Comments on: Slow blog day... month... summer? Creativity shortage?
REBOL Technologies

Comments on: Slow blog day... month... summer? Creativity shortage?

Carl Sassenrath, CTO
REBOL Technologies
1-Oct-2007 2:21 GMT

Article #0341
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Does it seem that my blog postings have s..l..o..w..e..d to a stop? Well, indeed they have. Sorry about that! The REBOL 3.0 project has been taking so much time and creative energy, there's not much left for other projects, such as the blog.

Many years ago, I noticed that creative energy was no different than other energies. There's only so much available, then you run out.

Now this is kind of a weird concept, isn't it? Set your Ipod to the Twilight Zone opening theme. Good, now continue...

Normally, you'd think that creative energy is infinite, because after all, it is synthesized from the human mind and spirit. We think that a human can just keep creating and creating, and biologically at least, it only takes so many calories of energy. Right?

No, wrong! There is some kind of limit. I'm not sure its origin or mechanism, but you only get so much creative energe, then you're done.

Maybe it's a limit of the human brain's ability to interlink neurons with each other and fire synapses; I don't know. And, for those who believe the brain is just an interface to something greater, maybe the shortage is more "cosmic" than that - some kind of cosmo-creative bandwidth problem - like too many users on your wifi channel.

But, I've noticed this same creativity limit elsewhere too. Consider that fantastic singer or band that you liked so much... why didn't they make a second CD? What's taking so long for the next one? Etc, etc.

Here's one of my favorite examples: Tom Cruise. In the movies, he's a great actor, high energy, fantastic creativity in his role. Really puts himself into it.

Tom Cruise. Photo by Kevin Ballard.

Then, watch him on TV "when he comes home from work". Boring. Burnt out. He puts so much into his film work, there's not much left for television interviews. Just the shell.

Now, it may seem strange to use Tom as an example here, but he's just one observation of many - just another small data point in the larger chart.

I've noticed that same effect, even on a daily basis. When I have a great day and accomplish some amazing design or programming feat, at the dinner table with the family, I'm a virtual zombie. A Homer Simpson. Whatever it is that supplies that massive surge of creative energy gets exhausted and only an empty shell of human wit remains. Hardly enough to, at dinner, be in the same mental dimension as my teenage kids.

Fortunately, creative energy appears to be a lot like a battery: it recharges quickly under the right conditions. I once thought that living on SassenRanch, far from the maddened crowds, making and drinking good Cabernet would help... but, whatever this mysterious energy is, those factors are irrelevant. The source is more profound.

I suppose, if we could discover and tap the true source of this energy, it would be quite powerful... a new form of nuclear power. But then, as in all things, other limits would soon be reached. Yes, there is always a balance point. A good thing, I think.



2-Oct-2007 1:20:21
Man, why don't you just say you're tired?

Look, I've gotten tired of constantly checking for the status of R3, especially so because of the OS X support. But I still do, just like I did for the current release, because in the end I know it's going to be a good thing. I'm tired and frustrated and I don't care.

Anoher point here is tied to the potential name change of Rebol to something more 'professional': And now the head honcho behind it all doesn't seem to have the motivation (just reading it like it says). One step forward, one step back.

I reckon you ought to change track for a while, change the scenery, not social/family but 'work'. If you're getting bored admit it (please correct me if I'm wrong!) and do something else! If you feel you're in a rut, undo the shackles and run free.

If I'm out of line here, let me know. My concern is that you are human, and as such should do as you feel. Your post felt as though you wanted to say something but stopped because you couldn't find the words.

Either that or I really should start smoking again.



2-Oct-2007 1:23:02
Ooops: Yes, your posts have been very few and far between, especially for the nail biting wait for R3. If you're one evangelist short let me know.



2-Oct-2007 6:10:32
About time you posted again ;-) July 6th, man.

Now, don't you think it's time you round up the other past Amiga luminaries, and work yourselves back into Amiga Inc.'s life, bringing REBOL to it like Steve Jobs brought back NeXT tech? C'mon. Exokernel base, A5000 design with modern PC hardware (x86-64, AM2,...AMD, Intel), Amiga OS 5.0, full backward compatibility with all Amiga software (and OSes able to boot as applications within new 64-bit OS), President of Amiga Carl Sassenrath, etc. :) There's enough on the table now, as far as solutions, to do anything desired--and to be ten, twenty times faster than MAC OS, Linux and Windows.

P.S. Windows Vista Ultimate is great. Amiga OS still has the greatest potential, and could be aeons ahead.

2-Oct-2007 12:04:35
i am not the only one to have "thoughts",even if i expressed them .. different way.And about os you know what i expect.
2-Oct-2007 14:15:36
Carl, that's what kids are for. :)
2-Oct-2007 14:18:55
Luis - you should start smoking again :-)
2-Oct-2007 18:19:49
Your post is just right, creativity (and motivation) are not always there. R3 is a big challenge, and I'm sure that the closer you are, the more (boring) details have to be implemented, the more loaded you feel. But in fact, we don't really care about Tom here, but we all wait for R3! I'm sure you would like to release R3 with no bugs, the perfect thing, and so on... My advice would be to release it anyway, and fixing will just show that RT is alive. People like when it moves! Latest releases with R2 were really great, just think about AGG integration for example!
3-Oct-2007 2:43:07
(at) -pekr- : Maybe not just yet...

