Archived Front Page

This is the front page as we created it way back in 2016:


The Vision

Doug’s vision, and what we are inspired to follow, was to ‘augment our ability to solve urgent, complex problems collectively’.

Picture this: What would the world look like if Doug Engelbart had gotten $100M++ USD funding and was able to keep his team focused for a decade or more pursuing the Augment / Bootstrap / CoEvolution / ARC / DKR / NLS / OHS / CoDIAK vision?

  • How would we experience our lives differently?
  • How would our human interactions look & feel?
  • What could we do (together?) that we cannot otherwise do in 2015?

The Doug Software Products

The product, to be called Doug, will initially consist of two components which will work tightly together:

Consider Joining Us

We are eager to build this collaboratively so please join us. We request that you look through Doug’s seminal Augmenting Human Intellect paper, from 1962 and watch the video of the 1968 Demo. You may also want to visit the Doug Engelbart Institute

EVERYTHING is up for discussion, but please look into why we are taking the direction we are taking and the reasons we are doing it the way we are first – we are trying to change the world, help us get there, with thoughtful dialog – we are looking forward to interacting with you 🙂



Doug Websites & Resources

Weekly Google Hangout (4pm UK time Sundays)


Core Attributes

Google Group. Please feel free to join

How we Co-Create. Proposed working structure

Relevant Web Sites


Welcome to Doug!

Sam, Frode & Stan



If you would like to blog here just send me, the admin, an email and I’ll happily create an account for you:


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If I had millions…

Please note, this is raw and unedited, simply how I feel at this point:

If I had millions I’d do much more of thaw I have been doing with what I already have done with the money I started out with – I’d foster dialog and carry out projects with the singular goal of augmenting how we work together to solve problems.



Gather people together in conferences where the focus is on sharing information, connecting people and providing a safe and comfortable space for creativity, opening up, honesty and real dialog. This means covering costs of active participants where required.

I would expand the scope of the conferences into two streams: Sky-High thinking of how we can continue really improve how we solve problems together and Focused; Focused implementations where we can use Pavel and Timour’s strategies for getting the future into clearer focus in groups. This division would have to come about in a planned way and feed

Cornerstone Topics

I’m sure there will be many important topics to convene but there are cornerstone topics:

Interactions/Interface. How will be best use the rectangle of the computer screen where the most of our work will happen? Please note: The VR revolution is coming but the large horizontal rectangle of a current, large computer monitor will be the focus of our workspace until our biology changes: Move your eyes and remind yourself of your sharp foveal centre. Then move your eyes about without moving your neck and ‘feel’ which part of your vision is the least strenuous to move around in. This is the development sweet spot. There is still a huge amount of invention and innovation to do in this (current computer monitor sized) space than we need to wait for VR and such to expand.
Maybe we should call this the Interactions Group.

Links. Information is connection so how we interact and deal with our links will be crucial.
We might call this the Links Working Group.

Documents. We need a new, open document format which anyone can write applications for and expand, without breaking it for anyone else.
For this we need the Futures Document Group.

Infrastructure. We can’t innovate without the ‘substrate’ of our information also innovating and improving the space of possible innovation. This will be in concert with the projects I would want to fund, to help us see and live in new information worlds.
Maybe this should be the Infrastructure Group. 


The purpose of the projects is to not just talk but also do, and see what it’s like to actually work in different environments, not just have theories of them, collaborating to, hopefully, implement ever more powerful projects which will make the prior projects obsolete – that is my goal, to build ways of doing things which points to ever more powerful ways so that the there is a constant process of kicking the legs out from the ladder as we grow in capability.

I would fund my own project Author and turn it into a powerful collaboration system.

Ted Nelson’s ZigZag & other projects should also be funded.

Sam, Jack and the gangs DKR2/Knowledge Garden projects desperately needs funding, or rather, the world needs the project to be funded.

All of the projects funded would need to provide monthly updates to the rest of the community and rest of the world of what was learned, what was done and what was not done or found to be not possible.

Is this not done now?

