Information routing, redux

In last week's column, I mentioned, Joshua Schachter's "social bookmarking" service. Since then, I've explored the service more deeply in a series of blog entries. Using, I'm now able to process information in dramatically more efficient ways.
In a March 2003 column, I wrote about the challenges of doing publish/subscribe at Internet scale. David Rosenblum, who was then CTO of messaging startup PreCache, had described to me an optimization procedure he called "filter merging." The architecture of lends itself to just that kind of optimization. The combination of several trusted human filters, with respect to some topic of interest, yields a powerful merged filter. [Full story at]

I was offline writing this column, at the tail end of vacation, so I missed the big news about Microsoft's delaying WinFS in order to make a 2006 date for Longhorn. It's tempting to observe that my current fascination with (a lightweight, collaborative, web-native metadata system) helps prove that WinFS (a heavyweight, single-user, desktop-bound metadata system) really is the over-engineered solution-in-search-of-a-problem that many people now claim it to be. For what it's worth, I don't think that. If you haven't seen my extended interview with Quentin Clark, the director of program management for WinFS, you may find it a useful read now. Granted, I found that URL by way of this tag. But there's no question in my mind that a smart local datastore has to be part of the equation. Or that the "object/relational/XML trinity" envisioned by Clark is an inevitable and necessary convergence.

It's hard to cry a river for a company like Microsoft, but sometimes they're damned if they don't ("Microsoft never innovates") and damned if they do ("Microsoft never ships").

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