Monday, December 6, 21:00 CST
A bit more minor ASCII art.

I came across Dan's Web Tips the other day. Some interesting and well written stuff, mostly from a view of the web I agree with.

Monday, December 6, 0:45 CST
That's the problem with having a bunch of stuff to say, and then not saying it for a while. You forget everything.


Oh yeah. An idea. I was talking to Gurney a while back, and we started talking about 3D shells and interfaces, and what it'd take for one to be practical, and I got a somewhat cool image of a translucent green cube containing a kind of multilevel version of the Bash Shell hanging there in space. Like a 3D xterm with eye candy, and some sort of metaphor for managing processes in 3 dimensions. And then I thought of it graphically displaying standard input and output - you type "cat bill.txt the.txt cat.txt | less" and watch a pipe extend to a new cube, text streaming through it and into less. We talked some more, and... Why not represent an entire Unix-like environment this way? (Do I know Unix? Not really. Linux? Only enough to know I'm hopelessly clueless. Fair warning.) Think of an overall effect something like William Gibson's Matrix - giant glowing geometrical shapes in primary colors, cool eye candy, the kind of thing that no self respecting hacker would look at twice as a primary interface, but with an actual purpose. Sort of.

Shells and text programs mapped to faces of geometrical solids (add a process, add another face), X windows hanging in constellations around them or mapped to the same solid. Pipelines and redirections and file accesses and network traffic blazing from place to place in glowing streams of text. Multiple users, each in their own space. The kernel a blazing sun around which all else orbits, resplendent with useless-eye-candy lens flare effects, daemons and drivers circling close around it. The superuser a lurking dark presence on the edge of vision. Other systems on the network visible as distant stars...

(And all of this completely customizable, of course - the visual metaphor you choose is up to you. Root sees all, everyone else is more restricted... Access privileges are represented by a kind of fog-of-war.)

I explained that badly, and it probably doesn't make much sense anyway. But nagging little practical considerations aside (like the frightening hardware resources it would require, the incredible amount of effort that'd be required to write it, the lack of an interface adequate to the task of navigating it quickly with minimal effort) maybe it has some merit. Or not. Looks cool in my head, anyway.

See, if I were really using HTML to its fullest potential, I'd probably load the previous few paragraphs down with links so that someone who doesn't know, say, what the Bourne Again SHell is, could find out. Then again, maybe that'd just provide needless distractions.

Hmm. Again.

Thursday, December 2, 23:59 CST (Or thereabouts... Clock losing time)
Hmm... Doesn't look like I'm going to get much typed here before I succumb to sleep once again. Oh well.

I see Gurney's (yeah, we're not on IRC... I should probably use his real name, but that's a difficult habit to break, ya know?) now in charge of a BeOS site on Which, of course, reminds me that I really need to give the BeOS a try. One of these years...

I also notice that Stephen's Home Page is migrating to a new address.

Went to Toy Story 2 with my family last Wednesday. Excellent flick. Superb animation, and a well written story that doesn't suffer in the least from sequelitis. Better than the first, IMO. Maybe not as ground-breaking, but I think movies like this do a lot to advance animation in this country, just by being Good and Not The Same Old Thing.

There were some interesting trailers in front of TS2 - one for The Bicentennial Man, which looks like it has great potential, and a longish one (actually just part of the opening scenes) for Dinosaur, which I'm thinking must be Pixar's next project.

I picked up a copy of Lord of Light, by Roger Zelazny, in the used book section of a bookstore in Manhattan, KS... (Right next to a copy of The Wandering Fire, which I should have grabbed.) A very cool book. It's set on a colony world where those who control technology have set themselves up as the gods of the Hindu pantheon, which is probably about all the spoiler I should give. Reminded me of Creatures of Light and Darkness in some ways, which is a good thing. The writing is full of jarring, satisfyingly weird imagery and dialog... Zelazny had a knack for combining the sublimely weird and sometimes beautiful with the mundane (and hilarious). Another author (like Bradbury and Neal Stephenson) who makes me think "Argh! Why can't I write like that? Ok, so it's because I'm not a creative genius, but still, it'd be cool...".

Should write more...

Must sleep... (Can you tell?)

Sleep is winning.

More later.

p1k3 / 1999 / 12 / 6
tags: topics/neal-stephenson