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Day: Mar 08

1 interval from 08 Mar 2001 (Presumes Doublers)

1:24 pm

A brief exchange with someone who posted a slightly critical link to Ftrain:

JB: reassure me that i didn't silence you guys? (i really liked the mahavishnu piece even though i disagreed on that detail)

PEF: No, I thought your link was completely hilarious in context. I'm just off trying to figure out how to section the site. I'm thinking that Ftrain is going to have 2 parallel tracks, so that I can focus things a bit more:

1. research into computing and computing culture, and the nature of documents, which will be all written by Paul Ford. I'm working on a 20-30 year curriculum for this, which will make Ftrain the only site in the world with a 30 year plan, I think. The ultimate goal would be to transform the site into a responsive entity that could pass the Turing test. Hurry up with those fractal thickets!

2. personal essays and fiction by fictional characters like Scott and others, with occasional appearances by Paul Ford. The characters all have different takes on technology, sexuality, emotions, etc, and they all end up either sleeping together or fighting, and it's my goal to make the states of those relationships part of the discussion, while playing all of it off the technological narrative of (1).

The Mahavishnu piece was actually a conscious attempt at this. The characters are arguing about what the essential "text" of a Neil Young album is, whether it matters if it's on LP or CD, arguing over how machines interpret the real Neil Young text. The Jan Hammer bit was a tongue in cheek take on the Ezra Pound/anti-semitism problem - when you find out that Ezra was an anti-semite, does it change his work? When you find out that Jan Hammer was in Mahavishnu, does it change the essential nature of the music? Theoretically, I'd link that piece into a "Paul Ford" essay about digital textuality at some pt. Right brain, left brain.

Ideally what will happen is that the characters, especially Scott, who is a sort of emotionally liberated Paul Ford, will start living out the critical ideas, and feeding back into the theory.

So, short answer, nope, don't worry, a little friendly Mahavishnu counterargument ain't gonna stop me no how. I'm mostly working on offline short stories to give to my agent, because I think that if I get /print/ legitimacy (fingers crossed) I'll be able to get other people interested in the Web stuff, apply for grants, etc. Probably how it has to happen.

You were right about the little icons. Took 'em out and, ZOOM, things read much more nicely.


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Ftrain.com

PEEK

Ftrain.com is the website of Paul Ford and his pseudonyms. It is showing its age. I'm rewriting the code but it's taking some time.

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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

If you have any questions for me, I am very accessible by email. You can email me at ford@ftrain.com and ask me things and I will try to answer. Especially if you want to clarify something or write something critical. I am glad to clarify things so that you can disagree more effectively.

POKE


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