The Unknown: The Green Line.


The second day of the conference, lots of tech people showed off nifty tools, almost all of which were designed for business use, but which could have applications for people like writers, who actually make stuff, given a little retooling. Wow. The future is confusing. They showed off some pretty cool stuff, though, once they got the monitor plugged in. Stuff like The Brain and Trellix and new devices like the Rocket eBook. There were a lot of ideas flying around, so as William took notes, he focused on one thing. Here’s what experts have to say about “text”:

“We love text, don’t get me wrong.”
Mike Miller, editor of PC Magazine

“Text died 15 years ago, when I first said it did.”
Marc Canter, founder of Macromedia

“Words are better.”
Jeff Ballowe, founder of ZDNet

“The image is the text… same thing with music.”
Marjorie Luesebrink, author of Califia

“The nice thing about paper books—they don’t interfere with avionics & navigation in an airplane.”
The smooth-talking journalist/expert on ebooks

“A lot of people ask: what’s the future of print? What’s the future of books? That’s not the question. The question is: what’s the future of words?”
The smooth-talking journalist/expert on ebooks

“Something about print—it’s got a certain heft to it.”
Robert Coover, while hefting the manuscript of The Unknown: An Anthology

One of the goals of the conference was to get a bunch of rich and powerful computer people in the same room with a handful of misunderstood writers, so that the computer people could get a sense of what sort of software applications would best help realize the future of poetry, fiction, and hypertext. We are not sure they got a straight answer. It’s a question that we have a straight answer for, but, since we won’t be able to afford the applications we can imagine, we stayed quiet. It’s fitting that Mike Miller, editor of PC, gave a talk that began with descriptions of all the fabulous new technology that will come about in the next decade, continued through the applications currently available, and ended with Microsoft Word, with a slide in his powerpoint presentation saying, simply, “Word.” Word’s a good tool.

A core group of the nation’s top technologists gather and try to figure out how to plug a laptop into a monitor.
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The Brain
A Technologist Explains How The Brain Works
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