Apples actual response to the Flash issue

Michael Kann mikekann at
Sun May 2 18:08:28 EDT 2010


Take it up with this guy:

He's spent thirty-five years thinking about the same issues.

--- On Sun, 5/2/10, Randall Reetz <randall at> wrote:

> From: Randall Reetz <randall at>
> Subject: Re: Apples actual response to the Flash issue
> To: "How to use Revolution" <use-revolution at>
> Date: Sunday, May 2, 2010, 4:39 PM
> OK, Ian, I promised I would respond
> and here goes.  Sorry I didn't before, I had assumed
> your questions were rhetorical.
> When I say that software hasn't changed I mean to say that
> it hasn't jumped qualitative categories.  We are still
> living in a world where computing exists as pre-written and
> compiled software that is blindly executed by machines and
> stacked foundational code that has no idea what it is
> processing, can only process linearly, all semantics have
> been stripped, it doesn't learn from experience or react to
> context unless this too has been pre-codified and frozen in
> binary or byte code, etc. etc etc.  Hardware has been
> souped up.  So our little wrote tricks can be made more
> elaborate within the substantial confines mentioned. 
> These same in-paradigm restrictions apply to both the
> software users slog through and the software we use to write
> software.
> As a result, these very plastic machines with mercurial
> potential are reduced to simple players that react to user
> interrupts.  They are sequencing systems, not unlike
> the lead type setting racks of Guttenburg-era printing
> presses.  Sure we have taught them some interesting
> seeming tricks – if you can represent something as digital
> media, be it sound, video, multi-dimentional graph space,
> markup – our sequencer doesn't know enough to care.
> Current processors are capable of 6.5 million instructions
> per second but are used less than a billionth of available
> cycles by the standard users running standard
> software.    The current paradigm absolutely
> abhors processor access not initiated by user input. 
> But even if it had the inclination to get some work down on
> its own… what would it do?  It doesn't know anything
> about anything so deciding what to do as the day progresses
> is impossible.
> As regards photo editing software, anyone aware of the
> history of image processing will recognize that most of the
> stuff seen in photoshop and other programs was proposed and
> executed on systems long before some guys in france
> democratized these algorithms for consumer use and had their
> code acquired by adobe.  It used to be called array
> arithmetic and applied smoothly to images divided up into a
> grid of pixels.  None of these systems "see" an image
> for its content except as an array of numbers that can be
> crunched sequentially like a spread sheet.
> It was only when object recognition concepts were applied
> to photos that any kind of compositional grammar could be
> extracted from an image and compared as parts to other
> images similarly decomposed.  This is a form of
> semantic processing and has its parallels in other media
> like text parsers and sound analysis software.
> Semantics opens the door to the building of systems that
> "understand" the content they process.  That is the
> promised second revolution in computation that really hasn't
> seen any practical light of day as of yet.  Data mining
> really isn't semantically mindful, simply uses statistical
> reduction mechanisms to guess at the existence of the
> location of pattern ( a good first step but missing the
> grammatical hierarchy necessary to work towards a self
> optimized and domain independent ability to detect and
> represent salience in the stacked grammar that makes up any
> complex system.
> Such systems will need to work all of the time.  ALL
> OF THE TIME!  Only pausing momentarily to pay attention
> to our interactions as needed.  Once they are running,
> these systems will subsume all of the manual activity we
> have been made to perform to this day.  Think "fly by
> wire" for processing.  Gone is the need to discreetly
> encode every single bit in exactly the only possible
> sequence.  We simply wont be able to know what bits are
> being processed, who or what made them, and more
> importantly, we won't have to care.
> What it means is the difference between writing a letter
> and our computer interceding by understanding the
> meta-intent of the wrote and inefficient processes we engage
> in today – what are letters for?  What resources is
> this user or entity after and why?  Who has those
> resources?  Whom of those who have the desired
> resources need something that we might have in
> exchange?  How are the vectors of intent among all
> entities entangled and grouped and how can our systems work
> towards the optimization of this global intent matrix?
> So, when I use the word "revisionist" I am calling
> attention to the old sheep dressed up in new clothing but
> still being sheep.  Software feature creep is not
> really evolving software.  As the good programmers at
> REV know, most of the work to maintain a product is incurred
> just keeping current of changes in the OS substrate on which
> they run.  This rarely results in qualitative paradigm
> jumps.
> That the jump is so long in coming is understandable. 
> It is easy to send a punch card through a machine and have
> it react accordingly every time.  The jump from wrote
> execution of static code to self aware semantically self
> optimized pattern engines is a big big big jump.  But
> it isn't as big as it might at first seem.  It is
> happening.  It will happen.  And computing will
> finally result in the kind of substantial increase in
> productivity that its expense requires.
> Randall Reetz
> On May 2, 2010, at 12:32 PM, Ian Wood wrote:
> > 
> > On 2 May 2010, at 20:13, Randall Lee Reetz wrote:
> > 
> >> So, how about some content?  A substantive
> rebuttal?  Putting your ideas out there for all to
> see?
> > 
> > How about replying to direct questions asked of you,
> for instance why facial recognition is revolutionary but
> content-aware fill isn't? Or why the examples of things
> facial recognition is being used for *now* in consumer
> products is 'Almost nothing'.
> > 
> > It would also be useful if you could explain what you
> mean by revisionist applications. I *assume* you are talking
> about apps that are evolutionary rather than revolutionary
> in how they change what people do with them, but it's not
> clear and 'revisionist' has some very specific
> connotations.
> > 
> > Ian
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