Monday, September 3, 2007

Pecha Kucha and Blaise Pascal

Wired Magazine strikes again by alerting us to a recent phenomenon over in Japan, that is spreading through Europe: a presentation format called Pecha Kucha.

Think of it as haiku for the PowerPoint crowd: 20 slides for 20 seconds each, for a total of 6 min 40 seconds.

(I wonder if this can be applied to screencasting?)

Generally, I find brevity fascinating. I love the mental exercise of trying to make a small, simple program even more terse. I often wonder if creativity can be more fun within the rules of a framework (such as haiku or, say, the fugue musical form) or if it more satisfying to "smash the rules" entirely (such as free verse). I could write an entire essay on how musicians such as Mozart and Randy Rhoads were brilliant within musical frameworks whereas Beethoven and Edward Van Halen joyfully kicked the doors down.

The irony, of course, is that brevity is deceptive. The following quote applies just as much to writing as it does to programming. From the written word of Blaise Pascal:

I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.


Alex said...

Hey I read that in Wired this weekend too. I blogged on it some more at here.

Dean said...

"My freedom will be so much the greater and more meaningful the more narrowly I limit my field of action and the more I surround myself with obstacles. Whatever diminishes constraint diminishes strength. The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees one's self of the chains that shackle the spirit."

Igor Stravinsky, Poetics of Music
(from his Harvard lectures in the 40s)

Michael Easter said...

r: Alex. cool post! I invite readers to use the word 'sestina' at every opportunity this week. esp. during code reviews, a la "dude, that constructor is a real sestina... maybe you should refactor it".

re: Dean. Perfect. That says it all... and what a source.

thanks for the comments