So a natural objection will be that people are already doing this. There will always be someone pointing to something someone or some organisation is doing and this can be good but it can also make me want to cry. Sure there are technical institutions doing great things and companies as well, and there are hackers here and there building. But we cannot win the war on our own ignorance with such a messy situation.

If we are to really launch a moon-shot, or an all out assault on our own ignorance – whatever language you prefer – then we must, as with the actual moon shot or with with any successful assault, we must plan, strategise and organise. It’s that simple.

Are we up for the fight?

Can we put our egos into a confederation where we can collaborate with the best of what we have to offer, into a beautiful soup of knowledge and wisdom, while still having our creative little egos? Or will our egos kill us?

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Rain Drops & Branches

We have to build something – we also have to build foundations for something.

Jack Park calls for an open source collaboration ecosystem. I think that is provocative.

As I sit here at the desk I use at my parent’s in-law’s, it’s a rainy day.
The view is beautiful crips raindrops, all serving as lenses to the future wilderness.
As I focus past the lenses the beautiful branches of nature come into sharp relief against the gentle grey skies.
This is I see as a useful analogy for where we need to go; we need to develop real connections and different ‘lenses’ through which we can see them.
This is a potentially massive undertaking since there needs to be an infrastructure of sorts to be the ‘substrate’ for the links.


I’m still struggling with Author, I’m going to have to release the Mac version with features missing, especially academic features, since each department in each university seem to have different formats for academic papers, then I’ll meet with academics and ask them first what their criteria are for formatted documents to hand in, particularly how citations should be handled (this I can likely copy from their websites, but it’s a good start to talk with them maybe). The big discussion will then be revamping the whole citations system – making it more efficient for students to link to paragraphs, not just whole documents, and making it quick and easy for teachers.

I see citations as a fancy word for links, and a potential community to start using richer and more powerful links.

But this is just one little neck of the woods . We need to support so many more efforts to build revolutionary ways to interact with each other. Author’s success will largely depend on someone using it to be inspired and go way beyond what Author would ever be able to do, to make Author obsolete. If Author becomes simply another word processor that would not be good.

The Ecosystem

The most fundamental thing in the universe, I assert, is not information, but interaction. ‘Links’ are interactions dug up from the soil and left on the surface for others to yet further interact with.

So far we don’t have links, we simply have addresses. An URL does not ‘connect’ or ‘link’, it’s simply an address to go to. And yes, I am most humble aware of how I am ‘preaching’ to the choir here.

What we need is something beyond a transportation layer, we need a connection layer. For example: We need to be able to let a user copy an action item from one app or website and paste it into another and the original location ‘knows’ who copied it and follows along to ‘know’ whether the action item has been actioned.

We need documents to ‘know’ what links to them.

We need glossaries to follow documents and also authors, editors, and readers.

We need such a rich soup of data that we can really cook up liquid information and generate entirely new ways to access, view, interact with, understand, question and share information.

It this even possible?

Can we embed ‘smarts’ with connectivity in objects maybe? Is it this simple? Or does this need to be server or IP level? I don’t know, but I think it’s crucial we work together to find out.

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D@50 One Sentence Descriptions

Goals for the 50th anniversary of Doug’s Demo as described by the original team:


“It is an event that, by leveraging the existing capacity of large scale collaboration via Internet, will demonstrate co-created collaborative environments of the future that will help solve 21 century global challenges”



“Augment our ability to put together accordion discussions, where users can change the view, expand and collapse and easily get to grips with the discussion, which then leads on to accord and actionable items.”

In order to achieve this, we need to build, as Jack so perfectly puts it:

“An open source collaboration ecosystem”

It annoys me, but no more than a mountain in my path, that in order to build this reality we will have to build something of a technical infrastructure and that this may cost money.

For example, we need active links: An idea which could only live in an active link environment with servers accessible to help: When someone copies an item from, fx. a list and intends for it to be a To Do item, the original location should be informed of who copies it and the purpose of the copy (as to do item) and it should stay connected  so that when the user clicks Done in whatever To Do system they use, the original location should be informed of the status change and be able to set the original items status to Done.


