Notebook of Sand



Curriculum Vitae

• Recent Publications
• Recent Projects
• Conferences & Speaking
"Comparing Spatial Hypertext Collections"
  ACM Hypertext '09
"Archiving and Sharing Your Tinderbox"
  Tinderbox Weekend London '09
"The Electronic Nature of Future Literatures"
  Literary Studies Now, Apr '09
"The World University Project"
  St. John's Col. Cambridge, Feb '09
"Ethical Explanations,"
  The New Knowledge Forge, Jun '08
Lecture, Cambridge University
  Tragedy in E-Lit, Nov '07
Hypertext '07: Tragedy in E-Lit
Host for Tinderbox Cambridge '07
Keynote: Dickinson State Uni Conf
Upper Midwest NCHC'07: Speaker
eNarrative 6: Creative Nonfiction
HT'05: "Philadelphia Fullerine"
  Nelson award winning paper
NCHC '05:
 Nurturing Independent Scholarship
Riddick Practicum:
  Building Meeting Good Will
NCHC '04:
  Philadelphia Fullerine
  Lecture on American Studies
WWW@10: Nonfiction on the Web
NCHC '03: Parliamentary Procedure
ELL '03 -- Gawain Superstar
• (a)Musing (ad)Dictions:

Ideas. Tools. Art. Build --not buy. What works, what doesn't. Enjoy new media and software aesthetics at Tekka.

Theodore Gray (The Magic Black Box)

Faith, Life, Art, Academics. Sermons from my family away from home: Eden Chapel!

My other home: The Cambridge Union Society (in 2007, I designed our [Fresher's Guide])

The Economist daily news analysis

Global Higher Ed blog

• Hypertext/Writing

Writing the Living Web

Chief Scientist of Eastgate Systems, hypertext expert Mark Bernstein. (Electronic) Literature, cooking, art, etc.

Fabulous game reviews at playthisthing.

• Stats

Chapter I: Born. Lived. Died.

There is a Chapter II.

Locale: Lancaster County Pa, USA

Lineage: Guatemala

Religion: My faith is the primary focus of my life, influencing each part of me. I have been forgiven, cleansed, and empowered by Jesus Christ. Without him, I am a very thoughtful, competent idiot. With him, I am all I need to be, all I could ever hope for. I oppose institutional religious stagnation, but getting together with others is a good idea. God is real. Jesus Christ is his Son, and the Bible is true. Faith is not human effort. It's human choice. I try to be the most listening, understanding, and generous person I can.

Interests: Anything I can learn. Training and experience in new media, computer science, anglophone literature, education, parliamentary debate, democratic procedure, sculpture, and trumpet performance. Next: applied & computational linguistics, probably.

Education: Private school K-3. Home educated 4-12. Graduated Summa Cum Laude from Elizabethtown College in Jan 2006. As the 2006 Davies-Jackson Scholar, I studied English at St. John's College, Cambridge University from 2006 - 2008.

Memberships: Eden Baptist, Cambridge Union Society, ACM, AIP, GPA.

Alum of the Elizabethtown College Honors Program, sponsored by the Hershey Company.

March 2006
2004: Earlier | March | April | May | June | July | Aug | Sept | Oct | Nov | Dec
2005: Jan | Feb | March | April | May | June | July | Aug | Sept | Oct | Nov | Dec
2006: Jan | Feb | March | April | May | June | July | Aug | Sept | Oct | Nov | Dec
2007: Spring | Summer - Summer 2008 | Spring & Summer 2009 | Now
Friday, 31 Mar 2006 :-: ["Permalink"]

Physicalists Distrubute Manifesto at Armory Show. via Dylan

What do you think? Has art made itself pointless in the effort to mean something? Can meaning be reclaimed by seeking beauty?

