Why Write Books

We've run into some coding difficulties deep in the core of wiki while exploring an improved Print Plugin. The questions escalate to those of representing dynamic behavior in a static medium. Here we explore how wiki should cooperate with ebooks and print on demand.

Re-reading a long piece of congressional testimony on computers in schools a sentence jumped out at me.

> Now computers can be television-like, book-like, and "like themselves."

This appeared near the end where Alan Kay explained television was good at telling stories, books were good for stories AND carefully reasoned arguments, and, finally, computers were good for stories, arguments, AND, modeling dynamic system behavior.

So this suggests the better challenge. Federated wiki should aspire not to make a better way to write a book, but a way to write something better than a book. Wiki should allow computers to be more "like themselves".

# Supplement

We suggest that modern multi-platform book production could be extended from wide, linear formats to include wiki's narrow and non-linear hypertext.

How might a work be “abridged for reuse”? How might those impacted by a work want to mash it up with their own? The tradition has been citation. But how might a “sequential collaborator” take the essential ideas and most leveraged thoughts and incorporate them in their work like passing genes on to our children?

Imagining adding additional styles to a work that a book designer would be sure are represented well in their professional tools and files so that the abridgment could be automatic and in line with the author’s, wishes.

I say abridged for reuse because I’m inventing a new concept and suggesting that it could be a profound consequence of our work. I would rather have a glorious name for what I am suggesting, the “meiotic contribution” perhaps. Following a progression of forms:

ebook ⇒ print on demand ⇒ wiki hypertext

electronic ⇒ kinesthetic ⇒ meiotic

# Augment

We further suggest many authors, including the original authors, can usefully employ wiki's dynamic capabilities in conjunction with a publications organized content.

WikiPLACE is short for Wiki-based Pattern Language Adaptive Calculator of Externalities. It calculates the predicted change to a given externality, such as greenhouse gas emissions per person, in response to certain kinds of urban design changes. The changes are represented in the model by patterns -- descriptions of urban design features that fit into a network or language.

As with any language, this "pattern language" is a flexible system that makes it possible to quickly construct different configurations and explore how they perform. The configurations can be easily adapted to specific kinds of problems and contexts.