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July 02, 2007


len bullard

It was Doug Englebart who touched on the topic of augmenting human intellect many years ago.

My issue is this: for all the fantasies about 'virtual worlds', after some number of years building them, it turns out they are just another client that can aggregate service feeds but other than representation on multiple desktops (itself not innovation), the only change is the representation of a real-time service network inside a real-time representation.

So as we begin to talk standards some decade after the standard began to appear, we need to talk about a services framework with costs and how these services are combined and then if we need different kinds of 3D clients depending on the mix of services and their data sources. It was pretty obvious early in the web 3D development (say 1997) that CAD proper did not belong with 3D On the Web. The levels of detail were too much labor. Ten years later, this isn't the case.

We have good existence proofs for the VRML97 and now X3D worlds and on the other hand we have the membership roles for Second Life, There.com, Entropia and so forth. But membership is not the common denominator of standardization. Features support is.

Only 'virtual worlders' talk this psychobabble. The other 99% or the web talks about services, REST or WS* and so does the other 99% of IBM.

What I greatly fear from the new metaverse mavens is that they are the third generation of the 'information wants to be free' hucksters who glom on to a technology some distance past emergence where innovation is displaced by commercialization, write a new history, and claim authority where none is needed. A company like IBM (yes, you retired) should know better. If IBM would write a decent RFI and put that out for responses, it would be interesting to see if that is not just a lot cheaper but a lot more informative and capable of building a consensus faster than all of the metaverse conferences put together.

You may be doing more harm than good, Irving. Perhaps before IBM spends Palimpsano's seed money creating its own competition in the form of expatriate consultants who talk a long line of metaverse-argot but who don't build worlds, it would be a good alternative to try the RFI and see what the market has to say.

Requirements. Write requirements.


What would it take for you to add the one.org banner to your blog to support charity? I have added it to my own and would love to see other bloggers amplify the need to stomp out poverty.

If the activism irritates you then I understand...

James McGovern

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