Happy Birthday, Dad
Friday, 31 Mar 2006 :-: ["Permalink"]
En Eclair for Jorge

The Golden Moment
Thursday, 30 Mar 2006 :-: ["Permalink"]

Trevor Romain writes about the time he heard the breath of God.

via Mark->Lyndsey
Scheer is right
Wednesday, 29 Mar 2006 :-: ["Permalink"]

A Prefatory Note: We are Americans. We live in a Republic, or at least we say we do. We are the people who get to decide what is legal or not, since we define the laws. But we can't redefine justice just to serve our interests. Too many Americans are like a degenerate Midas; they turn the golden rule into rubbish, into unfounded fear, prejudice, and greed.

Choose your words. You might call people "illegal" or "undocumented". You might call people "Latinos" or "wetbacks". If you call us names, we are still people. You can never touch our souls with your grubby fingers. Your unkind words hurt us, but they also crumble away at the ruins of your own dignity. For there is no dignity in your disdain, no virtue in the silent avarice of the self-satisfied, no kindness in the raised cacophony of your self-righteous remarks. Just the grinding chimes of broken glass.

** * **

In his article in The Nation, Robert Scheer almost describes my views on the issue of undocumented (i.e. illegal -- pick one) Hispanic immigrants. (addendum: Paul Krugman is also right)

But there are two large caveats. First, when he compares our situation to previous immigration, he forgets that previous immigration was controlled in a legal fashion. Scheer clearly wants to set our current Mexican immigration in the realm of the legal, but he doesn't pause to consider the functional differences between semi-orderly transatlantic immigration and the cross-border immigration of desperate people.

Second, Scheer doesn't consider the consequences. He does this for good reason. None of us really knows what might happen if drastic changes were made to the uneasy silence which broods over our lives -- a silence which has already been broken in public debate.

If the U.S. tries to do some give-and-take with undocumented immigrants and their countries, that's good. But the history of immigration has also shown us that when the system ignores people and forces them to consider illegal means of survival, it can't just offer a seat at the table and expect the previous behaviour to stop immediately. At best, corruption grows, though in some cases, over long periods of time, corruption has been known to be a foundational precursor to stable, legal, open operations.

In a sense, the U.S. government can only negotiate with itself; there's nobody in Mexico to say, "well, Ok. Now that you have agreed to make people legal and relax immigration requirements, we're going to stop sending people illegally." These are only partially the actions of a state. The desperation of Mexico's millions will not disappear.

Does this mean we crack down in order to stave off the flood? No. It means we need to acknowledge and address the needs of our neighbors if we're going to address the our own problems.

  1. We need to care about the people who are here. You don't have to wait for the government. For years, my family has been involved in helping undocumented immigrants find legality. When something goes wrong in the trailer court, we help them fix it. My parents translate in the schools and hospitals. The needs are immense. Now some Republicans want to prosecute us for caring. Do you want to change Hispanic culture? Do you know anything about Hispanic culture? Learn Spanish. Teach citizenship education courses. And you might find that you also change for the better.
  2. We need to find a way to ease immmigrants into our society. My dad was lucky. He came here legally, and he has an American wife. Even for him, the transition has been difficult. Where he comes from , the gov't was the enemy. The dictators and war criminals were trained and supported by the USA. It takes a lot for people to come to grips with freedom. Undocumented immigrants are already a part of our culture. They work here, they shop here, they go to school here. We don't have the force to toss them back into the rubbish heap, and if we did, we would undermine fundamental parts of our economy, let alone undermine our souls. Their dubious legal status cultivates cultural attitudes of fear, doubt, and mistrust toward all Latinos. Since undocumented immigrants are already a part of our society, we should help them become good partners in our society by giving them channels to live a life without the fear of discovery and deportation. How otherwise can we encourage or expect them to contribute to society?
  3. We need to care about the people who are elsewhere. Have you looked at Mexico City lately? I'm not surprised that people want to come here. If we want to handle the problem of illegal immigration, we need to look at Mexico and see more than the wall we haven't built. I have no idea how to do this on a grand scale. The need is massive.
  4. I am glad that the protests have happened. I am ever more happy that there has been relatively little violence. In this, at least, the Latino population has been wiser than many other immigrant groups of history. Let us hope and pray that everything else goes just as smoothly.

