• "I mention Knuth because, of all the Old Masters of computer science, he is the one most interested in the relationship between computer programs and texts. Could we even suggest that a program is a text? It is, after all, a written expression of creativity. Certainly, when running, a computer game can be an artistic experience in the same way that a film, or a play can. But my concern here is not whether the program is art when it runs. I’m talking about whether its source code is a text. We could go down a bit of a rabbit-hole here about playful literary theories. Umberto Eco once reviewed a new Italian banknote as a work of art, describing it as a numbered, limited edition of engravings. But let’s concede that a functional document like a shopping list or a spreadsheet of student names is not a literary text. On the other hand, a recipe by a literary cook like Elizabeth David might be art, even though it also has function. Perhaps the relevant question is: can we experience a program as a text? Can we, in the fullest sense of the word, read it?

    A cynical answer might be that if program source codes are texts, why can’t you buy them in a bookshop?" Graham Nelson on a potted history of Inform, and then its future. The second half may be less interesting to you, but the first half is a fantastic piece of writing on literate programming, source-code-as-art, and the nature of languages. I loved this.

  • "What I find appealing about a Sapper-influenced future is the sense that we wouldn’t have to be so careful not to break, to spill, to let sentiment intrude or go over our daily calories. That future can be made of almost anything, can stack neatly and doesn’t require custom furniture to fit its curves. We might not need to waste energy on stairs, elevators, and ziplines to get us to our clifftops like James Bond villains. We wouldn’t have to figure out how to open a closed pod without tactile or visual cues. We would not be living up to our future, it would be working for us." From the Thinkpad outward – notes on Richard Sapper, and the kind of industrial design I can get behind.