web evolution

Posted by Plasma Studii | Tue Mar 29th 2005 12:28 p.m.

what can we do to make the web more useful/differentiate it from the
same technology we've always had? the technology hasn't ACTUALLY
improved in 10+ years, only shifting attitudes and approaches.
Perl's been around for at least that and it's the essential "tool" to
a self-organizing web. Not the only tool now, the last decade has
given us an explosion of redundancy and variations on themes. Many
(like Flash) are actually de-provements, rather than IMprovements.
but whatever. The tools are currently available to us, to revive
this system.

with this illusion of growth/upgrading, people fall back on the on
the one function, they immediately latched onto, the worlds biggest
mail order catalogue. but rather than a single point when that
happens, a transition, it evolves continually down that path. if
that's where it ends up, just a big catalogue might be fine. but
then our own self-preservation is at stake. where does that leave
web art?

actually, maybe ironically, the amazon site continually amazes me.
particularly their "add a review" and "so you want to ... " sections.
a web of static information is not much of an improvement over a
unlimited paid programming on cable. but the whole idea that someone
can add to it, AND THEN folks can rate these additions (or even
"curate" (as is also on rhizome) amazon's contents, and then others
respond to the curation).

if they were actually receiving 100s of reviews a day, then there
could be a simple system to only show the most helpful reviews.
eventually, the most helpful would float top the top, and new ones
that weren't would disappear pretty fast. if there was ONLY the
curated collections, this would be self-organization. then if
perhaps the final option is to search or add an item, while some
items simply would disappear from fluctuating interest, that would
make the self-organization into learning and possibly improving.

feedback, where the "viewer" actually effects the content in some way
that makes the content more useful, is a realm far beyond things like
catalogues. in the same way interactivity is so extremely and
fundamentally different than say linear video, a recording, much less
a still or static text. so much of what's labelled interactivity is
essentially hyper-link options to move between a few linear things.
this is a baby step, when we CAN run with it. some really do utilize
interactivity to actually alter/effect the contents (the difference
between a passive viewer and active participant). and some use
things like CGI scripts to get input, to file away somewhere else.
surely there are constructive ways to smoosh these two methods
together that would drastically change peoples perspectives. user
input that alters/updates what they get.

blogs are one kind of example of this, but they are always clearly
blogs. laundry lists of amazingly short quips or posts/dictation
from a single author ranting to no one in particular but themselves.
similarly, I saw a weird report on evolution vs. religion. they just
aren't at all comparable. It's as if Darwin marvelled at gravity,
then noticed some key elements in how it works. not even saying
there can never be non-gravitational places, or that gravity is part
of everything (though it is), just how it works. he's not saying
"who" or even that there is a conscious force who came up with this
gravitational method, any more than we attribute every ricochet of
billiard balls to someone's conscious decision. it's just math.
[someone mentioned evolution/catholicism].

Darwin's "sea of wedges" idea could be so darn useful for us on the
web. Ideally, capitalism works the same way, the stores that survive
are the ones that sell useful things at prices people like, etc. The
ones that don't disappear. why not the web?

darwin noticed evolution works like a sea of wedges packed tightly.
all fit but one. press it down, and another random one pops up.
press that, and another ... it isn't so much that any is "selected"
as much as everything is driven by the situation of the whole
environment. the one that pops up, isn't chosen or better, varying
factors may favor one wedge at one time and another later. but they
are purely random. as much as investment bankers say they can, the
system still remains just beyond predictability. a word that may
send up the red flags to the pope, but then many are tuning out the
rest of the sentence.

no religion has a problem with the fact that if you drop 1000 marbles
off a balcony, you won't guess their paths. anyone with a problem
with evolution is really just mistaking it for something else. that
is not to say any miracles involving marbles are disproven, it says
when this happens (as is often the case) here's how.

how could the web use a dose of this evolutionary "selection"
process? not just on a macro level but every page.

communication can be a lot more than just limited to linguistic
conversation. a blog can be a little like a rating system [which is
a little like what mez, et al. were talking about recently]. for
example, perhaps what would make their idea a perpetually-self
organizing system, would be if the archive links were ranked or
spatially adjusted in some way that corresponded to the number of
replies. more might look up those threads that were "successful"
(however, we rarely see replies to threads come in several months
later. even the more "contagious" threads die out far too fast.

judsoN

--

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PLASMA STUDII
art non-profit
stages * galleries * the web
PO Box 1086
Cathedral Station
New York, USA

(on-line press kit)
http://plasmastudii.org
  • Ivan Pope | Wed Mar 30th 2005 5:22 a.m.
    Plasma Studii wrote:

    > what can we do to make the web more useful/differentiate it from the
    > same technology we've always had? the technology hasn't ACTUALLY
    > improved in 10+ years, only shifting attitudes and approaches. Perl's
    > been around for at least that and it's the essential "tool" to a
    > self-organizing web. Not the only tool now, the last decade has given
    > us an explosion of redundancy and variations on themes. Many (like
    > Flash) are actually de-provements, rather than IMprovements. but
    > whatever. The tools are currently available to us, to revive this
    > system.
    >

    God, where have you been (or where were you ten years ago). Everything
    changed, is changing:

    Broadband/always on in the home changes everything.

    RSS
    Tags
    Semantic Web
    Locative
    Folksonomies
    Wikipedia
    Blogging
    Trackback
    Longtail
    Pro-am
    Social media
    Very large scale conversations
    Discourse architecture

    Really, it's the mindsets that change and as tools become available and
    accepted, mindets change and we all see things that we didn't see before.

    It's an exciting world at the moment, more exciting than it was between
    1997 and 2004 to be sure.

    As for Rhizome, what of the above has it taken on board?

    Cheers,
    Ivan
    (A tide, taken at its flood ...)

    --
    Ivan Pope
    ivan2@ivanpope.com

    Studio website -->http://ivanpope.com
    Absent Without Leave --> http://blog.ivanpope.com
  • Plasma Studii | Wed Mar 30th 2005 12:13 p.m.
    ivan,

    these are great examples. but i'm talking about using some/any of
    the methods available at a given time to result in DOING something
    different, than we could have before. possibly, the technology could
    have been been there, but the tools impractical and needed to be
    developed. but as time has elapsed, that didn't end up being the
    real obstacle. PHP is much newer and a lot easier to use than Perl,
    but folks still use Perl and the functions we use now, we're
    available a decade ago.

    object oriented programming is a semantic improvement, but not a
    functional one. if C (written code) was ever supplanted by MAX
    (designing flow chart), that would be a far greater change though
    still C can do all the things MAX does (and much more). There's no
    actual functional advantage to using MAX, only semantic.
    Semantically, PHP is a breeze to use compared to Perl, but
    functionally differs mostly by 2 related functions (getting a users
    IP address and referring document) and Perl comes out slightly ahead.
    Technology-enthusiasts generally do not acknowledge this sort of
    distinction. (there literally IS change, we may even change what we
    do. but it's not an apples-oranges shift, it's like
    tangerines-oranges. bigger but not really more useful and the same
    basic color. is there a big difference in flavor? debatable, but
    mostly if you pretend there are no apples)

    the technology has always been there. what changes our actual lives
    are self-regulatory systems. (like reinforced concrete changes
    construction of skyscrapers, which changes cities, which changes how
    we live. imagine if reinforced concrete had been invented in the
    1700's but we still lived in huts. that's like web technology. the
    concrete need not keep evolving, once it works, for the city to
    continually evolve) our actions fundamentally are transformed by
    systems that respond to user input and alter themselves, not just
    automatically, but according to user input. to advance the web by
    "dialogue" rather than dictation. we could make sites, scripts,
    pages that manage themselves according to user input (not time
    specific at all), rather than construct them from an authors
    final(fixed point in time) input.

    what are ways the web can be more use-able than as a seemingly
    infinite sprawling info dumping ground? google is one organizational
    tool. a really clever one, in how it ranks so you won't bother to
    see items you're less likely to be interested in, uses 100+ factors
    to arrive at the rank, ... but it's hardly perfect. ebay is far
    more self-regulating, but far less cleverly designed and employs much
    more monitoring/regulating manually by hired humans. there must be
    more advanced ways to think about organizing than by literal key
    words. (wikipedia (you mentioned) is a variant use of the amazon
    scheme previously sited, where readers can rate blog-esque
    submissions. a feature i'd love to see a common for business and
    individuals alike, a given like different colors for links than text).