So that's what I think, Comma.

Or, in other words
Monday, 27 Mar 2006 :-: ["Permalink"]

Why do I hesitate so much on things that matter while I feel perfectly comfortable attempting huge projects that don't matter, even in areas where I have no experience?

(This question finally brings together 3-4 different topics I have been throwing around for the last several months, ones which will have to be handled in a more complete document than a blog post. It might be a good testbed for my upcoming stretchtext template for Tinderbox)

Philadelphia Full
Monday, 27 Mar 2006 :-: ["Permalink"]

What do you do with something you're proud of, but which you know isn't up to snuff? What if you're not up to snuff?

The Philadelphia Fullerine was intended to be a study, a personal project which would help me research the background for the sort of narrative I really wanted to create. But then the ball started rolling, people liked it, and time became very short as I threw myself into scholarship applications last fall. So I showed up at my thesis defense with little more than the preliminary project I had completed a year earlier.

They passed me. Can you believe it? I have some serious doubts about its viability as a quality academic work, but they insisted. And they passed me, more on the novelty of the idea I think, than the quality of the scholarship, which they weren't able to examine in detail (2.5 hours of audio involved much more text than is average for a thesis project).

I have been given suggestions to expand the work, or at least exhibit it in Philadelphia. But I hesitate. I know there are errors and inconsistencies. I know I haven't researched deeply enough, that I rely too often on large quotations and paraphrasing. Display in the city would be to effect claims which I think it cannot sustain and bring it under more scrutiny than I think it could safely bear.

And what good would my project do in a gallery? Rich people would look at it and say, "interesting," while rubbing their chins. Yay.

** * **

So what do I do with 2 years of heavy research and work? I thought about writing a nonfiction book or creating a CD-ROM documentary, but who for? Who cares or needs to know about these things? I certainly can't contribute new knowledge to history, so I must look to the popular audience. I'm writing about a period which is quite important and yet quite ignored, so that helps. But do I really want to write something for adults to skim, nod their heads, and settle back in their chairs, content that they have filled a hitherto empty gap in their understanding?

"I will write for young people," I thought to myself. "And I will make it relevant by following the threads of immigrant life and people's efforts to improve life in the city, in an attempt to wake up young people to the power they have to change things, inform them of the long-term effects of people of the past, and kindle their minds to think, plan, and act wisely in their time."

Then I visited Kenwood. Why would these young adults ever listen to me? What do I have to offer them? Books--any books-- that capture their attention can make a huge difference in their lives. But how can I, the rural bookworm son of a Guatemalan peasant and an American missionary, speak to the hood?

A friend suggested I spend a year as an urban teacher before ever thinking of writing for young adults. It seems like a wise suggestion. But it doesn't answer the question of now. I have almost six months before I resume school. There's time to do something with my research, but only if I act quickly.

Should I really set aside my research until I'm better able to write wisely?

Sunday, 26 Mar 2006 :-: ["Permalink"]

Few things in this world compare to the joys of setting up new server hardware, and having the PXE netboot setup work on first try, despite the highly eccentric means by which the install is conducted.

A Pan-Galactic gargle blaster might be more efficacious, but not nearly so much fun.

** * **

Frankly, this week definitely rivaled getting my head smashed in with a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick. But life is the better for it, I think.

** * **

Of course, new servers need their initiation: Nethack!

You, a newly trained Rambler, have been heralded from birth as the instrument of The Lady. You are destined to recover the Amulet for your deity, or die in the attempt. Your hour of destiny has come. For the sake of us all: Go bravely with The Lady!

             ----------     #..........|                 -------------
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 |.....|    #.........|     #-----------              ###............|
 |<.`..-#####-------.--     ####                     # # |...........|
 |.[...|            ##         #                   ##### |........SS.|
 |......             #     ##  #                   # #   |.........@.|
 -------             #########`########`############     -------------

Saturday, 25 Mar 2006 :-: ["Permalink"]

"What sort of things did you learn about life at college?" a young person once asked me.

