I've gotten some interesting comments and emails with regard to yesterday's semi-rant, Bitterness in the halls of Xanadu, that further expose some itches I felt after writing it. Two main things:

  1. Ideas are not completely worthless, and I have a certain adoration for sprawling cathedrals of vapor.
  2. Sometimes the best implementations from the best ideas go unremarked or unnoticed due to obscurity or a lack of understanding.
My recent and vehement attachment to the meme of ideas are fucking worthless is a reaction to my own time spent working on projects that seem to me, in small ways, to resemble what I've read about Xanadu - in terms of long development arcs and seeing similar (but flawed) systems released before my work is done. This presumes a lot - I've not published anything (besides this weblog), probably influenced less than a handful, and these projects of mine are more than likely nothing in comparison to Nelson's work. They certainly haven't consumed as much of my lifetime as his, by an order of magnitude. But still, it felt like some of the scenery along my road matched his. And I don't want to end up down that road, frustrated or bitter that my visions or work had been misread and appropriated by others. (Again, this presumes I have visions or work worth stealing! :) I can't say that I've demonstrated such, as of yet.)

And then there is the addictive quick fix a hacker like me can get in the blogosphere, with just a brief and clever twist of code one can improve the neighborhood and take in some brief praise. Spend a bit more time working, maybe a few weeks or months, and introduce a slightly more useful or complex contribution - you might receive kudos for some time running. But, work for too long, plan too far, build too high, and the blogosphere likely passes you by - unless you really have a deep grasp on what's going on, and your projects meet the blogophere where it later arrives. So I see the techie bazaar of the blogosphere as a kind of fun cauldron of hackers, throwing in ingredients and taking others out, kind of a hivemind without design evolving toward higher connectivity.

So where's there a place for longer-term design?

Okay... more to think about and write, but for now, I'm leaving for surgery. Plenty of time for babble while recovering. Wish me luck!