Urgent Complex Problems

Doug Engelbart used to say that mankind is coping with problems of ever increasing complexity and urgency. Here is is when we talked in the mid-90s: invisiblerevolution.net

This has now been measured: “Complexity Rising: From Human Beings to Human Civilization, a Complexity Profile”  necsi.edu

I think part of Doug’s problem was that his intuition was just so keen that he saw so much as being obvious without necessarily having to bother with a lot of the data and communication about it. He also foresaw Moore’s Law, and told Moore about it. To Doug it was simply too obvious to put a name to it, he told me.

“You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be.” Marianne Williamson

The quote: “You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be” by Marianne Williamson was on someone’s timeline on Facebook. It’s simple, and obvious maybe, but worthy of reflection. One thing is how to apply it to oneself, and I am trying to do just that, but another thing is how to apply it to the innovation of media. How can we stop of of thinking of text as simply lines signifying speech, as typography? What is the essence of what we’d like text to do?

That is what I am trying to get my head around today. We’ll all days really. But focusing on it today.


I’ve been using Mac OS X Yosemite Dev build since it came out two days ago so naturally I’m an expert.

Visually it’s flat and lifeless in my mind. Look at the Mac icon – doesn’t it look like it’s for a kids game?

Mail does not like sending and receiving mail as much as before and window drawing is painfully slow.

Tags are still essentially colour stickers with names, with no real effort to integrate tagging to search (note to self: project idea).

And of course, Liquid is not build in to the OS, but at least Liquid runs just fine. Why have a great new Spotlight interface when it can’t work on selected text? Why is it all about guessing what the user wants to do? Why not let the user decide as well? Etymology or Wikipedia? Translate to German or French? Share to email or Facebook? Convert to miles or meters? Why not simply let the user tell the system?

Cloud Drive? DropBox by Apple. OK.

Swift, ok, potential, so let’s keep fingers crossed, but that’s for the future.

iOS integration. Cool. Yet to try it since the right iOS 8 build won’t download yet.

The image that comes to mind when I think of Yosemite is that of Ansel Adams work. Even though he shot in mono, he says: “Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space.” To me, so far, nothing glitters in this release on it’s own terms, so far it’s all about how it connects to iOS 8. Shame.