Every bell and whistle is another wrong button to press.

Internet: It’s Complicated


There is a problem with the internet.  It has forgotten its roots.  It has forgotten HTML.  It has forgotten LaTeX. It has forgotten WordPerfect.  It has forgotten television.  It has forgotten radio.  It has forgotten film.  It has forgotten phonographs.  It has forgotten photographs.  It has forgotten the Gutenberg Press.  It has forgotten the Alphabet.  It has forgotten Arabic Numerals.  It has forgotten Hieroglyphics.  It has forgotten music.  It has forgotten speech.

The internet is fascinated with digital waveforms.  They don’t realize that digital waveforms are phenomenally primitive.  As a consequence the internet is phenomenally complicated.  We have a whole generation trying to use metaphors of analog media equipment represented on digital media equipment.  It is complete crap and it does not occur to anyone.  Word processors are crap.  Spreadsheets are crap.  Presentations are crap.  Vector Graphics are crap.  Audios are crap.  Videos are crap.  Their formats and editors are crap.  Complex useless crap that many people are making a good living making more complicated to guarantee their meal tickets and they don’t even know it.  They use words like “organic”, “innovative”, “2.0”, “web”, “village”, “technology”, “entertainment”, “design”, “thinking”, “visual”, “global”, “climate”, “change”, “open”, “source”, “search”, “apple”, “i”, “my”, “face”, “google”, “twit”, “social”, “network”, “pirate”.  They hire lots of “numerati”, “literati”, “vidirati”, “audirati”, “timerati”, “grapherati”.  The words are meaningless and the people don’t know their assholes from first base.  They measure their credibility by their credit rating.

You ask them a “Simple” question and you get the “Complex” answer.  They don’t hear the question and don’t speak the answer.

They are shotgun happy pretending to be rifle sad.

Simplicity eats when it is hungry, sleeps when it is tired, doesn’t work or play.  Simplicity never leaves and never arrives.  Simplicity neither asks nor tells the time.  Simplicity is the crooked path that is the shortest distance.  Simplicity is periodic and chaotic.  Simplicity folows but has no leaders; leads but has no followers.

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Simplicity: White Hex Corporation


Complexity: The Haven of the Status Quo


The sophistication of simplicity.

Currently, my team and I are analyzing and evaluating all of the visual applications in the industry. We are beginning to question the plethora of “features” and asking are these elementals or molecules composed of elementals that we are dealing with? If they are molecules, we are breaking the bonds and looking at the atoms that compose them. We are throwing out all of the molecules from our interaction designs and only offering the atoms. If you want a molecule, you build it.

We are asking the same questions about media. What is fundamental to media what are the nodes and what are the links? How do we break the links (rules) that compose them?

The result is simplicity. We are learning what the elemental atoms are and the fundamental bonds between them. We are exploring what digital technology is making possible and questioning all our premises. Do we need these nodes? Do we need these lines? Do we need these tables? Do we need these networks?

We are finding that complexity is the haven of those that want to conceal the fundamentals and profit from our ignorance. Complexity is an obstacle to the change we need to implement to escape the trap of the banking institutions, the lending institutions, the credit institutions, the existing infrastructures and resource companies who profit off of what we think we need. Complexity is only a necessity to those who want to entrench the status quo through mental red tape we neither need or want.

Destroy the rule systems that exist throughout society. We don’t need to streamline. We need to disintegrate the existing power structures.

The bonus monies disbursed to bank executives was payment by the powers that be to those who succeeded in generating massive profits at the expense of the American people and the world. It was payment for creating a system so complex we could not let them topple for fear of bringing down everything with it. But the secret is to let them topple by destroying their nodes and links, hubs and networks. Such freedom and responsibility is a scary prospect, but “You will miss us when we are gone!” is not a business model. Complexity is fat and American capitalism is gluttony.

Put down the plate and lose the weight.

Rediscover the freedom and responsibility of simplicity.

Use Visualization to identify and destroy complexity.

Singularity, Pluralarity and Lorentz Transformation

Working with Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping point, Ray Kurzweil’s Singularity and the Pareto Principle lead me to begin thinking about a pattern that presented itself. In an earlier post here and here I discussed how there had been many Singularities in history. It also lead me to talk about Pluralarites. Then it struck me there is an oscillation between Singularity and Plurality, giving us the Singularity Pluralarity Plot above. And the implications are interesting.

