I wanted to follow up on your comment about theoretical computer science and e-mail/IM. Also, use of weblogs.
- There's a piece of folklore about how IP=PSPACE was
proved pursuant to some race between many researchers
carried out over e-mail. I've once or twice found myself in
e-mail races with other people on mailing lists when we're
responding to something technical.
Do you think the day will come when some major theorem is
proved in an IM chat room? :)
- Weblogs as place for ideas. A friend of mine asked me if
I thought researchers in theory would be interested in putting
up a web page (actually, we were discussing a wiki) about
open problems. My response was pretty much like what
you see in Oded Goldreich's FAQ -- "well that's nice, but
good research problems are hard to find, and people seem to
reserve them for themselves or their close colleagues."
The point: I find that I'm starting to use my weblog as a place to deposit ideas for problems that I just don't have time to pursue, or aren't in what I think is my main line of research. In the old days they would have gone into a notebook somewhere and no one would have seen them. Now maybe someone will pick them up -- and I think that's great (especially since I usually don't know how to progress). At the same time, I wonder how peoples' concerns about ownership of ideas will affect the way they use weblogs. What do you think?