Posted by: pilgrimtraveler | September 22, 2010

Another Leg of the Journey

I had some trouble making my way through Engelbart’s Augmenting Human Intellect.  What helped me most to follow and comprehend his writing was to mentally come at his work, not as the computer literate person I am now, but the novice I was 37 years ago when I first learned to program BASIC.  When I did that, I could more easily see how Engelbart’s terms and descriptions fit the practices that did not include a GUI.  It helped that I could remember the frustration of typing code on a teletype keyboard (and saving it on paper tape) and then trying to run the program and figure out what I did or didn’t do that kept the program from running properly.  Engelbart was already ahead of where many computer classes were at that time.

The beauty of what Engelbart suggested was a more intuitive way of handling our thought processes and using a computer to do it faster and organize it in ways that could quickly assemble and reassemble our thinking (research).  I think associative thought trails are ways of doing this and for some may not be as intuitive a process as it is for others, but what he was invisioning was flexible enough to be used by anyone regardless of their preferred learning process or thinking style. 

I think the difficulty of following Engelbart’s thinking is his using linear text to describe what is clearly a non-linear process.  He was already using his augmented process with some ease, but in this report he was limited to a description of the process he was using.  I think all the video’s of his work and the examples he used communicate so much more completely his ideas.


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