In 1970 two of the ten guys who’d developed Fortran for IBM told me that they’d love to write public data base software for God, me, and the Free Learning Exchange. They’d have gladly done it for cheap; but not for free. I’d asked the public to voluntarily tax itself to free itself from state coercion. No, no: the public let the state take it’s money, it gave less to me than I could pay the phone bill with, let alone feed my family, or build an internet. So: years later, millions and jillions went to MicroSoft, and Apple, and IBM, and the phone company, and to the Pentagon: all of whom were not trying to free you!
By the 1980s, my son, at Haverford, was touting hypertext. Ooo, I thought, see what I could have done, with a few resources?! I loved it. Embedding links in the text, servo-cross-referencing, linking, was a good step beyond any I’d taken out loud in 1970, ’71. See? my link to FLEX above is an example. But: if you click it, it takes you to a main Free Learning Exchange post; these days, Yahoo links don’t take you to the article you’ve seleced; they takes you to another offer of a link! It’s like the damn stupid PC saying “Are you sure you want to shut down now?” after I’ve told it to shut down! Why this extra step? Why waste time?
It’s true, one’s instruction to Shut Down could have been a slip, a typo. If you have unsaved changes to a file then a warning, a confirmation, is appropriate. But the stupid cyber-robot PC’s make you do everything twice!
Would FLEX have made mistakes tying to save the world? Of course. The Church kills more Jesuses while pointing out that the Temple killed Jesus! That’s life. Intelligence doesn’t mean infallibility. We’re still socially homeostatic creatures: we can’t legislate against gravity: not successfully. Put me in charge, and, if I’m foolish enough to accept being in charge, I‘ll kill a Jesus too: that’s what we do! And I won’t know I’ve done it! That too is what we do!
But why does Yahoo intrude these extra steps? Tell me, somebody, why?
Isn’t it bad enough to have stolen the internet from me (from me, from Jesus, from God, from Ivan Illich) in the first place, now I need my nose rubbed in hebetude?
I don’t know the whole answer. But killing Jesuses is an important part of the answer: Any group of IQ 80 to 120 will sabotage any candidate member whose IQ is 190. That’s human nature. And it’s the nature of institutions to conceal their participation in human nature: The Republicans think they would not have a Boss Tweed emerge from Republican control of the public pocket, that only the Democrats are that stupid, that corrupt.
(We may laugh if Marie Antoinette thinks the French Revolution is happening to her, that it’s personal; but it is happening to her! How can that not be personal?)
One thing that hypertext by the 1980s reminded me of that I had not thought of in 1970, was Korzybskian semantics. I never noticed Korzybski till Bateson’s 1979 book mentioned him, précised him. Korzybski said that every term carries with it a nest of tags: Science1933: and that sub-texted “1933” carries a near infinity of additional existential qualifications!
I write a draft, I made ten changes while writing it, then I make twenty revisions to the much revised first draft … Saying draft”2″ is just a symbol. Everything is far more complex than we can simple-mindedly map.
2013 08 03 The current moron software burr under my saddle is my Mac OSX chess app. I launch it. That means I want to play chess, doesn’t it? It kind of implies that I’ll accept a set up where I’m white: white goes first, it’s my turn. Sure there should be controls where I can chose to be black, or where the board already has a mid-play position, maybe my queen is in danger, maybe your king is in check … But for starters it should be simple, standard, conventional.
And so it is: for the first game. I play: E2-E4 probably. Fine. It responds. But a minute or two later, I checkmate black: it says, White wins. and sits there. I say, “New Game.” Then it asks if I want to play again: what do I want to do. After I’ve said New Game, it also makes me say, Start!
And why doesn’t Command-Z undo the last instruction? I thought that was universal.
And no matter how fast I move, Mac Black takes it’s time. Grr. I make all moves in under one minute; it takes two minutes! a computer!