Rain Drops & Branches

We have to build something – we also have to build foundations for something.

Jack Park calls for an open source collaboration ecosystem. I think that is provocative.

As I sit here at the desk I use at my parent’s in-law’s, it’s a rainy day.
The view is beautiful crips raindrops, all serving as lenses to the future wilderness.
As I focus past the lenses the beautiful branches of nature come into sharp relief against the gentle grey skies.
This is I see as a useful analogy for where we need to go; we need to develop real connections and different ‘lenses’ through which we can see them.
This is a potentially massive undertaking since there needs to be an infrastructure of sorts to be the ‘substrate’ for the links.


I’m still struggling with Author, I’m going to have to release the Mac version with features missing, especially academic features, since each department in each university seem to have different formats for academic papers, then I’ll meet with academics and ask them first what their criteria are for formatted documents to hand in, particularly how citations should be handled (this I can likely copy from their websites, but it’s a good start to talk with them maybe). The big discussion will then be revamping the whole citations system – making it more efficient for students to link to paragraphs, not just whole documents, and making it quick and easy for teachers.

I see citations as a fancy word for links, and a potential community to start using richer and more powerful links.

But this is just one little neck of the woods . We need to support so many more efforts to build revolutionary ways to interact with each other. Author’s success will largely depend on someone using it to be inspired and go way beyond what Author would ever be able to do, to make Author obsolete. If Author becomes simply another word processor that would not be good.

The Ecosystem

The most fundamental thing in the universe, I assert, is not information, but interaction. ‘Links’ are interactions dug up from the soil and left on the surface for others to yet further interact with.

So far we don’t have links, we simply have addresses. An URL does not ‘connect’ or ‘link’, it’s simply an address to go to. And yes, I am most humble aware of how I am ‘preaching’ to the choir here.

What we need is something beyond a transportation layer, we need a connection layer. For example: We need to be able to let a user copy an action item from one app or website and paste it into another and the original location ‘knows’ who copied it and follows along to ‘know’ whether the action item has been actioned.

We need documents to ‘know’ what links to them.

We need glossaries to follow documents and also authors, editors, and readers.

We need such a rich soup of data that we can really cook up liquid information and generate entirely new ways to access, view, interact with, understand, question and share information.

It this even possible?

Can we embed ‘smarts’ with connectivity in objects maybe? Is it this simple? Or does this need to be server or IP level? I don’t know, but I think it’s crucial we work together to find out.

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