Re: INFO: Hypertext

my inner geek (
Mon, 3 Mar 1997 20:14:28 +0000

Dan Fabulich <>:

> My Usenet idea could do everything this could, and it would be
> easier to implement on a wide scale... Just implementing that
> comparably miniscule change in the "news:" URL would be enough to
> bring hypertext to every Usenet reader in the world. Yet both ideas
> neglect the issue of a permanent database, and without a permanent
> database, hypertext loses most of its utility.


Let me approach this question from a different angle. This is pretty
much off the top of my head, and not a refined article. However,
this is an attempt share some of the questions that are going through
my mind on this same issue, applied to audio/video.

DVD has hit the streets. At lunch today, I went to Fry's Electronics
in Palo Alto, and saw a DVD player showing a motion picture on a big
screen Mitsubishi television.

The beauty of DVD is time-coding. If you tell me to check out a
segment of a movie (or song), you need only provide the byte range
(sample range, time code range), and what *you* are referring to is
what *I* will see, given that I have access to the content.

The next step is to make the physical medium completely transparent,
so I don't care if the content is being delivered from DVD, video
server, or thumbnail sized nano-archive of *ALL* pre-recorded media.

The point is, the media content should have some kind of unique
identifier, and the *medium* should be of no concern.

If the content is educational, then the segments become
"points-of-departure" for virtual classroom discussions, Q&A threads,
translations to alternative vernaculars, languages, learning
modalities, etc.

Because the storage and bandwidth requirements for this type of media
are so much greater than for text alone, I think it's reasonable to
assume that if we can develop a hypertext system that will work for
these, then that same system will also work for the more "text"
oriented verbal discussions.

So, I suggest skipping all the R&D of *text-based* systems, and
jumping straight into designing systems that will work for
entertainment and education.

Who will PROFIT from building this type of system? Those who own
content. The publishing companies, music companies, film studios.
Why? Because they will be able to "repurpose" their archives.

You may want your hypertext for better, faster, more accurate
scientific discussion. I may want mine for better, faster, more
stimulating education and entertainment.

Do Ted Turner, Gerald Levin, Michael Ovitz, etc. understand the
technical requirements for these types of systems? I would guess
that they don't. Do ADVERTISERS appreciate the benefits of these
systems. I'd guess that they do. FINE-GRAINED PSYCHOGRAPHICS. Such
systems would enable the tracking of information preferences to the
most subtle levels.

Unfortunately, ORIGINAL CONTENT may not hold it's value, since it
will be particularly easy to imitate (paraphrase, whatever). This
may or may not be true. However, the usage-tracking would seem to be
something that will always have value, since it is so completely
useful from a commercial standpoint.

my inner geek