5.0768 Rs: Toolkits; Q: Machines to Humanists (5/176)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Mon, 16 Mar 1992 15:46:31 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 5, No. 0768. Monday, 16 Mar 1992.

(1) Date: Thu, 12 Mar 1992 17:54:41 -0500 (27 lines)
From: rogers@epas.utoronto.ca (Henry Rogers)
Subject: Re: 5.0761 Humanist Toolkit

(2) Date: Fri, 13 Mar 1992 10:34:56 EST (38 lines)
From: "Mary A. Sproule" <MSPROULE@PUCC>
Subject: Humanist's Toolkit

(3) Date: Fri, 13 Mar 92 13:26:34 MST (14 lines)
From: Skip Knox <DUSKNOX@IDBSU>
Subject: Re: 5.0761 Humanist Toolkit

(4) Date: Sat, 14 Mar 1992 13:44 EDT (75 lines)
Subject: Re: 5.0761 Humanist Toolkit (1/80)

(5) Date: Mon, 16 Mar 92 9:32 GMT (22 lines)
Subject: Query re: criteria for distributing PCs and MACs to staff

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Thu, 12 Mar 1992 17:54:41 -0500
From: rogers@epas.utoronto.ca (Henry Rogers)
Subject: Re: 5.0761 Humanist Toolkit

Paul Falzer recently wrote making recommendations for a basic computer
system for humanists. Like other computer users, I have a fair amount
of brand loyalty, and I was somewhat perplexed that only one
platform was considered.

I have worked quite a lot with fonts, and I notice that almost
every day or so, some font question is raised with Humanist. Many
of these problems are unfortunate since they seem to have resulted
from people having purchased a machine unsuited to their needs. Some
computers handle these requirements much more simply and elegantly than others.

Fonts are not, of course, the only concern: ease of setup, ease of
use, compatibility with colleagues, use of graphics and sound are all matters
of importance to some users. Different machines may be more suited for
one person than another. I would suggest that potential purchasers
consider their own needs, habits, and pleasures before buying a computer.

Henry Rogers
Department of Linguistics
University of Toronto

(2) --------------------------------------------------------------44----
Date: Fri, 13 Mar 1992 10:34:56 EST
From: "Mary A. Sproule" <MSPROULE@PUCC>
Subject: Humanist's Toolkit

I agree with Mr. Falzer's positive answer to the question proposed by
Mr. Hesla. It would be difficult, I believe, to find any computing humanist
to disagree that there exists an essential body of knowledge required for
working in the computer age, although just what is contained in that
essential body is a matter open to dispute.

His desiderata, however, neatly broken down into hardware and software,
seem to fairly specifically address only his particular needs. I would be very
uncomfortable recommending, for example, that humanists necessarily invest
in a DOS pc. There are numerous hardware solutions available to and used by
the academic community. On our own campus, humanities faculty are using not
only the PC with DOS, but the PC with Windows, Macintosh, and a variety of
Unix machines such as NeXT, Sun, and SGI, not to mention the IBM mainframe
and the public Unix server.

We have been working with the Romance Languages and Literatures department
here on just this problem of what to add to the toolkit. This summer we are
conducting an internship for graduate students in the department, and have
compiled our own desiderata. The following list was cooperatively created
between Humanities Computing and the department, and represents which tools
we will stress for graduate students, and therefore future scholars, as
they embark on intensive research. Broad topics are listed. I believe that
the most successful tools are skills; concepts are transferable across
platforms. Therefore you will not see specific software or hardware listed:

Communications Skills - electronic mail, electronic forums, electronic journals
Using Network Resources - catalogs, databases, wide area information servers
Research Organization Skills - bibliography/database creation
Electronic Text Manipulation - creating or finding, tagging, text analysis

At the VERY least, I would recommend that anyone active in their field who
prefers to use a "mini" toolkit, use a word processor and get access to the
(3) --------------------------------------------------------------20----
Date: Fri, 13 Mar 92 13:26:34 MST
From: Skip Knox <DUSKNOX@IDBSU>
Subject: Re: 5.0761 Humanist Toolkit (1/80)

One revision to Paul's recitation of equipment (for which I would gladly
give up two fingers and my dog): Throw out the modem and get on the
network. The modem belongs on your portable which, since we're being
wildly improbably anyway, ought also to be part of the Serious Scholar's

