The Machine that Goes Ping!

Rohit Khare (
Mon, 10 Nov 1997 15:05:08 -0800

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This is one amazing guy. I was going to say kid, but I remember how much
I hated to be called that :-)

Today's Tasty Bit from Keith is all about Ping's new tool, the
Crit-Link mediator, a proxy for annotating pages -- PUBLIC annotation of
pages. The proxy, for example, can be your portal to an
annotated world. Foresight (a/k/a Drexler, on this issue at least) has
been *talking* about backlinking and annotation for a while. I was
excited by their first proposals back in '95 -- but I'd never expected
it to happen, much less as elegantly implemented as Ping has managed.

This is another in a series of innovations that are finally bringing
home the latent value of proxying services: proxies to translate (Ping's
own Japanese service), proxies to strip advertisements (NoBull), manage
cookies and pseudonymous identities (Lucent), proxies to track
clicktrails (an early advertiser site that *inserted* ads), proxies for
security and authentication, proxies for content-selection, proxies for
digital signature verification and applet isolation...

This is a core extensibilty technique. On the other hand, it's extremely
heavyweight to provide services on separate *servers* with all the
overhead of HTTP transactions. Chaining -- serial and parallel
composition of these services -- is also problematic. `

This is the universe PEP was designed for -- each PEP module has the
same expressive power as a proxy, but can be plugged, swapped, composed,
sequenced, and most of all, identified on the fly. The HTTP Protocol
Extension Protocol draft traces its roots to the same applications. What
we see today is that it's easier to hack an entirely new
mission-specific server with CGI-bin scripts than to promulgate a
principled, standardized hook for extending server capabilities and
negotiation ... but that's just today, I hope.

Ping: kudos to you! You may want to see [1] amd [2] for some context to
this message. Finally, I certainly hope you're publishing this design
paper [3] somewhere; WWW7 is Dec 1 as you know; I'm also the editor of
the Web Journal, where we have more space and would love to document
this all.

Rohit Khare

PS. Dan: another pylover...


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a proud member of the lfw

What are the facts? Again and again and again-- what are the
facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget
what "the stars foretell", avoid opinion, care not what the
neighbours think, never mind the unguessable "verdict of
history"-- what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You
pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue.
Get the facts!

--Lazarus Long (in "Time Enough for Love" by Robert A. Heinlein)

Creating and maintaining a personal home page could be considered just about
the ultimate act of egotism. Yet i've got a few things that would be nice to
link together and i supposed it was about time, since everyone else seems to
be doing it. So i figured i might as well; opportunities for personal
expression on as grand a scale as the World-Wide Web seem too valuable to
ignore. I'd love to hear your comments.

To get to know some friends of mine, try visiting Christopher Simons, Jeremy
Bailin, Christopher Hendrie, Sarah Ternoway, Richard "Frodo" Martin, Sandy
Dong, Mike Habicher, or Vivienne Suen.

Another ugly bag of mostly water

I'm a third-year (ack!) student of Computer Engineering at the University of
Waterloo. I was born in East York, Ontario on 26 February 1976, but in
spirit i remain pretty much seventeen. Should you be interested, my rsum
is available on this site.


My most recent major endeavour is to bring mathematics (and other forms of
structured expression) to the Web with an extensible notation system that
focuses on semantics, which i call MINSE (a Medium-Independent Notation for
Structured Expressions). The preliminary implementation, completed in June
1996, lets anyone put math on their pages and anyone view the math (rendered
in any graphical or textual browser) without installing any special
software. Try it out and see for yourself!

The MINSE site won the 1996 Canadian Internet Award for Best Science Site!
I'm very grateful to all the people who voted.

You might also want to find out about Shodouka, a World-Wide Web mediator
which generates GIF images to make Japanese text viewable with any graphical
browser. Using this tool, you can read the Japanese in any Web document,
without having to modify your browser or find one that supports kanji!

Shodouka won the first ACM Student Webbie Prize! Thanks to everyone for your

I dabble in Python, a very nice scripting language which i try to contribute
to. I have a little collection of Python things you might want to check out.

I once did some work on translations of the scripts to the Video Girl Ai
manga. There are existing translations, but my goal was to produce scripts
with smooth English and complete Japanese transcriptions in both JIS and
romaji, with translation gloss. I posted my draft scripts on the Video Girl
Ai mailing list, and many helpful and friendly individuals helped me out
with my horrible Japanese.


I've completed four co-op work terms so far. The first was with (then) Alias
Research in Toronto, where i developed the second version of their
"Flipbook" animation player and worked on some tools for game content

For the second term, i created the Canadian Space Agency's website and
developed a remotely-controllable file management system to let people edit
and validate their own pages completely within the browser. Even though (to
my knowledge) it was one of the first systems of this kind, it didn't really
catch on there much -- but since then a number of other similar programs
have appeared.

