Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Argh, too many thoughts for a Tuesday morning, and I think I'm forgetting some. So I don't forget...

  • Does having to think in a language restrict the ability to think, or can we only come up with new concepts in our head if we have the language to define that concept? I was intrigued by the idea this morning that I could think (new) things (faster) if I just turned the English language bit of my brain off, and let it run off on its own, but is it possible?

  • I think that ties in with my recent theories of consciousness vs language interpretation. Is self-awareness just a method to handle other creatures referring to "me" as an object in their perspective? Is it merely an observational necessity in dealing with advanced language? WIll try to write this up more fully later, plus read more GEB.

  • "Slashdot: When Does Usability Become a Liability?" has got me thinking, vaguely, about GUIs vs CLIs again, although I think the "vs" bit could be a barrier in the way of developing a really good UI. GUIs = limited, visible choice, CLIs = more choice and therefore more power. No reason why either should be so though - GUIs can offer more choice, but must sacrifice visibility. CLIs may offer visible choice, if so desired - see, for example, tab completion on the shell. But really, there seems to be a gulf in thinking between the two that shouldn't necessarily exist except in an extremist, ideological way. ("Aha, GUIs are simple, therefore interaction with them must be simple! Otherwise, what's the point?"...)

  • Have been using Ion [currently protesting - good idea, must do] on my laptop for about a week now, and finding it quite interesting. Something in me likes stripping away all the windows manager bumf - so keyboard shortcuts take the place of minimize/maximize/close buttons, as well as the need for icons to launch applications. You can use the mouse if you want to, but I'm putting myself through the rigmarole of using the keys for just about anything possible, to see how well I can get used to it. I find myself running less applications, but remembering which workspace/tab an application is in more, and this plus the lack of fancy graphics means it runs really well on my slightly-creakly laptop. Keyboard-oriented windowmanager + typeahead-enabled Mozilla works lovely, and I'm quite impressed with several applications' keyboard support. Hopefully get some more ideas down soon, plus maybe get into Lua scripting.

End splurge.

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