dave Snowden reported how Quickplace
and Sametime have been a big help at IBM. (020)
There were some bumps. Paul Fernhout worried on 020530 that good
ideas and technology code was being withheld by big corporations
and individuals that delayed progress because of worry about
Just yesterday, however, John Deneen suggested looking at a
Powerpoint presentation by Jim Gemmell on something called
"MyLifeBits." Review showed that MyLifeBits is a project
sponsored by Gordon Bell, who is a senior researcher at
Microsoft's Bay Area Research Center..... (023)
MyLifeBits is shown on the Internet at.... (025)
John said to examine the following Powerpoint file.... (027)
"MyLifeBits: Fulfilling the Memex Vision" (028)
...which can be downloaded free of charge at the above address. (029)
In our discussion, I explained that Powerpoint presentations are
powerful tools for bad management, as explained in POIMS.... (030)
...and citing the Enron case, reviewed a year ago on 020204.... (032)
...because "knowledge" requires connections to context, which are
missing from pictures, as further related in POIMS defining the
process of intelligence that converts information into
John was in a hurray, and urged that reviewing the MyLifeBits
powerpoint presentation would be helpful. He said that reviewing
the Powerpoint file would help me understand his perspective. I
was reminded of Eric Armstrong's perspective on 011003 about
investing limited time by directing attention to sources aligned
with objectives, requirements and commitments.... (036)
But, realizing how frustrating it is when people ignore my own
ideas and requests to read this that-and-the-other, out of
courtesy and against Eric's sound advice, I went off and looked
at the Powerpoint presentation. (038)
Since there are no anchors, links are not available to verify
accuracy nor to understand context. Still, Gimmell says in
pertinent part.... (039)
Gordon Bell, like Doug Engelbart, wants to develop a "repository"
of stuff from daily life that includes books, photos, documents,
memos, legal papers, home movies, and everything to create a
"paperless" environment. This reminds of Doug's explanation of a
"Knowledge Workshop" set out in Doug's 1972 paper which he
commended to the OHS/DKR group on 000327.... (040)
Gordon then poses the question that Eric raised on 010916 that
nobody can find anything in email.... (042)
Gordon says Microsoft is going to provide full text search and
collection with freedom form strict hierarchy. There will be
many visualizations -- he says "Don't metaphor me in." Microsoft
plans to make adding annotations that add value fast and easy,
and further will enable people to keep the links they author
based on a system of "transclusion." Microsoft's technology will
help the user tell a "story," because Gordon stories structure
information in time and space. Gordon doesn't mention it, but
"stories" are a form of mental spreadsheet that position data and
information in relation to human values; so, lets agree that
support for stories are another good idea. Microsoft is planning
to support, (044)
Ted Nelson's important work on transclusion is slated for
support, and Gordon says the key is "LINKS." That's right, the
presentation shows links in all capitals to emphasize this
requirement. Ted is quoted at length in the presentation slides
arguing for links. (045)
Microsoft does not mention Murray Altheim's powerful analysis on
020820 showing that everybody has voted against links..... (046)
...and going on to emphasize that accuracy and context in
communication, provided by links, does not move the conversation
John Maloney joined Murray in a letter on 020823 explaining how
correspondence that is supported by the record is invasive and
Then on 020929 Dave Snowden who is leading knowledge management
efforts at IBM explained how links are difficult for people to
Careful review of Microsoft's planning shows nothing on helping
people transition from familiar ways to a new way of working
called out by Doug. (054)
Microsoft does explain that the repository is a data base with
consistent, simple and logical structure, indexing, pivoting,
queries, speed scalability. They say backup is important as is
replication. They say "blob" and links are inherent. (055)
Microsoft also proposes features to visualize document
relationships, which sounds like dialog mapping that Eugene Kim
is using to great effect for the OHS/DKR to supplement the purple
number system, as reported on 010917... (056)
Jack Park's primer on Topic Maps published last year reported on
...also would seem to provide critical guidance for Microsoft to
help people find information in the MyLifeBits knowledge
In sum, John's suggestion to review the Powerpoint presentation
on MyLifeBits showed that Microsoft is working on goals for the
OHS/DKR, just like everybody else has been doing since the 60s.
