Byte Magazine is one of the reasons Im here today, doing what I do. Every month, Byte set its sights on the bigger picture, a significant trend that might be far ahead or way far ahead. And in July 1994, Jon Udell to this very day, among the most insightful people ever to sign his name to an article was setting his sights on the inevitable convergence between the computer and the telephone.
I also liked Tom Halfhill, Jerry Pournelle, Steve Gilmore, and many other writers at Byte Inc. over the years too. I couldn’t agree more with Scott Fulton, as I still am a big fan of Jon Udell and any projects he worked on and documented. I can credit Jon Udell for getting me to be curious about weblogging, Radio Userland, WordPress, Flickr and del.icio.us (social bookmarking website). And watching his progress on a ‘Calendar of Public Calendars’, The elmcity project. Jon’s attempting to catalog and build an aggregated list of calendars that have RSS style feeds that anyone can subscribe to. No need for automated emails filling a filtered email box. No, you just fire up a browser and read what’s posted. You find out what’s going on and just add the event to your calendar.
As Jon has discovered the calendar exists, the events are there, they just aren’t evenly distributed yet (ie much like the future). So in his analysis of ‘what works’ Jon’s found some sterling examples of calendar keeping and maintenance some of which has popped up in interesting places, like Public School systems. However the biggest downfall of all events calendars is the all too common practice of taking Word Documents and exporting them as PDF files which get posted to a website. THAT is the calendar for far too many organizations and it fails utterly as a means of ‘discovering’ what’s going on.
Suffice it to say elmcity has been a long term goal of organizing and curatorial work that Jon is attempting to get an informal network of like-minded people involved in. And as different cities form up calendar ‘hubs’ Jon is collecting them into larger networks so that you can just search one spot and find out ‘what’s happening’ and then adding those events to your own calendar in a very seamless and lightweight manner. I highly recommend following Jon’s weblog as he’s got the same ability to explain and analyze these technologies that he excelled at while at Byte Inc. And continues to follow his bliss and curiosity about computers, networks and more generally technology.
- Accidental Time Capsule: Moments from Computing in 1994 (readwriteweb.com)
- Tagging mechanisms and strategies part 2: Portable tags (jonudell.net)