The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Thursday, July 11, 2002

Pendulum

Think about that. How does Microsoft grow its size? Certainly not by listening to Robert Scoble.

It does it by visiting Boeing, GM, EDS, the U.S. Government, and various other big Fortune 1000 companies and organizations.

Now you know where the pressure for Palladium is coming.

Via Scripting News, Robert Scoble on Palladium

Thirty-five years ago you had large hulking machines cordened off in frigid, windowless rooms maintained by high priests while you logged in from your terminal in your office. One machine may have supported thousands of users so therefore it was easy to maintain control over the system—for there was only one system to maintain.

The computer industry was firmly centralized in those days.

What was your userid? Clickity-click

Twenty-seven years ago the pendulum peaked. over time, people took computing into their own hands and were no longer solely dependant upon the large hulking machines in some back room.

Slowly, over a twenty year period the computer industry shifted from a centralized model to being decentralized, fueled by the likes of Microsoft and Apple.

But that too, has passed. The pendulum has peaked and the computer industry is slowly, inexorably, sliding back towards a centralized model once again.

Only this time it's behind hulking networks cordened off behind firewalls manned by jubilent IT staff giddy with new found power.

Okay, so I exaggerate a bit. But there is a definite trend towards centralization going on in the computer industry, and Microsoft is definitely attempting to ride that wave, but unlike the turnaround they did to suddenly support the Internet, this will require more than just buying a web browser and making their office suit spit out poorly formatted HTML.

Like, oh … security?

In any case, I'm guessing that this trend will be increasing for another ten years or so before the pendulum starts its swing back towards a new decentralized mode, whatever that will be in 2025 …


The methodology of writing hypertext

I'm not happy with the previous post, and I'm not happy with this one either but looking over this now, I'm pretty happy with this entry.

As it usually happens, I compose these great entries in my head with exquisite phrasing yet I have no way of recording these thoughts except in my rather unexquisite memory of mine.

For instance, I had intended to chart two trends in the computer industry; the one dovetailing smoothly into the other yet all I could remember is the decent into centralization. I have no idea what the other trend was or even if I'm just misremembering it.

It also didn't help that I thought of that entry as I was falling alseep yesterday. If this keeps up, I may have to keep a tape recorder on me.

On second thought, my Newton 2100 can record messages. Maybe I should try that.

The other problem I have is methodology.

When I write the entries, I compose them, inserting HTML as I go along, adding <P> tags here and <EM> tags there and when it comes time for links, I stop and locate the link. While most times the actual URL is a simple cut-n-paste operation, I still type

<A CLASS="external" HREF="[then paste URL here]">

by hand. And if I mention someone, say, Spring, I don't type “<shift>-s p r i n g” but

<A CLASS="external" HREF="http://www.springdew.com/">Spring</A>

I spent nearly two years writing software to make posting entries easy and I still type out common stuff like this by hand.

Needless to say, such mucking about stop the thoughts cold. Looking back at past entries the ones I like the best are typically the ones with the fewest links in them. If I have to hit Google for an entry, forget it. That's maybe a minute or two lost right there looking for the right page.

But old habits die hard. I tried, in the previous entry, to write first, then link later, but I'm having to retrain myself. Just like I am for this entry—I've had to stop myself several times to keep me from embedding HTML before I've finished writing, yet I'm still marking the areas that I feel need links (only I hope I remember what I want to link to).

Perhaps if I type something like:

In //official site/Cerebus//, creator //find link/Dave Sim// had //link to character/Cerebus// run as //link to issue/Prime minister// against //link to character/goat//.

I guess he'll make peeing on hydrants legal …

That will let me keep the flow going and provide enough context when I go back over the entry to fill in the links (and make any editorial changes that might arise as you can see if you check the final result). Oh, and remember to change text like

*this*

to

<EM>this</EM>

Well, off convert this to HTML.

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