I paused, cocked my head to one side, leaned back, and drew in a deep breath.

"College," I said slowly, "taught me the value of sleep." I paused while they laughed and I collected my words for the chaser insight.

** * **

College has taught me the opposite; I have learned to push my mind and body to the utmost, to crave the hours when I am most alert, when I am learning, reading, thinking, reflecting, praying, and doing. I sprint early out of the gates, and the dim twilight has long passed by the time my shadowy outline strains to hold back the closing doors of consciousness. There is too much to do, too much to learn, too much to see and be to afford myself too much sleep.

How odd. I, who often rebel against the clock, fight for every minute I can have in this life. Only a careful balance measures out the best quality time.

For some, college is the time to find our limits. We gingerly extend a probing finger, find that they are soft and, with effort, move them further. It is a time to overextend and find ourselves still on our feet, with some wind left for a final dash. It is a place to discover that well-placed efforts are more effective than outright brute-force. And when one enters upon the art of living fully, one learns the value of all things in life: rituals like prayer, eating, and small talk; the infinite beauties of nature and time; friendship, of honor, integrity; food, and company, and nights under the stars; and even of sleep.

** * **

This afternoon, I speak to scholarship winners about my college's honors program. Who are they? What will their lives be? Will they succeed? What is success? Will they be happy? What is happiness? Will they find God? Will He find them? Will sorrow, or work, or illness, or momentary weaknesses of will, or indiscipline, or pride, or desire, or unhappy chance deter them from their full potential? Or will they shine?

I cannot say; I will likely never know. So I will pray for them and sleep, for it is almost 2 A.M., and my day starts early. I may not wish to ever sleep, but I owe it to them at least. And besides, the body is also voting in their favor.

Theory, Tools, and Literature
Saturday, 25 Mar 2006 :-: ["Permalink"]

Wow. Good stuff. Mark just posted an excellent blog entry asking the question: "How do you move from research to action?"

How do you move from research to action? I like to try to make things better by making better things -- to look at that things like weblogs want to be, and then to make tools that try to bring out new facets and new affordances, tools that help people do new things. Those tools are always going to be challenging and quirky and strange, at least at first, because their new tools to do new things.

If you innovate from sociology, you get polished tools that help people do what everyone is already doing, but that use new shapes and new techniques to make things simpler and more comfortable.

Sunday, 19 Mar 2006 :-: ["Permalink"]

I'm intrigued, fascinated, and confused by Steven H. Cullinane. He has a lot of ideas, a lot of websites, and he tries to tie together pop culture, math, literature, Harvard, and Princeton. I have absolutely no idea what he's talking about.

My guess is that his ideas are highly referential, the result of much reading over many years. He also seems to have a mathematical axe to grind, so almost everything comes back to two-dimensional shape structures. (in the form of diamond patterns)

But then, I will grant that there is a strong tradition of relating geometry and philosophy, one which the modern-educated mind is not easily able to comprehend. Paradigms. I personally have found the study of historical geometry to be quite useful, intriguing, and mind-expanding in general.

Cullinine's writings also interest me because of his heavy use of quotation and citation.

Just To Say
Saturday, 18 Mar 2006 :-: ["Permalink"]

For some reason, both my brother and I open most friendly telephone calls with weird stuff. I think it's partly for the guessing game, but it's also partly to throw some fun, joy, and lightheartedness into what often tend to be quite serious relationships.

I think it also has to do with why we address people by their first names, why we notice when our friend's hair is cut, and why we all wish to share special moments.

This morning, I opened a phone call with a poem from one of my favorite authors. After the call, I sat down at Garageband and started to think...

So now, I share it with you: This is Just to Say(mp3), by William Carlos Williams.

Photo of plums and grapes, from></div>

<div class=
Susan Darling
Saturday, 18 Mar 2006 :-: ["Permalink"]

One of the artists I really admire is Susan Darling, who day-jobs at the Elizabethtown College mail room. She does marvelous work integrating painting and collage. I recently ran across her website: Here are some examples of her art:

Red Mandala

Spirit Wagon

Mandala #5

For more of Susan's work, check out the site from Susan Darling's show at the Lynden Gallery.

