danbricklin.com/log

Starting June 12, 2001
July 4th, Back from vacation, More photo shoots, Report from the InfoWorld CTO Forum 2001, A Taxonomy of Computer Systems and Different Topologies: Standalone to P2P, First draft of a taxonomy, A photo shoot at home
12Jun01-05Jul01
2001_06_12.htm
Thursday, July 5, 2001
July 4th
I'm finally out from under the email and stuff at work from the last couple of weeks traveling. I've got lots of stuff I could write as essays, but nothing finished enough to type or post and little time to write... So, the old fallback: Pictures from my life:

Yesterday was Independence Day. It was also my "big cousin's" (she's 12 days older than me) 50th birthday. Happy Birthday Ronnie! It also was my mother's mother's birthday (she's no longer living). I went to the Hatch Shell in downtown Boston where the Boston Pops Orchestra plays the 1812 Overture, etc., every year. There were lots of entertainers, including Arlo Guthrie and Cyndi Lauper, for the 300,000 or so people. Here are some pictures:

Back of people in a crowd facing orange semi-circle with TV lights facing us  Fireworks through the trees
View of the Boston Pops and fireworks: I was real close, believe it or not
I did do some work-related stuff yesterday: I helped a friend set up her small-business web site. Since we're concentrating in that area, it was first-hand research. You think differently when you're doing things for real.

Sunday, July 1, 2001
Back from vacation
I'm back from a vacation on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Some nice rest and some time to read (book review to come...). While reading on the beach I could look up and see the bobbing heads of seals one day and the spouts of whales the next. I spent time bike riding, too. My favorite: The National Park Service's Province Lands Bike Trail through the sand dunes and forest. I've done this trail several times over the years and always love it. If you're near Provincetown, Massachusetts, it's not to be missed.

View of the trail and miles of dunes with the ocean in the background  Trail through the woods

Paved bike trail snaking through the dunes  Dan smiling holding his helmet
View from the Province Lands Bike Trail, Dan resting midway
More photo shoots
I've been running pictures of what it looks like when professionals take my picture for interviews or to accompany articles. (See Photo shoot below and In the news on May 17th.) Glenn Fleishman posted an entry on his blog near the end of June 28th showing different views of his interview on CNBC.

Friday, June 22, 2001
Report from the InfoWorld CTO Forum 2001
I've just posted a report from the conference I attended through yesterday. Lots of nice pictures of people like Tim Bray (XML), Don Norman (usability), and James Gosling (Java), as well as the CTO of the Year award, etc. I've included writeups of some of the panels. The only thing I have left to do is write up Steve Ballmer's talk. I'll try to do that in a week or so if I have time to do a good job ...it's reported elsewhere, and, anyway, I did post the pictures, so even though it was cool, it's not a requirement for you to learn what it was like.

As a techie high up in a company, it was a great atmosphere to be around so many others like me. I tried to convey some of that in my report.

Two guys smiling taken at close range, all black in the background  People on stage in chairs
SETI@home's Dan Werthimer and Ray Ozzie during our panel, Michael Vizard, James Gosling, Don Norman, and William Raduchel on another panel
Ray Ozzie of Groove said something interesting on our P2P panel. I think it's important. Here's my report:

Ray described the situation about comparing instant messaging with centralized servers required vs. direct P2P or just simple relaying. Regular instant messaging can run, let's say, 2,500 simultaneous users on one server. If you go to encrypted communications, that drops to 100 per server or something, because of the heavy computational load. (One user PC has no problem keeping up, after all, the servers' CPUs are usually only a few times more powerful than the user machines at most in computation.) Once you add more app-level processing on the server, you get 25 users or something per server. If you need to size for peak operation, such as during an emergency, that could be very expensive in a large organization. On the other hand, P2P instant messaging does all that work on each machine, so it scales to any number you want, as long as each person only talks with a most a few people at a time. So...there are obviously lots of what I call Person-to-Person applications where P2P topologies are much more efficient and much more scalable than the hosted version. I think privacy and other compute intensive processing could be the "killer app" of P2P.

