[portland] Python shell designs

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Thu Jul 17 18:29:18 CEST 2008

On Thu, Jul 17, 2008 at 12:39 AM, Nick Welch <mackstann at gmail.com> wrote:

<< SNIP >>

> There was a unix terminal and/or shell program I saw a while back that would
> show images right there in the terminal, say, when you did an "ls", but I
> can't seem to find it now.

Yeah, that kinda prefigures everything GUI, mixing graphemes and lexemes
willy nilly, everything icon, plus thumbnail views.

I remember when Miguel de Icaza showcased a rotating cube of desktops,
getting a movie to play in a window that wrapped around the edge.  Wow
went the audience, eye candy to die for.  Then the dream came true and
my Ubuntu does exactly that, yet everyone seems so ho hum about it,
while I'm still blown away.  I feel kinda retarded, sitting there in the bus
station or whatever, rotating my cube of desktops, pushing my shopping
cart... (he's so easily amused, I can hear them whispering...).

Probably working with the Chinese unicode set, including for I Ching hexa
and trigrams has gotten me in the mood to use dot notation against icons,
like <<max headroom>>.yak( 10 ) to get some funny face going on my
screen, the implication being this is Python and <<max headroom>> is
somehow the __repr__ of an object, or maybe not -- could be __repr__
stays lexical, but we still have our methods...  Watching Jim Hugunin fire
up those wizards and/or frogs or whatever, the MicrosoftOffice "helpers"
(paperclip), from within Python .NET (IronPython) also influential.  More
amusements for the bus station...

The important point being (I think) is that we don't have to touch Python
the language, just make new games around it with the shell.  Jason showed
us at a recent PPUG meeting how easy to make steps in this direction with
the batteries included (he had a nifty "show tool" to demo, sliderepl **).
Mathematica and Haskell know about doing PIL type stuff right on the shell
canvas, wouldn't be too tough a trick for our snake, given we're already
doing Chinese etc.

The "blob : picture : font-glyph" association may be getting in my way
(I think it's helping), plus I shouldn't forget about audio i.e. some methods
fire a sound.

Back to MVC, I understand designs that'd fire a picture or sound "in a
viewer" or "in a player" i.e. we'd fire up a GUI widget for context and *not*
try to embed everything in the interactive shell.

But this detracts from my vision of being able to go like

<< apple >>.compare( << orange >>)

or something, with little iconographic apples and oranges embedded right
in the syntax.

I'm thinking this could be one of those eToyz or some such i.e. some
fancy wx Widget with a canned set of ding bats, programmed in Python.
Maybe you only get a few of these funny objects responsive to dot
notation, per Max Headroom example.  It's enough to get you thinking.
Could be it's something teachers use to assist newbies in getting
"dot notation" in the first place.  <<real-looking cat>>.meow ( 4 )
would trigger a sound.  Fun sandbox.  Suggests applications.

Oh well, gotta get back to it, packing for a car trip, just back from
Freddies with new ethernet cable...


** http://controlroom.blogspot.com/2008/04/ppug-200848.html

> To be scalable, perhaps SVG would be the way to go?
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