XmlHttpRequest

I recently mentioned XmlHttpRequest to a collegue as possible solution to his problem and found that he didn't know about it despite the fact that many DHTML apps are simply impossible to do without it.  As I mentioned before, people tend to stop looking around when they are busy.  Well, even meercats know better…

FYI, XmlHttpRequest allows you to make HTTP requests and process responses from within a webpage.  It was first implemented by Microsoft as an ActiveX object.  The shocker is that it's now considered nearly ubiquitous because other browsers support the feature as well.  For more info, here are some useful links to get you started:

Have fun.

Compassionware

If a god appeared and said sacrificing one million Iraqis at his altar will turn Iraq into a peaceful democratic nation overnight, would you be willing?  How about hundred thousand?  Ten thousand?

I've been revisting my positions on the price we are willing to pay for whatever it is we are doing over at Iraq and I am finding our notion of acceptable to be rather disturbing.  How is civilian casualties expected in wars different from ritualistic sacrifices?

How about genocide?  Is there anything that we value so much that we would be willing to commit genocide?  Democracy?  Freedom?  National Security?  Oil?

Is it the bloodshed and sufferings that makes us squirmish?  What if there was a button that could instantly send all followers of Islam to some other place without killing them?  Would you press the button?  What if the buttoned worked the other way by leaving earth to the Islams and sent rest of the planet elsewhere?

If I am told that every single keystorke I made in my life destroyed a planet in some remote galaxy, am I supposed to be horrified?  What if I am the last man on earth?  Is compassion still useful?

More I examine the substance of morals, more it unravels until there is nothing left to hold.

My President and Mother Earth

Do you want to feel bad this Friday?  Read this.

There was an incident with one of the cars. We shot an individual with his hands up. He got out of the car. He was badly shot. We lit him up. I don't know who started shooting first. One of the Marines came running over to where we were and said: "You all just shot a guy with his hands up." Man, I forgot about this.

To top it off, read this report about the health of Mother Earth.

P2P2P

I have been thinking about popular P2P networks and how slow and frustrating they can be when the file you want is large or rare.  My conclusion is that current P2P networks cannot be scaled to share large resources in timely fashion without some fundamental changes in the way they work.

One such change is P2P2P (Pay to P2P).  This idea is to use money to make P2P Wishlist more compelling.  If I want something, I share that 'wish' along with 'bid' price on P2P networks.  People with files others are interested in, finds the 'wishes' they can fill at the price they want.

In reality, all this takes place automatically and the prices are not price of the goods but price of time.  If you want it 'now', it will cost you more than if you wanted it sometime between next 36 hours.  Quality of goods also matters but that is taken care of by a rating system.

The neat thing about P2P2P can support streaming such as movies-on-demand or live video of concerts easily where current P2P systems can't.  It could encourage enterprising individuals to become TSP (Timely Service Providers) by setting up a few servers and hustle to serve valuable files and streams to people who are willing to pay for time.

A: You want to see a movie?
B: What's available?
A: Fred's On-Demand has Bambi for $5 at 7PM, $3 at 9PM, and $1 after midnight.  Hmm.  Some guy named Chuck is offering to stream Bambi off his laptop for a dollar at 7:24PM.

Fighting Wildfire with Gasoline?

According to a recent report from International Institute of Strategic Studies, thinktank,

Iraq has become the new magnet of Al-Qaeda's war against the United States … The US-led war in Iraq has increased the risk to Western interests in Arab countries.

I didn't enjoy reading the editorial, but I found myself nodding my head.  Urgh.

Sandhill Flea Market

When I woke up yesterday — I am waking up yesterday and going to sleep tomorrow these days — I had this funny mix of DEMO conference and flea market in my head.  What if a DEMO conference could be held every month?  The ideal place for it is in Palo Alto near the Sandhill Road.  Stanford will work as well.  More informal setting would be the little shopping mall on Sandhill there (I forget the name) or Buck's parking lot.

The idea is to let people just come and show/see demos fresh off the oven.  Free for all, fun for all, and maybe a golden opportunity for some.  Quality-wise, I am more in favor of no control because people like seeing crappy stuff along-side the good stuff.  Unpredictability is what makes flea markets interesting.  Anyway, I am just musing along at this point but I think it could be fun for everyone, including the VCs.

Update:

Re comments about DEMO, I like the core concept but execution must be different given that time and resource constraints are vastly different.  We used to have monthly events in the Silicon Valley where people could just show up and demonstrate what they have been worked on.  Over time, those events were replaced by so called 'networking' meetings.  Well, I like 'walking the walk' instead of 'talking the talk'.