Multivalent Update WAS: Re: [ba-unrev-talk] Re: Just the facts.
I've just had a brief discussion with Tom Phelps author of Multivalent.
He's working on the HTML bugs. (01)
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jack Park" <email@example.com>
Sent: Sunday, October 06, 2002 11:27 PM
Subject: Re: [ba-unrev-talk] Re: Just the facts. (03)
> Why hasn't it happened?
> I have just a simple theory, and I really have no idea how to articulate
> that theory, but it goes something like this:
> WYSIWYG won.
> Some of the discussions for OHS-like capabilities that I have heard along
> the way seem to argue (though not argued forcefully) for taking steps in
> directions other than those which won the hearts and minds of people
> everywhere. For better or for worse, we are stuck with windowing systems
> that are a long way away from those that Douglas Engelbart demonstrated
> more than 30 years ago and which still exist in his powerful Augment
> system. The hard way? Maybe so; I don't really know. I just know, or think
> I believe that we are creatures of the habits we construct for ourselves,
> and changing those habits is a bitch.
> From my perspective on that situation, the argument can be made that an
> OHS ought to start with something horribly familiar. It turns out that
> OpenOffice is pretty (but not completely) familiar. They have concentrated
> on getting interoperability with MS Office right, but left a bunch of
> irritating (there's that word again) differences in behaviors -- like 32k
> row limit in the spreadsheet, just to name the showstopper. Elsewhere,
> Peter Jones mentioned the Multivalent browser. I've been playing with that
> for a long time now. Only problem with it is that it's not really a robust
> HTML browser; it does a lot of other things quite nicely, however. In
> fact, with a bunch of coding, it could easily qualify for one version of an
> implementation of the HyperScope, a browser that is supposed to bring
> together all sorts of different document types. Starting down the
> HyperScope path, however, brings out discussions of views and view changing
> capabilities, and those arguments begin to enter paths that deviate from
> the familiar. Maybe that's needed; maybe that slows things down.
> A breakthrough? I'll hoist a pint to that!
> Did you mean "Mute leading the blind?"
> At 02:10 PM 10/6/2002 -0700, Gerald Pierce wrote:
> >Straight, clear and to the point. So the real question is Why hasn't it
> >happened? For that, we seem to persue a course of constant technical re-
> >finements resulting in a set of tools of great elegance and beauty that
> >the public at large, if they notice at all, step over with mild irratation
> >on their way to more of doing it the hard way.
> >I'm sure you have all heard of the expression of "the blind leading the
> >blind" It seems to me that Doug has an even more frustrating task,
> >namely being clear of vision but short of voice. More like "the blind
> >leading the mute"!!
> >What we need is a breakthrough. There is some insight into human nature
> >that we are missing. THAT is where we must look. The way it is now we
> >stand around and ask "When all the Temple is prepared within, why waits
> >the weary worshipper outside?"
> >GER qeds
> >Jack Park wrote:
> >>I don't think your solution scales well. Otherwise, it would make sense
> >>to plaster images of scantily clad people into the many instructivist
> >>lectures going on everywhere as well. (Snickers going on in the
> >>background, even though Peter's wasn't a serious suggestion).
> >>My own reaction to the profoundly instructivist, just-in-case lectures of
> >>high school was to allow that mysterious "inner voice" take reign.
> >>At the time, I dreamt of building an airplane. Whilst in college, I did
> >>just that. Dropped out of college and flew my bird until I eventually
> >>crashed it.
> >>One of the things I got from the StoryCon convention I attended
> >>(http://www.storycon.org) was the notion that the inner voice is quite
> >>responsive to story telling, particularly as discussed by Stephen Denning
> >>(_The Springboard: How Storytelling Ignites Action in Knowledge-Era
> >>Organizations_). This, I think, roams around in the space of musings
> >>about how good ideas pop out of one's subconscious. Perhaps one of the
> >>most lucid discussions about this is found in David Gelernter's book _The
> >>Muse In The Machine_.
> >>My view of Dr. Engelbart's story is quite clear, my interpretation is a
> >>simple one. There is a profound opportunity to exploit the interplay
> >>between humans (plural) and tools (also plural) to create a space he
> >>calls a "capabilities improvement infrastructure." The interplay of many
> >>people in that infrastructure, when taken to the Web, opens the door to
> >>what he calls a "networked improvement community." Nothing, I think,
> >>could be more obvious or much simpler. The awsome reality (I think)
> >>behind that is that Engelbart was showing how to do just that in the
> >>sixties, long before the Web existed.
> >>At 12:00 PM 10/6/2002 +0100, Peter Jones wrote:
> >>>It's hard to know where the dividing line is though. For example, I know
> >>>every good idea I've ever had has just leapt out of my subconscious - or
> >>>out of
> >>>nowhere, if you like, since the source is not really amenable to scientific
> >>>investigation at this time. So the kudos has to be in knowing/seeing
> >>>which ideas
> >>>are healthy, and working to promote them in the world through action.
> >>>However, the type of action chosen to promote those ideas is also
> >>>crucial. It is
> >>>easy to take a good idea, and subject folks to it mercilessly like a mad
> >>>Inevitably people will rebel against the actions _and_ the idea.
> >>>One of Jack Park's themes is that the orthodox school system tends to
> >>>take this
> >>>approach to learning - so many children just end up as big bags of
> >>>with no conceptual centeredness.
> >>>So it's almost as though one has to publicise ideas without pushing -
> >>>make those
> >>>ideas tempting in themselves.
> >>>Unfortunately there are all sorts of problems with ideas being tempting.
> >>>It is possible to make ideas tempting in a way that bears no relation to
> >>>intrinsic rational value by weighting their popularity in respect of
> >>>some basic
> >>>human desire and waiting for the herd instinct to kick in.
> >>>Or, as advertisers do these days, simply visually associate an idea with
> >>>something shiny/sexy/funny and wait.
> >>>Welcome to the meme wars.
> >>>In light of this it now seems clear to me that Dr. Engelbart needs to
> >>>his papers with more pictures of scantily-clad models.
> XML Topic Maps: Creating and Using Topic Maps for the Web.
> Addison-Wesley, ISBN 0-201-74960-2.