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Tom MacWright



#VSCOcam Plato

#VSCOcam 'Toys', New Jersey, 2014

  • On Corporate Ownership of Open Source (which is indirectly discussing the fork of nodejs into iojs)
    • Mapbox is something like the combination that Mikeal advises: there are products (Mapbox.com, Mapbox Streets) that rely on open source parts that are common to much more (Mapnik, Node, Tilelive, GL) which are used elsewhere by different projects and companies.
    • The gulf between open source libraries and applications is real and undiscussed. Open source applications are problematic: they’re finished, consumer-grade products, and the relationship of user to producer follows the same script as with anything closed. Applications tend to have significantly higher user-to-developer ratios as well as an unresolved tension around support and services, which can present significant dead weight for companies.
    • The straw that broke the camel’s back in the io.js case seems to be trademarks: Joyent believed that they needed to defend the ‘node’ trademark against something like the node-forward project. I’m divided on this.
      • Seeing how products work makes it clear that confusion reigns already, even with well-guarded trademarks - what products and companies are and how they are connected is puzzling to everyone.
      • It’s also likely that acquiring the node trademark from Ryan puts a dollar value on it that flags it as ‘important’.
      • But defending it to that level seems tonedeaf.
  • Bret Victor did another video and like most things he does, it’s good. More than a year has passed since I started to read and listen to his thoughts, and a lot has happened in between. While I’m on board for a lot of those ideas, and have experimented in similar zany routes, it’s tricky to think about it in a little more depth.
    • Why did computing end up this way? Is it technology, people, economic restrictions?
    • What’s the importance of gestural / non-tactile interfaces - the minority report interface? These have been a sort of red flag for UIs in my book after trying out a few 3D input devices and found that the lack of precision, but they factor heavily into Bret’s sketches.
    • How do social expectations around how we interact with technology change over time? Talking to Siri is almost acceptable, handwaving isn’t, wearing Glass isn’t. Talking on Bluetooth headsets used to be, and is now less.


December 29, 2014  @tmcw