Marc's Voice
Here's one kind of a Multimedia Conversation

This is how it started....I created a series of posts related to various AOL T-W issues. These posts prompted responses, counter arguments and related statements from several different bloggers.

Each point and counter-point can now be revisted - with viewers adding their own synopsis, opinions and counter-points - at anytime. Anyone can come into a 'conversation' - at any point in the conversatiin - at any time.

But what makes it a 'multimedia conversation?'

HHhhhhmmm - let's see.......

Click here to see the actual multimedia conversation.

Just one thought...

The problem I see with the current blog format is that it still has to sort of end up making sense in one place. Shouldn't each block of text or multimedia only have to exist in one place. One of our guys says we need "text src". Basically, what I want is a way to embed stuff from other people's sites or a way to just cluster little windows into other people's sites instead of having to write all the links up in a story. I really like your format/style Marc, but two things. I still have to click on the links and jump to the sites and YOU still have to write some redundant content. It would seem better if you could really just open little windows and arrange them, adding only your own stuff...

Or am I dreaming?

Marc Canter
From: "Marc Canter"
To: "Joichi Ito"
Subject: RE: Design review - feedback requested
Date: Mon, 7 Oct 2002 16:02:30 -0700

No - EXACTLY!

Ted nelson called that 'transclusion' and Marc Barot has that working NOW! So what you're asking for is to 'transclude' other sites, or chunks of info - and build it INTO the conversations.

YES! We got that working NOW!

:-)

I just received - and I think he were cc:ed (and the rest of the recipient list - oooops) this from Marc Barot:

Marc Barot
From an interface point of view, I would like the links not to disrupt the flow by replacing the current window's content, instead sliding neatly in place, below their calling paragraph. Sure - that would be a formatting option. I think they'll be a bunch of different ways to 'view' this stuff - including entirely in an outline form. Launching second windows, different sized titles, doing 2 way links, trackback, occluding images, media embedding - the issues go on and on. But I had to start somewhere :-)

We have these investor types who actually are getting serious - so me spelling out - in umpteenth details - was what spurred me onto this 'mockup'

[[[Marc's insert here - I think everyone will end up with their own formatting solution which works. We may find that easily going back (maybe gesturally based) between display formats - is the way to go. CERTAINLY we'll have to make it obvious and intuitive how one can CHANGE and adjust the way the conversation is displayed (and we'll need lots of pre-fabbed display solutions - as well.)

It's clear from the first five comments I've received - that EVERYONE has their OWN idea as to what works. In less than an hour I received almost 10 reply's - out of a list of 30+ That's 33% interest level!

So this to me - defines a system which can flexibly display:
- linked pages
- transcluded entries (from elsewhere)
- media
- faces
- some sort of an outline structure
- even collapse unto itself - allowing readers to compartmentalize sections....

And ties to:
- IM - email
- Outlining
- Blogging
- your PIM info
- your media (stored in your private cloud)
- your Home LAN (and your traveling cyber existence)
- and your devices

is in order.

This is what "Hubbie" would output. I think you can see how the activieOutliner (or WebOutliner as Doug refers to it) is along the trajectory towards Hubbie.

[[[Marc's insert here - "Hubbie" is the code-name for our big magilla-cutty product, WebOutliner is a first step, on-line outliner that..... well you can imagine. WebOutliner will also be part of a Radio 'sweet suite' collection of tools and customizable Home Page. We then will investigate creating 'sweet suites' of add-ons for Blogger, LiveJournal, Moveable Type, Grey Matter.

We think integrating blogging with media with your Home LAN is key. We'll start our concentric circles strategy with bloggers and move out from there towards the Home LAN owners who have devices........]]]]]]

I know I'm an outline nut, but I really appreciate the ability to keep everything in perspective, that is within the same flow of conversation.

Certo (that's Italian for 'sure!')

[[[Marc's insert here - or in Japanese they say "Gam baht ai - Kurd usai!"

This is why I love 'elision' (those collapsable paragraphs with a wedge) and 'transclusion' (insertion of the linked contents in place).

ah yes, yet another new term........

[[[Marc's insert here - Marc Barot has true transclusion working on activieOutliner - RIGHT NOW! So expect translcusion in these conversations - FOR SURE!

From a structural point of view, I guess we can achieve this with any kind of Xpath explorable, XML hierarchical structure as the supporting format. OMPL, with more specialized attributes, comes to mind. So does RSS for referred conversations.

think GIANT XML OPML extension........