“Finish Doug’s Work: Implement and Document his Big Ideas!”

Douglas Makepeace


“Facilitating improved truth-seeking journeys is our Aristotelian Final Cause.”

Jack Park

“Co-create and launch the proposed large-scale collaborative environment platform’s pilot demonstration at the 2018 Silicon Valley Super-Event Celebration of the Internet founders and their successful startups, while generating sustained promotion and funding, through the on-going Super-Event Program.”

Stan Gould

“I think the one-liner for us is ‘do something’ and maybe also ‘build something'”

Vint Cerf


“Doug2018 demonstrates advances in augmenting human capacity to address wicked and anthropogenic problems, through networked software technologies for harvesting and applying global knowledge married with social technologies for clarifying and augmenting personal and collaborative group intention, wisdom and decision making.”

Mark Szpakowski

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Email to the group, January 1st 2016: New Year, same old?…


This is just not good. We talk about continuing Doug’s work and some people want to discuss issues way high, a level where tools just don’t get a look-in while others get to work on implementations without much productive dialog as to what should be augmented and how we can best do it. Then we spend quite a lot of time talking about those issues as if we are a dysfunctional couple – but we don’t have a therapist to help us. This has gone on for too many years. But now at least we have a deadline, and deadlines (can) make things happen.
The Aim

Doug’s singular focus was on augmenting how we solve urgent, complex problems, collectively.

I therefore propose that we make it our challenge to produce a system which allows us to augment how we as a group solve the problem of our own sub-optimal communication, decision making and implementation issues.

How about it people? How about we attack our own complex problem first?

This would involve all the levels of human cooperation – social, mental, technical, cultural…

IF we could attack this problem, we might have a thunderously powerful demo on the 9th of December 2018.
Our Design Problems Will Include:

•  How can we build a system which is actually enjoyable to use?
•  How can we ensure it stays open so it doesn’t just become another .com or hobby build?
•  How should the dialog be presented?
•  How can users and visitors interact with the dialog?
•  How will dialog and action items co-exist?
•  How can our individual passion projects contribute?
•  & much more…
So how to start?

So, I ask each and every one of you; are you in? If not, hey that’s fine, that’s honest, we all have lives outside of this.

But if you are in, I want to know how you feel we should start the very initial dialog – via email, blogs, Trello, Slack, Google+, Facebook or somewhere else? We can then see if there is a consensus on this. I would suggest that email is not the place for this though, emails get lost and can’t easily be searched or linked from elsewhere.

As a kick-off, I have started a blog at which you are all welcome to get accounts to (just email me and I’ll set up your account), for long-form posts or to just notify when you posted somewhere else. I have also put together a Trello board at where I have populated it with a few cards, as potential seeds. Please feel free to add and edit as you see fit though please also try not to make too many columns, it can become quite unwieldy.

Once we agree on how to have the dialog, we need to really gather requirements, in addition to the basic ones I put together above. This is where it would get juicy. As for my own involvement, there is the odd thing about working with other ‘saving the world’ type people when we are not in the same organisation and we don’t get paid – balancing ‘taking ownership’ with ‘taking over’ becomes an issue. We all need to take ownership of this if we are going to get this big bird to fly. Being mindful of anyone taking over is probably a luxury we don’t need to worry about at this point. If someone doesn’t feel heard, please simply speak up.

This is important work, with important ramifications equally if it gets done and if it does not get done. Let’s rise to the challenge.
Frode Hegland
The Deep Literacy Initiative

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A space for putting together accordion discussions

Thoughts from last week on a dialog system:

“accordion (n.) 1831, from German Akkordion, from Akkord “musical chord, concord of sounds, be in tune” (compare Italian accordare “to attune an instrument”); ultimately from same source as English accord (v.), with suffix on analogy of clarion, etc. Invented 1829 by piano-maker Cyrill Demian (1772-1847) of Vienna.”*

The basic requirement / premise is that we need a place where we can engage in dialog but it should not be a simple, ephemeral discussion board, it should also include larger posts and documents – inline.

