Conversations With Doug (filming trip)
Welcome to the blog written during the trip to film 'Conversations with Doug Engelbart'. This blog is a single chapter, it's got a beginning and an end date - it's not a never-ending, open-ended story like the main blog it has been lifted from is.
It has also been 'prettified', ie; it's got pictures, manually added after the trip. The new version of our blogging software will do this automatically, which is cool. We'll just email the pictures, with the text, and they will be thumbnailed and uploaded by the server. This chapter is laid out to be read as a single, semi-coherent 'story'. Some text layouts have been cleaned up. A few edits made. But it's essentially the same as what was added 'live' during the trip.
The journey starts in July 2003.
To navigate you can click on an entry on the left or you can click on the subject of a blog post to hoise it to the top of the screen.What's the point of that? Well, it can make it easier to read the post and maube more importantly, you can control-click on the subject, choose 'copy link to clipboard' and paste the link in an email or use it on a web page and it will point straight to that blog post, not just to the whole document. A Doug-thing. Also, you can click on the up and down arrows to the very right of the Blog post subjects to quickly skip posts - the thought is it should help you skim. Does it? Tell me.
Please contact me if you have any criticisms or brilliant ideas for increasing the quality of this and future chapterized blogs, at firstname.lastname@example.org
|Saturday 26th||Preparations | pictures | Waterloo|
|Sunday 27th||to NY!|
|Monday 28th||NY morning|
|Tuesday 29th||UN | NY evening | Up and Down | Script Research|
|Wednesday 30th||No news really | Mom|
|Thursday 31st||Camera | script|
|Saturday 2nd||Chewing | Equipment | B+H | On leaving NY|
|Sunday 3rd||Fleur Chat | Princeton|
|Monday 4th||Script & Research | Camera Tests | Leaving NY|
|Tuesday 5th||SF | storage|
|Thursday 7th||Houria | Quartz | Fleur Arrives!|
|Saturday 9th||Swim | Friday|
|Tuesday 12th||First Shot|
|Thursday 14th||Fleur's BIG DAY!|
|Sunday 17th||Re: New LiSA | perfect|
|Tuesday 19th||Good Day® | New LiSA | SRI & English | coolest thing ever|
|Wednesday 20th||Blog Typography|
|Thursday 22th||Doug Surprise | driving|
|Friday 22th||Friday : Past & Present | Friday Evening|
|Saturday 23th||Hippie Morning | Flight|
This morning I called Fleur on my way to Starbucks/UCL and she said she needed a print-out of the beginnings of the 'Conversations' script, or maybe I put those words in her mouth.
Either way, I jumped of the bus at Bluebird. She was not there yet but I got a call to confirm the budget for the August shoot (minus the expensive camera rental, that would have to be worked on...)...and up walks the beautiful lady, primed for the news. Health food was immediately on the menu as Fleur was not feeling very well, poor cookie! I was cashless so she bought me two hot red tomatoes. Very nice.
All attention then turned to booking our flights and the nightmare began. The whole reason for this trip was that my parents had invited me to New York to see my brother Henning in Shakespeare in the Park. I realized I had quite a lot of airmiles and that meant that maybe we could both get to SF really cheaply... I called United earlier in the week and they said sure, the difference would be $280. Hey, that's a good price to get 2 people to SF. Great timing as we are in the mood for filming 'Conversations With Doug Engelbart' - a free standing documentary which will also be useful for the main documentary, so we thought; why not budget for a proper trip and have a fully done documentary at the end of it? So we did. Called around friends and family and that morning I got the nod. Oh yes.
But United shook their heads at the seats. Nothing. Nothing, nada, ingen ting. Hmm. We freaked a bit. I cancelled my meeting with Lars and decided that Harold would not get to see much new work. I called and begged United again. Went to ebookers.com on Tottenham court road.
Greg was tremendously helpful and got me a round trip to SF via NY for a great price. Good idea to do it that way. No airmiles needed for my trip. But no availability for Fleur. I took the plunge and bought my trip to NY for a week there and two weeks in SF anyway. Would be terribly frustrating trying to do a documentary for two weeks without the presenter!
Sitting at ebookers I saw a lost call from Sarah on my mobile. It only rang once. I couldn't call her back as even though t-Mobile had replaced my 3650 and my SIM card had arrived, as warned, the cost of the hand set put me over my credit allowance and the line got cut of. Will pay them tomorrow (Friday, I'm typing this later than I'd like to admit...) so no out going calls to day no way. But I thought the phone must have gone crazy; call from Sarah?
Sarah calls again. She's got problems with her PowerBook. We haven't seen each other for a year. We used to be bizniz partners but the world spun us in different directions. Only talked briefly since then. But Sarah called. Sarah called. Sorry, I just had to type that again, it's that cool! Sarah called! I love her and I have missed her soooo. So she called. We'd meet at, where else? Starbucks. WOW, Sarah called!
I go to see Harold. We talk, he gives advice. I see an absolutely amazing Flash demo his son did for a project. I hope he might want to work with Ted. Sarah calls(!). We agree on a time. I don't really care when, I was planning to get planted at Starbucks anyways.
And the ticket stress continue. UA marketing tried to help. Would look at maybe getting us a media ticket or something. Not where we needed to be. Fleur's charm on the phone helped but nothing firm. I tried some other options. No dice, furry or otherwise. No help.
And then the other issues came to the fore... I had not told my brother I'd be coming 1/2 a week early. Mom pointed this out when she called. I borrowed a phone. Called him. All OK. Cool.
But SF?... Hadn't even called Kevin! Call Kevin. Leave a message. Hang out at Starbucks. Not a lot of work done... Kevin calls. He's cool with us coming. What a man! He's calling from the highway to LA. Picking up a new car. His old silver A4 died. He seemed happy to go to LA for his new car though, found on Ebay of all places. Must ask him what it is.
Sarah arrives. Or rather, Sarah does not arrive. She's late, which is odd, as we didn't really plan a time. But she called again when she is close and I go out to greet her. Miss her. Walk back in. See a hot blonde and wishfully think it'd be cool if that was her (I admit it...) and the woman turns... turns to go in to Starbucks and I see her profile - it's the unique Sarah profile! Damn, this year has been real good to her!
We talk, we hug, it's all just great. I've been talking to everyone about her coming over like I'm a little school boy. That I am though, Sarah sure schooled me back in the day, but that is another blog, for another life.
Sarah, my spiritual guru, sitting there as radiantly beautiful as imaginable. WOW. She is really here. So we catch up. She's doing well. Flooded her kitchen, in an (I believe) sub-conscious effort to live more liquid. We play with her little new 32mb USB drive. She's a happy little girly. Somewhere safe to store her book! Yes, we go into hyper this and that and get a new business idea together. Something about happiness and Guatemala and .com. Of course. Will mention it when we start it. Or decide to ignore it. Got a few shots of her with the new 3650 though, and she got one of me. Isn't she gor-geous?!
Kash joins us. Sarah runs of to see Rupe (happy birthday Rupe!). Whom I've never met. Sarah forbids it. Hmmm.. D is over at 101. Kash and me join her. Anna is there. We have a good time. kash-anna-d-101-july03/index.html is proof. Lots of silliness and jokes about the girls, uhm - attributes, for some reason.
But all silliness has to end, even the kind that involves lots of hugs and kisses with queen D. Bus home. Call Doug. He's in a meeting. Haven't even scheduled any of this with him! Give him a quick warning we're coming out. Call UA Chicago. Get some serious help: For another 9,000 airmiles, at about $250, Fleur can get an unrestricted ticket! Yea boy! This we do. I pay for the miles. I get get the ticket. This is good. I type all these bloggy words. It's 1:25am and Mr Scruff (for info about this music boys and girls, visit mrscruff.com) is helping keep me awake. And Four Tet. And Ralph Myerz. Doug is still in his meeting. Will haff to call in the morn. Tired now. But we rolling. Tomorrow morning it's press release time.
This morning (Friday), a tired Fleur got the news that her flight was all taken care of: "What's this email in my inbox?" "That's your ticket confirmation". "Cool!"
Tintos next. Too some pictures and added a background of them in an animated gif thing. It's been interesting trying different ways of livening up this blog. Picture-in-blog support is coming. But all that does is allow the blogger to add a few images to the blog and they will be compressed by the server and put in the blog as links to bigger versions of the pictures. What if I want to make little animated gifs with backgrounds and such and have that linked from a blog? Do I have to resort to boring text links like this: (try it, it works) blog-july2503/tinto.html ?? That's no good! I should get to put a cool little icon/picture in the blog which should open whatever I like! So I changed the spec (again) to add that kind of functionality. Hope it won't be that much extra work...
We contacted some people, called Doug, who was surprised but happy. Went to see Emily. Really nice to see her. She met us at Zara, where Fleur tried on a really, really cool orange coat. But bought naught. We went through the project with her. She be the script writer. We took some pictures. Thy are at blog-july2503/emily.html Now you see, wouldn't it have been nicer if there was a cool little picture for you to click on there?