There definitely needs to be some movement, especially on the front page. Where's the new guy/gal that was supposed to take care of all that stuff? I'd be willing if necessary.

Rebol needs to be seen as moving, and that's not just for those that have time and money invested in it. It's for Rebol too.

However small the trickle of information it needs to be out there.



3-Oct-2007 13:39:02
How about releasing an R3/Core alpha while continuing work on R3/View? The Core part should be stable before the View part, so it will take fewer changes later on, and it would finally give people something tangible.
3-Oct-2007 19:14:34
We are now discussing possible release strategy. I outlined some, as you suggest Kaj - R3/Core like release - no modules, tasks, unicode, just new kernel, and "compatible" release. I put quotes there, as e.g. in regards to schemes, they need to be written upon async kernel stack. We will see what Carl comes up with ...
3-Oct-2007 19:43:16
About creativity, it is something that is, to an extent, transferable. See, what you are able to put in Rebol, we are able to grab it and transform it into something else. And I hope that you seeing what is done with Rebol gives you energy back, so there's a kind of energy amplifier here! Now, I think we miss more Rebol-made projects, and that's probably why this virtuous circle is not happening. I often feel that people get frustrated about releases being so few. Maybe 3 releases a year would be a good pace. Having too much releases won't be good because except for a few nerds, we will be lost!
3-Oct-2007 22:15:14
Be in the same mental dimension as your teenage kids? Impossible. I have teenage kids. It can't be done.

4-Oct-2007 1:25:14
About creativity, I find it more to be something that just comes on good days and is not there on bad days. I don't exhaust it. It's just there. I've developed a "feeling" when to write some particularly difficult code. If the creativity "feel" isn't there, I don't code it, because I know that it will be poor quality and I will waste time struggling with it. On good days, it just flows and things click into place.

I also tend to work on art and graphics more when my coding skills are down, and vice versa.

I suppose detecting this "feeling" becomes easier as you get older and the brain quiets down and becomes better at focusing.

4-Oct-2007 5:59:42
Yeah, I always do big things when all the circumstances are right and I can reserve a good stretch of time to work on them. I push all the little dreary things aside, and do those later when the big things are out of reach. When I was younger, my brain couldn't sort out all the little things and lapsed into procrastination.
Dylan Currier
5-Oct-2007 12:25:12
Hello Carl. Glad to hear you still make it to the dinner table with your family. Good stuff. Your children won't remember how many people were bugging you to push out your next version when your gone...they'll remember the time they shared with you as their dad and the love and words you shared with them. Dylan.
6-Oct-2007 4:00:31
Speaking of inspiring the creative energy, or at least pondering the sheer magnitude of universal energy, everyone take some time this weekend to view a rare event:

VENUS, SATURN, and the star REGULUS in Conjunction (about 4-degrees or less) + THE MOON appearing in center of the triangle.

Venus will be about 1-degree from Regulus; Saturn, about 3-degrees; and the Moon will transit far faster, of course, touching across them all. Regulus sits at 29-degrees 56-minutes (planetary longitude) of Leo. The 'little king', the 'royal star' (heh, and one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse).

But yeah, look up and see it! :) Take some time away from whatever you're doing in the evening, or very early morning before light, find the moon and check it all out.

(incidentally, Regulus with Saturn has been associated in history with the fall of kings and leaders. It's sort of the Lawgiver, or Divine justice, and its influence is said to set things right regarding those who have honestly tried, played above board, etc.; and coincides with fall of those who haven't).

6-Oct-2007 16:38:19
Carl gave us the Amiga OS and Rebol, surely Regulus and Saturn will be smiling... ;)



7-Oct-2007 6:34:52
Sugar and Music, Carl! That's the secret to boundless energy. ;-) Works for me.

*puts Carl in front of the computer, leaving him in reach of JOLT! Cola, Red Bull, Super B-Complex vitamins...*

And speaking of music, Alice always inspires me: (I think this song says quite a bit about the Amiga community, too--or the spirit of anyone being creative, for that matter).

7-Oct-2007 6:57:10
In the words of an old lager advert, "Rebol reaches the parts other languages cannot reach".

Henrik - please don't wait too long for the "focusing" because it just ain't happening.

7-Oct-2007 7:07:17
Whoops - focus problem - I should have added that we're all itching to get stuck in with R3.

One of the best ways to resolve a bunch of issues or do a pile of work is "volunteer power".

7-Oct-2007 7:38:25
Think about what you want to do. Think about what you need. Think about what a software program can provide for you, and how close you can get it to do what you want and need. In other words, think about the end goal to your idea and how you imagine it working for someone who would never even lay eyes upon the code. What would be clicked with the mouse? What function would occur? What is the simplest way of achieving that end goal? What is the most elegant way?

To get anywhere meaningful, you first have to have an idea of 'where'; otherwise, you're no place special and nowhere much different than where you might have come from, or where you were.

In creating a new program or a new OS or a new computer, or expanding or enhancing one of those that you have, the end-of-it-all must be imagined. That becomes the goal to reach. Included in that is the imagined ease of functionality or interaction. Some big OS companies have an entire division dedicated to just this--about end-user experience. But I think the original coder should always think about this as a guide, and be a bit more of an creative artist that way. Making something more pleasing and useful, even to the point of thinking about the colors used, not just the positions of buttons or menus.

