The Teleplace release is a mature application for getting work done in realtime collaboration with others. This makes a good occasion to look at some direct progenitors. The first two are the 1994 Interactive Collaboration Environment prototype by David Smith. The third is a 2007 Julian Lombardi demo of Croquet.
I’m old enough to know that all of this should be taken with a grain of salt. But it certainly ain’t bad news, and it gives a lot of credibility to the Croquet platform. I hope that Croquet folks around the world are able to make good use of this news in setting up their own projects.
Brie has not yet been integrated with the current Croquet SDK. It still needs a lot of work in both the graphics and the API between private and replicated Croquet. It might be most efficient to let some dust settle here: Josh is working on new Croquet graphics, Andreas is working on 2D interfaces, and David Smith is working on the task/interactor model.
But the main thing is that I’m starting another project that I’m very excited about (more about this later), so I know that I won’t have time to work on Brie for a while. Fortunately, I do think that, say, phase III or so of the new project will be a driver for pulling Brie out of the closet again.
Everyone’s been waiting patiently for Hedgehog. There’s no way to know when the next step of David Reed’s Tea Time will be available. As David Smith and Andreas Raab began working on Simplified Tea Time for Hedgehog, there was no way to know when that process would produce results.
The Croquet group at the University of Wisconsin is not in the Computer Science department. We’re not driven by the theoretical concepts of Croquet for its own sake. We are in the Academic Technology department of the Division of Information Technology, and our interest is in building educational applications in Croquet. Adding stuff to the Croquet core is fun, but what we really need is to build learning environments with faculty. Last summer, we had the opportunity to just that, and we took it, even though we knew that the existing Jasmine proof-of-concept version of Croquet would not meet our needs. What to do?
My dear friend John, whose generosity and interests drive this site, has said something in comment to this entry, which I just have to call him on:
“The more everything ties together the more we are open for invasion. But the Paris Hiltons of the world seem to embrace the great borgification, the assimilation into the overmind, in which notions such as autonomy and privacy are not so much quaint as incomprehensible.”
Whoa, there buddy! You’re going to have to explain why tying stuff together makes it more open to invasion. Ever try to invade a strawberry thicket? There’s good design and bad design (with respect to various desirable or undesirable effects), but I see no reason that a good interconnected design is any more pervious then a bunch of isolated stuff. In fact, in my admittedly limited understanding of military and tech. security history, the concepts of “defense in depth” and “divide and conquer” suggest to me that interconnected stuff (if done right) may be inherently safer.
I had a conversation with someone at the University here about architecting Croquet – or a class of Croquet applications – so that the infrastructure can be centrally controlled. By the University, by a consortium of universities or what have you. “This is wrong,” I thought. If you design it so that the whole thing – the very infrastructure — can be controlled by you, then it will be controlled, but not by you. Either Croquet will be a success or it won’t, and if it is a success, then the Elephant in the Hallway, Microsoft, will come along and control their version. Or some government, or terrorists, or whatever bad guys haunt your anxiety closet.
I’ve recently learned from some folks in the tech security community that security is weakened when you rely on prohibiting that which you cannot prevent. Systems fail, so design your system to fail gracefully. Connectivity is abused, so design your systems to respond to it. Openness and interconnectivity are powerful tools for dealing with the attacks we cannot prevent.