T H E N E T W O R K O B S E R V E R
VOLUME 2, NUMBER 10 OCTOBER 1995
"You have to organize, organize, organize, and build and
build, and train and train, so that there is a permanent,
vibrant structure of which people can be part."
-- Ralph Reed, Christian Coalition
This month: Getting foundations on the net
The ethics of headers
Descartes and masculinity
The Web and cooperative writing
Those computer ads
Welcome to TNO 2(10).
This month Sam Sternberg explains why the records of charitable
foundations' giving should be online. Computer networking has
some potential to decentralize the world of nonprofit social
service agencies, but (just as with everything else) this is not
inevitable. A good first step would be to get the facts on the
net so that smaller organizations can level the playing field
with their more professionalized peers in the endless hustle for
Also this month I continue my personal crusade against misleading
e-mail headers. The point is not that anybody is bad or stupid
or breaking the rules; the point is simply that the unruly world
of hard-to-understand mail headers and incompatible mail reading
and delivering systems is causing a lot of unnecessary hassle and
conflict. Many things cannot be fixed. Unix is probably one of
them. But Internet mail headers probably can be fixed, and ought
to be. Tighter standards would help, as would public humiliation
for systems that fail to comply with the existing standards.
I have once again marked out my commentary on Ralph Reed's
quote as a separate article. Another short article offers a
simple contribution toward a social semiotics of computer ads.
As Langdon Winner pointed out last month, technology is not
just a set of tools for jobs -- it is also an occasion for people
to define who they are. Did the proliferation of television
sets into everyone's bedroom constitute progress for your family?
How about the proliferation of personal computers into everyone's
bedroom? Does it help if you can send e-mail back and forth?
This month's recommendations pick up related themes at greater
length in relation to some fascinating texts.
A footnote. Gordon Cook has pointed me to the new epicenter of
corporate issue management on global information infrastructure
issues, the "Global Information Infrastructure Commission" whose
Web pages can be found at http://www.eds.com/giic/ Many of the
promised links do not seem to exist at the moment, but perhaps
this is a transient condition. Does the word "commission" tend
to suggest to you something established by a government or an
intergovernmental organization? Those sovereign states, the
Principality of Toshiba, the Kingdom of Siemens, the Democratic
Republic of Oracle, the Grand Duchy of Harvard, and the Sultanate
of Sprint, have established a nonpartisan commission, with its
Secretariat in Washington, to hold hearings on the issues that
affect them all. I admire them: this is world-class networking,
no doubt about it. Perhaps it is the next major step in the
globalization of lobbying, in which the lobbyists turn around and
constitute themselves as a government.
Listening to pain.
Ralph Reed identifies the three activities -- organizing,
building, and training -- and I want to focus on the first of
these. He is talking about an activity that sounds archaic in
the current climate, namely building a political organization.
The verb "to organize" sounds so paternalistic, or coercive, or
something like that. But the United States has a whole series of
valuable popular traditions of organizing, and in my opinion they
capture the true spirit of democracy much better than the elite
discourses, conservative or liberal or whatever they are, that
are conducted on the chat shows and in the press.
These traditions hold that organizing, on any scale for any
purpose, starts with listening. When you go to organizing
school, they teach you to knock on people's doors and listen
to them. Politicians do this when the cameras are rolling, and
politicians do exist who do it when the cameras are not rolling
as well. Sales people are trained to listen too. But organizers
have a different and better purpose in mind. They want people to
learn the skills that are involved in bringing people together to
take control over their own lives, and this process begins with
an understanding of how people see their lives. Are they talking
about their lives from a standpoint of active agency -- in terms
of choices and potentials, with an assumption that real people
could make things and change things -- or from a standpoint
of defeat -- in terms of things that are inevitable, that just
happen, that have to be accepted, that are just the way they are?
Ways of talking often vary with the particular issue at hand.