    >Really, it's the mindsets that change and as tools become available
    >and accepted, mindets change and we all see things that we didn't
    >see before.

    i agree that SHOULD happen. but rather than shift (as in x4 to
    xb), the trend is to close off change (as in x4 to x=null).
    maybe the illusion of advancing technology (in a hopeful/wishful
    self-fulfilling prophesy/mirage way) that we're going through another
    turn of the century paradigm shift has folks changing their mindsets
    to rallying for in-substantive hype, rather than the tangible or
    practical actions. the "available" part has been there for years, so
    why not "accepted"? (is ignorance a memory management technique?)

    >Broadband/always on in the home changes everything.

    you're right, "always on" changes our daily lives. but that was
    always possible (used to leave dial-up on at home 24/7). it has
    always been common to be on-line all day for web designers, which
    essentially has the same result. and actually, BB's not quite an
    improvement itself. (only effects about 1/3 of the transaction).

    judsoN

    --

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    PLASMA STUDII
    art non-profit
    stages * galleries * the web
    PO Box 1086
    Cathedral Station
    New York, USA

    (on-line press kit)
    http://plasmastudii.org
  • Pall Thayer | Wed Mar 30th 2005 3:54 p.m.
    I think some of the most significant changes we see today have to do
    with public familiarity with technology. A few years ago you had to hire
    someone with a degree in computer sciences if you wanted a dynamic web
    site. Today, your 13 year old cousin is likely to be running his/her own
    database driven website, written from scratch. And why not? Most of
    today's home computers come with included webservers with server-side
    scripting abilities and the most widely used databases are available for
    free download all over the place. As this previously priviledged
    knowledge becomes more common, we'll see more innovation.

    Perl is a very powerful, versatile and extensible programming language
    that far exceeds anything PHP is capable of. You really can't compare
    the two because Perl, among many other things, just happens to be
    usefull for web automation whereas PHP was designed specifically for web
    automation and isn't very good for anything else. Perl should be
    required learning for all first year digital arts students.

    Pall

    Plasma Studii wrote:
    > ivan,
    >
    > these are great examples. but i'm talking about using some/any of the
    > methods available at a given time to result in DOING something
    > different, than we could have before. possibly, the technology could
    > have been been there, but the tools impractical and needed to be
    > developed. but as time has elapsed, that didn't end up being the real
    > obstacle. PHP is much newer and a lot easier to use than Perl, but
    > folks still use Perl and the functions we use now, we're available a
    > decade ago.
    >
    > object oriented programming is a semantic improvement, but not a
    > functional one. if C (written code) was ever supplanted by MAX
    > (designing flow chart), that would be a far greater change though still
    > C can do all the things MAX does (and much more). There's no actual
    > functional advantage to using MAX, only semantic. Semantically, PHP is a
    > breeze to use compared to Perl, but functionally differs mostly by 2
    > related functions (getting a users IP address and referring document)
    > and Perl comes out slightly ahead. Technology-enthusiasts generally do
    > not acknowledge this sort of distinction. (there literally IS change,
    > we may even change what we do. but it's not an apples-oranges shift,
    > it's like tangerines-oranges. bigger but not really more useful and the
    > same basic color. is there a big difference in flavor? debatable, but
    > mostly if you pretend there are no apples)
    >
    > the technology has always been there. what changes our actual lives are
    > self-regulatory systems. (like reinforced concrete changes construction
    > of skyscrapers, which changes cities, which changes how we live.
    > imagine if reinforced concrete had been invented in the 1700's but we
    > still lived in huts. that's like web technology. the concrete need not
    > keep evolving, once it works, for the city to continually evolve) our
    > actions fundamentally are transformed by systems that respond to user
    > input and alter themselves, not just automatically, but according to
    > user input. to advance the web by "dialogue" rather than dictation. we
    > could make sites, scripts, pages that manage themselves according to
    > user input (not time specific at all), rather than construct them from
    > an authors final(fixed point in time) input.
    >
    > what are ways the web can be more use-able than as a seemingly infinite
    > sprawling info dumping ground? google is one organizational tool. a
    > really clever one, in how it ranks so you won't bother to see items
    > you're less likely to be interested in, uses 100+ factors to arrive at
    > the rank, ... but it's hardly perfect. ebay is far more
    > self-regulating, but far less cleverly designed and employs much more
    > monitoring/regulating manually by hired humans. there must be more
    > advanced ways to think about organizing than by literal key words.
    > (wikipedia (you mentioned) is a variant use of the amazon scheme
    > previously sited, where readers can rate blog-esque submissions. a
    > feature i'd love to see a common for business and individuals alike, a
    > given like different colors for links than text).
    >
    >
    >> Really, it's the mindsets that change and as tools become available
    >> and accepted, mindets change and we all see things that we didn't see
    >> before.
    >
    >
    > i agree that SHOULD happen. but rather than shift (as in x4 to xb),
    > the trend is to close off change (as in x4 to x=null). maybe the
    > illusion of advancing technology (in a hopeful/wishful self-fulfilling
    > prophesy/mirage way) that we're going through another turn of the
    > century paradigm shift has folks changing their mindsets to rallying for
    > in-substantive hype, rather than the tangible or practical actions. the
    > "available" part has been there for years, so why not "accepted"? (is
    > ignorance a memory management technique?)
    >
    >
    >> Broadband/always on in the home changes everything.
    >
    >
    > you're right, "always on" changes our daily lives. but that was always
    > possible (used to leave dial-up on at home 24/7). it has always been
    > common to be on-line all day for web designers, which essentially has
    > the same result. and actually, BB's not quite an improvement itself.
    > (only effects about 1/3 of the transaction).
    >
    > judsoN
    >

    --
    _______________________________
    Pall Thayer
    artist/teacher
    http://www.this.is/pallit
    http://pallit.lhi.is/panse

    Lorna
    http://www.this.is/lorna
    _______________________________
  • Pall Thayer | Wed Mar 30th 2005 5:06 p.m.
    I just want to point out that this wasn't just absent mindedly "thrown
    out there". I sincerely think that Perl should be required learning for
    artists interested in working with computers. It's rather easy to learn,
    it makes for quick prototyping of ideas if not a full solution and it's
    capable of giving the artist near complete control over the computer and
    it's capabilities. It's the quick-and-easy do all tool like the pencil
    and paper sketch. You can use it for web-based projects, to read or
    write to your peripherals, to interact with your microprocessor,
    manipulate or create images, you name it. Also, it would give the
    students a good general knowledge of programming concepts and techniques
    making it easier for them to pick up other languages and just basically
    understand how the computer deals with information and data. On top of
    all this, it comes pre-installed with most major OS's, complete with
    full documentation and is easily installable on Windows.

