Bret Victor is my new best friend.

Click the image above to be taken to a sane, informed, and unique criticism of Microsoft’s recent dreadful vision of the future.

Bret Victor exists somewhere in the world. My new goal is to hug him.

“Are we really going to accept an Interface Of The Future that is less expressive than a sandwich?” – Bret Victor


5 thoughts on “Bret Victor is my new best friend.

  1. I agree on almost all of his points. Vision (and perhaps taste and skill) is what separates Apple from Microsoft, Google from Yahoo, and Oedipus from Thebes. The story of Alan Kay drawing the first tablet is spectacular. So long as this has been the dangling carrot for computer technology, it can be argued that it is a significant vision, even if he never saw it come to fruition.

    For all of the torpid cowardice of the Microsoft “vision,” and its inability to interpret the potential of new technology, what has Bret Victor offered? An old drawing of a device that has been made, and made well beyond any expectations of the original design. He hasn’t bothered to interpret how his analysis of a tool should be applied to new technology, only that it falls short of holding a sandwich, which is an absurd comparison.

    Contrast Bret Victor with Jeff Han and this TED Video from 2006:

  2. I should note that I’m particularly sensitive to this thought right now because I’m trying to write a post about Skyrim and werewolves that addresses my disappointment in open-world and sandbox games. I don’t want it to be just a rant- which I know is included in the title of Bret’s post, but isn’t “just a rant” underselling the vision of a blog?

  3. “This little rant isn’t going to lay out any grand vision or anything. I just hope to suggest some places to look.”

    And then he offers 5 links on haptic technology in this sentence: “There is a smattering of active research in related areas. It’s been smattering along for decades. This research has always been fairly marginalized, and still is. But maybe you can help.”

    I think you’re misinterpreting the Alan Kay anecdote. The point there is that the touch-screen idea is 35 years old, so why is Microsoft’s definition of “vision” based on something first envisioned in the 60s?

    The singular argument, composed here better than any I’ve read on the subject, is that the future of technology absolutely does not lie in the Pictures Under Glass concept.

  4. Re: Rants & Voltaire.
    Bret Victor didn’t just rant that he hated something. He put a lot of time and intellect into demonstrating the failure of touchscreen technology to embrace human fidelity. When a rant is as constructive as this, it’s a benefit to the conversation. If he had dropped in that sandwich line with no context, it would have been valueless.
    The examples of the book, the glass of water, and the jar lid are constructive criticisms of a single-finger future. It gives designers and consumers a clear perspective to appraise what it is they want out of future technology.

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