Author Archive

Dugg: Web2.0 … Epiphany doesn't just happen

It’s not easy to make something easy.

I just Dugg Paul Glazowski’s “Web 2.0: How Hard Could It Be?” over at

“It ’s not easy to make something easy. … The focus of the story … is to uncover the true tale of start-to-finish process. That taking something from an idea conjured during time spent in gridlock traffic … to something you can hold in your hand … is a process that is almost always longer than one might expect.”

The comment I posted there was about the underlying dynamics

“It’s not easy to make something easy” and making things simple is really complicated. (GEOS, the GUI for C=64, was hackable at assembly level with GEOProgrammer … those were great days!)
I’ve been using the phrase “cognitive ergonomics” more often recently. (It was in current usage back in the mid-80s, around the time SGML was coming out.) The tools and techniques we’re rolling out give us the sort of capabilities that stress our imaginations!
What I’m seeing is something like “When all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail” … pages are being lumbered with elaborate AJAX functionality but the user experience isn’t being complimented with effective functionality … the interfaces are entertaining, so it’s fun to play with them, but come time to do heavy lifting and things get bogged down. That, for me, is the acid test: enhancing work flow.

(Somebody wanna give me a hand AJAXifying TRAC and/or subversion? Can’t ya just see it? all gridded up and popping with interactivity?)”

The article that got Paul moving on this is from the NewYorkTimes’ Janet Rae-Dupree, “Eureka! It Really Takes Years of Hard Work“, documenting Jim Marggraff work to bring a few products to completion. It reads, reads in part:

“We’ve all heard the tales of the apple falling on Newton’s head and Archimedes leaping naked from his bath shrieking “Eureka!” Many of us have even heard that eBay was created by a guy who realized that he could help his fiancée sell Pez dispensers online.
The fact that all three of these epiphany stories are pure fiction stops us short.”

“Epiphany has little to do with either creativity or innovation. Instead, innovation is a slow process of accretion, building small insight upon interesting fact upon tried-and-true process. Just as an oyster wraps layer upon layer of nacre atop an offending piece of sand, ultimately yielding a pearl, innovation percolates within hard work over time.”

I can date my “Eureka moment” precisely … Dalhousie’s Killam Library, February 2003, 3rd floor, corner table, John Willinsky’s OpenAccess text “If Only We Knew; Increasing the public value of social science research” open and sitting /there/ with Jürgen Habermas’ “Discourse Ethics” also open, sitting just /there/; the penny dropped and my re-conceptualization of dialectical concept-mapping came clear … it was that easy!
Yaa, sure, it really was just that easy … and I had started on that project in late May 1975. Do the arithmetic. *grin*


See also:

  • on Willinsky -“”Accessing medical information”; Dr. John Willinsky makes the case for open access to research publications.“, “An Interview with Open Medicine’s Publisher – John Willinsky“, a review of Willinsky’s “The access principle: the case for open access to research and scholarship”; “The Access Principle The Case for Open Access to Research and Scholarship” (2005) at MIT Press.
  • on Jürgen Habermas – “Moral Conciousness and Communicative Action (Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought)” by Habermas, Christian Lenhardt, and Shierry Weber Nicholsen (2001), and “
    Justification and Application: Remarks on Discourse Ethics
    “, both at Amazon
  • my Amazon wish-list *nudge-nudge / wink-wink*”

  • "Prologue" and "WordPress does Twitter"

    Updated 29JAN08 13:25MST:
    My comment to Joseph Scott’s “Prologue, A WordPress Theme” :

    A couple oddities I hope to work on: I created a page and got page titles to display in the sidebar, but when I select one of those I don’t see any of the text that’s in it.
    Also, and this is core to the functionality I’d like to see, a post submitted on a page doesn’t display any differently than a post entered on the mainpage.
    So right now: neither About nor PlaceHolder display the text they were created with. So they, along with mainpage, display exactly the same.

    Now: if pages could carry their own stream … know what I mean?
    What I’m getting at is that the “most recent by each contributer” shouldn’t be universal.
    Mainpage? yes, of course, that’s the point.
    Separate pages? How about “most recent from each contributer on this page”?
    Categories? I don’t know … maybe that should dump all posts.

    I haven’t looked at the code, so don’t know how you implemented the logic; maybe I’m at counter-purposes with you.”

    My thinking is this: with minor changes, posts could be sorted a number of ways:
    1) MainPage shows only “most recent by each contributor”
    2) separate pages show “most recent by each contributor on page”
    3) categories … not sure … maybe a dump of all contributions, sorted by date?

    Another interesting wierdness (apart from the fact that page text isn’t showing … ‘sup with that?): you can add a title in Edit, and the title shows up in Recent Posts, but you cannot add a title from the main post form.
    RFE: don’t change the post display function, but do change the submit form to allow the creation of a title.


    <rant>Without prejudice: it comes down to the kidz who have the toys get to call out the rules of the game.

