Personal/group proxy rant was RE: MSIE/Mac in P2P mode

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From: Meltsner, Kenneth (
Date: Wed Dec 27 2000 - 12:45:59 PST

That's an interesting take -- that venture capital/dotcom fever has resulted
in unneeded centralization of services. Why, for example, use Third Voice
within a workgroup instead of an annotation proxy server? -- except that
Third Voice is "free" and the proxy would cost money or effort.

I think you have the right idea with the Frontier/OPML family. I tend to
view the world as a series of outlines as well. And you're not alone: the
Engenia folks have a similar one, since their portal product can run as a
P2P-ish, personal portal, a group portal, or a departmental portal, I

I'm a bit hesitant about personal versions of some products -- Plumtree's
portal/content catalog system is based on spiders and crawlers and walkers,
and other network-hogging, security-clumsy tools, for example, and a
personal version would unleash thousands of spiders on the world (under the
control of people that can't multiply 50 KB per page by 1,000 pages to
estimate the network capacity needed to spider a 1,000 page site....).

RSS and its children are a much better fit for now, I think. Sites publish,
in a pre-arranged spot, what they "think" has changed so that no one needs
to crawl blindly. It's a great example of bottom-up integration, decoupled
(mostly) from random server failures and misconfigurations.

The XML-RPC/SOAP tools are a good step forward to more active integration in
the same vein -- services visible at pre-arranged spots instead of static
files. Since files are just frozen services, you could even have a
lightweight implementation based on RSS and magic URLs so older tools can
interoperate with the SOAP-based world.

The only missing piece are clean ways to mix the machine-usable bits and the
human-usable bits. I'd still like to have "data closed-captioning" so a web
page from Sabre could be interpreted by my organizer program automatically.

[Damn -- I should put this on my editthispage site if I get time.]

Ken Meltsner

-----Original Message-----
From: Dave Winer []
Sent: Wednesday, December 27, 2000 2:30 PM
To: Meltsner, Kenneth; Rohit Khare
Subject: Re: MSIE/Mac in P2P mode

Kenneth, we're doing a series of "desktop websites" that run on local
hardware and interface to network services running in XML-RPC, SOAP, and
XML. My theory is that the dotcom euphoria had to die down, it was too easy
to make money by opening centralized servers and going IPO on the perceived
value of eyeballs. Now that we can't do that anymore, we have to take the
load off the servers so we can have more users, and we have to produce
software they can run that has a pricetag on it. The technology industry
returns to its roots, making software for people to create their own
communication channels and spaces. Dave

----- Original Message -----
From: "Meltsner, Kenneth" <>
To: "Rohit Khare" <>; "Dave Winer" <>
Cc: <>
Sent: Wednesday, December 27, 2000 12:26 PM
Subject: RE: MSIE/Mac in P2P mode

> Departmental/personal proxy servers have been one of my big missed
> prediction: I was sure that we would see a lot more use of them by now,
> small companies and departments would have shared proxies with some level
> analysis/annotation/etc. added to them. Instead, we all surf alone.
> And as far as I can tell, in the marketplace, we have:
> * Microsoft's cruddy Proxy Server 2 (a wretched product, recently
> IIRC, by a new "Internet Acceleration" server)
> * Netscape's Proxy Server, which was sold to another company at some
> and appears to be on End-of-Life maintenance.
> * A large number of caching appliances and network appliances used for
> acceleration, but not providing any sort of group support
> * IBM's Transcoding server, which is really a proxy server that rewrites
> content to fit those itty-bitty handheld thingies.
> The Open Source world has a bunch of cool ideas and tools, but I don't get
> the sense that any of them are used much beyond the usual "internet
> acceleration" marketplace.
> Sure, proxy servers trade latency increases for bandwidth saving (dynamic
> vs. static content), but I really would have thought someone would have
> up with a couple of proxy-based killer apps by now. I guess no one needs
> MyThirdVoice.
> True tale of proxy server excitement: the Cisco caching appliance used to
> save us about 30% of our bandwidth at my previous employer. In the
> when people (several thousand in Milwaukee) first arrived, we used to have
> hit rates above 60 and 70% -- judging from the logs, just about everyone
> the same handful of sites to check on stocks, weather, news, etc. Best
> argument I've ever seen for portal products.
> Ken
> Ken
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Rohit Khare []
> Sent: Wednesday, December 27, 2000 1:42 PM
> To: Dave Winer
> Cc:;;
>; Radio Userland; SOAP;; Jeffrey
> Zeldman;; Bob Atkinson;;
> Subject: Re: MSIE/Mac in P2P mode
> At 8:46 AM -0800 12/27/00, Dave Winer wrote:
> >First, I apologize if you receive multiple copies of this email.
> As do I -- but the issue is simply that urgent. In fact, it's
> crippled the performance of Windows 2000 as well, since that
> configuration starves Apache+Perl as well.
> Our startup depends on local HTTP microservers, just like UPnP,
> Napster, Gnutella, and a slew of other schemes. When I can put two
> implementations side by side and see 200 SOAP transactions per second
> on Win2K with a separate server on the LAN plummet to 4 events per
> second with the server on the same CPU, we have a problem. I can also
> confirm Dave's Mac experience.
> I am hopeful, though. We've seen Explorer grow into a great product,
> and I know at least David Stutz can attest to what we've been able to
> inspire it to. We just haven't had a generation of developers ship
> "applications" as local proxy servers. When we make it clear how
> useful this technique is, we can shut up and let our customers do the
> asking.
> I would be glad to extend any assistance we can in testing and
> resolving these issues.
> Thanks,
> Rohit Khare
> CEO, KnowNow Inc.
> 2730 Sand Hill Road
> Suite 150
> Menlo Park, CA 94025
> (650) 561-0246 (direct)
> (206) 465 4936 (cell)
> >I'm hoping enough Microsoft people see this so that the problem is
> >fixed, it's an important area for future Web development, esp in
> >regards to P2P apps, where the server and the client are often
> >running on the same machine.
> >
> >***Concise statement of the problem
> >
> >When accessing a server on the local machine, MSIE/Mac doesn't yield
> >enough time to allow the server to do its processing. The net result
> >is a glacial pace, when it should be lightning fast. The addition of
> >a single system call to the loop that's waiting for a response from
> >the server would probably cure the problem.
> >
> >This problem isn't present on MSIE/Win or Netscape/Mac, it only
> >effects Mac MSIE users. Our only recourse for people who use our new
> >"desktop website" software on the Mac will be to switch to Netscape,
> >which doesn't have the problem. I'm not going to suggest that they
> >switch to Windows, I'll let Microsoft do that. ;->
> >
> >More discussion is here.
> >
> ><$4389>http://rad
> >$4389
> >
> >Dave
> >
> >PS: I don't like the banging on pots and pans approach to getting
> >attention of vendors. But Microsoft is not moving in browsers, esp
> >on the Mac, and if this is what they respond to, so be it.

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