Daily Reports from the California Trip : Frode Hegland July 2002


Note: This a Web Log, but you'll notice that the dates are reversed from normal blogs. Here it starts at the top. The reason for this is it covers a specific period and therefore makes more sense if read straight through. Hope that's cool w u. This is a personal account and is subject to my perspective. No accuracy of anyone else's perspective is implied :-)



  Last Week of June  


I will be meeting with Harold on Monday as a pre-California presentation so I will be working on that this week.

I have been talking a lot with Doug recently and we are already building a better picture of the requirements. The other people Doug wanted to be part of the requirements process have been contacted and have agreed to take part (Eugene, Jack Park & Dorai).

Apple has confirmed that my laptop will be back Wed/Thu this week. - and it arrived.

I have been very 'down' and un-enthused these last couple of days. It's getting better though.



  Wednesday 3rd of July  


I am in California now and all is well. It was funny when I landed. They asked if I was carrying food. I laughed: "I am going to California, of course not!"   :-)

Kevin was there to pick me up. It's nice to be back.



  Thursday 4th  

Fourth of July

Had a taco yesterday. Then went to a couple of Starbucks and worked very hard on the cynapse project. A great, full work day. Added a lot of requirements in proper, separate folders and a compete glossary system as well as the start of a commenting system (allowing people to comment on the requirements as we build them). Very happy.

When Kevin picked me up from Starbucks (an hours walk from home, really nice getting there) he walked up to a an Audio TT (black, convertible) and pretended this was his replacement for his old Mazda Miata. He even opened the door! Right in public! Well, it turns out that it really is his car!!! So I guess he's not doing so bad after all  :-)

Today I will party a bit and work on the commenting system. It took a lot of thinking to decide what kind of structure it will need. The first idea was to let people just comment using email on any section of the document. Not a good idea. I have seen what can happen when it is that easy. People just ramble on. So I decided that there will be a comment box at the end of each requirement (which are only listed one to a page) where people can type comments and where they have to select a category for the comment (agree, disagree, correction etc.). I mean, if they want to contribute to the requirements phase it is reasonable to expect them to come to the page and do it in a structured manner.

But the thing is. It will cost some programming time (not a lot) to set up as the comments will have to go to a database and be listed automatically on the page it was entered. I cannot sit by a computer and do it live all the time of course. We had something like this way back on www.liquid.org which Alan did, so it cannot be hard nor take a long time.

Talked with Doug on the phone and had a few issues sorted out.  He seems very happy about the project now. I think he finally feels it can be useful.

It's nice to be in Cali, but London is not so bad either these days  :-)



  Friday 5th  

First meeting At Doug's House in Atherton

Yesterday I had a hot-dog. Went to Jack London Square for some festivities. Saw a beautiful, large American flag. Saw fireworks while driving on the freeway with Kevin. Even saw a movie, 'Sum Of All Fears' by Tom Clancy. Very good. Very thought provoking.

We are meeting today at 1pm until 3pm at Doug's house. Dorai will also be there. I have not met him yet, he is a new 'supporter'.

Met with Doug + Dorai (new guy) and Jack (know him well), which was a nice surprise. Eugene is out of town.

We went in circles for a while but decided we have to focus the project onto a more realistic and usable level so we decided to use a software development team of 40 people (including marketing, finance etc.) as our scenario. This will really make a difference in making a real description of OHS. Doug felt that he was listened to, that we made progress. So it was very, very worthwhile.

I then went with Kevin and Carol to Santa Cruz and had a very ing swim. It was incredible!

Tomorrow we will also meet at 2pm to go through WIKI (makes my idea for a comment system redundant), look at Dorai's mind maps of OHS and develop a few scenarios for us to lock OHS onto.

We will be going through the very top level structures (again) with pen and paper, drawing diagrams to see where everything fits.  Learnt to see some of the concept differently yesterday, such as HyperScope = client. and that the scope of the project will basically be to move Augment to a new environment etc.



  Saturday 6th  

Second meeting At Doug's House in Atherton

Went to see Doug today at 2. Jack was already there helping Doug with his network connections. Dorai arrived a bit later.

We went through Wiki http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?WikiWikiWeb which could be a good candidate for us to use to collaboratively build the OHS Requirements Document. This took quite a while as the general concept of WIKI were explained. After all of that I decided it is not a good idea to use Wiki as it is still not stable and 'elegant' enough and it is too open ended. I need a way to post requirements and have a structured discussion about them, not a beginning to an endless discussion via email or any other forum. I managed to present this politically enough for Jack to agree (it's his baby) and have Doug and Dorai concur.

Dorai then showed his outline of how he see's OHS in a system/application called The Brain which is nice and impressive. It's all in 3D and you can navigate and add information any way you want. It's funny, I had a picture of Fleur up on my computer and she knows the guy who programmed The Brain. But like Wiki I suggested we don't use it as it is hard to collaborate with. Easy agreement.

