online: 12 march 2006
modified: 11, 12, 13 march 2006

9 march 2006 lifelong acquaintance

17:51 Hampstead Heath... fast walk in cold damp air after rain...

...i was stopped by robin loudly chirping in a bare tree next to a holly bush in the fading light...

...and later i stopped again to listen to another robin that i could not see... somewhere in the wet branches i hurried on in the cold i met only a few people here today... three of them were running and one was walking with two dogs...

...heavy rain and wet ground seems to put most people off... i keep to the driest paths and am glad to get right across the heath without slipping...

...i was on my way to revisit the past, come alive, in the person of John Zeisel who had invited me to the launch of a revised edition of his book Inquiry by Design*... i came across a photograph of him on the web and looked again at my copy of the 1981 edition in which i found a touching inscription to myself... i well remember staying at his apartment in Cambridge, Massachusetts and that we exchanged books... so i immediately sent him an email and we re-established contact...

...he said he was coming to London in a few days to re-launch his book... and yes, we exchanged books again for i have unsold copies of the internet and everyone** ready for such an occasion!

...and at the meeting i met several others whom i knew slightly and one, Barrie Evans, who attended the first year of the graduate course in Design Technology that i organised in the 1960s... i didn't recognise him immediately but then, after getting used to his changed presence (as he did to mine i suppose), we talked with pleasure of others who attended that course and about things we'd been doing thereafter... is extraordinary (by pre-web standards) to meet people after losing touch so long ago... and so pleasant an experience...

...i'm indeed glad to be living after the appearance of the internet, especially after anticipating such a thing many times since my lucky encounters with the early computers in the mid 1950s that enabled, even obliged, me to contemplate the future of these, the first unspecialised machines, the first to have no single purpose but to be able to accept instructions to assist in any activity that we understand, wholly or in part...!

...and now this can be the norm, to remain in touch with all one's acquaintances throughout one's life - a vast change to which we have barely begun to get accustomed... among all the other consequences of the digitising of anything that we can rationally describe... (which isn't everything!)

*John Zeisel, Inquiry by Design: Environment/ Behaviour/ Neuroscience in Architecture, Interiors, Landscape and Planning, second edition, revised, W W Norton and Company, New York, London 2006.

**john chris jones, the internet and everyone, W W Norton and Company, New York 2000, and by mail order from London.

(these pages are designed to be read with the window set to two-thirds of the screen width)

what's new



daffodil email newsletter

© 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 john chris jones

You may transmit this text to anyone for any non-commercial purpose if you include the copyright line and this notice and if you respect the copyright of quotations.

If you wish to reproduce any of this text commercially please send a copyright permission request to jcj at