Thursday, September 29, 2011

Assignment 3: Ted Nelson, Ken Perlin, Hypertext, and More.

A File Structure for the Complex:

- Nelson coined "Hypertext", as well as the original concept. It is noted however that it differs from what we generally acknowledge as hypertext today (the internet, with its "chunk-style" info setup, where one static link might lead to another and so on).

-Starts by pointing out the need for a dynamic system of file storage/retrieval, one that can be shifted/rearranged to suit a number of needs at any given moment.

-Proposed solution: Evolutionary List File, or ELF, to be written in PRIDE.

-Began work in 1960, ultimately intent on the Dream file, a sort of file that would hold information just the way the user wanted, in a very user-specific order/layout. Makes sense so far, I absolutely can't stand having to pack up an in-progress workspace, only to have to come back to the project or whatever it is and then unpack again, and take the time to settle back into that familiar zone of comfort/convenience.

-Obstacles: Cost, sense of need, design - actually making the thing

-Relating back to the worksace idea, this seems like it'd strive to be an ultimate workspace tracker, keeping tabs on certain steps the user's taken to make the progress that he or she has, and being able to recall to any previous decision at the push of button, to potentially branch out on a separate idea from there. -Totally hypertextual.

Oh Hey, Some More Ted Nelson: Nelson Wiki

-born in 1937, he is a sociologist, philosopher, and pioneer of information technology

-founded Project Xanadu in 1960, intent on creating an easy to use computer network

-the project never quite came to be. Though it seems as though Nelson was more concerned with the ideology behind it, as it is noted that he still advocates it.

-Co-founded IBM as a retailer, and eventually influenced them to put out their own PC.

-Working on the ZigZag data structure, which seems a bit derivative of some of his original ideas from Xanadu.

-Coined "Populitism", relating to the idea of authority within a writing space should be local and contingient

Nelson's Hyperland:

-also a poet

- as such, i guess its interesting to point out how much the man enjoys the word "hither".

-points out that the world wide web was not in fact his idea, contrary to what some have said of him.

Nelson's Literary Machines:

-Literary Machines - Nelson's first book, published in 1980.

-Delves greatly into Nelsons's Term "Hypertext", and his Project Xanadu.

-Discusses his theories on "tumblers", "transclusion", and "microPayments".

-The book itself is nonlinear, and can be followed in most any order, so long, I assume, as there is some logical thought behind the chosen order, in terms of "Hey, reading x just made me think of y, let me go and look further into y". Then again, something along the lines of "Hey, while reading about x, y, totally unrelated, came to mind, let me look further into that" seems feasible as well.

Eccescopy, Part 1

-Starts with the idea of "The game is in there, you just can't open the box yet". An interesting sentiment, which pretty much puts forth the notion of setting a goal for the future, and working towards that goal. In this case, the goal was Sims 4, despite Sims 2 still being in production. I guess it also goes to say that having some tangible reminder of your goal is also something important, for the sake of motivation, etc.

-Eccescopy - Ecce stands for eye centered computer environment.

-An eccescope, Perlin says, is a device that enables the user to see an alternate world created within the computer cloud, alongside what is seen in the real world. Augmented Reality.

Eccescopy, Part 2

-one example: Video wherein ideas are shown to be pulled out of thin air and manipulated.

- generally the idea behind augmented reality seems consist of being able to manipulate and interact with images, information, etc, as it is visually represented (not actually there/physically intagible) by some sort of computing technology, whether its a smartphone, through the lens of a computer, projector, etc.

-most interesting to me was the Magic Projection Demo, as it brings the AR into a realm in which many people can interact with it all within the same instance, as opposed to each viewer requiring their own personal viewer.

Eccescopy, Part 3

-Here, Perlin states that an early example of eccescopy can be seen in the original Star Wars films, where characters look at what I originally perceived as being holograms, or projections of images into a shared physical space, similarly to how people watch a television, only the image is projected into thin air.

-Speak of the Devil, (the devill having been referred to in the previous post) Perlin also points out the idea of the eccescope not disrupting the shared physical space, meaning the user/viewer doesn't require his/her own apparatus to view whatever it is thats being shown.

Eccescopy, Part 4

-Holodust eccescopy - a more physical take on the idea of thin-air projection. (Physical being in reference to their being actual particles in the air). The premise here is that a cloud of particles is precisely lit up to create the image of something being projected in thin air.

- Points out that the Heliodisplay technology is not in fact eccescopic, as there isn't interactivity to it. No that the previous example can necessarily be physically fiddled with, but the distinction here lies in the fact that the Holodust renders a multi-dimensional image that can be observed from different angles, where as the Heliodisplay is simply a flat image, and will remain the same no matter how it is viewed.

Eccescopy, Part 10

-Finally the idea of individual eccescopes.

-Perlin mentions that if the eccesope is to be made into something for everyone in everyday life, it must be something unobtrusive, that wouldn't interfere too much with things like being able to make eye contact.

Eccescopy, Part 14

- There are plenty of things to take into consideration when working on technology that will potentially change the way we live our every day lives, such as community, and how we will end up interacting with others because of it.

-Nonetheless, Perlin refers to his previous model of the Sims, though now the Sims 5, and how not quite having the means to achieve your ends yet in no way means that new ends should cease to be thought of.

Eccescopy, Part 18

-Privacy in an ambiscopic world.

-Is there such a thing anymore, now that everyone has the ability to record another?

-Perlin points out there is a good and a bad side to everyone now having some sort of a recording device at the ready.

-Bad: As mentioned, no one really has any privacy anymore, when it comes to public sphere.