Any innovation follows the Singularity Pluralarity Plot as a complete life cycle. Kurzweil’s singularity will be no exception. The first working AI will be the domain of specialists it will not be unleashed uncontrolled on humanity and it will have been accomplished after several incremental developments that will leave humanity more than prepared for it. The AI will then have to be molded into compatibility to a variety of purposes. After that it will have to be iterated until it is reliable. Once it is reliable then the true singularity happens: the cost benefit ratio is achieved and AI becomes accessible to the general public. The next step is availability on the global market. Finally, AI will have to be always on and pluralarity is achieved. AI will be ubiquitous and the next innovation will take place. The commoditized original AI will begin its descent and a new innovation in AI or a completely new technology will take its place and begin its ascent.

There will be social upheaval, but I don’t think it will be as dramatic or as immediate as some think.  The anthropomorphization of AI will fade and it will just be considered another tool.

The first thing that occurred to me is that as there is a positive and negative infinity there is also a positive and negative zero. Whether the zero is positive or negative is determined by whether you approach it from positive values or negative values. The second thing that occurred to me is that a pluralarity to singularity transition is divisive while a pluralarity to singularity transition is multiplicative. The third thing that occurred to me is that it is possible to have a positive to negative transition. For example you could follow a positive singularity to positive pluralarity curve with a negative pluralarity to negative singularity curve which would ascend like a staircase. The fourth thing that became obvious is that on an exponential curve the Pareto Principle applies at both ends. It’s like applying Lorentz transformations. Fifth, I am currently reading Peter Drucker’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship and have discovered that seizing opportunity, Entrepreneurship, requires recognizing whether you are approaching a Singularity or a Pluralarity while creating opportunity, Innovation, is making a Singularity or Pluralarity. The final thought that occurred to me is what are the implications of this knowledge on network design, physics, chemistry, biology, databases, complexity, simplicity, organization, history, anthropology, evolution, commoditization? I’ll leave it there.

Satire: The Small and the Great


I have taken a break from fact and enjoying some fiction. I decided to read the sixteenth century Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift. I have not completed the work, but I have read the first two tales: “A Voyage to Lilluput”, a land of the small, and “A Voyage to Brobdingnag”, a land of the giant. The key premise of these stories appears to be the conduct of the little versus the conduct of the large. Among the small, complexity and corruption flourishes, while among the great, simplicity and honesty prevails. The small battle over legalism, while the great battle over governance. Gulliver is a witness to both.

Although our children read this work, it was not meant for children. It is a satire that adults can take full pleasure in.

Systema: Whyever? Part 2


Part 1 is here.

strategy (n)

4. a plan, method, or series of maneuvers or stratagems for obtaining a specific goal or result: a strategy for getting ahead in the world.

goal (n)

1.the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.

rule (n)

1. a principle or regulation governing conduct, action, procedure, arrangement, etc.: the rules of chess.

An extensive form game is a specification of a game in game theory. This form represents the game as a tree. Each node (called a decision node) represents every possible state of play of the game as it is played. Play begins at a unique initial node, and flows through the tree along a path determined by the players until a terminal node is reached, where play ends and payoffs are assigned to all players. Each non-terminal node belongs to a player; that player chooses among the possible moves at that node, each possible move is an edge leading from that node to another node.

It should be noted that even in a game with a finite number of moves (steps) there are generally countless strategies (paths).

Looking at the Extensive Form diagram above and considering the definitions, we can see that the game above has two players: 1 and 2. The numbers by every non-terminal node indicate to which player that decision node belongs. The numbers by every terminal node represent the payoffs to the players (e.g. 2,1 represents a payoff of 2 to player 1 and a payoff of 1 to player 2). The labels by every edge of the graph are the name of the action that that edge represents.

I would like to play with the terminology. I would call the nodes “goals”, I would call the edges “rules” and the paths I would call “strategies”. Goals are actually states of the system and the rules are actually processes. Thinking about it this way makes me think of information architecture and website architecture. Browsing and navigation in this case becomes a one player strategy where the website provides the goals and rule set. However, the design process of the system is to determine the goal set and rule set of the player and provide a “natural” or even more optimal set of strategies for the user to follow.

Part 3 is here.

Design versus Art

In his blog Up Against It Thomas Roth-Berghofer discusses his reading of The Laws of Simplicity by Medea. He quotes Medea:

“The best art makes your head spin with question. Perhaps this is the fundamental distinction between pure art and pure design. While great art makes you wonder, great design makes things clear.”

I believe the path to the appreciation of Art and the path to the appreciation of Design is very simple.

Art’s path is Physical -> Logical -> Contextual -> Conceptual

Design’s (Good Design’s) path is Conceptual -> Contextual -> Logical -> Physical

I believe that communication is a continual cycle ascending and descending these complimentary paths between people.



You have to give some time to Flow. Caution, highly addictive in its simplicity.

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