It is fascinating to get a glimpse of my own intellect.
I am (trying to) write about the philosophy behind and the story behind my work on Author and this requires stringing together different points into a coherent narrative, taking into account why I chose documents rather then server based text to work on, what I am doing with BibTeX citation format for copying and pasting citations via the clipboard with all meta information intact and how I store document meta in what I call visual-meta appended to PDF documents. And I can’t do it.
The basic story is not too hard to type but how the ideas relate, particularly in relation to the wider text-interaction world, is just not coming together in my head or on the screen. It feels very much like when I watch my beautiful baby boy Edgar, who is 2.5 now, working on a puzzle which is beyond basic complexity. I sometimes want to tell him to use certain techniques, like finding the pieces with a hard edge which means they are at the edges of the picture and so on, but he is struggling putting the pieces together.
The lack of mental stamina extends from my writing of a piece like this to the whole of how to prioritise the development of Author: What bugs are important and which are only slightly annoying and we should not pay for fixing and what features are truly useful and easy to understand (marketable)? Who should I approach and how? These are questions I only make the most minuscule progress with. It feels like walking through molasses and breathing through a small tube.
These are basic literacy skills: How to visualise and structure thought and how to execute or present the results. This is what I am developing the software to help the user deal with, with me as initial user, to better use the high resolution, large screens and super-fast computers to externalise our thinking, to use the visual lobe to augment the executive lobe.
So far I am not doing very well, I am still mentally constrained when writing anything longer than a screen worth of text and even then I find it easy to write (or dictate) streams of thought but very hard to build up a coherent narrative.
It is good practice to design for the least intelligent user and luckily, in my case, that would be me.
This is also why I focus on creating dialogue, through The Future of Text initiative and working on infrastructures so that more people can work on possible solutions, with the visual-meta approach.
Anyway, it’s fascinating.