Here's something a bit abstract, in relation to Carl's post: "When an artist is done expressing himself, he is dead."

Another thing: "WILL" (as in, the will to do; or willing something to happen--akin to faith, and also working with the imagination). There's a lot of power in that.

And lastly, a quote from a really epic poem I wrote once, and a mantra for the creative mind: "If you can see it, you can do it. If you can do it, you can do it again. If you can do it again, you can do it better." :-)

8-Oct-2007 1:29:58
Well, he posted that on 1st of October. It's now the 8th. At least he's consistent...



Carlos Lorenz
9-Oct-2007 10:52:56
Carl, you don´t need to be perfect. Nobody is. Just release R3 as it is and let the community help you to get it to the next step.
10-Oct-2007 4:17:50
What happened to the position of 'all round Rebol Evangelist'? As I have stated before, I wouldn't mind picking up that torch, although if the level of communication is as reflected here, I doubt I would last long (after pestering incessantly in the first instance of course :). The front page hardly gets updated. The Rebol Week/Month seems to be going south (but at least it's updated more often!). I can't see how anyone having a look wouldn't be put off by the lack of updates, whether newbies or coming back from a hiatus. I personally would love to work wih Rebol, but not professionally in it's current state, not for the target systems I work with. I'll probably do the same as I did last year: Keep an eye on the site and see if there are any updates. And maybe, just maybe, post a message or two in the vain hope that how I feel about the technology is felt in between the lines.



10-Oct-2007 12:58:24
Yeah, I couldn't be an evangelist for Rebol, I downloaded Rebol once (when running Windows 2000) and never really figured it out or what the big deal was, so I deleted it. It did not seem intuitive to me at all. But the descriptions of it made me think of ARexx on Amiga; and also Java (and I think it's supposed to be more flexible than that). I also understood (rightfully or wrongly) that it was similar to the idea Amiga Inc. had for "AmigaDE" or "AmigaAnywhere"--but I don't know how close that would be.

From my end, I'm like: why should I use Rebol? What usefulness would it add to what I already do on the computer? In writing (, in art and graphics (CorelDRAW X3), or music composition, what would it bring to make anything easier? But that said, it's probably okay if it just provides "another way to..." do whatever--be it calculator, calendar, email, etc.

I may check out Rebol 3 when it's out and said to be all cleaned up or stable, and give it another look.

10-Oct-2007 13:34:01

I don't understand a bit, what you are after here. You seem to use no programming language, so what have you expected to gain with REBOL? :-)

10-Oct-2007 18:56:59
So, -pekr-, you're saying that Rebol is not for the average computer user? What good is it, then? :-)

And that, my friends, is the point.

11-Oct-2007 1:13:28
EyeAm, you're the perfect test subject for us. :-) REBOL definitely needs better marketing, but marketing REBOL is very difficult, because it does so many things, so it's hard to explain in a few sentences what it can do. I'm curious where you have read about REBOL, on the main site,,, etc.?
11-Oct-2007 1:44:12
Whilst marketing is an issue, if there are fewer people actually using it, and the central stage ( is left to gather dust, then no amount of marketing will convince anyone. It's like checking the shelves at the supermarket and seeing that what you were really after is out of date. Some will have a go, most will move along.

EyeAm: I'm sure you know what it's able to do - Is it the lack of movement/enthusiasm (on the site/blog/whatever) that precludes you from testing it further?

On the net, Movement=Life.



11-Oct-2007 3:46:26
EyeAm, the trouble is, that your question does not make sense imo. Why don't you ask the same about JAVA? "So you are saying that JAVA is not for for the average computer user?". So - is it? Or is it not? I don't know, the question is simply wrong.

REBOL is a platform, not only language. Maybe you could say it about every other language, maybe not. But we treat REBOL that way. We want to use REBOL for communication - humans, computers, automatition of jobs, etc. So - while language REBOL might not be of an interest to average user, platform REBOL might be. It is about apps you produce. Do you use AltME? IOS? Apparently not, or you would not be asking, how could REBOL be usefull to an end user?

REBOL will help to create small apps for an internet age, which is here for quite some time, and more apparently with advent of AJAX - crap, by which web community tries to fix inneficient model - web model, which was never supposed to support rich application model.

Cheers, Petr

11-Oct-2007 7:50:11
REBOL/View was and is presented as an end-user platform, but it fizzled.
11-Oct-2007 8:05:25
Carl..Relax and Chill!!

It doesn't matter if R3 is here next week!..

The world will know when its ready ;-)

11-Oct-2007 8:23:16
I think EyeAm's questions are valid and worth close examination. To many, REBOL's key features are quite intangible. I think that developers would also find REBOL's value proposition to be quite slippery.

Here are some keywords taken from the "What is REBOL?" page:
lightweight dialecting
domain-specific sublanguages and micro-formats
domain languages for code, data, and metadata
distributed computing
platform for internet applications

Most of these concepts are abstract, unknown or highly relative/subjective-- and I'm speaking from a developer perspective. I think it would be a good idea for RT to craft a more substantial message to the world so that more people can digest what exactly it is and why it's worth their time to try it.

