Comments on: Productivity. As simple as that.
REBOL Technologies

Comments on: Productivity. As simple as that.

Carl Sassenrath, CTO
REBOL Technologies
3-Dec-2008 19:38 GMT

Article #0381
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Look, bottom line: REBOL makes me productive.

And, to me, productivity is everything. That's why I write and use REBOL. That's why I keep writing and using it.

I'm not a techie. Maybe you think I am. No... I live in the mountains. I plant Redwood trees, grow grapes, make wine, learn French, watch the wildlife (the coyote, deer, and a lot of wild turkeys this week), the fog, the sunsets. I seldom leave the ranch, maybe to play tennis. I watch the antics of the world from here - the news feeds, as many as I can find.

I like useful things. I like systems I can control, shape, and put to work. Small systems. Smart systems. Don't give me a 500MB software program if a 1MB can do what I need, or even better, 10KB.

You know, I have to face up that in most regards, I've lost productivity over the last decade. These days, for me, computers seem to create more problems for me than they solve. And oddly, when I look around, most businesses and families seem to have those same problems with their computers.

I think back to 1998... when computers actually worked well for me. I wrote all my docs, created my diagrams, built web sites, created necessary web images, managed spreadsheets, sent faxes... from a fine little Apple Macintosh of that era. (I know that some of you want me to say Commodore Amiga here, but remember I worked in development at Apple Computer too.)

Well, I really don't want to tell you what I use these days. It's not that I haven't kept up, it's that I'm tired of managing office suites, multi-gigabyte software packages, messed up installations, dealing with incompatible libraries, fixing registry conflicts, on and on.

What's up with computing? It's suppose to make us more productive, isn't it? I don't mean more productive fixing our computers, I mean more productive making products, offering services, or enjoying our lives.

I don't have time for modern software. Every hour of my day needs to count for something. I spend my time making things, writing, building... not repairing my computer or updating endless components to make Bill richer or Linus cooler.

Well, ok, maybe I sound like I'm getting old. Maybe I am? But you know, a mattock pick and a Winchester 1894 lever-action 30-30 are still useful and elegant tools. Time has not changed them. Bill has not improved on them. Linus has not reforged them as free.

Look, small systems are better systems. Period. Don't tell me how your 12 layered software technology can do great things. Maybe it can, but next week it will crash. For me, that many layers says it's a broken design, not a better design. It's like credit default swap financial derivatives. Wow, don't those sound great? The house of cards may bring us all down.

Anyway... let's see... where's that coyote? He was out front. I need to keep an eye on him.

51 Comments

Comments:

Ben
3-Dec-2008 13:26:16
Here here! Well put. I totally agree. I'm a lone wolf in my org. If its gonna break later, or take billions of bytes to develop...I just won't write it.
Keith S.
3-Dec-2008 13:37:40
You might consider emulators. They work very well, like Basilisk II & vmac, 68k mac emulators, or sheepshaver, a ppc mac emulator. I like that I can load up a whole system with many apps on a small disk image. It runs several times faster under emulation than it did on the original hardware. Assuming an app still meets your needs for a given task, all the old software is still around, still small, still runs.
AppleFan
3-Dec-2008 13:49:59
Well, I don't have any of these problems with my OSX based systems: iMac, MacBook, Time Capsule, AppleTV or iPhone. They all just work, they all perform different tasks beautifully. They continue to increase my productivity and everyone I know that has switched.

Maybe is time to abandon half-cooked platforms.

Carl Sassenrath
3-Dec-2008 14:02:45
AppleFan... I have a few OSX boxes that I use daily. I'd like to use them more, but...

My question for you is this: What do you use for word processing, spreadsheets, and diagrams? Those are not included with the OSX Macs I own.

And, where can I get the 1 or 5MB versions of those tools, not the 500MB versions that need to upgrade weekly? I don't mind paying a few dollars for them, as long as they're productive.

Carl Sassenrath
3-Dec-2008 14:03:27
Keith, that's an interesting idea.
Keith M.
3-Dec-2008 14:11:36
Preach on brother. People seem to have forgotten about simple systems and tools. Even the Unix spirit itself has convolved upon itself to the point where I don't care to measure it's fractal dimension.

