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    This project seems weirdly pessimal:

    • Non-commercial research (so you lose the possibility of making a fortune), but working in secrecy like a corporate product lab (so you lose cross-pollination of ideas.)
    • Everyone’s in one office but they don’t talk to each other informally or have friendly social connections

    Maybe it’s no surprise that I’ve never heard of them. And even after reading this article I have no real idea of what they’re trying to create, other than that it might be some kind of ubiquitous computing environment like PARC worked on in the 90s.

    I guess when it finally reaches 1.0 they will announce it to the world in a splashy press conference and explain how it will change society? The last thing I remember that was introd that way was the Segway.

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      Pirsig explained the “romantic” viewpoint as a resistance to deconstruction which focuses too much on the cultural context or “style” of an object and not on the pragmatic effects of the object. Quoting Pirsig’s first book on the nature of shims:

      I was going at it in terms of underlying form. He was going at it in terms of immediate appearance. I was seeing what the shim meant. He was seeing what the shim was.

      I think that Victor’s line of research culminating in Dynamicland, or at least the threads of research which originated in VPRI and matured in the Dynamic Medium Group, are overly romantic. There are multiple ways to turn a building into a computer, and they were only exploring one way. Some computer-buildings are warehouses, and some are factories; in contrast, Dynamicland is a kindergarten. This is not bad, but it is not the ultimate usage of a computer-building, either.

      The attitude of building new media according to design principles, rather than naturally emergent properties, is hyperreal. Even if it were intended for non-commercial purposes, the parallels to systems built by hyperrealtors like Disney cannot be ignored. Examining tales of visits to Dynamicland which see the cameras in the walls, we cannot ignore that the hyperreal playground does not extend beyond its corresponding surveillance system. Similarly, we cannot ignore the alienation that results from disconnecting physical pieces of paper from the Dynamicland building; Dynamicland only pretends to have portable units of code.