    If I trotted out a description of my stuff … would that result in the resources needed for a launch?
    You see, this is where “discourse variance” kicks in: one moment we’re talking like the world is all fun, then how it’s a tough place with folk ready to mug you anytime, then back to the light and love delusion … and that’s what BluePill and “constant partial attention” allow; the people around me show all the integrity of pin-ball machines.

    If I could develop this stuff I know I’d have something really special. But I /can /not// … think it’s easy? Try it sometime. But no … that’s too much like work. Scoffing? Scoffing is easy.</rant>
    Indulge me: I get cranky/frustrated sometimes.

    Anyhow: WordPress has released a theme … no big deal there … but it creates something like a Twitter interface. I’ve applied it on … it’s pretty neat.

    Anyhow, and tell the story.

    BTW: if you want to set it up on the theme is there to be selected, but you need to navigate to page 3 or 4 to find “Prologue” … alphabetical.

    Anyhow, I’ve got the files from SVN … I really really really think it needs a sidebar. (I’ve just started a stand-alone page as work-around.)

    '96 style blog post [draft]

    From ”Teachers” at PBS: “Web 2.0 and Education: Hot or Not?” by Andy Carvin, 11JAN08

    “Andrew Keen’s polemic on Web 2.0 culture, The Cult of the Amateur, has been riling the social media community for months now. It was probably just a matter of time before it came up in a big way within the edtech community, and now that just might be happening, thanks to a new blog by online safety advocate Anne Collier. It’s inspired her to ask a simple question to the education community: why do a growing number of educators like Web 2.0 in the first place? But I want to know something else as well – what don’t we like about Web 2.0, and is there anything we can do about it?”

    From PerfectSpace blog, two items:
    *How Geeks Can Help In Disasters (San Diego Fire 2007)

    “A sad and yet hopeful few days. Even though I went through a “100-year flood” in Washington, going through the so-called “Firestorm 2007” in San Diego, I’ve learned more than I ever thought I would about disasters and what people need.”

    *Using Twitter to Help Communities

    “My experiences in the San Diego fires of 2007 gave me an interesting outlook on how Twitter, as a tool, could be applied in different circumstances. Just a few months after (and some even during) the 2007 firestorm some agencies are scratching the surface of what’s possible with this service.”

    And recently joined: Digital Divide Network:

    “The Digital Divide Network was launched in December 1999 as a response to the National Digital Divide Summit hosted by U.S. President Bill Clinton. Originally developed by the Benton Foundation and the National Urban League, DDN was designed as an online clearinghouse of news and resources regarding the digital divide.”

    How VC Rots Kidz' Brains

    My point is this: SF kidz have great intuition.
    It works like a white-list.
    So anything that doesn’t finger their joy-buttons gets pushed away.

    It’s SocialPsych 101.

    If you got a /really/ good financial offer, I bet you’d put up with *cough* behaviour you considered *fidget* unconventional, right?
    And that’s hot it is with A-list; if you’re one of the “elect” then you’re in.
    And if you aren’t on that list then you’d better conform if you know what’s good for you.
    And wicked.

    What I’d like to talk about something that will take FD tech and ummmm “blow away” WikiaSearch and Mahalo both.
    “It’s all about ubiquity” … well, something is … maybe self-validation, and self-perpetuation … but not much more. (That’s Greg Reinacker, of course.)
    I studied the sorta thing that allows me to say such as this: “Any half-assed psychopath will easily make himself ubiquitous … along with the standard psychological insightfulness and charm.”
    But folk go for that sorta thing … it’s sexy and kewl and with-it and … and it’s from someone A-list, which puts you in the company of someone A-list if you go along. You see?

    Know how that impacts me? Peek … that’s treated as though rat-droppings. Mebbe cuz how I talk now and again … maybe because it’s LJ … maybe because folk who rely on their “intuition” that way are just, well, narrow.

    “Search is part of the fundamental infrastructure of the Internet.” That’s Jimmy Wales. And I agree with him. More: I appreciate the balanced tone he’s taken; accuracy and precision both. (Most folk think of those two as synonyms. They aren’t. Anyone who’s needed either of them in a real-life situation knows they’re separate and distinct. Got a sec? Another mis-use of language. The huge popularity of “social software” is said to evidence the need for it. Nope … more self-validation … what it demonstrates is perhaps no more than the appetite … not the need. Again, separate and distinct. For some folk such as that actually matters.)

    My stuff?
    Orthogonal to “search”.
    Orthogonal to “concept mapping”.
    Complimentary to evidence-based decision making.
    Consonant with applicable SW principles. is also treated like rat shit.
    And too.
    So many bright minds … so narrow … so lazy.

    Parenthetically, in his theory of wicked problems Conklin says it’s cuz they aren’t amenable to the scientific method.
    So even he is caught in the “narrow” trap *yoiks!*.
    What he says is true, sort of, in a way … in a narrow sense. Just like Greg is correct in a narrow sense.
    But he’s narrowed “science” and unfortunately constrained “scientific method” … because that serves to compliment his approach? Well, yes … maybe not “in order to” but yes, his approach would have him see it that way.