No worries though, it gives young artists something to do. If they are pointed in the right direction. ;-)

SDC
3-Dec-2008 14:42:58
Carl, I feel like you and I are of the same mind. I very very very very very much dislike arbitrarily complex systems. Small is beautiful. Lately I have been enjoying Python because of its general simplicity and bang for the buck, but am thinking I should give REBOL a look.
Chris Handley
3-Dec-2008 15:11:08
I guess it's unavoidable that someone will say this, especially with you mentioning the Amiga, so it might as well be me :-)

The AmigaOS was always about being as simple as possible to do the job, and as I also have similar dislike of unnecessary complexity & bloat, that's one reason why I bought a Sam440 to run the new AmigaOS 4.1 (see http://arstechnica.com/articles/culture/amigaos41-ars.ars/ for a good summary).

Note that Web browsing is coming along quite well (OWB & Netsurf), although sadly modern Wordprocessing is still a bit lacking (there is an Abiword port but it needs an X11 layer to run, and both are still rather works-in-progress).

Matt B.
3-Dec-2008 15:17:39
Carl - if you go to www.pure-mac.com that will list many lightweight programs that will probably meet your requirements. Then again, Abiword is 9MB, so it is a bit bloated, but it can save your document in formats you've never heard of.

For me, I use a text editor for everything. Granted, EMACS is a bloated (~50MB) but since it is my most-used application and capable of doing everything I require (and then some by extension), I feel the space is well used.

I do agree with many of your point though. A while back I bought an Asus EeePC 701 (4G of disk, 512 ram, 7" screen) and due to the restrictions it has, it forces one to make due with less. Programming on that computer has given me an appreciation for small programs and tight code.

Ashley
3-Dec-2008 16:01:26
Less is more. A computer should be a consumer device much as mobile phones, games consoles, DVD players, etc are. It should just work, and it should have an on/off button that takes less than 5 seconds!
Keith S.
3-Dec-2008 17:22:29
Oh, you're THAT Carl Sassenrath:) I'm surprised you're not familiar with the multitude of emulation, simulation, and translation projects for the Amiga and Amiga OS. You could be using your old creation, provided the apps you want to run are there.
Huayin
3-Dec-2008 17:45:34
So well said! Your comments on software/programming make me think about the ever growing volumes of books and ... Small is beautiful!
EyeAm
3-Dec-2008 17:49:06
And that's why you're writing the 64-Bit REBOL OS; right, Carl? :-) Let REBOL 3.0 fit inside it, and also be freely deployable. You might as well! It's not like you wouldn't have an audience of customers frothing at the mouths anticipating its simplicity and elegance.

Well, I really don't want to tell you what I use these days. <--Now, everyone is going to want to know what you use.

By the way, have you tried OpenOffice.org?

--EyeAm http://www.myspace.com/foadiyops

Bill Robertson
3-Dec-2008 18:24:55
Hi Carl. Regarding your question about word processing/spreadsheets etc... for Mac OS X. I have had good luck with Open Office (Windows, but on my wife's mac the 3.0 native mac version works fine).

It is not the snappiest software at start up, but once it gets started its fine. Yes the download is big, but once you get a version that works for you what is the need for constant updates? I think I'm using a 2 year old version on one of my PC's. The version on this one is newer, but that's because the hard drive failed last year. Anyway, its not overly complicated and its easy enough to use. It suits my admittedly limited office suite needs just fine. You can also upload straight to google docs, which is a great way of sharing documents.

My first computer had 64K and a floppy disk (I had to beg my parents for that sucker). I still have the TV that it connected to. I only turn it on when there's a football game on and I need to fold laundry. I will have to toss it in the garbage when they switch the broadcast signal to HD.

Anyway, things have come a long way since then, and avoiding software because it seems big doesn't make sense, because relative to what a modern cheap computer gives you these days it isn't really that big.

Just to make the argument a bit more concrete. I have Open Office 2.4 on this computer. Cygwin tells me that it is using 330Mb of space (so the download must have been smaller, its compressed). I have a 110Gb of hard drive (its a laptop). So that's what? 0.3% of my hard drive space. I don't recall what I paid for the hard drive, but I will guess about $80, which is typically about my maximum pain point for a hard drive. So that's what? $0.24 worth of disk space. So on the surface 330Mb sounds like a lot, but relative to what I have, its not.

