[vagueware] Re: Progress update

  • From: Paul Robinson <paul@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: vagueware@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 30 Sep 2004 11:54:52 +0100

On Wed, Sep 29, 2004 at 09:32:34PM -0700, verbose @ ziplip. com wrote:

> dear dudes,

where's my car? :-)

> yesterday here at work i polished on some of my wikipedia articles. and it 
> felt terrific. its been such a long time since i've felt so much freedom.

Yup, wikipedia is an empowering tool. I keep meaning to update the
article on the Freemasons by adding some libellous links to well-known
celebrities. :-)

> i've also been thinking a lot about vagueware and a lot of what paul says 
> really resonates with me. 

Well, that's kind. I find a lot of people like a lot of what I write,
but most of the time it comes to nothing.

> i KNOW i said i was going to rewrite/add/polish/etc the roadmap. but i 
> haven't had much time. and actually, yesterday i DID have like 4 hours for 
> myself, but i wasn't in "do vagueware mode".. 

It's not a job. Nobody is demanding anything of you. This is supposed to
be fun, remember? Old guy I once met gave me some good advice - "Don't
go around trying to think it's your job to change the world. It's the
world's job to change you. And remember, you're supposed to enjoy it". 

Unfortunately, the world fucking sucks and is run by idiots. But you get
the idea.

> i'm gonna be honest, but i need to decompress. 

Sounds painful. And reminds me of that scene in that James Bond film
where the guy's head expands and blows up in a compression chamber.

> there's been a lot of work lately and i can't just go from "work worry work 
> work" mode to "damn, this vagueware idea is coming along fine". in spite of 
> being very enjoyable, vagueware puts certain stresses on you that are hard 
> to re-adapt to. you kind of feel more commited to it, and you also feel on 
> the spot. like you better not fuck up 'cause a lot of people are watching 
> this.

Not really. Only a couple of thousand visits a month, and several
hundred of them are probably RSS readers checking the feed every couple
of hours. There is no right, no wrong. But at the same time, don't feel
you should have to do something if you don't feel like it. Hell, it's my
site and I haven't touched it hardly in months.

> i've always wanted an hook up an interactive svg front end to it, for the 
> mindmaps. so as long as it can do that, and as long as it can support 
> multiple simultaneous editing (with locks)...

Funny you should mention locking. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to do
it to be honest. I'm thinking I might need to sit all the articles on
top of a version control system and stuff. Messy. Needs thought before I
start to code it. 

As for the mind/concept-map stuff, well, I'm currently thinking of playing with
this guy's code:


and building on it. It's multi-browser, doesn't need any plugins and
everybody who sees it goes "cooooool....". :-) 

> i've been giving some thought to this too. i think that it kind of depends on
> the template to be used. 

No, you're thinking about it at the wrong level. The code can be used
for a range of sites concerning political debate, think tanks, software
design, content mangement, etc., etc. but what do I want people to think
about when they go to vagueware.com? In theory you could use SourceForge
to host a bunch of essays on Keynesian economics, but that isn't what
SourceForge is for, that is not its focus.

> another thing i thought about was that mindmaps weren't enough. you need two 
> things: mindmaps and flowcharts. flowcharts are very necessary, and i don't 
> think they'd needfully be more difficult to implement. but that's way in the 
> future. 

OK, again, we're falling into the traps of specifics. The point is,
multiple abstractions should be possible. The first example I gave of
those abstractions was a mindmap. Flowcharts can be possible, but it
means there has to be some extra under-lying metadata about the flow or
structure of an article. If it is just a case of being able to embed a
flowchart into an article, that's something else of course. But yes,
many abstractions, lots of metadata, we want it all! 

> for now, i'm more interested in like.. documenting all the functions that 
> existing groupware solutions do. i want to see which functions are necessary,
> which aren't, and which build on top of other functions. finding this out, 
> you can pretty much start getting the gist of what kind of modularity is 
> needed for a vagueware. you know, you can just set up "groupware primitives" 
> the same way 3d graphics programs have sphere, cone, box, etc.

Yes, you're right. The primitive I have is a block of text. Within that
text I have certain sections delineated by section headers. These
section headers can be represented in terms of their nesting and
relationship to one another in many abstract forms. An edit can be
considered a new piece of text, etc., etc. so there are primitives
there. What I don't want to do is analyse existing groupware solutions
too much, because they all, quite frankly, suck.

> actually, i just took a look at ruby on rails.. 
> <<http://educational.blogs.com/instructional_technology_/2004/08/ruby_on_rails_a.html>>
> and it seems pretty fucking cool. i'll read more on that later. 
> paul, i hope you don't mind if i keep swamping the list with just reports on 
> things i find valuable. at least it motivates me to write and to keep 
> adding/polishing ideas and recommendations.

No, that's exactly what I want people to do. Drop links and nuggets of
useful bits and bobs in here so that we can all go and point and go

> i'm gonna be skimming through this in the next couple of days (starting when
> i get home)
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collaborative_software

I might start screaming you know. In principle, they've got the right
idea, but I want to provide something rather different. This is a mad
project I've started, and I'm not sure where it's heading, but I know I
don't want it to fit quite into any of the genres mentioned there

> by the way, i got loaned this ftp site.. and i can put a mindmannager
> document up there, that contains what i've collected so far. i don't know if 
> this is a valid solution. i think i remember mindmannager being able to 
> support multiple simultaneous editing.. i'm not sure, tho..

With a lot of care and attention, it can, yes.

> you guys tell me what you think

Send us the link, and I will. :-)

Paul Robinson

"The key to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources" - Einstein

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