summing up 49

i am trying to build a jigsaw puzzle which has no lid and is missing half of the pieces. i am unable to show you what it will be, but i can show you some of the pieces and why they matter to me. if you are building a different puzzle, it is possible that these pieces won't mean much to you, maybe they won't fit or they won't fit yet. then again, these might just be the pieces you're looking for. this is summing up, please find previous editions here.

  • the future doesn't have to be incremental, by alan kay. suppose you had twice the iq of leonardo, but you were born in 10000 bc; how far you gonna get? zero before they burn you at the stake. henry ford was nowhere near leonardo, but he was able do something leonardo couldn't do. leonardo never was able to invent a single engine for any of his vehicles. but henry ford was born into the right century. he had knowledge and he did not have to invent the gasoline engine, it already had been invented. and so he would be what was called an innovator today, he did not invent anything. but he put things together, and for most things knowledge dominates iq. highly recommended
  • creation myth; xerox parc, apple, and the truth about innovation, when you have a bunch of smart people with a broad enough charter, you will always get something good out of it. it's one of the best investments you could possibly make - but only if you chose to value it in terms of successes. if you chose to evaluate it in terms of how many times you failed, or times you could have succeeded and didn't, then you are bound to be unhappy. innovation is an unruly thing. there will be some ideas that don't get caught in your cup. but that's not what the game is about. the game is what you catch, not what you spill. recommended
  • improving our ability to improve: a call for investment in a new future, by doug engelbart. we need to become better at being humans. learning to use symbols and knowledge in new ways, across groups, across cultures, is a powerful, valuable, and very human goal. and it is also one that is obtainable, if we only begin to open our minds to full, complete use of computers to augment our most human of capabilities (pdf)
  • research, huh! what is it good for? what look like novel ideas from a distance in general turn out, upon closer inspection, to have emerged from a general cloud of research ideas that were knocking around at the time. it's terribly hard to know where ideas came from, once you have them. and that makes it terribly hard to guess well what ideas are going to grow out of whatever's going on now. so perhaps there isn't a better way than to generate lots of solutions, throw them around the place and see what few of them stick to a problem
  • programming languages are the least usable, but most powerful human-computer interfaces ever invented, if there's any truth to the title of this post, it's the implied idea that programming languages are just another type of human-computer interface and the rich and varied design space of user interface paradigms. this has some fun implications. for example, programmers are users too, and they deserve all of the same careful consideration that we give non-programmers using non-programming interfaces. this also means that programming languages researchers are really studying user interface design, like hci researchers do. there aren't two fields we might find more dissimilar in method or culture, but their questions and the phenomena they concern are actually remarkably aligned
  • visual programming languages, a place on the net where one can easily see what all the different visual programming languages (graphical programming languages) look like
  • being useful - a short introduction to proactive experiences, we often forget about the first commandment of user experience: usefulness. being usable or beautiful is easy, being useful is hard work
  • the future of ui and the dream of the ‘90s, the future of interface design isn't a dream from the 90s. the future of interface design is about emotional awareness; connecting us with products the way we connect with each other

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My letters are about long-lasting, sustainable change that fundamentally amplify our human capabilities and raise our collective intelligence through generations. Would love to have you on board.