Ming the Mechanic:
Surprising Tools

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Surprising Tools2001-11-13 05:34
10 comments
by Flemming Funch

I think the tools worth making are the ones that inspire people to use them in ways that are surprising to the tool makers. There's not much fun in making something that is being used exactly as intended. Much more exciting is when people take an invention or tool or system or software program, or whatever, and go and do something with it that the inventors couldn't have imagined. But it is not necessarily trivial to invent something that people can then go and create further innovation with. Only some inventions manage to take on a life of their own in this way.

Now the reason I was thinking about that was because somebody had used a program I made in ways I didn't expect. I had made this system for creating websites online through one's browser without having to know HTML or anything. Quite clever, but it isn't finished, and I really only considered it a buggy prototype and I wasn't really very happy with it. Various people have been playing around with it, to test it, but I haven't had time to work on it for a while. And then I realized yesterday to my horror that one of the beta testers had set up the online version of a prominent Beverly Hills newspaper with it, and not only did it look really professional, it was also already in production use, and the staff of the newspaper were updating articles and columns there every day. And they were all apparently quite happy with it. So, after getting over my discomfort with that, I realized that it was kind of cool that somebody used a tool I made in ways that I had not at all imagined would work.

And I decided that it is a good thing to aspire to: to make things that others can freely use in ways that I could not imagine.

And I wish that such a philosophy would be more prevalent in more products or services that are being created. When you create something new it is something to set free, something to empower its users to go off and do new things with it. That is opposed to the philosophy of trying to control everything you create, and control those people who would use it. E.g. patents, trademarks, copy protection, trade secrets, Return-on-Investment, keeping the shareholders happy, planned obsolescence, suicide seeds. What arrogance.

No, make things that smarter people can come along and use as building blocks to make things better.


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10 comments

13 Nov 2001 @ 23:10 by peazritr : hmmmm
ya think? yeah, i think you definitely do.  


23 Nov 2001 @ 03:16 by istvan : Intellectual property?
 


23 Nov 2001 @ 03:47 by istvan : Intellectual property?
tHIS IS THE FIRST WRITING THAT I FOUND TO WINDICATE MY PHILOSOPHY ABOUT COPYRIGTS.wHILE WE NEED SOME AMOUNT OF PROPERTY FOR OUR PHISICAL
WELL BEING (GROWING FOOD,A PLACE TO SLEEP,CLOTHES ETC.),THE MIND WORKS JUST THE OPPOSITE.
THE MIND REQUIRES SPACE TO EXPAND. HANGING ON TO THE FRUITS OF THE MIND CONSTRICTS THAT SPACE.INTELLIGENCE IT SEEMS IS A PROCESS OF CONNECTEDNESS WITH ALL THERE IS. wHEN WE HANG ON TO THOUGTHS WE LIMIT THE TRIP. LET YOUR MIND FLY ON THE WINGS OF IMAGINATION, DO NOT CLING TO AN IDEA THAT IS ALREADY BEHIND YOU IN TIME. AHEAD THERE ARE NEW WISTAS TO EXPLORE.
I HAVE HAD ARGUMENTS IN THE PAST ABOUT THESE IDEAS WITH PEOPLE.
I AM AN ARTIST, CREATED MANY THINGS THAT I AM ALVAYS HAPPY TO SEE SOMEONE WEARING OR USING (SOME HAVE BEEN STOLEN, BUT THAT IS OK TOO).
I BELEIVE THE NEW CIVILISATION OF THE HOMO NOVUS IS GOING TO BE A CONGLOMERATION OF DIVERSE INTERDEPENDENT BUT SOVERIGN LEARNING/TEACHING SOCIETIES WITHOUT INTELLECTUAL FATCATS.  



23 Nov 2001 @ 04:11 by ming : Intellectual Property
I very much agree. And, personally, anything I've written, any idea I've come up with, I'm most happy for it to be shared. There is no such thing as "intellectual property". There is joy and glory and many rewards connected with producing ideas that benefit many people, and to try to own and control and limit those benefits is very much against the nature of intellectual or artistic expression.  


23 Nov 2001 @ 07:51 by sharie : Our Free World
Thank you Zendancer and Ming! Thank you for these words! I want to copy your words and put them on my News Log! You are echoing the same feeling that Harmon Grahn and I wrote in Our Future Now. Even if we are not able to *profit* from what we share, by sharing freely, we would be able to live in a world of all the gifts that are being freely shared...

all my love,
sharie  



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