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Re: [zigzag] Descriptions of ZigZag?
- To: "zigzag@xxxxxxxxxx" <zigzag@xxxxxxxxxx>
- Subject: Re: [zigzag] Descriptions of ZigZag?
- From: Peter Barus <ViPr@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 4 Nov 1998 16:17:21 -0500
- Reply-to: zigzag@xxxxxxxxxx
- Sender: Peter Barus <ViPr@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>> I tell people:
"Think bastard child of a multidimensional spreadsheet and a database." <<
I think I recall that Ted had a very amusing tale about the invention of
the electric organ that would fit here, but I won't presume to retell it.
That "Quantum Hyperstructure Toolkit" sounds like a Nelsonism (if not it's
a damn good try). Ted has this strange gift for making up language for new
stuff, and it may well be the first thing he does in the process of
creating that new stuff. I would not be too hasty about calling his strange
strings "buzzwords". I've noticed that usually, if they don't mean
anything, give them a few minutes, and something may appear. "Buzzwords"
originate someplace, before they become such. In this case, they may seem
to precede the thing they denote.
I think you have put your finger on the kind of problem I have when
describing my own products, which really ARE the "bastard child of a
multidimensional spreadsheet and a database", to prospective users. People
tell me all about what they need for their "business solutions". They tell
me in terms of their business problems. They only know how to talk about
things they already have, so they try to construct the "solution" out of
the parts they have seen of their current problem. They usually leave out
the parts that might be any help. If they were really problem solvers,
they'd concentrate more on this process, the process of finding the right
question. As it is, they can't get out of the box they started in. It's
just like climbing a rope that isn't tied to anything, or trying to use a
hammock by holding up one end of it and jumping in.
It's a language problem, at least. Nobody has ever seen one of these
before, therefore it may be invisible. Douglas Adams' "SEP" device
(Somebody Else's Problem) for making spaceships invisible to Earthlings
comes to mind. If you could do it within the current language, it would
probably not be worth doing in the first place.
Sombody has to bang their head on this thing until they can see it, and
then describe it. If this succeeds, it may be that the rest of us will not
have to bang quite so hard, and pretty soon, people will see it for the
first time, and say, "Oh, there's one of those Quantum Hyperstructure
Toolkits." They'll say "QHT" of course, not knowing the big words. But they
will then get on it like Steve McQueen straddling a bike, and ride away
with the girl, all unaware of the other 99 monkeys.