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Greg Lloyd
Works at Traction Software Inc
Attended Brown University ScB and ScM Physics and Computer Science
Lives in Providence RI
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Greg Lloyd

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"Hypertext: an Educational Experiment in English and Computer Science at Brown University is a documentary film from 1976 made by Brown University computer scientist Andries "Andy" van Dam.

The film was funded by a 1974 grant provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities to support "an experimental program to teach a college-level English poetry course, utilizing a new form of computer based 'manuscript,' called a hypertext." More information about the grant is available on the NEH website.

The Hypertext system used in the film is called FRESS and was developed by Andy van Dam, Carol Chomsky, Richard Harrington, and others based on the hypertext idea developed by Theodor Nelson.

The Hypertext poetry class described in the film was conducted by Jim Catano, Carol Chomsky, Nancy Comley, and Robert Scholes.

Film production was done by Michael Silverman, Bill Gallery, and Peter O'Neill."
Hypertext: an Educational Experiment in English and Computer Science at Brown University is a documentary film from 1976 made by Brown University computer...
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"I believe the primary barrier to Enterprise 2.0 adoption for an established business purpose is The 9X Email Problem rather than hierarchy and a command and control mindset. And I believe that the Web as the context for work is what surmounts the 9X problem by exposing almost all of the relevant working communication and context to search, links, authoring, tags, extensions, and signals (McAfee's SLATES, see his 2006 Enterprise 2.0 the Dawn of Emergent Collaboration)...

In every previous generation hypertext system from HES through Lotus Notes, the ability to read, search, link and communicate came with a terrible price: it might work well, but only if you put everything you wanted to work with into some sealed box, and convince everyone you wanted to work with to use the same box. From the earliest days of Vannevar Bush's Memex, the vision was universal, but implementations were a siloed...

But the Web over the universal Internet turned the world-view of Lotus Notes (and the Sharepoint stack) inside out: no proprietary client, no proprietary representation, no requirement to work inside the proprietary box - and every motivation to make anything valuable you create or deliver compatible with the least common denominator representation outside the box: URL addressable HTML."

Enterprise 2.0 - Letting hypertext out of its box
April 24, 2007 · Blog384 · Posted by Greg Lloyd
Lotus Notes and other early hypertext systems worked great IFF: 1) You put everything you wanted to use in *their* proprietary box; and … Greg Lloyd. Feb 25. Greg Lloyd @roundtrip. 2) You successfully convinced - or forced - everyone you work with to do the same. Show full conversation ...
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"If you truly want to understand NLS, you have to forget today." @worrydream

"Engelbart had an intent, a goal, a mission. He stated it clearly and in depth. He intended to augment human intellect. He intended to boost collective intelligence and enable knowledge workers to think in powerful new ways, to collectively solve urgent global problems.

The problem with saying that Engelbart "invented hypertext", or "invented video conferencing", is that you are attempting to make sense of the past using references to the present. "Hypertext" is a word that has a particular meaning for us today. By saying that Engelbart invented hypertext, you ascribe that meaning to Engelbart's work.

Almost any time you interpret the past as "the present, but cruder", you end up missing the point. But in the case of Engelbart, you miss the point in spectacular fashion.

Our hypertext is not the same as Engelbart's hypertext, because it does not serve the same purpose. Our video conferencing is not the same as Engelbart's video conferencing, because it does not serve the same purpose. They may look similar superficially, but they have different meanings. They are homophones, if you will.

Here's an example"
A few words on Doug Engelbart. Bret Victor / July 3, 2013. Doug Engelbart died today. His work has always been very difficult for writers to interpret and explain. Technology writers, in particular, tend to miss the point miserably, because they see everything as a technology problem.
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"In Shaka When The Walls Fell (The Atlantic, June 18, 2014) Ian Bogost poses a challenge based on Darmok, a 1991 Star Trek New Generation episode. Star Trek's Universal Translator knows how to translate the aliens words, but it's completely useless at telling Picard what the Tamarians mean. If that's how Children of Tama communicate, how could they ever have become a starfaring civilization?...