** * **

The Balm of Books
Thursday, 16 Mar 2006 :-: ["Permalink"]

I have been recently reading the Amazon blog of Brian Sibley, who wrote the marvelous BBC audio adaptation of "The Lord of The Rings." His latest post, "The Balm of Books," has been an important reminder of why I read, why stories are important in our lives.

Those books that reach furthest back into our formative years are really time machines carrying with them, pressed like flowers between their pages, memories of reading them for the first time - even, perhaps, evoking a remembered sense of taste and smell.


They are like balm for wounds; like a restorative tonic for those days when we are physically, mentally, spiritually “out of sorts”. Or so it seems to me…

The wrists are doing very badly this week. So I expect to do much reading. But first, Milt's exhibit at the Doshi!

Wednesday, 15 Mar 2006 :-: ["Permalink"]

To the gentlemen in the blue car who took a photo of me on the highway:

I can understand your desire to photograph the hood of my car, even though the art is peeling and fading. But I don't understand why you would pull to the side of a busy highway, come to a complete stop, and then hit the gas immediately after I passed, bringing your vehicle close behind mine so you could take a photo of my license plate. This behaviour is perhaps not unusual for teenagers, but grown men?

If you do any digging, you will easily be able to trace my name to The Bubble Car(tm). But since I rarely answer the phone, and mail takes so long to send, I'm going to make it easier for you. This post contains my license number, in case you search for it on Google. Can you email me ( about it? If your intentions are good and I have it in my power to help, I am at your service.

** * **

And yes. That was my camera pointed back at you. Sousveillance in action. (Wired article)

Realization of the Almost
Tuesday, 14 Mar 2006 :-: ["Permalink"]

Why do we think that we really know what we're doing? We stride confidently to the next checkbox, quite pleased with ourselves. Moments of confidence shown in small gestures, the smiles flashed, jackets straightened crisply, curls flung carelessly, precise pen twirls -- things which anger the unnoticed observiers -- these moments aren't haughty confidence. They are signs of our euphoric amazement that something actually went right.

To question one's self and to have the will and drive to act fully in wisdom -- these too are miracles, ones which are much harder to obtain. Oh for the ability to do more than avoid mistakes, but to do well, to know well, to live well, and in all that, to be well!

Living the Future
Monday, 13 Mar 2006 :-: ["Permalink"]

When you don't know which way to go, what do you do? Do you:

Do you shrug your shoulders, pick one, and run down it fearlessly?

Do you look carefully down each as far as you can before making a choice?

Do you follow your nose?

Do you sit down and think about how to formulate the best metric for making choices in similar circumstances?

Do you expostulate a complete theory of the will of the Divine for the benefit of your unenlightened companions before walking back home, thus leaving them behind to make a choice?

Or do you wander and babble to a friend which you cannot see?

** * **

Update, March 14: Have you thought about the question?

Perhaps it's not so cut and dry. Perhaps we do a little bit of them all. But the option which seems the most odd is actually the wisest. For the friend we cannot see is indeed a friend, or at least is willing to be one. It seems foolish from a materialist/rational perspective, and yet the reality is there. I cannot say, "prayer works," because that would be to deny the nature of the act, to deny the power, incisiveness, and comfort of a God who will not bend to the mere whim of a single person, but who will hazard great things for the love of a single life. No, I will not think of prayer as a mechanism, or as another knowledge-power function. But I can say that God listens. And that he listens just as well to those who don't understand. Because none of us really understands.

Isn't it odd that the most difficult option involves the passivity of a humble heart mixed with courage which usually only tormets the reckless?

Sunday, 12 Mar 2006 :-: ["Permalink"]

So, a friend of mine posted the following message today:

Currently, screaming death incarnate inhabits my throat.

He's not a great tenant - if he applies to stay at your place, turn him down, no matter how much rent he offers.

Trying to sleep, amidst the throat-destroying body-wracking coughs...






