History of Computing

M.S. Mahoney – Articles on the History of Computing is a page of links by the Princeton historian to articles about the history of computing. He argues in “The History of Computing in the History of Technology” that “the history of computing has yet to establish a significant presence in the history of science” (p. 1 of the PDF). As a result a lot of the popular history of computing out there is “heroic” and focuses on people or companies and insider knowledge.
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Hayle(s) The Humument

Katherine Hayles dedicates a chapter of Writing Machines to Tom Phillips’ original treated art book A Humument.

Humument began as A Human Document a forgotten novel that itself purports to be an edited version of the journals and scapbook of lovers. Phillips paints over the pages letting rivers of text flow through to produce a new material work of art and literature. Hayles uses Humument to bring forth the materiality of textuality – a materiality that helps us understand problems for electronic literature. There is always a technology of inscription, even when we forget it.
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Deleuze and Interrupted Machines

What is a machine? Deleuze and Guattari in anti-oedipus come up with a suprising definition:

“A machine may be defined as a system of interruptions or breaks (coupures). .. Every machine, in the first place, is related to a continual material flow (hylĂ‹) that it cuts into.” (p. 36)

I can think of two ways to interpret this.

1. We can define a machine by its breakdown. A machine is utilitarian and thus is evident when it breaks down and stops serving a purpose. Then the transparency of the machine becomes evident – it doesn’t work and is thus no longer a machine (working.) Thus an organ that breaks down becomes evident in its machineness – its service to a goal. (By comparison to desiring machine D&G set up the “body without organs” or the “corps”.)

2. The machine is defined by its manipulation of a flow. The interruption or capacity to stop and start a flow is the most basic form of manipulation. All other interruptions come from the breaking of a flow into parts or segments. The interruption is the basic move in analysis – the breaking down of the continuous into components for synthesis into something new – in other words manipulation or interactivity.
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The SINE Curve of Design

What if a curve was the design principle of a site?

The curve is a flow of digits to cityscape. Lines of text fall out in curves like poorly loosened venetian blinds.

SINEarts is the site of a “digital research hub nedtworking staff and postgraduate developments in innovative electronic projects.” SINE stands for Science Intermedia Network Environment and is a project at the University of Auckland.

Overcome by Spam

Spam and porn are no longer an irritant on the net. They are changing the nature of the Internet from e-mail to blogs. They threaten to erode the fundamental glue of the Web – the link. If you link to an e-mail address or to a Web site that allows automated content through forms you threaten to destroy the end-points of your links. This blog has had not porn comments or junk links because it is unlinked – but if I provide links as a friend did on his blog, I run the risk of getting the wrong sorts of comments. So, the end of comments.

In short sporn swamps open dialogue on the net. It’s a fundamental pattern on the net – something like: if you are open to discussion you will be swamped by sporn.

The Multimedia Score

Afterimage: EnterFrame: Cage, Deleuze and Macromedia Director.(multimedia authoring software)(Evaluation) is a philosophical review of Macromedia Director that looks at the frame/score metaphor for organizing media over time and connects this to John Cage and Gilles Deleuze.

It would be interesting to trace back the history and theory of the musical score that seems to underlie the Flash/Director model for organizing multimedia over time. While Goldberg connects multimedia authoring to cinema, I think we have to go back to musical notation and Guido D’Arezzo.
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Pattern Language for Living

Welcome to the Pattern Language Project is the home page for a “Public Sphere Project” by the Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility that is attempting to develop knowledge of patterns that make for communication and living according to deep core values.

An ambitious project that seems both a naive application of trendy theory in computing (patterns) to (just about all) social problems, and a remarkably promising form of social dialogue. The participatory nature of the project, the use of ideas from architecture and computing, could provide a way into social responsibility for engineering culture.
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