July 13, 2004

Alan Kay on Computing [11:48 am]

A PC Pioneer Decries the State of Computing

“The sad truth is that 20 years or so of commercialization have almost completely missed the point of what personal computing is about.”

But what about all those great things he invented? Aren’t we getting any mileage from all that? Not nearly enough, Kay believes. For him, computers should be tools for creativity and learning, and they are falling short. At Xerox PARC the aim of much of Kay’s research was to develop systems to aid in education. But business, instead, has been the primary user of personal computers since their invention. And business, he says, “is basically not interested in creative uses for computers.”

[...] Kay also decries what he sees as a fundamental failing of the web—it is primarily an environment for displaying information, not for authoring it. [...]

Kay’s ultimate dream is to completely remake the way we communicate with each other. At the least, he wants to enable people to collaborate and work together simply and elegantly. For him, “the primary task of the Internet is to connect every person to every other person.” In techie terms, he is working on an infinitely scalable system for “real-time immersive collaboration done entirely as peer-to-peer machines.”

I’m sure that Orrin Hatch is going to have something to day about that!

Slashdot discussion: Alan Kay Decries the State of Computing

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A Look at Some Snake Oil [8:22 am]

Ah, the joys of entering an arms race: EFF: Audible Magic - No Silver Bullet for P2P Infringement [via Deep Links]

Session encryption for file transfers based on ephemeral keys represents a cheap, easily implemented countermeasure that would effectively frustrate Audible Magic’s filtering technology. Based on publicly available information, it does not appear that this vulnerability can be easily remedied. Should Audible Magic’s technology be widely adopted, it is likely that P2P file-sharing applications would be revised to implement encryption. Accordingly, network administrators will want to ask Audible Magic tough questions before investing in the company’s technology, lest the investment be rendered worthless by the next P2P “upgrade.”

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