[[[Marc's insert here - the original usage of the term 'MacroMedia' was as our own compound document architecture.]]]]]]

Cheers
Marc

Marc

and even more Marcs

-----------
Marc Barrot
IT Consultant
Precision IT Management,Inc

4 Comments

Kevin Werbach
I'll bite. You're on the right track, but this still feels like radio with pictures instead of TV. (Actually, a Web page with pictures, but you get my drift.) How does the media enhance the content? A simple way to get all these elements into a Weblog post would be really nice, but that has to be for a purpose.

More specifically, the demo page is unidirectional and backward-looking. It's a book report on our conversation, rather than the conversation itself. And a related point -- what if I want to come in and give my version of the conversation, which would include some of the same pieces but a different narrative structure?

Regarding transclusion, how do you overcome the complexity problem of pre-Web hypertext systems, including Xanadu? Namely, to keep track of all the items in the system, you need a central repository and heavyweight object identifiers, which means you never get a critical mass of adoption. As Clay Shirky pointed out, the great thing about the Web is that it lets you get a 404 Not Found. You could deal with the problem by just incorporating a snapshot of the original page, but then you lose the context and the clipping is no longer live.

-k-

Jonathan Peterson
From: "Jonathan Peterson" Subject: RE: Design review - feedback requested Date: Tue, 8 Oct 2002 12:10:57 -0400

Marc,

As a jumping off point for conversation your demo is great, thanks. I'm
tossing out some gut thoughts:

:User Interface challenges:
The UI will be critical and much more sophisticated than that of today's
web: iconography and cues to let readers know what goes deeper, real-time
vs. historical, one-to-one interactive vs. group/mailinglist/blog, etc. The
HTML blue/purple link underline is such a tiny amount of information. While
I hate context menus, I would assume right-clicking on Doc Searls face would
give me "Doc is On-Line, see Doc's response, About Doc Seals, etc."; the
kind of information that is starting to come together in the rapidly
evolving Friend of a Friend (FOAF - http://xmlns.com/foaf/0.1/) "standard".

:Conversational Modality:
One thing I find compelling and confusing (this is a good thing) is that
Marc is juggling at least three different views of the conversation:
timeline, social web, concept hierarchy. I don't know if there are MORE ways
that I might want to look at a conversation, but compressing multiple
dimensions is always difficult from a UI point of view. I'm a big believer
in the improved productivity and simplified user interface of modal UI, so I
would assume the conversational UI would allow me to seamlessly transition
between the modes of this conversation, making the direction of flow more
clear. (Making authoring harder of course! Some of that could be automated:
date stamps extracted from meta-data can pre-construct the timeline, FOAF
coupled with UDDI (http://www.uddi.org/) information about company
interrelationships, etc. could help build the social network view.).

:Social Navigation of Conversation:
The social navigation aspect of a conversation is particularly interesting;
each participant has a unique point of view. This allows the reader to
change "protagonists" while following the conversation (interestingly, one
of the greatest challenges of interactive fiction).

- Would a user tend to work towards a protagonist that is closer to himself
while navigating? It is easiest to teach something or change someone's mind
by working from common ground.

- Are people willing/able to be open about who they are and their agenda?
How important might that openness be in multimedia conversations? (My gut
feeling is that people have a protective layer of pseudo-anonymity on-line
and can, at least in some ways, be more open on line than face to face. If I
want to avoid friction F2F I know to avoid certain topics or opinions.
On-line I'm more willing/able to say "this is who I am and if you don't like
it feel free to leave".)


:Death to Comments:
- Quicktopic (http://www.quicktopic.com/ is based on the philosophy that
text email is the critical lowest common denominator for web conversation; a
system that fails to deliver email notification of updates is fundamentally
broken in it's ability to nurture a conversation distributed across time.
Perhaps a good foundation here also? That said, I think comments are a
transitional function that should be replaced by transclusion and
trackbacks. I would like to see us drive a stake through the heart of
"comments" so that we can be clear about what the thing is that we are
working toward.
-------------------
Blogged here: http://www.way.nu/archives/000459.html#000459

