News and commentary from the cross-platform scripting community.
Mail Starting 5/2/97
er, um... isn't Ticketmaster owned by Paul Allen? Is this just a bunch of corporate legal wanking, or is there something deeper? Why didn't ComputerWorld dig a bit more? (etc.)
From: email@example.com (Will Cate);
Sent at 5/3/97; 10:58:04 PM;
Ticketmaster vs. Microsoft
Go Dave, go.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (John Robert Boynton);
Sent at 5/4/97; 10:50:29 AM;
Re:BBEdit -- writers, designers, geeks, and *editors*
When the BBedit users learn to use automation, things'll be different.
Hey! Don't forget the *editors*. Almost all corporate/commercial sites have people responsible for the words -- filtering out the wrong ones, deciding which documents go in when.
Editors need meta tag software. They need tools for source control, keywords, archiving, and just plain putting the right files in the right place.
Writers, meanwhile are responsible for the blocks: para, head, list tags, and what's inside them. It would be a *good* thing to shield writers from the tags (and shield the tags from the writers).
But: is there a "show-me-no-tags" html editor that doesn't mess with your source? (The word "mess" does not begin to convey the strength of my antipathy toward programs that wantonly *change* what *I* put there.) All a writer needs is a tool that can generate very simple, always correct documents -- no more complicated than a Word memo. Normal, heads, lists, tables for columnar information (not for margin control).
If only Netscape Composer would do that (instead of adding stinking break tags everywhere)....
Anyway, I'm jazzed about your connection to BBEdit.
The strongest claim they have is that the links from Sidewalk are deep into Ticketmaster's site, and therefore skip TM's higher-level customer service stuff. Not surprisingly, there is a very simple solution. TM's servers can redirect any page request coming from Sidewalk to TM's home page, or to a special page for Sidewalk users. Lots of sites (such as subscription-based ones) do this for users coming from the outside.
From: email@example.com (David T. Pierson);
Sent at 5/3/97; 12:01:01 PM;
Ticketmaster suing MS comments
You briefly mentioned this issue at DaveNet Live in NY. I think this lawsuit says a lot about the thinking behind many commercial approaches to the web, and it doesn't fully grasp the utility and flexibility of the web. Imagine if, for every site we visited, we had to go through the home page first in order to get down to whatever level we were looking for. Ugh.
> Apple has carried this burden, inelegantly ...
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Philip J. Robar);
Sent at 5/3/97; 2:41:29 AM;
Re:Can Apple Survive?
Agreed, at least about the inelegantly. But, if Apple shouldn't and doesn't create the personal computing future then who will? Unless someone provides a vision for the future of the user experience the computer industry has a very limited future. Clearly Microsoft (and I'm not an MS basher) hasn't claimed this role. Commercial UNIX companies, with the exception of NeXT, have repeatedly shown that they're barely or less than competent when it comes to the user experience - even SGI's desktop is underwhelming. Linux desktops are getting prettier and in some cases (Caldera comes to mind) they are close to being as good as Microsoft's, but there's no innovation going on there either. Perhaps Be? I'll know better after next weekend's developer conference, but what I've seen and heard from them so far leads me to believe that they are still trying to get their version of today's user experience smoothed out, and I've heard no indication from them that they are planning on innovating in this area.
The web'ifed desktops that are starting to show up are interesting, but integration is not innovation.
A couple of my friends, also software engineers like myself, argue that in the future the computer will disappear - ala smart devices. While there is certainly a great deal of money to be made doing that work, I would argue that there is still a place for the general purpose computer in the future. Sun made a short movie a few years ago, called Starfire, that showed a day in the life of a business type whose "computer" was literally a very high resolution desktop that featured object manipulation via gesture, ubiquous telephony and video, and practical AI. At the very least it provided a direction for the evolution of the user experience as we know it today. The Sun I work for is incapable of creating this user experience and in fact seems quite uninterested in trying, but there must be someone out there who is at least thinking in this direction, if not something more radical. If not then I guess it's time to start jumping from startup to startup until I can cash out and find something more interesting to do with my life.
You might want to check out a great little book 'On Having No Head', by D. E. Harding, ISBN: 0140190430, published by Arkana. You can find it at http://www.amazon.com/
From: email@example.com (James Petry);
Sent at 5/3/97; 8:30:37 AM;
Re:"Proof that you exist..."
It's a wonderful account of one person's exploration of perception versus conventional wisdom, written concisely and with a sense of humour.
Check out "elemental mind" by Nick Herbert - looking at consciousness from the perspectives of quantum reality, written by a nuclear physicist (and overall great human being, I just started working out with him in Boulder Creek - it happened after I discovered and loved the book ;-) ).
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Harald Striepe);
Sent at 5/2/97; 5:45:07 PM;
Re: Proof that you Exist
You may also remember Dr. Sacks from the movie "Awakenings" with Robin Williams as the very thinly disguised Dr. Sacks and Robert DeNiro as one of his patients. He has also been featured on a couple of episodes of "60 Minutes". He is a truly remarkable person, and one of the few people (I feel) who really *understand* how little we know about the brain and the mind.
From: email@example.com (Alwin Hawkins);
Sent at 5/2/97; 1:52:38 PM;
Re:"Dr. Oliver Sacks"
Now you know why I do what I do!
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Preston Holmes);
Sent at 5/2/97; 11:03:05 AM;
Re: Proof that you Exist
It's amazing that even in this academic environment where myself and colleagues often discuss the above miracles in terms of electrical and chemical signals that the bigger picture is often out of our grasp and therefor continues to instill amazement.
The stack of biology is Sooooo deep. If you were to step into every subroutine of the feats that your body accomplishes, you quickly get lost. The eye composed of a retina, the retina composed of photoreceptors, connected to ganglion cells, that process some visual information before sending it to the thalamus, which sends it to the cortex. And within each of those steps there are another hundred levels of depth. Evolution has created a machine more complex than all the code in the world combined.
But as you say we live with this dichotomy, we have a soul that is tied to this body but at the same time we feel independent of it. The Heaven's Gate cult's notion of a "container" might have taken this to the extreme. But there is much of our persona that is tied to our bodies. Fear and anger are very much tied to chemicals that change our heart and breathing rates.
I'm involved in the sensory biology of fishes, and many fish have senses that you and I can only imagine. These fishes have arrays of sensory cells over the skin of their body. Some can detect fine movements and pressures in the water, while others detect the electrical fields generated by other animals. These are no doubt integrated into the perceptual world of these animals just as sight and smell are for us.
Have you read any Oliver Sacks? If not I think you would love him. His is a clinical neurologist and an excellent writer. By examining the world where the mind has been damaged, usually from some sort of specific injury, he grapples with what in a healthy brain is responsible for some aspect of our human nature.
I found a short sample at:
Sacks, Oliver: The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.