The 69th IETF was last week in Chicago (windy and good pizza, who knew?). The two highlights for me were the HTTP Bis BoF and the BIFF BoF. A BoF is a “Birds of a Feather” meeting used to gauge interest and feasibility towards forming an IETF working group.

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We showed off a re-skinned version of our Ångströ project at in San Diego that I hope makes a bit more sense as microsearchyou know, for . :)

We pointed at a live instance at — go search, grab the miffy bookmarkley, and start adding microformats to our big shared pile of bits!

Congratulations for an applause-winning demo to Ben Sittler, as the mad Javascript genius behind the whole system, and Elias Sinderson, who added semi-structured XQuery to the system!

Herewith, some notes from our slides…

What is “Atomic-Scale”?

Web pages contain chunks of information

A natural consequence of growing adoption of template languages & content management tools

Feeds create the illusion of immediacy

As chunks of information change, we can expect notification (in the form of updated feed files)

Microformats create the illusion of structure

Even if it’s HTML all the way down, we can read it

… so maybe REST will make more sense for atoms than for pages

How miffy works

walks through the document looking for the ‘root classes’ of the µfs it knows about

places green anchor boxes in front of them
using css — no graphics, since we want it to work offline

‘capturing’ clones those DOM nodes, then walks the tree to “reformulate” it

the only data structure that can represent all future µfs is the DOM itself

For More Information

Is Open Source —
but not yet an open-repository

grab snapshots of the code and our Subversion archive from our wiki:

Uses Open Source

  • Depends on some other OS projects you’ll need
  • DBXml from Sleepycat Software
  • BeautifulSoup by Leonard Richardson
  • Feedparser by Mark Pilgrim
  • … and (not least!) Twisted by TwistedMatrix
Test Service

Running at

Congrats! – an amazing mention for a pre-release service… Looks like the buzz campaign is working well for Adam and Joyce, and a tip of the hat to the whole Renkoo team for making such a polished impression on no less than Mike Langberg.

InternetNews also covered the demo, with a zinger from Esthr at the end.

Online software, services taking new look at how we manage time

By Mike Langberg, Mercury News
Wed, Dec. 07, 2005

… Of the several start-ups presenting at When 2.0, my favorite was Renkoo.

The Palo Alto company plans to launch an online service early next year that will provide a shared space for small groups to plan events.

If you want to invite a list of friends to a party with a fixed time and place, it’s easy to use the existing Evite service. But Evite doesn’t work well when you’re not sure what you want to do, or what your friends prefer.

With Renkoo, you can send a query by e-mail, instant message or cell-phone text message, perhaps asking, “Who wants to go for a hike this weekend? What’s the best time for you, and where do you want go?”

Your friends then reply with their preferences, and the group goes back and forth — with the dialogue recorded on a single Web page — until there’s a consensus.

Renkoo, named for a form of Japanese poetry called renku or renga where people take turns writing verses, will be free to users and hopes to make money through ads and sponsorships.

Adam Rifkin, Renkoo’s co-founder and chief executive officer, said he aims to solve a basic problem: “You can never get enough information on what your friends are doing.”

While it’s much too soon to know whether Renkoo or any of the other bold proposals at When 2.0 will succeed, the vision at least is clear.

In a few years, we’ll effortlessly manage our time by entering appointments on whatever Internet-connected electronic device is at hand — a computer or a cell phone or a personal digital assistant — and those appointments will instantly appear on the calendars of others we designate.

If we change the time of an appointment, it will instantly update the calendars of others.

Public and group events we want to track, from upcoming rock concerts and professional hockey games to our children’s soccer team schedules, will automatically pop into our calendars.

There are lots of technical, security and privacy issues yet to resolve, but the benefits are big enough that families may ultimately be freed from running their lives through scraps of paper stuck to refrigerator doors.

Has Time’s Time Come?

