NetMagnet — New Thoughts

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I met with Eduardo Sciammarella over at Protohaus today. We talked about the various projects we were working on and I mentioned an oldie — NetMagnet. I can’t find much by way of documentation except all the code, but I’d like to come back to this one soon.

The backstory was an experiment in proximity-based social networks. I wanted to create networks that were “[w:ad hoc]” in the social sense of that word. In the world of technical instruments, ad hoc wireless networks are ones that form without the need of a central arbitor to delegate and reference and index services. No central node.

If I’m getting it right, social ad-hoc might mean connections and communication that occur with some degree of sponteneity, or without a concurrance as to who is where for what reason. There’s a certain anonymity and no sense of an expectation as to what might happen.

As an experiment, I wrote an application that used Apple’s Bonjour zero-configuration discovery framework. (see also [w:Apple Bonjour]) At the time, in 2003, it was Rendezvous. The application allowed you to tag things on your computer — music, images, documents — anything, really, in such a way that other people running the same application could stumble across. It was like a proximity-based P2P swap meet. The social component was that it was based entirely on proximity. If you weren’t cuddled together within “range” of other social beings, your NetMagnet application wouldn’t attract other bits of digital ephemera.

It seems like this is a potential candidate project to extend into the proximity+mobile research folder.

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