Notebook of Sand

• Recent Publications
• Recent Projects
• Conferences & Speaking
"Comparing Spatial Hypertext Collections"
  ACM Hypertext '09
"Archiving and Sharing Your Tinderbox"
  Tinderbox Weekend London '09
"The Electronic Nature of Future Literatures"
  Literary Studies Now, Apr '09
"The World University Project"
  St. John's Col. Cambridge, Feb '09
"Ethical Explanations,"
  The New Knowledge Forge, Jun '08
Lecture, Cambridge University
  Tragedy in E-Lit, Nov '07
Hypertext '07: Tragedy in E-Lit
Host for Tinderbox Cambridge '07
Keynote: Dickinson State Uni Conf
Upper Midwest NCHC'07: Speaker
eNarrative 6: Creative Nonfiction
HT'05: "Philadelphia Fullerine"
  Nelson award winning paper
NCHC '05:
 Nurturing Independent Scholarship
Riddick Practicum:
  Building Meeting Good Will
NCHC '04:
  Philadelphia Fullerine
  Lecture on American Studies
WWW@10: Nonfiction on the Web
NCHC '03: Parliamentary Procedure
ELL '03 -- Gawain Superstar
• (a)Musing (ad)Dictions:

Ideas. Tools. Art. Build --not buy. What works, what doesn't. Enjoy new media and software aesthetics at Tekka.

Theodore Gray (The Magic Black Box)

Faith, Life, Art, Academics. Sermons from my family away from home: Eden Chapel!

My other home: The Cambridge Union Society (in 2007, I designed our [Fresher's Guide])

The Economist daily news analysis

Global Higher Ed blog

• Hypertext/Writing

Writing the Living Web

Chief Scientist of Eastgate Systems, hypertext expert Mark Bernstein. (Electronic) Literature, cooking, art, etc.

Fabulous game reviews at playthisthing.

• Stats

Chapter I: Born. Lived. Died.

There is a Chapter II.

Locale: Lancaster County Pa, USA

Lineage: Guatemala

Religion: My faith is the primary focus of my life, influencing each part of me. I have been forgiven, cleansed, and empowered by Jesus Christ. Without him, I am a very thoughtful, competent idiot. With him, I am all I need to be, all I could ever hope for. I oppose institutional religious stagnation, but getting together with others is a good idea. God is real. Jesus Christ is his Son, and the Bible is true. Faith is not human effort. It's human choice. I try to be the most listening, understanding, and generous person I can.

Interests: Anything I can learn. Training and experience in new media, computer science, anglophone literature, education, parliamentary debate, democratic procedure, sculpture, and trumpet performance. Next: applied & computational linguistics, probably.

Education: Private school K-3. Home educated 4-12. Graduated Summa Cum Laude from Elizabethtown College in Jan 2006. As the 2006 Davies-Jackson Scholar, I studied English at St. John's College, Cambridge University from 2006 - 2008.

Memberships: Eden Baptist, Cambridge Union Society, ACM, AIP, GPA.

Alum of the Elizabethtown College Honors Program, sponsored by the Hershey Company.

eNarrative Ideas, pt 2
Monday, 13 Feb 2006 :-:

A few weeks ago, I posted an edited transcript of a conversation I had with University of Southampton researcher Clare Hooper. The following is the second half of our conversation.

Question 2, posed by Mark Bernstein: Do the tools which we use have a profound effect on even the nuance of how we read and write? If so, how?

To this, I added the following question, based on my previous conversation with Clare: How can/should tools effect how we write texts that are bigger than we can mentally hold in RAM at a single time?

Cool Stuff
This relates to issues of language and thought as well - how much does the language spoken influence the thoughts and approach of its speakers?
It's a long time since I've thought about that, but it's a fascinating area --which, sadly, has only bee touched on lightly in my studies
Yes, indeed. Languages and cultures and the links therein are fascinating... And the tools we use. Hmmmm. *ponder*
It depends how you mean 'tools', I suppose.
for example, it might have been more difficult to use dreamweaver to plan the sculpture -- this is a rather crude example.
I suspect we all go through a process of learning an overall approach - say, with programming, a liking for UML against some other visualisation method.
Tools certainly have different strengths and weaknesses - you only have to look at the heated debates about which OS is better, and how best to write web pages, and so on. That's evidence enough.
Another example might be the interface I'm building in Tinderbox for authoring StorySpinner documents-- how I enable people to interact with the StorySpinner authoring tool can have a profound impact on the sort of stories they write
But how does one grant the flexibility and power that people might want? (Or more, not that an individual might want, but that the group of end users between them need!)
Remember how I was struck by how the card system could be used in multiple ways that diverge widely from how you have written your stories?
Mm, yes! How many tools end up being used in a different way to that first envisioned?
When I make the authoring system, I can describe the system in a larger sense of capability, or or I can just describe it in ways that you originally planned. Ultimately, my understanding of your system will influence future authors.
Of course, this whole area is so deeply subjective that getting an overall view is near to impossible...
Gibson, in Neuromancer, says, 'The Street finds its uses for things,' which was Jill's argument in 'Feral Hypertext'
but constraints can be good too. During eNarrative, either David Kolb or George Landow compared my sculpture to the sonnet and noted how formal constraits seem to limit creativity, but they often encourage us to work harder and be more creative because they free us from wasting too much time on form.
Yes, that's true.
I imagine that a StorySpinner story would be easier for people to write in Tinderbox than just handing someone an empty tinderbox file and saying, 'Write something.'
Yes! The power of the blank page --or empty screen-- to terrify.
I think everyone knows that.
So maybe we need to make tools which are open-ended but which let us make constrained forms in which people may write.
Yes, perhaps so.
Like university.
which provides the comfort of boundaries which are farther out than previously in life room to roam, but safety in some constraints
Ahh, yes. I see what you mean! It's to do with balancing power and safety, isn't it?
That's one way to look at it, Yes.
Hmmm. But how to effectively do so, that's the biggie. :-)
I think that some loose forms could help. Give people a powerful tool, and then show them some stock ways that it can be used. That's why Mark started the Tinderbox File Exchange.
Yeah, that looks like a really useful place! Is it well used?
I know people who use it . Sometimes, people email me and ask for my Tinderbox file that I use on my blog
This sort of thing has been a large part of how I learned Tinderbox, to be honest. I started via the Grey Flannel Weblog template
Once you know the area inside the fence well, then you feel comfortable stepping around the fence
Yes, that makes perfect sense!
which is why you want a very open-ended tool, so it's not a prison.
That makes sense too! ... Eh, I hate to break this off, but I fear I have a lot of things to get done in the next day-and-a-half I probably ought to make a move...
Thanks for talking. This has been *good*
Agreed :-)
and there's one further related question to take with you as you leave...
Should the authoring tool be the same as the reading tool?
How d'ya mean?
With the medium of print, writers use pens and typewriters. With technology, I could write something in Tinderbox and send it to you to read in StorySpinner. With StorySpinner, even if you write the story in SQL, the authoring tool and the reading tool are different.
Should this be? When should this be? How should this be? What flavour of chocolate ice cream should I eat?
Hee! All very important questions :-)
these are the tough questions of the universe :-)
I wonder what method was used with the other card-like tools. I may look into that .
Look at The Witch's Yarn, and Hamlet, and...'Suit'.
And meanwhile, had better dash!
Take care; do chat another time.