... last night i was working on some design issues for plasma and was having a hard time getting into the right frame of mind so i put my shoes on, grabbed a book of the shelf and went across the street to the pub. the book was "cyberspace: first steps" (isbn 0-262-02327). published in '91 by the mit press, it's a collection of essays on the future of "cyberspace" written by architects, authors and computer science type people. it's poetic and dreamy, and completely missed the real future. it's very much in the genre of the dreamy eyed predictions in the 50s that we'd all have flying cars and eat meal pills for dinner. the authors are serious, and seriously smitten with the future, and completely off base with their predictions. but there's a lot of intriguing thought in the essays, so i find it great for inspiration. which is what i needed. and no, i haven't gotten to newfoundland yet.
i was sitting at the bar with a pint in hand thoroughly and happily absorbed in an essay called "liquid architectures in cyberspace" (see, flying cars ;) when a group of people filled in the bar next to me. they were talking and what not and obviously in couples. well, the girl sitting next to me, who i will call A since that was the first initial of her name (and now we grow close to newfoundland!), kept glancing over. see, here in calgary it's uncommon to see people engrossed in anything intellectual in public places let alone at a pub. not that it doesn't happen, but when it does it kind of stands out. personally, i could care less. i wanted to have a think outside the house and that was what i was going to do. anyways, A. ends up picking up a newspaper and starts reading it. which causes something of a domino effect down the bar until the whole length of the bar is now reading papers and magazines (save me, with my book). so i say, "wow, this is like a library. only with beer." and A. replies, "best fucking library i've ever been to." i love people.
so i go to the washroom and on my way back out i see that she's picked up my book and is looking at it. she replaces it as i cross the room and pulled innocence, but as i sat down i said " i saw you looking at the book." she gave that "i'm caught, but i'm not sure if i'm trouble" look. i continue, enjoying the awkwardness, "it's about the internet, written just as it was about to become mainstream. it reminds me of the 'kitchen of the future' type stuff from the middle of last century." this landed us in the middle of a great conversation about all sorts of things. best of all, (inside joke alert) she didn't bring up the pope or try and teach me a foreign alphabet.
turns out she's from newfoundland originally (aha! finally!) and just finished her bachelors in neurobiology. a newfoundlander neurobiologist. not easy to say, but a good combination it seems. she's here prepping for her masters at UofC. we ended up doing the crossword from the paper together and managed to finish it in good time. her boyfriend didn't seem to impressed with all this, but whatever. smart young people who are good conversationalists, can do crosswords whilst drinking, are passionate about their career, who even have a career more interesting than "i work in an office" and who knows how to party a bit are far too rare in these parts to let something small like that get in the way.
i ended up getting quite a few things worked out design wise with regards to plasma in my head during all this, though that has led to several more questions that i must now hunt down and kill. er, answer.
all in all, i came out of it with the following four realizations:
- newfoundland is a complete misnomer
- plasma needs to provide means for plasmoids to collaborate over the network so that our desktops can be used for team work
- some applications *cough*kopete*cough* need to be more finely composed of parts (think: at the widget level), for which kparts isn't quite right but for which plasmoids may be perfect
- neurobiology is cool