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PAX Front End Demo

That said, we were then treated to a quickie demo, "made few days ago," in MacroMind Director (I think), projected off a Macintosh with color screen. First we saw how an animated sequence of a 1960 Parallel Textface version might have looked on upper-case alphanumerics-only screens of that time [LM 87.1 4/76], then a static view of a later QFrame, edge-linked text-tiles [LM 87.1 4/77]. Then "a ‘rigged demo,’ where only certain parts function, so you have to know where to point and click; a quickie, very rudimentary demo of a [modern] Xanadu front-end, of which many visualizations are possible." The initial image showed three rectangular buttons arranged horizontally along the upper part of the black viewport, labelled Journal, Projects, and Publications, as well as three vertically placed ones along the left edge, labelled ToDo, Schedule, Coresp (spelled that way).

Clicking on the Projects button on the screen made a menu unfurl, displaying the following items (invisible from any distance, had to work real hard to get it all down; may not be exact):

Show Docuverse
Show Personal Collection
Select Endset
Show Linkset
Renegotiate Specs
Show Individual Link

Next, clicking:

  • ‘Show Docuverse’ displayed a space darkness, filled with small white rectangles of various (4-character-cell at best) sizes.
  • ‘Show Personal Collection’ showed a subset of that; i.e., most of the white specs disappeared.
  • ‘Select Endset’ opened a white square window halfway down the screen, with the name of the selected document (one of possible list of docs?) and the name of author in smaller, separate side rectangles. A third windoid still, below the square one, contained a type of document ‘Technical specifications’ or something similar.
  • ‘Show Linkset’ displayed a collection of thin blue lines, arranged in a fan from the document’s square to the right-hand edge of screen. A small rectangle, superimposed across it, told of the number of recorded links, some 44,600-odd.
  • ‘Renegotiate Specs’ (specs not supplied) made this fan thinner, down to some hundred lines. Finally, clicking the
  • ‘Show Individual Link’ button and then on one of these lines opened another windoid below the main square one, with the linkee’s name and the type of link made to the original text (‘technical comment’). Now, presumably, one could request the comment or some additional information about it (size, date, etc.) from the back-end, had there been one in existence nearby (and if the linkee’s name sounded familiar? trustworthy? or whatever-the sublimal-feeling-selection-method-of-the-day).

That was it. The concluding screen showed large bluish PAX (Public Access Xanadu) letters, with a zooming take of a street in perspective inside the ‘A.’ The ‘PAX’ was framed by the words ‘Welcome Home’ above and ‘Everyone’ below. Weeelll, maybe. Then again maybe not. I wouldn’t know, I’ve got to keep an appointment for a fitting of that damn polyester suit.

all double-quoted contributions by Ted Nelson (29%)
all [LM 87.1 chapter/page] pointers refer to the 87.1 edition

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