    Pall

    Komninos Zervos wrote:
    > "Perl should be
    > required learning for all first year digital arts students."
    >
    > Pall
    >
    > anyone else like to weigh in on this one?
    >
    > k
    >
    >
    >
    > komninos zervos
    > lecturer, convenor of CyberStudies major
    > School of Arts
    > Griffith University
    > Room 3.25 Multimedia Building G23
    > Gold Coast Campus
    > Parkwood
    > PMB 50 Gold Coast Mail Centre
    > Queensland 9726
    > Australia
    > Phone 07 5552 8872 Fax 07 5552 8141
    > http://www.gu.edu.au/ppages/k_zervos
    > http://users.bigpond.net.au/mangolegs
    > http://spokenword.blog-city.com
    >

    --
    _______________________________
    Pall Thayer
    artist/teacher
    http://www.this.is/pallit
    http://pallit.lhi.is/panse

    Lorna
    http://www.this.is/lorna
    _______________________________
  • Robert Spahr | Wed Mar 30th 2005 5:58 p.m.
    I will jump in here and agree by saying that perl is quite useful for
    learning basic programming skills, and combined with shell scripting it is
    a great glue to connect many separate command line programs into a powerful
    combination.

    Another nice thing about perl is you only have to learn a small subset of
    the entire language, in order to write quite useful and powerful scripts.

    -- Rob

    Pall Thayer wrote:
    > I just want to point out that this wasn't just absent mindedly "thrown
    > out there". I sincerely think that Perl should be required learning for
    > artists interested in working with computers. It's rather easy to learn,
    > it makes for quick prototyping of ideas if not a full solution and it's
    > capable of giving the artist near complete control over the computer and
    > it's capabilities. It's the quick-and-easy do all tool like the pencil
    > and paper sketch. You can use it for web-based projects, to read or
    > write to your peripherals, to interact with your microprocessor,
    > manipulate or create images, you name it. Also, it would give the
    > students a good general knowledge of programming concepts and techniques
    > making it easier for them to pick up other languages and just basically
    > understand how the computer deals with information and data. On top of
    > all this, it comes pre-installed with most major OS's, complete with
    > full documentation and is easily installable on Windows.
    >
    > Pall
    >
    > Komninos Zervos wrote:
    >
    >> "Perl should be
    >> required learning for all first year digital arts students."
    >>
    >> Pall
    >>
    >> anyone else like to weigh in on this one?
    >>
    >> k
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> komninos zervos
    >> lecturer, convenor of CyberStudies major
    >> School of Arts
    >> Griffith University
    >> Room 3.25 Multimedia Building G23
    >> Gold Coast Campus
    >> Parkwood
    >> PMB 50 Gold Coast Mail Centre
    >> Queensland 9726
    >> Australia
    >> Phone 07 5552 8872 Fax 07 5552 8141
    >> http://www.gu.edu.au/ppages/k_zervos
    >> http://users.bigpond.net.au/mangolegs
    >> http://spokenword.blog-city.com
    >>
    >

    --
    --

    Robert Spahr
    http://www.robertspahr.com

    On the heath Lear asks Gloucester: "How do you see the world?"
    And Gloucester, who is blind, answers: "I see it feelingly.
  • Rob Myers | Thu Mar 31st 2005 12:33 a.m.
    My first job a decade ago was Python scripting. I chose Python because
    I wanted regexes but I didn't want the neural burn from Perl's sadistic
    syntax.

    I'd recommend Ruby to newbies, it has a more regular syntax than
    Python. I'm on to Lisp myself, which is a genuinely powerful and
    advanced programming language, and very good for the web (see Paul
    Graham et al).

    - Rob.

    On 31 Mar 2005, at 02:00, Robert Spahr wrote:

    > I will jump in here and agree by saying that perl is quite useful for
    > learning basic programming skills, and combined with shell scripting
    > it is
    > a great glue to connect many separate command line programs into a
    > powerful
    > combination.
    >
    > Another nice thing about perl is you only have to learn a small subset
    > of
    > the entire language, in order to write quite useful and powerful
    > scripts.
    >
    > -- Rob
    >
    >
    > Pall Thayer wrote:
    >> I just want to point out that this wasn't just absent mindedly "thrown
    >> out there". I sincerely think that Perl should be required learning
    >> for
    >> artists interested in working with computers. It's rather easy to
    >> learn,
    >> it makes for quick prototyping of ideas if not a full solution and
    >> it's
    >> capable of giving the artist near complete control over the computer
    >> and
    >> it's capabilities. It's the quick-and-easy do all tool like the pencil
    >> and paper sketch. You can use it for web-based projects, to read or
    >> write to your peripherals, to interact with your microprocessor,
    >> manipulate or create images, you name it. Also, it would give the
    >> students a good general knowledge of programming concepts and
    >> techniques
    >> making it easier for them to pick up other languages and just
    >> basically
    >> understand how the computer deals with information and data. On top of
    >> all this, it comes pre-installed with most major OS's, complete with
    >> full documentation and is easily installable on Windows.
    >>
    >> Pall
    >>
    >> Komninos Zervos wrote:
    >>
    >>> "Perl should be
    >>> required learning for all first year digital arts students."
    >>>
    >>> Pall
    >>>
    >>> anyone else like to weigh in on this one?
    >>>
    >>> k
    >>>
    >>>
    >>>
    >>> komninos zervos
    >>> lecturer, convenor of CyberStudies major
    >>> School of Arts
    >>> Griffith University
    >>> Room 3.25 Multimedia Building G23
    >>> Gold Coast Campus
    >>> Parkwood
    >>> PMB 50 Gold Coast Mail Centre
    >>> Queensland 9726
    >>> Australia
    >>> Phone 07 5552 8872 Fax 07 5552 8141
    >>> http://www.gu.edu.au/ppages/k_zervos
    >>> http://users.bigpond.net.au/mangolegs
    >>> http://spokenword.blog-city.com
    >>>
    >>
    >
    > --
    > --
    >
    > Robert Spahr
    > http://www.robertspahr.com
    >
    > On the heath Lear asks Gloucester: "How do you see the world?"
    > And Gloucester, who is blind, answers: "I see it feelingly."
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >

    --
    http://www.robmyers.org/art - All my art, Creative Commons Licensed.
    http://www.robmyers.org/weblog - Free Culture and Generative Art blog.
  • Ivan Pope | Thu Mar 31st 2005 6:21 a.m.
    Pall Thayer wrote:

    > I think some of the most significant changes we see today have to do
    > with public familiarity with technology. A few years ago you had to
    > hire someone with a degree in computer sciences if you wanted a
    > dynamic web site. Today, your 13 year old cousin is likely to be
    > running his/her own database driven website, written from scratch. And
    > why not? Most of today's home computers come with included webservers
    > with server-side scripting abilities and the most widely used
    > databases are available for free download all over the place. As this
    > previously priviledged knowledge becomes more common, we'll see more
    > innovation.
    >
    Agree totally. During the first wave, I realised that we couldn't even
    begin to really get our heads around this stuff and what it might become.
    I think it's a lot more than just lots of people who are very familiar
    with technology (though of course that helps, when I started my first
    web company there were just zero people in the UK who were any immediate
    use). I think it's that we are all familiar day in day out with the
    concepts, i.e. you don't have to think about what online means or email
    or forms or subscribing or whatever, it is just embedded.
    Now there are kids who have never known anything else - but maybe we are
    not quite there yet.

