the power of the structure and of the user

aug 2, 2023
katerina to andre
have to say i really like this kind of reacting to each other, it feels a bit like sending and receiving letters 〰️ i've been thinking about a few things lately, which i'd like to write about today. update: a few days passed since then, it's taking me a bit more time this time around. ## wtf is: living i'm sitting on a plane right now, travelling back to czech rep after nearly a month spent in italy. last ~year left me feeling a bit disoriented and my life in quite a mess. because i went back to live with my parents for an indefinite period of time, i felt like i needed this time for myself to softly sort through some things. normally i'd be intuitively choosing a more north-oriented destination, but something told me i should maybe do it differently this time and it was… a journey lol. too much sound, too much smell, too much naïveté going hand in hand with a little disillusion after. but after a while i got into a pleasurable routine, found grocery shops i liked and even a really nice *gelateria* i went to so often i even got comfortable with answering *ciao*. 1 — pistachio, 2 — hazelnut, 3 — peanut after a month by myself i feel i can say i don't need much, but what i definitely want to treasure and cultivate more is a feeling of calmness. not really that quick emergency kind, but a more or less steady state of mind, sorry to sound so cliché! i feel like i can see now that it contradicts with living in a city, for which i can't find that many ups now, or more accurately, i feel like my perception of things i considered as ups were based on more of a fantasy than lived reality. i feel like out of the city i can feel things more intensely because i’m not too overwhelmed all the time, can really immerse myself into the things i want, somehow still have more time and energy generally and don't even have the feeling of being rushed. because i was experiencing life in this “new way”, i got back into my little research project called [wtf is: living]( and started to think about what i should do with my life (and home and living) next. (': ## the power of the structure and of the user thank you for the [project mage] ( link, you were right, i really enjoy walking through it! i read the elevator pitch and skipped through *the power of structure*, the atmosphere of the web is 〰️. it leads me into a few things i’m also thinking about: the *power-user* problematic and what should *the structure* be inside the ideal writing tool. i sort of grew up on the computer while being quite interested in what it, and the internet, can do. but would i consider myself a power-user? not sure. i feel like there're at least two kinds of effectivity. someone who is the power-user probably sets the computer in a way that optimises his or hers activity via using time-management tools and techniques, task managers, note taking systems, timers etc, all this creating quite complicated ecosystem of co-dependent tools, pre-sets and add-ons. i feel like it follows similar patterns and principles like social media to keep our attention, not so much in a mindful way, but more fragmented and out of our control. i feel like this kind of effectivity makes us dependent on the computer in an unhealthy way, making our actions less mindful and less intuitive, like we're being operated by the computer and not the other way around — that's the other kind of effectivity i have in mind. making everything really simple to understand and operate. the least amount of possible distractions, easy and intuitive way to do the things i want to do, the maximum but optional customizability. this is probably my personal issue but i feel like any more "complicated" tool or software tends to be quite overwhelming for me and i get quite pissed before i even use it. right now i’m writing in dropbox paper and idk why i need to see so many random things around i’m not even using or clicking on, and i feel like dropbox paper has less of those than most of other similar tools? i even get quite passionate about saying that markdown, slash commands and even selecting a word or sentence is too complicated for a casual user and we have to come up with a more simple and intuitive way so no one has to learn anything new and complicated. just using the computer lightly for the operation one wants. i feel like maybe those are the good properties of paper — the ease and a sense of purpose of connecting something with drawing an arrow, or underlining a few words out of a sentence. i feel like it's more part of the personal and intuitive process, not so much learned and defined practices. ## a few random excerpts that seem relevant (to something somehow): > a text is any object that can be "read” — [Text (literary theory)] (, Wikipedia > And look: this kind of editing isn't limited to some special objects. You can teach a lens to edit anything: a data structure, some container, some database, whatever. You can edit any sort of objects, in the general sense. (…) See, the problem with traditional string-based editing is that you can't treat anything like an object or a specialized structure. If you can't do that, then you don't have any power whatsoever. You can't discriminate between things. You can't persistently identify unique objects. And you have barely any control over how you can enforce structure. If you don't have those powers, then you end up with the inefficiencies of interaction and performance. Everything simply becomes hard if you don't have the powers of object identification and structural enforcement. And the string-based editors don't. They assume that a general data structure that fits all purposes is fine. It's not. — [The Elevator Pitch](, Project Mage > from this perspective, there is only text (in a very broad sense) and the only activity we actually do and can do is reading, even if we hear or feel or experience something or whatever, so it can be said that we "only" read the information > that's why I treat all content as part of the text in the sketches, whether it's an image or a player or whatever and then I find it quite interesting to deal with basic data structures in the computer, like an array or a linked list, because I feel that everything in the computer is just a "linear sequence of things" aka text, so it seems to me like the most straightforward, primitive and native way to "create something on the computer” — @namelessnobody, community-software.axdx discord server (translated) > String-based editors never accept the simple fact of reality that information has structure. Instead, the tooling has to take on that responsibility, post-factum. — [The Elevator Pitch](, Project Mage especially this segment in the pitch seems relevant to the structure of *something* inside the writing tool: > (a) information has structure
> (b) structure tends to be compound. `"Hello, world!"`
`("Hello" "," " " "world" "!")`
`(("Hello" ",") " " ("world" "!"))` — [The Elevator Pitch](, Project Mage ## little update to the blog i edited the first post mostly in html, so i wanted to come up with a more comfortable solution. i installed a js markdown tag that converts my .md file from dropbox paper to html, but doesn't work exactly the way i'd want it to. i was thinking about connecting it somehow to notes on my phone, and come across [this project](, so i want to have a look at it and see if i can create something similar on my own. ## the city-website.axdx project (or sites.axdx) i really want to write a more comprehensive introduction for you and tell you more about it in general, which for some reason is hard for me to grasp right now. i’ll try to write small bits here and there for the next log instead of trying to write a long "elegantly composed" text and hopefully it’ll make at least some sense. i feel it's important to do it because i feel like i'm interested in similar things in both sites.axdx and writer.axdx and the situation right now feels a bit fragmented. that's probably the reason why it's hard to grasp it easily.

what i'm looking forward to read!

i also have a lot of opened tabs of things i want to go through and read, including links from your log and f i n a l l y software and anarchy. i'd like to try to write about it right away and post a shorter log in a shorter time span, because after a while i keep forgetting (:

until next time!