Inventing the Future

Where We've Been

The Teleplace release is a mature application for getting work done in realtime collaboration with others. This makes a good occasion to look at some direct progenitors. The first two are the 1994 Interactive Collaboration Environment prototype by David Smith. The third is a 2007 Julian Lombardi demo of Croquet.

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Inventing the Future

The Colony

Our company CTO, David Smith, has been the principle architect of Croquet since the beginning. Long before that, he wrote the first commercial 3D game for a personal computer. Here’s some video (made with an actual video camera on old Mac) of how The Colony looked in 1987.

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

A Brief Response To Richard Bennett's New Paper

I salute Richard Bennett’s new paper Designed for Change, in which he traces the engineering history of the end-to-end principle. It is a serious paper and deserving of serious response. Unfortunately, it being right before Yom Kippur and various deadlines, that more serious response will need to come from elsewhere. I can give only a brief, surface response — reality is messy.

OK, too brief. A bit more elaboration. Richard Bennett is eminently qualified to write the technical history and draw engineering conclusions. As are a large number of other folks who take very different views on the issue of net neutrality and the virtues of end-to-end (Vint Cerf, David Reed and kc claffy to name a few folk of my acquaintance). The history described by Richard is layered onto an equally rich history of political and economic events which all interweave, and continue to interweave, to create a complex and messy reality in which public policy tries (in my opinion) to set rules to create the strongest likelihood of the best possible outcome.

More below . . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

AT&T Falls Back on “It's All About Google” Strategy

For some years now, the opponents of Network Neutrality have had the same basic fallback strategy: When all else fails, make it about Google. So no surprise that AT&T, in a letter supposedly about the rather technical issue of “traffic pumping” opens with an attack on Google and Net Neutrality. Because if we have learned anything from our national healthcare debate, it is that it is more important to make this about how awful the other side is rather than debate the merits.

More below . . . .

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My Thoughts Exactly

Net Neutrality Nearer? Maybe

Some promising noises out of the FCC and Congress lately–even from President Obama– about preserving Net Neutrality. However, the Telco & other retrograde forces out there have lots of money, lobbyists, and influence. Free Press’s “Save the Internet” campaign has some good things going on, including an astonishing $100,000 matching contribution fundraiser sponsored by an anonymous donor. Chip in what you can. And contact your congresspeople today.

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Inventing the Future

The Treachery of Names

Would any other smell as sweet?

We changed the name of the company today. The geeks formerly known as Qwaq are now Teleplace.

I like it. Qwaq was a kind of goofy Google/Twitter/Yahoo sort of thing into which you could project whatever you wanted. At first it was (theoretically) just as plausible that something would be made for kids as for companies. But the Qwaq named didn’t really play well. It was too empty a vessel — not suggestive of anything we did. Even our friends spelled it wrong. I often told people it was the corner letters of their keyboard, but they tended to just tilt their head at me like a confused dog. We have a great set of photos in the office of David, Andreas, and the gang discussing potential names with Alan Kay. “Oink? No. Too obvious.” Anyway, now we’re respectable, and the name suggests something about what we do.

Oh, and the new client is out, too.

And the new server.

Off to sleep.

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Update on Program Access — looks like FCC rolls lucky 7 at DC Cir. Casino.

Wall St. J. reports the court was fairly deferential to the FCC’s predictive judgment. That’s good. But it would be nice if the D.C. Circuit were less of a crap shoot. What makes the FCC’s “predictive judgment” better on program access and on inside wiring than on cable ownership or telco forbearance? Makes it rather Hell to do policy one way or the other.

Stay tuned….

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Inventing the Future

Under the Radar

This is five minutes of live demo and eight minutes of discussion at an Under the Radar conference last spring. It is a very info-dense presentation before specialized industry insiders. (There are lots of side references all around to Google and others.) The intense Enterprise and VC jargon is quite meaningful and right, not random bullshit. I am particularly struck by the discussion of use cases like yesterday’s Project Collaboration and Saturday’s Operations Center, although I think the emphasis on high-value uses cases is misleading. (Under the Radar is all about qualifying truly new tech scenarios: high-value or large-new-market uses always get the first attention by the investors. That doesn’t mean that less extreme scenarios are not just as relevant for the people involved in them.) I also like the characterization they arrive at in which hosted/cloud/Software-as-a-Service is equated with repeatable off-the-shelf workflows, while VPN/behind-the-firewall/custom installations are equated with specialized internal crown-jewels applications.

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Inventing the Future

Project Collaboration at Intel

Yesterday I posted an example of a Virtual Operations Center, which is turning out to be one of the classic enterprise use cases for virtual worlds today. Above is a tiny blurb representing another, more common case: Project Collaboration. Not a great video, but in its short 1.5 minutes it touches on how other uses cases such Operations or Training tend to merge into or be utilized within Project Collaboration.

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Inventing the Future

Operations Center +1

David Smith made this video a year ago, showing how you could have:

  • virtual world objects automatically populated by real world objects;
  • scripted behavior for those interactive objects that:

    • gives realtime display of real world data associated with those objects;
    • allows you to control the associated real world objects (like Swayze in “Ghost”);

  • all while functioning in a standard virtual world in which the participants can communicate with voice/video/text/gesture and spontaneously share apps, etc.

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