• AMMDI is an open-notebook hypertext writing experiment, authored by Mike Travers aka @mtraven. It's a work in progress and some parts are more polished than others. Comments welcome! More.
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Tufte: Seeing with Fresh Eyes

16 Feb 2021 12:26 - 14 May 2022 05:36

    • Ed Tufte's newest book, this is in-process notetaking, so even less polished than other pages.
    • The Thinking Eye
      • Thinking eyes REASON intensely about what they see
      • This book seems to largely be about text; there are some data graphics but more attention is paid to labels and legends.
    • Ch 1 – Meaning and Space
      • a celebration of the power of emptiness and space
      • Wallace Stevens poem about Rationalists and sombreros...tempted to quote in full
      • Importance of demos, long quote from some Apple guy about how they dealt with demos and only the best went up to Jobs
      • Line breaks in code and poetry and how about your text?
      • Some of the line-break advice seems contradictory (enjambment is good, so is semantic line breaks) but I guess the point is to take control of such matters and use them appropriately
      • EHR flames, true but not that interesting
      • "Ghost grids" – like, must remember term.
    • Ch 2 – Content Responsive Typography
      • Content-respecting typography: although Tufte means somewhat more, 80% of what he suggests is supported and encouraged by the outline-bullet organization of Roam
      • Weird little section on hyperlinks, which would make sense in a book published in 1996.
      • Important and obvious point: a lot of typographic conventions are rooted in the extremely expense cost of paper (or parchment or papyrus) in pre-industrial and pre-digital times. Books still were material and there was an essential crampedness to how they were organized, except for poetry. But there's no particular reason any writing has to be maximially space filling, so why is every page a rectangle stuffed to the max with words?
        • OTOH there is still value in some cases of cramming information into the user's visual field, which amounts to the same thing (cramming a page or screen)
      • The value of negative space
      • The value of not having separate legends but labeling things in place (avoids a redirection, obviously much better, but harder for automated graph makers)
      • Every paragraph of this book is deliberately visually distinct.
      • I wonder what Tufte makes of ggplot, Vega, etc. They are pretty good but obviously light-years from the carefully customized designs that he likes – difference between the mass-market acceptable and the truly excellent.
    • Ch 3 – Graphical Sentences
      • Like his embedded stacklists and wonder how hard it would be to do something like that in Roam / Goddinpotty.
    • Ch 4 – on bad scientific practices
      • A long grumpy flame against poor statistical and other practices. Not wrong, but I can get that from other people, don't think it his strength
    • Ch 5? – annotation
      • Absolutely loved the picture starting this chapter, of Nabokov's annotations of Kafka.
      • "Is Thinking Just Annotating the World?"
      • Lots of great examples here: Page of the Talmud (annotated), Joseph Heller's master planning grid for Catch-22