Dorai and I then started playing with a scenario just to see if we had the same ideas for what a scenario is and what is relevant. We agreed quite quickly what to do but soon faced the expected problem of showing procedures, data and other relevant pieces (in this case, a program) in the same diagram. I think we got it though.

The resulting scenario is that of the procedure of reporting a bug in a program and having it fixed. You can see it here: http://www.cynapse.org/flowtest.gif

I will be meeting with Jack Park on Monday at noon to go through additional scenarios. My job will then be to make nice diagrams and present them to Doug. When we agree that the procedures look good, we can see where OHS would fit in and use that as a basis for a realistic scenario. We will at that time also invite comments from real development teams to make sure we satisfy their immediate requirements.

So today was tough but I think we made some good progress.



  Sunday 7th  


Spent most of today relaxing. Went with Kevin, Carol and Marcela to a beach and I swam in the Pacific again. It was wonderful. Took pictures (some of which are here;1, 2, 3, 4, 5) of the area, Tomales, on the way back. Beautiful Bay Area. Did find time to build the structure for scenarios.

I will be seeing Jack tomorrow to organize more of them. Will be seeing Bruce in the afternoon and Ted Wed/Thursday.

The rest of tomorrow will be spent getting the car and doing the real scenarios.



  Monday 8th  

Jack Park

I went to pick up the rental car in the morning. I got it for $190 a week including insurance. This was after haggling.

I then went to meet with Jack Park who told me to look up the ontologies for ISO 9000, IDEF and flow charting in general. He also recommended I consider using literate programming as the scenario type, which I agreed to and called Doug to check with and he said fine, but needs to check more on what it really is. Jack recommended I study Donald Knuth who is a Stanford prof and author of repute who invented literate programming. I asked Doug for an intro and he agreed but will have to do some more research.

I then went to see Bruce Horn who showed me iFile and took notes on my suggested improvements. The rest of the time was spent doing the research. I also did a lot of listing and image work for LiSA.

Tomorrow: I will be finishing the LiSA cover and the mini-LiSA interface. I will complete research on all topics Jack mentioned. I will also be cleaning up all my web sites and updating cynapse in particular. I also completed the commenting spec yesterday.



  Tuesday 9th  

HyperScope Talk on the Phone with Doug

Just got of the phone with Doug. Will meet with him tomorrow morning at 10. Then onto Ted at 1. Doug and I will map out HyperScope onto real-world functions like two people collaborating on a document. I called and said I could not do scenarios for a software house as I don't know how they work. This point was getting to be a problem for me. I was working at home at Kevin's house today and I also made two trips to Starbucks. But this issue of not being able to do scenarios for a group of 40 software developers really worried me. So I ran home (well, ran and drove, this is California) and called Doug. He was home and agreed.

I called him a while later and asked if the HyperScope would have to be developed collaboratively or if it could be thought of as a shrink-wrapped product. He said we could think of it that way! I am very happy. He also gave me a large compliment, he said I am the only one who listens. Shows what asking obvious questions again and again can do. I learnt that from Dad. Thanks.

We discussed the HyperScope in some detail and I learnt that it will need to support link type, view spec and translator version - maybe even origin I suggested. We are getting somewhere. It has also been established how important IBM's WBI is. Specific questions come up  too. Fx if the WBI is in the client client, where will the link db be?

Kevin and me are going to an international food court for dinner now. Which we do every once in a while. And as usual, we will probably have Afghan food. Marcela might meet us there.

Earlier today I finished the cover for the speaking assistant. (front only, not back yet). I am pretty happy with it. I updated a lot of web sites and did the mini-LiSA interface complete with documentation.



  Wednesday 10th  

Doug's Office & Dinner with Ted & Marlene

Yesterday was very full and productive. I slept well. I woke up at nine...

At ten to ten I arrived at Logitech and Doug was already there. I sat down and we went straight to business. My agenda was to get a diagrammatic overview of the HyperScope (hs), learn how hs fits with OHS (the main project) and how it fits with the real world systems of today and finally to write down issues Doug has with the system which will have to be resolved, through dialog and research.

After he showed me a diagram of hs on his laptop (stage 1 and 2), I realized it is not necessary to map it into other real world situations. It is basically an enhanced way of viewing, navigating and soon, editing documents. Simple. Cool. This is what I had thought for a while but it had gotten a bit foggy. Or to put it more accurately: Stage 1: Enhanced viewing. Link db.  Stage 2: Editing. Caching (iFile). Families of Views. Families of Translators. Multiple (levels of) User Interface.

Now, there is no clear distinction between stage 1 &2. It is only a suggestion as what might be a good way to start with and what may be able to wait.

I then asked him how the hs fits into OHS. hs is the start of an OHS. Pure and simple. I am happy with that.

Then came the $64,000 question (considering Doug's insistence of everything being actively evolutionary- which I agree is the most important attribute here). I asked if the hs could be seen as a 'shrink-wrapped' piece of software or if it too had to be developed in an evolutionary process. His answer, which is just simplifying everything: Shrink-wrapped. Beautiful!