Not just, "what issues do they care about and what hot buttons
do they have?" (this is the question for the marketing-oriented
campaign pollster) but "what issues do they care about and have
the makings of a stance of empowerment towards?". Technology
issues are tough from this point of view -- technology is
just about the last thing that most people feel any sense of
empowerment towards. I have met countless people who ordinarily
project a sense of competence about their lives suddenly cast
into the darkest cellar of disempowerment by the very presence of
a computer. We really must understand this effect if we expect
technology to contribute to a revival of democratic culture -- or
if we expect technology itself to become in any way an object of
genuine democratic processes.
What is this disempowerment made of? Is it really just a matter
of ergonomics and user friendliness? What are people's formative
experiences of disempowerment around technology? There's a lot
of pain out there around technology, and I think it's important
for us to listen to that pain. Pain is grounded in very concrete
circumstances and it often speaks in monosyllables. But it is
also a kind of knowledge in its own right of many things that
most technologists have forgotten: the things that were hard
once, or that were not obvious once, or that somebody else
helped them with once. Above all, pain speaks of isolation. All
the "Dummies" books in the world, their virtues notwithstanding,
are no substitute for the social organizing that provides the
framework that everyone needs for mutual assistance, reality
checking, story sharing, identity forming, and the means to put
values into practice -- in other words, "a permanent, vibrant
structure of which people can be part."
Those computer ads.
Look closely at computer advertisements, especially the ones
for the home market. Who are these people? What else goes
on in their lives? What do the marketing people think they are
thinking about? One common image involves a parent and child (or
at least that's who we infer they are); the parent is sitting at
the computer and the child is distracting the parent's attention
from it. The parent is usually Daddy but not always; the child
is usually a girl of about ten but not always; the people are
usually white but not always.
What is going on in such pictures? Is Jenny asking Daddy
when he's going to be done with the computer so she can use it?
Is Jenny trying to get Daddy to stop playing with the computer
and start playing with her instead? They both look too happy
for this. Sometimes Jenny openly says that she wants to use the
machine, or Daddy remarks downstairs that Jenny uses the machine
more than he does, but it's always a nice little shared joke with
no real sense of conflict.
Why so many of these pairs, the Jennies and Daddies? Marketers
imagine people to associate home with family, and it would not be
good to show Daddy locked away in his den while neglected Jenny
experiments with marijuana at her friend's house. Nor should
we be given any space to imagine glassy-eyed Jenny staring at
that computer as her brain is consumed by video games or heaven
knows what on Usenet. So there's a tension here, with the result
that the pictures show us a happy father-daughter interaction
taking place in juxtaposition to the computer. Yet the physical
arrangement of this interaction, with Daddy craning his neck
backward or Jenny climbing over his shoulders, speaks volumes
about the nature of the machine itself: it seems not to function
in way that provides an occasion for joint activity between Daddy
But that's not right either, given that people engage in joint
activity in front of computers all the time, for example in
preparing spreadsheets and the like at work. As Bonnie Nardi
and Jim Miller have shown in a brilliant paper (cited in TNO
1(11)), these joint activities are actually excellent occasions
for impromptu apprenticeship in both the use of the machine
and in the purpose for which the machine is being used. The
problem is subtler: the imagination of the industry is focused
on the machine and not on the lives of the people using it, and
certainly not on the concrete activities within which the machine
is to be used. These activities are hard to explain in a simple
image, and they are each too specific for a mass market.
Yet the question remains, what *can* Daddy and Jenny do together
with the computer? They can go over her papers for school.
That, unfortunately, would not make a picture with smiling faces.
What else? It's worth thinking about. And it's also worth
holding open the possibility that Daddy and Jenny should just
shut off the machine, go outside, sit under a tree, and talk.
The ethics of headers.
