Kurtz-Fernhout Software

Date: Thu, 01 Jun 2000 10:32:33 -0400

Mr. Rod Welch
The Welch Company
440 Davis Court #1602
San Francisco, CA 94111 2496

Subject:   Welchco site comments and proto-proposal

Rod -

I must say that every time I poke around the Welchco site I am more and more impressed.


I especially like the better sense I get of informal communications related to the Engelbart Colloquium.

I just noticed you comments on mine from:


I have comments on some of the issues you raise (5330 -), although not time enough right now to address them. I guess this also points to issues of having multiple ways of storing and communicating -- I was not aware of your comments but would have been very pleased to have seen them near the time of that post.

Most of my replies would have to do with elaborating on topics in William Kent's book "Data & Reality", and as I mentioned in that email the list was in large part inspired by looking at that book's table of contents.

I also appreciate your comments on Pointrel:


Having poked around Welchco some more I have a comment and a proto-proposal.


I agree with the sentiment that Welchco mentioned on Welchco (related To Eric's and others comments) is hard to navigate. However I don't think this is a failing of the Welchco site directly. The issue is more that Welchco packs so much information and links together that it demonstrates the weakness of HTML-based hypertext for handling complex data. In short, HTML is designed for one view of data -- but with complex data you often want to view the same data but in different ways depending on your search motivation or level of understanding (e.g. introduction, overview, tutorial, thread following, subject based).

For example, right now I have about twenty Netscape windows open from trying to follow various topical threads via links on Welchco. There is so much interesting content I lose track of why I opened each window, or which window links back to a previous topic. Browsers also provide limited context of just exactly what on the page is linked to.

What I would like is:

Many of these could be construed as limitations of the HTMl browser I am using, not Welchco, Communication Metrics, or SDS.

Of course, other features like enabling "privacy" or "email-hypertext integration/replication" would require more direct changes to Welchco/SDS.

I've been thinking of using Pointrel to archive mailing lists. But your site suggests another possibility.


I call it "proto" because I probably don't have the time to do it right now and I have reservations related to squabbles over IP. So it's open to negotiation and abandonment. But here is a thought of a possibility:

[Note: I could easily decide to substitute "Squeak" for "Python" in the above].

Some reasons you might not want to do this:

Some reasons I might not want to do this:

A reason we both might not want to do this:

A reason to do this:

Anyway, just some things to think about. Feel free to say this doesn't interest you at all, or suggest something that you think makes sense. Other possibilities could include you do the work in Python or Squeak and I advise you (as long as the result is open source).



Kurtz-Fernhout Software

-Paul Fernhout

Paul Fernhout

Developers of custom software and educational simulations
Creators of the Garden with Insight(TM) garden simulator