Re: Re[2]: Creativity and 'cross-linking' in the brain

Subject: Re: Re[2]: Creativity and 'cross-linking' in the brain
From: Ad absurdum per aspera <JTCHEW -at- LBL -dot- GOV>
Date: Tue, 15 Nov 1994 08:36:09 -0800

The interface started out in a rectangular form because
it was physical and had to be manipulated -- when you
make the leap from tanned animal hides to the printing
press or the typewriter, it helps to have even edges and
consistent corners. This sort of thing gets rapidly locked
in by economies of scale. I'm not sure why or when art
bought into a rectangular interface. Probably because of
stretching and framing, and by the inherent abstraction
of creating a virtual world with color and texture and all
those higher-order effects such as perspective.

The physical interface for the virtual world started out
round, an apt metaphor when you're mapping a round or
circular sphere of interest onto a radar screen. But the
roundness didn't survive the transition into consumer and
business products, whose "software" was still driven by
the conventions of paper products and of art (i.e., movies).
As soon as engineers figured out how to make the tubes more
rectangular in profile and flatter across the surface, they
did so. This not only made some engineering problems such
as linearity easier to solve with cathode ray tubes, but also
it really resonated with the way some engineers think, I suspect!

But it works, for most things. The future of real-time
control of busy phenomena might involve a wraparound display
(we're taking the first steps toward freeing ourselves from
the tyranny of the cathode-ray tube) for either virtual
imitation of what the naked eye would see or online prioriti-
zation that puts less-important information or supplementary
cueing to the side.

Meanwhile, I guess that my visual field, shaped more or less
like the Lone Ranger's mask, will continue to concentrate
mainly on a rectangular picture dead ahead, with peripheral
vision used for the bookshelf and the window...


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