Lastly-- and respectfully-- it's best to avoid crazy-talk of REBOL fixing AJAX or the web. Didn't you see the fight? It was all over the papers. I'll give you the summary: it was over before it even started. No, it wasn't a fair fight (they never are). The ugly brute web model knocked-out the challengers before they could climb into the ring! Most of the challengers are in the hospital, contemplating retirement. :^)

Imho, its best to promote the loveable and practical aspects of REBOL. When R3 sees release, we may see a new spark, but it's probably a bit early to unleash the hype. :^)

11-Oct-2007 11:06:17
(at) Henrik: As a past user of Amiga/Amiga OS, I of course know who Carl is in that sense and what he's done. I heard a number of years ago that he was doing REBOL, and the associated things regarding that. My thought was: okay, here's someone who created something (or a portion thereof) which I loved and used quite a bit, maybe his new thing is as easy and simple to use--and as great. That was my reasoning when I first went to download Rebol quite awhile back. I might not have even looked into it had it not been for its author--but even then, it sinks or swims based on what it'll do for me, or if I need it. And it was where I first read more about it.

(at) -pekr-: What I mean by 'average computer user' is just the general user of computers who isn't into programming and wouldn't know the catch-phrases or terms, perhaps, enough to key-in on Rebol's advantages or features. For example, in looking for Java Scripts, one might be thinking, "Oh, I can use that script on my website..." in a particular manner, presenting or doing a particular thing.

(at) Luis: Marketing is probably not a problem, once the issue of 'what it does' is made more clear. But I bet you more Amigans know "Carl Sassenrath is the author of Rebol" than those who know exactly what Rebol does or can offer them. It would be interesting to see the results of a multiple choice poll with choices of what people think Rebol actually does.

What do I think Rebol does? I'm somewhat confused on the actual Rebol products. It seems like there is an operating system (Rebol/IOS; aka Internet Operating System) separate from a smaller application called Rebol (Rebol 2, Rebol 3), and I'm not certain how these fit together or if they do. It's like all those versions of Windows prior to Vista and wondering what the difference is between 'Student' and 'Academic' and 'Home', and wondering if they really are just one-and-the-same. And regarding Rebol, I understand it to have some peer-to-peer strengths (like for chatting). It seems weighted toward Networking, and there seems to be some advantages there for businesses or companies who want to collaborate together (so from what I've read, Rebol provides a way for businesses, or even artists, to collaborate on the same file). And then all the Reblets...I guess there are tons of those now, with calculators and calendars and small apps like there are Java applets for webpages.

Regarding the question "Is it the lack of movement/enthusiasm (on the site/blog/whatever) that precludes you from testing it further?", I'd say no, it's not. I'll wait until version 3.0 comes out. It's enough to know that it's being worked on, so that stops my interest from going down--and I also think many others don't mind waiting, either, so long as they know it is being worked on. Most will patiently wait. :)

(at) -pekr- again: I understand REBOL to be a scripting and a messaging language. That's why I likened it to ARexx, Java, etc. But it seems that Carl has created something with much smaller overhead, and fewer commands. A 'less is more' kind of thing, and maybe just as powerful as those others.

Rebol as a platform, I don't know about. Seems it runs across more than 40 platforms (like you'd find Java), but even with the Rebol/IOS isn't something that can be installed singularly on PC hardware without the presence of another OS. Definitions of 'platforms' may vary.

(at) Edoc: Right on. Some of those phrases and terms won't mean anything to the average person visiting and reading the About Rebol areas.

And that'll be, more often than not, the first initial introduction and first impression of Rebol. It's home website. They go there, read about it, even before download, if it doesn't describe something that matches anything they're looking for, they move on.

11-Oct-2007 12:18:43
Rebol as a platform, I don't know about. Seems it runs across more than 40 platforms (like you'd find Java), but even with the Rebol/IOS isn't something that can be installed singularly on PC hardware without the presence of another OS. Definitions of 'platforms' may vary.

Yes, I can see that "platform" can be a confusing term. Here, it means something else than how many platforms REBOL runs on: It means that REBOL can be a platform for your applications (or simple scripts) everywhere, so if you are producing server side and client side software, both benefit from being REBOL. There's no need for anything else inbetween, like you have with HTML+CSS+Javascript on client side and PHP+MySQL+JSON+whatever on serverside. This only describes the client/server scenario. One language for everything.

11-Oct-2007 12:31:24
Can Rebol serve up webpages from peer-to-peer? Can Rebol allow someone across the world to 'log-in' to a particular folder on your computer (and get allowed files, or see allowed html pages)?

Would Rebol be a good base/provider for the general 'home server network'? (i.e., your own email station among friends who also have Rebol; your own FTP situation; your own webserver without the need for Apache, etc.; router, etc.)?

Some of the descriptions sound close to this scenario. How far from it does Rebol sit?

11-Oct-2007 12:33:32
It occurs to me that the BLOG probably isn't the place to delve into these things :) Is there a Rebol FORUM somewhere?
11-Oct-2007 14:28:31
I think the REBOL mailing list (which seems to be down a lot lately) or REBOL-Talk web forum might be a good place to discuss this. And of course there's AltMe, which is both a prominent example of REBOL and a channel for those who prefer a chat-style bulletin board.

A bit more on what I said above, here's an article I saw today which discusses a trap REBOL should do its best to avoid:

Adobe AIR answers a question that nobody is asking

11-Oct-2007 14:52:11
Would Rebol be a good base/provider for the general 'home server network'? (i.e., your own email station among friends who also have Rebol; your own FTP situation; your own webserver without the need for Apache, etc.; router, etc.)?

