If Xanadu, Mirror Worlds, and Zigzag are the answers, what are the questions?

by Jack Seay

Feb. 6, 2005

What folder did I leave that document in?

What did I name that file?

What changes did I make to it? Can I compare any 2 or more versions?

My hard drive crashed; I didn't back it up with my over-complicated backup software; now what?

Can I reformat a document for different screen size, PDA, desktop printer, offset press, audio reading, etc.?

What if I change the text (pictures, audio, video) in a particular format, do all the formats of this version reflect the change?

How can I use part of another document without asking permission, and still be legal?

How can I get paid when someone quotes parts of my book, listens to my music, or watches my movie or animation?

Can I create a slight modification of something created by someone else and make them happy that I did it?

How can I (or my accountant) make notations and highlight possible errors in my bank account without corrupting the original document?

Can I link from this sentence to that paragraph, movie segment, or song verse? Can links be made unbreakable and bi-directional?

How can I participate in a debate in ways not even imaginable using current methods?

Can I rampantly re-use anything made by anyone and know that they will get fair payment automatically; and that anyone can always see the full context of the original anytime?

Why is it so hard to update and expand web-pages? Is there a better way?

How can I show the vast, intricate, inter-relationships of this Universe, my thoughts, all human knowledge, and all the arts; in all media past, present, and future (when available)?

What kind of software will we want to use when our PDA's are connected with 3D VR glasses, surround sound, and 42 coordinate* data gloves (instead of a 2 coordinate mouse)? * 3 for each finger and hand, plus 3 directions of rotation for each hand.

Can my database be more flexible, yet maintain integrity?

Can computers by my servants, not my masters?

How can I get a high-level overview, but zoom in to any level of detail?

Can software usage and/or programming become both more intuitive and powerful?

Does any software have to be browse-only?

Is the hierarchial file-system obsolete? (at least from the user's point of view)

Is the OS as the determinant of software's look and feel obsolete?

Does all human knowledge have to be fragmented into disconnected corpuscles of curriculum?

Can business software be more like playing a high-end videogame and less like sitting in a dentist's chair?

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