This seems like a tall order, but consider that most of us now live in a civilization that assumes that no factual question need go unanswered for more than a few minutes, after poking or talking at pocket sized supercomputer screens meshed with an associatively addressable, world spanning corpus that's glued together by annoying commercials, a few giant companies, and unicorn dreams of VCs."
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Read "One slow step for man" -  one of the best short science fiction pieces I've seen in ages - and the story behind the story. As @NatureFutures says, read the short story first!
This week Futures is pleased to welcome back to its pages S R Algernon, with his story One slow step for man. The story finds him thinking small — very small — and celebrates the incredibly hardy tardigrade. His previous tales have focused on slightly larger subjects, including uses for ...
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"It is M’Diarmid’s sentences—fantastically clausal helices that would make a sentence-diagrammer faint—that defy explanation, even two hundred years later. All, perhaps, save one: “Striking and Picturesque Delineations” is art, and art created by someone intoxicated by language. While his gloriously weird vocabulary and grammar may be the artifact of a second language, the architecture of his sentences is M’Diarmid’s alone. And in that he was indeed what his fellow villagers called him: a poet."
Angus M’Diarmid, a Scottish hunting guide whose first language was Gaelic, wrote a local guidebook, describing in animated and inane English the rugged Highland landscape. Credit PHOTOGRAPH BY ERICH HARTMANN / MAGNUM
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I hope you'll enjoy reading the original Traction Product Proposal, dated October 1997. Many early Traction concepts carried over directly to the Teampage product first commercially released in July 2002, but we've also learned a lot since then - as you might hope! The quotes still make me smile. The Proposal and Annotated References may be particularly helpful to students interested in the history and evolution of hypertext.

Motivated by Chris Nuzum's recent Tripping Up Memory Lane talk at HyperKult 2015, and Takashi's Design Concepts followup, I'm happy to continue the Traction history theme. I've removed the Confidential markings from the Proposal, and released it under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial license (CC BY-NC 4.0), so you're welcome to read and use it for non-commercial purposes with attribution. Please link directly to this blog post.
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Born this day: Vannevar Bush. Godfather of the Manhattan Project, @NSF, and hypertext. #memex
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Reading the Culture

+Christopher Nuzum asked me why I like Iain M. Banks' Culture novels, and for a recommendation on where to start reading. The Culture novels are my favorite Science Fiction. They combine wit, speculation on intelligence, society and government with enough space opera to keep it all interesting.

Where to start?

I’d recommend starting with “Consider Phlebas”, see “Welcome to the Culture”. Unabridged audio editions of ten of the Culture novels are currently available from

The Culture

But Banks' greatest creation is the Culture, its AIs (the Minds) and the Ships. See these quotes from “Welcome to the Culture”, quoting “Notes on the Culture” from Banks himself:

“Banks introduces the Culture in this essay. This is a long and rich world-building exercise, originally posted by Banks' friend Ken MacLeod on a newsgroup. I suggest you read the whole thing, but here are few interesting tidbits.

On the galactic setting where the Culture exists:

The galaxy (our galaxy) in the Culture stories is a place long lived-in, and scattered with a variety of life-forms. In its vast and complicated history it has seen waves of empires, federations, colonisations, die-backs, wars, species-specific dark ages, renaissances, periods of mega-structure building and destruction, and whole ages of benign indifference and malign neglect. At the time of the Culture stories, there are perhaps a few dozen major space-faring civilisations, hundreds of minor ones, tens of thousands of species who might develop space-travel, and an uncountable number who have been there, done that, and have either gone into locatable but insular retreats to contemplate who-knows-what, or disappeared from the normal universe altogether to cultivate lives even less comprehensible.

On the ships and their Minds:

Culture starships - that is all classes of ship above inter-planetary - are sentient; their Minds (sophisticated AIs working largely in hyperspace to take advantage of the higher lightspeed there) bear the same relation to the fabric of the ship as a human brain does to the human body … The Culture's largest vessels - apart from certain art-works and a few Eccentrics - are the General Systems Vehicles of the Contact section. (Contact is the part of the Culture concerned with discovering, cataloguing, investigating, evaluating and - if thought prudent - interacting with other civilisations; its rationale and activities are covered elsewhere, in the stories.) The GSVs are fast and very large craft, measured in kilometres and inhabited by millions of people and machines. The idea behind them is that they represent the Culture, fully. All that the Culture knows, each GSV knows; anything that can be done anywhere in the Culture can be done within or by any GSV. In terms of both information and technology, they represent a last resort, and act like holographic fragments of the Culture itself, the whole contained within each part.

On law:

The Culture doesn't actually have laws; there are, of course, agreed-on forms of behaviour; manners, as mentioned above, but nothing that we would recognise as a legal framework. Not being spoken to, not being invited to parties, finding sarcastic anonymous articles and stories about yourself in the information network; these are the normal forms of manner-enforcement in the Culture.

