Recent journal entries

August 2013 to present

Journal, July 9, 2013

Pavitra, KathAveara, Xander, and Calum Traveler have already posted Writing experiments. And I am already astounded by the range of ideas that I have seen.

Thank you!

Journal, July 5, 2013

There’s now an area in the Seltani gallery where anybody can display books. Go nuts.

Anybody can remove books from that collection, too, so it’s not a permanent solution. But to aid you in your book-wrangling, I’ve built a “Basic Library” world. It’s simply a room with three bookshelves. Anybody can look at the shelves, but only the instance owner can add or remove books from them.

(Eventually, of course, you’ll be able to build your own libraries too.)

Journal, July 2, 2013

I think we’re ready to roll. I’ve spent the past couple of days documenting everything I can think of about my Writing algorithms.

I’ve set up my notes in a small Age I call Ascheta — from a Greek root meaning “trial, exercise”. It’s got paper, ink, pens, reference books, documentation, the lot. Everything you need to get started.

This is of course nowhere near everything. In particular, the derivation of a linking book from a descriptive book is too fiddly to explain clearly. So you can build an Age, but there’s no way to make it publicly available right now. I’m working on this!

In the meantime... the Ascheta linking book is in the Seltani gallery, in the niche. (I hung up some balloons.) Have a look. Make a home. Build a world.

Journal, June 20, 2013

Added a new book in the Goldspring study. It’s a one-room Age, nothing impressive. I had this notion for a chemical phosphorescence reaction, and sort of interpolated an Age structure around that. The result seems to be underground photosynthetic plant life (!), but not actually alive. So either I derived the ontology wrong or there’s something else I missed.

By the way, I’ve stopped making regular trips to refill the diesel generator at the Goldspring entrance. Too busy. Just fill the tank if you see it’s run dry.

Journal, June 16, 2013

I’ve redesigned the levers in the Sotusano tower. It’s now a double-escapement system, so you can watch the staircase go up. More fun this way.

(This was also a test of my fine control. Editing the Sotusano descriptive book in place was tricky, and the levers stopped working for a couple of days. But I’ve got it sorted out now.)

Journal, June 14, 2013

Set out a better assortment of jellybeans at the orientation table.

Journal, June 8, 2013

Yesterday I swept the district plaza one more time, laid out some of my Age books in a handy assembly chamber, and topped off the diesel generator on Goldspring. Then I linked to the surface and left a stack of booklets on the side table at a Guild of Writers meetup.

Looks good! I’ve only had a few visitors so far, but the roof didn’t fall in on them. The worst problem was a highlighting bug in the booklet index — I’ll look at the Arduino code this weekend.

We spent some time talking about how the New Writers might develop. I do not want to wind up as the gatekeeper of a new demi-Guild, deciding which Ages are in or out for the rest of my life. (Either by placing books in the district library, or by creating a replacement “Nexus”.)

Ideally, once there are many Age links to collect, other people will start building their own libraries. (I have a sample one designed already, although I haven’t finalized the book.) I can then just stock the district with links to libraries. In fact, it will eventually be possible for people to offer each other links directly — like you can do with a Relto book — so people could get on entirely without me.

Of course none of this is meaningful until I document the Age-writing process and get it into everybody’s hands. So, back to work.

Journal, May 30, 2013

The past few days have been terrible for restoration work. I apologize. I was out of town for the US holiday, and this week I need to concentrate on an unrelated project.

I did make some notes on a new Age, a tiny floating ecosystem. Next week, I’ll get back to Goldspring and start sorting out the ontographical basis for the work. But right now, I have to write code. And mail the rent check.

You know how when you only want to work on one thing, and it’s not everything else you need to work on?

Journal, May 23, 2013

It’s always a few more features, isn’t it?

My original plan was to hack open a few genuine ki devices and add some components, so that they’d sync with my linking booklets. But I don’t want to rely on Gahreesen access. Second plan: buy a bunch of iPod Touches and hack them... yeah, too expensive.

What I’ve got now is an Arduino controller, glued right into the back cover of the booklet. It runs a D’ni transform grammar that integrates with the “live” ink self-representation of the book pages. Presto: a dynamic status display! Shows your current Age, instance, and (as a bonus) who created the place. (By cross-link to the booklet of the writer. Obviously, all me at this point, but I’ve done some testing with aliased booklets.)

This will also serve for contact info, messages, etc, when I get to that stage. Pulling out a “tablet” to check this stuff isn’t as cool as looking at the back of your hand. Sorry! But mass manufacture is more important at this point.

In other news, I’ve decided that Goldspring isn’t the best gathering point for a new community. Too small! I’ve started clearing out a neighborhood district on the Cavern wall. I think it’s a few centuries older than Bevin or Kirel, and the lamps don’t work, but it’s a nice space and we can probably clear more buildings if it gets crowded.

I’ll keep using Goldspring as my personal study, and a library of my in-progress experiments.

I’m still hoping to start inviting people downstairs in early June. It’s just a question of getting the district tidied up, and then finishing a couple of solid Ages to demonstrate the model.

Journal, May 18, 2013


(I’ve always wanted to write that in a journal.)

The linking book for Goldspring Island lies open on the table before me. I pick up my freshly-made booklet, open it to a blank page, and press it face-down onto the Goldspring linking page.

I feel the tingle of contact. When I lift the booklet, it has been impressed with a copy of the Goldspring linking panel. The image is clearly live.

The final test: I hold the booklet in one hand and lay my other hand on the new page. The world dissolves, and I am standing on the Lake shore — with the booklet. Reflexive linking!

No, I am not become Yeesha. I suspect she constructed Relto along completely different lines. My technique relies on the referential structure built into my linking books. I couldn’t copy one of the old D’ni books this way. (Much less the mysterious Bahro tablets.) Nonetheless, the effect is the same.

It won’t be hard to manufacture these booklets. Add a Goldspring link to each one, then start passing them out among the old Uru crowd... I need to add a few features before I go public, but I’m close.

Journal, May 13, 2013

I have just linked from the surface to the Cavern, and then back to the surface, using linking books of my own design.

A few months ago I had a insight into the referential structure of the Descriptive Book vs the Linking Book — a way to model the “pronouns” of Writing more efficiently. (See Barwise and Etchemendy, 1987.) The possibility of intra-Age linking fell right out. More: I am confident that I can produce a “travelling book”, with linking pages for my home and the Cavern, and carry it with me as I link back and forth.

Never mind those “magic” tricks. They’re not important.

I believe that, with these techniques, an Age might be Written in less time than we are used to. I mean tremendously less time — days, rather than weeks or months. I realize this sounds absurd. But the math works so far, and I have some Ages-in-progress that may be usable after only hours of Writing work. (I have not yet tested them — I wanted to finish the surface link first!)

I trust you all realize the potential implications. I do not want — in no way do I want to lessen the Writing work done by the Guild of Writers over the past years. My Writing techniques are not the same; my Ages have an indefinably different quality; the one cannot be mistaken for the other.

But if people can produce and share Ages without the obstacles that have plagued us — it could be the start of a new chapter for us all.