[lively-kernel] Waving the red flag

Philip Weaver philmaker at gmail.com
Thu Jul 1 05:12:30 CEST 2010

Hello Richard,

In April you wrote: "What would it take to make it easy to construct and
navigate such a zoom world in Lively Kernel?"

I hope you can spend some time to answer this question with a drawing:

   - http://www.lively-kernel.org/repository/lively-wiki/index.xhtml

Philip Weaver

On Sun, Apr 11, 2010 at 1:08 PM, Richard Karpinski
<dickkarpinski at gmail.com>wrote:

> Hello Dan and everybody,
> Smalltalk is wonderful. Making it work in virtually every browser by coding
> the base system in Javascript is very clever and could be marvelously
> useful. Enriching the current code to make Lively Kernel suitable for
> awesome presentations well beyond what PowerPoint could dream of has much
> appeal for me. I love neat things that are useful and can be acquired
> inexpensively in money and time. When such things have unbounded utility,
> Pavlov sets in and I slather and drool. Keep it up, man. I don't mind that
> my shirt gets wet.
> But wait. How long does it take for someone to be comfortable navigating
> around in a Lively Kernel world?
> I'm sure it's not one of those things that takes weeks to get into, but I
> worry that it might take an hour or two. What I want is a system that
> computer experts can become competent with in only a few minutes. It would
> be truly great if novices could get there even faster. But who knows how to
> build such a system?
> Today, I think no one knows how to do that. However, the late Jef Raskin,
> father of the Macintosh and author of "The Humane Interface", did. Given a
> charter to assist in getting around in a patient's chart which was
> impossible to read when fully displayed and awkward to navigate when
> magnified to be readable, Jef used zooming to good effect. He wanted to call
> it a Flying User Interface, not only because he liked flying and it felt
> like that, but especially so he could call it (phonetically) a Phooey. He
> was like that.
> Anyway, he discussed the system in his book, but he left out some details.
> When computer experts were trained to use the system. they became
> comfortable and competent in less than TWO minutes. But when utter novices,
> who maybe recognized the mouse as a thing to push around, not speak into as
> Scotty did, they became fully functional with the system in less than ONE
> minute.
> I really like that. I want that. With such a system I could teach a three
> year old to use it, or a 93 year old, or even a college professor. I am NOT
> kidding, the first and second examples may have time to spare, but the prof
> does not.
> Why does it work so well? My theory is that for tens of millions of years,
> our ancestors made it back to the nest, or we would not be here today. Thus
> the talent for geographic navigation is built into our DNA. We do not forget
> where the fridge is or where the couch is. Often we can get to such places
> in the dark. If our computer world is so arranged, people won't get lost so
> often. If we can follow links by rolling into a thumbnail and can return by
> recrossing that border it will seem natural to us.
> What would it take to make it easy to construct and navigate such a zoom
> world in Lively Kernel?
> Richard
> --
> Richard Karpinski, Nitpicker extraordinaire
> 148 Sequoia Circle,
> Santa Rosa, CA 95401
> Home: 707-546-6760
> http://nitpicker.pbwiki.com/
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