Sunday, March 19 2006 @ 07:44 PM EST Views: 781
I really love green on black text heavy displays on CRT's. Cyan and white text is okay as well (occasionally yellow too), so long as the background is black.
Ahh, the 3270, I hardly knew yea.
When I was in high school, I worked at a software company and did a lot of work on a Toshiba T3100 'laptop', which weighed about 40 pounds. Back then, the only way computer geeks could get in shape for the beach was to bench press their laptops.
My dear T3100 Amber Screen -- productivity has not been the same since
Most of the screens I use these days are LCD, but two of them (a Lacie 22", and my Mom's Emac) have CRT's, and I *really* like the look of CRT's handling of text. It's just smooth. Only problem is CRT's tend to decay a lot over the years, while LCD's just get dim and sometimes the cathode start pulsing along with its power supply at 30 or 60 Hz. These new ultra bright LCD's are okay, but they give your eyes a lot of stress if you use them in darkish rooms. I like darkish rooms for coding, and find I need to adjust their brightness -- but when I do, their color accuracy goes out the door. Also, the 'blacks' are still not 'black' with LCD's. CRT's rule for black blacks.
Another sweet picture of that Toshiba. Note how its keyboard is actually nicer than laptop keyboards today. Of course, you can plug in another keyboard, but that's really just acknowledging that laptop keyboards aren't great. The Toshiba's keyboard was awesome.
Why, just today I noticed how awesome the text looked when I went to M A T R I X S Y N T H, which uses the green text / black background. I feel that a green/black background lets my brain go into a more abstract, 'deep flow' that leads to greater productivity and higher quality work. I don't really like most GUI screens. I'm certainlly not a fan of scrolling, although any 'page' oriented interface better support extremely rapid refreshes so it can get you data faster than scrolling. I always liked a tabbed interface that lets you navigate sections rapidly -- with the tabs always on the screen.
GUI screens require our brain to process many things that keep you from the task at hand:
- the relative position of windows
- keeping track of mouse position -- i.e. where you left it, or where it is
- focus selection level -- e.g. window, page, field
- relative page position -- e.g. do I need to 'scroll up' to see the pages nav buttons?
- what's on top shading cues
I really like the IBM 3270 concept: No scrolling, page oriented, form oriented. Sure, it's dated, but a lot of its ideas are extremely poignent today and should be re-thought and implemented in new interfaces of tomorrow. Speaking of 'interfaces of tomorrow', you should all check out Squeak Smalltalk, which is still dumb in many areas, but offers crazy potential for making ultra productive interfaces. Dump Java, go to Squeak. It's interface is called 'Morphic', and is pretty great. They just need better fonts.
Computers used to be mysterious and cool. Now they are mainly just buggy.
I think we should create 'COM2' - a new type of computer system for cool people. It will use a characterset like APL, be entirely parallel by nature, use some sort of next-gen Smalltalk*censored*Erlang*censored*APL. It will have a 'flow' based GUI that organizes itself around what you are doing, vs. you organizing yourself around its chaotic space. etc... It'll be great. We need that type of system to power the starship computers of the future. If you want to work on the manifesto with me (hehe), call me, we'll
do lunch. Manifesto writing is always a great way to spend an afternoon in a cafe.
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