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Alex Gill On Minimal Computing

Alex Gil gave a talk on The Universals and Particulars of Minimal Computing

It isn’t haves and have nots, but a variety of different types of haves. Alex talked about a trip to Cuba with the INKE project. They brought lots of USB drives as that is one of the ways they share info in Cuba.

One of the first Wax projects was in Sudan where they had a collection of images of women in Sudan where the state (at the time) wanted certain representations of women. The project had to coexist on the Internet while also being able to circulate in a different form on USB with lots more images. The project had to be camouflaged where part of it was hidden.

In each place you find different practices and ecologies. He talked about the Rikers Story Bot and how it was project to support people in jail in New York with no access to the internet. We shouldn’t align practices with a nation. We need to understand how even in North America there different ecologies.

We need to question the tools we take for granted.

There first exercise in minimal computing was Ed, a Jekyll theme designed for text editors. He was dealing with the issue of what to do with encoded text - TEI is great, but what is needed to finish a project that can be seen.

He talked about Ernesto Rosas - a Cuban thinker who wrote about the period after Soviet Union dropped supporting Cuba - Cubans had to learn to repair their own stuff. Culture of DIY.

You see things for what they are , not what are supposed to be used for. You see their materiality. Socialism and Capitalism both think things need to be used for only one thing. We need to see beyond use. The architecture of necessity.

Defining question for minimal computing is what do you really need.

Ed gets built to support digital archives. They want to build digital archives of primary sources. Omeka was the answer, but no one asked if everyone had lots of bandwidth and servers and so on.

He sees digital archive as the paradigmatic internet genre.

Wax wasn’t built to replace Omeka, but to provide a different approach.

TEI went in the direction of the world to come? Now we have Linked Open Data.

He talked about how browse and search are similar.

DH needed solutions for easy data entry. Omeka is based on the idea of students entering content without knowing anything. The problem is that you need a lot of technical support to get it to work.

Cut the cord to server.

One of the things Wax does is regenerate the IIIF tiles = thus the whole we site could be put on a USB stick.

Wax and Ed are good for learning - students are not just data entry.

He talked about a syllabus Pirate Care.



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