Saturday, July 5, 2008

Plunge and Squish?

Let's start this blog by making the title's meaning clear: what is this thing with Plunge and Squish?

Well, you see, this guy, one of Sun Microsystems' cofounders, was deeply involved in a technology named Jini, which helped me land my first paying Java job. His name is Bill Joy. In 1998, I was working as a free-lancer when I read Wired's "One Huge Computer", the article about Sun's Jini technology that pretty much changed my life. It really left my head spinning: the framework looked so lean, so fit. I was in love. It was built with the language of my dreams, and it screamed to be experienced with. I ended up writing an article about it to a conference going on at Setubal's Polytechnic Institute, ICEIS'99. I also ended up experimenting with it at the polytechnic's campus, and invited to join WhatEverNet after a speech about Jini at one of the University of Coimbra's TechDEI events.

While I was experimenting with Jini, it became clear that one of its few applications at the time, JavaSpaces, were deeply influenced by the work of a scientist named David Gelernter, which had created a concept called Linda, a coordination and communication model that operated around the idea of objects stored in and retrieved from a shared memory with very simple, yet effective semantics. Curious about it, I started reading his works.

One of his books ended up as one of the most interesting pieces I ever read: Muse in the Machine, a book discussing creative human thought, and proposing to model our creative process, once again, on very simple, but effective primitives. I fell in love with the concept. By then, I'd also read Mirror Worlds, another of his pieces, in which I believe these two primitives were first named. He named them Plunge (for diving into our memory pool and attracting relevant, related, memory constructs) and Squish (for super-imposing them and revealing resulting abstractions and inferences).

A blog, as a collection of related, supposedly creative thoughts, is naturally related to such concepts, as is any human thought. Still, any activity log has, I believe, yet another relation to the Plunge and Squish process David Gelernter describes: it comprises a set of memories, a stream of knowledge, opinions and plain data that will, in the future, once Plunged into and Squished from, reveal an emerging pattern of the true essence of one self's public (and, mined correctly, private) persona.

As I start this new blog, I have no idea what will emerge, what the ultimate Squish (summary) will reveal. I can only promise the reader my best efforts in being clear and authentic, so that my memories - which, once published, turn into everyone's collective memories - can be atracted in useful terms to other people's Plunges (memory recalls). :)

Hope you will enjoy the ride.

Hugo

1 comment:

Joshua Smith said...

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