Going for dinner with Ian now.
Gone for dinner with Ian now. Mildreds, right next to Fleur's place. The waitress from last time was outside smoking. Quite amusing really as it's such a healthy, vegetarian place. Organic even. She recognized us as some small talk wandered around the block. We waited. Got a table. Burgers.
Went to Bar Italia.
Greeted there with the waitress ready to get me my double espresso with chocolate and whipped cream. Ice on the side. David came later. We set up shop by the window. We found free wireless internet. Cool. They helped me with our press release. Talked with Janine. Problems meeting up again. Such it is.
Put up a few pictures. Animated gifs. At invisiblrevolution.net/blog-july2603/barit.html for the last night at Bar Italia and at invisiblrevolution.net/blog-july2603/handkerchief.html which features Fleur new dress :-)
The budget provided some stress this morning. The year of Fleur waving her hand of calm over my tummy got swallowed and digested and heated and it turned into a black whole and twisted everything inside my skin further inside.
But it didn't last long. Reminded me of how grateful i am to work with Fleur and Doug and my other supportive friends.
Fleur. Bluebird. Lunch. Orange flower. Discussions of computers becoming conscious. Fleur ain't buying it. I ain't saying that's the way it's gonna be. But there are issues. But that's a whole other web site.
Of to the opticians people to pick up little pieces of plastic I'll be putting on my eyeballs to help me see better. Nice to see the gang. They've looked after the family for years and years through 3 different opticians shops/businesses. So my mobile speaks: "You've got a phone call. Sausage, you've got a phone call!" in Fleur's voice. Ring tones which are the persons voice is cool. But that's also another web site. So off I go, Fleur is of to the country. She needs headphones. I got headphones. We meet by Marks & Sparks. And the girl needed retail therapy. And I needed Fleur smile therapy. We went shopping. She found a paradise in Whistle(?). By the time we left, all the staff needed to see what she chose. It took a while to choose...
Then a Quick Starbucks. On the way there, in her amazing dress, her new answering message came up, it's some song. She told me why. Long story. I played it through the mobile setting it on speakerphone. She danced in the rain to it down Kings road. I told her psychology text books would have to be re-written because of her; insanity ain't all bad. She says it's normal. I ask her to point out the next time she sees Fleur behavior somewheranywheresometime.
Waterloo. Got ticket. Gone away. Will see her on the other side of the world in a week.
No word from D. She did well in her presentation according to Ian. But no call. No text and she'd been on and on about me taking her out after. No word from J. What it up with them peeps? Go home get tons of little food things, tapas like. Enjoy the history of the novel on TV and CSI with T.
Guess I should pack.
Didn't sleep much. Hadn't really planned when I should leave and wake up and pack and all this and didn't trust my phone's alarm. The cat came by too so there were sounds in the apartment, which is of course a bit of an eye-opener so to speak. Didn't go to bed particularly early either. Saw 8 Mile. Good movie. But the rain over the river that last evening was intensely beautiful as well. I like living in London.
Therese joined me to the airport. We got a good deal on a mini-cab.
Dealt with the budget for the Hyper Blog stage 2. Not pleasant. But got through it. Pleasant enough check in. Breakfast with Therese. Starbucks. Bit strange seeing her behind the line when I went in. It's been a long time since we followed each other to airports. Duty free. Henning got some more cancer and I thought I'd get a new smell. A lady lead me to CK which is very far removed from my style. Made me smell 'crave' - what a name! I bought it. It's different enough from my old smells. So this trip now has a scent! No sound track yet though, though K&D's 9 album is coming close.
Nice people on the flight. Nice food. Nice movie (The Core). Nice plane; 777. But here is another example of technology not being particularly interested in going in any specific forward direction: The tables are slippery. Any turbulence or nudging and cups go flying. Makes it a bit tense typing this next to a coke.
Went through our schedule. It's online at conversations-schedule as well as the research for the scrip document, which is at conv-w-doug-script-research.html all ready for the ladies to hack into a story. Well not straight away. I will have to go through the points made with Doug and we'll have to agree on the premises of each section, to make sure we are all trying to say the same thing through the script.
The PowerBook has help up well. Got at least 3 hours of power. Turned the screen down, music and Airport off. No CD. Processor performance on low.
So there you have it, getting ready to land. 127 miles left. Be there in 15 mins.
NY. That NY feeling straight away, can't fake it. Yellow cab, round, loud voices.
No World Trade Center on the horizon.
Next blog from Starbucks probably, waiting for Henning to come home. Maybe I'll start camcorder shopping. I'll need to buy a SONY TLV 950 so that we can deliver broadcast quality pictures of this production. Any suggestions as to where I should buy it?
Sarah called and woke me up this morning. Now that was nice. And surprising. My brother came in late last night. The apartment (or box is more like it) was hot + humid. I was very, very tired. I don't care. I slept. He put the fan in a window. I slept. He came back. I slept. He fell asleep. I didn't sleep much anymore. He snores more than me! You see, his apartment, slap bang in the middle of the village in NY is one single room plus an extension kitchen-ish kind of area and a tiny, mouse size bathroom. There is one chair. One messy desk with his powerbook. No bed. Just a mattress on the center of the floor in the (flatteringly referred to as) 'living room'. He is an artist. An actor. And he's working in NY doing Shakespeare in the Park. So this is the price of fame. I am even more proud of him. There will likely be a series of pictures from his abode and his hood. It's just too cool. We'll see.
McDonalds Breakfast. Now that is something worth writing home about. I't s bit like swallowing a cannon ball. Back to salads and such for me. Fleur really has helped me with the whole healthy eating thing. Grease and all that just doesn't even taste nice.
Starbucks. Online. Email. From Jerome at the UN. He's happy to meet. Might do a video conference with him and Fleur? Emily emails. From Whitely's. Whitely's is important to the story. Back a few years when I was living in Bayswater (where Whitely's is, it's a shopping center) I went to the very internet cafe she is at right now (she only emailed me a minute ago). To my right, around the corner, a girl had problems with getting to Hotmail. She had long black hair and looked pretty sweet so I tried to help. To cut a long story short, she is a bit of an adventurer who ended up staying with us for a few months. Later, much later, she was late for a meeting with a mystical friend 'Fleur' whom I had heard a lot about. For some reason she had made Fleur seem pretty exotic. I tagged along. At Starbucks Green Park, we met a little, straggly looking blond thing dressed in serious Dutch hippie outfit - quit the cute kitten: Fleur. The rest is this.
Today will just have to be about cleaning up the research for the script and figure out what to do about the DV camera. Press releases are also about to be blown into the wind, destined to inspire journalists everywhere to write about the project. Or ignore it. :-)
I looked around for a Circuit City to check on video camera prices. Walked up to and around Union Square. There was one. Nothing good. Saw the time and realized I should be calling Jerome Glenn at the UN for the interview. Looked for a Starbucks. Found one. Too loud. Went back tot he regular one around the corner from Henning's house. Called him; 1 202 68.... "Hello I'm Frode Hegland, is Jerome Glenn Available?" "Frode, f-r-o-d-e. Hegland, h-e-g-la-n-d. Yes." "Hi Jeromy, I emailed you about the Engelbart Documentary" -pleasant small talk- "So Friday at 2 then, great. How do I get there?" "I'll be coming from the East Village." "You're in Washington, not New York!" Me so smart. We may meet later in Paris.
LiSA just said I have a reply from 'her', meaning Sarah.... We have a business idea together. But shan't rush into it.
I shall rush into some more script work though. It's 7:21am and I've been at Starbucks for 1/2 an hour already. Isn't jet lag the best? If only there was a way to bottle it and sell it. JetLagInABottle.com
Walked across town to have dinner with two of Henning's friends last night. Incredible light. Not the greatest restaurant. 'The Park' high on attitude and prices, low on service and food quality. But it was a bit amusing though, they were hosting a Playboy party upstairs. Those girls. Looong, looooooong legs went up those stairs. Why they actually needed the stairs I'm not sure. Couldn't have been much fun to be a heterosexual male up there though, surrounded by girls whose job it is is to be unobtainable. Made for plenty a pun around the table though. OK, I'll make it relevant: Augmented legs and breasts and hair. There. It's relevant. :-)
Up and Down
I wandered up and down Manhattan today. I know this place now. No-one can hide from me. I searched for digital camera solutions. And got shocked at how little I know. B&H were good though. Expert advice and great prices. The budget immediately started creaking at the seams as I learnt what a proper microphone setup was. And what using lights entailed. With reflectors.
There is no way I could handle doing camera work and working with Dough so I am soooooo pleased that I get to do the research for the script now so that on the day, it's all about the camera. I can definitively deal with that. I used to be a stills photographer so the visual side of this does not intimidate. As long as it can be dealt with on it's own.