Ellis "Skip" Knox dusknox@idbsu.idbsu.edu
PC Coordinator & Faculty Computer Lab Supervisor
Professor of History
Boise State University Boise, Idaho
(4) --------------------------------------------------------------79----
Date: Sat, 14 Mar 1992 13:44 EDT
Subject: Re: 5.0761 Humanist Toolkit (1/80)

Paul R. Falzer <mfprf@ECNUXA.BITNET> writes the following:
1. at least 40 Mh 386-class personal computer with at least a 200 MB caching har
drive, 2 HD floppy drives, a tape drive for backup, a CD-ROM drive, and a
minimum of 8 MB of memory, preferably 16 MB.
2. at least a 16 inch non-interlaced color monitor with at least 1 MB of memory
at least at 6 ppm.
4. a V32.bis 9600 baud modem that includes Z-modem and Kermit transfer protocols

_System Software_
1. MS- or PC-DOS 5 or DR-DOS 6, together with Microsoft Windows 3.1 and/or
Desqview _or_ OS-2 (which includes DOS and MS Windows).
2. an extended/expanded memory manager, possibility Microsoft's Himem, but RO
Ms into RAM.
3. a software cache such as PC-KWIK that includes advanced support for floppy- a
hard-disk transfers and integrates disk caching with a ram disk.
4. diagnostic and maintenance software such as Norton version 6 or PCTools 7.1.
5. a first-rate file manager.
6. a scalable font program such as Adobe Type Manager.
_Application Software_
1. a graphical word processor such as Ami Pro 2.0 or MS Word 2.0.
2. a first-rate text editor such as V Edit Plus.
3. a gradebook.
4. communications software that enables full and efficient utilization of e-mail
BBS, ftp, and internet services, and the ability to upload and download in the
5. information storage, indexing, and retrieval software such as ZYIndex,
Magellan, or Folio Views.

Perhaps such a machine is what is required for people using p-word boxes,
but for the Macintosh inclined, the following setup would be more appropriate:

- a 68030 based machine, with the Classic II at the low end to the IIci for
those with the need for speed. I use a IIsi myself and am very happy with it.
- at least 5 meg of memory and 80 meg of hard disk storage.
- a v.32 9600 baud modem with send/receive fax ability
- a good quality (read: 300 dpi) printer, either inkjet or laser depending
on your needs--printing straight text doesn't really require a laser...

- all software on th mac is graphical, thus you can choose between a variety of
packages to achieve the flexibility that Paul Falzer speaks so well of.
My question is why try to be graphical on a box that wasn't designed with
a graphical interface in mind? :->
- anyway, my personal recommendation for mac software is as follows:
- a good word processor like nidus or word 5. Nidus seems to shine,
especially if you use several typefaces or equations.
- the ever-essential spreadsheet (excel 3)
- a communications package like white knight or microphone ii.
(uploads & download in the background, automate many procedures)
- a painting program like canvass 3 or a vector drawing program like
Illustrator or Freehand.
- of course, System 7 with all its excellent features is included with
the hardware.

The great thing about macintosh is that the hardware is virtually transparent.
Applications are written according to a consistent look-feel standard, so
learning to use one package is the basis for learning every package.
Data is easily transferred between applications, and with new developments in
the system software, is becoming even easier. Macs can read and translate ibm
files into friendlier formats, and with software or hardware additions, can
even run ms-dos software (although I don't know why one would want to ;-) )

anyway...good humanists have more on their minds than learning to read computer
manuals. For power, flexibility and ease of use, go macintosh!

Larry Innes
mac evangelist

- not associated in any way with apple, just a contented mac user -
(5) --------------------------------------------------------------30----
Date: Mon, 16 Mar 92 9:32 GMT
Subject: Query re: criteria for distributing PCs and MACs to staff

Dear Humanist List members,
In my department we are currently in a position where we think we will
have sufficient funds in our equipment budget to engage in a long-term plan
for purchasing PCs and MACs for all members of our dept. who want them.
Because we can only purchase a certain number of machines each year, we
need to draw up a list of criteria for developing a priority list, which
will dictate the order in which the machines ought to be bought.
We currently have 21 members of staff, and should be able to purchase
three machines a year; the project will, therefore, take seven years to
complete, given present financial circumstances.
Has anyone out there ever done this? How did you develop criteria?
Many thanks for your help.

Leon Litvack
School of English
Queen's University of Belfast
Northern Ireland