    I said back in the day that it would take a generation to grow up with
    online, graduate through college and go into teaching and teach the next
    generation before we would have some native apps - i.e. apps that were
    thought up by people who never knew or heard any different.

    And I also predicted that it was more likely that some kid in the Mekong
    delta or the Venezualean rainforest who would come up with that stuff.

    Having said all of that of course, I still think I'm pretty good at
    inventing the future :-)

    So what is coming down the pipes?

    Cheers,
    Ivan
  • Ivan Pope | Thu Mar 31st 2005 6:23 a.m.
    Pall Thayer wrote:

    > I just want to point out that this wasn't just absent mindedly "thrown
    > out there". I sincerely think that Perl should be required learning
    > for artists interested in working with computers. It's rather easy to
    > learn, it makes for quick prototyping of ideas if not a full solution
    > and it's capable of giving the artist near complete control over the
    > computer and it's capabilities. It's the quick-and-easy do all tool
    > like the pencil and paper sketch. You can use it for web-based
    > projects, to read or write to your peripherals, to interact with your
    > microprocessor, manipulate or create images, you name it. Also, it
    > would give the students a good general knowledge of programming
    > concepts and techniques making it easier for them to pick up other
    > languages and just basically understand how the computer deals with
    > information and data. On top of all this, it comes pre-installed with
    > most major OS's, complete with full documentation and is easily
    > installable on Windows.
    >
    I also believe that Jean Paul Sartre's Nausea should be required
    reading for all artists interested in working with computers.

    Thanks,
    Ivan
  • Ivan Pope | Thu Mar 31st 2005 6:24 a.m.
    Rob Myers wrote:

    > My first job a decade ago was Python scripting. I chose Python because
    > I wanted regexes but I didn't want the neural burn from Perl's
    > sadistic syntax.
    >
    > I'd recommend Ruby to newbies, it has a more regular syntax than
    > Python. I'm on to Lisp myself, which is a genuinely powerful and
    > advanced programming language, and very good for the web (see Paul
    > Graham et al).
    >
    Hey Rob, there are artists present. Could you stop talking dirty.
    Cheers,
    Ivan
  • Geert Dekkers | Thu Mar 31st 2005 3:21 p.m.
    I'd like to contradict this -- one of the signs of the fact we (=
    humanity) haven't really started appreciating computer technology is
    that we're not thinking and forming our lives in analogy to these
    technologies. There may be a lot of readers of this list who know what
    a database is but outside of our barn I assure you there are very many
    who most certainly do not. We may have come a long way since '95 (or
    so) but I'd guess it will take a while still before a programming
    language gets put on a primary school curriculum.
    Cheers
    Geert
    (http://nznl.com)

    On 31-mrt-05, at 15:21, Ivan Pope wrote:

    >
    >
    > Pall Thayer wrote:
    >
    >> I think some of the most significant changes we see today have to do
    >> with public familiarity with technology. A few years ago you had to
    >> hire someone with a degree in computer sciences if you wanted a
    >> dynamic web site. Today, your 13 year old cousin is likely to be
    >> running his/her own database driven website, written from scratch.
    >> And why not? Most of today's home computers come with included
    >> webservers with server-side scripting abilities and the most widely
    >> used databases are available for free download all over the place. As
    >> this previously priviledged knowledge becomes more common, we'll see
    >> more innovation.
    >>
    > Agree totally. During the first wave, I realised that we couldn't even
    > begin to really get our heads around this stuff and what it might
    > become.
    > I think it's a lot more than just lots of people who are very familiar
    > with technology (though of course that helps, when I started my first
    > web company there were just zero people in the UK who were any
    > immediate use). I think it's that we are all familiar day in day out
    > with the concepts, i.e. you don't have to think about what online
    > means or email or forms or subscribing or whatever, it is just
    > embedded.
    > Now there are kids who have never known anything else - but maybe we
    > are not quite there yet.
    >
    > I said back in the day that it would take a generation to grow up with
    > online, graduate through college and go into teaching and teach the
    > next generation before we would have some native apps - i.e. apps that
    > were thought up by people who never knew or heard any different.
    >
    > And I also predicted that it was more likely that some kid in the
    > Mekong delta or the Venezualean rainforest who would come up with that
    > stuff.
    >
    > Having said all of that of course, I still think I'm pretty good at
    > inventing the future :-)
    >
    > So what is coming down the pipes?
    >
    > Cheers,
    > Ivan
    > +
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  • ryan griffis | Thu Mar 31st 2005 5:11 p.m.
    and it's important, IMHO, to ask how the "evolution" of the web is
    impacting "society" any differently than all the other paradigm
    shifting communication technologies. this is not to take away from the
    innovations taking place, but i'm wary (still) of the broad,
    humanity-shifting language used to discuss computing - in both its
    utopian and dystopic forms.
    some US stats
    http://www.pewinternet.org/trends/User_Demo_03.07.05.htm
    http://www.pewinternet.org/trends/InternetAdoption.jpg
    notice the plateau since 2002...

    On Mar 31, 2005, at 2:21 PM, Geert Dekkers wrote:

    > I'd like to contradict this -- one of the signs of the fact we (=
    > humanity) haven't really started appreciating computer technology is
    > that we're not thinking and forming our lives in analogy to these
    > technologies. There may be a lot of readers of this list who know what
    > a database is but outside of our barn I assure you there are very many
    > who most certainly do not. We may have come a long way since '95 (or
    > so) but I'd guess it will take a while still before a programming
    > language gets put on a primary school curriculum.
    > Cheers
    > Geert
    > (http://nznl.com)
  • Jeremy Zilar | Thu Mar 31st 2005 11:14 p.m.
    ryan griffis wrote:
    > it's important to ask how the "evolution" of the web is
    > impacting "society" any differently than all the other paradigm shifting
    > communication technologies.