I showed Doug the demo mock-up I did of the hs a couple of years ago. I went to www.engelbart.info to show it to him. He got a little upset at the existence of a domain in his name so I mentioned we had discussed it and I had written clearly that it is a 'fan site' but this time he wanted it all changed to something like www.aboutengelbart.info. I got a little mad at this point reminding him about the history of the site. I have known him for quite a while now and even though he has had a couple of different people be web master for his www.bootstrap.org site, he has never been happy nor allowed me to take care of it. So I started engelbart.info with the purpose of having him dictate what should be on there. I also got a little upset at the general lack of appreciation for efforts, including building a mock-up of the hs to begin with. But anyway, we talked and I proposed taking down everything on engelbart.info and leaving just links, in addition to putting all the contents of engelbart.info on liquid. Which I have done: www.liquid.org/engelbart He didn't agree with this solution 100% either, but we'll get there.

His main issue with the actual demo/mock-up of the hs was that it was slow. So I explained to him some of the limitations of TCP/IP and in particular Web Browser bloat which results in slow http service between client and server. This was useful and lead on to a potential revision of his hs architecture. I will be drawing out some of what came out of this discussion into a revised hs diagram today.

The slow speed of the demo resulted in Doug stating a new, and important requirement; it has to be fast, to facilitate smooth mobility (how you move, and how you view).

We spent some time on issues he has. He never pretends to know how to build the whole thing, he needs dialog. So we need to define some of the issues he needs dialog on:
Is IBM WBI a good candidate?
What are the pro's and con's of having the different components/functions on  a client or a server?
How do you implant HyperScope in legacy files? His supposition, use live purple numbers.
How do you get the required speed for smooth mobility?

He also clarified that the difference between DKR and knowledge is like a warehouse & tool dictionary and the knowledge it contains.

Action items for me at the end of the meeting included getting in touch with Dorai for help on the issue of where view generators should be placed etc, removing all info from engelbart.info, both of which I have done, and writing up the notes, diagrams and issues, which I will do at Starbucks today.

Then I rushed over to Ted's Place.

I gave him and Marlene a summary of the mornings meeting with Doug and then Ted and I went Kayaking and had a swim. What a day!

We discussed ZigZag and the how ZigZag and hs can fit. We agreed that a good way to present the potential collaboration with Doug is to state ZigZag as a candidate viewing mechanism and separately as a 'storage' mechanism.

Ted spent a lot of time with me describing ZigZag, for which I am grateful. When he is gone, Marlene and I will have some fun playing with a ZigZag glossary, even though it is a duplication of efforts. It will help us at least.

The word iFile in Doug's hs description bugged me. Does it necessarily have to be a 'file' anyway? And what is the difference between a file and a database anyway, an issue Ted had alerted me to before. We spent a lot of time on this while kayaking and it really opened up a lot of issues with the hs. As in what should be a folder, a file, a db and what locally, what remotely etc. We will, as Ted said, get the systems larger issues down first.

This evening I will be having dinner at Doug's house where his girl friend Karen will be cooking dinner for us an Ted & Marlene. We will be going over the age old issue of how they can work together.

Before this I will be writing up my notes from yesterday, primarily in an effort to list the issues Doug has in a way we can research them and discuss them, as well as abstracting the diagrams as much as possible- trying to remove assumptions and only focusing on what are actual requirements.

No work has been done on LiSA yesterday nor will be done today. I will however also be working on some web work in general and get some images organized.



  Thursday 11th  

Dinner at Doug's House

This morning was spent on a diagram of the HyperScope, going from version one to two and then onto an abstracted version, trying to get away from any implementation issues, only focusing on the requirements. I also backed up all of cynapse.org in preparation of moving away from discussing OHS with hs as a side issue and on to talking about hs only, with OHS just being 'something in the future.' Got some re-design done as well.

I arrived at Doug's at 5 and I noticed he had a burst blood vessel in his right eye. I did not know that was what it was, but Ted came and confirmed that was it but called the Ted medical company people anyway to confirm. So after an initial scare we went into the garden for drinks and some serious geek talk. (Even got a nice picture of Doug at work on Augment in his office).

Dinner was great. Karen served fresh salmon and salad. Ted explained more of ZigZag and Doug moved away from the requirement of a Link database and agreed that the important thing is to be able to access the link information. In other words the HyperScope is now seen (for the level of detail needed for the project at this point) as a black box between the legacy data (any files/information the user wants to and can access but which is authored in the old way) and the user 'interface'. This allows us to list the actual user requirements completely divorced from any implementation preferences/prejudices we might have. We are not even talking about it in terms of a client-server issue. It's just 'there'.

Sample functional requirements can then become something like: The system shall allow users to view information based on authors, date and interlining (show only documents which link to this particular document) and so on.