Internet e-mail messages have headers: lines of text at the top
that start with words and colons. For example,
Date: Wed, 26 Apr 1995 14:06:28 -0700
From: Phil Agre <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: July Inside Risks column draft
These headers were originally modeled on business memoranda, and
they are specified by an RFC Internet standard. In fact, most
of the information used for actually routing a message is located
in something called the "envelope", which users do not normally
see. For this and other reasons, headers are not as standardized
as you might think, and many mail-handling programs do odd things
with the headers. Mostly this is not a problem, but some real
problems are occurring nonetheless. I'm already sketched some
of these in my tirade about dysfunctional e-mail software in
TNO 2(1), a revision of which appeared in the July 1995 "Inside
Risks" column in Communications of the ACM. Here I want to focus
on a particular problem that routinely affects me.
At least once a week, I will get a message that was not intended
for me. It will usually be from someone I have never had any
connection with, and it will often say something like, "very
interesting, thanks for forwarding this -- hello to Jeff and the
kids". Invariably what has happened is that somebody has taken
a message I've sent to a mailing list and forwarded it to an
acquaintance. If they did this using the Eudora mail reader's
"redirect" command then they will have generated a header that
looks like (in part):
From: Phil Agre <email@example.com> (by way of Jane Somebody <js
(Note that the field seems to have gotten cut off. This will be
important later.) The person receiving the message will often
get the idea that, in replying to this message, they are sending
a reply message to Jane. Often they've gotten this idea because
Jane has added a bit of text to the top of the forwarded message,
on the order of "You might find this interesting -- J". Similar
things happen with other mail-readers, though they typically use
the "Resent" mechanism, which generates headers that look like:
From: Phil Agre <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Resent-From: Jane Somebody <email@example.com>
Resent-To: Joe Schmoe <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Of course, these four header lines will be mixed in with twenty
or thirty other lines, and Joe's mail-reader will display some
subset of them, which may or may not include the "Resent" lines.
Now this might seem like a small irritant: a few Joes sending
replies to the wrong people. But it happens a lot. And more
important things happen as well. If someone forwards a message
from me to a mailing list, the listserv might reject the message
(because I'm listed in the From: field even though I'm not on
the list of authorized users of the list) and send me an error
message, or it might accept the message and tell the whole list
that I sent it. Even worse, Jane (who really sent the message
to the list) might have added her own text without it being clear
whether the text was mine or hers.
I think that this is a serious problem. Terry Winograd pointed
out to me the best way to understand what's wrong with these
messages. (See his book with Fernando Flores, "Understanding
Computers and Cognition", for more of this.) When I send a
message to someone, I have performed a social action with a
particular moral significance. This action has several parts:
*I* (and not some other person) sent *this* message (and not
some different message) to *these* people (and not someone else)
on *this* date at *this* time (and not some other date and time).
The message, in other words, is an *action*, and it matters
precisely *which* action it is. This action can have all kinds
of meanings and consequences, and these meanings and consequences
might differ considerably from another action (someone else
sending the message, or sending the message to someone else,
and so forth). So, for example, if I send a message to my own
mailing list then that's quite a different action from sending
the same message to another mailing list (for example, a private
list, or a list on a different subject, or a list in which all
messages are supposed to conform to a certain format). People
might be pleased to observe the first action and outraged to
observe the second action.
It is crucial, therefore, that the header a recipient receives
be an accurate representation of the action that I took. In
this sense, I believe it would be immoral for a mail program
to generate a message that claims to be from me, unless I have
specifically authorized that particular message in all of its
details -- its recipients, every last byte of its contents,
and its date and time of sending. Of course, the people who
write these mail programs do not believe that they are forging
messages. The problem is that different programs, and different
people, interpret the message headers in different ways. If Joe
receives a message in his mailbox that reads:
From: Phil Agre <email@example.com> (by way of Jane Somebody <js
then who is that message really "from"? Who will a reply be
addressed to? Will Joe understand that I did not send a message
to him? What if Joe has never heard of Eudora or the "by way
of" convention? What if the "From:" field got truncated along
the way (as often happens), so that Jane's name does not even
appear? I am assured that the message conforms to the standard.
