As promised, here is a copy of what I was going to say at the meeting of Th=
ursday morning, November 2, at SRI. The whys and whatfors got a little trunc=
ated. This will also serve to give people who weren't there my thinking abou=
t the site and where it needs support.
No editor can sit by passively with "THAT" important event coming up, an ev=
ent that sure is to draw press attention. You will appreciate that I have to=
do some prioritizing over the next two to three weeks.
I might just mention that Doug liked to see "Site maintained by Friends of =
Engelbart" changed to something like "... Friends of Bootstrapping." I have =
encountered other views as well. I harbor some other ideas myself, but like =
to be open to suggestions.
1. Thank you all for being here and hearing me out.
I know this is prime time in your working day so I am especially appreciati=
2. I am glad to have been invited by Doug to come to Silicon Valley for a n=
umber of reasons, especially for an opportunity to meet him and you and many=
of his other friends in real virtuality.
Social aspect aside, my main reason for being here is concerns about the Bo=
. I am concerned about us agreeing about the site's objectives.
. I am concerned about how well we are proceeding to meet stated or perceiv=
. I am concerned about our ability to continue in trying to meet our object=
ives, i.o.w. about the site's permanence.
Part and parcel of these concerns are: staffing, talent, time, efficiency, =
backup (people and facilities), and so on,
. And on a personal note, I am concerned whether I do the best possible job=
within my means of time, temperament, and skills.
I need help.
3. First, I need us to think together about what is going on on our site.
I said, OUR site, not Doug's site.
Legally, it may be Doug's, or the Institute's, but socially, it is ours.
It is an instrument we use in our work.
Doug's priorities leave him little time to even look at the site.
He trust others to do that for him.
Technical people for the physical maintenance.
And a webmaster and some other people for whatever is coded in HTML.
4. It is through one of those wacky turns of events that I happened to beco=
me the webmaster for a man of great distinction, and thereby came to serve a=
n important cause.
Doug summarizes his lifetime pursuit by saying, "As much as possible, to bo=
ost mankind's collective capability for coping with complex, urgent problems=
I tend to recast this, at this point in the flow of world events, as "optim=
izing our offspring's chance to live worthwhile lives on a safe planet."
I have a son and a daughter, a grandson and a granddaughter.
What we are doing as Doug's associates is far more than merely interesting.=
It is critically important.
5. From the Colloquium we learned that the OHS is the critical missing piec=
e in Doug's bootstrapping strategy.
Now, it appears that DKRs are coming into being - e.g. Plato - and that a p=
rototype OHS is in the offing.
I understand that a good chunk of money is coming our way from the National=
Institute of Health, and with perhaps more to come from DARPA.
All of which tells me that the time has come to make it eminently clear to =
the world what bootstrapping is and what it can do for all of us.
I think our site is an important tool in this effort.
6. Doug, nor I. nor, I hate to say it, any of you are likely to enjoy etern=
al life on Mother Earth.
The strategy and tools for bootstrapping need to be passed on from time to =
time to other dedicated, capable persons.
We need a degree of permanence.
Ars longa, vita brevis.
We need be assured of a team that will keep carrying on..
Let me call this team, "Friends of Engelbart."
Friends of Engelbart will continue to refine bootstrapping and propagate it=
This implies some form of organization with the needed wherewithal to make =
it possible to go on for as long as it takes to do the job of "boosting mank=
ind's collective capacity to cope with a threatened and threatening environm=
So, one of the things I want us to think about is this cosa nostra, "Friend=
s of Engelbart," and what it takes to maintain this as a viable association.=
7. I like to describe myself as an optimistic realist, or a positive realis=
So, privately, I have banned from my mind any doubt about our ability to su=
stain an ongoing "Friends of Engelbart" social circle.
In fact, in a way it already exists and is called "Bootstrap Alliance."
In a way.
I tend to see the Alliance more as a grouping of business and public organi=
zations and "Friends" as a grouping of motivated individuals with, where nee=
ded, support provided -- guaranteed? -- by the Alliance.
