- It’s enormously valuable to simply follow your curiosity—and follow it for a really long time, even if it doesn’t seem to be leading anywhere in particular.
- Surprisingly big breakthrough ideas come when you bridge two seemingly unconnected areas.
You don’t need to write for anyone else. You don’t need to share, or even keep it. You just need the act of it. Writing is a particle collider for reality and the imagination. And new discoveries are the result.
(That’s why I write here, of course. It’s how I think.)
I love the thoughtfulness that Sally put into her personal write-up of dConstruct.
A wonderful look at the kind of links we didn’t get on the World Wide Web.
From the memex and Xanadu right up to web mentions, this ticks all my boxes!
In 1990, the science fiction writer Douglas Adams produced a “fantasy documentary” for the BBC called Hyperland. It’s a magnificent paleo-futuristic artifact, rich in sideways predictions about the technologies of tomorrow.
I remember coming across a repeating loop of this documentary playing in a dusty corner of a Smithsonian museum in Washington DC. Douglas Adams wasn’t credited but I recognised his voice.
Hyperland aired on the BBC a full year before the World Wide Web. It is a prophecy waylaid in time: the technology it predicts is not the Web. It’s what William Gibson might call a “stub,” evidence of a dead node in the timeline, a three-point turn where history took a pause and backed out before heading elsewhere.
Here, Claire L. Evans uses Adams’s documentary as an opening to dive into the history of hypertext starting with Bush’s Memex, Nelson’s Xanadu and Engelbart’s oNLine System. But then she describes some lesser-known hypertext systems…
In 1985, the students at Brown who encountered Intermedia had never seen anything like it before in their lives. The system laid a world of information at their fingertips, saved them hours at the library, and helped them work through tangles of thought.
Look out someone else’s window somewhere in the world.
There’s something indescribably lovely about this. It’s like a kind of positive voyeurism.
I lost a lot of time to this.
This looks like an interesting hypertexty tool.
After two decades in tech, I realise phones and social media won’t be going away, so we work with them. My take is that I now need to seek positive digital tools that connect more of us to the non-digital world and really benefit our lives.
On the 50th anniversary of Vannevar Bush’s As We May Think, Tim Berners-Lee delivered this address in 1995.
To a large part we have MEMEXes on our desks today. We have not yet seen the wide scale deployment of easy human interfaces for editing hypertext and making links. (I find this constantly frustrating, but always assume will be cured by cheap commercial products within the year.)
Videos for the whole first season of James Burke’s brilliant Connections TV series.
Internet Archive and chill.
When it seems like all our online activity is being tracked by Google, Facebook, and co., it comforts me to think of all the untracked usage out there, from shared (or fake) Facebook accounts to the good ol’ sneakernet:
Packets of information can be distributed via SMS and mobile 3G but also pieces of paper, USB sticks and Bluetooth.
Connectivity isn’t binary. Long live the papernet!
How the printing press led to the microscope, and chlorination transformed women’s fashion—Steven Johnson channels James Burke.
This is quite an astounding piece of writing. Robert Lucky imagines the internet of things mashed up with online social networking …but this was published in 1999!
This remains one of the greatest pieces of documentary footage ever filmed.
The web demonstrates its loosely-joined nature yet again; a photo of mine from a science hack/design fiction exhibit results in Dave discovering his family crest.
An extremely addictive bit of fun with small world network theory as applied to music.
Dirk is back. The interconnectedness of all things returns as in App Engine form.
Browse trough your twitter friends, and your friends' friends, and your friends' friends' friends...
An ongoing comic on Flickr where the subject matter comes from the "missed connections" posts on Craigslist.