As a fan of HyperCard, I am intrigued by the story Bill Atkinson tells about the origins of the product.

HyperCard was a precurser to the first web browser, except chained to a hard drive before the worldwide web. Six years later Mosaic was introduced, influenced by some of the ideas in HyperCard, and indirectly by an inspiring LSD experience.

Yes, you have read that correctly: Bill Atkinson says he was under the influence of LSD when he thought of the need of links between pieces of information as a tool to create better knowledge and wisdom.

What is ‘hypertext’?

On one hand, it’s strange that he needed an ‘acid trip’ to think of hyperlinks, because he could have read the work of Vannevar Bush, or talked to people like Ted Nelson or Douglas Engelbart who were already working on the concept for decades. But on the other hand, of course, the internet – which would have allowed him to discover those people – did not yet exist…


I got lucky last weekend: one of the macro photographs I made turned out very well, if I may say so. For a larger version, go to Flickr by clicking on the image…

One of the (many) computers in my home is a venerable Apple Macintosh SE/30. No, it’s not a Mac, it’s a Macintosh; if want to call him by name, you have to use “SeseSeko”. I haven’t booted that machine in many years, so I don’t know if I would fare better than Stephen Wolfram a few days ago…

Mr. Wolfram wanted to use an SE/30 to demonstrate the first version of Mathematica. That version 1 was published on June 23, 1988, exactly 30 years ago. As Mr. Wolfram notes, it’s quite unusual for software packages to live that long (especially in the personal computer space, of course). So he has a good reason to celebrate this anniversary – congratulations!

(Click on the image to go to Stephen Wolfram’s blog entry about this anniversary)

Wolfram speaks of “computational intelligence”, and I think he does so to distinguish his approach from “artificial intelligence”. Mathematica isn’t called that just for fun: it’s a product for computation in the widest sense of term. I know that I have long wanted to “play” with it, but I must admit that I either did not have the money to buy a computer powerful enough to run it (when I was a student and a young father), nor did I have much time to dedicate to a single program – I have been busy with computers and programming for forty years now, but always in al exploratory way, and never really dedicated to a single item…

Anyway, where is Mathematica going? Does it still have a future? Absolutely, says Stephen Wolfram. In his view, the story of Mathematica and the Wolfram language is only just beginning!

If one looks at the history of computing, it’s in many ways a story of successive layers of capability being added, and becoming ubiquitous. First came the early languages. Then operating systems. Later, around the time Mathematica came on the scene, user interfaces began to become ubiquitous. A little later came networking and then large-scale interconnected systems like the web and the cloud.

But now what the Wolfram Language provides is a new layer: a layer of computational intelligence — that makes it possible to take for granted a high level of built-in knowledge about computation and about the world, and an ability to automate its application.

And of course, now I’m starting to wonder – will SeseSeko still boot just like it did eight or nine years ago, when I even managed to connect it to the Internet and run a very old version of Netscape on it?

This blog is almost as old as ‘inessential‘, written by Brent Simmons. We both started in 1999, and I must admit that I did not know what I was doing at that moment! I certainly did not expect me to be sitting here, more than 18 years later, still writing in a language that is not native to me.

I do hope that you may agree with his view:

[…] to read a good blog is to watch a writer get a little bit better, day after day, at writing the truth.

Om Malik mentions how blogs help you understand a person:

And that’s precisely what blogs do. That’s what Dave does. That’s Gruber’s log. The words made you understand the writer, and the person.

That is exactly what Dave Winer means when he defines a blog as ‘The unedited voice of a person‘. A business blog usually is just a chronological announcement list, not a blog, making it a platform for the communication or marketing division. Useful, perhaps, but not a blog.

Much as I like the BMW R1100S, this picture first and foremost drew my attention because it is an excellent picture. It’s an excellent portrait of a great bike.

User ‘bimmerphan’s well tended R1100S in a nice pose

American bikers certainly have the advantage over us Europeans: we can only dream of such small license plates for motorcycles!

It cannot be repeated enough:

We support the consideration of measures that would improve the ability for creators to receive fair remuneration for the use of their works online. But we cannot support Article 13, which would mandate Internet platforms to embed an automated infrastructure for monitoring and censorship deep into their networks. For the sake of the Internet’s future, we urge you to vote for the deletion of this proposal.

These words were written by an group of resounding names in Internet technology circles, which includes Internet pioneer Vint Cerf, the inventor of the World Wide Web Tim Berners-Lee, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, co-founder of the Mozilla Project Mitchell Baker, Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle, cryptography expert Bruce Schneier, and net neutrality expert Tim Wu. You can read their full letter to the President of the European Parliament on the site of the EFF.

Please help oppose articles 11 and 13, for example by contacting your MEP about this matter.

The BMW R1100S isn’t exactly a new bike, but even today it has its fans (like me!). Some of them can be found found over at the Pelican Parts fora. Here’s a recent addition of a very nice R1100S – I love the blue paint, and the seat looks quite comfy!

User ‘punkassjim’ calls this a ‘hero shot’ of his R1100S