Anyway, good luck.

EyeAm
3-Dec-2008 19:26:27
Oh yeah, they have portable OpenOffice.org, too, for USB jump drives. I installed that, portable Firefox and others on one. PortableApps.com for others. Runs right out of the drawer|folder it installs to - no registry junk.
kindergip@amigaworld.net
3-Dec-2008 19:28:37
Heh, I use Cygnus Ed for plain text writing. Final Writer perhaps, if I don't see a way for it to be really simple. But mostly I just throw it in Pagestream4.1. The one common thing here is that those are 68K apps collected and used over the last 20 or so years. Run in emulation on my AmigaOne running (at)933MHz, 2G of RAM, 9250 128bit 256M GFX. Right next to this box sit my quad core boxes, one running 64bit Ubuntu and the other WindowsXP Pro. Now all my computers are quick and responsive. The AmigaOne outputs PDF/postscript to my HP color laser. It connects to the net. It drives my LCD display. Initially I ran my A3KT side by each with my AmigaOne but after finding that emulation was able to run all my legacy apps at 10-20X the M68K speed, I parted it out to the rest of the community. That little gambit paid for my new AmigaOne as well as making several people very happy because I sold at far less than market price. It also allowed me to continue using my favourite apps which became even faster. To sum up, key points - long term use of small efficient apps, on a multitasking wonder running at MHz speeds. The new hardware is an embedded class motherboard which could certainly use something like ReBol to make its way in the world.
jon
3-Dec-2008 20:12:52
poor apple fan, swimming in his bloat, expensive bloat too.
Tim
3-Dec-2008 21:58:18
I second the emulation option. I run a linux console and keep a samba share in my home directory. Then I run different OS's in qemu to use different software on the files in that share. Of course you waste a lot of space on the OS installations, but it's a nice compromise to keep using software you like.
D. Harris
3-Dec-2008 22:06:24
You are so right. I had never heard it put better, i am use to hearing Microsoft sucks instead. Great post.
Greg Brondo
3-Dec-2008 22:30:08
I too long for the days of small, simple systems. First personal computer was a TRS-80 color with 4K ram and Chicklet keys. Second was a Commodore 64 (and yes I had the programmers guide with *every* memory location documented). My current favorite machine? That would be my TRS-80 Model 100. Its great keyboard and four AA batteries will give me 20 hours of typing goodness. :-)

Cannot wait for Rebol 3.0 to be out! Keep up the great work Carl!

..gb

Greg Schofield
3-Dec-2008 23:08:34
Everything Carl said about productivity is 100% true. It now takes me longer to do the same jobs then it did in my early years with Mac and Amiga days. However, I can do a greater number of other things now, but they have one thing in common they take longer than they should.

It is not just simply that it is bloatware, for that is a symptom of function overkill and OOPs madness. Function overload has destroyed elegant design in favour of massive kludge-in-use. Or alternatively slim downed do a few simple jobs using up a lot of resources (often OOPs based).

Too many off-the-shelf packages either have too much to do a job efficiently, or too little to do it all. It is either a dog’s breakfast of little used functions, or a simplistic step-by-step approach only good for doing one or two things – nothing else.

Recently, I had to dive into MS Word to remove as much designed-in kludge as I could, introduce the styles that were needed (but no others), to produce a template that included VB scripts, so that people could concentrate on their report writing and less on tweaking the WYSIWYG as they wrote.

It works, but only just and once I leave, nobody will be in a position to either change it or do something similar, for my anti-kludge is also kludge – it is a mess.

Taking things out, and switching other parts on, should be something fairly simple to do. However, any attempt to design compiled software that can be so easily customised is not easy, arguably it is not even possible. After all, no-one can anticipate all the various ways people may want to adapt their software.

The alternative is to bring elegance into the very software being produced. It is something only script based software could do, because vital parts of the code has to be amendable, modulated and logically related.

