Steve Jobs said the computer is a bicycle for the mind. A bicycle is democratic: they are affordable, sustainable, anyone can use them, fix them etc.
But our computers are more like cars, not bicycles: expensive, complex, regulated, hard to fix, enhance etc.
Early software like HyperCard showed us a path where any enthusiasts can make something without the blessing of an elite class vampire billionaires and without having to move to Silicon Valley.
I read a study that measured the efficiency of locomotion for various species on the planet. The condor used the least energy to move a km. And, humans came in with a rather unimpressive showing, about a third of the way down the list... But, then somebody at Scientific American had the insight to test the efficiency of locomotion for a man on a bicycle. And, a man on a bicycle, a human on a bicycle, blew the condor away, completely off the top of the charts.
And that’s what a computer is to me.... the most remarkable tool that we’ve ever come up with, a bicycle for our minds
HyperCard was an early very successful Mac no-code app. A glorified filed-based database where every entry was represented as a card. It had a few characteristics:
It was used as address books, recipes or annotating ideas from documents. It got discontinued in 2004, but to this day it still has a massive following & the program achieved cult status.
Most rapid development applications (HyperCard or Excel) blend input and presentation so a user can play with them without interaction with code or a developer.
The program, the utility for the user, emerges from exploration. It is not something a developer hardcoded but rather a set of rules one can experiment with. Excel or Hypercard are designed more like a game than traditional software.
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