In fall of 1995 i worked for the MFCF Hardware Design Lab, maintaining the
computer-controlled model trains and robot arcade in the next room (for the
CS452 course in real-time operating systems), working on a couple of
electronics projects, and installing and moving equipment in the math
building. As part of a small project to make documentation more accessible
in our computing environment, i'm tried to write a *roff to HTML converter
which produces reasonable semantic markup.

My last work term was for Alias|Wavefront in Tokyo in the summer of 1996,
while on exchange in Japan. While there i developed a set of thirteen
plug-ins comprising various modelling tools, animation tools, and utilities.

Oh, yeah, i almost forgot. I'm supposed to be trying to get this computer
engineering degree, too. How's that again?


I tried skydiving in the summer of 1995 and it was awesome. I intend to go
jumping again as soon as i can find the opportunity. Then in 1996 while i
was in Japan, a friendly co-worker took me on a trip to Niigata where i
tried paragliding for the first time. It felt like the most natural way to
fly, and i can't wait to try it again.

I had the chance to participate a little in Shad Valley 1995 at Waterloo,
and it brought back to me all kinds of wonderful memories and emotions about
Shad. At the time i thought i'd write a little something about the magic of
Shad Valley to capture how i felt while it was still clear in my heart and

In 1991 (at Sigtuna, Sweden) and in 1993 (at Istanbul, Turkey) i took part
in the International Mathematical Olympiad as a member of Team Canada. You
can find a preliminary page about Team Canada at IMO 1995 on this site.

As mentioned above, i went on exchange to Japan last year. I was there for
nine months, from April to December 1996; i spent half of that time in
Tottori studying at the university there, and the other half of the time
working in Tokyo. It was a wonderfully interesting trip and i got to try a
lot of things. I've been trying keep up with my Japanese since returning,
but i'm afraid that it's slipping away fast. As for other things Japanese,
i've tried my hand at Aiki-Jujitsu (i've got a yellow belt), and i'm always
ready to enjoy a good game of Go.

I also really like to watch Japanese animation (or anime). I tend to enjoy
funny or romantic stories more than the fantastically violent ones. The most
moving fiction i have ever experienced is Video Girl Ai, a beautiful story
by Masakazu Katsura about a girl who emerges from a videotape to comfort a
heartbroken 16-year-old guy named Youta. The story can have you laughing on
the ground one minute and melting with heartache the next. The artwork in
the manga is amazingly detailed, and the animated version (though
unfortunately cut short after six OAVs) is extremely well done, with great
music. I'd highly recommend it.

Another one of my favourite stories is Kimagure Orange Road by Izumi
Matsumoto, which is about a boy named Kyousuke growing up in a new town
where he meets two girls, Hikaru and Madoka. (The Japanese word kimagure
roughly translates as "whimsical" or "capricious".) The added twist is that
his family has telekinetic and telepathic powers that they must keep secret.

A good friend of mine, Sanjay Vakil, introduced me to devilsticks. They're a
great toy. I can handle devilsticking, but can't really juggle very well
(i'm working on it).

Something else i like to do (or would like to do, except that my spare time
seems to be vanishing) is play around with electronic music. (Well, i love
to listen to MODs, anyway.) I'm still learning to compose, but i've released
one transcribed song to the Internet so far and i haven't heard too many bad
things about it. It's an Amiga module of NewOrder's Bizarre Love Triangle
(175kb .zip), where i tried to incorporate as much accuracy to the original
(from the "Substance 1989" CD) as possible into four tracks. Its playing
time is the same number of seconds as that track on the CD, and it has 101
patterns and 31 instruments, with no recorded phrases or drum loops (hate
those). Go on... grab it, play it, and let me know what you think.

In thirty years indefinite extension of the human lifespan will be
achievable. Don't believe me? Learn about the new science of nanotechnology,
the most earthshattering technological revolution in the history of the
human race, and find out what benefits and dangers it will offer. I
guarantee it will change your life, and sooner than you might think.

My philosophy has been significantly influenced by the writings of Robert A.
Heinlein. Recently, i've discovered the extropian movement, and it fits many
of my thoughts and opinions well. I'm trying to learn more about
transhumanism and cryonics. Cryonics makes the immortality of tomorrow
reachable today. I'd like to have my body frozen.

Enough rambling yet?

Are you wondering why i don't capitalize all the "i"s on this page? It's
just one of my peculiarities.

Thanks for visiting! Come again soon.

Ping! last updated by Ka-Ping Yee at 01:33 EST on Tue 1 Apr 1997