Anyway, this is just my rough perception.
8. As far as the work on the Bootstrap site is concerned - my niche in our =
scheme of things - I am already taking the existence of "Friends of Engelbar=
t" for granted.
Optimists do that sort of thing.
I now like to discuss this page in some detail.
I shall be projecting other images, but I will make this page the centerpie=
ce of our attention.
And use this page to show you what other help I think I need.
9. Doug, dealing with other aspects of moving the bootstrapping strategy fo=
rward, may not have fully realized that the Bootstrap site has also become a=
bit of an "urgent and slightly complex" problem.
Here is the existing home page.
A bit grey, but certainly welcoming.
Kind of an old-fashioned welcome.
A couple of news items and/or announcements up front.
Three sets of links inviting us to step right into various nooks and cranni=
es of the site.
The news items seem to take up a bit too much prominence in relation to wha=
t bootstrapping is about.
This is one thing that needs changing.
9a. There is a critical comment I ought to make at this point.
The site comes across as a working environment for Doug and his friends.
"A beehive of activity."
This means, that an outsider stepping in, although greeted with a friendly =
welcome, tends to become bewildered.
I believe that, somehow, we have to make the site more cognisant of the fee=
lings of visitors - a bit more extrovert, if you wish.
May be empathic is a better word.
The site should provide some needed guidance to newbies.
It should tell them a story - first in a few words, then expand a little, t=
hen expand a little further for those whose interest is piqued.
That's one thing I am shooting for.
And I will need some help here for preparing some needed materials..
10. Doug and/or Christina had set out a couple of specs for what a site oug=
ht to be like.
I don't want us to spend all our allotted time reading this page, so I just=
. the site is a repository of relevant historic and current material. 1A1
. the site is mission oriented.1A2
. the site recognizes an environment - there are other related, important t=
hings going on in this world. I am going to put a stamp on that: CONTEXT. 1A=
. the site is to be exemplary. 1A4
. there is to be an emphasis on the Bootstrap Alliance. 1B
. the primary purpose of the web page should be to find what you're looking=
for quickly and efficiently. 2A
. it should also be bustling with activity. 2A
. it should be visually appealing, and at the same time accommodating for a=
ll users -- including those with low-end workstations and low baud rates, la=
ptop or notebook sized monitors, brail readers, etc. 2A
. it should not have graphics that hinder a user's "setting of his views." =
. pages should download rapidly, so again: cut down on graphics [unless goo=
d bandwidth is ubiquitous] 2C
. provide alternate text for those with browsing with images turned off. 2C=
. yet, "We would like to incorporate more imagery to help portray the mater=
ial visually, and hope in the future to do so." 2C
. provisions for "precision browsing including automatic table of contents,=
ZOOM buttons, and the purple numbering of each item in the document (for st=
arters ... there's more to come!)." 4A
. emphasis on document structure with indensting at each level to give view=
ers a sense of how deep they are into a document. 4B Note the problem with u=
sing HTML as it now is. 4B1
The editors of the page point out some other limitations of the HTML in com=
parison with the Augment system, 5B, 5C whereas elsewhere on the site emphas=
is is put on including the "funny purple numbers" or "location numbers" for =
a. to serve the user as identifyers for content items.
b. to give users the feel of `things to come' once technology for that is =
in widespread use.
As previous editors have experienced, and as I myself do, we can only striv=
e for the ideals set out above.
11. There have been quite a few people involved in adding and maintaining p=
ages and it should not surprise us that the application of the specification=
s has been variable.
It appears, moreover, that there have been times that too few hands were av=
ailable because of other Bootstrap work, etc., and this, too, appeared to ha=
ve caused inconsistencies.
Frankly, I myself have sometimes a feeling that consistency is an almost fu=
But we must keep trying because an obvious lack of consistency may cause de=
torioration of the site's authority and perceived worthwhileness. (Is that a=
12. Back to our pièce de résistance.
An attempt has been made to put right up front what the site is about and h=
ow we go at things..