    Once you start looking for the ways it impacts society you then start to
    create the possible need develop software with an adgenda . these types
    of questions bring up the debate as to whether the software gets
    developed based the users needs, or the programmers needs. I think it is
    important to ask questions, but maybe the question is how can we develop
    software that facilitates creative growth and adaptability of the user?
    or software that allows the user to create their own adgenda? How can we
    create software that expands the dialogue between the user and the
    developer, between the child and the adult?
    -jeremy

    this is not to take away from the
    > innovations taking place, but i'm wary (still) of the broad,
    > humanity-shifting language used to discuss computing - in both its
    > utopian and dystopic forms.
    > some US stats
    > http://www.pewinternet.org/trends/User_Demo_03.07.05.htm
    > http://www.pewinternet.org/trends/InternetAdoption.jpg
    > notice the plateau since 2002...
    >
    > On Mar 31, 2005, at 2:21 PM, Geert Dekkers wrote:
    >
    >> I'd like to contradict this -- one of the signs of the fact we (=
    >> humanity) haven't really started appreciating computer technology is
    >> that we're not thinking and forming our lives in analogy to these
    >> technologies. There may be a lot of readers of this list who know what
    >> a database is but outside of our barn I assure you there are very many
    >> who most certainly do not. We may have come a long way since '95 (or
    >> so) but I'd guess it will take a while still before a programming
    >> language gets put on a primary school curriculum.
    >> Cheers
    >> Geert
    >> (http://nznl.com)
    >
    >
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
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    > +
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    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >
  • Plasma Studii | Fri Apr 1st 2005 8:23 a.m.
    >Once you start looking for the ways it impacts society you then
    >start to create the possible need develop software with an adgenda .
    >these types of questions bring up the debate as to whether the
    >software gets developed based the users needs, or the programmers
    >needs. I think it is important to ask questions, but maybe the
    >question is how can we develop software that facilitates creative
    >growth and adaptability of the user? or software that allows the
    >user to create their own adgenda? How can we create software that
    >expands the dialogue between the user and the developer, between the
    >child and the adult?

    this is a really great way of looking at it!

    oddly the software that is most programmer-needs oriented, like Flash
    or Windows, is by far the most popular. Though the user-needs
    software continually isn't as popular. why's that? obviously, one
    way of looking at it is to chalk it up to marketing, but wonder if
    it's also a similar phenomenon as folks in the US voting for bush
    (even though he's clearly not going to help that "lower 98%", they're
    geographically not actually at risk from terrorists, are or are close
    to someone who'll get killed in impending wars). i'm picking on
    these particular examples not because they need more picking on, but
    because there seems to be something more at work here than just good
    design = successful product. and marketing and/or price doesn't
    always explain it.

    people regularly or belligerently ignore contrary facts (be it about
    processing, price or presidents), in order to pick the option that
    will cause them the most trouble. how's that? it would seem many
    folks become too discouraged to advance, either technically,
    economically, or just in how they live, only because they use these
    ill-designed tools.

    maybe that's some protective defense mechanism? maybe many are
    afraid of change (even if it's learning) because of inevitable little
    disappointments along the way. avoid it by ignoring the long term.

    just an idea, anyone have any others?
  • Jeremy Zilar | Fri Apr 1st 2005 9:17 a.m.
    Plasma Studii - judsoN wrote:
    > people regularly or belligerently ignore contrary facts in order to
    pick the option that will
    > cause them the most trouble. how's that?
    > maybe that's some protective defense mechanism? maybe many are afraid
    > of change (even if it's learning) because of inevitable little
    > disappointments along the way. avoid it by ignoring the long term.

    I think the key is to develop the product that teaches adaptability and
    not the end result. Infact, develop is totally the wrong word here.
    "Grow" might better used. If you grow a piece of software that frames
    the process of it's own growth, rather than focusing the user on the
    software as a means to and end result, then you will begin to teach to a
    more adaptable, learning audience. It is the desire for a product, for
    an end result that inherently teaches us how to deal with change. In
    this view, change is a means to an end. Somehow, through the tools that
    we create - we need to teach adaptability, teach a process of learing
    and change, and maybe we can dothat by adopting a "growth" oriented
    process. If the tools we create are a made to fit the end product, then
    it is the end product that will be worshiped.

    -jeremy

    www.silencematters.com

    Plasma Studii - judsoN wrote:
    >> Once you start looking for the ways it impacts society you then start
    >> to create the possible need develop software with an adgenda . these
    >> types of questions bring up the debate as to whether the software gets
    >> developed based the users needs, or the programmers needs. I think it
    >> is important to ask questions, but maybe the question is how can we
    >> develop software that facilitates creative growth and adaptability of
    >> the user? or software that allows the user to create their own
    >> adgenda? How can we create software that expands the dialogue between
    >> the user and the developer, between the child and the adult?
    >
    >
    > this is a really great way of looking at it!
    >
    > oddly the software that is most programmer-needs oriented, like Flash or
    > Windows, is by far the most popular. Though the user-needs software
    > continually isn't as popular. why's that? obviously, one way of
    > looking at it is to chalk it up to marketing, but wonder if it's also a
    > similar phenomenon as folks in the US voting for bush (even though he's
    > clearly not going to help that "lower 98%", they're geographically not
    > actually at risk from terrorists, are or are close to someone who'll get
    > killed in impending wars). i'm picking on these particular examples not
    > because they need more picking on, but because there seems to be
    > something more at work here than just good design = successful product.
    > and marketing and/or price doesn't always explain it.
    >
    > people regularly or belligerently ignore contrary facts (be it about
    > processing, price or presidents), in order to pick the option that will
    > cause them the most trouble. how's that? it would seem many folks
    > become too discouraged to advance, either technically, economically, or
    > just in how they live, only because they use these ill-designed tools.
    >
    > maybe that's some protective defense mechanism? maybe many are afraid
    > of change (even if it's learning) because of inevitable little
    > disappointments along the way. avoid it by ignoring the long term.
    >
    > just an idea, anyone have any others?
    >
  • Pall Thayer | Fri Apr 1st 2005 9:58 a.m.
    But isn't this exactly what's done? I can't think of a single program
    that's still the same as it was 10 years ago, or am I misunderstanding
    you?

    Pall

    On Fri, 1 Apr 2005, jeremy wrote:>
    >
    > I think the key is to develop the product that teaches adaptability and
    > not the end result. Infact, develop is totally the wrong word here.
    > "Grow" might better used. If you grow a piece of software that frames
    > the process of it's own growth, rather than focusing the user on the
    > software as a means to and end result, then you will begin to teach to a
    > more adaptable, learning audience. It is the desire for a product, for
    > an end result that inherently teaches us how to deal with change. In
    > this view, change is a means to an end. Somehow, through the tools that
    > we create - we need to teach adaptability, teach a process of learing
    > and change, and maybe we can dothat by adopting a "growth" oriented
    > process. If the tools we create are a made to fit the end product, then
    > it is the end product that will be worshiped.
    >
    > -jeremy
    >
    >
    >
    > www.silencematters.com
    >
    >
    >
    > Plasma Studii - judsoN wrote:
    > >> Once you start looking for the ways it impacts society you then start
    > >> to create the possible need develop software with an adgenda . these
    > >> types of questions bring up the debate as to whether the software gets
    > >> developed based the users needs, or the programmers needs. I think it
    > >> is important to ask questions, but maybe the question is how can we
    > >> develop software that facilitates creative growth and adaptability of
    > >> the user? or software that allows the user to create their own
    > >> adgenda? How can we create software that expands the dialogue between
    > >> the user and the developer, between the child and the adult?
    > >
    > >
    > > this is a really great way of looking at it!
    > >
    > > oddly the software that is most programmer-needs oriented, like Flash or
    > > Windows, is by far the most popular. Though the user-needs software
    > > continually isn't as popular. why's that? obviously, one way of
    > > looking at it is to chalk it up to marketing, but wonder if it's also a
    > > similar phenomenon as folks in the US voting for bush (even though he's
    > > clearly not going to help that "lower 98%", they're geographically not
    > > actually at risk from terrorists, are or are close to someone who'll get
    > > killed in impending wars). i'm picking on these particular examples not
    > > because they need more picking on, but because there seems to be
    > > something more at work here than just good design = successful product.
    > > and marketing and/or price doesn't always explain it.
    > >
    > > people regularly or belligerently ignore contrary facts (be it about
    > > processing, price or presidents), in order to pick the option that will
    > > cause them the most trouble. how's that? it would seem many folks
    > > become too discouraged to advance, either technically, economically, or
    > > just in how they live, only because they use these ill-designed tools.
    > >
    > > maybe that's some protective defense mechanism? maybe many are afraid
    > > of change (even if it's learning) because of inevitable little
    > > disappointments along the way. avoid it by ignoring the long term.
    > >
    > > just an idea, anyone have any others?
    > >
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >

    --
    Pall Thayer
    artist/teacher
    http://www.this.is/pallit
    http://130.208.220.190/
    http://130.208.220.190/nuharm
    http://130.208.220.190/panse
  • Ethan Ham | Fri Apr 1st 2005 10:52 a.m.
    Jeremy Zilar wrote:

    > I think the key is to develop the product that teaches adaptability
    > and
    > not the end result. Infact, develop is totally the wrong word here.
    > "Grow" might better used. If you grow a piece of software that frames
    > the process of it's own growth, rather than focusing the user on the
    > software as a means to and end result, then you will begin to teach to
    > a
    > more adaptable, learning audience.

    The discussion of user-focused vs. machine-focused software/UI brings pen-computing to mind.

    For years developers tried to create handwriting recognition software that could learn to a users' particular handwriting style (e.g., the Newton)... but in the end, the first really successful pen-computer (the Pilot) gave up on adapting the the software to the user's needs and instead trained the user to adapt a short-hand that the computer could understand.

    People are more adaptable than machines.
  • Plasma Studii | Fri Apr 1st 2005 11:04 a.m.
    >But isn't this exactly what's done? I can't think of a single program
    >that's still the same as it was 10 years ago, or am I misunderstanding
    >you?
    >
    >Pall

    photoshop (an example everyone's familiar with) is one of the most
    useful programs ever. but after 1992 and the great innovation of
    layers, the changes from version 2 to CS have all been ones you could
    have done in 2, but have 3 or 4 new ways in CS. that's all fine. if
    you have a computer that still runs an earlier version, no need to
    pay for a new photoshop.

    but, for example, they no longer sell the printer ink cartridges for
    the old printers that ran on those computers. so, you'll probably
    end up wanting to buy a new computer and thus need a new photoshop ...

    that's a change, but not an improvement.

    you might say "but the computers have improved", but that's certainly
    arguable. what macs did in 1993 (after color monitors became common,
    though the machines supported them long before) is still far more
    than we use/need aside from the time (it's the goldfish analogy
    again).

    the way most people use their computers, for things like email and
    word processing. faster processing speeds have been entirely
    unnecessary. so the industry finds tasks for them that demand more.
    we eventually get 3d animation, video and compression for DVD
    burning. (though granted, they do help to gloss over many of the
    memory management shortcomings)

    but linear video is actually a step backwards. it has nothing really
    to do with, much less improve on, what's innovative about computers.
    namely non-linear programming. yet there are folks who demand more
    and better video capabilities from these machines. it's like
    tweeking the taxi-ing features of an airplane. the public clammors
    for cruising the runway, but shows real disdain for and wings
    (originally an intrinsic part of planes).

    not that video or increasing processor speed is a bad thing at all.
    but for these "upgrades" to be evolution not devolution, they can
    only contribute as means, features available to programming, not as
    ends to be output to a media on something other than or imitated by a
    computer.

    hope that's a helpful clarification.
    --

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    PLASMA STUDII
    art non-profit
    stages * galleries * the web
    PO Box 1086
    Cathedral Station
    New York, USA

    (on-line press kit)
    http://plasmastudii.org
  • Plasma Studii | Fri Apr 1st 2005 11:26 a.m.
    >For years developers tried to create handwriting recognition
    >software that could learn to a users' particular handwriting style
    >(e.g., the Newton)... but in the end, the first really successful
    >pen-computer (the Pilot) gave up on adapting the the software to the
    >user's needs and instead trained the user to adapt a short-hand that
    >the computer could understand.

    that's be nice if it was the whole story, but think of this goal
    another way. this assumes "handwriting recognition" is a viable
    thing outside of a human reader. handwriting is chaos to anything
    but humans. firstly, it is just fundamentally impossible to teach
    anything (a monkey or program) to differentiate between writing and
    discoloration. the Newton experimenting revealed that. there is no
    straightforward way to comprehend the seemingly infinite variables.

    neither people nor machines are more or less adaptable, people just
    have finite perspectives and machines have infinite ones. so it's
    hard for people to figure out precisely how they narrow it down, to
    tell the machines. Palm ended up opting for the Graffiti method only
    because that was at least a lot easier, in fact, the alternative
    wasn't going to happen.
  • Jeremy Zilar | Fri Apr 1st 2005 11:10 p.m.
    I think Pall was right earlier when he said "Today, your 13 year old
    cousin is likely to be running his/her own database driven website,
    written from scratch."
    And if notthe average 13yr old,.... the it WILL be the average 13yr old
    in 20yrs. You know some kid is going to be slumping his body down, in
    some chair in his 10th grade "Web Evolution Class" because his teacher
    just announced that the assignment is to make a 5 page website by the
    end of the semester! At some point in the very near future, they will
    be offering XHTML classes as a followup to keyboarding class in grade
    school.

    > As this previously priviledged
    > knowledge becomes more common, we'll see more innovation.

    I just want to make sure that that innovation is encouraged as much as
    possible.

