Thursday, December 01, 2005

Why: Hyphens into phone numbers

David Weinberger reports on a talk by Ted Nelson at the Oxford Internet Institute:
There are hidden agendas in most technological decisions. He asks why programs insist on us not entering spaces or hyphens into phone numbers. "The real technical reason is the programmer is a jerk." The engineer, says Ted, passively-aggressively requires the user to do something "rigorous." This is the techie mentality at its worst. Software is too important to be left to the techies; they need an "overarching vision."
Ted goes on to talk about "Transliterature" and says, "I want to make it possible for everything to be remixed."

I've been thinking about this recently. It's kind of like normalizing a relational database. Instead of having duplicate data everywhere, it'd much better to have one instance of the data that everyone points to.

Peter at Mefeedia has been experimenting with this idea with his make a quote feature where you can reference a clip from a video.

Here's an example:

"Josh Leo is pilgrim shopping" (Quicktime movie quote using Mefeedia. Original movie found at Josh Leo's Vlog.)

This is pretty cool. The problem is that you need to go to mefeedia to use it, so if you are watching video on another site, from your desktop, or with a video aggregator such as FireAnt, you can't quote it.

So the 'overarching vision" here would be for a tool that works with whatever video you are watching. This tool would allow you to grab a section and remix it, while maintaining links to the original source location. The remixed video would have links back to all the metadata from the original video.

Check out A Gentle Introduction to Ted Nelson's ZigZag Structure.

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