StarJunky Fermi: Jack, are the previous mtg's chat logs online?
You: some of them, but not all
StarJunky Fermi: are they at
You: links are about halfway down the main page, I will add a link at the top to that section
You: yes
StarJunky Fermi: ahh got it...
Nobody Fugazi is Online
You: I just updated the page with the link "chat" at the top, now uploading it
You: OK, it's there now
You: as usual, we will start with questions
You: and take it from there
StarJunky Fermi: anyone worked with Information Commons project?
You: I haven't yet
StarJunky Fermi: it reminds me of some of Xanadu's goals
StarJunky Fermi:
Earadriede Callisto: well my only question is... i get what xanadu is...but what are the softwares to accomplish it?
You: the current attempt, still in the beginning stages, in called DeepLit
Earadriede Callisto: ok
You: it allows transclusions of spans of text from various web pages to be put in a composite page
You: all the segments are linked to the original pages. It works with the ePrints server.
Earadriede Callisto: ok
You: So it has just a few of Xanadu's features so far
You: Jeff Rush in Dallas has a Xanadu server in progress. He can access it with commands, but hasn't written a front end for it yet. He showed it to me when I was there last summer.
Kipp Patton: How does Delit work?
Earadriede Callisto: ah ok. so i assume everything is linked to the main server?
You: up until now, it has not been distributed, but after the bugs get worked out, that would probably be next
Earadriede Callisto: ah ok
You: it is part of the plan for it
You: there is a program called Compendium that has transclusions in a mindmapper
You: I have been using it some lately, and reading a book called "Dialogue Mapping: Building Shared Understanding Of Wicked Problems"
Kipp Patton: Interesting
You: it is very interesting, and some of the ideas in it could be applied to getting Xanadu done
Kipp Patton grins
Earadriede Callisto: ok. how about the websites themselves. is the current html format adaptable for xanadu?
Earadriede Callisto: or does it have to be written in a whole different code?
You: mostly it is about the fact that good designers work at understanding the problem and coming up with possible solutions throughout the process of design
You: web pages embed the formatting and links in the content, Xanadu seeks to keep them stored separately, so there can be more than one set of links, and more than one format to a document
You: this concept also aids in versioning and having links that are bi-directional
Earadriede Callisto: yeah that's what gives xanadu the edge. it'll be great to see this works
You: since links are stored externally to documents and merged as needed, anyone can add links to and from documents after they are published
Earadriede Callisto: nice
You: it would be presented as a whole, with formatted text and links together, but when you edit the links and text formatting, they would not be thrown into the text content upon saving. I compare it to layers in an image editing program, like Photoshop.
Kipp Patton: Would it be possible to work on it as one, instead of different parts?
You: each part is kept in a separate layer, and layers can be combined as needed.
Earadriede Callisto: ok gotcha
Earadriede Callisto: yeah like photoshop exactly :)
You: links could be typed also, so you could choose which type links to display, or filter them according to a list you make, or by reputation filtering
Kipp Patton: I think what i meant was
Kipp Patton: Couldn't it be as one (code) program
Kipp Patton: instead front end code
Kipp Patton: in between code and back end code
You: most documents would only have a few links, but popular ones would have many, so being able to view only a part of the full set of links would be important.
You: oh, there would need to be the 2 parts for many reasons
You: since many of the documents (including movies, books, and music) would be for sale, the back-end would store them, and allow access as needed.
You: it would be a little similar to the way web pages reside on servers now
Kipp Patton: What is different between the front end and back end?
Earadriede Callisto: what's the difference?
You: your browser gets them by have the address of the document and server
You: in Xanadu, every document would have a unique, unchanging address
You: so it would not have broken links
Kipp Patton: So the front end is the address of each item
Kipp Patton: and the backend presents the item
Kipp Patton: right?
You: if a new version of a document is created, the old one is still available and linked to the new one
You: if file, directory, server names change, links still don't break in Xanadu, because you are linking with document id's
Earadriede Callisto: ah ok
Kipp Patton: ok
Kipp Patton: Im sorry, but i need to runn
StarJunky Fermi: cya Kipp
You: OK, thanks for coming
Kipp Patton: Thanks for coming to Xanandu
Earadriede Callisto: i see how it works. like a common database
Earadriede Callisto: everything has a unique id
You: every document would become like a meeting place, to read what is written about it, and even chat with anyone currently reading, watching, or listening to it
You: so it has something in common with Second Life, with the virtual meeting spaces
Earadriede Callisto: oo ic.
Earadriede Callisto: quite right
You: documents could be displayed by many possible front-ends, so collaborative work on them would be simplified
You: each contributor would also have their part identifiable, so composite documents would retain all the information abut who did what.
You: a Mac editor called SubEthaEdit allows many people to be typing in the same text document all at the same time, with each person's text color coded.
Earadriede Callisto: ah ok. so if they want to update their info... they have to use the software?
You: That is a sample of what is possible.
Earadriede Callisto: ooo have to check that out
You: yes
Earadriede Callisto: ok
You: you would use other software to compose early stages of something, but would need to use the Xanadu front-end program to add it to the back-end database
StarJunky Fermi: there is also a collab web editor called Gobby I've used a bit
Earadriede Callisto: Gobby... pc only?
StarJunky Fermi: Gobby is a free collaborative editor supporting multiple documents in one session and a multi-user chat. It runs on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, ..
You: I will download it
StarJunky Fermi: used it breifly for some pair-coding
Earadriede Callisto: cool i'll try that on
You: it looks similar to SubEthaEdit
Earadriede Callisto: subethaedit is freeware?
