Watching the video of Dr. Kay's keynote speech "Doing with Images Makes Symbols"
He introduced a video overview of a system develop by Doug Engelbart which was some research on the value proposition of a system that an information worker (did he coin this term?) could work with all day in a very collaborative way. What was interesting about this video segment is that the system Engelbart described not only showed information in a tabular format but also a simplistic graphical work flow representation of how this information is linked. (non-linearly) I can see how someone would look at this and say "a-ha" it's a collaborative blackboard! But one of the points I derived from this is that how the information is linked (work flow) is every bit as important as the information itself. Because this system was so advanced it's easy to lose something as important as this because it's how we do everything in our lives. From waking up in the morning we follow our morning "routine" (work flow) and some have more hygiene related nodes than others (haha).
Then Dr. Kay showed us a segment on a pen based computer designed for economists who needed to compute. The pen based system was designed because economists do not like the keyboard interface so a programming language (work flow representation) had to be designed that could graphically represent the flow of information that represented their computing tasks (work flows). The reason I bring this up is because there is no way to currently represent how our information is linked in a collaborative way. Sure we can create a folder structure that has documents and other informational assets that represent very loosely how these information assets are linked. We can create spreadsheets that link to other informational assets that could link to other informational assets and essentially create a tabular (not graphical) representation of a work flow. But where is the graphical representation of this data? In flowchart programs? Can we send a flowchart that links to snippets of text from various web sites and documents and drawings? Can we then give this flowchart to a group of user interface screens to represent a work flow? Another interesting aspect of how information is linked is that they are contextual, some pieces of information may be represented a certain way if you are describing a concept, these same pieces may be represented differently if we are performing a task with it. So perhaps one could say that information is represented based on our "perspective" of that information.
The reason I post this here is that because I think that Croquet and related implementations are going to be part of the future landscape of computing. I think it is the realization of Engelbart's truly collaborative system but let's not forget the other important piece which is the context (or perspective) of the user and that how information is linked is every bit as important as the information itself. Thank you for your time.
josgraha [at] gmail [dot] com
Have you seen the work of Mark McCahill and his team at the University of Minnesota?
It's so simple that the power can easily be missed. I think of it is as a 3D Zoom User Interface, in which you arrange stuff in a geometric relationship that matches how you think of it, and in which distance iconifies. In addition, you have portals that allow you to go deeper on a particular subject, and connecting lines that show relationships (and which can also be used for navigation).
One difference between what Kay mentioned of Negroponte's form of ZUE vs Jeff Raskin's later work, is that Raskin also had an out-of-model search. McCahill is working on that as well - albeit currently only for objects explicitly "published" to a relational database with explicitly defined metadata. (McCahill and Lombardi have some early papers (on the Croquet site) that explores the publishing model a bit more.)
I'm not sure I get all the subtleties of what you're saying, so bear with me if I'm missing a key point.
On Feb 26, 2006, at 11:06 AM, Joe Graham wrote:
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