view from Alan Dix
what is MagiSoft
MagiSoft began at the HCI96 conference at Imperial College, London. I was giving a talk on risk and undo. The talk involved sawing my assistant's arm off, with the help of MagiSoft Wand versions 5 and 6 (which as any magician knows have slightly different magical properties). It was such a nice image that I also used it on my change of address cards. Of course, it was only those who came to my talk who knew why!
Since then it has been the place I put the occasional oddity and comment that doesn't really belong anywhere else.
I hope you find things here to inspire and intrigue you.
If you think about it, the world of computing is rather like the world of magic.
You even get UNIX wizards!
Some systems try to bring it all down to earth - desktop metaphors and virtual reality.
But if you want reality, the real thing is infinitely better.
What you get from computers is strange and unreal - you click on a link and you could end up anywhere. Not like the real world at all. In fact a bit magic.
Undo is certainly rather like that.
We've all had times in life when we wish we could turn the clock back, just step back a moment and unsay what we've just said, or undo what we've just done.
You can't do it in real life, but you can with computers.
Now that's magic!
lies, damned lies and higher education
At the HCI'96 conference where MagiSoft was born, I also gave a tutorial on "Understanding Statistics" where I asked if anyone knew the origin of "lies , damn lies and statistics".
Many thanks to Cecilia Finnerty who looked it up in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations which says that it was said by Benjamin Disraeli but attributed to Mark Twain.
My Penguin Dictionary of Quotations doesn't have this in for either Benjamin Disraeli or Mark Twain, but does give their two contrasting viewpoints on higher education:
things to read
If computers are strange and magical, then quantum mechanics certainly is!
Inspired by Schrödinger's cat I have devised an experiment in which Charm the Quantum Dog is locked in a room with cyanide yet survives.
Ever wondered why scrollbars are on the right-hand side? In fact, it is
likely that the left-hand side is better, but in every interface siince
the Xerox Star the scroll bar has been on the right. Why? I think people
are worried about virtual hands
across the screen.
watch the rain fall in Gheisra.
try out the amazing dancing histograms (needs Java).
not to be confused with
magisoft.com a software consulting firm in Southern California
magisoft spol. s r. o. a software company in Slovakia
microsoft.com ... you know who
|http://www.magisoft.co.uk/||Alan Dix 6/8/1998|