This is normal in regular software development but it is quite a breakthrough to be able to do with Doug. He is making huge strides in narrowing down his vision to make it real, while struggling hard to make sure it's evolveable, not just another piece of software. He discussed this with me later, while I was leaving. He is concerned with supporting the evolution and getting companies to buy-in on the whole process, not just a 'neat piece of functionality.'

As I said yesterday, the word iFile in Doug's hs description bugged me. Does it necessarily have to be a 'file' anyway? As long as the system is able to provide the user with the ability to access information about how links go (both directions etc.) then should it be in a database, a file or even stored separately at all? I suggested that maybe it should not be stored at all. Maybe link information should be dynamically accessed (just like author, date etc.) from all the information as and when it's needed. Computers are fast enough for this these days that's for sure. This proved a huge sticking point as Doug said: "How else would you do it, but keep a central list of links?" and Ted talked about ZigZag which deals with this in a whole manner. After me being pedantic and going on about the difference between file, db and keeping the information in the files and allowing the file to describe the link and such, Doug finally said: "I don't care how it's stored, I just want to access it!" Which is great.

See everything in any way you want, organized and displayed by any criteria (for Doug to dictate for version 1 but which must be evolveable); by any aspect. Date, size, linking, read-by, rating. Anything. Hey, this is all getting a bit liquid!

Thing is. Doug doesn't just talk about links in the way the rest of us does, weaned as we are on the Web (Ted being a huge exception). He talks about jumping and about addressing. When any part of a document is addressable, and you can jump from place to place, you can do interesting things such as 'jump to the first phone number on page 6' or 'jump up a level' or 'refer to the second paragraph' and all these things. Manually created URLs (Web page addresses) which we deal with today, are like instead of being able to give driving directions in the real world, such as 'go down three blocks and turn left', you could only go to places where someone had already been and manually designated a place. The difference between dumbly going between pre-made location to being able to define anything as a location and specify how to get there and how you'd like to see it when you arrive is pretty fundamental.

The issue of URLs pointing to documents which may or may not be there came up, And so moving documents into the HyperScope would probably benefit from including original address as well as a date and time and a hash to be able to track changes. That is a later stage implementation issue though.

We discussed how ZigZag and hs might work together and Doug pointed to the future, where ZigZag and other ways of doing things, such as IBIS and Nodal would have to be included as well. Or evolveable-into. Ted & Marlene and I had agreed yesterday to present ZigZag as a potential candidate for the viewing side of things and for the internal storage/format. But we left tonight feeling that ZigZag & HyperScope are further apart technically/implementationally, but closer philosophically.

We spent a lot of the evening with Doug & Ted learning more about each others systems and use of words. This is getting to be a bigger and bigger issue. We all use the same words it seems. We just mean very different things by them. So building a common glossary (maybe even part ontology) is an important part of the process. We even had to define legacy file as still being in the world, not inside the HyperScope. In other words, we cannot touch them.

We also discussed some marketing concepts. Doug talks about IBM's interest. So there you go: "HyperScope is to your documents what LINUX is to your operating system." It's a magic lens which enhances the way you can see and navigate in files, an it is open, evolveable and controllable. But more on that later. IBM is good not just because of WBI but also because the embrace LINUX. They love open source. They learnt the hard way. OS 2.

I will be seeing Doug tomorrow, Friday at 2. So I will spend the morning organizing the actual requirements list. On paper. One per sheet (not done, I couldn't find my pen...)When I see Doug we will manually extend this list for me to write up properly as soon as possible.

But now I must sleep. It's 12:32am and I must get up early for another amazing day of making the future better. And real.



  Friday 12th  

Journaling & Issues

Today I am actually compiling this Journal at Starbucks in Palo Alto. The wireless network is playing up so I cannot get as much information from the internet as I would have liked. Meeting with Doug at 2. I will be trying to see if he agrees on the abstracted HyperScope model and if we can add some specs to the different parts of the system such as what formats needs to be supported for versions 1 & 2.

I have also started the 'Issues Section' today which I have added old issues which Doug has and I will ask for more today and we'll try to start answering them.

We went through the issues and made some headway. We agreed on iFormat instead of iFile as the word 'file' might artificially color the implementors thinking. We also agreed that we will not need a separate link db, but the functionality of a link db must be provided.

We also discussed ZigZag and agreed we need more help from Ted on some issues like two-way links.

Seeing him on Monday when I will have to give him printed out requirements. Ooooh...

I will also have to provide a list of pro's and con's for what components should be on the server and what in the client.

It was a good day. I got to edit a lot of the pictures I took during the trip, including the first Dumbarton bridge pictures and put all the daily reports together one one page. I will now have to edit them a bit and post it on cynapse.org.



  Saturday 13th  


I want to organize the issues page today as well as finish outstanding items from earlier. I will also make a few web sites with pictures from the trip and take new pictures of a couple of the bridges here. They are incredible.



  Sunday 14th  

Dumbarton & mini-LiSA

I am to meet with Meet with Houria at University Cafe at 1 in Palo Alto.

