... seeking simple answers to complex problems, and in the process, disrupting the status quo in technology, art and neuroscience.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Feds Finally "Get" Burning Man

Burning Man is all about radical artistic expression with an imperative that everyone participate. It now appears the Federal Government (as the BLM) has finally gotten the message and decided to express itself the way it knows best - instant taxation.

As most people know, Burning Man has set the standard in using public lands without negative impact. Their "Leave No Trace" performance has set examples for the entire world to follow. And considering the size of the crowds and the activities involved, there are very few problems.

So what's the government to do with such a success?

Create some art!

Yes, the BLM decided to respond to a problem that doesn't exist (rampent crime at Black Rock City?) by dramatically increasing law enforcement and associated fees. As a final touch, they sent the bill to Burning Man.

How's THAT for creative artistic expression reflecting your core values? After all, isn't solving non-extistent problems with someone else's money what government does best?

I'd say it's a beautifully executed "piece of work".

But who's the "Man"?

And who gets burned?

Here are the details...

Express yourself!

Sudden Disruption

Sudden View...
the radical option for editing text

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Strange Significance of Sudden View

Sudden View has been described as strange. And it is. But it used to be MUCH stranger. And that's significant. Here's why.

The whole point of Sudden View's design was to start with a clean sheet of paper and try to find the VERY best methods to edit text. I think I found some.

When I started there were fewer standards between programs. Editing was a toss up between Insert and Replace mode. Menus were just starting to drop down, and the mouse was a fresh toy. The entire Graphical User Interface (GUI) was a new idea, one I thought needed challenging.

For this reason, I assumed almost nothing. Each element of Sudden View's design was considered. From the shape of the mouse cursor, to the way the menus worked, I created what I believed (and
still believe) are better alternatives.

Over the years, things have changed a bit. GUI won out over almost everything that came before. Insert became the editing mode of choice. And "Properties" evolved to exploit the right mouse button. Sudden View evolved too.

When I did the Windows port, once again I reviewed each design element to see if I needed to conform. Or not.

The test I applied is something I call "Significantly Better". There's no point if you can't make it significantly better. Yes, I realize that's a bit subjective, but most people know it when they see it. "Significantly Better" is well this side of "Why Bother?".

And if I HAD converted all of Sudden View's features to the Windows GUI standard, I would have produced just another Windows editor. This would have definitely been in the "Why Bother" territory. See how this works? What would have been the point? No, Sudden View still has the unique features that make a difference. But I did make SOME changes in favor of the Windows standard.

The Insert Editing Mode was probably the biggest concession. Still, I preserve a bit of Implied Editing Action with a right click placement of the text cursor to invoke the Replace mode. Try it, you'll see what I mean.

Another obvious change from the original was conforming to the Windows Clipboard. Here, there was no downside, and it provided a critical way to communicate with the rest of the world. There are some minor differences, but in general Sudden View also conforms to the standard Control X, C & V keys for using the Clipboard.

And I DID reversed mouse button use. They used to be opposite. Again, there was no downside in conforming to the Windows block selection using a left drag. But that's where familiar
ground ends. Just about everything else using the mouse is unique. And better. In my opinion.

From Variant Block Selection, Block Move & Paste Buffer to the toggling of mouse button functions, this is still vintage Sudden View. I did add cursor key activation to Block Moves. It's a fun
feature and helps learning about Dynamic Arrangement.

I also used some Windows Dialogs where it didn't matter much. But not in the Find function. This was in the Status Bar WAY before it became popular. The original Find remains. The world caught up with Sudden View in this regard.

Power Menus are still easier to learn, and faster to use than drop down, even when using the mouse. With hands on the keyboard, it's no contest at all. Power Menus stayed.

The view Bar and Abstraction were added after the original design, but this approach is still a more visual way to navigate a file. It too violates the Windows standard. Oh well.

There are lots of other subtleties to be discovered in Sudden View. Most won't be found in a Windows program. From the way the text cursor blinks to Control key selection, there are significant
advantages for each feature. I'll explain why as this blog continues.

Yes, I realize there's a bit of a learning curve for Sudden View.

Some things ARE worth what they cost.

Let me know what you think.

Sudden Disruption

Sudden View...
the radical option for editing text

Beta test now in progress...