The Real Paul Jones

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Talking #noemail with Michael Tiemann

Paul, · Categories: #noemail

Yesterday just after my open source post, I rode out to the Miraverse, the incredible recording studio in Chatham County to visit with Michael Tiemann. In addition to overseeing the studio with his wife Amy, Michael Tiemann is Vice President of Open Source Affairs at Red Hat Inc, as well as President of the Open Source Initiative.

I expected to get a kind of FLOSS lecture about #noemail, but instead I ended up brainstorming with Michael who immediately grasped what I’m after in the project — perhaps better than I do.

Michael reminded me of a Red Hat created open source Facebook challenger called, Mugshot, from back in 2006. Mugshot was more developed in my memory than Diaspora is now, but the project didn’t take off for whatever reasons. Parts of Mugshot are in Magnetism and maintained by Personas.com. Mugshot was a hyper aggregator and very nice and easy to use and accepted communications from most known social sites as well as a place you could hold a conversation about say a website or even a TV show.

In many ways, Mugshot would have been exactly what I’m looking for to deal with my activity streams.

Modern Times

But our talk quickly turned back to email. Michael sees email as a “enterprise service bus” that connects many applications via a common messaging format into a central processing unit. That CPU is YOU. You, dear human friends, are the processor that sorts out To Dos, Meeting Scheduling, Queries, Complaints, Referrals. In a fact, we probably spend more time sorting email than actually answering email. This is exactly the opposite of what one would like technology to do for us; we’re suddenly like Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times

What Michael and I are saying is not that communication has gone wrong and enslaved us, but that the wrong technology implementation is in place. Moving email out of the picture or at least away from the center toward the edge of our activities, moving the sorting operation out altogether, integrating existing apps and allowing for the integration of new and developing apps — open source or not — via open protocols, APIs, embedding and even referrals, how that might be done is one of the main goals of the #noemail project.