But compliance with standards may not be enough. I think it's
crucial that every message unambiguously convey who it is from,
who it is to, and so on. If large numbers of mail-reading
programs do not correctly display the full range of possible
header formats, or if large numbers of people reading mail on
the Internet do not understand the semantics of the full range of
obscure headers, then mail programs should not generate headers
that can be easily misconstrued. In my opinion, and I know that
I will receive a lot of explanations of the virtues of other
approaches to the question, there is precisely one correct way
to forward my message to someone else, and that is to encapsulate
it -- that is, to make the header of my message into part of the
text of your message.
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 1995 14:06:28 -0700 \
From: Jane Somebody <firstname.lastname@example.org> message header
To: Joe Schmoe <email@example.com> /
Date: Sun, 24 Sep 1995 12:21:07 -0700 \
From: Phil Agre <firstname.lastname@example.org> beginning of the
To: email@example.com message body
If Jane wants to add her own text, she can put it before my
message header where it can't confuse anybody:
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 1995 14:06:28 -0700 \
From: Jane Somebody <firstname.lastname@example.org> message header
To: Joe Schmoe <email@example.com> /
Hey Joe, check out this bozo... \
Date: Sun, 24 Sep 1995 12:21:07 -0700 beginning of the
From: Phil Agre <firstname.lastname@example.org> message body
To: email@example.com /
If Jane wishes to emphasize that comments on my message need to
go to me and not her, she is free to point that out:
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 1995 14:06:28 -0700 \
From: Jane Somebody <firstname.lastname@example.org> message header
To: email@example.com /
Subject: big conference (forwarded)
You all might find this useful. \
Please note that comments should \
be sent to Phil, not to me. \
beginning of the
Date: Sun, 24 Sep 1995 12:21:07 -0700 message body
From: Phil Agre <firstname.lastname@example.org> /
To: email@example.com /
Subject: big conference /
Of course, mail programs will still make mistakes and users will
still get confused. But no mail reader will generate mistaken
messages to me, and the level of confusion, while it will never
reach zero, will be much reduced. In fact, the risk of fallout
from any confusion will now fall hardest where it belongs, on
Jane. People are more likely to assume that Jane originally
wrote my message. If I am strongly concerned about my authorship
being preserved as messages are forwarded, then I will take the
precaution of including my name in the message, perhaps in a
signature at the end. It is, alas, not wise to assume that your
header will stay attached to your message anyway.
I've mentioned a lot of people's names in the last few issues of
TNO without providing citations to their work. Here are some of
the relevant citations:
Mikhail Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays,
University of Texas Press, 1981.
Edward L. Bernays, ed, The Engineering of Consent, University of
Oklahoma Press, 1955.
Craig Calhoun, The infrastructure of modernity: Indirect social
relationships, information technology, and social integration,
in Hans Haferkamp and Neil J. Smelser, eds, Social Change and
Modernity, University of California Press, 1992.
Peter J. Denning, Designing new principles to sustain research
in our universities, Communications of the ACM 36(7), 1993, pages
Jonathan Grudin, Interface: An evolving concept, Communications
of the ACM 35(4), 1993, pages 110-119.
Friedrich A. Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty, University of
Chicago Press, 1960.
Friedrich A. Hayek, The telecommunications system of the market,
in 1980s Unemployment and the Unions: Essays on the Impotent
Price Structure of Britain and Monopoly in the Labour Market,
London: Institute of Economic Affairs, 1980.
Edwin Hutchins, Cognition in the Wild, MIT Press, 1995.
Robert D. Putnam, Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in
Modern Italy, Princeton University Press, 1993.
Ben Shneiderman, Designing the User Interface: Strategies for
Effective Human-Computer Interaction, Addison-Wesley, 1987.
Langdon Winner, Mythinformation, in The Whale and the Reactor:
A Search for Limits in an Age of High Technology, University of
Chicago Press, 1986.
