Tangent on wireless hysteria (was: Language Niches (long))

Paul Prescod paulp at ActiveState.com
Tue Jul 31 09:36:36 EDT 2001

Cameron Laird wrote:
> I confess I posted a bit disingenuously here.
> My scant contact with WAP has given me no
> reason to doubt that it's diving rapidly to
> extinction, as Andrew Odlyzko describes in
> <URL: http://www.firstmonday.dk/issues/issue6_2/odlyzko/ >.
> Thanks to a correspondent for offering me this
> URL.  Note that PLENTY of other apparently-
> knowledgeable people (Clay Shirky, for
> example), reinforce this judgment.  Anyway,
> my real intent was to expose as delicately
> as possible my surprise that Paul would use
> WAP in his illustrations of language growth.

I was trying to make the point (admittedly obliquely) that any
random-seeming technology could be the next killer platform. Maybe even
a resuscitated from the dead WAP! Who would have thought that Unix could
come back from the brink of death to compete toe to toe with Microsoft's
next millenium OS. Remember the Byte cover?

If it was obvious what the next big platform was we'd just port Python,
buy stock in Zope.com, ride the wave and retire to Tahiti. But more
likely it will be something that we initially think is kind of weird
that some weird-thinking hacker invents a new programming language for.

Seriously, I don't expect a comeback from WAP but I really don't know
the name of the real wireless platform of the future. Symbian? Windows
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