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John,

        It is refreshing when someone does a "self examination"
and provides this to us! (attached on the end)

        Out of privacy concerns and notions of being a private
person, we seldom see such candor on a list (and this should
not be confused with chat room drivel).

        I also wish to thank  H.L. Fuller for the address of
the original material.  (my PPP through MIT makes a connection
on only 1 in 4 tries with Trumpet.  I would suspect Trumpet, but
I get similar behavior under NT with its own dialer/stack -- so
I only do PPP in batches, having put the address in my bookmarks.)

        The net does feel "lonely."  About the best place I get
an immediate sense of people helping people is on news groups dedicated
to certain problem areas.  If I post a question about, say, NT --
I get immediate help, and discussion -- as long as my question isn't
too difficult.

        The second place I get some sense of uplift is the very
occasional person who decides to write me about one of my articles.
This can really make my day and I try to practice this in return to
other items that people do or post (such as in this occasion).

        It would be nice if the lurkers would, at least, wave their
hands of support occasionally.  This happened on the "Debt List"
([log in to unmask]) recently when a woman responded to my most
recent DEBT WATCH with first an admission that she wasn't an economist,
and then some very interesting notes about her current assessment,
and questions.  We should have a motto "There is no such thing as
a dumb question on the Net."

        That she felt she had to say she wasn't an economist and that
some of the discussion was "beyond her" is telling.  Indeed, some
lists are reduced to a few bold and emblazened "speakers" (I suppose
like myself).

        I can think of no better example than Declan McCullagh
on [log in to unmask] .  I don't believe I have seen one other
person post to that list since I subscribed about 7 months ago.  Yet
there are around 1-3 posts each day.  Declan -- "get a life?"

        As for introspections -- I can say this about myself.  I find
writing, in and of itself, to do two things for me.  First, I find
writing to be an artistic form of discovery.  While opinionated, I don't
have a full conscious sense of my opinions until I write, and then they
"come out."

        Secondly, I do find writing therapeutic.  While my Center had
3 summer interns -- and thus I had interesting company -- for the most
part, I am the only one in the office.  A sister office on Long Island
is bridged only by regular phone calls.

        So, a second reason I write -- especially to close friends --
is to bridge that loneliness.  One dear friend responds often, and
should I very much want a reply, I know I need only ask him a question
in the note, and he will surely reply (someone on this list actually).

        As for "surfing the net" -- I do this ONLY when I
need an answer.  And I ONLY use altavista.dec.com (soon to be
alatvista.com
out of a 1.5 million outlay by Compaq to buy this domain name).

        That this search engine provides access to the over 10 billion
words on the net, and does very good proximity searches -- I can feel
assured that if something is on the net, I can find it by refining a
search there.

        As an example, we are trying to get telephony to work for the
CPB supported project on telephone access to the community volunteer
database we are building.

        We have realized that the technology, especially over low
bandwidth telephones, is very restricted.  So we realized -- sometimes --
the vocabulary must be very small.

        One trick we are using to home in on a volunteer service is
to have the person speak the first 2 letters of the service's name.
If it is babysitting, the person speaks "B" and "A"

        But, it is inadequate for them to use these short sounds as
they are very hard to recognize.  Knowing that there is a "spelling
alphabet" and remembering some of them were Alpha, Charley, Tango and
Foxtrot,
I put these 3 words in altavista and the FIRST item was a german
page with the International Spelling Alphabet replete with the
International telegraphy code for these letters.  (it was in English,
but had been augmented with "special" German words near the end.)
(The next few "hits" were about ballroom dancing -- *smile*)

        So, now the person says Bravo, Alpha -- and we get very high
reliability.  We then read the subset list and ask if it is in the
"TOP" or "BOTTOM" of the list and home in on the word.  Cutting the
list down by half each time.  While this may sound lengthy -- it
almost never fails, and if you've ever encountered voice recognition
-- say a system meant to recognize a person's name in a company --
you may know that this often fails.  And there are those that resort
to touch tones, but we wanted to avoid using those.  But I digress.

        Finally, I do accumulate a set of unvisited bookmarks.  Like
the one provided by Mr. Fuller.  In a week or so, I visit these
accumlated bookmarks to "catch up" on the news.

        Speaking of uses of the net, Tim Berners-Lee, of web invention
fame, described his vision of the web at the recent eBusiness
World conference here in Boston.  I have an article written by
an Associated Press reporter (9/3/98), but either Berners-Lee was fairly
disjoint or the reporter was.  So I will try and find a copy of
what Berners-Lee said, verbatim.

        One thing from the article of note is Berners-Lee's statement of:

"I initially thought the Web would be used for collaborative purposes.
It isn't."

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On Thu, 3 Sep 1998 18:58:07, John Gelles said:

        I have reported to my friends (who use email
        and the WEB less than I do) that some days I'm
        up and some days down -- as a result of my
        controllable addiction to the net.  I have reduced
        television watching and reading over the past
        five years of net involvement.

        Why not always up?  Because "other people"
        on the net are often competitive and ugly toward
        me, as I must appear toward them.

        Because ease of use is not yet there.  I have plenty
        of days where the PC and the ISP are, one or the
        other, my sworn enemy.

        The most depressing thing about the net, if you use
        it to publish your notions, is that nobody gives a damn.
        They want you to appreciate their notions -- not
        vice versa.  In passive pursuits you take the easy
        stance of a member of the audience -- you do nothing
        but enjoy or, if not, pass judgement.  You never have
        to become the target of other people's scorn.

        Most of our addictions seek escape.  The net permits
        some escape when you concentrate on writing, or reading
        something that has instant appeal.  But other addictions
        appear to seek pain and disappointment -- and often
        they succeed.

        In my opinion the net will someday be much more
        effective in helping us acquire an education and make a
        living on one or several jobs.  It will also foster pen
        pal like virtual friendships.  Depressions will be better
        understood.  The chaotic nature of the content of the net
        will be under better control by organizing software.

        In time I expect the net to be more uplifting, day after
        day.  It will be easy to keep in touch with, by wireless
        portable appliances, some of them under your skin.
        One such appliance may monitor our endorphins and
        give us a shot when we need it.  We will never know
        depression again.

        John Gelles