I'm reading Ray Kurzweil who says the the Singularity is Near. While nay-sayers claim his science is questionable, I say he sounds pretty bright to me. The basic gist is because of exponential growth in technology (ie Moore's law) we're on the cusp of revolutionary changes in what it means to be human. We will transcend our bodies through technologies ranging from advanced medical DNA engineering to nano technology and the internet itself. We will become immortal within 20 years. (…says Ray)
I'm perusing an issue of Wired where they talk about Petaflops and the end of science as the process of discovery changes from "hypothesis -> proof" to "real model -> observation." By connecting billions of people with billions of computers and cell phones, you create a global network that is quite similar to the human brain but on a much more massive, and speedy scale. Computer processors got faster than human synapses in the late 90's. Your brain still has billions more neurons than your computer has switches in its processor, but if you start connecting everyone's computer through the internet you can imagine the computers beating us before long. The internet = huge brain.
The more self expression and meaning that can be digitized on various cross linked web sites, the more complex the system becomes. At some point you get complex enough to call it "conscious." Have a hard time believing that the only thing that makes us conscious is complexity? Is a flat worm conscious? Nope. How about a monkey? Well that's got personality. Both have neurons its simply a question of quantity and cross connections.
Well, on the internet cross connections are most easily expressed in HTML. For better or worse, hypertext as expressed through a combination of HTML, XML, and CSS is the best way we have for documenting the meaning and cross connections of the content that makes humanity interesting. Making web pages = good. Think of it as a kid with a tiny brain figuring out how things go together. Learning is work. Twittering, blogging, sprucing up your mySpace page – that's all worthy contributions to the group consciousness. One day we'll all be immortal thanks to your selfless labor and kewl cat pictures.
The only downer is blogs, twittering and social networking sites kinda suck. Building a website the way you want to and being able to edit the copy without learning complex tools is key. You can't expect a kid to learn, playing one game over and over again. In my eyes, blogs are nice because they're easy to use – but the price you pay is your creativity is very limited. What we need is a more flexible way for people to easily edit web sites that don't have to be blogs. ie, concrete5.
Ergo, use concrete5 – it's going to replace your brain one day.
No, not for us. We already have a new logo. No, the logo I'm talking about is for Wal-Mart:
It's interesting they ditched the hyphen – makes sense though, since I could never remember if Walmart was spelled with one or not. The iconic Walmart star is present, but they've moved it from the middle. Upon seeing this logo with the star at the end, the first thing I thought of was an asterisk, meant to denote some bit of trivia or impart a cautionary reminder about the company in question.
(* – May prove hazardous to liberals, leftists, protectionists and yuppies.)
(* – Prolonged exposure may lead to nerve damage.)
(* – Watch for falling prices…or reap the whirlwind.)
(* – Surgeon General Recommends a Lifestyle Free of Excessive Bargains.)
And so on… Any you want to add?
…For editing, at least. Sites built with Concrete5 will work in any browser, if they're coded for it. But the editing interface and the dashboard, both of which feature some pretty complex interface work, are only supported in:
- Safari 2+
- Internet Explorer 7+
- Firefox 2
Other browsers, like Camino and Opera, will likely support Concrete5 just fine. But IE 6 will not. Not even close. As I was mulling over this blog post I caught another one on the same topic. It seems that Apple is doing exactly the same thing with their forthcoming suite of web applications, MobileMe.
Not bad company to be in, and necessary. The sheer amount of time that goes into debugging things for one specific, eight-year-old browser is mind-boggling. However, dropping IE 6 support is not without its pitfalls: the sheer amount of time saved might overwhelm the typical developer, as she finds herself with much less to do and much less stress about the web in general. The key is to fill this time with something productive. Try tending a garden; read a lengthy Russian novel; teach yourself Spanish; take a cooking class.
(Oh, and install that IE 8 beta in some of your free time – it'll be released before you know it. And Firefox 3 just came out, so you'd better download that. And Opera 9.5. And Safari 4 is on the horizon.)
Maybe you'd better read a shorter novel after all.
one week later, we're ranked 800 out of 179,523 projects on sourceforge, with over 150 downloads. We've got handful of people helping in various countries, we're hard at work on our hosting and marketing materials… Our booth for osCon2008 is purchased, we're hoping to leave that event with 30 active developers contributing their time… we've basically got 6 weeks to get ready… very exciting…
Just had our 100th download of concrete5 on sourceforge. We've been talking to several developers who are helping us further refine the install process. Some guy from Brazil is even pitching in!
open source is neat.
Okay, who the hell turns their speaker volume up so loud that you can hear "YOU'VE GOT MAIL!" from their AOL account through their floor (our ceiling)? Our upstairs neighbors have received four pieces of mail today. We need to figure out a way to strike back. I'm thinking ceiling-mounted speakers and Ahnold.
From the beginning, Concrete has been designed as a system that makes the creation of pages easy, with a flexible "block" system available for placing items of content within these pages. As Concrete has matured, new data types have been created for different types of tasks. In Concrete5, for example, we have all sorts of these: single pages, page types, themes, blocks, elements, user attributes, page attributes, email templates, and more.
Well we still have a long way to go before I'd call it a polished product that didn't have a lot of lose ends, but the whole thing is stable and the important bits are working well. The UI has also settled down so it really feels like cleanup time to us. We're launching concrete5.org to try to drum up some help from the open source development community as I type. Sadly there's nothing for me to do but bug people about getting C's in the right cases right now, so I'm posting here so my team will stop scowling at me.
concrete5.org is live! yay, tell your developer friends.
I opened our fridge, and this is what I saw:
It occurred to me that this moment sums up exactly why Concrete is an excellent place to work. Let me put it out there for you:
Reason 1? An abundance of beer.
Reason 2? An abundance of humor. No, for the confused amongst us, we aren't PETA-hating, raw-animal-eating nutjobs. We are, however, irony-loving, hipster-leaning, Arrested-Development-watching nerds.
(Note: I did not open the bag.)