In Hebrew, chutzpah is used indignantly, to describe someone who has over-stepped the boundaries of accepted behavior with no shame. But in Yiddish and English, chutzpah has developed ambivalent and even positive connotations. Chutzpah can be used to express admiration for non-conformist but gutsy audacity. Leo Rosten in The Joys of Yiddish defines chutzpah as "gall, brazen nerve, effrontery, incredible 'guts,' presumption plus arrogance such as no other word and no other language can do justice to." In this sense, chutzpah expresses both strong disapproval and a grudging admiration.
Or, for the reading impaired:
On that note, I would like to announce that Google has deemed me worthy of giving me a developer preview of their new collaborative content platform called Google Wave. It's really hard to put the idea into words and give it proper identification, but in their own words: Google Wave is what email would look like if it was invented today. Meaning, Email was modeled off the snail mail system, in which you wrote a letter, and the recipient received that letter and now owned it. Wave does away with that silly notion and innovates the way we look at cloud collaboration. Put simply, when you write a message to somebody, he can see you typing the message at the same time as you. Both sender and recipient own the content, and both edit it along the relationships formed by normal mail contact information.
Like I said, it's hard to explain. A more robust definition can be found in the 2-hour long presentation given by Google Product managers a while back. Or there's an abridged version for fakers. Regardless, this post is not about Wave. Well, sort of. Let me explain.
After I got my invite (and danced the dance of joy and happiness), I opened up IE (no choice; it was a work laptop) and I opened up Google Wave. I was then hit with a splash screen that blew my face off (very messy). It was the most chutzpah I've seen on the Interwebs in a long time, and it may signal the start of a new era in the browser wars.
IE is not supported by Google Wave.
Ok, read that again.
Are you still with me?
You do realize how unbelievably mind-shattering this is, right? You don't just release a product that isn't supported under IE (Just to be clear - it does run in IE if you install the Google Chrome Frame Activex control that may or may not break IE. But the point still holds. IE out of the box does not work with Wave). It's like releasing a car that doesn't drive on interstates. Or a music player that doesn't play mp3 files. It doesn't make sense, it's audacious, it's arrogant, it's brazen, it's non-conforming, and it's straight up Chutzpah.
It's also the stuff that revolutions are made of.
The age of IE (Internet Exploder, Internet Exploiter, take your pick) is coming to a close. Years of chipping away by browsers like Opera, Chrome, and most importantly and successfully, Mozilla Firefox, are finally bringing the industry to a point where things like can happen. Google Wave is going to change the way we collaborate in the Interwebs (many are calling it the harbinger of Web 3.0), and IE has been left out of the party. It's a blatant act of war, and one that's been a long time coming.
This may all be sensationalist thinking, as the restriction may be a quirk of the developer preview, but hey, the sensationalist way is typically the fun way, and I will indulge.
Don't worry, as soon as I get some more time with Wave, I'll let you know not if it rocks my world, but how much it rocks my world.