Sunday, October 18, 1998

Oct 18 1998

Finally updated The Library with my most recent read â€” Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett, one of my favorite authors. Actually, I also read Robert Silverberg‘s Hawksbill Station several weeks ago, but as it’s out-of-print, I can’t very well link it to Amazon.com.

A week ago, on Monday, I had an entry regarding the book Digital Mosaics. Well, I read through most of it, and found a very interesting section where the author discusses what makes cyberspace unique. He suggests that we have to grok (sorry, completely understand) the properties of our medium before we can put it to good use. As he puts it, the digital domain is:

  • Precisely reproducible — In the real world, a copy is never quite as good as the original. If I copy a file on a computer, the copy is exactly the same.
  • Discontinuous — There’s no requirement that we all take the same route to get to the information we need.
  • Interactive — The digital world lends itself to interactivity much more than real-world counterparts. Yes, there are “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, but literature, film, TV, and so forth don’t have nearly the depth of interactivity that digital entertainment can have.
  • Ethereal and ephemeral — There’s no “there” there. A three-dimensional model does not need to correspond to anything in the real world.
  • Community-forming — This has only come to light recently, but the online world does seem to lend itself towards creating communities. Witness the thousands of people on IRC networks, the Java chat rooms, the Quake clans, Usenet, and so forth.

This opened my eyes to how we can use our medium. Most of the problems I have with website design are solved by looking at these properties; does the website allow discontinuous travel? Can it be more interactive? Am I tying myself down to a physical constraint? Interesting.

I also just noticed that the blueprint map’s link to the Kennel wasn’t set up properly; now it should work.

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