Benefits of WinFS explained

Another good article from Ray Ozzie, this one called 640K Ought to be Enough for Anyone discussing the potential of WinFS, the storage scheme for the next Windows OS, code-named Longhorn. Well worth reading the whole thing, here is a key clip:

In a pre-WinFS world, each application has managed its own “documents” and “records” and “collections” as an island unto itself – each with its own indexing and interaction mechanisms, each with its own solution-building mechanisms. Good ‘nuf. But in a WinFS world – just like in a Web Services world – we have the opportunity to explore what would happen if we dared to “deconstruct and refactor” our concepts of traditional client-side applications into a mesh of separately-built application components that “meet” at the level of common persistent objects and relationships.

From the WinFS site is this description:

“WinFS” is the code name for the next generation storage platform in Windows “Longhorn.” Taking advantage of database technologies, Microsoft is advancing the file system into an integrated store for file data, relational data, and XML data. Windows users will have intuitive new ways to find, relate, and act on their information, regardless of what application creates the data. Also, “WinFS” will have built-in support for multi-master data synchronization across other Longhorn machines and other data sources.

For more details on WinFS, check out the site.

Ray also goes off on a bit of a tangent exploring the debate between “rich” and “thin” clients. In my experience, many people have a tendency to want one or the other almost exclusively. Of course, what they really want is just a single interface to everything.

Problem solving, or…

…how the mind works. The following is from a discussion of the impact of “Information Age processes” on the decision making process in the new DoD Command and Control Research Program (CCRP) publication, Power to the Edge (.pdf).

Rather than rely on individual genius, Information Age processes tap collective knowledge and collaboration. Examples of the power and promise of such an approach already abound. In 2001, Microsoft launched a Web-based game to promote the Spielberg film “A.I.” The content of the game was scattered across the entire Internet, and the challenges built into the game required knowledge of “everything from Photoshop to Greek mythology, 3D sculpting, molecular biology, computer coding, and lute tablature.” The puzzles were meant to be so demanding that no individual could possibly complete them all. But immediately after the discovery of the game on the Web, teams of curious players developed organically across the country. Working together, their combined knowledge allowed them to complete the first 3 months’ worth of game content in only 1 day.*

Power to the Edge (.pdf) is a kind of follow up to the 1999 CCRP publication Network Centric Warfare (.pdf) where the concept of, you guessed it, Network Centric Warfare (see the CCRP site for more details), is introduced.

Though this obviously is directed primarily at effects of the network and information superiority on warfare, many of the concepts are equally relevant to the corporate world. In fact, many of the concepts of Network Centric Warfare come from the corporate (civilian) world (hence, the passage above).

* Details for this passage are credited to

Lee, Elan. “This is not a game: A discussion of the creation of the AI Web Experience.” Presented at teh 16th annual Game Developer’s Conference, March 19-23, 2002. — I couldn’t find a link to the actual paper, but found this interesting discussion of the paper. —