StarJunky Fermi: thought it was web-based, guess not. Been months since I used it
You: SubEthaEdit doesn't run in a browser, it is Mac OSX based, but I heard a commercial version is coming out, may already be
You: it's really hard to do something like this in a web browser
Earadriede Callisto: no doubt
You: it is now $35, but there is a 30 day demo
Earadriede Callisto: aw it's not free.. ok
You: token_word does implement some of Xanadu's feature in a web browser
You: but I think it would be improved with a custom front-end program
You: a project related to Xanadu is called zigzag, it would be the part of the program that would allow you to choose which set of links, format, etc. to use with a document.
Earadriede Callisto: zigzag.. ok
You: zigzag is an n-dimensional program
You: like a 3D spreadsheet in a way, but any of the 3 dimensions you see could be selected from a large number of dimensions
Earadriede Callisto: ooo that's interesting
You: so a document could have links to a dimension created just for that document, with all it's versions linked on that dimension
You: another one could have the different formats, one for PDA's and wireless phones, one for big screens, one for small ones, one for print
Earadriede Callisto: oh ok ok.. it's like ERP (more or less) if you speak about dimensions like that
You: another could contain link sets, with each node of each link set linked along a separate dimension to all the documents in it's set
You: I haven't used ERP software, but have done inventory control, there's a big multi-dimensional project
You: I spent 90 percent of my time trying to find bits and pieces of information scattered throughout the factory
Earadriede Callisto: :D i can relate to that
You: if each part was in a document, all the parts could be in a composite document, linked into the blueprints, with all the revisions, the parts linked to warehouse and assembly line locations, invoices, orders, vender info, and so on...
Earadriede Callisto: exactly
You: the databases we used hid so much of the needed information and the linkages
Earadriede Callisto: yes
You: at one time AutoDesk was funding Xanadu
You: but dropped it when their stock price fell
Earadriede Callisto: oo
You: this happened just before the web took off
Earadriede Callisto: oh really?
You: in fact, on the very day it happened, Tim-Berners Lee visited Ted Nelson, the inventor of Xanadu
Earadriede Callisto: oic
Earadriede Callisto: i'm not familiar with autodesk. what is it?
You: the AutoCAD people
Earadriede Callisto: is it?? oh didn't know
You: they put $5 million into Xanadu
Earadriede Callisto: wow
You: there was a running version of it, not complete though, but some of the group wanted to start over on a different design of it, the group got fragmented
Earadriede Callisto: ooo
StarJunky Fermi: Wired Mag has an article on Xanadu's history - "The Curse of Xanadu" I beleive
You: yes
Earadriede Callisto: what does it say? well the general idea of it
You: Ted Nelson had a lot to write about that article, he didn't like it
StarJunky Fermi: I bet not, made him out to be a mad scientist
You: it did give a lot of the history of the project, but concluded it would never be completed
Earadriede Callisto: oo
Earadriede Callisto: what's the reason?
StarJunky Fermi: Are you in touch with any of the early Xanadu folks, Jack?
You: the author concluded that since a lot of the people involved were eccentric and it had been many years in the works, it is doomed forever
You: I have talked on the phone a few times with Roger Gregory
Earadriede Callisto: oh my
StarJunky Fermi: cool
You: he logged into the root level of my computer for a while, trying to get Xanadu ported to the Mac, but couldn't get it all debugged
Earadriede Callisto: oh ic
You: Jeff Rush, in Dallas, is rewriting the program in Python, and has the backend running, I met him in August
You: we had a Xanadu Meetup at Dallas then
Earadriede Callisto: well i'd like to see this work. i have to run to another meeting right now.
You: I have been studying Python
You: OK, thanks for coming
StarJunky Fermi: Bye Earadriede
Kipp Patton waves
Earadriede Callisto: it's interesting. i'd like to attend the events. so will see you guys at the next event then :D
Earadriede Callisto: have fun now :)
You: OK, you too
Kipp Patton: sorry for missing the meeting
You: no problem
StarJunky Fermi: Jack, is there a Xanadu "roadmap" for implementation?
StarJunky Fermi: sounds like some pieces are starting to emerge
You: Ted Nelson is working on a new version, I don't think he wants to announce anything until it's done
Kipp Patton: NeatO
You: he's at Oxford in England now
You: I think what will happen is more and more programs will add one or two features of Xanadu, and the ideas will slowly catch on
You: the next Mac OS will have full versioning of all files, called "The Time Machine"
You: a few programs now have transclusioning, such as Compendium, Thinker, and DevonThink
You: and better linking systems will be added to the web
You: then eventually it will all get put together
You: the early designers had few tools to work with, we are better able to handle large amounts of information and multi-media now
You: Python is a good language choice, since it is easy to use, and has some very good data types that should make it easier to implement Xanadu and zigzag
StarJunky Fermi: not too familiar with Python, been spending my calories learning Ruby lately
You: I think they are very similar
StarJunky Fermi: Python has a bigger user base, I beleive
You: yes, I think so
StarJunky Fermi: makes sense that we'll start seeing Xanadu ideas sprinkeld in new efforts
StarJunky Fermi: I've been intrigued recently by Croquet
You: yes, and a lot of new ideas added to the front end programs too
StarJunky Fermi: potentially an open source 3d world platform
StarJunky Fermi: well, its been educational... off to go check out the new project collaboration area
You: OK, thanks for coming
You: I just looked at the Croquet screen shots
StarJunky Fermi: impressive, eh?
You: it looks like a combination of Second Life, the web, Google Earth and some other projects. I think we will be seeing a lot more like that
StarJunky Fermi: yep - were still in early stages
StarJunky Fermi: cya
You: bye