RE: [unrev-II] Digest Number 294: Augment Clone?

From: John \ (
Date: Thu Nov 30 2000 - 00:14:28 PST

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    A goal discovery process adds little value if the goal turns out to be

    I'm poorly informed about the progress of the different threads on this
    group - my interest and possible viewpoint of value is as a user of this
    stuff, not a creator.

    With that said, Augment seems to me to be a stunning achievement for the
    pre-PC era, but not necessarily a model for the future. As I misunderstand
    it, the Augment pattern is strongly centralized and document-centric.
    Customizability and "ease of use" don't seem to be strengths. How autonomous
    user groups could focus the tools on the issues of interest to them, and
    still exchange with others, does not seem to be a factor.

    The "design from first principles" thread seems, in my misunderstanding of
    it, to be less committed to centralized management/control, less
    document-centric, more customizable, focused on seamless integration of
    information exchange for autonomous user groups, and cognizant of "ease of
    use" considerations.

    IMHO new software must be either faster-better-cheaper at something a large
    market recognizes as important, or provide new functionality that clearly
    addresses a significant, unmet, pre-existing need, or it must in affect
    found a new paradigm. Or its a fringe issue and neither grantsmanship nor
    recruiting amongst open source or academia will get it written. Look instead
    to some institution deciding to do it to meet some internal goal, if anyone

    I think of Visicalc as a classic faster-better-cheaper, succeeded by Lotus
    and then Excel. I see Windows 95 as a great meeter of an unmet need for
    accessibility (now high school students can be expected to make use of
    computers, even if not all do or not all do so well). Windows delivered an
    acceptably priced version of what the MAC and Doug had invented. The PC and
    the cell phone are two paradigm busters, as is email and the WWW. Word
    Perfect and Word maybe have some of all three characteristics.

    Augment seems to me in my misunderstanding to be a failed Visicalc. The
    global corporation or transnational public body probably would like such a
    vehicle, but has not seized upon this example. I can't see it going anywhere

    But the idea of a WWW-like KM system, capable of seamlessly linking
    autonomous elements into a whole much greater than the sum of its parts -
    this would be a bombshell.

    Well that's my $.03.

    john werneken

    >Message: 2
    > Date: Tue, 28 Nov 2000 18:00:07 -0800
    > From: Eric Armstrong <>
    >Subject: Beginnings of Augment Ontology
    >Folks, having now gotten through Frode
    >Hegland's writeup at
    >I can tell you that the Solutions section
    >is, in point of fact, a meticulous writeup
    >of Augment's functionality.
    >Jack and Howard:
    > His writeup may be the most succinct expression
    > of Augment's functionality you are likely to
    > come across. It may, therefore, be the best
    > possible start for your Ontology excavations.
    >The solutions section of the document, like the
    >introductory materak, appears quite clearly to be
    >Doug speaking.
    >My reactions to that are mixed. If this truly is
    >the OHS spec, then, in actuality, it is the Augment
    >spec. That is not necessarily a bad thing. But if
    >so, then I am somewhat chagrined at how much time
    >I (we) spent trying to work a process (any process)
    >to define a solution, when the result was
    >Much as I admire and agree with the goals of this
    >group, I confess to being mystified by the lack
    >of process.

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