Jonathan Peterson
> :User Interface challenges: > The UI will be critical and much more sophisticated than that of today's > web: iconography and cues to let readers know what goes deeper, real-time > vs. historical, one-to-one interactive vs. > group/mailinglist/blog, etc. The > HTML blue/purple link underline is such a tiny amount of > information. While > I hate context menus, I would assume right-clicking on Doc Searls > face would > give me "Doc is On-Line, see Doc's response, About Doc Seals, etc."; the > kind of information that is starting to come together in the rapidly > evolving Friend of a Friend (FOAF - http://xmlns.com/foaf/0.1/) > "standard".
Marc Canter
Yes as noted (see Joi's posting of feedback from yesterday - joi.ito.com) this is just afirst step. I almost sandbagged it - to not let too much of the cat out of teh bag. IMing to a face is definetly part of it. Particiapting in and supporting as many FOAF standards - as possible - will also be in there.

To let my cat out of the bag... I am hoping to integrate mobile phone and IM into my blog pretty soon. We're hacking on it right now. I'll let you know when we have a demo working.

Jonathan Peterson
> :Conversational Modality:
> One thing I find compelling and confusing (this is a good thing) is that
> Marc is juggling at least three different views of the conversation:
> timeline, social web, concept hierarchy. I don't know if there
> are MORE ways
> that I might want to look at a conversation, but compressing multiple
> dimensions is always difficult from a UI point of view. I'm a big believer
> in the improved productivity and simplified user interface of
> modal UI, so I
> would assume the conversational UI would allow me to seamlessly transition
> between the modes of this conversation, making the direction of flow more
> clear. (Making authoring harder of course! Some of that could be
> automated:
> date stamps extracted from meta-data can pre-construct the timeline, FOAF
> coupled with UDDI (http://www.uddi.org/) information about company
> interrelationships, etc. could help build the social network view.).

Marc Canter
Not only transition between modes of operation, but also between individuals POV and enables OTHERS to add and participate - as well. See the otehr notes - in regards to shifting 'formats - as everyone seems ot have their one preferential way of looking at, interacting with and in general - grokking this sort fo thing. It's a journey we're beginning and we certainly don't have all the answers yet. So in teh mean time - let's make available LOTS of templates - for viewing it - through different 'lens'.

Absolutely. The only difference between a photo album, an i-mode site and a web log are the templates.

Marc Canter
We're hoping that MOST of this 'interactive structure' is COMPLETELY automated - we just enable authors to plop different things - into teh hopper - and we then flow it through whatever template has been selected - at the time. That's a dynamic thing - as viewers can easily switch between different templates. Does that make sense?
Jonathan Peterson
> - Would a user tend to work towards a protagonist that is closer > to himself > while navigating? It is easiest to teach something or change > someone's mind > by working from common ground.
Marc Canter
Now you're getting it!
Jonathan Peterson
> :Death to Comments: > - Quicktopic (http://www.quicktopic.com/ is based on the philosophy that > text email is the critical lowest common denominator for web > conversation; a > system that fails to deliver email notification of updates is > fundamentally > broken in it's ability to nurture a conversation distributed across time. > Perhaps a good foundation here also? That said, I think comments are a > transitional function that should be replaced by transclusion and > trackbacks. I would like to see us drive a stake through the heart of > "comments" so that we can be clear about what the thing is that we are > working toward.
Marc Canter
:-) Well yes - notification (to a myriad of devices) is a core system construct.

I an COMPLETELY agree with Jonathan here. Notifications are cool, but I think we need to take on the whole centralized architecture. If we can have the distributed blogs and trackbacks work well, the threads should make a converation. Like a bunch of blogs standing around at a cocktail party. We don't need a guestbook to have a discussion. Just a mechanism to know when someone has said something.

Marc Canter
Now we just gotta go build it.

That's the hard part. We need to all build pieces and make sure they fit together in the end.

Joi Ito
To let my cat out of the bag... I am hoping to integrate mobile phone and IM into my blog pretty soon. We're hacking on it right now. I'll let you know when we have a demo working.
Marc Canter
Yes - I suspected as much.

I can just see you - standing on the corner in Shinjuku or outside the Tokyo station - with 50,000 other Nippon Jin - thumbing in a post about some new government regulation - and how you're disappointed you are that they passed yet another crazy law, because so-and-so-san got ousted out by who's-a-ma-cooz-san - which you'll have to deal with at the steering committee meeting.

Joi Ito
Absolutely. The only difference between a photo album, an I-mode
site and a web log are the templates.

Marc Canter
At the core - baby!

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