I met with Houria. Had a great lunch. Took pictures of the Dumbarton bridge again (First pictures:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Some of todays: 1, 2, 3) and organized the site + requirements for tomorrow. Also re-designed mini-LiSA with a sphere. Really like it!
Had a great time yesterday with Kevin, Marcela and Billy- we went to see 'Minority Report'. It was worth it.

Tomorrow I am seeing Doug & Steve. The real list by list requirements will hopefully start for real.



  Monday 15th  

Doug's Office, Dinner & Creeping Frustration

Met with Doug and went through the HyperScope overview diagram yet again. It was all nice to start but then we got into the whole issue of what a Requirements Document should cover. He kept referring to WBI and other possible implementations and even suggested integrating WBI in quite a few areas of the HyperScope. I could not agree. It was hard. And then the value of a requirements doc was questioned. But you know, if we don't get all the pieces of the puzzle, or rather- sales pitch, down, it will just stay airy fairy. So I am demoralized. Learned from Mary that Dorai and Mei Lin is coming by tomorrow. I was not asked. Even though Doug wanted Dorai and me to talk about the architecture. I will just have to pull myself together and write a complete set of requirements as I see them, tomorrow. And ask Steve what to do.

Went to the Gap and got some jeans and t-shirt. Starbucks. Went for dinner w Kev to a place where you can cook your own food on a little hot-plate. It was good. Played Star Wars game. Watched Frasier. Stuck with the feeling of everything being done at once therefore nothing getting done. And being accused of being a part of the category in Doug's mind of people who listen a bit and say "now I get it. I'll just go and do it' and what's done is wrong. I told him I would write the requirements for him to comment on.

And I said I understand the need for dialog. But the only reasonable way forward I can see is to write the requirements, start a spec where we tell the people writing the spec we need alternatives, for dialog, not just single solutions, like XML or whatever. Then write the marketing info, put together a mock-up demo. And sell.

And never any interest in me helping w marketing. Even though I have a degree in it. He only wants people with a lot of experience. But guess what, they need to get paid to listen + work.



  Tuesday 16th  

Steve & Reality

Meeting with Steve at noon at the University Cafe in Palo Alto. He pointed out how if software is to succeed against entrenched software it needs a 4-5 time advantage in capability. He told me about plenty of systems he is using now (such as Atomica) which provides a lot of Doug's systems (Hyper & OHS) functionality. He told me developers have lots of IDEs so they are unlikely to want to just go over to something new. He just doesn't see a compelling benefit. Of all the projects he has worked on, only the ones which solves the users pain gets anywhere. Projects which don't, even ones which help more than solve obvious problems (like mobile phones) only succeed because there is an initial group which has some pain (business travelers etc.). I am not happy.



  Wednesday 17th  

MacWorld NY

Today I woke up early to catch the MacWorld New York Web cast. Couldn't get it but read all about it. I do like the new 17" iMac. And iTunes.

Things just collapsed on me though. The whole Doug issue. It just drains me of energy. I went back to sleep. Woke up at 2. Went out and locked myself out. The door usually doesn't lock itself. This was a problem because I had just changed pants and all my keys (home and car) was in the other pair of pants. That sucked. I knew that the lock sometimes moved around a bit. So I unscrewed the damned thing. I put my finger in there and wham, it got stuck! It was pulled in and it hurt... I thought I would have to ask someone for help. But then I thought about the kind of material my finger is (right pointing finger). It's basically a sack/bladder of flexible jelly. So I wiggled, and wiggled and it came out. That was nice. Hungry though, so I walked down to the burito place and asked for food (offering my passport, which was in my back pocket- as a guarantee). They just helped. I used their phone and called Kev. He told me about a spare key. And all was well.

But the depressing thing about being dragged into the whole Doug sink-hole didn't help. So I decided to just work on LiSA. I emailed 2 journos about their email articles and mentioned LiSA.

Then I redesigned www.speakingassistant.com It's much better now. Had problems with the bottom frame but it worked out. Did it all at a nice new (for me) Starbucks on Union Street in SF.

Had gotten a new game so I played that once. Went home and made a fresh Tuna salad for Kevin and me. Great stuff. We watched (an automatically recorded on his TV hard drive) Frasier. And I played some Medal Of Honor. Called people in Europe on my California card and fell asleep. Not a totally wasted day. Good LiSA progress but lots of Doug frustration.



  Thursday 18th  

Change Everything

I drove down to see Eugene at 11:45am in Palo Alto. We met at the cafe Borrone, next to Keplers, the famed book-shop. As I was parking at the Menlo Park railway station, it all just came together for me: Doug needs to drop OHS. Doug's goal is bigger than a specific system Doug is not fully aware of present system capabilities. Also, even a fully implemented OHS will very unlikely be universal, it will always serve as a model and inspiration for co-evolution. SO... I propose he drop OHS altogether and focus on evangelizing his vision of co-evolution.

