Nelson and Prescience

Seonaid on Ted Nelson’s speculative and critical arguments for what computers could and should do. George on choose your own adventure and hypertext. Rachel likes linear (many of us do) and its rules. Unfortunately we won’t be getting very far into hypertext (I used to teach an entire semester of only hypertext), but it too has its rules, they’re just different rules. Caitlin is surprised by Nelson’s ideas, and surprised that her mum was taught typewriting at high school (yep, still remember the room full of typewriters and the sound of a class, it was a subject nearly only girls did back in them olden days)

More Post Symposium Chatter

Rachel has another one about why numbers (quantity) versus who/what (quality) is probably a better measure of authority. Once upon a time one person said the sun was the centre of the solar system. Once upon a time one person said there was a general theory of relativity. Once upon a time many people said Jews, gypsies and homosexuals could be executed on an industrial scale. Extreme examples sure, but in each case if you looked around to see what everyone else was saying, you would have been wrong. Louisa with a tale about vitality and news, which is also why lots of people saying the same thing doesn’t equal it’s true. Mia with another story of how it is not hard to trick people if you address them the right way (and it isn’t). Evan on common sense (it goes a surprisingly long way, and is also so easily dissolved), and finally Kelsey has an excellent list of things to pay attention to.

Blog Clients

In the symposium I mentioned that I use a blog client. I have used ecto, which looks like its become shelf ware, am currently using MarsEdit, but this one turned up today which I particularly like the look of, Blogo. All of them let you write blog posts without being logged into your blog, and they know about your categories, tags and so on.

Thickness of Ideas

A lot going on here in Monique’s post. The intriguing thing becomes the new distribution of expertise, with two consequences. How do we now determine expertise, and what do the old experts (who relied on place, not necessarily knowledge) now do about expertise? One answer is that you can find a blog, by an expert, on any topic, and the information and knowledge is extraordinary. The other answer is that the old institutions that safe guarded expertise will often insist (more and more loudly) that they are the ones who have this expertise, or knowledge, or know how, and the others are frauds. The one’s that make the loudest noise are probably the ones with the most to lose, most quickly right now (movie studies and ‘piracy’, Rupert Murdoch and any public media, those insisting books will survive as sales of paper bound books continue to decline).

Après Symposium

George on validity of things. For me this is ‘validity of things’ and not ‘validity of things online’. The rules we use off line apply online too. Laura makes the well made point that literacies are a continuum, and Natalie wonders is we really need worry too much and is the internet quite, well I guess have the impact we’re saying. My own view is obvious, that horse has bolted. Not just the internet, most of the apps on your phone rely on the internet (for example). Just make a list of what you do, each day, that involves the internet, and be surprised. (And some of these things don’t involve you.) Alexandra found the discussion of validity interesting, I don’t think popularity is a good judge at all, but will talk about that next week (as Kony2012 demonstrates well, thank you Sophie). Amy also picks up the quantity mode of validity, I’m going to need to have some things about this next week I see. Louis thinks the metaphor of book versus code is broken. It isn’t a metaphor though, it is literally the case. You can write a book, with simple basic ingredients (pen, paper), I work with people who build entire complex websites and databases with dynamic scripts with a text editor, that’s it. Luke on wikipedia and validity, some good points.

(Note to me and readers. This is one of those moments where the blogs are interesting. Personally, as someone who has been very online since about 1992 – before visual Web browser if you can imagine such a time – the validity of online stuff is just, for me, a no brainer. Trivial. So the number of posts where you have said that was really interesting and valuable and useful just leaves me sort of gobsmacked. I just assumed this was a trivial question and problem for people who pretty much have only known a world with an internet. How wrong I was. And even more worried about what the heck you get taught in high school. This is why I’m not a fan on gatekeeping so much, you can’t learn how to test validity if the only things you’re ever allowed to see have already been vetted. It really matters, simply because the world does now run online.)

To Essay

Luke on essay, argument, voice, and pleasure. James has a nice discussion with Graham on Graham and the essay. Caitlin muses on essays and argument, it is probably important to realise that even the sort of essay writing that Graham discusses involves argument, but it is a different sort of argument than what we might ordinarily think is the case. But it still needs evidence, argument, and research. Stephanie thinks Graham might be right that the internet heralds a golden age of the essay.

More on Ted Nelson

Callum with some good observations about Nelson, though I hope as we will find out soon the idea that search engines have realised what hypertext is will be seen to be fairly wide of the mark. Amy has some good musings too, and finds print literacy easier. yes, that’s one of the subject’s points, we’re actually up to our necks in print literacy yet think we’re all digital natives because we know our way round Facebook and mum doesn’t.

Right now the most important people in the world are the coders, they are the renaissance geniuses of this time, for example they gave us WordPress, a free complex thing that lets non coders play, write, share, design online. And they decided to give it to us because they could, and thought they should.

It’s a Blurry Sort of Thing

Nicola has a good summary of some of the differences discussed in the symposium. This will no doubt continue, but I really don’t think changing a style on a blog is network literacy, to me that’s like saying knowing how to turn a page in a book makes you print literate, or changing a car tyre means you are mechanically adept. It is much, much, thicker than this, as the example of print literacy I think actually shows. It so deeply naturalised for us that to make it seem odd seems, well odd, but it is a recent invention, it was as revolutionary in its time as the internet is now, and there was nothing natural or inevitable about it.

Reckon there’s a few more rounds left in this one.