    -jeremy

    Pall Thayer wrote:
    > I think some of the most significant changes we see today have to do
    > with public familiarity with technology. A few years ago you had to hire
    > someone with a degree in computer sciences if you wanted a dynamic web
    > site. Today, your 13 year old cousin is likely to be running his/her own
    > database driven website, written from scratch. And why not? Most of
    > today's home computers come with included webservers with server-side
    > scripting abilities and the most widely used databases are available for
    > free download all over the place. As this previously priviledged
    > knowledge becomes more common, we'll see more innovation.
    >
    > Perl is a very powerful, versatile and extensible programming language
    > that far exceeds anything PHP is capable of. You really can't compare
    > the two because Perl, among many other things, just happens to be
    > usefull for web automation whereas PHP was designed specifically for web
    > automation and isn't very good for anything else. Perl should be
    > required learning for all first year digital arts students.
    >
    > Pall
    >
    > Plasma Studii wrote:
    >
    >> ivan,
    >>
    >> these are great examples. but i'm talking about using some/any of the
    >> methods available at a given time to result in DOING something
    >> different, than we could have before. possibly, the technology could
    >> have been been there, but the tools impractical and needed to be
    >> developed. but as time has elapsed, that didn't end up being the real
    >> obstacle. PHP is much newer and a lot easier to use than Perl, but
    >> folks still use Perl and the functions we use now, we're available a
    >> decade ago.
    >>
    >> object oriented programming is a semantic improvement, but not a
    >> functional one. if C (written code) was ever supplanted by MAX
    >> (designing flow chart), that would be a far greater change though
    >> still C can do all the things MAX does (and much more). There's no
    >> actual functional advantage to using MAX, only semantic. Semantically,
    >> PHP is a breeze to use compared to Perl, but functionally differs
    >> mostly by 2 related functions (getting a users IP address and
    >> referring document) and Perl comes out slightly ahead.
    >> Technology-enthusiasts generally do not acknowledge this sort of
    >> distinction. (there literally IS change, we may even change what we
    >> do. but it's not an apples-oranges shift, it's like
    >> tangerines-oranges. bigger but not really more useful and the same
    >> basic color. is there a big difference in flavor? debatable, but
    >> mostly if you pretend there are no apples)
    >>
    >> the technology has always been there. what changes our actual lives
    >> are self-regulatory systems. (like reinforced concrete changes
    >> construction of skyscrapers, which changes cities, which changes how
    >> we live. imagine if reinforced concrete had been invented in the
    >> 1700's but we still lived in huts. that's like web technology. the
    >> concrete need not keep evolving, once it works, for the city to
    >> continually evolve) our actions fundamentally are transformed by
    >> systems that respond to user input and alter themselves, not just
    >> automatically, but according to user input. to advance the web by
    >> "dialogue" rather than dictation. we could make sites, scripts, pages
    >> that manage themselves according to user input (not time specific at
    >> all), rather than construct them from an authors final(fixed point in
    >> time) input.
    >>
    >> what are ways the web can be more use-able than as a seemingly
    >> infinite sprawling info dumping ground? google is one organizational
    >> tool. a really clever one, in how it ranks so you won't bother to see
    >> items you're less likely to be interested in, uses 100+ factors to
    >> arrive at the rank, ... but it's hardly perfect. ebay is far more
    >> self-regulating, but far less cleverly designed and employs much more
    >> monitoring/regulating manually by hired humans. there must be more
    >> advanced ways to think about organizing than by literal key words.
    >> (wikipedia (you mentioned) is a variant use of the amazon scheme
    >> previously sited, where readers can rate blog-esque submissions. a
    >> feature i'd love to see a common for business and individuals alike, a
    >> given like different colors for links than text).
    >>
    >>
    >>> Really, it's the mindsets that change and as tools become available
    >>> and accepted, mindets change and we all see things that we didn't see
    >>> before.
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> i agree that SHOULD happen. but rather than shift (as in x4 to
    >> xb), the trend is to close off change (as in x4 to x=null). maybe
    >> the illusion of advancing technology (in a hopeful/wishful
    >> self-fulfilling prophesy/mirage way) that we're going through another
    >> turn of the century paradigm shift has folks changing their mindsets
    >> to rallying for in-substantive hype, rather than the tangible or
    >> practical actions. the "available" part has been there for years, so
    >> why not "accepted"? (is ignorance a memory management technique?)
    >>
    >>
    >>> Broadband/always on in the home changes everything.
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> you're right, "always on" changes our daily lives. but that was
    >> always possible (used to leave dial-up on at home 24/7). it has
    >> always been common to be on-line all day for web designers, which
    >> essentially has the same result. and actually, BB's not quite an
    >> improvement itself. (only effects about 1/3 of the transaction).
    >>
    >> judsoN
    >>
    >
  • Jim Andrews | Fri Apr 1st 2005 11:11 p.m.
    > >But isn't this exactly what's done? I can't think of a single program
    > >that's still the same as it was 10 years ago, or am I misunderstanding
    > >you?
    > >
    > >Pall

    How about most email list technology? I realize that there are things like
    Fusetalk and yahoo groups and so on, but haven't the administrative options
    for lists themselves pretty much stayed the same?

    ja
    http://vispo.com
  • Jeremy Zilar | Fri Apr 1st 2005 11:28 p.m.
    instead of looking at the software to change, shouldnt we be looking at
    our need that the software accomplishes, and try to develop our needs,
    our desires?

    All good forms of innovation come from finding a new way to live and
    experience the world.

    I know i get lost these days .. i really dont havr the time to stop,
    step back and look at the caucophony of things happening, because i am
    too busy playing some part in it.

    -jeremy

    Jim Andrews wrote:

    >>>But isn't this exactly what's done? I can't think of a single program
    >>>that's still the same as it was 10 years ago, or am I misunderstanding
    >>>you?
    >>>
    >>>Pall
    >
    >
    > How about most email list technology? I realize that there are things like
    > Fusetalk and yahoo groups and so on, but haven't the administrative options
    > for lists themselves pretty much stayed the same?
    >
    > ja
    > http://vispo.com
    >
    >
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
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    > +
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  • Jeremy Zilar | Fri Apr 1st 2005 11:29 p.m.
    that is really interesting...
    It made me think of the tim Hawkinson piece at the Whitney at the moment.

    However, i wasnt talking about user-focused vs. machine-focused software
    but rahter a debate over the intent behind the development of the software.
    Do we start to develop software based on our economic needs - thus
    teaching the user to work in a particular way, or do we give the user a
    bunch of tools, and see where they take it - and develop the software
    based off the directions they take.

    -jeremy

    I really enjoyed reading it again. I am glad that i found it again.
    Ethan Ham wrote:
    > Jeremy Zilar wrote:
    >
    >
    >>I think the key is to develop the product that teaches adaptability
    >>and
    >>not the end result. Infact, develop is totally the wrong word here.
    >>"Grow" might better used. If you grow a piece of software that frames
    >>the process of it's own growth, rather than focusing the user on the
    >>software as a means to and end result, then you will begin to teach to
    >>a
    >>more adaptable, learning audience.
    >
    >
    > The discussion of user-focused vs. machine-focused software/UI brings pen-computing to mind.
    >
    > For years developers tried to create handwriting recognition software that could learn to a users' particular handwriting style (e.g., the Newton)... but in the end, the first really successful pen-computer (the Pilot) gave up on adapting the the software to the user's needs and instead trained the user to adapt a short-hand that the computer could understand.
    >
    > People are more adaptable than machines.
    > +
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  • Jeremy Zilar | Fri Apr 1st 2005 11:36 p.m.
    I found this essay by Manuel de Landa a couple of years back.
    it is called - MESHWORKS, HIERARCHIES AND INTERFACES
    I think it would go really good with this discussion.

    http://t0.or.at/delanda/meshwork.htm

    -jeremy

    Plasma Studii - judsoN wrote:

    >> For years developers tried to create handwriting recognition software
    >> that could learn to a users' particular handwriting style (e.g., the
    >> Newton)... but in the end, the first really successful pen-computer
    >> (the Pilot) gave up on adapting the the software to the user's needs
    >> and instead trained the user to adapt a short-hand that the computer
    >> could understand.
    >
    >
    >
    > that's be nice if it was the whole story, but think of this goal another
    > way. this assumes "handwriting recognition" is a viable thing outside
    > of a human reader. handwriting is chaos to anything but humans.
    > firstly, it is just fundamentally impossible to teach anything (a monkey
    > or program) to differentiate between writing and discoloration. the
    > Newton experimenting revealed that. there is no straightforward way to
    > comprehend the seemingly infinite variables.
    >
    > neither people nor machines are more or less adaptable, people just have
    > finite perspectives and machines have infinite ones. so it's hard for
    > people to figure out precisely how they narrow it down, to tell the
    > machines. Palm ended up opting for the Graffiti method only because
    > that was at least a lot easier, in fact, the alternative wasn't going to
    > happen.
    > +
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  • Pall Thayer | Sat Apr 2nd 2005 10:51 a.m.
    Well, wouldn't it then be fair to say that that 13 year old kid is
    beginning his/her path to refinement and eloquence. Besides, I don't
    really see that that has anything to do with the discussion at hand.
    Common knowledge doesn't mean that everyone's an expert, just that
    everyone has a relatively good idea about how to but things to use. Like
    the phone. The actual process of directing a call from one place to
    another is very complicated but anyone can make a phone call. It's a
    combination of the tools being easier to use and people knowing
    something about what's going on. So no, I wouldn't hire the 13 year old
    to build a site for my Fortune 500 company even though he/she has a
    homemade, database driven website because it's junk. But it does what
    the 13 year old wants it to do. And the number of 13 year olds with such
    sites is steadily growing which means that what they're doing is slowly
    becoming common knowledge. Once upon a time, only a handfull of people
    knew how to operate an automobile.

