Falling In Love With Ideas

There are some wonderful ideas in technology that regularly inspire projects, but their primary idea hasn't yet become the default mode of computer usage.

They've motivated some excellent hobby projects, but tend to get stuck there.

The Memex

For example, the concept of a memex was introduced in the 1945 essay As We May Think.

Projects like Histre and getmemex allow users to retrace their route through web pages. Promnesia has a good discussion of the available options.


Project Xanadu was/is an extremely ambitious project that described much richer hyperlinks than today's web.

See also http://www.wilfred.me.uk/blog/2016/06/14/hypermedia-how-the-www-fell-short/

Are there others?

Other examples include Lisp Machines, peer-to-peer/federated protocols, augmented intelligence and mesh nets.

Does that make these ideas bad?

Definitely not. Sometimes there was a worse solution (see Worse​Is​Better) that had First​Mover​Advantage.

Sometimes it's an example of Good​Ideas​That​Dont​Scale. Sometimes it's just that Making​Things​Is​Fun, more so than using the thing. (This website itself is guilty of that.)

The important thing is recognising this risk, and planning ahead.