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  Sonntag, 6. März 2005

Yesterday saw my first conscious visit to [create Zurich], the city (as opposed to Zurich, the airport). Snowfall sure makes for pretty old towns - unfortunately one can't claim the same for drives home through Arlberg terrain, but then, I've been warned.

The reason for the visit in Switzerland was a meeting between smi and RaphaŽl Szwarc to which I was fortunate enough to have been invited as well. RaphaŽl is the prime mover behind ZOň, the smash hit Email search, slice and dice engine. (Aside: When RaphaŽl pointed out that we were just walking by Google's Zurich offices, I remembered how when Gmail was first announced, I imagined it would work exactly like ZOň - like a Wiki for your Email, a "surfable inbox", the ultimate hypertextifier. Off by a long shot.)

RaphaŽl is currently working on a seriously non-intrusive groupware system called ZAPPATA (how it works); indeed, non-intrusiveness was one of the major themes of the afternoon/evening - quietly sitting in the middle, watching behaviour and then applying some heuristics to infer structures of collaboration and weights of importance sounds like a great approach.

I won't even try to write down all the ideas & impressions still hovering through my mind a day later, just a few quick notes ffr/.

  • Do the obvious. (And don't lose sight of the obvious, which may be way harder.)
  • Use what's there (and if it's DNS).
  • Focus. Keep it simple.
  • Proxy: Profile. Counting goes a long way. So do +-*/.
  • Outsource problems (e.g. subnets as natural boundaries).
  • Question a-priori assumptions at strategic points in development.
  • The unpredictable is by its very nature unpredictable.
  • Truisms rock.
Monsieur smi demoed some amazing things while at 0815; I hope the world at large soon can have a glimpse at them as well.

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