February 12, 2009
First off: Shoes is good. Processing is pretty good. Their stories are great. Programming, it turns out, is way way way more fun when you can just, you know, sit down and program instead of dicking around with libraries, installing shit, configuring shit, writing xml manifest doohickies, and otherwise NOT PROGRAMMING. Programming (making stuff) is good: A.
Secondly: Web pages are bad. Story: friend makes bipolar humor magazine, friend expects to be able to, you know, just put it on the web. Friend discovers putting things on the web not nearly so simple. Seth vicariously relearns: putting things on the web is not simple. This is stupid. It is ironic that we (programmer-technologist-engineer-robotlove narrative-collective) solved WYSIWYG for paper in the 1980s, and paper is a domain that’s not “in the system”. Programmers invented the web domain, we collectively control it, and we haven’t made this rather obvious thing work. I understand many reasons it is this way, partial credit ok?, but its still bad: C- (i know you can do better, see me after class).
Finally: Tablet computers are good, tabletpc is bad. For random reasons, I’ve borrowed a Tablet PC. I had not expected to be so swayed. Its great. WindowsXP doesn’t use it very well, (Vista might be better, I dunno), GNOME barely uses it at all (treats it as a mouse for all intents and purposes), but as a software maker person, it was like seeing a million ways I could design software to use this thing. I desperately wanted to start writing table PC software, and then I remembered it would be useful for, like, 5 people (I’m not counting small tablets like phones and maemo here, they are very cool too, but they don’t have the size or the sort of pressure sensitive wacom like input needed for a lot of what I’m dreaming of). If every computer had a tablet screen, I truly think computers would be a more lively creation oriented… er… medium (that’s really the whole theme of this message: how do we making shit so uncomplicated its feels effortless and fun and lively). Its a night and day difference what you EXPECT a computer to have (e.g. mouse or similar pointer device) vs. optional peripheral. Its too bad the touchscreen didn’t make the cut when Windows codified the mouse+keyboard+pixeladdressedscreen. For tablets, I cried and pooped my pants (yes, that good): A+.
Vis a vis web page creation…. I think there’s a rather tasty snack to be had writing an unusual wysiwyg web page maker, that throws up large rambling (“art oriented”?) canvases using drawing, scribbling, built-in lappie cameras, some typing and other shit. Not this boxy professional sort of web page, those are great, but something that flows a little easier (with the tradeoff being, a little more mess). Call it Scramble, or something, just good for putting up a mess of cool shit.
Draw something on a sheet of paper, hold it up to the laptop camera, you see a preview of how it will look inserted (with white areas turned transparent), click button and its placed. You could drag its handles to move/size it. Draw link areas in, and a pop down appears of other pages on your site (maybe pop down of any open tabs in the browser too?). Select a target, or click “new page”. Keep going, drawing sketching, dropping stuff. Allow creation of simple multi-frame animations. It would be especially cool if you have the animation beat-synched (to real audio?). This could be especially cool if it was pen oriented, but I think there’s a lot of potential even using a camera and a mouse. It makes big sprawling 2D spaces. There’s good potential for using the web as a different sort of medium.