Re: [unrev-II] Fading Alternative

From: Henry K van Eyken (
Date: Sat Nov 24 2001 - 18:09:21 PST

  • Next message: Henry K van Eyken: "Re: [unrev-II] Fading Alternative"

    Hi Rod.

    Your present and previous comments are most appreciated (as was your correction that
    I still have to make!). If I haven't answered yet, it is simply because of an
    overload of work and concerns. Just have to try to fit things into a regular pace of

    In reply to your present memo, it aligns with that old comment by the once famous
    Dale Carnegie, "Talk in terms of the customer." You, Dale, and I fully agree. That
    said, who are our "customers," or rather what kind of readership are we looking for?

    Core of the publication must be digital augmentation of human intellect - communal
    as well as individual intellect. And central to this we see Doug's form and kindred
    efforts. We must recognize such forms as your own SDS - and let me say again, I am a
    great admirer how you from your background in construction management converted its
    administration into the tool your company offers as well as the insights you have
    acquired beyond its narrow application. A pretty amazing story.

    Then there are such forms of augment as engaged in by Neil Scott of Stanford U.
     his Archimedes Project, i.e. augmentation of the handicapped. A recent news item
    points to augmentation by DNA computers residing within the human body -

    An obvious variant is Ted Nelson's work on the literary front and Mathematica on
    the, well, mathematical end of things. And search engines; and, heck, even desktop
    and pocket calculators (ref. ).

    What I would like us able to do more also is take a hard look at the "human system,"
    what aspects of it need what sort of augmentation. I say so especially with such
    notions of Kurzweil's spiritual machines in mind, and emotion engendering technology
    as Aibo and Toyota's Pod ( ).

    I think the range of examples here show that digital augmentation really already is
    of mainstream concern, not a toy for the technologically sophisticated. Ideally,
    Fleabyte's job is matching technology to people - to the needs of people; which kind
    of brings us back to Doug's 1962 paper "Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual
    Framework." ( )

    With all this in mind, I perceive the future of Fleabyte as intellectually at the
    "The Economist" level, a meeting ground between specialists and a public capable of
    appreciating their contributions and matching these with societal needs.

    But as you know, I am still one person doing production, writing, editing, dish
    washing, vacuum cleaning, taking a brisk walk once in a while, and, also
    importantly, needing very much to be a student - more student than writer.

    We have no funds, no paying jobs to offer, trying to bite off more than we can chew.
    But I hope that once people see what we are trying to do wil take an interest in it
    and pitch in on the publishing/production/editorial/authorship side to make Fleabyte
    a publication by, say, "Friends of Engelbart" for a thinking public.

    Thanks, Rod, for stimulating me in writing this.


    Rod Welch wrote:

    > Henry,
    > Recently on 011113 I reviewed the Fleabyte website and offered comments on your
    > excellent work. Today, this supplements the prior letter with additional
    > perspective on your objective for Fleabyte to augment intelligence, as indicated
    > in your letter on 011106.
    > Experience shows you can get people to visit Fleabyte by making an argument in
    > relation to something people care about based on daily email traffic, and citing
    > evidence in a link to your web site that supports your argument. If, on
    > clicking a link or two, people discover useful information at Fleabyte, for
    > things they care about, they will continue clicking on some of your links and
    > thereby be enriched by Fleabyte, to fulfill your goal. But, with millions,
    > actually billions, of people using the Internet, the environment is so
    > fragmented that there is no reason for people to proactively search out and use
    > Fleabyte or anything else, because the competition for limited span of attention
    > is overwhelming, as Eric worried recently.
    > One of the biggest things people care about is themselves. So, if you refer
    > folks to your website with valuable information they have promulgated and show
    > how their brilliance, which they have likely forgotten under your rule that
    > folks remember only 5% of the gist of things....
    > ...., aligns with wisdom of the ages, or something somebody else said who they
    > care about, e.g., God, Moses, Caesar, someone on television, and then weave that
    > into your other Fleabyte content in a constructive way, this will get more
    > people to recognize Fleabyte as a useful contributor.
    > In sum, Fleabyte and others can be an effective force for growing a culture of
    > knowledge by getting in the business of growing knowledge, rather than continue
    > sending information.
    > Rod
    > **********************
    > Henry K van Eyken wrote:
    > >
    > > I had hoped that my volunteering with the Bootstrap Institute and the
    > > creation of an e-journal would be of some value in the public domain. I
    > > prefer to be a doer rather than a philosopher. However, I find that I
    > > simply haven't the resources to be effective.
    > >
    > > I live in a small village, quite isolated from the intellectual world
    > > other than by a magazine subscription, occasional visits to the
    > > booksatore, and a noisy telephone line that calls for an hour to let
    > > 10MB pass through. I am 74, getting tired more easily, have
    > > responsibilities toward others, and get not much in the way of spiritual
    > > uplift so much needed to continue.
    > >
    > > I determined for myself more than a dozen years ago that electronic
    > > augmentation of the neural mind is essential in a world moving at
    > > accellerating pace. Especially if we want to be more than a professional
    > > in some field, to be a participating citizen of sound, informed judgment
    > > as well. I had hoped that the e-journal - "Engelbart in Context" or
    > > "Fleabyte" or whatever the name - might do its tiny bit to help
    > > transform the insights of professionals into useable, effective tools
    > > for people at large and do so more quickly than in the usual time it
    > > takes for leading-edge advances to become useful to everybody. But one
    > > unaided, unsupported, and increasingly dispirited person just cannot do
    > > that. Not unless he is of exceptional quality - and even then ...
    > >
    > > I had hoped that some people would take a hard look at
    > > and attempt to perceive what is done for what reason, and with so
    > > little. But instead, I find myself pretty much on the sideline, my
    > > efforts irrelevant. Maybe tomorrow, after a night of refreshing sleep,
    > > my slight depression will be gone and will I find the will and energy to
    > > carry on just a little longer - but let's face it, what are the
    > > prospects without actual, wholehearted support. I hate to give in to
    > > negative feelings, but I guess the time has come to simply fade away as
    > > we all must do sometime.
    > >
    > > Henry
    > >
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    > >
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    > >
    > >
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