Hiatus to Kenwood
Thursday, 9 Mar 2006 :-: ["Permalink"]

Tomorrow morning, I leave for Kenwood High School at 4:45am. I will spend the day talking with students from the AVID program. I will spend the weekend in the Baltimore area.

Don't expect much blogging until next week, when I get back.

Wednesday, 8 Mar 2006 :-: ["Permalink"]

Dream BigSomeday, I will grow up to be as wise as this child.

"You must ascend to Heaven, Astolpho [....] up to the pale fields of the Moon, where an endless storeroom preserves in phials placed in rows [....] the stories that men do not live, the thoughts that knock once at the threshold of awareness and vanish forever, the particles of the possible discarded in the game of combinations, the solutions that could be reached but are never reached. . . . "

Life is.

Life is the.

Life is the geometer's spiral staircase which never leaves the page. It twists impatiently but can never fly.

That is, unless unbent again by some friendly hand, the plane page is nudged forward, into the calm, warm air.

Why The Hammer still Matters
Tuesday, 7 Mar 2006 :-: ["Permalink"]

No: Not that Hammer. This one. I'm talkin' bout the MC.

MC Hammer recently started a blog.

According to this article, the MC grew up in a Christian background. But popularity hurt him.

Sin for Hammer wasn't blatant. He wasn't on drugs, but his business became a drug. Most people who are addicted to success, Hammer told Charisma, "can't identify this 'business' drug. It takes all your time away from God, from the family, from extended loved ones."

Hammer believes he was living an illusion: "You create a utopia around you so you don't have to deal with the reality that you're not in the will of God. You wake up and realize you're a backslider."

I don't really follow the rap world, but I totally see where he's coming from. That was me too, for a time, when I worked solely as a computer programmer.

** * **

So, who cares if MC has a blog? He's just trying to get back some of his destroyed popularity, right? I don't think so. I think he really is trying to use the remains of his fame to make a difference in people's lives. Many of his posts are about the culture of hip-hop and inner-city life. He's admonishing the both mainstream culture and the hood to grow up and do something for a change. But he doesn't just focus on social issues. He recently wrote a moving post about his love for his son.

To know love like this is a secret corner under a palm tree with a slight wind on a lazy day.

He then talks about how God's love for him inspires his love for his son.

In this awesome audio post, MC Hammer says:

I want to be able to look back on all the blogs that I will do in years to come and say that not only did we have fun with baseball and life and family and God, but also, when something needed to be addressed, needed to be said, that MC Hammer stood up and said them.

MC Hammer's blog contains a lot of ideas and ideals about life and culture. It's worth reading.

** * **

I could harly post this without remembering what has to be the most moving piece of art I have seen in quite a while: Johnny Cash's final music video, a cover of "Hurt."

Monday, 6 Mar 2006 :-: ["Permalink"]

I thank God for having the sort of parents who go without heat for a night because they know I'm on the edge of a sinus infection and want me to feel energetic, productive, and healthy the next morning.

Blankets! Beautiful, warm, fluffy blankets, with fuzzies inside and out, and enclosing me in their soft embrace. Sweatshirts, fleece pullovers, poofy arms.

I have always slept perfectly still. I fall asleep gently too, although in the past my mind would rage, as torrents of ideas, experiences, and tasks would plunder rest from the consciousness of sleep. So now I listen to audio every night. These days, it's usually the BBC.

This week, it's an abridged version of Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five.

So it goes.

Those questions
Sunday, 5 Mar 2006 :-: ["Permalink"]

You know what ones I'm talking about. The ones which make perfect sense, but which don't jive with your preconceptions. The ones, we say, "are too complicated to answer easily." The unanswered ones we entertain and remember so when people try to discuss ideas, we can simultaneously clear our conscience and demonstrate a thoughtful nuance in our conclusions for living. The paradigm busting questions which demolish the cozy, fragile walls of your ideological and spiritual constructs and free you...for what? Enlightenment? Or ruin? Or perhaps guilt?

