Theodor Holm Nelson will be teaching a possibly final, or 'bucket',
course on all his computer work and ideas. The title is "CINEMA OF
THE MIND: Philosophy and Art of Designing Interaction" (Computer
Science 194, U.C. Santa Cruz, winter quarter 2013). ☛ Further course
details will be found at the end of this note.
Dr. Nelson is an independent designer and thinker who for fifty
years-- since before others imagined personal computing or
screen-to-screen publishing-- has had deep designs for a computer
world very different from that we now face. While Microsoft, Apple
and the Web veered backward, imitating the past and paper, Nelson
always designed for the screens-only world we are at last approaching.
Nelson's Xanadu document designs, well known if not well understood,
are generally recognized as precursors to the World Wide Web. His
broader alternative software designs, and their radical theoretical
underpinnings, are not well known. This course boosts their survival
and the chance some may eventually prevail.
While other software depicts time as conventional clocks and
calendars, Nelson shows it as a spiral that can be tightened to
nanoseconds or opened to the lifetime of the universe, wherein you can
reconcile people's schedules for next week or annotate historical
theories. While others' bookkeeping systems show only money, Nelson's
applies to all exchanges-- money, Christmas cards, favors, grudges.
Instead of today's isolating "apps" and social cattle pens, he plans a
sharable, unifying world of interactive diagrams that zoom to all work
and reading, with everything annotatable.
His radical infrastructure includes automatically-coupling data
structures, an operating system without hierarchy, and
connection-lines between the contents of windows. These lead to a
completely different computer world, and-- he fervently hopes-- a
different human life around them.
All of this is viewed through Nelson's Schematic Philosophy, offering
new terminology and diagrammatics for analyzing complex subjects.
=== COURSE DETAILS
The class is scheduled for Wednesday afternoons from 4 to 7:30,
Engineering 2, room 399. A typical class will consist of a discussion
session, a tough lecture, a break, an easy lecture, and another
There will be two midterm examinations and a final. Projects for
extra credit (leading to a possible A+) must be negotiated in the
first three weeks.
The course is open not just to UCSC undergraduate and graduate
students, but to outsiders as well, via a process known as "Concurrent
Enrollment." Outsider tuition cost appears to be $1355 ($100
application fee for Concurrent Enrollment, plus $1255 tuition). Two
forms are required: "Concurrent Enrollment Application" to join the
university loosely, at
(to be mailed or faxed to the University with the $100-- or $65 if
before 14 December)
and a form to be signed by the instructor and sent in with tuition payment, at
(final deadline appears to be in mid-January).
More details (not necessarily all consistent) are at: