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Daybook Posts

Bernstein on notes as sketching

Bernstein on notes as sketching exercise

from Tinderbox Way 3rd

Sometimes, we need to know quite a lot in order to understand what we don’t know.

Kumiyo Nakakoji (now at the Kyoto University Design School) calls this representational talkback. 17 The writer seeks a way to represent the problem space, sketches notes that describe an initial approach, and then reviews the notes as if approaching the problem anew. If the representation is good, the problem now seems simpler. If the representation fails to make sense, that incoherence often suggests a new and better approach to the problem.

In this way note-taking can be like sketching, a private exercise to improve the acuity of our perception and to focus our understanding. Our sketches often focus on small detail: a study of a hand, say, or the weathered wood of porch behind a Gloucester drug store. We don’t draw these studies because we expect the image to matter, but because sketching these things with care and attention will improve our eye. By learning to draw the hand or the mountain, we polish our ability to draw anything. The process, not the picture, matters.

No new directions in annotation

Web writing is annotation.

Annotations Are the Original Web Writing

The fact that more or less anyone can publish to the web often makes people think that self-publication is its main use. And maybe that is its most common use. But the propleptic visions of Vannevar Bush and Douglas Engelbart, writing in the 1940s and 1960s respectively, remind us of the primary importance of annotations.1

In these early imagined futures of computing, Bush and Engelbart focus on the ability to mark up a document of some sort, the ability to formally instantiate that marked-up document, and the ability to share that with others—each of these three abilities are still fundamental to the way we interact online with text, images, sound, and video. They can also be invaluable aspects of web writing for the liberal arts.

from Web Writing:Why and How.

Notes on Pisteis Exercise

1 To get started, you have to isolate a claim that the page makes. The more specific the better. State it. Be ready to change it if need be.

2 Isolate the elements of the page – images, text, design, menu texts, layout, footer information, and other elements – that you think have some influence on how the claim is connected to presuppositions – some elements to work with.

3 Then analyze how these elements work to prompt the intended audience to connect the element with the claim you have isolated, using ethos, pathos, and logos as your analytical terms.

Need to start with a claim – and a consideration of whether it’s a direct or indirect claim.

Make a textual version of the argument first – then detail its presentational design.

A Note on Procedural Literacy

The Clearance of the Porcelain Dogs
The Clearance of the Porcelain Dogs flickr photo by mcmorgan08 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

We don’t need no coding knowledge to read. Except

In this view, programming has almost no connection with theoretical and philosophical considerations, with concept and aesthetics, with a design focus on human action and interpretation. This attitude is often adopted by new media scholars and practitioners, including game designers and game studies scholars, who may assume that the “mere” technical details of code can be safely bracketed out of the consideration of the artifact. …

By procedural literacy I mean the ability to read and write processes, to engage procedural representation and aesthetics, to understand the interplay between the culturally-embedded practices of human meaning-making and technically-mediated processes. With appropriate programming, a computer can embody any conceivable process; code is the most versatile, general process language ever created. Hence, the craft skill of programming is a fundamental component of procedural literacy, though it is not the details of any particular programming language that matters, but rather the more general tropes and structures that cut across all languages.

Procedural Literacy: Educating the New Media Practitioner – Michael Mateas | ETC Press

Summer Reading

A few newish works of digital lit for summer.

The iPad and iPhone are closed systems so we have to wait until the artists get involved to make them do something interesting.

  • Wikipedia: The Text Adventure, by Kevan Davis. Start at a selected place and work your way … to someplace else. Source:

The web is an open system, but it takes an artist with programming knowledge to adapt existing content to purpose.

All three are in the same ilk as A Humament, by Tom Phillips, and work by J R Carpenter.

Daybook Disconnect

It happens to a lot of blogs. Mike Caulfield posts about it. A problem with a server or possible hack. Fixing it in this case ended up in losing track of the database. I had to reinstall WP and can’t get the new install to talk to the old database.

But I don’t see this as a problem. Stuff isn’t lost. It’s just not connected right now. It may be. Later. It’s in a trunk somewhere in an attic / basement / garage / lockup / underneath the stairs. A data horde. Bring in a detectorist.

The old install of WordPress (2005?) had a lot of cruft tangling it up, so it’s nice to see the old code gone.

And gone is the old paratext junk, too. Poor categories and tags. Trials with plugins. Bad back end decisions that need a ripping out of old structure to rebuild. Choices made naively. Bad ideas gone bust from the first. Pied type cases. Flotsam. Jetsam. Ruins shored against. Centers not holding.

Not that a restart means any further success. It just feels a little better.

So hello Daybook.