LifeStreamsA user interface term: it is a stream of information chunks to organize the way a person deals with other people; in much the same manner as an electronic diary, the chronological arrangement is key, but the information can be organized in many other ways.
The basic unit of information is the chunk, which consists of content, time of occurrence and other attributes. However, all chunks are relative to a Lifestream and Agent (the minimal case being a unique chunk or chunk/stream/agent triple). Chunks can belong to many Lifestreams and have many associated Agents. Many chunks do not have names. In general, naming is eschewed for attributes; naming is seen as costly to the user and often of little benefit, whereas many attributes can be inferred from context.
Substreams (also called Lifestreams) are the basic organizational mechanism. Substreams are picked out of a parent Lifestream based on a set of search criteria. They live until they are killed, and update dynamically as more chunks are found or created. They can also be hidden.
Hiding and killing are rarely done. More common is for a substream to fade into "the past." Past, present and future are relative to the system clock, which can be "dialed back/forward" to assume a new temporal viewpoint. This permits scheduling, among other things.
"An Agent," say the designers, "is tied onto each infochunk the way a helium balloon might be tied down to a chunk of plastic-sort of." Agents are the basic means of behavioral organization. They are responsible for organizing and updating substreams and provide a way for a Lifestreams terminal, or viewport, to communicate with outside systems like email. They can do things like scan other streams or systems for interesting events, or cooperate with other Agents in producing present events or scheduling future ones.
This page is linked from: Time-Machine Computing