April 19, 2007
SOA anti-patterns: Architecture Camp 2007
Architecture Camp was a blast. Official highlight of the weekend was Alex James' mind-expanding talk on REST and RDF. Unofficial highlight was Chris Auld's bright yellow "camouflage" outfit. I'm not sure what he was trying to blend into, possibly a herd of particularly extravagant giraffes, but the best reaction came from Chris' grandmother. "Do you really go to work wearing that?" she asked, and shook her head wonderingly: "Well!"
Here are slides from my "How to Fail With SOA" talk (Office 2007 format only, sorry).
April 10, 2007
Nonexistent objects that are changing the world
Alex James' post on tagging and RDF reminded me of Peter Morville's account in Ambient Findability of the memex from Vannevar Bush's 1945 article "As We May Think," and had me reflecting on the power a 60-year old idea still held. The memex remains visionary, even after an information revolution that makes Bush's desk-sized microfilm-based realisation look as archaic as the "days of square-rigged ships" he is seeking to escape.
I've also recently been reading David Gelertner's The Aesthetics of Computing, which parenthetically mentions Alan Kay's Dynabook as "one of the most important nonexistent objects in modern technology history."
Rough consensus and running code are great for realising ideas whose time has come. But looking back at the memex, Dynabook, Xanadu and their ilk reinforces the value of visionary concepts, even when totally divorced from the reality of their day and always just out of reach even decades on.