[NTLK] Time For the Rumour-Monger?

Lord Groundhog LordGroundhog at gmail.com
Tue Oct 11 11:26:04 EDT 2011

~~~ On 2011/10/11 15:09, Forrest at newtonphoenix at mindspring.com wrote ~~~

> Nice Mac (Classic?) to her right side (our left)...but Christian--man, whar ya
> been? 

Funny you should ask that Forrest.  When I haven't been working, I've been
showing various friends YouTube videos about KN, the Newton, and some other
videos I've bookmarked over the years.  I'm surprised how many people, even
those who use Apple products, didn't realize how far back the iPod dream
went -- the tablet idea going back to 1979, the integration of technologies
to create seamless interaction with one's data, and all done on a system
that is focused on what we want to do rather than on which software we do it

The point of my comment was that I see Newton as an essential ingredient in
the final product, and one which hasn't been fully realized even now.

[1] I like the idea of Siri as much as the next guy, but it really won't be
appropriate in all situations.  I've said it before in a discussion about
DragonSpeak:  there are many, many times when the requirements of
confidentiality in my work mean I wouldn't speak to my Newt even if it had
the AI of HAL9000.  But I can whip out a pen and write whatever I need to,
safe in the knowledge that the guy across the aisle of the train, the person
at the table next to me in a restaurant or café, the person waiting with me
for a bus, can't learn what I'm writing.  Even someone sitting at a distance
from me, using a laser-mike to monitor the vibrations striking my office
window is going to be disappointed:  I don't mutter to myself while I write.

Call it paranoia if you like, but I'm not the only one in the world who
needs the ability to keep things private -- not even the person who needs it
the most.  And after all, paranoia means never having to say you're sorry.

[2] I really want to get back to the dream of those early days that someday,
the data (and what we want to do with it) is the real point, not the
software we use on it.  Even in the 21st century, data still is treated by
the software manufacturers as if it were just the means to an end, the end
being to use their programs.  Occasionally they throw us a bone and produce
"office suites" and the like, as if we don't notice that they're just
locking our data more securely to them than before.  Even the "open source
software" movement ignores this problem.  Software is never invisible,
because you always have to deal with which program formatted it and what do
you have to do to convert it for use elsewhere.

It's as ridiculous as having to think about which fountain pen to grab
because this blue notebook only accepts writing from a Parker, while that
green one requires a Mont Blanc and the red one over there only lets me use
a pencil -- 2H preferred.

The point of OpenDoc was to get us past that to the point where the programs
are invisible means to an end, and data (and what I'm doing with it) is the
true end.  

And we aren't there yet.  Nowhere near.  Newton was a big step forward in
many ways, but now we stepped backwards again.

But that's just my 2 tiny and worthless copper coins of the currency of your


~~~ ~~~ ~~~

³Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from a Newton.²
            -- ref.:  Arthur C. Clarke

(With thanks to Chod Lang)

~~~ ~~~ ~~~
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