Look! Convergence! (What, Again?!)

Listening to DL Byron talking about "Good Blog Design", and really finding a lot of good talking points here. Something he just said kind of jumped out at me, though. Paraphrasing, he said, "We're finally starting to get a kind of convergence, with blogs, the web, rss, etc, and things are really taking off."

I flashed back to 1994, when I set up the NTIA Virtual Conference. For pretty much the first time ever, we had email, web display/post gateways, gopher, and netnews all gatewaying to each other. No matter which medium a person was restricted to, he or she could fully participate in the online conference forum. And people commented, "Wow, it's finally starting to come together, things are really taking off!" Fast-forward 11 years, to DL's comment today.

Will *this* convergence happen? If so, why? A comment made by someone at BlogHer stands out-- the difference is findability. The search engines make all the difference. Remember when the Net Scout listserv engine put dozens, then hundreds, of new sites in your mailbox every day? I used to save the emails and grep through them on my home SparcStation. But that really didn't tell me what I needed to know, since the descriptions were scanty, and grep, even with some fancy regexp-fu, is not very smart. Now we're starting to see not just blog-specific search sites like Icerocket, but RSS-specific search sites like PubSub.

Sites like PubSub have evolved in double-jumps, in that they not only search RSS but publish the results as RSS. Remember the glory days of multicast on IPv4? Protocols like Internet Whiteboard? I started saying in the mid-90's, watching the ISP's eat other ISP's, spawn ASP's, etc, that 'everything becomes conduit'. Structures like the InterNAP are a given now, were novel in the days of the PAE and the MAE's. Will there be a multicast RSS set of dedicated links, eg the 'InterRSS'? I remember when sites set up separate UUCP dialups to unburden their main links, then set up dedicated UUCP links for NetNews, then bandwidth became noise and it all just moved back out into the main bandstream. Would there be value in a multicast ring dedicated to constant content? Perhaps this will be the economic motivator for some movement to IPv6-- there's enough address space that one could actually create a tag registry that maps to netspace, and do content filtering by IP address. w00t! Sounds perverse today, but o tempora, o mores!

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