by Jack Seay - Aug 5, 2007
I really try sometimes to get excited about all the "new" developments revolutionizing the web: wikis, blogs, the "social Internet". But I've been spoiled by the high expectations I have developed thinking about Xanadu. Blogs allow comments, right? Yes, but they are short soundbites; hardly capable of encouraging serious dialogue. This is what is wrong with chat software. It's hard to engage in anything more than smalltalk. It's possible, with a concerted effort, but not easy. Very little smalltalk is valuable, and most is a complete waste of time. Blogs often have links to other blogs (whole blogs, not targeted spans of content). This is like going from one city's airport to another city's airport. You still have to spend most of your time wandering around trying to find your real destination. Regardless of the vast amounts of free information on the web, most of what I want still isn't free; it's books, movies, and audiobooks produced by those who do it full-time, as a profession - and they are not about to give it all away free. So I have a lot of audiobooks, movies, and tv shows on my iPod and iTunes. But they can't be linked to and from, quoted at any length in a review or commentary, or shared with anyone who isn't sitting in front of my computer. So while Web 2.0 does allow for more easily editable web pages, and more sharing and linking than Web 1.0; it's a far cry from having the capabilities of Xanadu. It doesn't support a versatile and easy to learn method of version of any media, span to span links between documents of any size and type, filterable typed links, selectable format sets (although CSS is partially there), and most importantly, Xanadu's support for transclusions and all that entails.