Review further showed plans for technology to support links,
metadata and analysis, which have been expressly rejected by
engineers, executives and everyone in between, reported on
Thus, the threshold question is even if lightening strikes, and
Microsoft breaks through the barriers that stifle innovation in a
big organization, cited on 910418..... (063)
...who is going to use it? If people aver "intelligence" because
links "boggle the mind," as Eric anticipated on 000125, what will
motivate Microsoft to produce something nobody will buy? Not
only are links and analysis something people have voted against,
as related by Murray and John Maloney, but in many cases people
fear the light of knowledge more than the darkness of ignorance.
The hope that ignorance is an excuse to avoid accountability,
which greatly increasing the time and cost of the work, as shown
on 010911 and recently on 030304.... (065)
...the fear of accountability inherent in the power of knowledge
dries up demand for better knowledge support. That is a question
that pops up from the record, which one hoped the Powerpoint
presentation would address constructively. Since top KM experts
are reticent about using KM, it seemed unlikely to expect the
Powerpoint presentation would show progress on transformation
from information to a culture of knowledge. (067)
The second issue is performance. People have been making lists
of features for software since the 1950s. Doug Engelbart has
come the farthest, shown by the telecon on 991222.... (068)
Others at Microsoft, IBM, LANL, DARPA, SRI, Oracle and so on have
made their lists, as reported at SRI on 000324. None of these
lists, while discussing useful features, address the core issue
noted by Eric Armstrong on 000503, and discussed by Eugene Kim on
000615. More recently on 010510 Steve Balmer related that
Microsoft has a 5 year plan to develop XML software to improve
management, which means they are hoping someone will come up with
something that Microsoft can buy and sell to others within that
time frame.... (070)
A year or so later on 021108 Bill Gates reported plans for a
project to solve Eric's concern about finding stuff on the
computer, which, as seen from the Microsoft Powerpoint
presentation, is planned for MyLifeBits, per above, and so is
Naturally, people hope that with Bill on the job, things will
start to move faster. Maybe that accounts for increased email
traffic for OHS/DKR. It is a welcome sign because progress
requires effort which is driven by hope, and talking is one way
to keep hope alive. (074)
Another way, according to Tom Munnecke at SAIC, is to study what
works, reported on 020726.... (075)
Re-birth requires faith and faith takes evidence that goals are
reachable; not only that something can be done, but, also, that a
new way of working makes a difference in the quality of work.
What counts is performance. Without evidence of performance,
nobody will invest more than 20 minutes required to learn a new
way of working. (077)
Benja Fallenstein wrote:
> Hi Danny,
> Danny Ayers wrote:
> >>Toni Alatalo pointed me to your paper, `Towards a Standard Graph-Based
> >>Data Model for the Open Hyperdocument System`__. You make the point that
> >>a standard graph-based model could allow different applications to be
> >>integrated into a single whole. You say that RDF is one possible choice
> >>for a modeling language, but reject it because of its complicated syntax.
> >>__ http://www.eekim.com/ohs/papers/graphmodel/
> > I couldn't find the 'rejection' bit on a skim of Eugene's paper...
> Toni's pointed to it-- http://www.eekim.com/ohs/papers/graphmodel/#hid5B
> > but whatever, I'm getting the impression that an implementation of an OHS is
> > actually well on its way, primarily using the RDF model. Pretty much dail
> > I'm coming across new RDF-based systems that focus on different aspects of
> > the general problem (many blogged at ),
> Cool. I have had a short look at your blog before, but need to look deeper.
> What do you think about having a mailing list where these get posted &
> we can discuss them? I think that would be valuable for me. If there is
> interest, I can set a publically logged one up under the Fenfire project
> at savannah.nongnu.org.
> > and these may considered as a
> > whole thanks to the shared language - there are obviously other models in
> > use for this kind of thing (notably TM)
> Whoops, another thing I didn't know about. TM?
> > but I think RDF is likely to emerge
> > as the common language, largely thanks to its lowest-common-denominator
> > statement representation. In other words, the development itself is
> > distributed - which seems quite natural really.
