Validation In Depth

A neighbor and I were introducing ourselves to a third at a block party. The first made designer genes, while I made designer worlds. Everyone knew what we were talking about.

It takes a long time for folks to be generally cognizant of new technologies like these. There’s a long period of sci-fi books and geek conferences and related stuff for folks to triangulate against.

Then, once there are folks who get the concept, there’s another long period of validation for tiny companies like mine and my neighbor’s. Without such support, people feel like they might like to get involved – someday, but not yet. It takes a lot of support in a lot of areas. Qwaq has for some time had HP, Intel, and Fuji-Xerox as partners investing serious time. We’ve had good press from the WSJ, Business Week and Information Week and good reports from Forrester and Gartner. We’ve got lots of real paying customers that I still can’t talk about. (Although you’ve seen them in the news a lot lately.) 🙁

This week, one of those customers was awarded a National Science Foundation grant to use Qwaq Forums to develop and deploy a new way to teach science to seventh graders. While Open Source Croquet has had grants from the NSF and other agencies, this is the first time that major public funding has been set aside for actually delivering something that folks get to use. As I understand it, the students will get trained in 3D modeling and will be joined partway through the program by the science teachers. Both groups will then team up to produce projects, with the students as domain “experts” and teachers as educational experts. While my vision for Croquet is to turn users into builders, this project makes me appreciate that it’s also valuable for all to turn builders into users.

About Stearns

Howard Stearns works at High Fidelity, Inc., creating the metaverse. Mr. Stearns has a quarter century experience in systems engineering, applications consulting, and management of advanced software technologies. He was the technical lead of University of Wisconsin's Croquet project, an ambitious project convened by computing pioneer Alan Kay to transform collaboration through 3D graphics and real-time, persistent shared spaces. The CAD integration products Mr. Stearns created for expert system pioneer ICAD set the market standard through IPO and acquisition by Oracle. The embedded systems he wrote helped transform the industrial diamond market. In the early 2000s, Mr. Stearns was named Technology Strategist for Curl, the only startup founded by WWW pioneer Tim Berners-Lee. An expert on programming languages and operating systems, Mr. Stearns created the Eclipse commercial Common Lisp programming implementation. Mr. Stearns has two degrees from M.I.T., and has directed family businesses in early childhood education and publishing.

One Comment

  1. Well, I hope this technology gains traction while Qwaq is still in it and you’re still with them. As you know first hand, it sucks to be at a company that has a technology that is, as they say, just a little “ahead of its <a href=”…“>time</a>

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