Starbucks. Script. Checked a few issues with Doug. More script. See you later.
OK, I am happier now. The research is to a much better standard now, organized a bit. I have tried to not duplicate what I have put in the sample Q&A. The only place I think the sample Q&A might be really useful to you is in the philosophy section. It's got some order to it, which would be hard to guess at without listening to Doug a lot. But please, add to it, expand it all all that good stuff. The Augment section will get the same treatment soon.
My next priority is to get us that QuickTime Logo :-)
No news really
Cleaned more on the script research today. Answered a few questions from Fleur & Emily. Still have to get the info around the demo down. Worked on an ok version of the quicktime logo/icon/thing and more on Lars's web site. More of the same though less stress on the script. It'll be great, just can't slip with the schedule.
And had a quick iSight to iSight with Kash today. When I was young the year 2000 seemed very exciting. Then it came and not much happened. The future is beginning to catch up though; doing this FULL SCREEN video conference over the Atlantic Ocean, for free, over wireless was very cool Though a bit pointless. Maybe Fleur & Emily and I should work like that this week?...
Wednesday mom arrived. Henning is staying in the tiny box downtown. She's in the big hotel uptown. Feels a bit like traveling between two worlds. Mom and I ended up at Ruth's Chris steak house. Very traditional US steaks. Very, very nice, but I'm trying to stay healthy!
I picked up the new camera (SONY TRV 940, 3CCD) and played around with it. I also got a shotgun mike, a light on a stand, a reflector and a heavy tripod. Most of it worked right of the bat. Couldn't fix the shotgun mike to the stand so I went back to B&H. Nice to see the guys there again. Everyone I spoke to earlier recognized and some addresses my by my name. They helped out and I spent another $2 on a screw. It worked. Will be going back today, for a bag for the stands & the light.
I was planning to buy the 950 after reading the reviews and I didn't even know there was a 940. Benny at B&H Photo in NY told me that the 940 was a couple of hundred bucks cheaper and the only difference was that it didn't have Bluetooth. I was sold. Searching for the camera online shows a lot of non-English sites. I guess that's because this is the PAL version of the camera (as in the 940 version is not sold in an NTSC version, which would be odd but I can't think of anything else). Found one write up though: http://188.8.131.52/store/dcr-trv940l.html The reviews for the 950 are excellent, like the one at: camcorderinfo.com/content/ sony_dcrtrv950_camcorder_review.htm so considering the only difference is the Bluetooth, this is pretty good.
I used to be a still photographer back in the days when digital images were 8 bits or less and didn't move much. Digital photography only grabbed me about a year ago, when I got the DiMAGE ( steves-digicams.com/2001_reviews/dimage5.html ) with it's 3.2 Mega Pixel resolution. Great quality images. The black SONY CyberShot U with it's tiny body and great picture quality (though just 2 Mega Pixels) took my whole digital visual life further. There's a review at: ciao.co.uk/ Sony_DSC_U20_Cyber_shot_U_Blue_Digital_Camera__Review_5321817. Both of these cameras graced the pages of our January Blog. My new phone, the Nokia 3650 takes 640 by 480 pictures and as I'm always carrying it, it gets good use too. The pictures are a bit painterly, not bad at all. Often I reduce the color to 16 or 32 colors and makes little animated gifs for the blog here. The results are surprising, the reduction in color, through the slightly flattened images, makes for very postery images.
When we went to San Fran in January though, we borrowed Nick's Canon DV camera, you know, the very pro white and red one. I felt a little uncomfortable with that camera, it didn't fit me right. The 940 and me have already started to gel though.
But buying it was not easy. The people at B&H were incredibly helpful and took me to school. I knew I needed the camera, tapes, light and shotgun mike. As mentioned, Benny got me a cheaper model which was great for me. Andrew helped me pick out the cheapest useful light. And a reflector + stand. The audio guys helped me get all the pieces for the shotgun mike (beautiful Sennheiser with an anti-vibration mount). I tried all the tripods a few times. Went for a heavy one. Then I had to figure out what camera bag to put this all in. That was maybe the biggest headache. It had to be wide enough to fit the shotgun mike, which later I learnt could be unscrewed and made just a little smaller. Got a good bag in the end though.
Went to play at the nearest Starbucks after I got it all together. This fresh young blonde with a fiery yellow T sits down with me. She looks too healthy to be from the city (nice line?) so I ask her if she's form NY? No, she's from Moscow! Been here 6 years. And I'm sitting there reading the manual for the 940 which is in English and Russian. Impressive accent on this chick. Which I tell her. (By chick I mean she's all yellow OK, she looks like an easter chick, which is nice). We talk, she shows interest in the documentary. Her friend shows up. They invite me to a party in the Hamptons. I don't go. But I am flattered.
Back at the Waldorf I decide to use my Mom as a subject to test if it all hangs together and that it's all good quality. I can't figure out all the light connections and all that. Mom used to be a model so she takes over and plugs it all into place. Makes me smile. Shots looked great btw.
Fleur and Emily emailed me their script. I opened it with trepidation... (in word!) and it was great, as expected, but it was still a bit exciting! Fleur is not well at all so this is tough on her. Hope she'll heal up soon, she really doesn't deserve this.
Work on the script for 'Conversations' is progressing, though at times it feels like chewing frozen gum. Today's final version is at invisiblerevolutoin.net/conv-w-doug-bgr-qa-vis-aug2.html
Of course I had to go back to B&H everyday after the initial purchase though. First I was missing a little washer to make the shot gun mike fit the light stand. Next day I went back for a camera strap. I really didn't want the camera to slip of my shoulder so there went another 15 bucks. This morning I will be going back for a $35 iLink/FireWire cable. Can you believe that wasn't in the box! A USB cable was though. For what? I mean, who'd get a 3 chip CCD for web streaming?
First day I took the camera, trip and an umbrella to Times Square to get to know the camera and to film some shots of masses of cars and people which we may use to illustrate a point. I get wet. I fall in love with the camera. Slow shutter speeds are so nice to create depth and poetic motion. Touch screen LCD with spot focus and exposure. Very cool.
Next day, Saturday, is a Starbucks day. Integrating our Script comments. I go out with the camera later to film some sunny car shots. Leave with just the camera and my PowerBook (needed to check some emails too). Forget film. Go back for film. Forgot tripod mount. Go back for camera mount. I'm happy to be making all these stupid mistakes now, when it don't matter. In the future, when the camera mount is not on the camera, it'll be on the tripod.
Put the camera high and low. Zoom in close. Stand in the middle of the street. Run when the cars come too close. Get told by a cop not to stand with the camera on the tripod on the huge flowerpot. Get told by bank security I can't film outside the bank. I tell them I can film whatever I want, they can't prevent me, but hey, I'm shooting the street, not the bank. Surprisingly civil tone though.
Getting steady shots with the camera is still a problem. It has built in optical image stabilizer. But I got built in caffein so they kind of balance each other out.Tried moving the camera on the tripod. It helps stabilize it. I might get a slightly springy strap and hold the camera on the tripod that way.
Just a quick word, thanks to Benny and Andrew and the others at B+H in NY for helping me figure out the big and the little picture with video stuff. I posted some pictures on invisiblerevolutoin.net/bh.gif The warehouse management system they have is amazing, shipping merchandize around automatically all over the place.
So that's it for the equipment comments for now.
On leaving NY
NY was different this time. It felt safer. I asked a cab driver how long he'd been driving in the city "20 years" and if it felt safer to him now "oh yes, much! night and day. there's not all the drugs there was during the 80's and 90's and there are more cops now".
My brothers neighborhood, the grand East Village, is such a diverse place. Lots of jewish deli's and restaurants. Plenty of Pakistanis and Indians. Eastern Europeans. Italian. And Irish. Black n' white. Straight and gay, mixed and nixed. All kinds of income brackets and noticeably less poverty than what I remember. Starbucks visitors (there's fewer than I images in the city, sometimes I have to walk 2 blocks to get to one) and grimy cool cafe people. Babes in skimpy little things and guys trying real hard to look cool. Living together pretty harmoniously.
September 11 comes to mind. Saw two planes fly right down the center of Manhattan this week. A lot of people looked up. Very strange. No WTC on the horizon. Makes me wonder if it's had an effect on the psyche of the people who live her. Well of course it has, but has it made them all genuinely nicer? Strange sentence to write, but my impression is that it has.
Pot holes. That's made its impression on the city dwellers mood and attitude as well. Going out on a limb here so please sit still, no shaking, it's a long way down: There are about 12,000 pot holes at any one time in this city. Why don't they just fill 'em? They do, but during the winter months the temperature swings are so severe that thousands can spring up over night. So these little pot holes are a constant set of obstacles. You cannot drive over all of them, you have to spend a good amount of effort avoiding them. This is different in cities where there are things which are not perfect (as there always will be) but what's not right in many other places can be fixed and then something different will be seen as the problem, the obstacle. Here it's a part of life. Rich in big SUV? Don't matter, you gotta avoid the pot holes. Poor? Same holes. This means that the city will always be a bit rough, a bit dirty. Never Singapore. I don't know, I am still out on limb and it's getting chilly out here, I think I'll come back in. Of course it ain't this simple. But I think the environment of where you live influence how you think. This is just a series of thousands of little holes in your thoughts when you're here.
