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.




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.


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© 1974-2011 Paul Ford


@20, by Paul Ford. Not any kind of eulogy, thanks. And no header image, either. (October 15)

Recent Offsite Work: Code and Prose. As a hobby I write. (January 14)

Rotary Dial. (August 21)

10 Timeframes. (June 20)

Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out. (April 10)

Why I Am Leaving the People of the Red Valley. (April 7)

Welcome to the Company. (September 21)

“Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?”. Forgot to tell you about this. (July 20)

“The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. An essay for TheMorningNews.org. (July 11)

Woods+. People call me a lot and say: What is this new thing? You're a nerd. Explain it immediately. (July 10)

Reading Tonight. Reading! (May 25)

Recorded Entertainment #2, by Paul Ford. (May 18)

Recorded Entertainment #1, by Paul Ford. (May 17)

Nanolaw with Daughter. Why privacy mattered. (May 16)

0h30m w/Photoshop, by Paul Ford. It's immediately clear to me now that I'm writing again that I need to come up with some new forms in order to have fun here—so that I can get a rhythm and know what I'm doing. One thing that works for me are time limits; pencils up, pencils down. So: Fridays, write for 30 minutes; edit for 20 minutes max; and go whip up some images if necessary, like the big crappy hand below that's all meaningful and evocative because it's retro and zoomed-in. Post it, and leave it alone. Can I do that every Friday? Yes! Will I? Maybe! But I crave that simple continuity. For today, for absolutely no reason other than that it came unbidden into my brain, the subject will be Photoshop. (Do we have a process? We have a process. It is 11:39 and...) (May 13)

That Shaggy Feeling. Soon, orphans. (May 12)

Antilunchism, by Paul Ford. Snack trams. (May 11)

Tickler File Forever, by Paul Ford. I'll have no one to blame but future me. (May 10)

Time's Inverted Index, by Paul Ford. (1) When robots write history we can get in trouble with our past selves. (2) Search-generated, "false" chrestomathies and the historical fallacy. (May 9)

Bantha Tracks. (May 5)

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