Every new technology creates its own vocabulary. Where better to learn the new language of the Web than Netscape? As the Webcasting model takes over the Web, its language will become the new cyberspeak.
Where better to learn this new language than Netscape? The company that defined the Web is working on breakthrough software, code-named Constellation, that aims to redefine it. Constellation will be a component of Netscape Communicator, the company's next-generation Web platform. It represents a new model for organizing, customizing, and controlling your electronic workspace - one that extends from the guts of your PC to the frontiers of the Web.
Fast Company took a language lesson from Netscape's Alex Edelstein, 28, and Michael McCue, 29, leaders on the Constellation project. Here are five new terms they say you'll need to know in order to speak the language of Webcasting. Warning: since the software is still under development, so is some of the terminology.
From desktop to homeport.
"Your homeport is your personalized information environment, the place you start whenever you turn on a computer. It contains all your applications, documents, data, and links. But your homeport doesn't reside on your computer. It resides on the network, which means you can access it from anywhere. No matter what machine you're using, your homeport looks the same, feels the same - is the same."
From surfing to roaming.
"It's what makes your homeport accessible. Roaming is the ability to go from any computer, through the network, to your information environment. It then replicates your information environment to whatever machine you're using at the time. When you're finished, you can decide whether to leave the information on that particular machine, leave an encrypted version, or remove it completely. When you log off, your information environment gets replicated back to the server on the network."
From alerts to universal notification.
"This is next year's hot feature. Everyone's using push technology. But if you have five or six channels on your machine, you get five or six different alerts. One channel pops up a dialogue box when something new comes in. Another's playing a siren. People need a unified, highly controllable place where all this stuff converges. That's universal notification."
From menu bars to InfoStreams.
"Basically this is a strip that runs along the bottom of your desktop that contains 'info tools,' little blocks of HTML that are always up-to-date. One InfoStream might let you track a FedEx package; another might offer headlines or stock prices. The InfoStream is always accessible, no matter what application you're using. And it's easy to add to the stream. You may be browsing the FedEx Web site and decide to add a FedEx info tool. Click a button - 'add new info tool to InfoStream' - and there it is."
From Web sites to LiveSites.
"When someone creates a Web site that takes advantage of the features I've described, and uses push technology to let people avoid the click-and-wait syndrome, we call it a LiveSite. We're working with a big media company on a LiveSite right now. It's a rich experience, with lots of animation, sound and video. But if you subscribe to this channel, you don't have to travel across the network, download several megabytes of video, and wait forever to access the site. It automatically broadcasts new material to you, so you're always looking at the latest information."
Coordinates: Alex Edelstein, firstname.lastname@example.org; Michael McCue, email@example.com
A version of this article appeared in the April/May 1997 issue of Fast Company magazine.