Influences how you think. Upper East Side. You have fortresses with big old doors. Huge sidewalks. And aggressive streets. In the village, you have dinky little apartments and tons of street life. Even inside you're part of the crowd. Upper East Side, you are isolated. Even if you have the keys to one of these monstrosities you lock yourself in and out. There is very little shared public space. It's much colder. Is it something about money that makes some people feel they gotta hide? To illustrate, I have put together some pictures at nyc/ues.html There will be more images form NY. Went a bit crazy with the CyberShot and the 3650 this trip...
In NY few stores have huge glass fronts. Maybe this is partly because they are part of huge, older, sky scrapers and this would be difficult. It makes a big difference though, they obliterate the border (the interface!) between the inside of the building and the outside. Intriguingly, most Starbucks to this, no matter where they are; they let the inside of the store become the advertising for the store itself, which makes it just so inviting. I'll drink that.
On my way home last night I was followed by two punks. They were walking right behind me talking pretty loudly. Pretty funny stuff. All dressed up to look 'street', to the point that their expressions still looking a little like they are still admiring themselves in the mirror, making sure the head scarf looks just perfectly adjusted, just perfectly - casual. Studied nonchalance to put it pretentiously. But anyway, these guys were talking about how in Jersey they all end every sentence with 'bitch'. "I just been to the store bitch" and "I been out with my bitch, bitch". And with their heavy rolling speech it made me smile. They talked about how this one kid didn't even notice until it was pointed out to him that he was doing it. "Man you punctuate every sentence with 'bitch', you notice that?" "no way man!". Week later this guy was saying how he catches himself and his friends saying all the time. That's funny bitch!
There is a saying that the army with the simplest uniform wins. All the adornment takes the focus away from what they are trying to do; fight. I think it's likely it's the same for language; the simplest language (most unadorned by fillers: 'like' 'man' 'innit' 'yo' 'you think' and so on) is the most efficient. It strikes me every time I hear some sort of local street talk, it often so overladen with filler words and long, rolling, pronunciations. I'm not saying there shouldn't be a rich (even slight complicated vocabulary). I'm just suggesting that the, you know, like, 'filler' words dude (I said filler!), they kinda make it, like, not as efficient or something, to like, say shit. But like, that's you know, just what, like, I think.
Which brings on another ramble. When there's writing, there's always editing. It's just a matter of whether the writer will take the effort to do it or if the reader will have to. Please slam that back in my face next time you read some nonsense or jumbled rants here...
Chatting with Fleur in the other window:
You are talking to Fleur
Fleur says: hello
The following message could not be delivered: hello
Fleur says: i just wanted to ask how i can open the research page in pagemill
Frode says:just save it from safari/explorer...
Fleur says: so i can edit it , write stuff down etc, cause its easier to think like that for me
Fleur says: ok
Frode says:then drag it to pagemill
Frode says:not work?
Fleur says: try again
Fleur says: me
Frode says:try again?
Fleur says: no it doesnt see it on the desktop
Fleur says: :<
Fleur says: dont you love ms
Frode says:Hmm. I am confused. let me think
Fleur says: (H)
Frode says:OK, you can save it right? If so, save it to somewhere else. Using Safari?
Fleur says: yep
Fleur says: k
Frode says:Then just drag it from there, if you can see it.
Fleur says: hold on, should i put an extension after the name?
Frode says:yes, .html
Fleur says: hello
Fleur says: holdon
Fleur says: crap bollocks no
Frode says:How did you save it, just 'save as' right? then with the extension?
Fleur says: i call them sun.html sun.htm no worky
Frode says:You could also open pagemill then choose the open option form there.
Fleur says: didthat
Fleur says: you try over there
Fleur says: send me your pagemill file
Fleur says: (S)
Fleur says: (M)
Fleur says: (T)
Fleur says: (W)_
Frode says:problems here too...
Fleur says: aha
Fleur says: ?\
Fleur says: can you send me your pagemill file
Fleur says: great\
Frode says:on its way.
Fleur says: thanks
Frode says:will always do it this way from now on :-)
Fleur says: cool
Fleur says: how you?
Frode says:lots of work but getting a picture
Frode says:really concerned about exactly what we are doing now,
Frode says:how we organize files back and forth
Frode says:now that we are colaborating at a distance
Frode says:but so far so great.
Fleur says: dont worry too much about that , at one point the script will be seperate from the reseach but that will go naturrally
Frode says:now you're scaring me.... :-)
Fleur says: naturally
Fleur says: good
Frode says:! :-)
Fleur says: im pleased
Frode says:I have to go soon btw.
Fleur says: k
Frode says:Really look forward to seeing you in SF.
Fleur says: i hope my jet lag will not be too bad.
Frode says:Don't worry, we'll be taking it real easy to start.
Fleur says: can we not do too much the 1st day?
Fleur says: k
Fleur says: im getting a hair cut tomorrow. for my bday
Fleur says: very happy w/ dress everyone loves it
Frode says:One reason I am a bit stressed is that I'd like to have a complete shot list ready by the time you arrive so we can film a lot and relax later
Frode says:hair cut!
Fleur says: tell me aanbout it
Fleur says: im worried about time
Frode says:great, I just had one. Didn't cut much
Frode says:me too
Fleur says: only just started working now, had a huge headache this moring from the medicine, and then i stress, which doesnt help
Frode says:But I know we'll get it done. and done really well.
Fleur says: but emily is quite good
Fleur says: bythe way\
Frode says:hang on 1 sec
Fleur says: can i use your printer tomorrowe or after tomorrow?/
Fleur says: if yes, shall i by ink/paper. how do i set up my laptop etc, cables, things
Frode says:just contact T
Fleur says: wich ink should i get?
Frode says:Emily has impressed me already. Good story and visual ideas
Frode says:no ink, unless you want to print color, in which case you need color ink. We have black
Fleur says: but i need lots
Frode says:OK, black then. Ask T for model number. Or Kash. I think it's HP 960 cxi or somesuch
Fleur says: i love tinto's they are soooo nice here.. i go to kash cool
Frode says:Say hi from NY to them
Fleur says: if you back online later please sign in
Frode says:When at Kash's email me
Fleur says: ok
Frode says:maybe we can do a quick video chat for fun!
Fleur says: k
Frode says:BTW, should I save this chat and put it in the blog? Think it'd be cool.
Fleur says: im happy i didnt say anything .......
Frode says:I know....
Fleur says: cool
Fleur says: you know how you always have versoin problems
Fleur says: when two people change documents at the same time
Frode says:This is why I will now wait for you
Frode says:does it look ok on your screen though?
Fleur says: is there no way of copy/save/ whatever, but keep everything, as in all text
Fleur says: not replace
Frode says:? is it oopen in pagemill?
Fleur says: yes
Fleur says: comprix?
Frode says:then save as something like 'conv-w-doug-bgr-qa-vis-fl-sund.html'
Frode says:or whatever
Fleur says: that it doesnt matter if someone changes anthing, it will never be lost
Frode says:con-fuzed earlier.
Frode says:I know. I save dated versions on our server, like conv-w-doug-bgr-qa-vis-aug2.html
Fleur says: no
Fleur says: not what i mean
Fleur says: read again
Fleur says: please
Fleur says: i mean , if two persons work on a doc at the same time, tehn you save it, it sais replace or dont save, there should also be a 'keep all text', asin: add
Frode says:Not with HTML, but we can do what you started, comments in different colors and then colating that into a clean document
Fleur says: ooooppphhh lot of work
Frode says:you are a geek
Frode says:you are talking about versioning
Fleur says: this will not go in the blog :>
Frode says:on the operating system level
Fleur says: joke
Frode says:sorry, blogging away inthe bgr
Fleur says: 1 quick q: how can i set fi red as My default colout on pm
Fleur says: colour
Fleur says: ]thought might b handy
Frode says:Would be
Fleur says: k
Frode says:Please, nice comments as well OK?.... ;-)
Fleur says: ill try
Frode says:try real hard!
Fleur says: K
Frode says:blogging about the equipment right now. It's gooooood.
Fleur says: \YEAH YEAH
Fleur says: is it normal for laptop to get really hot?
Fleur says: ouch
Frode says:No, you're Hot. It's just reacting.
Frode says:Actually, the answer it yes
Frode says:So the real name should be laptop stove top...
Frode says:It's particularly bad with your model, as it's so tiny and new
Fleur says: aha
Fleur says: should have little ventilator
Frode says:it kind of does, but small
Frode says:gotta go. all well?