Today government funding for social and charitable work has been
cut dramatically, and it will be cut further. At the same time
the value of the stock market in North America has been reaching
unprecedented new heights.
This means that the thousands of Charitable Foundations in the
US whose assets are in the market have more money to donate than
at any time in their history. (Over 99% of all Foundations have
their assets invested.)
The cutbacks in government funding mean that the public needs
those funds desperately.
There is uncommitted money at all these foundations because their
prior year giving is based (usually) on the amount the auditor
found available a year earlier. With the new income windfall,
the extra money has to be granted. And, this means opportunities
for new grantees.
There are several flies in this ointment. First foundations
sometimes don't give grants to organizations getting money
from government sources. Second, all the foundations combined
couldn't begin to replace the cut funds from government. And
third, there is still competition and paper work, though its
almost always less burdensome than the hoops government programs
put an organization through.
Nevertheless, there will be funds and they will be donated.
Right now it is expensive or difficult to find information about
those foundations and their activities. But it shouldn't be.
Every foundation in the US is required to report to the Federal
Government in detail about its activities. And, almost all of
them report additional information to the state in which they are
legally domiciled. All of these records are "public". But most
are difficult to access -- and almost none are currently on line
without charge. (About a dozen charitable foundations have made
their contribution records available on the Internet. That is
far less than one tenth of one percent!)
The existing records can be obtained now by visiting the Regional
offices of the IRS, for Federal records, or the appropriate state
agency for those reports, but the process is expensive, slow, and
a burden to everyone.
It doesn't have to be like this. The precedent for online
availability has been set by the Security Exchange Commission
(SEC). It makes all corporate filings available on the net.
There is no good reason why Foundation reports should not be
available online too. Each describes the total giving of the
Foundation and lists the recipients and the amounts they were
given. From this simple set of facts, it's easy to see if
(in the past -- and most foundations don't change their giving
patterns very often) they gave to organizations or projects like
the one seeking funds. This means that the group soliciting
funds doesn't waste its time send requests to inappropriate
funders. The funder benefits too: it gets fewer off-the-wall
solicitations to deal with.
All of them should be online and easily could be.
The IRS, which receives the reports for the feds, already makes
them available as a tape set. To date the only major user of
those tapes is the Foundation Center -- itself a charity, but
one with a vested interest in keeping things as they are.
Today everyone who wants electronic access to those records must
buy it through the Center's online services. It's time for that
to change. Some of the Foundations which fund the Center should
either give it less funds and bring those records online for free
access, or convince the Center to do it themselves.
In addition to bringing the Federal records on line its also time
to bring the State records on too. California's records are also
available as a tape set. (I helped launch the lawsuit that lead
to the public release of those tapes.) Most other state records
could easily be made available as well.
There is another option: the various government levels with
control over these records can simply be asked to make them
available without charge. After all this is a relatively simple
way to help lessen the impact of the cuts they are now making.
None of this will happen till the Internet community rouses
itself to action and demands it from their federal and state
legislatures. It also wouldn't hurt to contact any foundation
executives you know and ask them what they intend to do about
Other Potential Information Resources
While most large corporations give to charity, only those with
foundations are required to publicly disclose their giving
activities. Still, some do so voluntarily and that information
can be gleaned by searching the SEC database.
In addition a few classes of business must report their giving
because they are regulated monopolies. Typically the power
companies, telephone companies, insurance companies, and other
regulated companies are telling their regulators about their
giving -- but those records aren't public. They easily could be.
The charitable contribution information could separated from the
proprietary information they accompany -- and be made publicly
Again only action with your state legislature will get results.
This really is an issue that state associations of non-profits
and national associations like the United Way should be taking
Finally, there is another potentially invaluable source of data
on charitable activities. That's the successful non-profits
themselves. It would be fairly easy to set up a WAIS database
which non-profit groups would contribute funding lists to. Many
non-profits actually make those contributors lists public in
annual reports, but they don't have any simple way to share them
on the Internet. The value of doing that is that many companies
which have no reporting requirements would now have their funding
patterns made visible. I used the system of gathering reports
from non profit groups to create my database for "The National
Directory of Corporate Charity". That database now forms a
portion of the records the Foundation Center uses for its
corporate information services.
