Sunday, September 23, 2007

What goes around, comes around!

In the the fall of 1978 I sat in this comfortable Eames lounge chair, and with the same thumb controls that I now have on my laptop, "flew" through the amazing information spaces that Richard Bolt and Nick Negroponte had built at the MIT Architecture Machine Group. A full report on this visionary innovation is contained in the MIT archives as a downloadable pdf. You can get a copy of the full report here. (1) Scroll down until you see this image and select the download.

It is worth reading, since a good deal of the interface designs for the original Macintosh and for Microsoft Windows that followed it came from a visit by Bill Atkinson, a key member of the Macintosh team, to MIT after they had already "JOBBED" the design for the Macintosh from their visits to the ALTOS computer lab at Xerox PARC. A bit of history of the evolution of the PC/MAC user interfaces that is not widely known.

The vision of the SDMS persists today in many of the visual interfaces we use to navigate spatially from an image space we have become familiar with, using the image "map" to orient our deeper dive into the data it "contains".

In my first post on this blog (2) I outlined my thoughts about the combination of image maps with multimedia databases using visual maps as a way to compress the time for searching the the Web. google has delivered a great example in google maps, and we now need a way to do this with "non-geographic" maps.

Here is a visual clip from the SDMS document showing how the guys at MIT visualized the "nested" spaces of their remarkable system.

Today, with the experience of 30 years to guide us, we are able to encapsulate the features MIT envisioned in their SDMS labs in an easy to use , "embeddable" browser widget . We can now re-create their vision with simple user tools for "authoring" nested levels of structure ( Frameworks) like those shown in the image above, linking these Frameworks through continously refreshable, syndicated feeds of information from the vast reaches of the Web.

From the perspective of 30 years of living in the increasingly visual and powerful digital world of computers and communications technologies, and now able to enjoy them through the World Wide Web, I can see that the vision the guys at MIT Architecture Machine Group innovated being made available today to anyone with a laptop and a web browser. ( and with a Safari browser widget for iPhone aficcianados)

I will soon be able to share my frameworks and their related image map widgets with anyone on the web, and better yet, through global conversations, enable anyone who wishes to do so to add the collaborative value of the "wisdom of crowds" to our sharable knowledge by passing these widgets around and adding their own 2 cents worth.

Back to the future!!

(1) Speech Interface Group - Papers

(2) Thoughts Illustrated: TI - first example the thoughts of Doug Engelbart

Friday, September 21, 2007

Too many ripples in the pond?

In a previous post I pointed out David Armano's observations about Social Media Fragmentation which David pictured in the graphic shown below.

Thoughts Illustrated: Multiplicity Anyone? Influence Ripples -Social Media Fragmentation [090307+armano.jpg]

This morning, another "friendly" ripple appeared on my screen suggesting that I view the YouTube Battle at Kruger, an amateur video of a combat between a pride of lions, a herd of buffalo and some really honking crocodiles along a muddy stream bank in Africa. The guy who sent me the link is a friend from the "real world" who intrigued me enough with some trick questions that he included in his email that I just had to view the video.

The video, which I have embedded below, has now been the subject of over 2.5 million hours of viewing time by 17 million viewers, and consumed just as many hours of network bandwidth on YouTube.

I did watch it, out of deference to my friend's recommendation, but it got me to thinking about my ROA( Return on Attention)

In these days where attention is a scarce resource, and our social network "friends" send continuous ripples like this 9 minute video our way, how do we manage to gain some control over the cacophony of the online world and yet maintain our social network relationships. How can we "tune" our receivers to filter out important signals from the overwhelming noise of the Web?

With apologies for dropping another pebble in the pond, the Battle at Kruger is on your screen below:

Monday, September 10, 2007

"filtering on the way out"- David Weinberger

Under the "covers" of Blogger, Picasa has been automatically collecting the images I use in the TI blog. Today I reviewed the 120 images collected by Picasa, giving me a "map of cognition" spanning the illustrations I have used to illuminate my posts over the past 14 months.

