Web Wide Matrix

For many years, I’ve been really suffering from the problem of information overload: I’m subscribed to many content feeds, which are very valuable to me, but don’t have any way to effectively consume them – even if I’d sit all day & read them, I won’t be able to cover all of them.

Thinking about this problem I understood 3 things:

  1. The problem starts with the medium – the interface in which we consume content feeds today is like a baggage carousel, where you need to look at a list of items, arriving in random order, until you see what you’re looking for. This interface is somewhat effective with few dozens items, but will never work with thousands. On the other hand, an interface such as a supermarket is effective for selecting a few items out of thousands of items, because it’s an organized space that you can walk into & see all items, & since you go there frequently you know exactly where to find what interests you & discover more along the way.
  2. There are many good technologies today to automatically process large amounts of information, in order to enable people to make value out of it, but to use these technologies you need a team of engineers working for weeks or months building a solution for some specific content feed & use-case. This is similar to the situation before the Web, where if you wanted to connect to some information you needed to build the software, protocols & infrastructure for accessing information remotely. The Web introduced a simple & powerful standard way to access information, that removed these barriers & enabled anyone to publish & access information from anywhere in the world. Similarly, we need a simple & powerful way to enable anyone to process any content feed & make value out of it. This should be as simple as writing a simple HTML file.
  3. Until today, every person needed just an internet connection & a device to access information – something to run a browser on & access information & services. However, by now we stretched to the limit our ability to consume & make value from the sea of information available to us – Slack/Email/Articles/Twitter/Data/Opportunities/Events/&c. The introduction of powerful machine-learning & autonomous software agents can now enable every person to have a team of bots working for him by processing information & creating value out of it. So, a browser & internet connection is not enough anymore – you need another software/service to cope with the never ending streams of information flooding you, that needs to be available & affordable for everyone, just like an internet connection & a browser.

So I set out to design an architecture & solution based on these ideas, which I call the Web Wide Matrix. Inspired by the Matrix movie, it is a

  • Virtual Reality interface for consuming content feeds as an organized space
  • generated by a personal team of hacker bots, working inside software hovercrafts to process your content feeds
  • using training courses that are as simple to write as HTML documents

To make this a reality, I’m building this as an open-source initiative, led by a non-profit organization (called the Wachowski groupoid, in honor of the Matrix creators), currently consisting of just myself. I’ve written an initial POC & put up an initial web site for the project. Check it out to learn more & drop me a note if you’d like to join me in solving this problem once & for all.

Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 6.30.56 AM

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I’m a Django addict!

For the past couple of monthes I’ve developed 2 large Web applications, using the amazing Django web framework, & recently chose it for my next large project. I can now say without any doubt that it is the platform of choice today for developing almost any type of software. Its slogan claims that it’s the web framework for perfectionists with deadlines, & I fully agree. It’s just a brilliant platform, that revolutionizes software development, in the amazing productivity that it enables. Beauty according to David Gelernter is simplicity & power, & the Django authors just achieved so much beauty!

I found the underlying programming language, Python, to be the programming language of my dreams, really powerful, simple & fun to work with!

When I tell people about Django, they either say that it’s just like Rails, or that they don’t see any reason to move away from their familiar PHP or J2EE.
Well, I can tell you what I think of these alternatives using a metaphor: if you need to buy a laptop today, you basically have 3 choices: a PC loaded with Windows, a PC loaded with Linux & a MacBook loaded with OS X. I worked extensively with all choices, & can tell you that I get things done much better, much faster & much much more enjoyably on my MacBook. I find Rails to be similar to a PC loaded with Vista, PHP/J2EE like a PC loaded with Linux, & Django like a MacBook loaded with OS X.

If you’re an entrepreneur today, BTW, you’re just committing a crime if you don’t take my recommendation seriously.

My new browser start page

30boxes Webtop meta-replaced NetVibes as my new browser start page. Quite beautiful & effective interface! The web as platform is reality!

You add to it your web-based applications, such as:

  • Google spreadsheets
  • Box.net storage
  • Your 30boxes/Google calendar
  • TimeTracker
  • Your webmail client (not supported, don’t know why)
  • Pandora music player
  • Your favorite content sites
  • NetVibes content/services aggregator
  • &c

I’m still missing there my other crucial apps, such as:

  • Mind mapping, such as FreeMind (which I use instead of writing documents)
  • Web-based development environment (e.g., for Java/Python/JavaScript)

A screenshot:

BTW, has anyone tried MIT’s YouOS?