On politics:

Politics in the Culture consists of referenda on issues whenever they are raised; generally, anyone may propose a ballot on any issue at any time; all citizens have one vote. Where issues concern some sub-division or part of a total habitat, all those - human and machine - who may reasonably claim to be affected by the outcome of a poll may cast a vote. Opinions are expressed and positions on issues outlined mostly via the information network (freely available, naturally), and it is here that an individual may exercise the most personal influence, given that the decisions reached as a result of those votes are usually implemented and monitored through a Hub or other supervisory machine, with humans acting (usually on a rota basis) more as liaison officers than in any sort of decision-making executive capacity; one of the few rules the Culture adheres to with any exactitude at all is that a person's access to power should be in inverse proportion to their desire for it.

On why most people in the Culture live in Orbitals:

The attraction of Orbitals is their matter efficiency. For one planet the size of Earth (population 6 billion at the moment; mass 6x1024 kg), it would be possible, using the same amount of matter, to build 1,500 full orbitals, each one boasting a surface area twenty times that of Earth and eventually holding a maximum population of perhaps 50 billion people (the Culture would regard Earth at present as over-crowded by a factor of about two, though it would consider the land-to-water ratio about right). Not, of course, that the Culture would do anything as delinquent as actually deconstructing a planet to make Orbitals; simply removing the sort of wandering debris (for example comets and asteroids) which the average solar system comes equipped with and which would threaten such an artificial world's integrity through collision almost always in itself provides sufficient material for the construction of at least one full Orbital (a trade-off whose conservatory elegance is almost blissfully appealing to the average Mind), while interstellar matter in the form of dust clouds, brown dwarfs and the like provides more distant mining sites from which the amount of mass required for several complete Orbitals may be removed with negligible effect.

Also, Banks has given himself a Culture-style name. It's Sun-Earther Iain El-Bonko Banks of North Queensferry.”

From “Welcome to the Culture”

Banks also said:

“The Culture, in its history and its on-going form, is an expression of the idea that the nature of space itself determines the type of civilisations which will thrive there.

The thought processes of a tribe, a clan, a country or a nation-state are essentially two-dimensional, and the nature of their power depends on the same flatness. Territory is all-important; resources, living-space, lines of communication; all are determined by the nature of the plane (that the plane is in fact a sphere is irrelevant here); that surface, and the fact the species concerned are bound to it during their evolution, determines the mind-set of a ground-living species. The mind-set of an aquatic or avian species is, of course, rather different.

Essentially, the contention is that our currently dominant power systems cannot long survive in space; beyond a certain technological level a degree of anarchy is arguably inevitable and anyway preferable.

To survive in space, ships/habitats must be self-sufficient, or very nearly so; the hold of the state (or the corporation) over them therefore becomes tenuous if the desires of the inhabitants conflict significantly with the requirements of the controlling body. On a planet, enclaves can be surrounded, besieged, attacked; the superior forces of a state or corporation - hereafter referred to as hegemonies - will tend to prevail. In space, a break-away movement will be far more difficult to control, especially if significant parts of it are based on ships or mobile habitats. The hostile nature of the vacuum and the technological complexity of life support mechanisms will make such systems vulnerable to outright attack, but that, of course, would risk the total destruction of the ship/habitat, so denying its future economic contribution to whatever entity was attempting to control it.

The theory here is that the property and social relations of long-term space-dwelling (especially over generations) would be of a fundamentally different type compared to the norm on a planet; the mutuality of dependence involved in an environment which is inherently hostile would necessitate an internal social coherence which would contrast with the external casualness typifying the relations between such ships/habitats. Succinctly; socialism within, anarchy without. This broad result is - in the long run - independent of the initial social and economic conditions which give rise to it."

Names of Culture ships

Elon Musk named the landing barges for the Space-X program after two of the Culture’s General Contact Unit (GCU) Ships:

