Infrequently Noted

Alex Russell on browsers, standards, and the process of progress.

Various Notes

First, I'm gonna be at OSCON the same week that TAE is going down. If you were counting on me buying you beer while in SF, you'll have to collect from Dylan (he's good for it) or one of the other Dojo's.

Next, can y'all please stop conflating Comet with a particular HTTP-level mechanism for achieving the stated user interaction goal? It's getting quite tiresome to hear folks say things like "long polling or Comet" as though they're different. The XMPP HTTP binding guys even go to great lengths to explain how their Comet technique (BOSH, aka: "long-polling") isn't Comet. Almost as entertaining as it is wrong. Long polling along with other techniques are ways of implementing the basic Comet pattern. The general description of the pattern contains no preference for one or the other. It only requires that you not naively poll N seconds.

Lastly, I'd like to express my disappointment that Jack didn't include Dean's excellent Base2 in his latest round of benchmarks. It's doing us all a disservice that he's not including the fastest engine around in his benchmarks.


I was lucky enough to attend Foo Camp again this year. Like last year, its left my head so full of ideas, interactions, and permutations on themes that it has taken me a week and a half just to work through enough of the ideas to be able to start writing about them. I didn't open my laptop all weekend. Talks like Paul Graham's session on "how to have good ideas" give you a lot to reflect on as you introspect on your own day-to-day activities. Since Foo is the "Switzerland of Tech", there are whole raft of things I can't blog about, and that is as it should be, however there were some fascinating talks and discussions which seem to be dovetailing with more of what I read on a regular basis.

For instance, I stumbled into a series of discussions about broadcast media, societal fragmentation (and unification) and the political and technical enablers for that fragmentation. They seems only mildly related and even more distantly related to the tech parts of tech, but a whole host of ideas I absorbed at Foo funnel into larger debates I have with myself and with friends. I'm finding amazing parallels in those discussions and ideas from Foo with The Authoritarians and with things like this.

I'm becoming more resolute in some of my suspicious about what's currently broken with the way we build things on the web, but for the time being I'm going to practice some of the advice in Paul Graham's article: i pensieri stretti. Oddly, it somehow feels safer to talk about national politics out loud. Maybe I'll start doing more of that. My particular brand of technical heresy isn't going to play well for another half decade, I think.

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