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[Fenfire-dev] Fenfire/hyperstructure in points

From: Benja Fallenstein
Subject: [Fenfire-dev] Fenfire/hyperstructure in points
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2003 05:32:10 +0300
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.4) Gecko/20030908 Debian/1.4-4

Some notes taken while thinking about article. -b

Fenfire/hyperstructure in points

:Date: 2003-09-16

Points about Fenfire/hyperstructure:

- What's different from today's computer world: You don't
  have to think about irrelevant computery abstractions
  like directories and files; rather, the objects in the systems
  are *items*, things that you care about.

- The basic system is for you to store information *about* those items.
  For example, when a meeting takes place, who's attending, what's
  on the agenda, and so on.

- It does so by *connecting* the items with bidirectional links.
  Thus it allows you see the information you entered in different
  contexts than the one you entered it in; for example, looking at
  a person in your address book, you might see an appointment
  you have with them. -- This may sometimes be expected functionality,
  and sometimes the basis for delightfully unexpected revelations.

- Everything else is subordinate to that:

  - Things like calendar visualizations are just special views
    of the underlying, connective structure of items. Instead of
    having to structure your data around your applications,
    your have your applitudes structured around your network of items.

  - Documents, images, email-- the things traditionally
    "file-grained"-- are items in this system, connected to
    the other items they relate to (e.g., the topic and recipient
    of a letter). Used like this, Fenfire is an item-based
    document management system (urks) ``;)`` ``;)``

- Finally, given the above, it is a natural use of the system to treat
  your thoughts-- ideas, problems, solutions, arguments, possibilities--
  as items, because after all, they are certainly "things that you
  care about." It is clear that they will be linked not only
  amongst each other, but also to the real-world items that they ponder.

  This makes Fenfire a *tool for thought*, a tool for structuring the ideas
  passing through our minds; a tool weighing pro- and counter arguments;
  a tool to store and reflect upon our inspirations;
  a tool we use to arrive at a deeper understanding of the issue at hand.

These points explain why Fenfire is not only neat, but *relevant*.

It is really important to get across that--

- you really want to store information about your items
- especially since you can then see it in different contexts
- and you can use thought structuring to arrive at a deeper understanding
  about it.

I think this is hardest to get across: That someone could actually
care to store structured information in their computer. The *benefits*
of this need to become clear (stay organized!), so that people won't say,
why can't I just keep it on paper? Or in a Word document? Or, why
would I want to write it down at all?

Hm, actually, the idea of *staying organized* isn't emphasized really well
in the above...


- Stay organized
- Have your information available in unexpected contexts
- Structure your thoughts to understand better

are the three big points (reasons you want to store information
in the system), I guess.

*Staying organized* means to have the information that you need available,
rather than scattered across many pieces of paper or only barely remembered
by your associative mind.

*Have your information available in unexpected contexts* means that you
benefit from the information entered for one task when doing a different task.

*Structure your thoughts to understand better* means to be able to see the structure of arguments, counter-arguments and so on all at once (to be able to keep track of them), and to be reminded of thoughts you had about a subject when calling up information about that subject at any time (sometimes a case of benefitting of information entered when doing a different task...).

The last point is important: It is so easy to make notes and then forget
about them; when they stay permanently connected to their *subjects*,
you can benefit from them when pondering the subject again at a later time.

(This works only when these subjects are reified as a single place
somewhere in the system-- i.e., when they, items, become first-class objects.)

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