Small Pieces: Discuss Small Pieces Chapters: Preface

By martinjensen on Thursday, March 07, 2002 - 02:10 am:

This is simple stuff. Very simple, like a brontosaurus, for example. But in reading it, my mind is seeing the existence of the web like a layer spreading out across time and space. Maybe it's just too late to be reading this. In fact it is, so I will have to put off the next chapter until I get back into town later this weekend. But you're onto something, Mr. W. Good clear something.

By tbouma on Thursday, March 07, 2002 - 03:54 pm:

these small pieces coming together sounds very gestalt-ish - that is giving rise to new properties that are not simply a summation of its parts.

I firmly believe that 'value' is one of those gestalt properties that comes about. Actual value is conferred by something that is a 'whole', not just a bunch of parts.

So, is it possible to argue that the web is so valuable due to its ability to form infinite combinations of 'gestalts', many of which are of actual 'value'? Therefore infinite gestalts = potential inifite value?


By dweinberger on Thursday, March 07, 2002 - 10:13 pm:

Tbouma (hi, Tim!): I agree that the gestalty wholes are where the value is, although I'm not sure that there's *one* type of value. Many small gestalts with many types of value. Which makes it hard to sum the values since they may even be contradictory. But who cares whether you can sum the values? You have 100s of millions of people forming associations of every sort, each one of which is bringing them some sort of value. Pretty amazing just taken as it is.

By dweinberger on Thursday, March 07, 2002 - 10:14 pm:

Martin, thanks! I appreciate the, ahem ahem, brontosaurus remark, ahem. :)

By kevin jones on Saturday, March 16, 2002 - 02:21 am:

started to comment on the chapter, but now im puzzling over the nature of conflicting values. i think within a social network, coherent value emerges, that the social network that blogging represents, sets agreed upon value. value has to be equivalent for it to be exchanged. value is not dictated in this forum,, it's like reputation emerging in social spaces like slashdot, from the bottom up, with order arising in unexpected ways.

By dweinberger on Saturday, March 16, 2002 - 11:27 am:

Kevin, can you say more about which conflicting values you're puzzling over? A little more context for your thought-provoking comments...?

By Luigi Bertuzzi on Wednesday, March 27, 2002 - 01:24 pm:

Re: I�m one of those who believes that we can only be individuals because we are members of groups.

What about trying to form a group in order to express one's individual self? Does it mean that before the group forming mission is accomplished I cannot consider myself an individual?

By dweinberger on Thursday, April 11, 2002 - 07:25 am:

Actually, yes, I think without groups we're not individuals. E.g., language is only possible within groups, and without language we're not even recognizably human (except biologically).

By Luigi Bertuzzi on Saturday, April 13, 2002 - 07:41 am:

But the language of a web based (loosely coupled) group is still unspoken by a vast majority of human beings. If I use the expression *loosely coupled* in the real world group I belong to, I get a blank stare and, when I'm lucky, I may be invited to explain what I mean.... which is a difficult thing to do without explainig also what the web (seriously) is .... which, in turn, can be (far) more easy to do in English than in Italian! So, a few of my inmates could just recognize me (biologically) as a 61 year old loony, I'm afraid ... (English reader please laugh, our foreign guest just tried to be humorous).
The French translation of the book version for kids makes me wonder about an Italian translation of the preface for grownups, of a book titled something which sounds like Pezzettini uniti senza saldature (Una teoria unificata del Web). Back when it's ready. A presto.

By Luigi Bertuzzi on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 02:13 am:

Here is a quick and dirty approach to translating the Preface of the book *Small Pieces ....* by David Weinberger, with an introductory comment in Italian and in English

By Luigi Bertuzzi on Thursday, April 25, 2002 - 04:38 am:

I have found the expression loosely coupled in this Definition of Web Services, from a document titled *Roadmap for the Utilisation of Web Services* ....

Web Services are the building blocks of a new generation of distributed applications. Combining distinct Web Services to build an application is not fundamentally different from combining components, except for the fact that these "components" are extremely loosely coupled and often deployed by unrelated providers. .....

It seems to support, I (wrongly?) believe, the view that a cross-cultural discussion of Small Pieces might help addressing also the NON technical (but not less important) aspects of Web Service development and use.

By Wayne on Saturday, May 18, 2002 - 03:39 pm:

There are parts of the web that stick pretty closely to the old paradigm. Other parts are reweaving the world.

By dweinberger on Tuesday, June 04, 2002 - 08:17 am:

Yes, there are certainly parts that stick to the old paradigm, some successfully and some not. My book is more interested in the parts that illustrate the new paradigm(s), of course.

By Tim Walker on Wednesday, June 26, 2002 - 10:05 pm:

I read a post that described cyberspace as "another dimension." This bring to mind old science fiction that described time as the fourth dimension. Also "alternative worlds"/"alternative history"/other universes. It has been suggested that physical laws might be reversed in another universe, such as the arrow of time running backward instead of forward. Perhaps cyberspace could be described as a dimension where time and space obey physical laws that are different from those of our world.

By drogers on Thursday, May 22, 2003 - 09:14 am:

I'm a little disappointed. I expected that this forum could be a fountain of current discussion on the topics covered in the book, but it clearly has fallen by the real world, linear time way-side.

I guess in a way this is fitting as well. Anyway, I just started reading the book, only a few chapters in, but already a few things strike me. The spacial awareness we have as we use the Internet and the Web are just tools of graphic designers. The chosen metaphor to bring the technology to a mass market via icon, which of course is a step away from the green screen. We've sacrificed speed of process for mass consumption.

The lesson for me then has been that for communications technology to be useful it has to be easily useable, and that function will often need to yield to fashion for appeal. Ebay, for instance, works as much because of it's colorful, childlike interface as it does because of the premise and technology that sorts and sifts the data contained within it's databases. I'm certain that stressing boolean logic searches would yield more accurate and faster results for the user, if only boolean logic were sexier.

Anyway, I'll come back when I have finished the book. No sense in opening my mouth too wide until I've digested the entire thing. Likely any questions or comments that the initial section of the book I've read will spring may well be answered later on. I'd hate to come back here with egg on my face and have to create a whole new identity. Too much like work.

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