I probably made a fool of myself sometime ago by suggesting that a word-processor in REBOL should be block orientated in design. No doubt amongst experienced REBOLers this was a big “Duh”, how else would it be done! To others thinking in terms of line editors, a more exasperated… why bother?

Style blocks, page description blocks (ala PDFmaker’s approach), text blocks, object blocks, an overarching instance block, then the functions operating on them. A sensible arrangement that can be understood, modified and adapted, saved out in parts or as complete documents. A logic of flow expressed in modules handling streams of data (blocks). An instance, which is a flow of text and objects picking up style and falling into defined page sequences – a word processor that can be adapted.

So instead of a text area that handles text dumbly but can be modelled into a workable text editor, perhaps the approach worth thinking about is a full word processor that could be optioned up into a Desktop Publisher, or optioned down into a text editor. Or indeed adapted to anything in between such as a disk labeller, note taker, email writer etc.,.

Carl what I would like to know is whether such a thing is possible as pure Rebol, or some admixture of generalised compiled code Rebolled together? I see enough elements in REBOL to know that as a language it could do most of this, but practically speaking could it do so without becoming a slug-fest?

While I would like to see Rebol being used with OpenOffice, in the long term future that sort of over-the-top bloatware is not where things should be. If in the future Rebol could produce a sleek, thin, thoroughly modulated and easy to understand and adapt word processor, I believe it would have its first killer app.

Kay
3-Dec-2008 23:25:32
It's funny - Carl posts his preference for small, understandable systems and people recommend OS X and OpenOffice, both of which are great and work well, but are both big fat poorly documented pigs. OpenOffice drinks down RAM and OS X only really runs well on the latest model. Apple has phased out all the old Macs that can't run Leopard.

I agree with Kieth - try emulators. You get to keep your Windows/Mac drivers (so your hardware works as well as it ever did) and sytem management is just managing disk images, much much easier. The best emulators have memory debuggers built in (for cheating in video games) so you can search the RAM for a string or number. Comes in handy for other things.

The original UNIX was exactly what you describe: a small, self-contained flexible system with documentation and source code. Then it flowered into the current mess.

Simon Abraham
4-Dec-2008 0:12:54
I like Rebol and have been following the language practically from inception. However I’m not sure if I agree with all of Carl’s views on this post. For one computers are significantly more powerful now and in most computers the CPU is idle for 98% of the time. Secondly, hardware (CPU, Memory, IO, Flash disks, etc) technology has advanced faster than software. So I’m not sure how relevant tiny and small applications are in this era of multi-core CPUs and falling memory prices. On developer productivity it can be argued that a visual tool (like Visual Studio or Eclipse) is more productive compared to working in Crimson Editor for Rebol. Lets be clear, most developers are just doing a “job” and are not hackers.

Folks, it is not my intent to start a flame war and I personally like Rebol. But my submission is that languages are tools and use the “right” language for the job at hand. Simple.

Sn
4-Dec-2008 0:27:27
Too much simplicity is bad. I mean, there's an opposition between the computer's mechanism and the human one. What's simple for the processor generates complexity to my brain and what's simple to the brain may be hard to implement on the computer. So should we choose one kind of simplicity/complexity pair, or the other, or a compromise?

There are certainly a lot of useless bloat, as we can see when comparing the Word and Mellel word processors, the latter being much more lightweight with as much features.

I'm not a programmer, anyway. Each time I think of a program I could write, I end up willing to rewrite a new OS. Computers are not for perfectionists, it seems.

steve
4-Dec-2008 0:56:37
Sn, the whole computer world has evolved to a much more complex system. This is not bad per se, but the added complexity often leads to design choices which frankly suck. Just look at many of the solutions within the *nix world.

The worst enemy of Linux today is Linux. It is not Microsoft, because Microsoft bloated their new OS so much that simplicity will NEVER come back to the Redmond guys.

dan
4-Dec-2008 1:01:47
I like the way you criticised layered architectures on your web site without a hint of irony.
Carl Read
4-Dec-2008 1:39:49
"What's up with computing?"

Maybe it's economics? There's money in dysfunction - all those computers taken back to the shop to have their OS or software re-installed at X dollars a pop, not to mention all those businesses which can't afford a permanent computer technician.

