Interconnected

All posts made the week commencing Sunday 9 Jun., 2002:

New Upsideclone: "The history-howitzer nearest me slams back into its recoil shielding. Good technicians swarm around it. Check the grammar, clean the swarf of punctuation from around the muzzle, and press the small of their backs into the velvet bulwarks to heave it back to the edge of the battlement". Superb new piece by Matt Jones: The end of history.

Go to Girls Are Pretty, every single day, and you will be told what to do [cheers Es].

In the list of signs that the universe has bounced off the surface of maximal expansion and our fall is now accelerating towards the primodial monobloc, this email from Dan Brickley on www-archive is pretty bloody high up: MOO, IRC and the Web.

Given that a MOO is basically a map populated with objects that you can interact with, usually by using a command-line type interface. And given RDF is used for describing graphs with resources (or objects) for nodes. And given all interfaces are the same anyway [see my notes], because traversing an interface is just like moving from node to node on a map or a graph. And given all of that, and that in the ylem it's all the same anyway...

Dan Brickley crosses the streams and shadows a traditional MOO and an IRC channel together, two alternative interfaces on the same map. An IRC bot on the channel appears as a non-player character in the MOO. And he talks about activating traditional MOO objects with an XML feed so that a MOO calendar proxies his www calendar. And presumably, so RSS feeds illuminate other objects by acting as datasources.

We're all riding the same alarmingly whitecapping memewave here. See my post a couple of days ago about weblog avatars in IM/MOO-space (which I dubbed the "IMvironment", unaware that Yahoo! had already coined that term). And see blackbeltjones's post on the same, with more comments about weblogs. And recall that at Chatbot++ at XCom/Take It Outside (now with links and assorted media) Edd Dumbill was linking IRC bots with RDF graphs, and the W3C are interested in the bot-to-www angle. And the London.pm bots maillist is a locus for a lot of this IRC/bot/RSS activity. Oh, and Jabber.

You know, when the N-verse collapsed to the (N-1)-verse just now, I'm pretty sure I felt it.

Design Issues for the World Wide Web, Architectural and philosophical point, by Tim Berners-Lee. Fascinating essays covering the recent evolution and the future of the www.

Listen up, this is the important bit. You'll have read all over the place about the watering down of civil liberties in the UK, most recently that the laws to allow an enormous number of organisations (including the Post Office and the Food Standards Agency) access to your browsing and email bits are going to be rubber-stamped in a few days time.

What the articles generally haven't said is where to get authoritative information, how to explain what's happening in easy language, and what to do about it. Stand does all three. Yes, it's important that you understand the issues and do something about it. But more important is that the word gets out and that url gets into the hands of journalists and opinion-formers.

Part of the Take It Outside hangover: I was saying I'd like to loop back 20 years and reimplement MUDs using Instant Messaging. So I hacked up a primative interface to explore Cal's London tube map station-by-station via AIM. You can't access it I'm afraid, you'll just have to trust me that it feels surprisingly claustrophobic when you're lost, and very vivid. So what next?

In Iain M Bank's Culture novels (good scifi) the ships are enormous AIs, massively intelligent. They communicate using proxy avatars, being that appear to be people but are actually shells proxying the ship's presence and intellect to the human scale.

Weblogs (internet services more generally) should be represented as avatars hanging around the IMvironment, near the tube stations the authors are physically located. Speaking to them, you should be able to pass notes to the weblog author, query the avatar for a RSS feed rendered as in-game speech, and ask questions which are piped through the weblog search engine. The avatar acts as a memory holding pen for communication to/from the author, and can expand beyond just an alternative interface to a companion of sorts. A know-all buddy. Simpler avators would be like talking mice you (as character) could carry around in your pockets. They'd tell you of latest posts to the weblogs they represent, and pipe up to your questions.

An essay on what makes good and bad porn. The short of it: untroubled panties removal good; over-coiffured hair bad (analysis by luminary ESR).

Dan's a pretty sick puppy in Upsideclown #198: "All of which is completely lost on the boy I've been chatting to for the last thirty minutes, if by 'chatting' you understand, 'sitting next to, making intermittent eye contact, smiling whenever he gurgles something apparently meant to be a witticism and letting him feel my tits'".

The Ibizan book of the Dead, a World Cup Summer of an Upsideclown, fresh today. And one that's potentially going to be blocked by over-zealous corporate email filters, so when you join the list to get articles straight to your inbox every Monday and Thursday (by sending the word subscribe to upsideclown-request@historicalfact.com) make sure you join from a personal email address, won't you?

Will be at XCom2002 today. Looking forward to seeing the man who wrote Chuckie Egg. Am also taking part in a roundtable at the Take It Outside fringe, on the subject of Instant Messaging bots. Basically, a series of smart pre-programmed replies if the moderator asks his questions with the correct syntax, extensively padded with Eliza-templated responses and randomly selected faux teen neologisms.