From: Eric Armstrong <email@example.com>
> As I recall, "we" (as a group) disliked that notion, at
> the time, because we wanted people to use a "vanilla
> browser", without having to do anything special to the
> I take it that our collective opinion is now more
> in favor of a smarter client?
I, for one, do not think such an inference is licensed by my description.
> How much effort is it to install that proxy, anyway?
> Or is it pretty transparent? (Or does a remote server
> actually serve as the "proxy", so that you have to visit
> that server and, from there, go to other points on the
I suspect I did not make my model clear. The description I gave was my
invention, conjured up while watching the demo. What they actually do has
something to do with a browser plugin widget, not actually a proxy server,
though the plugin may consist of such a device. Their plugin adds buttons
and other functionality to IE 5 (and, at the moment, no other browser).
As to whether our 'collective opinion' could or even should be moulded by a
single demo is certainly up for grabs. I, for one, have never been against
proxy servers, but the concept of pervasive computing certainly argues
against that until, I suppose, my Palm Pilot gets 128 megs of ram. By then,
it will probably be called a Backpack Pilot, which I already have in the
form of a Sony Vaio XG38, which, btw, is not, repeat NOT a great buy if you
are a software developer. That because it cannot be upgraded from Windows ME
to Windows 2000 without throwing out all the nifty functionality that makes
it a laptop. But, that's another rant, the one about how the whole concept
of upgradable Wintel boxes has been tossed out the door by certain
manufacturers. I am concerned that this box will need a special Linux port
to run at all.
Personally speaking, I have downloaded a bunch of open source proxy servers
to play with. There may be something to that path.
> Jack Park wrote:
> > 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
> > slick.
> > 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:
> > http://davenet.userland.com/1999/08/09/deepLinking
> > 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.
> > Jack
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