Eugene told me of his frustrations and agreed that dropping OHS might be a good idea. We'll see. I'll talk to Doug about it.

The rest of the day is just going to be finishing of those simple top level requirements. And to finish the HyperText article.

I did work a bit on the article. But spent most of the time with my stomach getting tighter and tighter, trying to reach Doug. I realized I had left my card in the ATM. I will have to go the bank tomorrow and see if they got it.

Well, I came home to Kevin's house and finally reached Doug on the phone. He told me he had been in the office. Writing an email to me complaining about my Web sites using his quotes and he still thought I was planning to market OHS independently. I got upset over this and told him I would remove everything from engelbart.info and make it clearer what on my own sites are his words and which are mine. He did not want me to copy anything across (I think that is what he said) and that will take longer to clean up. It was hard to take but I listened and went on to discuss my proposal that he drop OHS.

He listened. I asked him what he wanted his legacy to be: an OHS or other software or the philosophy of co-evolution being practiced? He said co-evolution.

So I told him that there is a way that can happen. Drop OHS.

He listened.

I went on to tell him that although he only intends OHS as a philosophy and a way of doing it, it comes across like he is trying to sell a specific software solution. Maybe it's the acronyms. OHS, DKR, HyperScope. Sounds like products. Or at least technologies. So drop them.

Focus instead on the big message. Be a guru. Hey, he has already done the implementations, with Augment. Now it's time to do the speech of a famous person. Make others ask him for implementation advice. We'll see. He is by nature a humble man. And by his own estimation a failure. I told him I agree. He is a failure. By his current measure. But he is also the one who has done more than anyone else to augment the capabilities of knowledge workers in the 20th century. He's a great success and a failure. Deal with it. Be the guru. I told him about the saying I heard once: If you want to follow the footsteps of a great man, don't look at his feet, his footsteps. Look at his eyes. Doug, you're the great man now, let the world see your eyes.

After this tough phone call I went back downstairs where Kevin was watching TV. I laughed at Frasier and Kevin complained that his Audio TT convertible was still in the shop getting its top fixed. It's been almost three weeks and the garage just have time to get to it they say. Kevin then mentioned the news story about the young murdered girl. I replied that I find the media hype offensive, seeing that this is unfortunately not a rare event and that they sensationalize this one story to the detriment of others. You know, rock music and stern voice over announcing all this on the news. I referred to satire sites and how they cover how sick the media coverage is.. Well, I said more than that. Kevin got upset, saying I complain about everything American, which I found a bit ludicrous. I asked him why, considering he rarely gets upset and asked him what else is behind it. He said he was upset at how picky I am and complain at everything, including the say him and I and Carol were at Stanford Shopping Center and I felt uneasy about the incredible wealth on display in the stores ($5 for a chocolate) and the combined lack of appreciation. In other words, people spending hundreds on expensive clothes at Banana Republic and so on when they walk around in cheap t-shirts and shorts. He was referring to a day of stress when I was not all together but he was right and I was not going to stay there and cause stress so I left. Slept in the car (thank God for sleeping masks) and cleaned up at Starbucks (by San Mateo Bridge) for my meeting with Doug in Starbucks in Palo Alto at 9:30. I did call Kevin and left a message to apologize.

But you know, like Brownian motion, we all jiggle about. In the great scheme of things, only the jiggles which moves 'something' forward matters. All the internal stress and insecurities, it just doesn't matter. It just doesn't help get anything done. Global Brain discusses this well, the five rules of relationships. That is any relationships, those between elementary particles and those between monkey, cells and those between men. In cells, the reaction to lack of success is called apoptosis, programed cell death. In people it's good old fashioned depression.



  Friday 19th  

Doug's Office, Steve & the City

Was supposed to see Doug at Starbucks around 10:30 but I just called him and he couldn't find it so I am on my way there for 12:20 lunch.Got there. We had lunch in the cafeteria. We talked in his office. It was hard. He is stressed and upset, I am stressed and upset. He had thought about what we talked about yesterday.

I was late for Steve but met him and handed him a wad of cash. How cool to be able to pay cash for programing! I told him what an influence his critique of the HyperScope had been. He was surprised. What can you say?

Called Kevin a couple of times. Didn't get through. Met up with Richard, a good friend who runs the business center at the Marriott. We talked and that was nice. He is basically an advanced hippy in a suit. Which is nice.

Went to see Marcela who just gave me a long lecture of how Kevin was probably mad. I don't listen or pay attention to people around me. She is right. I couldn't really take any criticism at that point, intelligent and gentle though she was. So I left. I thanked her and told her I love her but I can't deal today. She didn't seem to mind.