Fleur says: yes
Fleur says: sign in when you back onl,ine
Frode says:later then cookie
Fleur says: k pancake
We left NY on the train from Penn Station. Arrived at Princeton after not too long, got a cab and Mom and I settled in to a tiny and pretentious hotel. Henning went to the theater to get on with the show. My brother Henning is a performer, deviser and general showman and thinker. For this project, the gentle intellectual hippies that he is will be hired hands, a plain actor. I have never seen him perform so I am - to say the least - excited.
Van picks us up from the hotel and takes us to the show. I see Henning behind the stage - his unruly hair tied back, wearing a simple white T-Shirt and white sweat pants.
Mom and I take a seat.
The lights dim and it's on: "The Merry Wives Of Windsor". Henning arrives on stage confident as always, truly at home on the stage. But no longer a soft guy; he has transformed into one of those jerk-ish muscle guys. His whole face has changed. It's quite simply amazing.
After the show we follow the actors back to an after party where all the strange and wonderful characters walk around as their regular selves. Good show, good people. I am quite simply incredibly impressed by Henning's performance. Everyone says he has a serious stage presence. Or pretense in general for that matter. I have always agreed. To see him have pretense and be someone else was a revelation though!
Script & Research
The research has now split from the script document. It lives at conv-w-doug-research.html
I have put together a few camera test quicktime movies for the SONY TRV 940. They are at camera-test.html Looks good!
Mom and Henning and I got on the train at Princeton. I changed to a cab in Manhattan and went on to JFK to catch the flight to SF.
Landed safely though delayed 3 hours. Kevin was there. Drove home in his new car, a SAAB 93! That's just amazing. He told me he was driving to LA the other day, to buy a car of Ebay, when I called and asked if we could come stay. He didn't mention what the car was. It's the same one my parents just got. I love this car!
I was overly, overly tired when I finally entered the peace of my coma. Fleur & Emilisky had emailed me tons of stuff and FnI had a quick MNS chat again. When I woke, Fwas still there, safely ensconced at Tinto's. WiFied and hard at script.
Got coffee. Got car. Got lunch with Meg. Pics on meglunch-meg.gif. She looked stunning as always. She teased me by drinking her coffee, well, uhm, interestingly. Some girls can do that.. I grimaced. Apparently a bit much as she spewed the coffee all over my arm. we took pictures. We talked picturesquely. We left each other as lunch time as up and the D man had decided to grant me an audience. I sped to Atherton.
Doug was at the door in a minute. New hair cut. Looks good. I put the camera on a tripod and filmed him getting a tour of the site. That was quite cool. Not online yet as silly me didn't being the FireWire cable. We then talked about his strategy. We went outside and I went through what I think is his philosophy. No major mistakes. He then sat down with the PowerBook so I could practice filming him with the new camera. Filming mom and Henning and others was useful but filming Doug is different so I am glad we had this relaxed time together before the big cheese gets here.
Tried some moving around with different shutter speeds. Tried different backgrounds. Ways of focusing/zooming it. It's coming together. Samples shall be posted.
So here I am. Starbucks Palo Alto, sitting next to some random hot chick with three majors, though I can only see two. That was bad, but I just read theonion.com so my humor delivery system may need some calibration. Kevin is coming by, with Houria. Then dinner. Early night, capturing the video of Doug and Breakfast with Steve, the eJobShop machine. At Starbucks Palo Alto. But Kevin has arrived. Must go people.
An article in wired made me think :"'Your permanent record' Wired·8|2003"
Storage is easy. Finding stuff is not so easy. Getting it into our heads harder.
Vannevar Bush raised the alarm in The Atlantic Monthly way back in 1945: "Thus far we seem to be worse off than ever before - for we can enormously extend the record, yet even in its present bulk we can hardly consult it."
AI style solutions, which in essence creates a synthetic version of some of the users abilities (recognize Mom's face fx.) is nice. It's a bit like saying 'do my homework' though. A nice magic button, which to some degree is definitively still 'right around the corner'. As it has been for 30 years or so.
So time for some blatant self-promotion. Is AI necessary or can we start now?
There are so many simple solutions which help by removing unnecessary steps without adding any kind of AI or advanced processing. For example, Liquid Information's email (my old .com startup, now defunct - I suck at being a businessman) didn't feature folders or rules. Instead it featured Views which were basically saved Search Criteria. Lets say I wanted all my emails from Wired in one place (since you send me so many messages this is really necessary). I would create a View in exactly the same way as I would conduct a search. I would enter your email address. Give the View a name. Save. Then I would simply click on the View at any point in the future and it would go through all my emails and show me only emails to and from Wired. Cool. Simple. More advanced in terms of automatic organization than Apple's Mail or MS Entourage. I could do additional refinements when in a view, such as 'to' only or 'from' or date ranges. I say 'could' as we never got to implement that part. Cruel world!
Rules are a mess. Say I get an email from Wired. Which is sent from a friend who works there. Should the message go to her folder or the Wired folder? With Views, it would show up in any all all relevant Views. Even if they have been created after the message arrives.
Same kind of cheating was done with our current product; LiSA, the Liquid Information Speaking Assistant. She speaks with a real human voice when emails arrive. Even stating who from! How? We have recorded a huge set of voice clips. The user enters their contacts in the LiSA address book. The user then sets relationships to the contacts; wife, boss, mistress, lover, manager... When a message comes in LiSA plays the relevant audio. The audio is split in two so she can say "you have a message from a client" or "you have a reply from an important client". She analyses the Subject field. She's such a good girl. There are also 2 or more recordings of many of the voice clips, recorded slightly differently - significantly reducing the artificialness of the voice. You get two message from someone not in your address book, one right after the other. Chances are LiSA will say "you have a message from someone" and "you have a message from somebody". There's more to her, more preferences, more features, but it's all based on the user spending a little time setting LiSA up, 'training' her. And letting her run in the background, making the machine come alive a little more, being a bit more 'intelligent' than machines which beep when you get mail. No AI required. No AI needed. Works today.
And back to the 'Finding stuff is not so easy. Getting it into our heads harder' issue. Most electronic communications technology have helped people communicate outwards, publish, speak. For example, email has made it really easy to send thousands of messages to people. But it has not made it much easier to read all of those messages. There are millions of web pages. It takes only few clicks of the mouse to create another page or another hundred from whatever thoughts you have in your head. Its considerably harder to put what's on web site into your head.
There are some people working on this of problem course. I'd like to point you to Doug Engelbart's efforts on the HyperScope system. You know Dough right? Inventor of the mouse, windows, hypertext, word processing and all that good stuff. His HyperScope is not a publishing system. It does not help you speak. It helps you listen, it helps you read and learn. It will graft interactivity on top of web pages. http://www.invisiblerevolution.net for more on that if you're interested. There is way to much involved in the project to go into here.
Writing this was easy. Starbucks. WiFi. Good espresso con-panna with chocolate, over ice. How was reading it? Did you have the equivalent of the sophisticated tools I had to write this to help you read it and to skim through all the other thousands of readers letters?
This morning Kevin and I drove to Palo Alto. Last night, in the middle of dinner with Houria + friend in the adult Disney World outside San Jose, it dawned on me that I hadn't signed for Fleur's ticket yet. 10 minuted after listening to United Airlines proclaiming that my call was important to them and that it'll be answered in '8 minuted', I get put on hold for another 5 minutes, just to be berated that my airmiles have not been added to my account and I'll need to hold while they deal with it. "It takes 24 hours for airmiles to be added so next time we can't make this exception". Zoom to SFO where they are about to close ticketing. My free ticket costs $60 in taxes. A bit of a surprise, but it's all sorted. And we drive home.
Getting ready to look at the footage of Doug I get a touch of cold sweat when I cannot find my video camera, it's not in my bag. I walk around the house. I can't find it. Very tired so I can't think all that effectively. I sit down by my bag again. There's the camera; next to me. I was so tired I had taken it out and promptly forgotten about it.
Coffee with Steve was fun, lots of stuff to catch up on. Not enough time. We'll have to do some more coffee's. I had to explain to him that the hyper blog stage two will be a bit of a mess, as the point is 1: for us to have a journal on the site, 2: for a commenting system to allow people to join in and 3: to learn about this whole dynamic, hyperscopian thing. So it'll be changed a lot. I told him I'd like to warn the new team that this is the way it is and when I request a feature, it doesn't mean it has to be implemented, it's the start of dialog. Francisco emailed us all today to say hi, officially joining the project.
Waiting for Fleur I captured some of the footage of Doug from yesterday. It's amusing, there is one little table and there are two PowerBooks on it in this Starbucks. The only free seat is at the table. I sit and comment on how I can't believe Apple only has 10% of the market. We all end up talking. One of the guys is from Apple. Work on Quartz! We geek away and have a good time. He shows me a 3D web browser and all kinds of good stuff.