Of course, I made the points in my Taxonomy essay, especially the stuff about anonymous distributed serving vs. person to person (particular machine to particular machine).


Tuesday, June 19, 2001
A Taxonomy of Computer Systems and Different Topologies: Standalone to P2P
I have a new essay in which I try to gather my latest thoughts about P2P in preparation for being on a panel at the InfoWorld CTO Forum. It's long, but by the end I have Groove, IM, Gnutella, etc., all positioned, question some of the ASP models, etc., etc. When I started I didn't know where it would go...

I break things down based upon custom vs. standard software, where data and computation is done, whether there is what I call "anonymous distributed serving" or a "person to person" configuration, and more.

Some quotes:

I think that long-term, the most interesting P2P applications will be dynamic data, especially the Person-to-Person ones.
It is the wide use of standards that helped the Web beat out competing custom systems that had "better" business models with easier ways to charge.
A problem is that P2P systems use complex software on the PCs. Developing and marketing such software takes time and money (real or volunteer). Some of the more interesting applications will have very narrow uses. We need a renewed market for PC software that can support the masses of specialized P2P software that could be developed and enhanced.


Monday, June 18, 2001
First draft of a taxonomy
I just finished the first draft of an essay titled "A Taxonomy of Computer Systems and Different Topologies: Standalone to P2P". It's somewhat long. I'd appreciated any comments before I officially release it.
 
Tuesday, June 12, 2001
A photo shoot at home
It's been a while since I've had time to post something here on my log. I have something I'm working on about P2P for a conference next week, but it's not ready yet. I figured I'd better put up something so here's an old standard on this log: a photo shoot. As an amateur I always get a kick out of watching professionals do their work.

I have a "first person" article coming out in the Harvard Business Review in a few months. I worked with an editor who drafted most of it with the help of a few hours of tape of her talking with me. I hope people like it. Today was time for the accompanying photo to be taken. Since the article mentions that I often use photos of artifacts in my talks (and in the History section of this web site), they wanted some in the picture. I scheduled the photographer to come to my home this morning, right after a haircut I had already set up (no need to look like a mountain man in HBR).

The photographer, Dave Bradley, and his assistant set up in my family room off the kitchen. They dragged around my kitchen table and dumped some of my artifacts on it. The particular artifacts were chosen by an HBR person who accompanied them. She liked some of my old products, like VisiCalc, Demo II, and PageGarden, as well as some NeXT Computer memorabilia and my calculator from business school. Here's what it looked like:

Screen with lights and a table in front with photographer taking a picture  Dave facing me looking through his camera  Two people looking at a little white piece of paper next to a light aimed right at me
Lights and screen added to my family room, what I saw, checking out a Polaroid test shot
Dave took my camera and took a shot for me to show you what he saw (amazing how such a messy setup results in such a "professional" photo when cropped):

A real photo: Dan looking at the camera with things on the table in front of him -- in a black T-shirt not a flannel shirt
A test shot
Notice how he uses a "cookie" (the frame with funny cutouts in front of the light on the right in the first picture above, also known as a "gobo") to make an interesting pattern on the muslin screen behind me. It was hot and they liked the black T-shirt look I came in with. I offered to wear a flannel shirt, too, but they declined...

I used the time to do a little market research about small business web sites by asking Dave about his. He just got a new one built (his previous one already has brought in business). You can check it out at www.davebradleyphoto.com. He mentioned that www.davebradley.com (without the "photo") is a memorial web site, so some people looking for him are shocked when they find that. Ah, the problems of meaningful DNS names... Looking at the memorial site, I see that it discusses donations to a hospice in Philadelphia named for the woods nearby. I walked through those woods as a child and I still enjoy walking through them when I visit my folks. Small world. Web serendipity.

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