-Good: Uses the example of the anti-war protest, and how such injustice would be nearly impossible nowadays, as there is more of a public-generated source of info with which others can compare that which they simply hear or read about in the sometimes heavly edited/agenda-oriented mainstream.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Week 2: Favorite Links


This depicts Nathan "Flutebox" Lee as he plays a flute while simultaneously beatboxing. Also depicted is "Beardyman", another incredibly talented beatboxer, showing off his skills.

I found this video to be particularly interesting as it shows how someone can totally break the conventions of something like playing a certain instrument, and reinvent them by introducing a new element that wouldn't normally be thought to mix well at all, introducing a new medium even.
The same sort of goes for Beardyman. -It's amazing to see someone not only emulating, but making their own noises and beats that usually require some sort of mixing/computer skill, again, breaking convention.

Paint drop sculptures

Still photos taken of paint drops as they react to vibrations in sound, creating the image of a solid sculpture of sorts.
Interesting to see the combination of the the various mediums (paint, sound, photo, tech) coming together to create something that wouldn't quite be perceptible as such to someone who might not know what the components are.

Assignment 2: Borges Articles

The Garden of Forking Paths:

-A link to the story discussed in the previous post.

The Garden of Forking Paths Wiki:

-This article seems to focus mostly on Borges' work as hypertextual, and how arguably, it has paved the way for most other hypertext to come, including modern examples such as the Choose your own adventure books, and the novel Hopscotch. Reading about both of these brought to mind some personal examples, including the Fable videogame series (among quite a few others) that offers the player more than one way to play the game, where it allows the player to make various moral choices, which ultimately affect the ending. Mark Danielewski's House of Leaves also comes to mind (coincidentally enough, it happens to be by the same publishing company as Hopscotch, Pantheon), where there are essentially two stories being told at the same time (they're related for the most part), with tons of footnotes. -while the two alternate throughout the novel, it is ultimately up to the reader to decide if they want to follow one and then the other, or if they want to try and make sense of everything simultaneously. I personally need two bookmarks..

Borges Wiki:

-Born in Argentina in 1899, Borges was a writer, essayist, librarian, concerning himself with the themes of dreams, labyrinths, time, all of which are evident throughout Garden of Forking paths, among a lot of his other work apparently.

-Opposed communism, believed in the strength and significance of the individual self. Interesting to see how this might connect to his concerning himself so much with people being able to see as many various outcomes as possible for themselves.

Borges Biographical Sketch:

-This article goes more into detail regarding his childhood, emphasizing how he (along with his family felt like outsiders) starting from when he'd moved to Palermo, perpetuated by his "bookish" tendencies. It is pointed out that this class difference would influence his later writings.

-Very much into writing and even critical thinking from a young age, making observations such the ones mentioned above. Seems due in part to his parents being educated.

Modern word - Borges:

-This site seems to be the product of all that is J.L. Borges, including everything from references pertaining to "Books he never wrote" to sources to purchase his works, etc.

-One thing I found particularly interesting here was the one-liner heading the criticisms page, as it reads: "to refute him is to become contaminated with unreality". -Suggesting that there really isn't much that could go wrong by just taking the time to even think or consider any sort of alternative, when it comes to the now, what it will be, and what else it could be.

-Interestingly enough, the aforementioned House of Leaves is cited as being influenced by Borges:


- For one thing, this seems like great tribute to Borges, with a handful of authors paying their utmost respects to him, saying things like even his "driest paragraph is somehow compelling."

- His concise yet ever-meaningful prose is praised for the ways in which it engages its readers and provokes thought.

Borges and the Foreseeable Future/ Borges and the Web:

-Here, the idea is proposed that Borges played a great role in "preconfiguring the world wide web" as we know it, with his notions of infinite libraries and and never-ending encyclopedias, and overall endless streams of information. using examples such as wikipedia, where anyone can contribute, have their facts checked, check others' facts, and just constantly document things.

Borge's Buenos Aires:

- A travel article that explores Buenos Aires within the scope of Borges and his life there, pointing out places/areas he used to frequent as well as things like exhibits and other sites in his honor. The article also goes out of its way to quote Borges in talking about how he'd established his own sort of phantasmal presence in the city throughout the years, pointing out certain areas where he's experienced certain emotions, happenings, etc.

On Exactitude in Science:

-When first reading through this story, I thought I had somehow made the silly mistake of interpreting it as the cartographers having made a map literally the same size as the empire. Then I realized that this idea being silly seemed to have been part of the point of the story itself. Here, Borges pretty much comments on how there may be no point to trying to replicate or represent something with complete accuracy, detail for detail, because at that point, why not just experience the original?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Assignment 1: The Garden of Forking Paths

The Garden of Forking Paths
by Jorge Luis Borges

-Right away (starting in the intro at least), there seems to be a prevalent idea of innovation being somewhat directly related to Thomas Kuhn's concept of divergence vs. convergence, when it comes to the innovators themselves. -Where those that diverge from the norm cannot quite be left to their own devices, as there wouldn't be too much order, or anything to follow, though at the same time, those that converge after all, cannot be left to stagnate.

-1941 - Borge proposes the idea that there are multiple ways to read a novel.

-Story of the German Soldier desperately trying to escape what he thought to be his fate (something that he took as a given, or norm), by thinking of a plan and following it sort of on the fly. I find that this exemplifies the idea of diverging from the norm, and that which is expected, to help eventually point to something new and unheard of, all the while using preconceived knowledge (like the trick to labyrinths) to aid him on his way there.

-Interestingly relevant quote: "I felt myself to be, for an unknown period of time, an abstract perceiver of the world"(32).

-The idea of the infinite book: What comes to mind is something that doesn't quite have a cap on it, something that can always be added to, edited, updated, what else have you, with more knowledge. Something like the internet today, maybe?

-Moreover though, it would seem that the infinite book refers more to the idea of a figurative (though somewhat very real) web of potential paths and subsequent realities that exist, just by thinking "what if..?"