But I have to rush to pick up Fleur at the airport.
Oh yes, I rushed. Got to the airport. Found the best parking spot, at least one in the right terminal. Looked around, flight has arrived! Found the stairs she'd be descending from. Went up the stairs behind them to get a better look. No Fleur. Went down to the baggage area again. Went back to the bottom of the stairs and there she was! I held out my arms for a big, embarrassing hug (she hates that) and blue lights promptly started flashing and a synthesized voice announced harshly: "Stand behind the line!" No hug then.
Her bag arrived and we went to the car. A cigarette was burnt into the rear bumper! Nice car...
SF. Crabs. Seriously fresh. Double price indoors so we stayed outdoors.
Drove around. Got lost (though I will not admit this to her).
Came home. Made bed. Fleur photographed her presents from Michael to prove to him that she hadn't opened any :-)
Woke up to a seriously cold house when there was just the hottest day in London.
Today is holiday. Fleur still jet lagged. We need to ease into the work. So we wake up and plan the day: Hair cut. Yep. Then a dress for the top Fleur got in London to do the interviews with. OK. Then maybe we'll go through the script, but definitively some more schedule planning. Check. Possibly a swim.
Merrily we set off for San Francisco. A big sign warns us of an accident on the Bay Bridge. We turn north heading up towards the Richmond Bridge. We'll take the long way round and maybe swim first. Fleur calls Meg to ask what hair chopping place she recommends. Meg put her through to the salon/spa plave. Fleur tries to make a reservation. We can't use a credit card for this so we can't reserve. But they suggest we come buy around 4 anyway.
The bay seems to have receded from the left car window. We get of the highway ask a bunch of kids at the gas station; we've overshot the bridge somewhat. Turn left, right, up and down. We follow their directions, are reunited with the highway and soon we are undulating across the bay on the Richmond suspension bridge. 101 North for a minute, the off at San Rafael to follow our new plan: Swim first, then hair. The beach is not too hard to find. We were aiming for China Beach but we have not idea if we found it.
We find a pice of grass. I swim for a bit. Fleur not so sure. Fleur reads Mr Bonds book. I get nachos and Taco ice cream. Fleur gives her ice cream Taco away and we attack the nachos. Hornet attacks Fleur. Painful foot.
Fleur finally decides to swim. White bikini in the water, very James Bond. We dry of, we drive to the city. Can't do the hair, not enough cash til tomorrow. Clothes shopping then. 'Anthroplogie' or something. Fleur falls in love again. Tries on every item in the store, bar a few she is a bit confused she doesn't like (but why?). Squeals and yelps follow most items, especially the little hat with the little jacket. I sit by the changing room with a big grin and proclaim how this or that item is good or great. Feel a bit like a designated boyfriend sitting there when she tries on clothes (sorry Michael, you know what I mean!). The difference between her and the other girls is just simply striking. OK, other girls: "this is nice, but I wonder if they have a different color" or "this would go well with my this or that, hmm...". Fleur: "WOW! Isn't this amazing?!" (does a little dance - huge, big grin) " I MUST have this. Squeak!!!! -- It's not on sale. I can't bear it!!! -- Where's the blue top?" We have a few of Mr Shakespeare's' plays merrily disassembled and put back together in the space of trying on a skirt: The birth of a new Fleur, The joy, the pain, The Thought Of The Next One. She leaves a trail of non-perfect skirts and t-shirts and hats and jackets in her wake. A few items are 'put on hold'. They're not going anywhere.
But we are. Got some great sour doug bread as Fleur needed to use the bathroom and all we could see was a bakery. That inspired a caesar salad for dinner. We went to Whole Foods in Berkeley and gathered together all kinds of even remotely caesar related ingredients including red, yellow & mutant tomatoes and gyere to add to the parmesan. Peppers for the oven, where they were joined by the red tomatoes, very hot for quite a while. The mutant tomato got quickly burned on one side of randomly cut chunks. Served with balsamic vinegar. The yellow tomatoes halved, grilled for a short time and olive oiled. Avocado (perfectly ripe, easy to peel, isn't Whole Foods great!) got pumpkin seeds all over them. Seaweed on a plate. Cut the bread - olive oil in a cup. Romaine standing up in a cool designer salad bowl, with caesar dressing and some more olive oil. Yes, that was it. Quite yummy we all agreed, though Kev wondered where the pork chops were. Almost forgot the romaine. Frappucino with a touch of Baileys for dessert (Kevin made me). The little lady curled up and asleep. Another adventure.
Kevin joined us for breakfast again and then we headed in to the city. We drove to the Metreon area and parked in a $12 all day 'special' which is pretty good for SF. Fleur saw it, I was heading for the expensive option.
Hair cut was next on the agenda. We took out some cash and made our way to the day-spa where Fleur tried to get an appointment yesterday. We buzzed. No-one opened. It was around 9 and the place probably open at 10. Time for a coffee. Came back by chance just as the owner got there, around 10. Turns out they had been open since 9 but the buzzer didn't work. Fleur goes fort a cut. I go for a shoe shine (note, the guy on Market Street it good, but not if he does the full-on shine, too much gunk. I spend quite a while working to get it out, with rubbing alcohol at Starbucks). Fleur looked fantastic! Just quite simply plainly beyond words. So Pictures will be uploaded to Fleur Cut. She was very, very happy. with a roundly curved smile almost going full circle.
The lady who cut Fleur recommends I go to the barber round the corner. We go. He does a good job. I look normal. My 70's undercover cop look severed from my very head. Hrumf.
Fleur danced into that french sounding shop and tried on the clothes she had reserved yesterday. Whittled the choice down to a tiny top and a huge flowing skirt. She was very happy. I was quite happy too. These clothes are expensive. We need to make some money now to wrap more stuff around Fleur. Every item a little hug.
Worked on the script at the Marriott. Brash American guy on the phone. I couldn't concentrate for long.
Went to see where Brooks Hall was, it's where Doug's 68 demo happened. Richard had shown us on a map on the net where it is. Next to the civic center or town hall or whatever it is. Fleur floated around leaving her shoes in her car. Tiny hippie revival in SF. Didn't find it. On the local map it's listed as being underground. Still couldn't find it. A little weird. Guy comes up to us; "you guys look great together, you look alike, what are you; married or brother and sister?" to which Fleur quickly replies "he's my brother". Thanks!
Worked some more in Berkeley Starbucks, after having some cake from the bakery down the road (1/2 consumed in the garden of a local art/jewelry shop). The jewelry shop was interesting. We went there because there was a big sign in the window saying 'vote to impeach Bush here' which we did. Very colorful things in there. Some quite cool.
We met Kevin downtown Berkeley and saw Finding Nemo. This is one seriously hyped movie but all three of us were still impressed. Fish Taco's for dinner (yes, really) then home to bed. blog, blog blog.
The first shot was fired today, though not quite as planned. We went to Starbucks in Berkeley and went through the script. Whizzed down to Palo Alto where Fleur continued her scripting while I went of to shoot the Dumbarton Bridge in preparation of the filming of the driving to work sequence. All morning we kept calling Doug but couldn't get through - no answer. Turns out he was returning from Oregon today, not yesterday as I had thought.
Went to see him for a short while when he arrived, went through the weeks shooting schedule which will have to be quite radically changed as we can't shoot him tomorrow either. But we think we'll have more time on the days we are shooting.
We showed Doug the cartoon about him which he considered amusing. I have posted a clip of this on dougcartoon.html The cartoon is at geekculture.com/geekycomics/Aftery2k/y2Karchives/294.html
Then we went through the script which was pretty useful indeed... He was happy about most things but not happy about the ARPANET not really being in there. Time for a re-write tomorrow morning. He also wanted some other areas highlighted. There is a film clip of this as well, at dougscript.html
Fleur's BIG DAY!
This morning Fleur woke up a different woman - or - she went to bed a girl and woke up a woman: Fleur turned 30 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Toy Story, Nemo, Anthropologie, Interviews, Questions, Tacos. More Tacos + dessert.
Fleur interviwed Doug about Augment and then we chatted a bit. Fleur and Doug discussed Augment & HyperScope and I had to jump in a bit and show Doug what we've been doing. A video clip of that is available at hyperscoping.html Fleur wanted Tacos for dinner so Doug and Kevin joined us at a really cool Taco place. Fleur's birthday din is Friday. All is real well.
The video clip is a bit of an experiment btw, it's 26 minutes long, no edits and 28MB. It's got a few QuickTime effects added right in 'Cleaner', to make it look lore like the animated gifs on the site; light and washed out. I didn't even know if 'Cleaner' would be able to handle a video clip that big, weighing in a 5.68 Gigs for the original file, but I set it to render/compress, went to bed and here it is. Good to know for the future videos. This one was a good test as it didn't require and editing and was pretty 'behind-the-scenes'-ish.