A photo of Michael Auerbach's installation: The Administrator

I won't even ask about the right answers which were too hard to live.

Language Study in Tinderbox
Saturday, 4 Mar 2006 :-: ["Permalink"]

I had my first Latin lesson last week.

The second one was more daunting. Why?

** * **

I haven't undertaken the systematic absorption of a body of knowledge for quite a while. And my last effort was only partly successful. I feel much more at home with an undefined, research-based task in a field I don't know than I do with the acquisition of a body of knowledge. But there's no helping it. The language has to go deeper into the psyche than a vague sense of paradigms and knowledge about knowledge.

How to do this?

** * **

I looked at the notecards and picked up my pen.

How many vocabulary items for the day? 20? With 20 more translations?

I looked at the notecards once more. They stared back, and the lines on their faces belied their worry.

"Sorry guys," I said, and opened up my iBook. Soon, I was looking at the Tinderbox Presentation Assistant (note to self. The Assistant system is beautiful. I need to build a tool or two in it. Just create an XML file, and Tinderbox will auto-customize a Tinderbox file and support files for new instances of your Tinderbox system.).

I started entering my Latin notes as slides in the system. Then, I started to type in the vocabulary items for memorization. I wanted Tinderbox to show me groups of words and meanings on a single slide, but I also wanted the chance to quiz myself. How to do this?

It was simple. I created a new prototype for vocab, with a custom export template. This template simply exported the title: text of the note. Then, I made each vocab item an individual child underneat the slide where I wanted the word to appear. I then set the parent -- the slide-- to include the contents of its children when exporting.

The Tinderbox Presentation Assistant, Tweaked for Latin Study

Later, I set up another prototype for phrase translations. In both cases, by putting the Latin in the title, I was able to quiz myself by looking at the title, deciding the meaning of the word or phrase, and clicking on the note to find out the real answer.

Tinderbox, Tweaked for Latin Study

Tinderbox is now a system for my language study which can be developed at the speed of type! By storing all my vocabulary, grammar notes, and translations in the same space, I can also search quickly if I don't remember the meaning of a word or concept. No page-turning or card-fumbling.

The technological limitations of language study tools often exact a high mental penalty, but Tinderbox helps me study nearly at the speed of thought. Thanks, Mark.

** * **

Those of you interested in my Latin notes (based on Wheelock's Latin -- check out Paul Barrette's resource I highly approve of his use of Enlightenment) or tweakings of the standard Presentation template can download my Tinderbox File for Wheelock's Latin. But I prefer that you use the structure but not the data, so I'm not going to provide a full set of notes. I have found that creating the Tinderbox space is an important part of etching the knowledge into my mind, and I wouldn't want to deprive you of that opportunity by making things too easy :-).

Chapter Summaries in Tinderbox
Wednesday, 1 Mar 2006 :-: ["Permalink"]

Clare Hooper sent me an intriguing email:

I'm having great fun setting up the new novel in Tinderbox - I have prototypes representing characters, chapters, situations/attitudes...

What I'd like is to have 'chapter summaries' - one paragraph per chapter. Can you help?

I suggested that she put a note called "Summary" underneath each chapter. She can then put a single paragraph summary in these child notes. But there's a catch. Clare wants to be able to read the summaries in series.

This was giong to require an agent. I went to work. By naming all the summaries as "Summary," I was able to collect all the summaries with an agent. But I needed to be able to sort them and also show what chapter individual summaries belonged to.

To do this, I created an attribute called "parent" and set a Rule for the summary notes. The rule looked like this:


This set a summary'sparent attribute to the title of the chapter. I then set the agent to sort by this field. Using the Explorer View, Clare could now browse her work by chapter or by summary.

I have made this sample file available for download. ChapterSummaries.tbx

** * **

Tinderbox always provides numerous ways to accomplish the same task. This particular file has the limitation that all of the Chapter Summaries must be named "Chapter Summary." There is a simpler way to accomplish the same effect without requiring a particular name or the usage of a Tinderbox Rule. Can you figure it out?