By David Needle

Rather than manage events already planned, Renkoo focuses on making events happen. “We bring friends together in the process,” CEO Adam Rifkin told

He said services like Evite are for larger group functions that already have a fixed time and place. With Renkoo there is, among other features, a real-time voting mechanism, so people can decide on a time for lunch, movie or other gathering. The original planner can decide when to rein in the votes and chatter in order to set the details of where and when. Renkoo also accepts SMS text messaging, and it’s experimenting with links to instant messaging services as part of the site.

While many of the vendors were optimistic that they could break new ground on the consumer side, at least one attendee was skeptical.

“These things are great if you’re an extrovert,” said Chris Nesladek, a user interface designer for Intuit. “But you’re only organized if you have responsibility. For a lot of 18- to 24-year-olds, having a calendar or updating your schedule doesn’t matter.

For young and old alike, Dyson had this comment worth considering in a recent edition of her Release 1.0 newsletter: “You can’t create time. You can only steal it, reallocate it, use it or waste it.”

It was a pleasure to work with the folks at Infoworld on adding a counterpoint to the AJAX application development package they released this week. After all, AJAX is still pull, and the push technology to make the Web work more interactively is still only just emerging…

“What’s Next After AJAX?”
InfoWorld (05/23/05); Khare, Rohit

New Web applications that leverage AJAX (asynchronous JavaScript and XML) are boosting prospects of more viable Web UIs by providing smoother scrolling, incremental updates, and more interactive input forms. However, fat-client UIs still have the advantage in terms of being able to receive real-time event notification such as instant messaging, stock tickers, and other forms of push data streaming. AJAX allows small download transactions to occur so that the Web UI is more fluid. But asynchrony as defined by AJAX is different than in the middleware community, where the formal definition refers to messages sent in both directions rather than only upstream, as in the case of AJAX.

However, developers have come up with a way to keep response connections open in
http using hidden frames and JavaScript tags, allowing streamed data into the browser. The open-source ARSC (A Really Simple Chat) program leverages this type of interactivity but requires a modified HTTP server to rebroadcast chat streams to other users. But the broader implication of new Web UI capabilities is application integration, such as with the open-source Nevow and Pushlets for Python and Java, respectively, which allow Web interfaces to fully interact with enterprise applications and Web services. Web UIs will still be limited by slower response times, strained interactivity, and graphical modesty, but new push data streaming capabilities for AJAX bring Web UIs much closer to being a robust platform for application development.

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WOW: “The speed of light is too slow.” They noted that firms located further away from the market center were being shut out because the speed of light could not carry their orders to market fast enough…Whether it’s the 7-millisecond delay between Chicago and New York, or the 35-millisecond delay between the Big Apple and San Francisco, increasingly, if you are not co-located near where you execute, you’re just not fast enough to grab the brass ring.

Light Speed and The Buttonwood Tree

A few weeks ago, The Tabb Group hosted a focus group on connectivity in which we brought in some of the best and brightest industry connectivity specialists. What they said surprised me. They basically said that “The speed of light is too slow.” They noted that firms located further away from the market center were being shut out because the speed of light could not carry their orders to market fast enough.

That amazed me. Now, anyone sitting far away from a noisy event knows that there is certainly a gap between the speed of sound and the speed of light. But who, besides Einstein, ever thought that the speed of light (299,792,458 meters per second) would be too slow?

But as our markets increasingly become more electronic, time matters. Whether it’s the 7-millisecond delay between Chicago and New York, or the 35-millisecond delay between the Big Apple and San Francisco, increasingly, if you are not co-located near where you execute, you’re just not fast enough to grab the brass ring.

While you might think, “Who cares?”, it’s impacting the market in very real ways. Hedge funds are saying that market opportunities they were able to take advantage of last year are no longer accessible.

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Meng Wong describes a framework called Aspen under which spam is addressed by authentication, accreditation and reputation. Accreditation, according to Wong, “lets third parties vouch for senders with whom they have a prior relationship.” Reputation is more of a ratings system for senders and accreditors.