Wasted some time on all kinds of problems Wednesday. And Friday. Got stuck in this or that. Not much to blog home about. Though we did have a very nice dinner with Houria tonight.
Interviewed Howard yesterday morning and it went well as always. He pointed out some interesting points about the social revolutionaries calling the whole point of the title of the project into question.
Lunch at some silly and pretentious diner. Shadow run to get some shades for Fleur, the light is bright and she has huge eyeballs so this was a bit of a priority. Went to a place in Palo Alto. She found a great pair, but very expensive. Quite surprising what a twist in the rim of otherwise perfectly ordinary black shades can do. There was another place on the other side of the street and after the guy there finally found out what we were looking for he understood that 300 bucks was not really in our budget. So he suggested we visit the 'sunglass hut' a few blocks down. Felt like we'd walked in to an expensive restaurant and they suggested we go to McDonalds! So of to the hut we went. Fleur found. We happy.
Off to Doug. We were unsure about where and when we were supposed to meet. The schedule has fallen to pieces. But we found him in his office with Dorai. We scheduled the coming week, called Bill English and his wife. We're just breathing easier now, the schedule is quite a bit cleaner and clearer, though tight. Oh yes, for the parents and boyfriends and wifes back home; we've decided to stay another couple of days, til Satruday.
Dinner with Houria. We all went to a fancy, schmanzy place opposite her place in Palo Alto. Great food, great time, more embarrassment for Fleur with another birthday cake (of sorts).
Today, more Doug. And I have to get to grips with the hyperblog and my thesis...
Re: New LiSA
From: Frode Hegland
To: "Mikhail Seliverstov"
Date: Sun, 17 Aug 2003 00:39:28 -0700
Subject: Re: New LiSA
Maybe a compromise, though I cannot see how... How about finding a way to say the time since the message, in a simple and elegant way?
Or by keeping the green for 15 seconds? How about this, if it is not to hard; make mini-LiSA green for 1/2 a second, then blue again and then green, fading over a longer period (15 seconds) that way you can see if the message listed is 'fresh' and the green color means more than a simple visual enforcer of what LiSA is saying anyway?
Final issue, can LiSA know key strokes performed by the user when when LiSA is not the front most app? If so, then the number could be the amount of new messages since the user last typed something (ie. away from desk)...
On Saturday, August 16, 2003, at 11:34 pm, Mikhail Seliverstov wrote:
>> Very cool!
>> Two suggestions though, please tell me what you think:
>> - Please move the time higher up.
> No problem.
>> - Please -remove- (yes, you read that right!) the number. You see, the
>> time is just such a great idea and I don't think the total number is
>> useful with it. What you think?...
> You're boss, so you decide. I just thought that it's a bit easier for
> to remember the single number, not the arrival time of last message.
> But, of
> course, if you insist on the number deletion I'll do it.
> So, should I build new installers?
> - Mikhail
Last night Carol and Kevin BBQ'd for us. The evening was perfect. Earlier we interviewed Doug about his early years and had a good chat. This morning I went through Francisco's new Spec for the blogging system. Very impressed. Now it's off to the big city with the peeps.
Today was a Good Day®. Fleur-an-i actually arrived early at Doug's office set up and set to work. I had the inspiration that I should leave the two of them to get on with it while I made phone calls and prattled around. It paid of, the interview was different, relaxed and good. Or so they say.
Lunch was in Doug's Logitech cafeteria, with a relatively heated discussion of how to tell his story. Useful. though.
Then we entered dessert country on our way to Jim Spohrer at IBM's Almaden Research Center (ARC!). Fleur really glowed today and did an excellent job as an interviewer. I had had some concerns about what we were doing - and still am - but after Fleur's performance today those fears are more like philosophical musings. It's going well.
Bruce joined us at a Taco place on De Anza. It's his birthday today! And he looked so great. BTW, that's me in the green Head. Fleur put it on me. I just stodod there dumb and let her. We hope to meet Bruce tomorrow.
Home, Kevin's back. Michael calls. Tape review. Blog. Ready for Curt at 8 tomorrow. Morning!
Almost forgot, new LiSA released this morning, as per earlier post. I made a mistake in my email to Mikhail; I wanted to remove the numbers in mini-LiSA but wrote that they should stay. Works great I have to admit!
SRI & English
This morning we interviewed Curt Carlson, CEO of SRI. I had meet him during Doug's Unfinished Revolution sessions (UnRev, as opposed to our InRev) and found him to be a pretty genial guy who could communicate much of Doug's ideas succinctly. I was not disappointed. Good interview. We'll be back Thursday to film Doug @ SRI.
Got ripped off for lunch. Crep stuff. But nice and healthy.
Bill and his wife met us at Cafe Trieste and we headed over to their boat to interview them. It was so nice to finally meet them. We all got along really well, got a good interview done and went through all kinds of aspects of the work and its importance. Very pleasant and stimulating.
The evening was spent online (Fleur) and thesis-ing (me). Gotta nail down the right typeface and size for the blog.
coolest thing ever
I am writing this blog entry from Dr. Carl Douglas Engelbart's desk at home in Atherton, California.
How insanely cool is that? Fleur is interviewing him about his epiphany and early professional life. The camera is on a tripod. I am not needed. In here the quiet hum of his PC and his Augment terminal provides a gentle background to the gently lit room. Some sort of a little bird is feeding on the bird feeder outside the window, beyond the horizontal blinds.
Out the back door I can see the early evening sun brightening the leaves. DSL modem lights flicker on and off, as does the PC monitor display light. It's nice to relax here. Just had a Pepsi Cola, from one of those big plastic bottles. It wasn't too fizzy but it was cold. Right in front of me, right above the screen of my TiBook, Augment's cursor flashes idly' a beginning bracket over a blinking underline. Expectant. Hiding a whole world of Doug's head. The rest of the screen is slight low resolution wanting-to-be-grey, with a slight red and blue hue.
I touched the keypad. Pressed a button by mistake and moved the mouse simultaneously. The screen now has a lower-case 'p' on it. The blinking underline is now further to the right.
Time to change tape. Fleur is here. She has done the the interview. We're off to Dorai's.
From: Frode Hegland
To: Francisco Millarch
Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2003 00:16:37 -0700
Subject: Blog Typography
Francisco, it seems I rushed to judgment on the spec for the blog typography...
I put together a test page showing a sample blog entry with the three main fonts. It is available at cynapse.org/thesis/typetest.html and in screenshot form: cynapse.org/thesis/typetest.gif
It is clear to me that Times New Roman wins the legibility and elegance vs. size battle.
The same test showed the elegance of Helvetica for headings. This is why it will be the type for dates, though bold and grey.
Layout of the body type will be enhanced through CSS, giving a much greater line height to increase legibility. To test various heights, three pages were built: cynapse.org/thesis/blog-type-layout-100.html for a regular height, cynapse.org/thesis/blog-type-layout-120.html for 120% line height, cynapse.org/thesis/blog-type-layout-150.html for 150% line height and cynapse.org/thesis/blog-type-layout-200.html for a 200% taller line height layout. A screenshot is available at cynapse.org/thesis/csstest-4-samples.gif
The outer extremes quickly lost their appeal. The 120% and 150% were more difficult to choose between so I put together a screen shot of them side by side, to measure the easy of which the eye can wrap around a line. That is available at cynapse.org/thesis/csstest-two-samples.gif In my mind the 150% makes it a little bit tougher to wrap.
The final layout then becomes: cynapse.org/thesis/blog-type-layout.html
Can you please change the spec to reflect this?
I have managed to get Bill English and Jeff Rulifson (two original and important Doug guys) together for a surprise for Doug, on Friday. Dorai Thodla, who is Doug's new guy, will also be there. Richard, a good friend of mine, runs the business center at the Marriott in San Francisco, has arranged for us to use the top floor view lounge. Bill couldn't make it down to the valley you see, so the view at the Marriott is the excuse we are giving Doug for coming to the city. So let's see!
This morning we picked up Doug and drove all over the valley filming him in cool locations as we went along. The trip started down at Ames where they were very concerned with Fleur and me and wouldn't let us on base. Then we went to SRI and filmed all over the place. Next was lunch (or was it before SRI? Can'r remember) and then SF where we filmed Doug walking in Brookes hall, which is where the 1968 deemo was held. Then Berkeley, Whole Foods, and a great dinner at Kevins.
Friday : Past & Present
Friday morning Doug wakes me up with a phone call. I had no idea who was calling. He had a doctors appointment so couldn't do the afternoon shooting at the Marriott! I called Richard who re-arranged everything for 11 and I called Bill and Jeff and Dorai.
Dorai couldn't re-schedule everything but the rest of the gang could. We parked in the Metreon garage, went to see Richard who was quite stressed, having arranged all this he now had to re-arrange it all. He showed us how to get up to the top, turns out the top floor bar is closed until 4 every day.
