Overplanning The Internet : Is It Time To Give IT A REST?

by M. David Peterson

Update: My apologies to Tim Wu who was the actual author of this piece as a guest blogger on Profressor Lessig's blog. Had I known that this was a possibility (guest blogger on Professor Lessig's blog) I would have thought to look at the bottom part of the entry which, now that I have, in fact does state "Tim Wu" as the author. In the future, I will be sure to look at this section to make sure I don't make this same mistake twice.

My apologies to Tim and to Professor Lessig for my careless mistake.

That said, this doesn't make the content of this follow-up commentary any less important or valid (or invalid, depending upon your opinion), however, the credit for authorship and for provoking the inner-thought that brought about the desire to write this follow-up in the first place needs to be applied to Tim Wu.

[Original Post]
Lawrence LessigTim Wu

Consider the comparison: a SoHo building can begin life as a factory, become an artist's loft, then a boutique, then a condo, and so on. Some of the networks and even applications have led constantly evolving lives. The internet supported usenet, gopher, veronica, the web, ICQ, IM and so on, in a steady kind of evolution that was unpredictable in advance. The WWW itself has shuffled through static sites, through "home pages" of the Geocities era, through the rise of the search engine, through the blog, and through 2.0-style sites. Someone, maybe Danah Boyd, should write "The Death and Life of Great American Applications."

If there is one thing I absolutely LOVE about the WorldWideWeb, its the fact that the ability to share knowledge quickly and easily runs rampant, and is completely disorganized in and of itself. In other words: As Professor LessigTim Wu points out in the above linked entry:


Tim Wu
2006-05-06 14:03:51
Professor Lessig, unfortunately, didn't write that -- I (Tim Wu) did, as a guest blogger. Sorry for confusing you!
M. David Peterson
2006-05-06 15:58:26

My apologies. I will fix this now.

M. David Peterson
2006-05-06 16:14:27
Fixed :)

Question for you if you happen to read this follow-up:

Did I properly interpret your point in this article? If no (or even yes), are there any additional thoughts on this matter you would like to provide to the readers of XML.com/O'ReillyNet?

2006-05-08 08:07:44
Planning works. Visible planning doesn't.

Don't plan the building. Plan the space it sits in. Buildings come and go, inhabitants of buildings come and go faster. Space, space slowly transforms in accordance with the desires and uses of the locals, but until you select the right timescale, you don't see it.

Berners-Lee didn't play the Internet. DARPA did. The REST of us are just renting space.

M. David Peterson
2006-05-08 20:33:28
> Planning works. Visible planning doesn't.

Well said. And with this I now realize I kind of skipped over this part in this piece, although its something I consider to be one of the most fundamental aspects of science, whether this be computer, physical (both earth and animal, although its hard to tell the difference sometimes ;), art, spiritual, any collection of the above, and/or any of which are simple not listed.

Order and chaos rely on one another for survival as without chaos there would be nothing to order, and without order, chaos would still be chaos, although none of us would even be here on this planet to realize this fact in the first place.

And with this, have we thus solved the chicken and egg problem (or did we just make the problem worser (sic)? ;)

Which is better, by the way? :D

>> Don't plan the building. Plan the space it sits in. Buildings come and go, inhabitants of buildings come and go faster. Space, space slowly transforms in accordance with the desires and uses of the locals, but until you select the right timescale, you don't see it. <<

The foundational plumbing? The wiring of an electrical grid? The layout of any given city, in any given country, on any given day? (Update: To those of you about to start writing comments about how the world of wireless is going to somehow free us from the confines of a overplanned, grid-based design please consider the fact that on the the flip-side of overplanning is a whole bunch of chaos! Unwiring the wires doesn't solve the problems of overplanning as its the unwiring of our brains that is required to come even close to accomplishing this feat)

A river contains more power in its current than any of us could possibly find ways to consume (although we certainly seem to make our best effort at consuming all that is available for some odd reason) in a million of our lifetimes, and yet throughout the history of the known world, a river will always choose the easiest path on its way to the ocean.

All that power, and yet it never seems to consume more than it needs to reach its final destination (only to start the whole process over again, of course.)

The RESTful path, if you will. :)

NOTE: Any resemblance of the above to Lists, Lazy Evaluation, and the Recursive nature of life is completely, and totally...


Wait, by intentional does that mean I just forced something to happen with complete and total knowledge of this force?

NOTE: for those of you who are resisting the urge to begin quoting Star Wars, chapter and verse, please note that in the spirit of all things RESTful, I layed my own urges to do the same...


I'd ask you to do the same, but at this stage you're all rolling your eyes and stating

"Dear God, what is wrong with that boy?"

To which the answer tends to be

"Just smile and nod, I know he's a PEST,
but at the end of it all, you'll eventually get REST.
(At least that's what I keep telling Myself!)"

Or something like that anyway....

PEACE, LOVE, and ALL my BEST, for now I leave you each in REST.

You're welcome. ;)


On a serious note... Thanks for your comments Len!

As always, its a pleasure to read and learn from your words of wisdom! (or learn to read (between the lines), although there are times a dictionary is a necessary tool to have nearby to help advance my comprehension skills. :) To be fair though, a dictionary tends to be nearby at most times of the day anyway as the same is true of a Tom Robbins novel, of which one generally tends to be somewhere nearby at all times as well...

Of course this is a good thing... :) Thanks for bringing a great deal more value to my day than would have been the case otherwise! :D