Email, FTP, webserving, sure, all are possible, but the point in REBOL is that it can replace these things in both ends. You are not envisioning it far enough. :-)

You can build custom clients and file sharing services that you share among friends and serve "sites" with information on them. These sites may not be information, but full applications, say a database interface or an online game. Where a browser is used to get webpages, REBOL can be used as a "browser" to get programs to run from an ordinary URL or a specific TCP socket. You can completely customize, how you want to communicate with your friends or co-workers.

AltME is a prime example of an all-REBOL service that uses no traditional technologies for communication.

11-Oct-2007 15:10:33
(at)Henrik: Heh. That's one thing I'm rarely told--that I'm not envisioning far enough! :) Haha.

No, I get the idea of end-to-end and subscription-based services. For example, if one could not afford the cost of buying powerful graphical rendering software to do his project, he might be able to find some entrepreneur who sold access to the same, via the web, via Rebol(?). The user, therefore, without having to buy that software, could join-up (at a subscription cost far cheaper than the actual software) for time accessing the same software as if it were on his own computer.

But all of that is not here just yet. It's an idea Microsoft is after, it's an idea others are after. It will be here, and it will catch on. Maybe Rebol can be there when it does.

(at)Edoc: Interesting about AIR. I can see REBOL being in the same situation. Perhaps it needs a cornerstone (i.e., Home Network Server) that people can see as its particular niche or identification, and get into it that way; become familiar with it that way.

I had AltMe before; it always bothered me that I had to keep registering my channel after so long, and having to log in too often to keep it active. (I eventually found Chat4All was better for me).

One idea for REBOL, though: In thinking how Windows Vista Ultimate's *SIDEBAR* works...and that's a throwback to the Amiga OS's Dock (and dockies)...maybe what the casual user of Rebol(View?) should get to see is a kind of RebolDock, with a link at the top to open the window and view the selectable Reblets, ready to add and run. And for any platform. "Add RebelDock to your platform, be it MAC, Amiga, Windows, or Linux..." A foot in.

11-Oct-2007 17:00:34
I also do not use AltMe. While I am glad a vendor is successfully using REBOL technology, I do not see it as a particularly innovative application-- I can get much of the same features by running forum software over https, without installing software, and it would be more cross-platform.

I think REBOL will either need to compete favorably against other general purpose languages (python, ruby, perl, java), or it will need a killer app/framework which is not easily replicated elsewhere.

11-Oct-2007 17:43:27
Re-reading my last post, it comes off as an unfair dis of Altme. Those of you who may be considering AltMe as a personal collaboration platform should experience it firsthand with your individual needs in mind. There appear to be many satisfied users and proponents.
12-Oct-2007 0:18:31

I do agree about the need of a killer app. I can assure you, that properly functioning = nearly zero deployment issues browser plug-in with R3 kernels, mainly VID3, could make some change in some areas.

As for AltME - I simply can't agree. If AltME could be a little bit more refined (hopefully with R3 VID, things like keyboard navigation etc.), then it would be even cooler.

You want to compare it with forums? Most of them based upon phpbb? I do use xy domains with such forums, and I am used to that, they are nice. But man, that is completly different feeling. Forum is just a bit better mailing list :-) What you like about it, is - they are cross-platform, no need for install. Plug-in could remove that obstacle for easy REBOL deployment too. But - instant chat, secured by default, bugbase, calendar, checklists, or any other module which could be written, are xy percent more collaborative than ANY forum. It is instant, it is live chat, kind of refined IRC.

So, there is a plan - Altissimo - mixture of IOS and AltME - extensible modular platform, and - it will come ...

I say it otherwise - go, take the best web based technology, and give me AltME - speed, extensibility, and good orientation for programmer - not crappy AJAX mixture of tonnes of javascript and html code on the client, and yet another, probably php plus webserver technologies on the server ...

12-Oct-2007 1:39:19
I'll tell you how I use AltME: AltME sits on my Linux, Mac and Windows desktop quietly in the background. If someone sends me a message, I reply to it or I follow interesting conversations from the corner of my eye. It never feels volatile, i.e. you never lose information or chat conversations as they are always stored both locally and remotely. If I log out and go away and back in again, the conversations are updated, like nothing has happened.

This is pretty vital for communicating with a group of developers on the other side of the globe, IRC style, just with less hassle and more fluidity. Working in the R3 developer world, I've never missed a conversation, no matter how disrupted I get locally. It's like that place you can always go to, that you can always trust is there. For me it has been more reliable than mailing lists.

The only disadvantage is that the server must of course be running, or else no one can talk together. We had a situation like that in March, when the hardware went down and the server was out of physical reach for several days.

But then again, there was a solution: REBOL itself can solve this problem by copying the AltME server files to another machine at regular intervals. No need to take up bash scripting. This type of ad hoc infrastructure improvements is what REBOL is really good at.

AltME lets you run your own server and you can therefore provide your own infrastructure to create backup systems to add reliability.

I have yet to see any other system that does chatting so well, so persistent, so easy and haven't found any since 2003 when I started using it. I think REBOL allows this kind of reliability by being simple. Simple programs tend to be more reliable. The AltME client is only a 1 MB executable, which makes multi-megabyte IM clients like GAIM or ICQ look a little embarrasing. I don't know how big it would be, if created with other languages, but definitely bigger.