What would happen if there was a good OS that never needed upgrading? Good software running on it would also never need upgrading. If you're happy with your wordprocessor, why get another one?

Which is the problem with software - it never wears out, unlike physical tools. So how do you sell it more than once to the same customer?

Dysfunctional software is where the money is.

Still, the net offers hope. It'd be a stupid browser maker who brought out a new version that only supported the latest version of HTML and all the rest of the gunk that makes the web work.

EyeAm
4-Dec-2008 4:48:57
Regarding OpenOffice and bloatware, it's like this: when the question is between 'bloatware' and 'small footprint', one obviously chooses the one with the least bytes - so long as they are otherwise comparable. When it is 'bloatware' versus 'bloatware', one asks, "Which one is cheaper?" :-) If one is free, it's a no-brainer.

Did you get the ki-oh-tay, Carl? :D

AppleFan
4-Dec-2008 6:06:12
The point is about productivity and in this respect OSX is a better choice. The fact that the same platform can be used for devices with constrained resources (iPhone), speaks of its strenght. OSX scales well.

Regarding tools, iWork tools work well for office needs and it does not requires daily upgrades--maybe once or twice a year. They maybe big, but so what, storage gets cheaper by the day. For simple text editing there is Aquamacs and for diagraming there is either OmniGraffle or Graphviz.

On the other hand if the os/platform of choice is slowing you from releasing R3 then babysitting that environment is the wrong priority. Or is this just an excuse?

The once a year blog rant about "the os/platform productivity" is not going helping the release R3. Neither the "not invented here" mentality. One thing is to "eat your own dog food" another is to slowdown to a crawl and refuse to use better tools to bootstrap your efforts.

Greg Schofield
4-Dec-2008 6:35:39
Seeing OSes have become the topic. I am going to suggest something a little off-beat, that I hope someone will pick up on the reasons for suggesting it.

Of the modern OSes out there at the moment -- the best by far is Sony's GameOS on the PS3-- why? Because there is so little of it. Just a task bar, some prefernce settings a few categories. It switches off quickly, boots quickly and works well. No desktop, no console, very few bells and whistles. It does what an OS should, simply goes, offers basic services and some preferences and lets the apps run.

Take Firefly or Syllable, anyth OS really, and strip it down to a jump bar and then add enough REBOL apps to do things, just do something like the PS3, just be more flexible about what can be added to the task bar.

It is not as bizarre as it may sound at first -- give it a bit of thought.

dan
4-Dec-2008 7:37:15
Greg, are you suggesting an OS per task; 1 for playing games, another for word processing and another for browsing the web..?

And speaking of the PS3 you'll be in for a shock when Home arrives.

RobertS
4-Dec-2008 7:44:41
Greg, Dan

Or just messaging and resources like what could have evolved from IBM Hermes ...

out message: "If you meet an OS on a path, delete it"

Juan Juarez
4-Dec-2008 13:50:18
I can't speak for the design of the pick but the Winchester is the result of over 700 years of incremental improvements in firearm design. Personal computers haven't been around for even one tenth that amount of time. With capabilities & expectations of computers changing so rapidly, it's no wonder that systems and applications feel out of whack - we're still figuring out what computers should be doing and how to best do it.
Norman
4-Dec-2008 13:51:38
No Carl, your not getting old, the world is getting lazy! Nice post..;-)
Paul
4-Dec-2008 15:43:14
Carl, no mention of HAM radio or PIC controllers? I thought you were into that as well. Sorry to hear about those frustrations. I would trade day jobs with you any day though (I'm currently unemployed) ;-) Thanks for the update. I have learned even more about the person of Carl Sassenrath today.
Mitch
4-Dec-2008 22:38:35
Carl, so true! A Programmers Dilemna - Productivity Lost
Luis.
5-Dec-2008 1:52:19
There's world enough for both, but just like the "pile 'em high, sell 'em cheap" view that most of the industry pushes, the consumer ends up dragged along their path. So, even though there's room for all, the bloaters are taking up most of the room.

I'm more inclined to the 'doing more with less' which takes a little more than reading it as a metaphor.

