Robert Hahn

inspired by integration

I'm always interested in infrastructure that brings people together and facilitates communication. I'm currently exploring social software, markup & scripting languages, and abstract games.

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noted on Fri, 14 Nov 2003

Young Composer; Young Singer.

My wife and kids dropped me off at work one day, and were heading over to Grandma’s place. Along the way, my daughter made up this little ditty:

Bumblebee my friend,
Bumblebee my friend,
Bumblebee dirty,
Not my friend.

The tune was pretty catchy, too.

noted on Thu, 06 Nov 2003

Introducing the Handbook for Primitive Living

My good friend and I are starting up a new blog :

Imagine if tomorrow you had no hydro, no running water, no fuel, no phone. How could you survive? This site is a thought experiment designed to answer that question.

Some details (like how to contact us) are still being ironed out, The site has settled down a lot recently; you’re welcome to take a peek inside!

noted on Wed, 05 Nov 2003

Cougaar: An Open Source Agent Architecture

I saw this on Slashdot today.

I will admit: This is a bit over my head. But I think it’s important. I’ve always been fascinated by anything related to emergence ever since I read this O’Reilley Article, and while part of me thinks that this must be a brilliant solution to a problem we don’t have (mostly because we’re solving the problem in a bad way, I suspect), I feel certain that software development will be headed this way.

I’m glad, though, that the Cougaar website was kind enough to define what a software agent is — it seems to be one of those slippery terms like (wait for it) web services that has a different definition depending on who’s doing the talking. I’m also glad they put a link to two other sources where you could learn more.

The little bit I did read suggests that software agents may be the solution to a problem I’d like to see solved: the slashdot effect.

I love the idea of P2P. BitTorrent is on my ‘cool’ list. But I don’t use it because the kinds of data I’m interested in are textual data. Web pages. E-books. Stuff to read.

So I’m wondering if agents are the way to solve sharing small amounts of data, and maybe create a newer (commercial free?), robust, slasdot-effect-proof web space. I envision two, maybe three kinds of agents - one is a proxy for storing stuff, and one is a seeker for querying other proxy agents for a URI, and failing that, going to the regular web to fetch the source. A possible third agent would probably need to advertise what’s in a proxy. If a group of people had these three agents installed on their machines, and any one of them were to make a URI request for a file not in their proxy, then that person’s computer’s seeker agent would make a request to everyone else’s proxy agent. Proxy agents either return the data (status 200) or return a 305 Use Proxy status if they’re too busy to send data.

Not thoroughly thought out, and I’m seeing some of the influences of BitTorrent’s design decisions written in here (which is probably ok), but I think this is workable.

Feedback, of course, is welcome.

noted on Tue, 04 Nov 2003

New Rendering Engine

I have just spent a few days changing the rendering engine from Tiki to Kwiki and Smartypants. I didn’t want to, really, because I had helped Tim debug some of his engine, and he was always polite and prompt in our dialogue, but the more I worked with Tiki, the more I felt that there had to be a better way.

What Kwiki and Smartypants bought me was a clean separation of easy markup (Kwiki) and smart character encoding (Smartypants). Kwiki and Tiki also had extremely similar markup styles, and I found it really easy to modify Kwiki to provide me with any markup that I needed.

With that said, and despite my best efforts, I’m sure you’ll come across some weird artifacts of the transition. If you would be so kind, please bring any oddities to my attention, and I’ll try to fix it.

noted on Mon, 03 Nov 2003

I'm back up... I think...

If you have been expecting regular content from me, then I really must apologize. Almost a month ago, I moved to a new house in a different town 30mins away from the old one. It’s beautiful, and the experience with the builders has been exemplary. Right after the move, I came down with a horrible cough (yeah, that’s right... play the tiny fiddle) that lasted a month (and isn’t done yet... sigh), and have been fighting it. I’ve been looking after my beautiful kids, unpacking, and doing some general settling down.

Moving is stressful. I really enjoy the fact that I moved here, and I love the house, but it’s still stressful. Don’t underestimate that if you’re going to move, ok? I mean it. Really.

tall ship