    Meanwhile … I’ve moved back to Edmonton after 20 years in NS raising kids in the hills of Cape Breton. (1 engineer, 1 webmistress/journalist, 1 physio-therapist, 1 kindergarden teacher, and daughter #2 is MD … yaa, I’m a real flake … heh) and there’s lotsa raw cash here but no smarts.

    And in SF?
    Not just smarts: SF has 60% of the world’s IT VC within 20 miles.

    But look at the consequences that’s had on folks’ attitudes.
    If you don’t fit their filters, you don’t exist.

    So, really, it’s all about “What’s the next killer-app?” …
    … fiddling around while the world burns.

    “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”; my cohort sold out big-time, got rich, and protect opportunities to make sure their kids maintain their monopolies.

    AlphaDawg's ITGeek Twitter Group

    AlphaDawg's ITGeek Twitter Group


    *Preliminary Draft – I’m still working on the thuds; not sure this will fly at all!* BenTrem 21:24Z 2JAN08

    Please, join in to create the group feed; follow ITGeek!
    The “group feed” should appear at

    With the arrival of David Sifry’s “Announcing Hoosgot” service on twitter (see also Doc Searles’ “Y Hoosgot?”) folk have started talking about the whole #tagging and grouping thang again (Not ignoring HashTags, another dandy service) … and this really deserves to be talked through.

    These two posts pretty much capture the state of things in the summer of ’07: “Groups for Twitter; or A Proposal for Twitter Tag Channels” and, at ITtoolbox, ELSUA’s “Groups for Twitter; or a Proposal for Twitter Tag Channels and on the Importance of Listening to Your End-Users” – As a starter, people keep coming up with some pretty impressive blog posts that clearly detail how Twitter could be used on a business environment to help you stay connected with other knowledge workers while in a distributed world.

    Looking at how folk use Twitter got me remembering group dynamics in PowWow. (You had to be there; systems in-form transaction, yes? This system truly enabled friendly fun camp-fire style exchanges.)

    I’ve been chewing on this for a few days … reading posts that link to this one hear … letting it simmer a while.

    I think I’ve got a model that would work. It doesn’t use tags, it would be by subscription. Sort of. It’s so simple it’s sort of embarrassing.

    You know how many different view we have now. “Recent” ( of course shows yours and everyone you’re following. Then “Archive”, your past tweets … again self-evident. And “Replies”, which is awefull nice … most everyone misses @ traffic now and again. Then there’s “Direct Messages” … gotta luv systems that have simple PM Function.

    And, equally obvious, you can go to anyone else’ page to see their past tweets. Not their “Direct” of course, nor their “Replies” … common decency.
    Put here’s the curve: “With Others” … ok, I can see my buddies’ view of his transaction … not so interesting.

    Ah-Ha! – a group could congregate on a single account! If folk “Follow” that “group user”, then they would see it and all others subscribed to it.
    What’s interesting is that the plumbing imposes open-ness … not tweets can be directed to only that group, and non-members are perfectly capable of viewing the whole record. But “viewers” can not contribute to that stream; an individual isn’t “voiced” until/unless the group user Follows them! And, of course, an individual can be de-voiced. (Yes, of course “with cause” … having tools doesn’t mean we shed all the problematics of the human experience!


    The “group feed” should appear at”>ITGeek w/Friends


    Addendum: I was wondering >> ITGeek: “Hoosgot insight for “advantage to actually following” me? My Follows already create the group. To what use my “Followers” list?”
    I got it: By “Following” ITGreek, a person promotes their own Tweets, i.e. that gesture signals a request to have feed added to group view!

    Yet another "tabs dump"

    LiveSearch ”discourse”: academic | feeds

    * Micah L. Sifry’s blog at
        * Sifry’s “It’s Time to Wikify Government” at
    * Powerset – “next-generation [natural language] search engine”; Powerset blog; Lorenzo Thione’s blog
    * Amazon Web Services’ Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2); see AWS Simple Monthly Calculator
    * think pieces: Language Log, the blog
    * “Best of 2007” by technosailor aka Aaron Brazell; see also his The Pervasive Web
        * gleaned from comments there: “10 ways to improve web 2.0 and move into an era of true interaction“; “Computing Is A Liberal Art, Part 3: Strategies for Reinforcing Loops and the Hive Mind“; “Why Verizon Went Open & What It Means
    * fresh off the press at ReadWriteWeb: “2007: The Year in RSS
    * for people search and for feeds analysis
    * New for me at Codex.WordPress: References and external resources about “The Loop”

  • March 2021
    S M T W T F S
  • Recent Comments

  • Categories

  • Archive

  • Copyright © 1996-2010 Gnodal Journal. All rights reserved.
    Jarrah theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress