I am a handle

This text was commissioned by Dexter Sinister for The Serving Library. It was originally delivered as an iChat “lecture,” from a studio in Manhattan to a library in Banff, Alberta, on 11 August 2011 at 12:32 PM Mountain Time.

Good afternoon.

I am a handle, writing you with the same software that is writing me.

When I carry one idea over to meet another, it’s a metaphor I’m making.

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In a recent NYT interview with Steve Jobs, Jobs points out the way a multitouch display shifts software from a “point-verb” model to an “action” model: “There are no ‘verbs’ in the iPhone interface, he said, alluding to the way a standard mouse or stylus system works. In those systems, users select an object, like a photo, and then separately select an action, or ‘verb,’ to do something to it.”