Nelson 1974

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Nelson, Ted. Computer Lib / Dream Machines. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Press, 1987 (1974).


Computer Lib

"I have an axe to grind: I want to see computers useful to individuals, and the sooner the better, without necessary complication or human servility being required. anyone who agrees with these principles is on my side, and anyone who does not is not. THIS BOOK IS FOR PERSONAL FREEDOM, AND AGAINST RESTRICTION AND COERCION. That's really all it's about. ... COMPUTER POWER TO THE PEOPLE! DOWN WITH CYBERCRUD!" (CL 6)

computer as "most general machine man has ever developed"; computer as ALL PURPOSE MACHINE (CL 36)

"The principal activity of programming is THINKING." (CL 40)

Dream Machines

"The Grotesque Prudery of WIZZYWIG" (DM 28) -- says "there sould be only one view of the thing"

paperdigm -- "People are simulating paper on the screen, putting out software that cates to the yokel mentality, and castrating the real possibilities of high interaction. ... The paperdigm is absurd. Screens should set us free from the dimensions and topology of paper; we should find truer visualizations of the conceptual structure of what we do; and we should hae many views, being able to switch quickly among them. Computer screens offer us unprecedented variety and flexibility in looking at, and understanding, everything; but only if they can bring us, rapidly and interactively and comprehensively, hundreds of different ways of seeing things. To resist seeing things in different ways is to keep your head in a bucket." (DM 28)

on hypertext (DM 29); hypertext for learning (DM 31)

thinkertoys + hypertext for scholarship (DM 34)

"'Knowledge', then -- and indeed most of our civilization and what remains of those previous -- is a vasty cross-tangle of ideas and evidential materials, not a pyramid of truth So that preserving its structure, and improving its accessibility, is important to us all.

on education; "1. The human mind is born free, yet everywhere it is in chains. The educational system serves mainly to destroy for most people, in varying degrees, intelligence, curiosity, enthusiasm, and intellectual initiative and self-confidence. We are born with these. They are gone or severely diminished when we leave school. 2. Everything is interesting, until ruined for us. Nothing in the universe is intrinsically uninteresting. Schooling systematically ruins things for us, wiping out these interests; the last thing to be ruined determines your profession." (DM 131)

calls for anthological freedom in information design -- still largely don't have this (DM 150)

"A spade is a spade. The emperor has no clothes. The computer world is an atrocious tangle of excellent incompatible pieces, well-intentioned incompatible junk, and inexcusable incompatible junk. We have to end this chaos. We have to re-unite the things that should never have been separate. We have to make it work for everybody. It is time indeed for real computer liberation." (DM 151)
"All I want to do is put Renaissance humanism in a multidimensional responsive console. And I am trying to work out the forms of writing of the future. Hypertexts. Hypertexts: new forms of writing, appearing on computer screens, that will branch or perform at the reader's command. a hypertext is a non-sequential piece of writing; only the computer display makes it practical. Somewhere between a book, a TV show, and a penny arcade, the hypertext can be a vast tapestry of information all in plain English (spiced with a few magic tricks on the screen), which the reader may attack and play for the things he wants, branching and jumping on the screen, using simple controls as if he were driving a car." (DM 152)