In the metaphysics of early computing, after the vacuum tubes, while the world was searching for the mouse, there came briefly to light an interesting cosmological problem. Graphical space can be described in two ways, either as a mapped set of distinct dots or as a collection of lines: bitmaps or vectors respectively. The basic metaphor upon which we would compute was at stake. We needed to construct an on-screen representation of depth and organization. Build a system of metaphors that created the illusion of space on a computer screen out of vectors, and get a certain kind of computing; do it out of pixels, and get another. It is a foundational presupposition, choose vectors and we’ll end up thinking about things in a certain way, as connections, curves, and shapes; pick bitmaps, and we’ll think differently, and perceive a collection of individual points. We might force shapes on our firmament, but everyone knows that ...

 
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