This is part of a next generation email architecture:

“Over the last few months, a small group of email innovators have been working on developing a prototype for a next-generation email architecture. That architecture is based on the concepts of authentication, reputation, and accreditation developed at the Aspen Institute in Dec 2003 and embodied by standards like SPF, Sender ID, and DomainKeys. On Nov 16 that group will meet face to face for the first time. They plan to demonstrate their prototypes and test interoperability between them. These prototypes are an important step toward a spamproof email system. INBOX Event participants will be invited to a special demonstration in the afternoon. That demonstration will show the prototypes working together and invite discussion and feedback from the audience.” Get ready. Building on email authentication and digital signatures, reputation and accreditation systems are poised to enter the spotlight.

Great summary by Phillip Pearson on the Feedmesh list

The feedmesh and related ping-distribution services, so far, in
alphabetical order:

  • distributes pings in a streaming changes.xml; see for info, or telnet to port 9999
    for the stream.

    Info distributed: blog name, blog url, feed url, ping time

    NB: the stream is currently uncompressed, but will become
    zlib-compressed at some point in the future.

  • collects pings and distributes them by pinging a
    number of other services. Contact the operators to get them to ping
    you too.

    Info distributed: blog name, blog url (maybe rss url?)

  • distributes pings and post info in a XMPP stream; see for info, or
    telnet to port 5222 for the stream (but read the
    tutorial at
    first, as some work is involved to get data out).

    Info distributed: lots of blog info, lots of post info

  • distributes pings in a traditional streaming
    format; see for
    info, or telnet to port 9123 for the stream.

    Info distributed: blog url

  • distributes pings in an XML file that you can poll. For
    24 hours of ping data, read For
    5 minutes of ping data, read

    Info distributed: blog name, blog url, ping time Intranet Trends to Watch For:

One of the most overlooked business trends affecting intranets has been the delivery of real-time key performance indicators and customer information. Executives are asking for precise, real time information and see it as a necessary tool to make smart business decisions. As a recent Harvard Business Review article discussed, depending upon the nature of your organization, this real-time information need can take the form of real time customer transaction information, progress reports on product developments, productivity metrics, subscriber lists and cash flow. Delivery of select real-time information is not difficult given the right technology tools, the hard question to determine will be what information is really needed in real-time and for whom and how should it be delivered.

Kevin Hughes wrote a beautiful Color Picker application in about 100k of SVG. The code is Creative Commons-licensed.

More telling are Kev’s notes on SVG, in which he tells the good, the bad, and the ugly. His recommendations:

Looking ahead, there could stand to be efforts for making today’s dynamic languages ready for real GUI application development using SVG. This mostly means adding support for multithreading, Unicode, and internationalization. Once these things are well baked into PHP or other dynamic language, there is no stopping the new application development paradigm. With PHP support you’d convert hordes of developers immediately. Applications could run on the Web and be deployed on the desktop with the same code, and could be created and edited by just about anybody, if you wanted them to. Every application could print in full PDF quality. Sounds a bit like the promise of HyperCard, but with vector graphics…

With SVG we are now at the edge of a new shift in how people think about applications, just as we were when the Web first started. We’ve had a long enough fight trying to get our content out of proprietary data jail formats, and sure, we have a ways to go – but every HTML page I wrote in 1993 still renders the same in modern browsers on modern computers on every major platform; with how many programs can you say that? Let’s try to do the same for applications and help make them more future-proof with SVG.

Steve Wilhelm served as the development manager for Tibco’s MarketSheet for Windows, which was a Reuters-inspired spreadsheet for real-time information. Using those insights and looking at what has changed in the years since, Steve describes a hypothetical product called OpenSheet that takes into account the advances made in mobile computing, social networking, and open source in the last half decade.

As described by Steve, OpenSheet is a compelling product vision, and it makes me wonder: could there be a new kind of spreadsheet for real-time data that takes a three-dimensional view rather than the traditional spreadsheet table view, so that you could see the history of a stream? In other words, a “StreamSheet” visualization?