Friday, December 12, 2014

It all boils down to this

A lot of what I work on, a lot of what I think about, a lot of my own journey into epistemology, Zen, Music. Semiotics, Legisprudence and computer science can be neatly summarized thus:

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Thursday, December 04, 2014

Art versus Science

An interesting conversation about art versus science has broken out on my FB page here

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Time, is waiting in the wings, it speaks of senseless things. Its pawns are you and me.....

The title of this short post is a David Bowie lyric. From back when David Bowie's lyrics were every bit as symbolistic (?) as say, Bob Dylans....

...But I digress and I have not even started.

When all the smoke clears I think I will conclude that my entire career has been devoted to better understanding of TIME. How to model it. What it means. How to build systems that understand it.

In coming posts, I will be coming back to it again and again but for now, let me start with this.

Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC) is now an established acronym for an information management discipline in which the concept of TIME (and its co-joined twin) CHANGE, are central.

There is now a Tech Center in Ireland devoted to it : GRCTC and I am involved in it personally on behalf of Propylon.

Many other words get dragged in here too. Concepts like digital permanence, authenticity, provenance, audit trails, change markup, semantic deltas...

Some of these I have touched on here in the past, some not.

I think maybe I will start with blockchains as they are quite topical at the moment and I think blockchains is one of the first really interesting things to come along in the area of authenticity/provenance since the concept of Public Key Cryptography.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Back in the blogging chair

Well, it has been a while since I blogged here. Have been using Facebook a lot for personal stuff and pondering the fact that I use RSS feedreaders less and less these days.

The time has come for me to get back into blogging - especially for technical stuff. Anybody who wants to follow what I am doing with my Banjo collection would be better served friending me on Facebook (
http://www.facebook.com/seanmcgrath42) :-)


Not only am I back on this blog, I am also back in another sense. I moved back to Ireland a few months ago and now call Galway, Ireland "home".

Galway is a great town for both of my main interests : tech and music. The tech scene there is getting bigger and bigger. Plenty of big names but also a very vibrant start-up scene that I am getting hooked in to.

In Propylon, the core product group is expanding and we are doing more and more work in the general Legal&Regulatory space with TimeArc, alongside the Legislative Software (LWB). Its great to be able to take the tech we developed in Legislatures and apply it in the private sector.

Related to that. We have recently become an Industry Partner in the Governance, Risk and Compliance Technology Center (http://www.grctc.com). Looking forward to contributing to the that initiative in the years ahead. Much important stuff to be done there and lots (and lots!) of thorny problems yet to be solved.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday, November 01, 2013

IT sure is weird: Part 1

In 1987 the XWindows consortium was formed at MIT (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X_Window_System). X Windows was this weird, powerful thing that allowed an application and its UI to be split across a network. It was very prominent in the GUI wars back in the days when "Workstations" where from companies like Apollo and Sun.

In 1994, W3C consortium was formed at MIT. Web browsers begin to take over the client side of the planet. Meanwhile, Linux - with the X Windows System built into it - is steadily taking over the server side of the planet. In 2013, HTML5 is central to a new era of Web - namely dynamic assembly of "pages" with lots of Javascript being executed client side under the control of the server which is sending over the instructions. The Javascript has access to a canvas element and can basically scribble on the screen pixel-by-pixel. A new era in rich-web-apps is possible.

Sit at, say, an Ubuntu laptop. You are most likely running an X Windows based GUI. It is perfectly capable of doing client/server apps where the server side controls what appears on the screen, down to the pixel level, using the X network protocol. You are almost certainly not doing that however. You are most likely running a browser on top of X. It is most likely using HTML5 to do what the X system could do itself, namely, remote screen control from the server side.

So server generated HTML contains Javascript which ultimately makes X calls, rather than the server side directly doing the X calls. Pretty weird. There appears to be umpteen unnecessary layers involved in all this to me. Part of me thinks that there is an alternative universe where we are all using what where confusing known as "X Servers" on our desktop machines, rather than browsers.

IT sure is weird.