Looked around for motels on the north side of San Francisco. Found a great place called Surf run by a very friendly Indian family. They gave me rate of $55 plus tax. They called it a student rate. So I went around town feeling lonely. Went to a strip club. Talked for a while with an incredible Filipino girl. She really made me smile. Picked up a tuna melt, went home, went to bed, turned on the TV. Only one channel worked. HBO. Saw Def Poetry Jam, introduced and hosted by Mos Def. It was powerful. Then in walked Rakim. He asked where he in from. The Ghetto. Then he launched in to a spoken version of the most beautiful rap rhyme I have ever known, which I listened to first while at SU. Rakim is the Rakim of Eric B and Rakim. When Mom & Dad & me came to the hotel in Syracuse to get oriented for school, I ran to the TV, found MTV and heard Eric B and Rakim wit 'Let the rhythm hit 'em'. Tonight I heard him with 'In the Ghetto'. I know those word like someone else might know Yeats or Wordsworth or whomever. I sat straight up. I cried.



  Saturday 20th  

Doug's House, Starbucks & Augment Demo

I woke up comfortably half an hour before the wake up call at 8. Had a nice shower and set out on highway 101 to Palo Alto. My engine showed a warning light, which is just what I needed. Stopped at a garage but they said it all checked out OK. Light went out a couple of hours later anyhow. Got to Palo Alto with time to spare.

I had picked up the Griffin iMic yesterday, a $35 adaptor which allows microphones to be plugged in to the Titanium. But I couldn't find a microphone! Now this is an Apple Blunder... I gave up after half an hour and Drove to Doug's. Met him outside. He had locked himself out. I thought it was mildly amusing since I do that quite frequently. He had never locked himself out before so he was, well, bemused actually. I climbed up on his roof, tried the doors up there (roof terrace u see) but no, locked. Having reported back I tried once more and the door just slid right open. Amazing.

We went through Doug's big points. I was not concerned about my thesis. Just wanted a way to get his message across. The big one. The one with the big points. The one without the acronyms. Not 'TBP' but The Big Picture. I wrote a rough outline for audio recordings we could then do tomorrow: "The Problem. The Philosophy In General and Implementation." He kept trying to narrow it down to a thesis. That you Doug. We basically came together around the issue of ease of use first or augmentation first. As Doug says, to increase capabilities is the fundamental thing. So this is interesting.

One of the useful comparisons in the argument between focusing of ease of use or on augmentation is Augment style text based interaction vs. clicking on icons. Doug took me on a tour of Augment which I photographed. I will write it up soon.

But we got hungry so we went to University Cafe for Tuna Nicoise. Fresh tuna. It is just amazing. Talked about extending interfaces. How can we interact more efficiently with our information and commends via computers? Talked about Hypertext. About life.

We continued across the road for a Starbucks. That was quite fun. Then onto the Apple store. Doug was amused by the no-button mouse (the whole thing is pressed) as he always advocated three buttons at least. He had an argument with Steve Jobs about it once. He was also impressed by the current hardware.

Talked to Kevin. Doug is home. I am back at the Starbucks on Union Street. Writing this all up. The world is a little nicer today. The stress has subsided a bit. My focus is on a new thesis, which I hope Harold will be OK now that the HyperScope is for all intents and purposes (in my view), dead. My new thesis is "Augmentation vs. Ease of Use, a question of balance". Will have to re-design all of www.Cyanpse.org

All manner of interfaces will have to be concerned, as we discussed today; native English speakers and pidgin English speakers. Icons click simplicity and command-line control. And the different user interface levels afforded by Photoshop will be useful to consider.

I really must try to get in touch with interface people here for interviews. But for tonight, it's Japanese takeway and back to Kevin's.

I learnt something today. From Marcela. I got to get on with my own thing. Getting Doug's deal closer to taking of makes me realize I can do what I can do for him, but I have to do what I can do for me as well. I cannot use Doug to be proud. I cannot use Doug to be depressed.



  Sunday 21th  

Therese & Jessica

I called home last night. It was about 8 there. Therese answered a bit groggy- I did wake her up. I asked about progress with re-hab. We had a small argument. Then she gave the phone to Jessica! That was a bit of a surprise that Jessica was there. But very nice. Turns out that Therese had talked about Marlene staying at Cadogan Square, something which was never supposed to happen. Therese had first said it was for weeks, then a week. It was for a week-end and only happened because I felt I had no option, Marlene needed help and Therese and Marlene do not get along. I could not tell Marlene no, she is having a real tough time. She even ended up with a mis-carriage this summer. It's incredible. I do believe in her though and I love her very much. All this, me having gone back on my word, Therese telling all kinds of stories (Henning called with some more) was just too much so I collapsed and stayed in bed until 2pm. I called home again and talked with Jessica. We all have problems, lets fix them was our simple conversation. It was energizing enough. So I went for lunch at the pasta place I frequent. I have been there regularly for years, but only once a year or so. Brought Ted's doctorate thesis and had a very enjoyable read. Then I saw it, a reference to HyperText links. Aha! A pre-written link is only a part of HyperText. This is making sense!

Later I left for Starbucks on Shattuck in Berkeley where the latina girl who speaks Swedish fluently works. She is always smiling and making the whole place just that much nicer. Being Berkeley they do have their share of weirdos in there though. And yes, I am one I guess. I did the first version of Marcela's web site, complete with a morph. Tomorrow it's Doug's at 3 and Steve for lunch before that at 1.