Doug's lifetime objective. (TOP-LEFT)
A terse, "toward high-performance teamwork" (KICKER)
The people behind the site. (TOP-RIGHT)
"Our niche" providing some elaboration. (1ST FULL ARTICLE)
I'll come back to those funny menu bars later for there are some, to my min=
d anyway, really important issues involved that we should consider at some l=
We still have news items rather prominently displayed.
I made some provisions for precision browsing, again within HTML limitation=
I have added a feature: "Quick step." Let me demonstrate. CLICK NEXT, NEXT,=
In this demonstration we stepped through Doug's vision and mission.
Because "vision" is one of those words whose meaning is easily depreciated =
by just about every hack and shyster in this world, I changed it to "Reasons=
Similarly, I softened "mission" to the commonly used "Mission statement."
And the "people on the frontier" are us, the "Friends of Engelbart."
I believe we should specifically include those organizations that act as "o=
ne of us" in this regard, i.q. Sun, Logitech, Institute, etc.
I hope we will quickly work out this paragraph into an accurate and satisfa=
ctory statement. - Another item I am soliciting your help for.
Dates are important.
Dates characterize a piece of writing as much as the heading or title. The =
heading is made prominent by its font size; the date is made prominent by co=
It is often important we know th writer of a piece, even minor articles
We want to know who is responsible, who to consult if called for.
I consider initials good enough for minor articles.
In the Encyclopedia Britannica even major articles are simply initialized, =
with a reference page somewhere to link initials to names.
Notice my my use of the "Open content" icon.
Should we or shouldn't we?
Or should we only for certain parts of the site?
Insofar the site is now an Institute site under Doug and Christina, the dec=
ision is, of course, not ours to make.
As things stand today, the Institute may derive some income from its servic=
es and from sales of collections of papers.
Let's click on it
A concern is the consistency with which we apply those "funny purple number=
Notice the duplication of those numbers following items in page contents li=
I myself considered the listing as a unit in the document, like a paragraph=
or a table.
We need some guide lines.
no margins, margins CLICK CLICK
Doug's stance is that viewers should control the views, hence pages shouldn=
't have margins.
Unfortunately, that ends to make for long lines of text.
On the other hand, I am assuming that the ordinary surfer does not normally=
Hence, we have both options.
Perhaps a novelty in hyperlinking (or a literature reference) is the return=
of the footnote referenced to by an asterisk.
I believe it is a worthwhile feature and we are using it quite frequently.
I work with a minimum knowledge of HTML and with Netscape's Composer (WYSIW=
YG, sort of).
The less you know the less you get confused between the things you think yo=
And I can envision the pages and do page changes rapidly.
I am not claiming this is the best way of doing things and one thing I hope=
to get from this trip is someone showing me a better, more efficient way of=
going about the work.
Also, I hope to get pointers toward more efficiently inserting name tags an=
d statement numbers, etc.
Here are some other things I hope to get out of this trip.
And, yes, simple pages will make it easier for new people to step in and ca=
rry on if and when needed.
Well, this briefly covered page design and page content.
13. While working on this presentation, Saturday, the site went down.
It was the third outing during the last few months.
That is like hackers getting inside Microsoft's security shield.
Does little to advertise our competence.
So, another thing we need to do is create a pico bello backup system, in th=
e human system as well as in the tools system.
14. And now a little time out for .
SHOW PAGANINI: http://www.fleabyte.org/testbed/bi/sri/paganini.html
SCROLL DOWN FOR CRITICAL TEXT
Question: Is this the kind of text you bargained for when you decided to le=
arn a bit about this particular piece of music?
And if you are one of the lucky few who understand this text, is this the k=
ind of information you would transmit outside a circle of peers?
Of course not!
No, there is nothing wrong with this kind of text.
Nothing wrong other than it being out of place.
I copied it from a little booklet that came with some CDs sold in a "regula=
r" music store.
There is a mismatch between what the customer/reader expected to read and w=
hat he found.
