CodeCon Sunday

I say CodeCon was 3/4 (one abstention) on Sunday.

Wheat. An environment (including a language) for developing web applications. Objects are arranged in a tree with some filesystem-like semantics. Every object has a URL (not necessarily in a public portion of the tree). Wheat‘s web object publishing model and templating seem clearly reminiscent of Zope. In response to the first of several mostly redundant questions regarding Wheat and Zope, Mark Lentczner said that he used Zope a few years ago and was discouraged by the need to use external scripts and the lack of model-view separation in templates (I suspect Mark used DTML — Wheat’s TinyTemplates reminded me of DTML’s replacement, Zope Page Templates, currently my favorite and implemented in several languages). I’m not sure Wheat is an environment I’d like to develop in, but I suspect the world might learn something from pure implementations of URL-object identity (not just mapping) and a web domain specific language/environment (I understand that Wheat has no non-web interface). Much of the talk used these slides.

Incoherence. I find it hard to believe that nobody has done exactly this audio visualization method before (x = left/right, y = frequency, point intensity and size = volume), but as an audio-ignoramous I’ll take the Incoherence team’s word. I second Wes Felter’s take: “I learned more about stereo during that talk than in the rest of my life.”

i-Brokers. This is where XNS landed and where it might go. However, the presentation barely mentioned technology and left far more questions than answers. There was talk of Zooko’s Triangle (“Names: Decentralized, Secure, Human-Memorizable: Choose Two”). 2idi and idcommons seem to have chosen the last two, temporarily. It isn’t clear to me why they brought it up, as i-names will be semi-decentralized (like DNS). In theory i-names provide privacy (you provide only your i-name to an i-name enabled site, always logging in via your i-broker, and access to your data is provided through your i-broker — never enter your password or credit card anywhere else — you set the policies for who can access your data) and persistence (keep an i-name for life, and i-names may be transparently aliased or gatewayed should you obtain others). These benefits, if they exist in the future, are subtler than the claims. Having sites access your data via a broker rather than via you typing it in does little to protect your privacy by itself. You make a decision in both cases whether you want a site to have your credit card number. Once the site has your credit card… Possibly over the long term if lots of people and sites adopt i-names sites will collect or keep less personal information. Users, via their i-brokers, may be on more equal terms with sites, as i-broker access will presumably be governed by some you-have-no-rights-at-all terms of service. Some sites may decide (for new applications) they don’t want to have to worry about the security of customer information and access the same via customers’ i-names. However, once a user has provided their i-broker with lots of personal information, it becomes easy for sites to ask for it all. Persistence is also behavioral. Domain names and URLs can last a long time; good ones don’t change. Similarly an i-name will go away if the owner stops paying for it. Can the i-name ecology be structured so that i-names tend to be longer lived than domain names or URLs? Probably, but that’s a different story. In the short term 2idi is attempting to get adoption in the convention registration market. Good luck, but I wish Fen and Victor had spent their time talking about XRI resolution or other code behind the 2idi broker.

SciTools. A collection of free to use web applications for genetic design and analysis. Integrated DNA Technologies, the company that offers SciTools, makes its money selling (physical) synthesized nucleic acids. I was a cold, tired, bio-ignoramous, so have little clue whether this is novel. (Ted Leung seems to think so and also has interesting things to say about the other presentations.)

OzymanDNS. DNS can route and move data, is deployed and not filtered everywhere, so with a little cleverness we can tunnel arbitrary streams over DNS. Dan Kaminsky is clearly the crowd pleaser, not only for his showmanship and the audacity of his hacks (streaming anime over DNS this time). More than a few in the crowd wanted to put DNS hacks to work, e.g., on aspects of supposed syndication problems. PPT slides of an older version of the talk.


2 Responses

  1. […] I first heard of the Silicon Valley Patterns meetings from Alex Chafee a few years ago while participating in his “bootstrap” Extreme Programming practice group. SVP sounded like fun, but I only got around to attending a meeting this spring, a one-off on digital identify led by Johannes Ernst (notes). I was going to write something about that meeting, but just can’t get worked up about digital identity. […]

  2. […] Saturday Sunday 2005 […]

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