By the way, don't feel sorry for the Center. It will survive and
thrive because it produces an invaluable selection of reports on
charitable giving, by interest or category. As more people learn
about the public records, the number interested in paying the
center for its prescreened products will increase.
This month's wish is something simple. In "Networking on the
Network" I wrote at length about the great importance that people
in the research world attach to the practice of writing comments
on draft papers. Circulating a draft of your paper to others in
your field is a sort of consensus-building process: the others
may not agree with what you wrote, but at least you've eliminated
the obviously wrong bits and had a chance to internalize a range
of other reactions and responses. I want technology to support
this process as much as it can. One obvious proposal is to give
the WorldWide Web a simple facility whereby readers of a page
can attach voice annotations to it. The author of the page can
then gain access to the complete set of annotations, either all
at once (who had comments on this paragraph?) or reader-by-reader
(I'll go through my advisor's comments before going through the
comments from people I don't know, or perhaps I'll go through the
comments by technical people in a separate pass from the comments
by philosophers). Mechanisms would be needed to restrict access
to the draft, perhaps to predefined lists of people. (I might
show the first draft to my local research group, the second draft
to my close friends, and the third draft to anyone who wants to
look at it.)
To make this really work, it would be great to have a screen big
enough to display two pages side-by-side -- an editor window and
a web browser -- because the version of the paper in the editor
will change during the revisions but it's still necessary to see
the precise text that the commentator was commenting on. Also,
a headphone jack in the terminal would be nice.
Once these mechanisms are in place, they would have a variety
of other uses, corresponding to different possible divisions
of labor in the writing process. Much of what I must write in
a given year does not require enormous specialized knowledge or
skill, and it would be nice to be able to employ a writer easily
at a distance. Perhaps I would simply talk into the computer
for ten minutes, explaining what I had in mind and suggesting
structure and phrases. The writer and I would then iterate on
drafts, using both the audio commenting facility and (presumably)
the telephone. I might actually employ two people, a writer and
a transcriptionist. I might dictate bits of a draft, have it
transcribed, and then explain more discursively what more needs
to be done.
The market for such skills would be very interesting. I expect
that I would want to maintain a stable relationship with a small
number of such people. It would be nice to recruit people who
have some relevant educational background and experience as well.
What does *not* interest me is the development of tools that
capture the whole cooperative writing process within some kind of
grammar. Many tools for capturing design processes, for example,
are on the market or under development, and the basic model has
also been applied to writing. I prefer to think of computers
as providing a medium -- a blank slate -- rather than capturing
activities within a grammar that is inevitably constraining
and thus covertly normative. Others may have different tastes;
my main concern is simply that we not confuse *supporting* an
activity with *capturing* it.
This month's recommendations.
Stephen Gaukroger, Descartes: An Intellectual Biography,
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995. I have written some paragraphs
about Descartes' place in intellectual history in my work, and
I have always been frustrated by the surprisingly small amount
and coverage of the secondary literature in English on him.
Like most authors who mention Descartes' work, I have sometimes
brought together ideas from different texts written over a
long period, knowing that this is a risky move but lacking
the resources to do any better. Gaukroger's intellectual
biography is a radical step forward. He traces the development
of Descartes' ideas in the context of his family background,
current social and political developments, particular debates
with contemporaries, the traditions of the school he attended,
and a great deal else. This analysis helps in understanding what
Descartes was saying by allowing us to see what he was responding
to -- what he regarded as new versus old, controversial versus
commonplace, and so on. It's not exactly beach reading in its
complete bulk, but I recommend to everyone the first couple of
chapters on Descartes' family, schooling, and early life.