Regular elevator (Lift). Service lift (Elevator). Turn left, turn right to the other side of the lounge and there it is: All of San Francisco. Amazing, huge semi-circular window. We settle on a view of the Bay Bridge (ie. Fleur specifies).
Camera on tripod. Setup the mike, no lights. Fleur had secured some ice tea and water from downstairs. Doug shows up and we bring him up. He's impressed with the view. Fleur starts interviewing him. I leave as it's now high noon.
Bill + wife arrives. We take the elevator (Lift) up to the 38th floor. Change to the service... You get the idea. Roberta loves the view of SF; she can see the place she grew up, she can see where she used to live later. They go round to the other side of the lounge. Doug is surprised. Oh yes. They get chatting. Big smiles. I go down with Roberta to the lobby to look for Jeff Rulifson. I had warned the concierge that there might be a guy looking a bit lost trying to get to the top floor. They hadn't seen anyone, but there was a guy who was looking for a video shoot! Yes, Jeff. We take him up and Doug smiles even more. It's just a great feeling!
Some reminisce. Some HyperScope questions. Some more questions. I step in a few times and add a few (I hope) simplifying remarks. Doug gets a little overwhelmed by the questioning. And I leave again.
Fleur had already gone downstairs at this point. There she is, perched in the lobby, looking for Dorai. Who walks in a few seconds after I get there. He is carrying a box - a birthday present for Fleur! Three Indian Gods. She is a very happy girl. We go up to the gang.
Doug is just glowing now; Dorai has arrived to help Doug field HyperScope questions. What a meeting; Bill, Doug's 'do-er', the co-inventor of the mouse and the arranger of the 68 demo. Jeff, serious coder and participant in the demo. WOW. I ask them how long it's been since they have worked together. About 30 years. And then there is Dorai, Doug's current 'do-er.'
Dorai helps Doug filed questions. He explains what the HyperScope actually is. And drops (what is to me) a bombshell: They are -much- further along in building the HyperScope that previously thought. Which is great. I will post more info on this as I get it from Dorai soon. Probably on the Dev page here.
Makes me feel a little little though; sitting there with these luminaries who have increased the capability of humanity to work together and solve problems, and I can't even get a job! Yes, the big guy who is putting together this web site with the blogging service and the documentary is broke and using family family funds (mostly, LiSA has helped quite a bit). Ah. I got a big mouth, I talk too much and am too opinionated (just ask Fleur, or rather, don't!) and have all these idealistic ideals. What I am doing though? Burning resources, that's about it.
So there is an incentive to get the documentary together in a quality product. And such were my fleeting thoughts.
A blond haired, close-cropped security guy (18? 20 maybe?) comes round with an ear headphone (so secret service) comes round and we explain we're here to shoot, almost done and Richard arranged permission with Tony. We wrap up, and back comes mr. Security. With two other suits. One walks up and I say hi, explain (again) that Richard of the Business Center got permission from Tony. "I am Tony" he states. Oh... Ahh.... "Nice to meet you Tony!" He was cool. Just glad I worded it exactly right, that I bothered with the whole story; "I got permission from Tony" probably wouldn't have been the best way to put it.
Doug checks his watch, he's late for his doctors appointment. He has to leave. Bill + wife leaves too. The end of a sentimental meeting, with some serious talk of the future, of HyperScoping.
Jeff and Fleur n'I are left. We go to SF MOMA for lunch. Fleur wants Ceasar. "With Chicken?" "Only if it's organic!" Jeff is a good guy. We have a great time. We tells us about his student activism during the Vietnam days. Marches on campus (Stanford) during the day. Coding with Doug's group at night. Roberta had told us about how Jeff was asked later on what made the greater difference; the demonstrations or working with Doug. The answer: Working with Doug. Jeff is the hippy a the techy. He is both worlds.
We made our way back to the Marriott where we set up to film in a huge conference room with lots and lots of round tables, none of which had table cloths. Fleur asked him questions of working with Doug, of the social moments and more. We ran out of tape and moved into more political territory. Jeff really knows his shit and wouldn't let me get away with any platitudes or general (read 'naive') statements. It got pretty heated but stayed very civil. It was a pleasure to lock horn with someone as wise and pleasant as Jeff.
Richard joined us and into the discussion on technology helping or hindering us put the whole issue, the whole day, the whole question into perspective: "It's been too long since we've been riding horses."
After the intense trip to the top of SF we arrived to find Houria and friend at the door at Kevins. Oh yes, today was BBQ day. They hadn't waited long, but it was a bit embarrassing. Kevin arrived. Another of Houria's friends arrived. Kevin and I went to Andronico's to shop for dinner. Overdid it a bit. Home to Kevin's amazing BBQ. It's a huge round thing with a grill covering only half of it. He uses this cylinder thing to start the coals and pours them over two logs when they are nice and hot.
Rosie + man + baby Eva arrived. We BBQ'd flank steaks and mushrooms and asparagus and garlic bread and had peppers and tomatoes and parsnips (remembered oil, rosemary and thyme, forgot honey) and yum, what a meal!
After dinner we BBQ'd a sliced pineapple and halved ginger roots (disaster; they need much, much more time). Then the Berkeley crowd starting lamenting the state of the world, as one does. It got kicked of by Houria's French Friend© who works at HP. David (the husband of Rosie) chimed in on environmental waste. The economy was brought up. Suggestions as to how to deal were thrown around. One was to get out of the 'corporate, capitalist' world and live for your ideals. I snapped. I am one of these idealists who haven't worked in the corporate world for quite a few years. (The last corporate job was for H&K, the worlds largest PR firm, a fact I didn't think of until I started blogging this!). The consequence of this I revealed to them, quite embarrassed, was that I would have to borrow a couple of hundred dollars from Kevin to get Fleur and me back to the Uk safely! Discussions went further and I found myself in the seriously unusual position of 'defending' capitalism and corporations and all of that. Not for the sake of it, but highlighting Doug's point: The world today ain't that great in may ways, but making it better, in just a few small (seeming) areas is not easy. In fact it's pretty damn complicated - with knock-on effects all over the place. At one point, the opinionated bugger I am, having thrown myself body and soul into the discussion, I literally had to use hands like in a cartoon karate fight to deflect the questions and issues. Pretty funny at the time. But it couldn't go on forever and since I agreed with the issues raised; I only tried to point out solving them wasn't going to be easy (semi-obvious), I pointed to David and Rosie: "You and you are going to meet Doug tomorrow to discuss this. Cool?" They agreed. "Uhm, Fleur, is that OK with you? "Sure". We were planning to meet with Doug Saturday to go through whatever was left to talk about. Now I Knew what we'd be talking about :-) It was a touch annoying, Fleur didn't agree with Doug on all the ways we should try to make the world a better place but she is too gosh darn polite. Rosie and represent Fleur's concerns and they are, well, directer. So tomorrow will be interesting...
Met up with Rosie & David & Eva at the food market in Emeryville. I tried to make it a secret for Fleur that we were to meet there but she was not surprised that Rosie & David & Eva was there. We enjoyed some amazing Aghan, Vietnamese and mediteranean food. And headed down to Atherton.
Bought some tapes - finally found a place with cheap tapes in the area, on the last day! Good to remember for next time. Kevin and I were supposed to shoot the Marriott so we were to drive via the city but the traffic was awful so we went down on the east side of the bay as well. Stopped at the Starbucks by Doug and still beat the others by a good while. They arrived, we went outside to 'Doug's Garden' (I always hear it with Fleur's voice, like she says it in the intro video). Chairs out. Camer on tripod, other camera cued and off we go.
So Doug, is technology helping us or hindering us? Doug is by no means a techno freak so the conversation revolved around (in my interpretation, it was taped and will be online at some point) the difference between underlying technology like faster computers, bigger hard drives and such, vs. the application of technology; what we actually use it for. There was a lot of round-and-round talk on some of the issues facing us today. In a way it was so that we could all agree on what the issues are. The question then became how we could deal with the issues. This is where Doug's work on 'collectively solving complex problems' came in. Again, this is my interpretation. If you ask Fleur, she'd probably say that Doug and Rosie & David had a great chat around what the problems in the world are and I kept interupting. Trust me, I tried very hard to shut up, but sometimes it just spilt over. Very productive though, Rosie & David definitively gave Doug what he want's; real dialog. Not that Fleur hadn't, she had queried him on all kinds of issues over the time we were there, they just dug more in the, uhm , I cannot find a better word; spiritual issues.
Went quite well. We checked in late so didn't get to site together. Watched some paltrow flying movie. Slept. Fleur didn't sleep much. Tube, cab, Therese at the door, glowing, beautiful, the warmest welcome in years. Chat, sleeeeeep.
At Bar It w David & Ian. New girl there. Loong, loooong legs. Polish. Named Mi?ka. Testing to see if the special characters in her name came across (didn't). Anyway, back in London, saw D earlier. Fleur on her way to Scotland. Going to Norway for Asle's wedding this weekend.
Nice to be back :-)