I’m currently at the Center for Literary Studies (CLC) Codework: Exploring relations between creative writing practices and software engineering workshop, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, held at West Virginia University (and it’s April 3-6, 2008 and there’s more on it here). Ted Nelson, coiner of the word hypertext and media studies visionary spoke. Sandy Baldwin opened by introducing Nelson – describing Nelson as a luminary, and having him speak as astronomical – and then describing how Nelson influenced his own English practice and work.
Nelson began by explaining his preference for open ended speaking, and then introduced his new book-in-progress “geeks bearing gifts” on the false rhetoric surrounding current software. Nelson continued on, explaining that current software and applications aren’t about technology, but are really packages of conventions selected by someone, with an agenda, and mentioned OOXML as an example, that he’s been fascinated with making a document system and not the fake paper simulators we have now, and he showed latest version of the Xanadu Project (xanarama.net). Nelson’s reputation as a visionary and a great speaker are well earned, so well earned that I stopped taking notes after realizing that my notes would not do his presentation justice in the slightest. I believe the presentation was recorded, though, so once that’s posted I’ll add a link to it.