He did not find what he was looking for.
15. We touched on this before:
The primary purpose of the web page should be to find what you're looking f=
or quickly and efficiently. 2A
And that, I hope we agree, entails BOTH content AND level of content or dep=
th of content.
We must try to bear in mind what kind of person looks for what kind of info=
Especially we must distinguish between people looking for low-level, genera=
l information and the more specialized.
A story of Paganini suited to one's level of musical sophistication.
And that leads us to the menu bars.
16. There are two.
One pertains to the site as a whole.
It shows the site's major divisions or sectors, as well as a site descripti=
on and a search engine.
It is like the division of the contents of many books:
site description = contents page
divisions = parts
search engine = index
The second bar shows the chapters for each part of the book.
You see, we use old-fashioned, time-honored publishing technology in a mode=
Like we did with those asterisks.
17. How about the home page, the title and preface of our book?
To be consistent in my analogy, I should have put it in the top bar, an ite=
m by itself.
Then, with a well-developed, well-functioning Alliance, the items called Se=
rvices and The Engelbart papers might be placed in that division, that part.=
Maybe I should use the word Part instead of Division, and the word Chapters=
instead of sections.
Why not just do that?
Right now, I relegated to the part called Institute the role of Primus inte=
r Pares, First among equals.
But the future may change that.
The Bootstrap Alliance may become the more significant other.
One of the things I hoped to achieve here is getting a better understanding=
of the Alliance and how vibrant it is, or could be.
Why is there no Bootstrap Alliance USA?
Aren't you the little acorn from which an oak tree grows?
And then I might be able to help in whipping up an Alliance Canada.
At any rate, the the home page is the viewer's first contact with site.
The red coloring shows just where he is.
18. The HTML lets the programmer assign a distinct color for pages already =
This has become awkward, especially with those "funny purple numbers" that =
are linked to the paragraphs or illustrations they identify.
The present site has a lot of cross-linking in it.
I went through some levels of pages in detail to see if there was any organ=
izational substrate for all this, but that seems not be the case - not to a =
large extent, anyway.
In such a situation, the coloring of pages already visited can be helpful.
But it seems to me that a logical ordering of the site's contents is more a=
dapted to people's working habits.
And that reduces the need for a special color for links already travelled.
Of course, it would be nice if there were a button on each page to let the =
viewer turn on or off a secondary color.
Maybe you know a way of doing this that I don't see. ??
19. Let's hop-scotch through the site's parts.
I got kind of attached to that a bit.
The word refers to the Colloquium we held earlier this year, but in the lar=
ger scheme of things I perceive it as the part for interactive education.
The core curriculum is The Unrev-2 Colloquium held at Stanford.
For sake of completeness of sorts, a reference is made to Stanford's Unrev-=
We have long downloads of HTML text with graphics.
We have the discussion forum - truly the "colloquium."
We have archived materials derived from the Unrev-II colloquium.
Some of these materials are now better placed in the part called R&D/OHS.
In fact, Nicholas has taken on the design, or design and maintenance, of an=
OHS component of the site he specially created.
It includes the newly created ohs-dev discussion foum that spun off from th=
e OneList unrev2 discussion forum and he has absorbed into it an older OHS d=
iscussion forum that developed during a spate of Alliance-related activity a=
couple of years ago.
I imagine that, just like the mouse and Doug's many other inventions, the t=
angibility of the OHS will become to the world this site's focal point of at=
tention for some duration.
However, we must keep things in perspective: the OHS is part, a critical pa=
rt, of a bootstrapping strategy.
The world must not lose sight of bootstrapping.
20. I need help with the materials in this Colloquium section.
On two fronts.
But first let's briefly re-examine what the Colloquium was for.
Intended audience LIST: executives, managers, etc.
Actually, there were other objectives as well.
The Colloquium was to kind of recapitulate Doug's thought processes.
That gave it a historical flavor, a kind of capstone on a career.
Jeff Rulifson was speaking about it generating a book about bootstrapping.