So here is the basic invention, a web based system where you can contribute a ‘card’ and which must have a single sentence Subject (tweet length) and a body which can be plain text paragraph, a whole document or a link to a blog post/web page.

These cards can the be re-organised by anyone. You have your own view/organisation but you can choose to see how anyone else has done it, or even ‘lock’ your view to someone else who then becomes your editor.

The cards come in two types: Headings and Body. The Headings cards is where you pin your body cards. This is much like Trello. The Headings cards are only one sentence and one ‘level’.

The Body cards are three lines deep in default view, to show the Subject, and can easily accordion out to show the full body text or URL.


-— and this is when I realised we should use Trello, and set that up — —

It’s clear that Trello is a good start, but just a start.

We need a way where people can contribute to describing how they see a situation, in a way that is easily understandable at a skim – including how issues connect – but which also allows for deep discussion.

So back to the thinking board.

My feeling that thinking in terms of cards rather than plain text seems to make the most sense, so let’s stick with that. Anyone with permission can make a card and the card has a field for basic text, plus further explanation and URL. The user can connect the card with any other cards (by dragging onto the other cards, most likely), and will then have to choose a type of connection and a direction. The user can also re-arrange the cards at will and choose to see anyone else’s order, which the stack will dynamically, and quickly, change into, to compare perspectives.

So let’s go back to the premise, the premise is to help people get in accord, and we are suggesting here that the ability to expand and contract, to layout differently and to discuss what is seen, is an important aspect of getting into accord, at least to the point of better understanding other perspectives, even if you don’t necessarily jump across the divide and change your mind.

Immediate Design Challenges

How much should be shown vertically, how much horizontally? How important is it to be able to spread out from the linear column into a free space, versus a set of columns (left, main and right) vs. Trello’s multiple columns? Freedom in design is important, but unless your main function is to design layouts, too much freedom can quickly contribute to messy design, making it hard for the user and other users to see order.

My feeling is that we should build a system with one central column of re-arrangeable invisible ‘cards’ which users can re-arrange and use the column space on the sides for cuttings which the user is not using currently and for controls as to what is visible.

But what about all the commercial apps?

There are many commercial apps and websites for dialog, collaboration and thinking, such as Trello, Slack, Google Docs and so on, but we are trying to think past what can be done now and provide an infrastructure for open-innovation, meaning that the API’s for adding and extracting data, will be open for others to add to.

Elements of Dialog

The elements we need to design into the system include:

•  Statements
•  URLs & Citations for further information/expansion
•  Comments
•   Supportive comments
•   Disagreeing comments
•   Additional information comments
•   Other perspective comments

Meta-Information which should be included:

•  Author ID
•  Commenter ID
•  Type
•  Time and Date Added/Edited
•  Location Added/Edited


The user should be able to:

•  Expand and contract (accordion):
Example Project

We are all working on how to figure out what to invent and how to show a great demo on the 50th anniversary of Doug’s Mother of All Demos. This should be our example project which we should design for.

For this project there will be topics, such as:

•  What to Augment
•  Technical Considerations
•  Interactions to Support
•  Schedule
•  The Day itself

And so on. Each one of these will need discussion, assignments to who will do what and resolutions as to what is decided.


•  Discussion
•  Voting
•  Glossaries

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An accordion dialog system

Picture an online discussion system which is not an ugly design with lots of lines and randomly coloured buttons and screens of text, but where you can cleanly read relevant text, interact with it, come to agreements and decide on who does what – a discussion system and a task management system.

The Issue

The issue with our group is that we are working on building something but first we need to agree on what to build, and this will need discussion. As such, this proposal aims to be a discussion system and task management system.

The Process to Augment

Open discussion which results in actions.

The Results Desired

Actionable items which can be furthered tracked and discussed.

