What’s Next?

What’s Next?

OK, so this may be an under construction thing, but oh well. Some of the topics I plan to get wordy about: The shape of the future: nanotechnology, artificial life, and humanity’s destiny Science fiction malnutrition: where is the good SF? Why can’t programs ship on time? What about nonmonogamy? FAQs and hotlists: the leverage of net writing. Links and the Web: the abstraction of interest. Backlink page. How out can you get on the Net? The truth comes out, when it can. Is it exposure to write to the whole world, or is it protection? Storm chasing. A hobby is born? Where will you be in 1999? The whole eclipse-laden saga. How long does everything take, anyway? Why the future is further away than you think. Give me a new kind of lever, and I’ll move everybody: is technology the best way to change the world? The Big Idea: hypertext for knowledge augmentation… revisited Drucker’s notion of the new American civil society, the end of the savior state, the end of cultural liberation… personal liberation next? Green awareness? ??? Mental loops, cognitive distortions, depression (personal experience), and the deep mud of our minds, which we can trample into new shapes (prozac vs ecstasy, physical/mental effects on these loops) Building cyberbeings: applied simulation architecture, feedback loops, artificial consciousness Is education the deep answer when tech simply removes...
Outbound Strands

Outbound Strands

Yet Another Hotlist? Aaaaahhhh!!!! But as you may already know, links are a quick way to give something back to spiders stepping through your page. Until I actually have some more stuff worth reading, enjoy. There aren’t many commonly-known sites here; if you want something like that, go to Yahoo and surf from there. Books come first. Why don’t more people put recently-read books on their hotlists? Or you can hop to the Magazines, Music or Links sections. Books Here are some of the best books I’ve read recently. If you enjoyed any of these as well, let me know if you have any other suggestions. Good books are hard to find, and hard books are good to find. I say a lot about some of them. Periodically, good books provide insight. As of mid-1999 I’ve just read: Robert Jay Kaplan, The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide. Very thought-provoking, insightful, and disturbing, particularly in his discussion of how a genocidal culture in many ways becomes, inevitably, a suicidal culture. Philip K. Dick, Martian Time-Slip and The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. Dick captures schizophrenia in words like no other author I’ve ever read. Very chilling and compelling. Nicholson Baker, The Fermata. It took me a long time to get around to this book and then I burned through it in no time, as it seemed (to me) to be a pretty light read. Rather odd how the main character was so out of touch with his own alienation. I was glad the book ended as it did, for reasons I can’t discuss without giving it...
The Curse of Xanadu

The Curse of Xanadu

The Curse of Xanadu is an article in the June ’95 issue of Wired magazine, about a project I was involved with in the early 90s. I am mentioned near the end of the article. There is one quote of mine that makes me outright grit my teeth. It was pretty stupid of me to declare “it doesn’t matter how bad your back-end is.” Of course it matters. It matters a LOT. Let me get a clue next time I get interviewed nationally. Another misstatement was my saying that “a centralized system was no solution to anything.” Xanadu was intrinsically built to be as decentralized as the Web is now–each server was potentially autonomous, and could gain and lose connections to other servers. If anything Xanadu was technically more decentralized than the Web, since it provided for local adaptive document caching. At the time, I thought that the Xanadu folks wanted to keep the data structures a secret (and therefore keep centralized control over Xanadu), but I have recently learned that quite a few actually wanted to disseminate the deemed-proprietary algorithms. The clue I most needed was to moderate my emotions. The interview with Gary was the first time in about fourteen months that I’d talked about Xanadu, and some frustration came up and spilled right out. Gary ran with it. I wind up sounding like a golden boy who knew better than all the fanatic Xanadudes. It’s not like that. I learned an enormous amount during my time on that project, and I may, in a few months, be working again with some of the ex-Xanadu programmers. I...
Autodesk Animator Studio

Autodesk Animator Studio

The last software project I worked on was Autodesk’s 24-bit Windows animation and paint program, Animator Studio. Some random tidbits about that: Here’s a review from Infoworld. I used it to do all the cropping, resizing, and file conversion for the pictures on these pages. It works. People are generally using it. Some people are very unhappy with it. I feel basically very good about the whole endeavor, because I haven’t had a lot of experience in finishing projects and shipping products. Why not? Well, that story is told elsewhere. If you want to see what Animator Studio can do, here’s a demo reel from 1990 – originally recorded on VHS and intended to loop in the...