12-Oct-2007 2:32:36
Hi, I am in rebol for 1 week. I think I grasped something about the whole spirit/history and also language features. IMHO (really), it looks to me it's time for Carl to delegate more of it's 'wizardry. People here just make pressures, but seems very few are eager to do part of C's work. Any volunteers ? (I am short of knowledge, but I think there are enough gurus here who could move that R3 thing a little faster). Have a wonderful day, e.
12-Oct-2007 2:36:38
Agreed, this is not the best place for this discussion, but unfortunately my email address was rejected when I tried joining the mailing list some months ago (first time that's ever happened). Besides, I was only going in to cause the same trouble I'm causing here, so no biggie. I'm glad this is getting responses, we need to get the fire going again. I'm not fussed if R3 comes out tomorrow or two months down the line: I am concerned when there is no regular news or updates to the main site. I'd rather have it tomorrow though, and I'd push that: If anything it should show my enthusiasm. Thing is, with the theme of this post, it looks like he needs bucket loads...

I'm sure that with a larger user base (and consequently a user base with wider experience) the newbies would have a bigger menu to choose from as a starting point. As it stands most of the site and the linked sites represent a more techie mind set.

I've had a few apps in mind, but the OS X support, as stated earlier, prevented me from using it. Other languages are currently attempting to cover this hole (although I've got a blocker with audio frequency control in one of them).

These responses should not be taken as either positive or negative, but on their own merits. However good or bad the mood/opinion here goes, at least we're talking.

Let's keep this moving.



12-Oct-2007 3:35:37
For further discussion, the forum is the best option for now (simpler registration than AltME). I find the mailing list to be too unreliable.
12-Oct-2007 3:50:21
What's worrying me now though is that Carl hasn't posted here. It's been 11 days. There's only so much time we can spend asleep.



12-Oct-2007 3:53:58
I wasn't going to do this, but here goes:

Never Surrender Dreams.

We are born capable of greatness. It's when we allow ourselves to become discouraged, to see ourselves as failures, when we fail to recognize our inherent nobility, that we grow small, and diminish, and ultimately sacrifice our dreams on the altar of more realistic expectations of ourselves.

When that happens, we forget who we are, what we are here for, and what we want to achieve, knowledge that is always within us...until we choose not to remember it any longer because the memory pains us, and because it is easier to settle for less than our dreams demand of us.

Children sing and dance spontaneously, tell stories without fear, reveal their thoughts without inhibition, and reach for what logic tells us should be unattainable. That is who and what we are in our most elemental form. We do, we explore, we ask questions; we pursue our heart's desires, we dream of achieving greatness. But as time passes, we learn fear, we learn to second-guess ourselves, and we learn to suspect our abilities and our desires. We are told that some people tell stories, some people dance, and some people sing, but these things are not for everyone. When we try to express our innermost thoughts, we are told to be quiet, that no one wants to hear what it is we have to say, and that even if they did want to hear it, what we say has no innate value. When we lose the spark of spontaneity that was born inside us, which is our greatest gift, we progressively eliminate the possibility of finding joy and purpose, and inch by inch, our dreams slip away from us.

If we are to be who we are, and what we are; if we are to accomplish great things, then we must learn the heart's most essential rule: Never Surrender Dreams.

‘The Foundation’ - JMS



12-Oct-2007 4:20:42
What's worrying me now though is that Carl hasn't posted here. It's been 11 days. There's only so much time we can spend asleep.

Carl mentioned something yesterday about "harvesting season". Perhaps the grapes do not harvest themselves. :-)

12-Oct-2007 4:31:52
Well, he didn't mention it here, and I wouldn't expect him to either. So I didn't know he was grape picking, hence my concern (or if he prefers: 'gripe'... :)



12-Oct-2007 7:14:30
(at)Luis: Nice inspiration piece! :)

(at)Henrik: Carl mentioned something yesterday about "harvesting season". Perhaps the grapes do not harvest themselves. :-)

I was going to be perhaps less humorous and type that he's probably drunk somewhere on wine (from his grapes), muttering something about Rebol 3 in a slurred voice (i.e., "Well, if it's not done, it's not done... Sssso be it... But then again it won't get done by itself..."), but somehow I imagine Carl a lot differently: Quietly, calmly picking the grapes, and contemplating their coloration, while linking their perfectness and wholeness to other metaphysical realities--and, of course, to Rebol 3. You know, the finest wines take time, and cannot be rushed. :-) Bugs have to be removed from the vines, when they appear; bugs have to be removed from Rebol, too. Haha. Yeah, he's working on Rebol 3, even when he's picking grapes! The real work area is not the desktop, it's the mind.

Overhauling Rebol's Profile

Start with the main website, I'd say. Refashion it for three areas: the end-user, the businesses, and the programmers. And flesh-out appropriate descriptions to appeal to each. Then do the links area and round up links for all Rebol-related websites, and point to them, and notify them all that Rebol 3 is coming. If the main site doesn't want its own main forum, then work with one of the good ones (with whomever runs it) to be a kind of unofficial forum, but link to it from the main site.

Also, while I'll check again, I didn't see any kind of AltMe link from the main Rebol site, for any kind of 'channel' people could enter and chat/post. (I seem to recall AltMe being like IRC, myself, so I'd say more 'chat' than post).

