close this bookVolume 4: No. 07
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View the documentComputists' news

Chief Networking Officer is emerging as a new corporate job category. [Investor's Business Daily, 2/10/94. EDUPAGE.]

Alexander Graham Bell tried to market the telephone as an entertainment medium. Telephony succeeded as a communications medium, although Western Union believed that business would never give up its "paper trail." [Bruce Sterling, "The Hacker Crackdown". Steve Majewski (sdm7g@elvis.med.virginia.edu), CARR-L, 1/6/94.] The NYT interview of Bill Gates also mentions this. The "smart money" was surprised that people wanted to talk to each other instead of listening to concerts. [Tom Boyer (boyer@infi.net), 1/12/94.]

Net writing is similar to the pamphleteering of 18th century England and America. See Bailyn's "The Ideological Origin of the American Revolution." [Tom Neff (tneff@panix.com), misc.writers, 1/30/94. David Joslin.] Also the 18th- and early 19th-century "scribblers' compacts", in which members would send letters among themselves in a circle, adding to them at each step. [Patrick Nielsen Hayden (pnh@panix.com).]

"[The net] hasn't dropped the quality of writing, it has raised the quality of talking. If the net didn't exist, the discussions that inhabit it would take place verbally, if at all. Compare the net to a huge room full of people yelling at each other and I think you'd agree that making people write out their statements, and allowing them to edit them before emitting them, considerably improves things. ... The content of the postings is often better than that of the professional press. Many of the people who post are people actually involved in what they are writing about. Neurobiologists writing about neurobiology, astronomers writing about astronomy, members of minority religions discussing their faiths, rather than whatever reporter is assigned to the story filtering misinformation through their own world-view and packaging it in a form compatible with commercial reality." -- David M. Palmer (palmer@alumni.caltech.edu), misc.writing, 1/30/94. [David Joslin.]

"My metaphor is the town dump. Go get in your pickup truck and you drive out of anything remotely civilized to this morass of STUFF in a big (and getting bigger) pile. Some of your friends have your trucks there, so you can hang out and chat. You put on your gloves and start riffling for stuff. You find old shoes, rusting tin cans and *EUREKA!* a good and serviceable hammer. A friend bellows, "HEY! There's a text editor in this pile! Want one?" You rush over and dust the crud off it and run it through your virus checker. Cool. Its clean. Then a few bears run through and tear people up. "YIKE! Flame alert!" You run like hell, leaving your friend to put on his bear suit so he can enjoy the flame war going on between the guys who have been selling new toasters and the other guys in penguin suits shooting those toasters down." -- E. "Booter" Richards (booter @well.sf.ca.us), 1/21/94. [Calton Bolick (calton@aol.com), CARR-L, 1/24/94.]

(The dump analogy works better in some towns than in others. I would say that the Internet is a [not-yet-cataloged] library, plus a community center, bulletin board, and flea market. Bookstores, art galleries, newspapers, radio stations, and other services are just appearing as the global village becomes a global city. And me? I'm the guy yelling "HEY! There's a text editor in this pile! Want one?")