Well, that looks like a good thing - getting it all well sorted out and nea=
Doug himself was, among other things, especially concerned with getting tha=
t critical missing piece in place - the OHS.
The OHS is now getting full attention.
The book idea is languishing.
The executives, manegers, etc. are simply not catered to.
Ther is work to be done here.
21. It is along the educational/book/managers track that I stumbled into so=
me serious difficulty.
The transcripts of the presentations.
To make things easy for interested persons.
The transcripts I have are far from accurate.
Not that the transcribers did not do a reasonably good job.
I had some of it checked by a translator from the U.N.
He thought they were good.
He also said that transcripts are normally gone iover by a separate person,=
to make them more accurate.
That is "my critical missing piece."
I need an experienced, competent transcriber to fix up the transcripts to m=
ake them accurate.
Only then can I really get down to the jobs of touch-up editing and publish=
ing them properly, with pix, etc. in place.
I have given it a start myself, but found it exceedingly time-consuming - s=
tealing attention away from other important things..
I need someone who really can handle that sort of thing.
So that we can get out of this bind:
http://www.fleabyte.org/testbed/bi/colloquium/colloquium.html (May 27)
GO TO: the existing format:
I perceive that the properly done transcripts, together with some of Doug's=
papers, will form a suitable base for the efficient production of a book on=
bootstrapping aimed for the kind of readership needed to put things into ef=
This means money.
We need to pay a qualified person to assure the integrity of our transcript=
If necessary, I can do it.
I have done some of it.
But I might then as well give up other work that needs to be done.
22. That was on one front.
Now on the other.
There has come down that pipe called One-List Discussion forum a formidable=
wealth of good stuff.
Development of ideas - reference material - notions about knowledge and how=
these may enter into the technology of knowledge management - early notions=
about the penetration of bootstrapping into society. &c., &c.
As things stand, we have all this information somewhat organized by threads=
and by authors, but even so it needs digesting to pull out whatever is or m=
ay become especially useful.
My thoughts went to the need for editors to distill out some of the most im=
I had been thinking that this may well be something for Frode Hegland's unr=
ev-2 that he has (had?) been toying with, but it seems that Frode is advanci=
ng in some e xplorations of his own.
I then got the idea of making a part of our site a high-level ezine section=
I have come to call it Context. CLICK.
That part would not be so much an exposition of Doug's ideas, but more a st=
rong support structure toward achieving the overarching aim of boosting mank=
ind's collective capability for coping with complex, urgent problems.
Clearly, we need subject insights and expertise to take this on.
I wonder if we could have a gettogether with some of you to take a hard loo=
k at the feasibility of tackling that task - the task of bringing good think=
ing and good information to the world in a way that the world will be ready =
to take notice. pay attention, and, above all, apply.
We need a top-notch editorial staff, probably a team of editors strongly su=
pported with topic advisors.
And we should not get us into the same trouble Barry Edelson found himself =
It would warm my heart in the chilly north wjen I know that this thing is b=
eing put in place.
23. On the subject of propagating information, the site already contains ma=
terials at a somewhat lower level.
We have all sorts of stuff on Doug.
We have news items - and I should expect more news to come when more DKRs a=
nd OHSes come into being.
We probably should publish some digests about KM, and, perhaps, about the d=
esirability of spreading KM just as literacy and arithmetic have spread - in=
to the population at large through our schools.
BAKGROUND PICTURE - CF: http://www.bootstrap.org/colloquium/projects.html#=
Why? We cannot allow democracy to deteriorate by incompetent voters.
We need a stronger base of the well-informed, and a press increasingly comp=
etent in an evermore complexing world.
Look at these fellows!
And know that the ignorant are in the majority.
What frightening thought.
I did not say the dumb.
That vaudevillian Will Rogers reminded us back in the hungry thirties that
"We are all ignorant, but of different things."
And as far democracy is concerned, I heard Jimmy Carter say this:
"Democracy gives ordinary citizens the feeling of participating in the gove=
rnance of their affairs."