Anyway, I think some of that would reinvigorate things; tighten coalitions; aerate the soil for better grapes ;-)

12-Oct-2007 7:28:27
(I messed up on the italics in the previous post--I am quoting Henrik only with the first sentence)

I left out something. Carl mentions something on, in the descriptions of Rebol and what the targets/goals are. He mentions 'too many cooks spoil the soup' and 'many more hands lighten the load' or something like that. A realization about doing it more himself versus letting others come in. But: I do remember in his blog here that he mentioned when he finishes up Rebol 3 (apparently to a point he has in mind--as things are rarely often finished like we think--Rebol itself would go more Open. I'm sure he'll read this and be able to clarify, but I think that's what he said.

Side note: George Lucas once railed against corporatism in Hollywood, and then his company(companies) became the very thing he once railed against (mirroring a fall to the dark side). :) Rebol, which has some of its roots in the idea of being a 'rebel' (and, of course, the whole Star Wars thing, with rebel command and so forth), has had its power in a 'niche' defiance not all that unlike George Lucas starting out. But, now, more popular, it comes to a point where decisions will leave it as such, fully exemplifying that 'niche', or rising out of it and no longer being able to wear that rebel cape. Niche...or widely-accepted and used software. Interesting, no? Like Carl said, there's always a balance point, or tipping point--the point where it all changes and you're no longer the same as before, you're on the other side of the polarity. (and if Rebol should ever grow corrupt, there would be some who 'fork' off and become their own 'niche', and it starts all over again; or continues its endless cycle).

"There is no spoon. There is only...the spork." :D

12-Oct-2007 7:53:33
Inspiration, Carl:

Be a kid in a candy store again. ;-) Find that 'kid dimension'. The power is WITHIN.

Lots of love, lots of light, and definitely a lot of creativity!

12-Oct-2007 8:17:05
I hope that the 'usual posters' don't mimic the post-lag and make themselves heard.

(at)EyeAm: That website overhaul sounds ideal!



12-Oct-2007 10:13:35
Hi Petr--

Your reply about AltMe is a fair one. As with everything, people bring their own expectations and personal preferences when forming an opinion about an application. To me, AltMe has an IOS feel to it, and for my needs, I did not find IOS compelling above web-based offerings. Most aspects of e-collaboration seem to be quite well-covered by web, P2P and push frameworks. Other flavors of collaboration, well, so far they seem to be reserved for limited or special situations.

Despite the layers of technology, in my opinion, the web browser is pretty good for e-collaboration -- or at least good enough. See the Google offerings for examples. It is a big challenge for an RIA like IOS or AltMe to provide collaboration features and capabilities that can peel customers (paying or free) away from a browser-based offering. Particularly if the solution:
  • requires a client install
  • whose extensibility hinges upon adoption of a vendor's proprietary language
  • which requires a browser (or pdf) to print
  • etc.
For me personally, and the corporate/business environments I've been in, these were not good compromises. Someday maybe that will change. Obviously there are current customers and situations in which the benefits outweigh any shortcomings, and I'm glad for that.

Sadly, I do not share your optimism about the prospects for a REBOL browser plug-in. I am not aware of any scripting languages which are successful in this arena unless the plug-in is pre-installed with the browser, or unless the applets are somehow managed/tested by the browser vendor. Of course, despite my doubts, I would be happily surprised to see a REBOL plug-in achieve success there.

Thanks for the discussion.
12-Oct-2007 20:46:49
For me, Rebol's strengths are the
  • wonderful parser
  • consistency of blocks, series, ports & protocols
  • the ease of scripting simple dialogs.
  • Doc Kimbel's MySQL protocol
Bad things:
  • Documentation is a hotch-potch;
  • Priced database access encryption etc.
  • Why not open source given obviously limited resources- eg why after all this time is there still not a fully working Mac version? On a machine which might show Rebol to best advantage too? This would have been fixed ages ago with open source.
  • Building complex dialogs & apps - GUI Builder & IDE are desperately needed.
  • do, reduce, compose, mold, remold, reform, join, rejoin, repend etc. - confusing if you don't use the language every day.
  • Did Rebol need a rewrite!
Rebol has allowed me to process some fairly long and nasty text files with relative ease - the tedious and boring stuff which has let me get it used inside one big corporation - nice graphics are not necessary. More to come too.

A killer app. - how about a web browser written in Rebol which strips out ads based on URL and then user feedback on ads which still get through? Rebol has all the graphic and parsing strength for it, and I'm confident of a large market, assuming they annoy others as much as me,

Personally I'd like to see Carl open the language entirely, and spend his time harnessing, leading and driving the community to do the things that Rebol needs a la Torvalds. Maybe this just isn't a financial possibility alas.

Sorry I'm a bit grumpy - I've just spilled coffee into my lovely wireless Mac keyboard. Yes it's dead. RIPieces

12-Oct-2007 22:41:20
Sorry to hear about the coffee/Mac keyboard, Robbie. :-\

Nice outline of strengths/weaknesses, though.

And that's not a bad idea. Perhaps, if the website is given a revision--and if there should be three generally separate areas; one for business, one for casual end-users, and one for programmers--maybe each could have a Wish List area where the consistent wishes get prioritized higher. That way, Rebol could get even *more* on track and in tune with what people and companies and programmers are looking for.

