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Beautiful Data by Toby Segaran, Jeff Hammerbacher

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Chapter 8. Portable Data in Real Time

Jud Valeski

Introduction

APPLICATION DATA HAS BEEN LOCKED AWAY FOR A LONG TIME. INITIALLY IT WAS CONFINED IN APPLICATIONS running on disconnected systems siloed around the world. Enter the combination of CAT-5 Ethernet cabling, IP, routers, DNS, and sockets. Once machines were connected to one another, data was able to move more freely between applications, and subsequently it became more interesting. Data became enveloped in a variety of new contexts, beyond the application from which it originated. Overnight, client-server computing took off with the advent of the Internet, and suddenly wildly disconnected machines were talking to one another. With HTTP as the communication medium, and text the language, data started flowing.

The major types of mainstream data that have been moving around over the past 15 years can be categorized as pornography and general consumer commerce (including advertisements by proxy), and both conform nicely to the delivery model provided by traditional "web browsers" and their server counterparts, introduced in the early 1990s. More recently, a third category of data has started moving around en masse: social data. People have moved their socializing onto the network, and it's creating a new type of data, as well as new access needs that don't conform well to the patterns that have become ingrained thanks to the browser. Social data is here, and its needs are now. A January 14, 2009 PEW report, Adults and Social Network ...

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