GCU Just Read The Instructions
GCU Of Course I Still Love You

My favorite Ship names - See “List of Ship Names” Wikipedia link

GCU Just Read The Instructions^
GCU Of Course I Still Love You^
GCU Funny, It Worked Last Time...
GCU You Would If You Really Loved Me
GCU Fate Amenable To Change
GCU Unacceptable Behaviour
ROC Frank Exchange Of Views - Psychopath
GSV What Is The Answer and Why?
MSV Not Invented Here
GCU Poke It With A Stick
OU I Said, I've Got A Big Stick†
n/a Hand Me The Gun And Ask Me Again†
n/a We Haven't Met But You're A Great Fan Of Mine†
n/a Zero Credibility†
n/a Charming But Irrational†
n/a Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory†
n/a Conventional Wisdom†
GTC Now We Try It My Way
GCV Subtle Shift In Emphasis
GSV Total Internal Reflection
GOU Falling Outside The Normal Moral Constraints
Abominator Self-categorized as a "Picket Ship"
FP No One Knows What The Dead Think
Formerly known as the GOU Obliterating Angel
GOU Questionable Ethics
ROU Refreshingly Unconcerned With the Vulgar Exigencies of Veracity
ex-Thug Fast Picket
LOU Caconym - Troublemaker ††
GSV Kakistocrat - home GSV of Mistake Not…
"Kakistocrat" is Ancient Greek, meaning "very bad ruler".

A few Ship names from me:

GCU Shake Well Before Using
GCU Sweet Is War To Those Who Know It Not (Pindar)
GCU Shut Up, He Explained (Ring Lardner}

GCU Just With Potatoes (Doug Adams)
"It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes." — Douglas Adams

GSV You Should Occasionally Look At The Results
"However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results." — Winston Churchill

GCU Simple, Neat, And Wrong (H.L. Mencken)
"For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong." — H. L. Mencken

GCU No, no, you're not thinking (Niels Bohr)
GCU You're just being logical (Niels Bohr)
"No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical." — Niels Bohr

GCU Not even wrong (Wolfgang Pauli)
"That is not only not right, it is not even wrong." — Wolfgang Pauli

In a comment to “Welcome to the Culture”, Annalee Newitz writes:

“I actually think the silly ship names become less silly as you come to understand the dark, almost sadistic, humor that so many of Banks' ancient/wise beings seem to share. In his novel The Algebraist, which isn't a Culture novel but feels a bit like a proto-Culture civilization, there are superancient gas giant creatures called the Dwellers who also have a bizarre sense of humor that I think is probably the natural result of having seen so many civilizations rise and fall seemingly without reason.”


Welcome to the Culture, the Galactic Civilization that Iain M. Banks Built, Annalee Newitz,, 11 Feb 2008

A Few Notes On The Culture, by Iain M. Banks - Brilliant
This article was posted to newsgroup rec.arts.sf.written on 10 Aug 1994 on behalf of Iain M Banks by Ken MacLeod

The Culture, Wikipedia - Very good overview and links

List of spacecraft in the Culture Series, Wikipedia - Great fun

Culture Series, unabridged,
We've put together this handy primer for you on the Culture, the pan-galactic civilization whose members and ex-members are the subjects of so many Banks novels. Not only do we have a rundown of every single Culture novel, but we've also got some important excerpts from an obscure essay Banks wrote in 1994 about the ideas behind the Culture universe. Get ready to enter a world where ships are sentient, humans live for half a millennium, and livin...
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On this day: Forty seven years after Doug Engelbart's Mother of All Demos
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Why Circles fell flat. Four years later, Google+ finally shifts to a space model for Communities and Collections.
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+Hans De Keulenaer Thank you. I'm still mystified by Google's "Circle" model, which seems more like a bunch of leftover gmail and Buzz parts than something that people would like and use.
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The Writing Life "Omission: Choosing what to leave out." Perfect John McPhee. Please read to the end.
Credit Illustration by Tamara Shopsin
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President and co-founder
  • Traction Software Inc
    President and co-founder, present
  • Electronic Book Technology (EBT)
  • Mentor Graphics
  • Context Corporation
  • Ship Analytics
  • US Naval Research Lab (NRL)
  • US Army Safeguard System Office
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Providence RI
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Traction Software Inc 245 Waterman St Suite 504 Providence RI 02906 USA
Everything is deeply intertwingled. - Ted Nelson
President and co-founder of Traction Software Inc, creator of Traction TeamPage. Have over 30 years experience as an architect and engineer of publishing, hypertext, and signal processing systems starting at Brown University. Prior to Traction Software, worked at the US Naval Research Laboratory, Mentor Graphics / Context, and Electronic Book Technologies (EBT), Inc. Miss Bliss-10.
Bragging rights
First Hypertext system used: Hypertext Editing System (HES) 1968 at Brown with Andy van Dam, Ted Nelson, and other Andy students. @roundtrip avatar is a photo taken while filming a HES demo.
  • Brown University ScB and ScM Physics and Computer Science
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