Bob Wyman


Sound Policy with Denise Howell
52 minutes, 24.1mb, recorded 2005-08-26
Topics: Legal Topics
Bob Wyman
Most search engines which index the information on the web by crawling and by reading feeds do so by maintaining a historical database of relevant tags and pointers to actual content. These are retrospective search engines. Some others like PubSub store only queries or subscriptions for certain keywords. Whenever a new item is published on a blog or some other data source, it is matched against each of the queries. If there is a match then there is a notification sent to the concerned users. This is what PubSub does and is known as a prospective search.

Creative Commons license states that it can only be used to grant users some rights and no to restrict user's rights in any way. So even though it is a copyright-like license, it cannot be used as a basis for Digital Rights Management (DRM). There is currently no standard way of specifying any kind of license in RSS feeds. Automated systems like PubSub which "retransmit" syndicated content by helping users find it cannot adhere to the license conditions specified. PubSub also has some nifty features such as showing the user related content with surrounding context information. PubSub is also soon going to implement TinyURL-like functionality to make accessibility of the site on PDA's and mobiles easy.

When probed by Denise on the MGM vs Grokster lawsuit, Bob clarifies that online businesses or websites like PubSub should not entice it's users to violate the law. In a case where they are found to be doing so, they should be held liable for their user's actions as it happened in the Grokster's case.

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Bob Wyman has been developing innovative, industry leading products for almost 25 years. In the early 80's at DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation), Bob was the first product manager for the industry's first customizable and integrated office automation suite. ALL-IN-1 became the market leading OA product of the 80's, earning Digital as much as $2 billion per year in leveraged revenue. As part of the effort to bring office and groupware technologies to a wider market, Bob also pioneered a number of new technologies and approaches to the "internationalization" of software products and drove an effort to develop the first client-server implementation of the Notes product then used internally at DEC. This "NewNotes" inspired the later creation of both DEC's VAXNotes and Lotus Notes. Moving to France, to help establish a DEC engineering presence in Europe, Bob became product manager of Digital's CASEE (Computer Assisted Systems Engineering Environments) group. This group implemented what may have been the first wide-area-network hypertext system (Memex Prototype 1) and tested it at large European sites including ITT and CERN in the late 80's. The group also implemented extensions to the VMS operating system terminal driver architecture, assisted in the development of X Windows, developed the SUNSHINE software development environment, as well as the DECwindows Time and Task Manager. During this time, Bob represented DEC on the European Economic Commission's PCTE Interface Management Board and was a member of the European Computer Manufacturer's Association (ECMA) Technical Committee 33, developing standards for the Portable Common Tools Environments (PCTE). On returning to the US, Bob became the architect of the Digital Distributed Software Licensing Architecture (DDSLA) and obtained four patents which are some of the earliest in the field of DRM (Digital Rights Management.)

Bob moved to Microsoft in 1991, becoming Senior Product Manager for Applications Programmability in the Visual Basic group and was responsible for driving the first versions of what was then called "Macro Manager" but has since grown into OLE Automation, Active/X, etc. -- the first widely used and practical architecture for implementing reusable code components. At Microsoft, Bob was also responsible for international marketing of Visual Basic and for defining the now well-known "Microsoft Solutions Development Framework."

After Microsoft, Bob became VP of Emerging Technologies at the start-up Medio Multimedia, where he created and edited Medio Magazine -- the first broad-market, multimedia, CDROM based magazine, created MedioNet -- an ISP serving the Pacific Northwest, and MedioNet ITV, a demonstration of community-based local news and services delivered over interactive television technology then being developed by Microsoft. Returning to the East Coast in 1996, Bob became Director of Product Development for HealthGate Data Corporation, one of the first providers of Internet based health information, and later provided consulting to Gold Hill Computers, Citibank Private Bank and Chase Manhattan Bank. He then became Vice President of Product Development at Accrue Software where he lead the effort to build the Accrue Insight and HitList products -- which were market leaders in the web traffic analysis business. Until recently, Bob was VP of Engineering at firstRain, a company developing focused web crawlers, content extraction servers and event services.


This program is part of the Sound Policy series featuring Denise Howell.

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