24. As society gets more complex, we, ordinary citizens, may well even lose=
It looks that citizens could very much use a suitable DKR for arriving at b=
etter civic decisions.
In short, we should develop a decent ezine section for this purpose, an ezi=
ne with a mission..
I all it Chronicle.
Because it chronicles Doug's intellectual adventures and concrete achieveme=
nts and it will continue to chronicle the continuation of these.
Moreover, Chronicle is a good "press" name.
The Chronicle can also serve as a press kit.
And it can provide students with background material.
From past requests to the webmaster, I surmize that the Chronicle will be a=
very good, fruitbearing thing.
But, again, we need an editorial staff capable of doing general publishing.=
24a. The Chronicle might also address issues that affect the way we bootstr=
For example, and I was fascinated by it, here is something that ought to ha=
ve a most significant impact on the human system and bear on the way we augm=
ent the collective IQ.
While thoughts about how best to prepare for this meeting were cavorting in=
my mind, I kind of drifted into our TV room where the two Elisabeths - my w=
ife and daughter - were watching a Public Television program.
It captured me immediately.
It was about stress in children - the effects of conflict in home environme=
nt, the effects of pushing for achievement in school, the effects of having =
no certainty, no control over one's life.
Much of the program's substance was the story of my life. __
And led me to wonder how much individual and societal performance could be =
improved if parents and educators were to feed back the lessons from that te=
lecast into the process of raising their kids.
Wow, what a boost for the human side in this familiar diagram:
The program is called, "All Stressed up and No Way to Grow" - Cultural chan=
ges create stress for children.
To be sure, I don't want so much to put emphasis on myself, but on the unde=
rstanding that the percentage of stressed kids (and adults!!) is exceedingly=
I think they mentioned a figure of some 30% or so.
24b. A particularly interesting aspect was that the principal people interv=
iewed live and work right in this area.
One name is Robert Salpolsky, a professor of psychology or psychiatry at St=
Another is, I hope I have it right, Rick Loyd of the Palo Alto Medical Cent=
Still another is a lady counsellor at the Atherton/Menlo Park Middle School=
24c. And embroidering a little on this, let's do a little wave analysis. (F=
Shown here the wellbeing of companies in a relaxed and in a competitive soc=
Look at that "model" organization whose relative performance towers way abo=
ve that of the other organizations.
And here the levels of individual wellbeing, and of families and of kids, i=
n relaxed and competitive environments..
Organizations whose executives and managers and supervisors and workers lea=
d less stressful lives.
Who have better marriages. Well-adjusted kids.
Now consider the performance boost by removing undue stress. (FIG!!).
Maybe there is room for another paradigm shift here.
O.K. I am speculating.
Or dreaming. Call it what you will.
25. PROJECT ON SCREEN:
A story has a beginning
and a muddle
and an end.
And the aim of the muddle is
to live beyond the enD.
And here we come to the end of my song.
I do separately like to get together with some people about things I should=
link checking; search engines; maintenance of site mechanics and security i=
We can't have a site devoted to high-performance organizations that
. keeps concking out
. has broken links
. outdated news items, such as announcements for events past
. and whatever other blemishes.
We need good quality site maintenance to give the site a quality of authori=
ty and confidence.
And a quality of friendliness and being forthcoming.
But for here and now, on this occasion, I am looking for help, advice, supp=
ort, plain information as the case may be to especially address:
* the site's permanence issue and "Friends of Engelbart"
* materials for the chapters on bootstrapping and shared intelligence
* the colloquium transcripts issue
* the unrev-II --> "Context" issue, i.e. a viable and reliable high-level e=
* some staffing for the Chronicle
* what about the Alliance as a viable, expanding entity -- and how can the =
site bet be of help here
* what about future maintenance of the DKR/OHS part?
* and, not the least, what about one to replace me when I fade from the sce=
ne? And the readying for a transition?
If we can make headway on these issues then I am one happy fellow.
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