When you want to make a private picture or note available only to your friends, why do you hand it over to a multi-national corporation first?
The Mine! project is about equipping people with tools and functionality that will help them:
- take charge of their data (content, relationships, transactions, knowledge),
- arrange (analyse, manipulate, combine, mash-up) it according to their needs and preferences and
- share it on their own terms
- whilst connected and networked on the web.
The Mine! aims to be an (infra)structure for other solutions – VRM (relationships with individuals and vendors, transactions), self-defined identity, authentication, data portability and hopefully many more.
Slide show of the Mine! project Google Tech talk (April 2009)
Part I (Introduction and background – redubbed)
Part II (Technical aspects)
Design – and other – principles for the Mine!
User-driven (as opposed to just user-centric)
The tuna salad argument: “Don’t give me the salad give me the ingredients & utensils and I will make my own”. A simple test of user-driven design is in the answer to a question – Can and does the user add value to it?
Complexity will come from people using it, not from design (think BitTorrent )
Fast and lightweight
If something slows it down don’t use it or design it differently
Not inventing anything if existing technology/code can be used, if anything must be invented, make sure that user can’t tell! we are creating better tools for users, not trying to improve what they want to do; i.e. giving them better ways of doing what they are already doing. if we try to improve what they want to do, we are not doing our job – nifty technology is good but usage is even better.
We are not creating a tool/application/platform that can do everything for them, we are creating the best modular tools for specific functions and let the user put them together. To quote Alec, the Protomine! coder:
[this is] an exercise in user-intuitive data logistics operating at layers 3 through 7, and I am STRONGLY opposed to it being inflated into a platform for addressing “layer-8″ administrivium of how people want to contract, until such time as the software exists and is freely available on the web. I will not let the project to be scope-creeped into an DRM solution, an EDI solution, a calendaring application, spreadsheet, authentication agent, tasty dessert AND a floorwax.
The Mine! is (part of) a layer on which others can build – in terms of a car, we build the engine but the user decides the shape, colour, number of doors, seats and, of course, how and where to drive it. Not sure it works as an analogy but will ponder further. If a functionality can be done outside the Mine!, then it ought to be left out.
Interoperable & compatible
External plug-ins, applications, modules are added to the Mine! to perform the functions that user needs/wants, these can be developed by anyone
Challenge is to create a ‘personal platform’ that is flexible enough to accommodate other applications – APIs etc and secure enough to keep my data private
Not locked into a particular platform or a silo (e.g. eBay, Facebook, MySpace, Amazon), closer to blogging (WordPress), feed readers (OPML) etc