The Knowledge Management Research Group

Recovering from Pythagoras - towards a second prototype

The demo took place on the inaguration day of the new CID localities - September 12, 1996. The emergency hack was well received by the audience, and - in my opinion - contributed decisively towards a continuation of the GOK project. It was, however, put together in a way that created tensions within the group. The graphical designers (Klara and Kristina) felt bad, because their part of the work didn't show up in the prototype, but was documented separately - on paper. This was unfortunate and affected the atmosphere within the group in a negative way - something for which I must take full responsibility. Seen in retrospect, I should have predicted this reaction, but I was simply too concentrated on producing a working prototype in time for the demo - a prototype which must have at least some measure of both function and content - to be aware of the negative energy that I was creating. Poor Rikard - whose heroic work had delivered the implementation 'just in time' - was caught in a psychological cross-fire, which made his work-situation considerably more difficult than it would have been otherwise.

Following the CID inauguration, it was decided that the project should be allowed to continue, and - in a meeting with Yngve - the next phase was organized. Bosse Westerlund was enlisted as project manager and esthetical gardener, which increased the esthetic competence within the group. This was important - especially since Klara quit the project at this point. It was decided that we would keep working during the fall, with a new demo in December - in order to evaluate the project and decide about further continuation.

During the fall Kenneth was taken ill, which grounded the music part of the project. Because of this unfortunate turn of events, the second prototype - which was presented on December 16 1996, did not contain any new musical material.

The critique that was voiced against the first prototype was basically founded on the embarrassing fact that the multi-medial content was blatantly missing. This fact - combined with the psychological tensions that had been created by the emergency hacking of the first prototype - led to a 'restart' in connection with the second phase of the GOK project during the fall of 96. Now we were to prioritize the multi-medial components, in order to explore what they could offer in terms of presentation support - in relation to the first, text-based prototype.

We decided within the group that the second prototype should be more 'linear' than the first - i.e. it would contain fewer possibilities for choice. In return for this restriction, it would - as a form of compensation - contain much more of multi-medial support. This decision, which may seem surprizing, was due to the inevitable programming difficulties that are connected with the creation of multi-medial interactivity. In spite of Rikard's great work, we were simply too understaffed on the programming side to be able to overcome these difficulties within the time-frame of the project.

We therefore made use of two well-known principles of effective design - namely compromize and reuse. I went through my old documentation videos, and came up with some material that I had been involved with producing about 7 years ago in cooperation with several other mathematicians - especially Torsten Ekedahl and Lennart Carleson - in a series of programs called "Mitt i Matematiken" created by Göran Adolfsson at UtbildningsRadion, Sveriges Television. From this material - as well as from some of my own geometric animations from the old Symbolics days - I collected various pieces that had to do with geometry, and Rikard helped me to digitalize the material and turn it into QuickTime format. This collection then became our basic film repository for the second prototype.

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