You hear these conversations going on about Ruby and then you know there's a blogger named Sam Ruby, and you glean from the folks raving about Ruby that it is some kind of programming language and then naturally you think it must be a language developed by Sam Ruby because how the hell would a coincidence like that occur -- a blogger named Ruby and a techno-advancement named Ruby at the same time -- and then you start hearing about Ruby on Rails, and all the time you're thinking Sam Ruby must like to ride trains, or he wrote a book with a railroad track on the cover, like an O'Reilly book or something, and now these tech bloggers are going on about Ruby on Rails, like a rollercoaster ride or something, and everyone has a ticket but me.
Then you see stuff about Ajax and you're not stupid enough to think it's a household cleaning aid, and you're smart enough to know it has something to do with making shit work, maybe it's an OS or maybe it's a language or maybe it's end-user software, you're not really sure, and you're not interested enough to pay rapt attention, but you're wondering if it's something that you'll be seeing boxed on the shelves, or is it like Ruby on Rails and invisible to those of us that wouldn't know what to do with it.
Don't get me started with podcasting and how magical I thought all of that was until I realize that it is: 1) having a blog, 2) having or recording an mp3 file, and 3) knowing how to put a little enclosure tag around the mp3 file. Badabing--you're podcasting. But before all that, I hear about it here and there and assume that you must own an ipod and you must have a studio and on and on, and it comes down to a little tag, man, but as an only-sort-of-techy, it takes months to figure this out.
Never mind tags and taxonomies and constructs like that--things that border on the fine line where the philosophical meets the symantic meets the stand up comic. I mean really.
Move on to OPML and I have to wonder why Dave Winer names everything with initials, mostly consonants, and was he deprived of vowels as a young man, or is it to scare those of us afraid of initial-caps away, and what the heck is OPML, I'm assuming it's like HTML, because of the ML, and I know what HTML is, I know basic HTML tags, hell I even know bookmaster tags, but what is OPML and what does he mean by "outliner," and then ONE DAY, Dana Blankenhorn sends me a file to open with my OPML editor thingy which I don't have but I certainly can download it and install it, so I do, and magically I see that it's a way to pass lists of all the feeds in our aggregators back and forth, and I remember ASKING for something like this like a year ago, and all this time when people are yada-yada-yadaing about OPML I have no idea that's something an outliner does, and I wonder why did they have to make it all sound so secret and difficult
And then I wonder what does Sam Ruby have to do with all of this anyway.
That's kind of what it's like.