John Abbe

John Abbe

2010.12.26 Still designing (and testing, marketing and more) on Wa Gn, for almost four years now. I've also been nosing about here a bit again, as I am working on a Pattern Language of Group Process -

2010.12.25 Planning to be at the next Wiki Sym. The second day will be Christopher Alexander's 75th birthday.

2008.04.18 Recent Changes Camp's are a lot of fun, hope to see many of you at the next one...

2005.10.26 Hello again to everyone who was at Wiki Sym!

On programming, computers & networking

Sometimes i think i'd like to program more, among other reasons just so that i can participate here more, and be sure that i'm raising the signal.

My friend corwin showed me Perl (in 1999?) and i was impressed enough to get back into coding - a little. I switched to Python imagining i might code on Pikie Pikie (while still drooling over Perl's flexibility). I know these things aren't Perl-unique but the typology of variables (atomic, list, named items), the regexes, the contextual default variables, tying variables straight to databases, and of course all the other basic and advanced code for CGI work, command line interfaces, dealing with time, images, etc. B-b-b-b-b for a guy who had seen C and LISP ~1989 and whose deepest experience in any language was a BASIC with no support for functions.

Rarely even do random bits with Python any more (earlier solved some things, did one smallish CGI, and some fun bits like the Animal program i remember assigned for LISP). Got partway through a translator from my idiosyncratic text calendar system to iCalendar format. I feel lonely as a coder, and have really enjoyed Pair Programming when i've seen it and the one time i've done it so far. It goes faster and is more enjoyable. Sounds like you'd like to participate in a Python Sprint.

My interest to stay up on coding is mostly so that i can continue to communicate usefully with 'real' programmers, and find/create more sweet spots of simple power, widely accessible. The most effective motivation for me to code is of course because it's fun. Programming is absolutely amazing. I can sit in one small room with all the tools necessary to go from idea to working artifact. And once i have a working artifact, i can (if i make something useful enough) distribute it for anyone else to use, and learn from, and improve! I still get a tingly feeling when i run anything, Python's interpretiveness is thus very attractive to me.

I had burned out on serious coding after writing the data entry software on a Commodore Cbm for ADE's early robotic wafer sorters as a teenager in the 70s. Chunks of the program had to be swapped in and out of the CBM's 32K RAM machine off the cassette tape. I know, that makes me a newbie to some of you :-). I did learn C and a little LISP later (LISP initially from Robert Morris), coded a bit of Macintosh Toolbox stuff with the C, played with Hyper Card, and of course scripted a few things now and then, but remain more a mere Super User than a coder. I've also mucked with flatfile databases for pay, and have a theoretical clarity about what relational/object databases offer beyond that, but haven't learned SQL. HTML yes, XML sort of, Resource Description Framework/Semantic Web interested we'll see...

In the 70s, i got my hands on a CLI computer.

In the 80s, i got my hands on a GUI computer.

In the 90s, i was waiting...for the Next Great Human Computer Interface Paradigm Shift.

In the 00s, i got impatient, and now i'm helping make it happen. - Out of date, but gives a taste of what i'm looking for.

On life

"Things are getting better and better, and worse and worse, faster and faster." --Tom Atlee

On wikis died, my effort to resurrect it on Wagn as its own thing are here:

Write about wiki on Meatball Wiki, not here.

I want a decent Wiki Browser. Too many projects...

If Wiki Wiki means quick in Hawaiian, then does wiki mean Half Fast? (say it out loud)

Some pages i've started:

I looked at a non-Wiki website for the first time in two days and had Wiki Withdrawal. o O (Where's the edit link!?)

We're wondering if Refactoring Wiki Isa Metaphor.

Recent Changes, Top Ten, CategoryCategory, Wiki List, (and here of course)

12 wiki links to start with:

Two "official" starting points -- Welcome Visitors, Front Page

More pages about Wiki:

Running your own Wiki -- You can get the source code (in Perl Language) for an older version of this Wiki at Wiki Base (frankly, better/more interesting software is available through Wiki Wiki Clone). You could also host your own Wiki on a free or paid-service Wiki Farm. There's help for Choosinga Wiki.

Other Wikis

Software - Besides Wiki Wiki Clones there are other Wiki Like Things.

Specific wikis - see Switch Wiki

The perfect Inter Wiki would let any/all Wikis overlap & interact Name Spaces flexibly, securely, etc.

A Wiki Interchange Format would make saving and loading into new software at another Wiki easier (anybody done this in XML?).

A Meta Wiki would let you change the code on it while it was running (I suppose Zope Application Server allows this, but i don't know how Wikily).

Pages about Other Things (except Wiki is about everything):

Human/social element -- Human Beings, Creatures Of Habit (see Addiction And Junkies) though we are, talk about (and show) Leader Ship, discuss the Prime Directive, if not interfering with one another is impossible then how to produce Constructive Interference, the Mental State Called Flow, whether and what is a Programming Value System, Software Ageism, Class Striation, the Subjective Objective duality, the Myers Briggs categories that we may see ourselves in, Discussing Vs Proselytizing, Dont Assume Stupidity, Conquer With Compassion, the Tragedy Of The Commons, Voting Patterns, the Prisoners Dilemma, the Games People Play, and Organizational Patterns.

About Patterns -- A major topic here, best short description i've found is at and there are many Wiki Pages About What Are Patterns, Pattern Languages, Design Patterns, Meta Pattern, Anti Pattern, Nature Of Order, Christopher Alexander (also see a Patterns FAQ at )

The two other ~biggest topics on this original Wiki -- Haven't cracked the Extreme Programming Roadmap, but i've picked up some of the idea around the edges. There are also lots of Wiki Pages About Refactoring.

Your comments go here

Welcome! Thanks Helmut! (he saw this page when it was little)

"Wiki's way better than all those other web sites i was hanging out at."

So, thanks Ward! And all the other Wiki Contributors and Wiki Members!

Hello John, i just found your notes about the All In One Wiki. I had a similar/same idea and would like to share some thoughts with you, if you like to. See my comment on the All In One Wiki page --Florian Konnertz

Hi John!

I was a teenager in the 70's.

Today as I was milking the cow, and earlier, I wondered what it would be like to try to do the Map from Nepal. I love Nepal. Or perhaps Sri Lanka...There's a fellow I've met when he lived in Portland a few years ago named Sharif Abdullah. I think he's in Sri Lanka. What's it like over there? Could we print a map? -- Cynthia Beal

Sharif is in Lanka occasionally, consulting to Sarvodaya. I certainly try to keep my ears open for the kind of things you'd want in your kind of map. So, i'd have some to offer now, much more later. -- John Abbe

The map is here:

See original on