(I almost feel sorry for whatever webmaster ends up handling the task. That is, should Carl green-light such a thing. Whomever it is will have to be fast and good at collating the the Wants and Unwanted things. :) )

13-Oct-2007 11:58:30
Before Web 2.0 became Javascript + Ajax, the trend was (and is still) getting network-able application, outside the browser. That's the same as X-Internet. Mozilla foundation has XUL, Microsoft has .net, ... RT has Rebol which is just a neat solution to me.

Killer App... well, if Apache is a killer App then Cheyenne is a killer App., if MSN is a killer App then AltMe is a killer App, ...

15-Oct-2007 2:11:45
You wouldv'e thought that after all this time and all these comments that we would get a reply here. At least I thought so.



15-Oct-2007 8:21:32
Hi Luis-- Carl explained in the past that he doesn't blog when he's immersed in work. Thus silence, normally equated with inactivity, is understood at RT to mean "consumed with activity."
15-Oct-2007 9:08:40
So, that would be contrary to the theme of this posting... :)

I know what you're saying, but I still reckon:

On the net, Movement = Life.

And that's what this site needs.



15-Oct-2007 9:55:12

Btw, I'm not playing Carl's defense attorney-- just relaying the information that has been shared previouslty.

Humans, even extremely talented ones, don't scale well. It must be incredibly taxing for one guy to be the business owner, researcher, language architect, designer, developer, server/infrastructure admin, delivery specialist, evangelist, tech guru, documenter and blogger. And I'm sure I missed a few-- e.g., Carl is a vintner, father and head of a household. :^)
Carl Sassenrath
15-Oct-2007 21:11:46
So much to comment on, but sorry, so little time. I read your comments. I think a lot has been said here.

Good things will come next. A way to help us collaborate and to polish R3. Soon.

15-Oct-2007 23:14:21
Rebol questions (for anyone):

1. Does Rebol 3 take the place of Rebol/View?

2. Will R3 be installable/runnable on 64-Bit Vista Ultimate?

Note on any possible forums: If sets up its own forums, someone might want to look into "Eblah" ( It's free with a lot of features. That's what I used--after looking over Ikonboard, and a bunch of other cgi/perl-based boards.

16-Oct-2007 0:49:52
1. AFAIK, yes. The final product outline is going to be different.

2. Anywhere you want it for, as long as someone (yourself?) is willing to port it to the platform. Documentation on how to do that will be available. I don't know if RT considers 64 bit Vista internally. Currently 32 bit Windows works while MacOSX and Linux ports are under construction to test the porting process.

16-Oct-2007 10:56:02
Regarding #1 above, good. Kind of what I was thinking or hoping.

Regarding #2 above, I definitely won't be porting it. :-) I have developed a distaste for 'having to make the tools' that I want to use to make other things. I'll try R3 when it comes out, and even if it's not for 64-Bit Vista (which is what I run). I'll set the Compatibility Mode to XP and see how R3 performs. One of the features I like about Vista--in the Properties of an executable, you can set it to run/behave is if it were running under a previous Windows version.

16-Oct-2007 15:03:22
We must be close to the Rebolution because the hill seems steeper every step of the way.
17-Oct-2007 5:21:05
Looks like I'll stop halfway and have a picnic...



Pier Johnson
18-Oct-2007 21:34:44
Keep the name REBOL in RT. However, change the name of the language to BLOX.

Blocks are the essence of expressing using the language -- rendering your ideas into action.

You can derive many metaphors from blocks, Yet you cannot derive one explanatory metaphor from 'REBOL' -- the name not pronounced how you spell it.

R2 is great. All should expect R3 to be better, substantially.

Yet 'REBOL' as a name is about powerful, expressive, interesting as a bag of dung. And anyone wonders why selling REBOL has been tough sledding?

Best wishes to you Carl, your family and the RT team.

BLOX is the name you want.

Pier Johnson
18-Oct-2007 21:44:15
After you come to your senses and change the name to BLOX, your next step needs you to change your perspective about selling computing software, languages, etc.

Computers are tools for the layman and not the techno-nerd these days.

Gear your wheedling toward the everyday man.

No one wants another computing language, to learn another computing language. Many do not want to learn their first one.

Everyone wants an English-language way to talk to their computer and get results.

You should look at the Ashton-Tate dBase II history and phenomena.

Sell R3 like you sold R2. Sell R3 like another Java, only better; sell R3 another C#, only better, another Python, only better, another Ruby, only bettter; and all you will end up with is another flop, only better.

Dump the computer science jargon and the nerdiness that goes with it.

iPods, iPhones, Blackberrys, get sold to real, everyday buyers.

So should R3.

Carl Sassenrath
19-Oct-2007 8:08:26
It's quite interesting the path this blog comment thread has taken... more of a forum of discussion with a life of its own.

Let me digest your comments more... and find a method to reply to them, probably as additional blogs to specific ideas or suggestions. But, basically, I agree with the statements made here, and a way must be found to fix these problems.

Also, it is quite true that the focus of the websites (their target audiences) needs to be improved. Question, as always, is how best to make those changes happen.

19-Oct-2007 12:12:46
I don't like 'BLOX', I like 'REBOL'(tm) :-) Unique. Please keep it.
Paavo Nevalainen
11-Nov-2007 23:52:22
Hey, I like the way Carl presented the idea. Not too much self-judgement or self-pity, but a map of the situation, even the way out...

I think R3 can come true with a proper balance point :)

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