    The more people know about technology, the more they demand from it. If
    this weren't the case we'd still be looking at the same old pink and
    paisly websites from ca. '95 and be perfectly content.

    Palli

    Plasma Studii - judsoN wrote:
    >> I think Pall was right earlier when he said "Today, your 13 year old
    >> cousin is likely to be running his/her own database driven website,
    >> written from scratch."
    >> And if notthe average 13yr old,.... the it WILL be the average 13yr
    >> old in 20yrs
    >
    >
    > definitely agree. but don't see that as an improvement at all. the web
    > already has the look/feel of being designed by a 13 year old kid.
    >
    > DIY is often mistaken for instant ability, by sidestepping the skill.
    > the function of learning isn't just to gain difficult-to-obtain
    > knowledge, but to devote time, in which you simultaneously gain
    > "eloquence". It may seem like you pay for "expertise", though ideally
    > we want some kind of eloquence, and may be willing to pay people who put
    > the time in to develop it.
    >

    --
    _______________________________
    Pall Thayer
    artist/teacher
    http://www.this.is/pallit
    http://pallit.lhi.is/panse

    Lorna
    http://www.this.is/lorna
    _______________________________
  • Plasma Studii | Sat Apr 2nd 2005 10:56 a.m.
    >I think Pall was right earlier when he said "Today, your 13 year old
    >cousin is likely to be running his/her own database driven website,
    >written from scratch."
    >And if notthe average 13yr old,.... the it WILL be the average 13yr
    >old in 20yrs

    definitely agree. but don't see that as an improvement at all. the
    web already has the look/feel of being designed by a 13 year old kid.

    DIY is often mistaken for instant ability, by sidestepping the skill.
    the function of learning isn't just to gain difficult-to-obtain
    knowledge, but to devote time, in which you simultaneously gain
    "eloquence". It may seem like you pay for "expertise", though
    ideally we want some kind of eloquence, and may be willing to pay
    people who put the time in to develop it.
  • Pall Thayer | Sun Apr 3rd 2005 5:04 a.m.
    Plasma Studii - judsoN wrote:
    >> Well, wouldn't it then be fair to say that that 13 year old kid is
    >> beginning his/her path to refinement and eloquence.
    >
    >
    > we may hope, but not at all necessarily the case. in practice, rare.
    > most 13 year olds just want the skill as fast as possible. ability and
    > eloquence are entirely independent, but treated as if they were fused.
    >
    > we can still USE a car, without being mechanics or engineers. or we buy
    > one because we can't design them. 100 years later, DIY cars are still
    > not a priority. but manufacturers continually evolve/respond to
    > changing buyers desires. why computers or web design?

    That's a pretty far fetched comparison. It takes lots of extremely
    expensive heavy machinery to build a car. If you already have a
    computer, what does it take to build a website or software? Aside from
    that, I'm not talking about everyone being able to write their own
    software or database driven website, just to be aware of them and their
    capabilities. That's enough for people to start asking, "Can we do
    this?" or, "Gee, wouldn't it be nifty if we could do this?" That's often
    all that's needed to get the ball rolling. If it's a good, sound idea
    then someone with ability will pick it up along the way and do something
    with it. If it all works out, we may have a bit of innovation.

    > so why SHOULD everyone work with this particular aspect of technology,
    > any more than saying every individual SHOULD be a brain surgeon or
    > nuclear physicist or a plumber? (i admit a knee-jerk reaction against
    > DIY brain surgery.)

    I don't know about you, but I had to learn about the human brain in high
    school. I also had to learn about chemistry but I wasn't required to
    take any plumbing courses. But I've picked up a few things along the
    way, it's all pretty much gravity anyway which I had to learn about in
    high school as well. It's becoming increasingly difficult for the
    average person to go a full day without interacting with a computer so
    why shouldn't we have to learn how they work?

    >
    >

    --
    _______________________________
    Pall Thayer
    artist/teacher
    http://www.this.is/pallit
    http://pallit.lhi.is/panse

    Lorna
    http://www.this.is/lorna
    _______________________________
  • Plasma Studii | Sun Apr 3rd 2005 6:21 a.m.
    >Well, wouldn't it then be fair to say that that 13 year old kid is
    >beginning his/her path to refinement and eloquence.

    we may hope, but not at all necessarily the case. in practice, rare.
    most 13 year olds just want the skill as fast as possible. ability
    and eloquence are entirely independent, but treated as if they were
    fused.

    we can still USE a car, without being mechanics or engineers. or we
    buy one because we can't design them. 100 years later, DIY cars are
    still not a priority. but manufacturers continually evolve/respond
    to changing buyers desires. why computers or web design?

    > Like the phone.

    if we look at the phone example, it only became DIY pretty recently.
    it gradually moved from a tool you needed an expert to use, to one
    you could go through an intermediate level person (switch board
    operators) to the present version. long long after the role it would
    take, the way it fundamentally works, had all been ironed out.
    there's been no significant change now that we dial ourselves. we
    still essentially use phones for talking to someone far away.

    around 1903, there was a service you could call and listen to a
    symphony, like a radio show, but before radios. this did not prove
    practical and died out. do we actually need both cursors to change
    and rolled over text to change when we are over a link? probably
    not. but there are so many things that still need to be ironed out,
    that the average joe shmoe with a gloating degree of proficiency
    considers an advancement.

    > I wouldn't hire the 13 year old to build a site for my Fortune 500
    >company even though he/she has a homemade, database driven website
    >because it's junk. But it does what the 13 year old wants it to do.

    so why SHOULD everyone work with this particular aspect of
    technology, any more than saying every individual SHOULD be a brain
    surgeon or nuclear physicist or a plumber? (i admit a knee-jerk
    reaction against DIY brain surgery.)
  • Plasma Studii | Sun Apr 3rd 2005 2:04 p.m.
    pall,

    we may just be talking about the same thing but from totally
    different angles. it occurs to me, to add that this is not about
    wrong/right, whether ordinary people SHOULD be allowed to use the
    tools. rather, which choices would now end up more useful. you may
    be right about everyone being allowed the freedom to design web
    pages, but essentially, the cats out of the bag. there'd be no way to
    de-publicize the world wide web at this point. whether it's the
    right right or a wrong rite, we can all do it. (much to MS's
    chagrin, who keeps trying to make it all proprietary)

    but what path we choose now (i propose) could get us somewhere new.
    may even be called a "wrong" turn by many, but not stagnant and an
    addition to the old, not a replacement. evolution only comes up with
    improvements by constantly trying out innovations though. maybe an
    important first step to getting that ball rolling, is for us to get
    back to earth about what things are innovations, variants or hype.
    (though perhaps we are already of a generation that says surface
    alteration is fundamental.)

    judsoN
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