Re: Welcome to 'tool' confusion

From: Jeff Bone (
Date: Mon Apr 23 2001 - 15:54:25 PDT wrote:

> I don't think so. I already consider the state of being disconnected
> as deeply pathological, and I haven't even gotten tetherless yet. Soon
> I'll snort them packets, if I can't get a clean needle push. Vatch *DIS*

Well, I'll take that bet. What's pathological is the notion of "connected" vs.
"disconnected." It's currently binary --- it should be a continuum. I'm banking on the
fact that it will be, so we'll see. :-)

> I think the functionality is asymptotic. A little flatrate connectivity brings
> you a long way already. Fat pipes are nice, but saturate when you can beam
> 3d telepresence in realtime, which is largely latency, not bandwidth. A lot
> of this is tighter coding, which is a DSP problem. Portable DSP is largely
> a power problem, which is in the process of being solved by fuel cells.

What you want is a functionality gradient that steps off smoothly as your connectivity
declines and / or latency increases. I'm at my desk, 3d telepresence or whatever; on the
cab ride to the airport, I want voice interactivity to my "stuff." On the plane, I'll
settle for a canned set of most recent / most needed stuff with a nice smart cache on the
laptop. In the hotel, I want 2d videophone. All of these things should be part of a
seamless (platform-independent in the strongest sense) environment which configures itself
to my immediate needs and capabilities.

The app side of the equation is one piece, but there is perhaps a more essential piece:
simple storage. The fact that we can't even handle our n-way asymmetric mobile
environments with respect to storage of files and data is a huge problem. Until we lick
that, we can't even begin to think of adaptive arguments.

> I can't parse this, but presume you mean connectivity is not a solution.

Connectivity isn't a solution, because we will *probably never* have as much connectivity
as desired in all physical environments. Even your wearable requires a pipe, wired or
wireless. There will always be a gradient, and there will be places where connectivity is
spottier and latency higher than others. If you really want your computing environment
wherever you go, you've got to assume there's some amount of it kept (or at least cached)

> I see where you're coming from, but I consider the problem set unsolvable.

A little replication goes a long way. ;-) A little automation goes even further. Smart
caches help a lot. Ever used Coda? Nice filesystem if you're on *ix...

> What you're talking about is full control of other people's hardware, Always.
> Sorry, ain't gonna see it happen, unless it's Redmond, Redmond uber alles.
> (Heil Gates; hello Godwin!).

Nah, not at all. It's about moving the important abstractions up-stack and staying in a
mode where your stuff "adds value to" Redmond. You can commoditize the hell out of their
stuff as long as you continue to add at least as much value as you steal away.

;-) :-)


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