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#linking-together
Title
# linking-together
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Ivan Reese

06/05/2023, 4:26 AM
Addendum to the above, this PDF on the Dynamicland site. Starts with a bang.
Nobody asked for the invention of the graphical user interface. It wasn’t on any national research agenda. There was no demand from users — they were a small cadre of professionals using computing for specialized technical tasks, and accepted command-driven textual interfaces as simply what it meant to use a computer. There was no demand from the public — most people never expected to touch a computer in their lives.
The concepts around directly manipulating information arranged spatially on a screen were invented unbidden by a small group of visionaries, particularly in the research groups of Doug Engelbart and Alan Kay in the 1960s and 1970s. They believed that computing could be more than just number crunching, that it could serve as a medium for all people to see and discuss ideas, if only those ideas could be represented in visible, manipulable forms.
I haven't read the rest of the PDF yet, but it looks to go into a fair bit more detail about their vision for the "21st Century Science Lab" than what was hinted at in the video.
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Personal Dynamic Media

06/05/2023, 5:00 AM
It is remarkable to me that someone who seems to be such a fan and student of Alan Kay does not make use of dynamic media to share their new and original ideas. With PDFs and videos, the person receiving the message must attempt to recreate a model of the idea in their own head, and cannot interrogate the message itself with any questions. On the other hand, when you give the person to whom you are communicating an executable simulation of your idea, they can play with it, modify it, run it with different initial conditions, see how it responds in different situations, and thereby acquire a more complete, experiential, and intuitive understanding of the idea you are attempting to communicate. The more complex and dynamic the idea is, the greater the benefit of using dynamic media. I cannot fathom why Victor publishes PDFs and videos instead of code.
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Jan Ruzicka

06/05/2023, 7:35 AM
@Personal Dynamic Media I’d say there are mainly two reasons. First, it’s pretty hard to create an interactive simulation of your idea. Sometimes, text is just more effective. Often, a simulation can be underwhelming whereas the reader’s imagination might conceive something grander. Second, Bret doesn’t consider himself finished and fears that if he releases just about any part of the actual technical solution, that will become “set in stone”. Let’s be honest, most programmers today aren’t used to modifying third-party artefacts. They rather take it as given, and work-around what they dislike about them. This is exactly what happened to e.g. Smalltalks (as Alan Kay points out, he was disappointed that ST stopped changing after they “released” it).
(of course, it’s somewhat ironic that the PDF talks about openness of models, knowledge, programs, etc., but Dynamicland is far from open; maybe they fear that a reduced version of Dynamicland might be more economically/socially stable, in which case, I fear if Dynamicland becomes widespread at all, these romantic intentions of Bret’s will still be appreciated only by few)
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Naveen Michaud-Agrawal

06/05/2023, 9:52 PM
I don't think they've ever turned anyone away from visiting DynamicLand
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wtaysom

06/06/2023, 7:13 AM
Yeah, it more seems to be wanting to get away from some of the weirdness characteristic of online interaciton.
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Jan Ruzicka

06/06/2023, 7:23 AM
Well, visiting Dynamicland can get quite expensive for some people (talking about >700 dollars just for the flight). I understand their reasons (both philosophical and pragmatic), but still it's a little disappointing.
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Naveen Michaud-Agrawal

06/06/2023, 12:41 PM
That's fair, but I think the idea is you can't really understand DynamicLand just from the code/software alone, since it's trying to simulate computation everywhere. So without building a similar setup the goals and ideas would be misunderstood
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Ivan Reese

06/06/2023, 1:47 PM
There's also a strong emphasis on the community, culture, shared learning, being together in the space, etc. Can't put that on GitHub.
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wtaysom

06/07/2023, 11:27 AM
I agree about the limitations @Jan Ruzicka. Dynamicland finally made sense to me by imagining the status quo (Git, etc.) as such a strong attractor that they felt it necessary to blast into an entirely different direction.
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Zach Potter

06/12/2023, 3:21 PM
😭 relatable
(and to contribute to some way in the above convo) I imagine the audience for this PDF are investors, who might be more interested in the vision rather than getting hands on. Though I agree for present company, being able to experience the vision would be amazing