[Humanist] 30.753 hands on

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Fri Feb 17 07:11:32 CET 2017


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 30, No. 753.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org



        Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2017 00:58:57 +0000
        From: Susan Ford <susan.ford at anu.edu.au>
        Subject: RE:  30.748 hands on
        In-Reply-To: <20170215062439.DBB138A0F at digitalhumanities.org>


Hi Joris, Willard and Bill

One thing about software which has needed attention after the first generation, and still does, is the user interface.

I admit to owning a mobile phone (cheapest one I could find as a compromise with none at all) yet it has I have just discovered a beautiful interface for setting the alarm time: one changes two sets of digits separately, one for the hour, one for the minutes and at the same time sees an 'analogue' version (i.e. a normal clock face) change in concord.  This sounds unremarkable, and in fact some would criticise it as an interface because the clock face is obviously redundant. However for some reason I have not yet figured out, this interface is very pleasing to me.  A pair of unequal length sticks rotating on the same pivot at different rates past an anulus of numbers is analogous to time in representing continuity, though by having an hour hand to accumulate the minute hand travel seems ot represent discontinuity. The first thing anyone notices who designs a software system and then tries to optimise for one aspect of 'usability' - response time - is that a second is a long time - a wait - to the mind; and what happens when you 'wait' for the system? The precise mediated and meditated interaction between mind and mechanism which is what one thinks about when (I presume) one builds a clock would be a delight to explore in a clock-making session at a DH conference, as Joris suggests.             

Susan
(susan.ford at anu.edu.au)
________________________________________
> From: humanist-bounces at lists.digitalhumanities.org [humanist-bounces at lists.digitalhumanities.org] on behalf of Humanist Discussion Group [willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk]
> Sent: 15 February 2017 17:24
> To: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
> Subject: [Humanist] 30.748 hands on

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 30, No. 748.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    Joris van Zundert <joris.van.zundert at huygens.knaw.nl>     (75)
        Subject: Re:  30.746 hands on?

  [2]   From:    Bill Pascoe <bill.pascoe at newcastle.edu.au>                (56)
        Subject: Re:  30.746 hands on?

--[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2017 08:55:15 +0000
        From: Joris van Zundert <joris.van.zundert at huygens.knaw.nl>
        Subject: Re:  30.746 hands on?
        In-Reply-To: <20170214083118.A26B38606 at digitalhumanities.org>

Dear Willard,

It would involve non trivial preparation and in itself would not be trivial
and effortless, but neither is computing: I'd recommend a clock makers
workshop.

- Clock making is a highly skilled craft, yet with proper means and
instruction anyone can device a simple mechanical clock.
- It requires understanding of transformation, mechanism, formalization.
- Clocks have an interface (the hour plate and hands).
- They have discrete parts with discrete functions (the minute hand and its
wheel, the escapement, the pendulum/spring).
- They have input (gravity) and output (time indication, not time itself
obviously, however convenient it would be).
- A workshop is probably doable by using Legos as course material.

I admit that it is less intimate to humanities than calligraphy or
bibliography, but a nice philosophical/historical lecture on the relation
between time and humans could mitigate that maybe?

If anyone is organizing one for DH2018, I'd like to reserve a spot.

Cheers
--Joris

On Tue, 14 Feb 2017 at 09:31, Humanist Discussion Group <
willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk> wrote:

>
>                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 30, No. 746.
>             Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                        www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>                 Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
>
>
>
>         Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2017 07:45:38 +0000
>         From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
>         Subject: hands on
>
>
> There are a number of practices in which physical craftsmanship and digital
> making rub up against each other if not mingle, even interpenetrate. Let's
> think about these practices for a moment.
>
> It may be that my personal history and training exert a prejudicial
> influence that limits the appeal of how I think about digital humanities.
> Perhaps that history and training explain why in reading Tim Ingold's
> illuminating book, Making: Anthropology, archaeology, art and architecture
> (2013), I am drawn eagerly to the pedagogical expressions of his
> anthropology in such class exercises as weaving baskets and see in them
> (changing what needs to be changed) a model for training digital humanists.
>
> The link between baskets and computing was made explicit to me this morning
> by the announcement of the Rare Book Summer School (Humanist 30.742), which
> quoted a former student as saying, "œI will never look at a book -- ”any
> book -- ”the same way again." (Would that all digitizers of books had such
> experience!) As a much younger man I once studied and then taught
> bookbinding, and then as a graduate student at Toronto studied analytical
> bibliography, and so, yes, have never looked at a book -- any book -- the
> same way again. But the lesson from those experiences and others, the
> acquiring of 'Fingerspitzengefühl' as experimental physicists call it, grew
> from books and writing to flesh out and animate the idea of craftsmanship.
> And that in turn (I am guessing!) has had much to do with how I think about
> computing, down to the extravagant engineering of the hardware so well
> concealed and so important in the machines we use.
>
> Programming is one way of teaching our digital makers, but I fear that it
> is
> too much in the head to make that link with craftsmanship. (Long ago I took
> to assembler-language programming immediately because -- more guessing -- I
> already had the feeling for it from making things with wood and metal as a
> child.) Physical bibliography is closer, bookbinding and calligraphy closer
> yet. What would you recommend?
>
> Yours,
> WM
> --
> Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor, Department of Digital
> Humanities, King's College London; Adjunct Professor, Western Sydney
> University and North Carolina State University; Editor,
> Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (www.tandfonline.com/loi/yisr20)





More information about the Humanist mailing list