Dawkins Interview in '95

Wired had an article in 1995 that, bless their enterprising little hearts, is still available lo these many years later online, about Richard Dawkins, Mr. Meme-Coiner himself. Here’s a quote: Dawkins’s revolutionary evolutionary rhetoric has particularly inspired researchers of artificial life. Indeed, Dawkins’s work has created new contexts for exploring genetic algorithms and has sensitized the growing community of artificial-life researchers to the evolutionary dynamics of their software creations. Much as Herbert Simon and Marvin Minsky framed the agenda for artificial intelligence, Richard Dawkins has effectively defined the evolutionary agendas for artificial life. If you want to understand the future of natural and synthetic evolution, you have to read Richard Dawkins.

Now what?

I’ve been using a blog for a couple of years now at drewspace, but it’s pretty limited to the few things Blogger is good at. So I went whole-hog on this here Movable Type extravaganza. But now it almost feels like too much tool for me. Blogger was simple… once I had it figured out, I only had one thing to worry about: posting something now and then to my page. Now with all these other tools available, it’s a little intimidating. MT itself doesn’t come with that much more power on the surface, but it’s much more extensible. Gets me thinking about what it must feel like to companies and departments who spend upwards of a million bucks on a huge new IT tool, only to end up using a fraction of it. (Like getting a Cuisinart, only to end up using it the same way you used your old blender.
For example, I have a category field sitting above the little box I’m typing this into. I haven’t set up any categories yet. Why? Well, I guess I just have no idea what the heck I’m going to categorize and how. I don’t have time for that. I just want to rant on about something and hit a button.
Well, I’m not taking the old blog down for a while, if ever, but I don’t have time to do two of them, so for now I’ll just continue to tweak this memekitchen thing until something clicks for me and I figure out how I’m going to use it. Until then, anybody who stumbled up on this thing is going to have to put up with more of this kind of useless rambling. But heck, that’s what blogs are for, right?

Gurule

I hereby coin the term “gurule” — and announce that I’m tired of gurules.

By “gurule” I mean overly simplistic rules made up by design gurus, mostly for the purpose of sounding smart and making a name for themselves.

“The Back Button is Always Bad”

“Redundancy is Bad”

“Frames are Bad”

Hm, usually they seem to be about things that are bad.

Not long ago I posted a comment on IA Slash about this.

Yes some things are usually a sign of flawed design, and some things are typically hallmarks of good design, but sticking these insights into categorical pronouncements is just one more step in the slippery slope to hell that is the powerpointification of America.

Whatza Meme?

NOTE: This was relevant back when the blog was called “MemeKitchen” but not so much now. Still, I’m leaving it here for posterity.

On occasion people say “hey I read your blog, um, what is it again? ‘mee mee kitchen’?”

That’s when I am reminded what a geek I am, that I would name my blog after something only wonky people have heard of.

It’s actually pronounced “meemkitchen” named after the concept of a “meme” as explained here on Wikipedia:
Meme

To quote a little of the entry:

A meme (rhymes with “dream”, but comes from memetic and memory) is a unit of information that replicates from brains or retention systems, such as books, to other brains or retention systems. In more specific terms, a meme is a self-propagating unit of cultural evolution, analogous to the gene (the unit of genetics). The term was coined in 1976 by Richard Dawkins in his controversial bestselling book The Selfish Gene. Memes can represent parts of ideas, languages, tunes, designs, skills, moral and aesthetic values and anything else that is commonly learned and passed on to others as a unit. The study of evolutionary models of information transfer is called memetics.