What's the difference between the old mechanical typewriters and worprocessors today? Back then they wanted an 'undo', mail merge and such. Now we don't want 3 buttons for bullet points that take a double-delete to remove. Back then it was the Wetware that made them do what they needed, nowadays the Software aims to replace that 'functionality'. Neither is righ or wrong, those choices are still available.

(at)Greg Schofield: That sounds like OpenDoc. Or am I barking up the wrong module?

I'm from an assembly language, Forth, Genetix and m.i.s.c background out of choice, so I'm biased to keeping things simple. Good? Bad? Neither: Choice.

Cheers,

Luis.

Greg Schofield
5-Dec-2008 6:26:22
Luis you are so damn close, and yes standard self-declaring formats (not OpenDoc as such, but similar in intent), add in a little more RDF (which is also part of OpenDoc), you can have desktops or not (they become surprisingly irrelevant and arcane, once a few things are shifted about).

I wish I could be a bit more open about this, but I am constrained.

Think of no more file names (or at least ones you have to read or compose), and think of small, very small, data base overheads, of thousands of files being merged, separated, expanded and collapsed, archived, distributed, relocated – at will. And I am not talking of complex sophisticated programming, just a readjustment of how we think of digital storage and how things are stored (no magic here, just ordinary, but wrapped files, and some strangely structured directories trees). More an inversion than a reinvention.

I can't pretend to belong to anything very big (in fact we are laughable small and a financial embarrassment), but REBOL 3 looks like best fit for something that has been brewing for a decade or more and most of the components are now available (REBOL is one of number of critical elements, hence I really want to lay my hands on the next Alpha – especially Richtext, Draw and VID, not forgetting Parse).

dan

are you suggesting an OS per task; 1 for playing games, another for word processing and another for browsing the web..?

No, I was thinking of no desktop, just jumping into tasks/program environments. But yes I sometimes would just like to browse, or email without loading up anything much more (effectively an OS to run a single app) – minimum boot-up, minimum running overheads, fewer more powerful (useful?) system preferences and utilities. Fewer but better.

PS3's gameOS interface (I don't think Sony will let anyone really play around with it) is a model worth thinking about, simple overarching options, jump from the app to the OS bar and back again, quick booting, no fuss shutdown, and NO DESKTOP!

The desktop was a brilliant invention as a transition from command line computing, but what it really is is a visualisation of the old file keeping system, the desktop provided a visual space for accessing locality directories and opening apps in a common space. It is not anything more permanent than that, but it has grown like topsy.

AllCarl is so right in this article, though I think too many people are mistaking the wood for the trees in what he has actually said.

cmars
5-Dec-2008 6:45:22
"I like systems I can control, shape, and put to work."

Can you really claim to "control" something built on a proprietary closed platform?

Luis.
5-Dec-2008 6:53:42
(at)Greg: I don't know if IronDoc ended up heading in the direction you mention, but it seems like you're going for a combo of OpenDoc, Spatial Hypertext and something akin to Project Xanadu?

Seems to be the kind of stuff you tend to see more of in embedded systems now. I suppose they're much like the Speccy or the C64 for our time.

Cheers,

Luis.

Luis.
5-Dec-2008 7:12:33
Mr Sassenrath: Why not look for a device to cater for these needs? The Android plaform provides open hardware where Rebol could take over the OS currently in the system, rather than ride on current OS APIs? The OpenPandora Project (http://openpandora.org/) has a nice bit of kit you could target too.

Cheers,

Luis.

Adi E Kariv
5-Dec-2008 8:18:04
I was just recently exposed to REBOL , coming from complex databases field and love the REBOL elegant and lean approach.

My first association to simplicity is scalability so when any termit can carry some small weight , having enough of them they all will carry more weight then an elephant.

Rebol small footprint enables to utilize these termits or their computer equivalances - the grid devices beating any supercomputer not only on throughput but on survival too.

The termits are finally to be the winners. Eventually some of them are the mobiles devices as somebody in this forum suggested.

