Re: Information Visualization - Topic Islands, Hypercubes, Cosmic Tumbleweeds and Fractal Projections

From: phil osborn (
Date: Wed Jan 26 2000 - 21:19:10 MST

>From:>Subject: Information Visualization - Topic Islands,
>Hypercubes, Cosmic Tumbleweeds and Fractal Projections
>Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2000 13:32:56 +0000>
>This might be old stuff on this list, considering the groups formidable
>collective knowledge base.
>But, then again, maybe not.
>I for one would like to use a 3D graphical browser to navigate my hard
>disks and the web.
>Not to mention being able to choose a specific type of visual
>representation that compliments my neurological structure.
>Is this another gov/com, Mozilla/Netscape story in the making?
>How long until we start seeing commercial 3D graphical browsers?
>Stop making sense, make...
A really smart GUI would allow both automatic and deliberate grouping of
items - ie., represented by icons, etc., as in a focused area. Thus, as the
purpose of grouping changed, the items made visible, highlighted, ghosted,
miniaturized or backgrounded - as having the background in shades indicating
affinity - or molded - as having structures representing nearby or far data
items or utilities would also shift and change. 3D textures would be
generated, mapping affinity clusters according to the currently relevant
dimensions of interest.
One problem is the interface, obviously. Although 3D mice, 3D glasses -
using alternate field LCD shutters, etc., have been around for a long time,
they never caught on at the consumer level, even though the expense was not
that great. (The 3D shutter glasses were available on the Amiga in the late
'80's for about $150.) Various incompatible standards did not help - much
like the various incompatible internet phone standards.
The big problem, however, is the OS. Even the mind-bogglingly awful
Pentium-based hardware is capable of cranking enough MFlops, given a
half-decent OS that doesn't piss it all away, but Windoze manages to eat up
every clock cycle you can possibly hand it and then still bog down if you
tell it to write something to a floppy at the same time it's running another
program like COREL or PageMaker. The Amiga was also running
macro-programming and interprocess communication embedded in the OS back in
the 80's - very smoothly - but try that on a PC with Windoze.
So the very idea of running a whole new layer in the GUI that would
continuously optimize and refine your visual environment to relate and
integrate data customized to you at the moment is way, way beyond the
MS-idiotware that the developers write for.
Windoze has done more to slow down development of really neat advances in
I/O than even the government could have managed if it had tried to "help."
I still have to re-link hundred of files from applications every week by
hand because the MS-idiotware doesn't have any layer of functionality that
allows for OS-supported aliasing or assigning - as the Amiga, once again,
introduced in 1989.
Some day we will need a set of standards for credibility as it becomes an
objectively/digicash related medium of exchange. It would be handy to have
some end-points for that scale, which leads me to the following question?
What garbage-for-brains MS guru decided that the only OS-supported file
links would be the top-down directory structure, I wonder. I nominate him
or her for starters.

I suspect that BeOS, QNX, Linux or perhaps the new Amiga system coming from
Amino could do what you want, but then you might not find the software you
need to run is available. There actually was quite a bit of discussion in
Amiga developer circles of this very issue recently.

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