Mauro F. Guillen, Models of Management: Work, Authority, and
Organization in a Comparative Perspective, Chicago: University
of Chicago Press, 1994. Contrary to the economic determinism of
both left and right, market economies evolved in significantly
different ways in different countries. This useful book is
a comparative study of the reception of both Taylorism and
the later, more corporatist ideas about management in several
countries. It identifies a short list of variables for each
country, recounts the histories, and then assesses which
variables predict which element in the country-to-country
variation in the reception and application of the ideas. This
is not a terribly sophisticated procedure on a theoretical level,
but it produces strong and useful results that burst many myths.
One surprising result is the great importance of the religious
views about work and human dignity held by the managerial classes
in each country. These views influenced both which ideas were
adopted and how those ideas were interpreted. Taylorism, for
example, which was associated with sharp workplace conflict in
the United States, was regarded quite differently by everyone
involved in some other countries, for example in Germany.
Strategic Investments. I probably got on this company's mailing
list because I subscribe to the Heritage Foundation's theoretical
journal, Policy Review. It's an investment service for wealthy
individuals; it calls itself the "investors' CIA" (the same CIA
that kept promoting Aldrich Ames?). Its marvelously hyperbolic
shtick goes like this: the whole of global society is about to
collapse; we know this because we have highly placed contacts
throughout the world's elites; nothing can stop the collapse;
but if you see it coming then you can profit exorbitantly from
it and end up living in luxury while everyone else goes to hell.
About once a year they mail out long tracts explaining at great
length why various countries will go bankrupt, why enormous wars
will break out, how the world will be overwhelmed by organized
crime, and why the Information Age will bring social devastation
by putting the vast majority of unskilled workers on the street.
(The most recent one is headlined, "Invest Along with the World's
Richest Gangsters".) At first I found these tracts repellent,
and I still don't find them particularly credible, but they do
contain enough semblance of plausibility that lately I have found
them a useful way to get my head out of the superficial analyses
in the newspaper. (They aren't nearly as useful in this regard
as Noam Chomsky, but they're useful enough.) See if you an
get on their mailing list. They're at 824 E. Baltimore Street,
Baltimore MD 21202.
In TNO 2(7)'s wish list, I asked for the concept of "deleting" a
file to go away. Several people responded with useful comments.
Andrew Treloar <firstname.lastname@example.org> informed me that
what I want is referred to by the term Hierarchical Storage
Management (HSM), which automatically migrate files up and
down the storage hierarchy. In response to my request for
new metaphors, he also points out that OpenDoc calls everything
a document and the Newton stores everything in "soups". Also,
Mark Smucker <email@example.com> pointed out that something
like what I want is commonly used in development environments,
where the metaphor is that programmers "check out" a file from
a "repository", which maintains all back versions. Finally, Tom
Blinn <firstname.lastname@example.org> also reminded me of some of the automatic
backup and restore features of the late and lamented TOPS-20
In TNO 2(8)'s wish list, I asked for a service on the net that
automatically checks HTML style and standards compliance. Both
Ben Hyde <email@example.com> and David Kulp <firstname.lastname@example.org>
pointed out that such a thing can be found at
Some relatively high-quality conspiracy stuff, samples from a
commercial newsletter, are to be found at
The FCC's Common Carrier Bureau is at http://www.fcc.gov/ccb.html
The virtuous (Los Angeles) Inner City Computer Society is at
The Feminist Majority Foundation and the Christian Coalition
both have excellent Web sites, at http://www.feminist.org/
and http://www.cc.org/, respectively. The Christian Coalition
could use some more content, though, and the Feminist Majority
Foundation could use less of the color pink.
Phil Agre, editor email@example.com
Department of Information Studies
University of California, Los Angeles +1 (310) 825-7154
Los Angeles, California 90095-1520 FAX 206-4460
Copyright 1995 by the editor. You may forward this issue of The
Network Observer electronically to anyone for any non-commercial
purpose. Comments and suggestions are always appreciated.
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