Reb
5-Dec-2008 9:13:24
How do Rebol and Python differ? Seems like they ought to be quite similar...
croquemitaine
5-Dec-2008 10:54:25
If the answer were there.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_real-time_operating_systems

EyeAm
5-Dec-2008 12:07:48
If the big OS companies aren't providing, well...sometimes the little guy has to turn the tables, and conquer with a shock-and-awe campaign that just doesn't stop. :)

http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=42503098

Nick
8-Dec-2008 20:45:34
I've been using Rebol for years. My business runs on Rebol scripts that I've written to handle various critical daily tasks (all of which have grown, evolved and changed over time). I've included Rebol CGI scripts on personal web sites which see significant use, and I've created countless little scripts and programs that have helped me get useful things done with my computers over the years. I continue to come back to Rebol again and again because it's simply productive. I love learning about and playing with new development and productivity tools, but nothing else has been as simple and as useful as Rebol. I get things DONE with Rebol. I have no other reason to use Rebol, except for the fact that it's allowed me to do more than I could with any other development tool. It's been one of the things that's actually made _computing_ productive in my life. Carl, I appreciate your point of view and what you've enabled me to do. In my experience, you and Rebol have been successful :)
jblake
19-Dec-2008 14:42:16
I personally do not think there will be another "Killer app. Cant we create a Rebol gui, that will use the built in services to send mail, load/write files, browse the net? And it could even pull utilities as needed. If I want to write a word doc, pull the tool. the tool could be anywhere. I'll decide where its located. If my connection is slow and it takes too long to do it remotely, I'll load it locally and make it a service to my GUI.

Blaz Segavac
26-Jan-2009 6:13:37
Greg Schofield wrote
Style blocks, page description blocks (ala PDFmaker’s approach), text blocks, object blocks, an overarching instance block, then the functions operating on them. A sensible arrangement that can be understood, modified and adapted, saved out in parts or as complete documents. A logic of flow expressed in modules handling streams of data (blocks). An instance, which is a flow of text and objects picking up style and falling into defined page sequences – a word processor that can be adapted.

Did you ever check out Squeak? It has some pretty funky text handling and effect examples. Which shows a lot of potential for enabling your ideas.

PS3's gameOS interface (I don't think Sony will let anyone really play around with it) is a model worth thinking about, simple overarching options, jump from the app to the OS bar and back again, quick booting, no fuss shutdown, and NO DESKTOP!

I believe the PS3 interface is known as the 'Crossbar'. A pretty good interface as long as the categories are well defined and easy to identify by their icons.

The type of interface you are describing sort of reminds me of what Apple developed for the iPhone, or to a lesser extent the REBOL desktop/IOS. Carl should be familiar with the iPhone interface since he has an iPhone going by one of his other posts. If you are not familiar with the iPhone interface, it consists of one or more pages of icons (know as home pages), and when you select an application (represented by an icon) it starts up taking up the whole screen. Then to exit the application just press the 'Home' button (a physical button on the device) to return to the page you launched the application from.

Greg...long time no see. :-)

jblake wrote

I personally do not think there will be another "Killer app.

Speaking of a killer application, what about some sort of store for applications written in REBOL (ala the application store for the iPhone). Ironically the application store itself has been touted as the "killer application" for the iPhone. Which would be a simple environment for discovering REBOL applications and can be easily loaded into some sort of REBOL environment. I think REBOL/IOS has something similar but I never got try REBOL/IOS.

(at)Carl...I agree with your views completely since I also come from an Amiga background (and I still occasionally dabble with my Amigas). I vote for Mac OS X as well since I have found it to be an excellent system to use, and Mac OS X has become my main system after the Amiga. There seemed to some kind of magic when it came to using Amiga OS, and where the user was the highest priority not a second class citizen like on other operating systems. I suppose it is those days are what a lot of people yearn for, and why the Amiga still has a following to this day. A little thing called "user experience".

Also it is not like Apple are not wary of bloat, and they are willing to take a step back and look at things, going by what they are trying to achieve with the Snow Leopard (v10.6) release of Mac OS X.

Duke Normandin
5-Nov-2010 19:47:29
Have you ever looked at Native Oberon OS? Evolved to A2 now. http://www.oberon.ethz.ch/

If you want simple, uncomplicated and damn near crash-proof.

Grant
28-Jun-2011 12:06:59
I often feel like many software people spend their days writing software to solve problems that other software created.
buddyontobuddy
4-Jul-2012 21:33:37
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