[unrev-II] Re: OHS Meeting at SRI on 010122 Demonstrate BrowseUp

From: Jack Park (jackpark@verticalnet.com)
Date: Tue Jan 23 2001 - 15:29:23 PST

  • Next message: Eric Armstrong: "Re: [unrev-II] Re: OHS Meeting at SRI on 010122 Demonstrate BrowseUp"

    Here is my take:

    BrowseUp is, indeed, very innovative and well done. I hesitate to use the
    word 'innovative' because much of what BrowseUp does has been anticipated in
    papers by Douglas Engelbart, Ted Nelson, and Francis Heylighen, among
    others. Nevertheless, as an execution of the many ideas, BrowseUp is really

    I formulated a model of how it works. Right or wrong, here it is.

    Imagine that your browser is set to work through a proxy server, a tiny
    local server that, itself, does the web connection for the browser. WBI,
    IBM's transcoding engine, is one such server. Because your browser does not
    directly interact with the web, the proxy server has the opportunity to look
    at the URL you have requested and feed that URL to another web connection,
    which happens to be BrowseUp's link server. The link server can download
    what it knows about the selected URL while the selected URL, itself, is
    coming in on another http connection. Now, two bodies of html information
    are available in the proxy server. Before the server sends that to the
    requesting browser, it can perform whatever computation it likes. BrowseUp
    appears to add a tiny bit of html to the page before being displayed. That
    added html forms an href link such that, should you click on it, you now go
    directly (through the proxy server, of course) to some URL inside the link
    server, where another window opens complete with all links others have
    established with the link you just clicked on. Got that?

    There's more. Suppose the proxy server could open a tiny dialog of its own
    such that you can reach up into your browser image and grab something and
    drag it into the new dialog. That establishes a target. Now, go to some
    other web page and click on something and, presto, or words to that effect,
    the proxy server opens a nifty display of some linkages you are about to
    make. Both directions are linked, but you can 'uncheck' a box at either to
    break a link. Meanwhile, you can annotate the link(s), complete with search
    words and so forth. Got that?

    So, now, you have imagined a really nifty kind of engine that gets awfully
    close to a transclusion engine as described by Ted Nelson. The only
    difference is that BrowseUp does not 'transclude' (meaning, actually insert
    the referenced material into the page being displayed). Rather, it gives
    you the equivalent of a menu to select those links you might want to browse.

    Now, that's powerful, in my extremely humble opinion. So powerful, however,
    that I raise a couple of personal opinions (hip shots!) for further
    discussion. Note, these opinions actually apply to just about any NIC one
    might build.

    I am talking to the so-called 'web of trust' concept advanced by Tim
    Berners-Lee in his Semantic Web initiative. We all need to trust each other
    to 'do the right thing' (whatever that is). And, BrowseUp opens pandora's
    proverbial box to all sorts of not-so-right things one could do. Imagine,
    for instance, someone linking your home page heading to, say, a really
    grotesque gif or jpg.

    Here, I am thinking that it may be that establishing links ought to be a
    priviliged operation. Only those who are authenticated and have permission
    to do so should, perhaps, be allowed to do so. I am thinking that if
    everyone on earth had the ability to slam links onto whatever they want,
    there would be hell to pay.

    But, I am not saying that BrowseUp, or even it's eventual clones, whatever,
    is without merit. On corporate intranets, you already (theoretically
    speaking) have a web of trust. On networked improvement communities (NICs),
    the opportunity, if not requirement, exists to authenticate those who
    participate. No, I'm not talking about private exclusive NICs; anybody can
    join, but they must be authentic, and tracable, because the links can be
    traced, through logs, to individuals, and that's probably the way things
    should be.

    Moving away from the web of trust thing, consider legal implications. What
    are the laws regarding linking (especially, willy-nilly linking). It is my
    understanding that eBay got an injunction against a dotCom that was either
    linking or transcluding auction information at the dotCom's web site. I
    recall (maybe with imperfect memory) phrases like 'deep linking' (Google got
    224,000 hits on that one). In fact, the second hit was this:
    which just happens to deal with the notion of deep linking. Here is a quote
    from the wired.com article cited at the deepLinking url just cited:
    "Legal experts did comment, however, saying the legal landscape surrounding
    deep linking, or hyperlinking deep into another's Web page, is fraught with
    unpaved ways."

    There you have it. Due Dilligence, here, would suggest that, before any NIC
    goes live, particularly one that permits linking around the web, some deep
    research ought to be done on issues such as those raised here.

    Well, that's my 0.02 EURs for the day.

    From: Rod Welch <rowelch@attglobal.net>

    > Adam,
    > Here is a summary of meeting yesterday that indicates BrowseUp can
    accomplish a
    > lot of Doug's goals for Hyperscope and improving collaboration.....
    > http://www.welchco.com/sd/08/00101/02/01/01/22/154531.HTM
    > Feedback from other attendees can expand and clarify these understandings.
    > Rod

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