Pull quote: “Libraries really are about bits. They are uniquely positioned to adopt and promote digital literacies. Why don’t they? Those literacies aren’t yet being marketed as effectively as 3D printing.”

Pull quote: “I want things to work differently. I want to manage my affairs by syndicating, tagging, and republishing data feeds. Now I grant you that’s a tall order. It presents all sorts of technical challenges. But trust me, those are solvable, I don’t worry about that. I worry more about the human challenge. We won’t get the right kinds of solutions unless customers demand them. I want to raise expectations about what’s possible so that people will demand them, and I want to teach people how to be web thinkers so they’ll demand the right kind of solutions.”

Pull quote: “When you’re evaluating a cloud-based application or service, as you will often be doing from now on, ask whether its developer has prepared it to work with other applications and services in the cloud. That might mean a formal API. Or support for the relevant Internet data-exchange standard. Or a data import/export feature. Or sensibly-designed URL patterns. Or all of these things. Please ask. If you don’t, you may someday realize you bought the wrong kind of software. And in a world that’s increasingly connected, or anyway should be, we will all suffer the consequences.”

Pull quote: “The notion that the URL points to a data feed is another major conceptual hurdle. If you need something from me, a million years of evolution taught us how that must work. I hand it over to you. If I also need the thing that you need, then I make a copy, hand over the copy, and keep the original. When the thing in question is a chunk of information we reify it as an exchangeable object: a piece of paper, an e-mail attachment. That’s the physics of the real world.

In the virtual realm, though, different laws of physics apply. I can simply refer to the thing you need. I hand you the reference instead of the thing, I still have the thing, you have it too, and we only need to do that transaction once. Thereafter when I change the thing, you have my changes too, no need for me to send another fax or e-mail attachment. The principles at work here — indirection, linking, automatic data exchange — are inherent to cloud-based systems. Computer programmers and information scientists realize that, but it’s still far from obvious to most other people.”

Pull quote: “If you drill all the way down to an individual item of data, though, you’ll get the same result either way. Lindsay Shonteff’s name, for example, has ‘its own homepage’ in Netflix’s web of data. Here is its URL: http://odata.netflix.com/Catalog/People(85334)/Name/$value In this case the mechanism for ‘automatically providing a hypertext view’ of the Netflix catalog is the Open Data Protocol (OData). It’s one way, and I think a very good way, to make The Web is the API a true statement. Since OData is a Microsoft invention, and I work for Microsoft, you are entitled to be skeptical. But if you’ve followed my work and interests for the past 20 years you’ll know that OData is the sort of technology I’ve always championed: fundamental, non-proprietary, game-changing.”

Pull quote: “The problem with cross-blog conversation was that it was too loosely coupled. So now blogs do have forum-style comments which concentrate discussion but recreate the original problems: attenuation of identity, loss of ownership of data. Could we have the best of both worlds? Here’s how it might work. I want to participate in a comment thread on your blog. So I write my comment, post it to my personal cloud, capture its URL, and post the URL to your comment thread. Your blog’s comment system syndicates the text of my comment into the thread, identifying my personal cloud as the source.”

Pull quote: “I want everyone to understand that we can use our personal (and organizational) clouds to express our intentions in ways that shape our identities and reputations.”

Pull quote: “At one point I invited them to summon a grain of sand into existence, name it uniquely, cast it onto the web, and wait for search engines to notice.”

Pull quote: “I want a service that will mint unique and durable identifiers for objects in my personal cloud, and resolve them to whatever storage services I happen to use.”

Pull quote: “Here’s my favorite example from Peter’s book. Consider a social app that enables parents to find available babysitters. A conventional implementation would store sensitive data — identities and addresses of parents, identities and schedules of babysitters — as cleartext. If evildoers break into the service, there will be another round of headlines and unsatisfying apologies. A translucent solution encrypts the sensitive data so that it is hidden even from the operator of the service, while yet enabling the two parties (parents, babysitters) to rendezvous.”