> Agree completely.
> > I can't remember seeing anyone taking the zigzag idea specifically and
> > putting it in RDF, so it'll be interesting what happens with Gzz/Fenfire
> > along these lines. I note that Fenfire is described as a hyperstructured
> > UI - this will be good to see, as UI development is lagging behind in RDF
> > developments.
> To give you a rough overview, there's a short-term and a long-term
> subproject, called Fenfire Loom and Buoyoing.
> Loom is our RDF editor, based on lessons learned from zzstructure
> editor. It uses focus-and-context views: You see a 'focused' node in the
> middle of a window, and around it, the nodes it's connected to. It will
> be usable indepent from the rest of Fenfire. I hope to release a 0.1,
> which only supports browsing and no editing yet, next week.
> Buoyoing ("Buoy-oriented interface, next generation") is our scheme for
> integrating data from different applications. This, too, is a
> focus+context interface. In the middle of a window, you see e.g. an
> html-like document. In the margins, you see pieces of other documents
> that are linked to this document, *buoys*, and there are lines
> connecting the buoys to the piece of the main document they're linked
> to. When you click on a buoy it becomes the focus (animated), and the
> formerly focused document moves into the margin, becoming a buoy.
> Buoyoing will allow anything in any view to be connected to anything in
> any other view, allowing you to see 'what's related.' We have basically
> implemented this and demoed it for a specific application-- browsing
> articles in ps/pdf format, creating connections between them (which are
> then shown in the margin) and taking notes about them (also connected in
> the margin). What's missing is the interfaces that allow anybody to
> write a new view which can be connected to any other view.
> >>Our aim is very close to what you describe; we want information from any
> >>application on a computer system (or network) to be available for
> >>linking with information from any other application, in any linking
> >>structure (for example IBIS discussion). For a person I'm in contact
> >>with, there should be a single node on my computer, connected to their
> >>address, their birthday, my appointments with them, emails I received
> >>from them, photos of them, and so on.
> > That would be a foaf:Person  I take it?
> Sounds like a good possibility. At least it will be a subclass of
> >> For Fenfire, we need a canonical format for RDF graphs, so that
> >>equal RDF graphs are always serialized to the same byte sequence; we
> >>might invent our own serialization language for that.
> > Why do you need the same byte sequence?
> Um, in short: We identify versions of graphs by cryptographic hashes,
> and to get the hash of a version, we need to serialize it in a canonical
> > Anyhow it should be pretty straightforward to achieve - e.g. alphabetically
> > sorted nTriples
> Yes, I've been thinking that. The thing that bugs me is that I would
> really like to use a Unicode encoding-- nTriples uses escaping to
> represent Unicode characters. Maybe a Unicode version of nTriples.
> >> ...all structures should be viewable in a
> >>single 'structure editor' (even though we'll have all sorts of different
> >>views for application-specific data which you can switch forth and back
> >>between-- we share the OHS's vision here).
> > Ideagraph  is my own take on this, and I agree absolutely with your
> > reasoning behind the use of RDF (though am too lazy to express it myself ;-)
> Very cool to see that you're interested in OHS stuff, btw.
> Re Ideagraph, btw: You asked me for comments earlier following our urn-5
> discussion (I wasn't able to reply due to time constraints). The thing
> that really stood out was that I'd recommend a layer of indirection in
> the RDF vocabulary. Instead of this::
> node rdf:label "Foo"
> node graphics:x "17"
> node graphics:y "44"
> node graphics:width "50"
> node graphics:height "20"
> I would do this::
> canvas foo:containsNode ref
> ref graphics:x "17"
> ref graphics:y "44"
> ref graphics:width "50"
> ref graphics:height "20"
> ref foo:refersTo node
> node rdf:label "Foo"
> This way, the same node (e.g. person, blog item, ...) can be placed in
> multiple spatial locations on multiple canvases. This is something I
> learned from Ted Nelson: One thing should always be able to be in
> multiple contexts. For example, this way you can experiment with
> different spatial arrangements and store the alternatives. Or you can
> arrange the same nodes in different ways to make different points.
> - Benja (080)