The Elements

Users writes a line of text, maximum 140 characters long onto a card. This is thought of as the subject. The user can also write further text as Body text, which will be hidden/collapsed upon viewing the page.

This card is either a heading for a section/topic or a body copy statement.

Each card can be dragged to-reorder them, much like you can in Trello.

Each card has attributes:

•  Subject
•  Body Text
•  Author’s name/ID
•  Category: Discussion Point – or – To Do Item
•  Time, place and device added and edited
•  Vote for others to agree or disagree on the point made in the card
•  How the card relates to the card it was added under (supportive, additional point, disagreeing etc.) or justification as to why this card is the head of a new stack of cards (written in plain text).
•  If tagged as a To Do item, tagged user who has taken it upon himself or herself to action the item, complete with a deadline (user will be notified of impending deadline through email etc.).

Possible Actions

You should be able to pinch in and out to see more or less on the text, in a hierarchical fashion.


And this is where I stop, for now. If you have any thoughts I’d love to hear from you.

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DOUG on Trello

I have created a board on Trello for us all to interact with, with a few basic lists (let’s try to keep them to a small number!) and a few cards plus named a few tags. Please have a look and if you like the approach, great, let’s go make magic.

Suggestions for how to use this Trello board:

  • We should not just add ‘to do’ items on there but also tag ourselves when we take ownership of something.
  • This should also be used for discussion. There is a list for ‘Questions to the Group’ where you can ask any question and anyone can reply, right inside the card.
  • Longer documents/blog posts can be added to cards for reference here as well, so this becomes a hub for knowledge and a place for action.

What do you all think?

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Urgent, Complex Problems. Collectively

Doug was not interested in small problems or in ease of use. Doug wanted to build high-performance jets to cruise through cyberspace. We need to really step back and look at the components of his vision if we are to in any way contribute to evolving it.

Urgent, Complex Problems

He elaborates in his 92 paper*:

Increased capability in this respect is taken to mean a mixture of the following:
•  more-rapid comprehension,
•  better comprehension,
•  the possibility of gaining a useful degree of comprehension in a situation that previously was too complex,
•  speedier solutions, better solutions, and
•  the possibility of finding solutions to problems that before seemed insoluble.

This means that we must aim to build system to help us better understand what is going on, and it’s immediately clear that such understanding will be different in different domains, so we must decide what domains to support and investigate how.

Doug’s other main criteria is that we need to solve problems collectively, it’s not enough for one person to work on these urgent, complex problems.

What do we have to work with? Doug had a beautiful illustration* of a column of Tool Systems on one side and Human Systems on the other, coming together in a Capability Infrastructure. These were always connected, in myriads of ways, each piece of the system being influenced by, and influencing other pieces.

Underneath these two columns, underpinning them, was a row for Skills & Knowledge and Training, which was further underpinned by the Basic Human Capabilities (Perceptual, Mental & Motor).

There isn’t much space for a lone individual in this illustration – every person is connected, every tangible tool and every mental construct. This is the space he innovated in and this is our ecosystem as well.

The original .author document is at: 

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Elements – The Computer Screens & Vision

Let’s start with the screen you have in front of you right now. Your sharp vision area is tiny while your peripheral vision is wide, soft but highly sensitive to motion/change in light.

There is also a secondary border of the visual field, about the size of a large computer screen, where what is within this area has a higher bandwidth to our brains than what is outside it. This is likely down to the speed and effort of the six extraocular muscles which control movement of the eye. As you can ‘see’, you can move your eyes quite far off centre before you have to engage your neck, but there is a more comfortable zone more directly in front of you. Computer gamers find that screens which covers this area provides for a more effective gaming view with faster reflexes possible within this area.

So now we have 3 areas to consider for the visual impulses from our work environment and the upside is that a 15”-21” or so computer screen is not such a bad core work area, where augmentation from secondary displays for secondary information can of course be useful and should be considered. The main point however, is that let’s not simply push for VR and photorealistic renderings of all kinds of things as being the holy grail of information environments – we can also do wondrous things with the medium sized rectangle we all use every day.

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