This evening I went with Marcela to San Francisco. I picked her up in Sausalito and we drove over the Golden Gate and had some good Vietnamese food. Saw 'K-19' with Harrison Ford & Liam Neson. Very good. Drove home after dropping her of. Drove across the Richmond bridge. So beautiful at night. Riveted metal. The bay on either side. Oil tanker moored and lit- visible through the railings as I sped by.

Thought about the mess with Marlene and how I ended up lying. I meant it when I said no-one would stay. I felt I had no choice when she needed to stay in London on her way to the US. I was very unhappy with the situation but didn't let her know that. She is ill and needs rest. I stayed late with her every night but went home to sleep. I haven't talked to her yet. I promised her she could come and stay in Elm Lodge. I thought Therese would be somewhere dealing with her drinking by then, but her and mom have not been able to talk things over. I don't know, all of this is a mess. The decision was on whether to help someone I care for very much who was in need or to keep my word and my honor.

Thought about the thesis. I will start it by writing about the difference between someone who sails a yacht for leisure and someone who is a professional competition sailor. The difference between someone who shots in a video game arcade and a soldier. The difference between a secretary who uses a computer for letters & simple notes & calendaring and a knowledge worker. The point will be made that though professional knowledge workers have specialized tools, they are not very expandable and customizable. For example, the accountant and the researcher would both tend to use the same word processor, spread sheet program and web browser. And they cannot tailor the tools to their particular needs. They are also stuck at an intermediate level of user expertise. The tools are not completely friendly to beginners but they don't cater much for the expert user either. I think this will be a good masters thesis and will be useful in general. And now I think I must sleep. Feel a bit stronger today though, even under the pressure and disappointment of the whole Marlene in Cadogan Square thing. And the way you dismissed the story out of hand Dad, because you trusted me. I am sorry. Don't know what to say.



  Monday 22th  

Today was not so bad. Went to see Steve with some more money. He bought me lunch at University Cafe. Fresh tuna nicose. When he asked me if I wanted tuna or chicken in front of the waitress she quipped that I'd probably kill them if they gave me anything but tuna. True. We discussed EyeOnTheWeb and related product ideas. The future looks bright. Provided we can get LiSA out the door properly and marketed right... Got a new version of LiSA this morning which was nice. Took too long to download at home though so I went to the Apple Store in Palo Alto before my meeting and took advantage of their very high speed wireless connection. All 20 Megs of LiSA in 3 minutes. She ran well and even has a square mini-LiSA but still some show stopping bugs, including a graphical one which was my fault. So I fixed it and uploaded the new graphic with the bug list. Here's hoping for a working version soon!

Met with Doug and went through some audio recordings on the ease of use issue and did some timed Augment work. Very useful. Sad to leave the valley and Doug, but there you go.

Had dinner with Kevin in Walnut Creek (Caesar salad with cuts of steak). And then had the strangest dessert. We went to this ice cream place where we chose our ice cream flavors, which is normal enough. Then chose a few toppings, though that may not be the best term. The girl then put the ice cream on frozen table and worked the toppings into the ice cream like dough! It was extraordinary.

After dinner we went to Borders (no...) and had a good look around. I have been thinking about the issue of icon click simplicity vs. command key power. This may be the crux of the thesis, as it can be measured... Researching some initial vectors of pro's & con's of icons vs text will be useful. Adding the whole issue of classifying users will round it of. This ain't so bad anymore.

Some initial thoughts:
Commands (spoken or typed. To access tool, so issue single command or to issue full sentence command). Plus: Speed. Combinatorial flexibility. Minus: users can only remember so many commands. Human Internal Mental Process: Memory, understanding of vocabulary style/paradigm.
Icons (images or word buttons). Plus: Less learning required. Minus:Slow, it takes longer to access and execute an icon than to type a command (find, point and click). Limit to how many icons can fit on a screen. Human Internal Mental Process: Recall (from specific training or other user knowledge).



  Tuesday 23th  

To London.

So am I sitting on the gate, waiting to board London flight UA930 and it is announced to be delayed. The plane has just been towed away. Hey, some more Bay Area time, I'm not complaining. New announcement: departure at 1:30. Hey, that's not so bad. No Starbucks at the airport though. Hmm.

It was a rush this morning. Woke up and 7:30 and then packed, cleaned, dropped of the car and was ready by 8:30 for the pick-up. It's strange leaving this time. I love London more now. The Bay Area is still beautiful and vibrant, but the stress associated with all the years of trying to get the company funded and the stress of trying to help Doug has taken its toll. Plus London is just even more inviting with the amazing apartment we have.

No idea what will happen with Therese. Maybe we will get divorced. I both don't care and hope not. She needs to heal. Then we can decide on the paperwork. What a strange world to go back to.



  Wednesday 24th   Arrive in London