The review of this map of cognition was triggered by my attempt to understand a key point in David Weinberger's book Everything is Miscellaneous (my acronym E=M)

Step 1 - above - depicts my review of the Picasa image collection using a drawing by Barcelona sketch artist Joan Mas from her sketch book on GTD which I found last year courtesy of Karen Bennett.

Step2 -From the miscellaneous(but remixable/reconstructable) Thoughts Illustrated image collection in Picasa, I selected the one below also drawn by Joan Mas, which I then linked backThoughts Illustrated: GTD -Because getting organized should be fun.

Now there must be a way to connect the "pipes" of Picasa and Blogger to enable me to grok my TI archives visually - and engage with David in conversation about his filtering concept (p 103 Everything is Miscellaneous - E=M) using images to express my thoughts and to enable this while I am "IN" blogger! ( As of May 3, 2008 this function is not yet enabled and may take a google API hacker to create it)

It would show the power of E= M more effectively if I could make the link to p 103 while I was posting this - and even more effective a "reconstruction" of my TI archive if I could link to this post on CPA automatically.Thoughts Illustrated: The Creative Tension of CPA

I wonder if this RSS-able collection of links could be dragged and dropped onto a Grazr Widget and serve as a conversation "platform" for asking David - what do you mean by that statement? Is my excursion through my own archival material filtering on the way out- or as I am led to conclude - is it like this......?

Step 1 - Panning - Scan the image collection from TI posts
Step 2 - Zooming- Find the Joan Pas image I posted on GTD and Conversation
Step 3 - Linking - Reconstructing from the TI reverse chronological archive ( blogsearch)
Step 4 - Posting - Creating this new blog post - starting the conversation
Step 5 - Notifying - Sending David a notice of this post
Step 6 - Waiting - Hoping that David will respond and comment (conversation)

If E=M text was digital and searchable, it would begin to make the concept of networking David's book much more useful. because the conversations that can be stimulated and peer produced from E=M readers can add significant value in helping David's central memes survive and find utility in our complex world. (This would also be true if David Allen's GTD was distibuted in ebook form for linkage and mashups)

Finally, to give thanks to the original connection to Joan Mas images, the original link was from Karen Bennett Picture It Solved - a visual approach to thinking
I was pleased to see Karen and her new husband at the Vizthink conference in January.

Note:Misspelling of Joan Mas in this post has been corrected from "Pas" to "Mas" wherever the misspelling occured in the original post Sorry Joan.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A Brief Message - twitter vs blogger?

Although this image is from a new blog on design, it could certainly apply to the dilemma of continuous partial attention (CPA) and from the punch line "short is in", it would appear that microblogging as in Twitter meets the criteria outlined above.

My take is that Return on Attention (ROA) thrives on "short is in" and that pithy text and powerful images deliver content in the most effective way, but my experience to date with Twitter is very mixed.

I need is a way to filter the incoming flood so that it raises the signal above the noise. Maybe my conversation with Adam Green of Grazr this afternoon will shed some light on how to manage microblogs along with all the other social networking stuff.

PS this post would have exceeded the Twitter 140 character limit by the second sentence. If short is in, maybe I'm out!

A Brief Message

Monday, September 03, 2007

Multiplicity Anyone? Influence Ripples -Social Media Fragmentation

Add Image

If Thoughts Illustrated had a "pulitzer prize", David Armano would be the winner. He has a mental grasp of the social networking space from blogs, to twitters, to wikis to MSM that bespeaks not only a metalevel understanding of the web-enabled conversational space, but a visual mind that lets us See what he means. Don't miss David's verbal complement in this post to this great visual - you need to absorb both to understand how David really gets it.

His visuals help you "get it " too. Here's his viewpoint in a selection from his post:

"But what's becoming increasingly clear to most of us—is that like the original media fragmentation, the social version of it will be no less challenging to initiate, maintain and nurture. We're all going to have to get used to multiplicity—or simply having a few more pebbles in the pond"

Logic Emotion: Influence Ripples Social Media Fragmentation:



Ti panel