5.0779 Tools (3/116)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Thu, 19 Mar 1992 18:56:39 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 5, No. 0779. Thursday, 19 Mar 1992.

(1) Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1992 14:54:44 -0500 (38 lines)
From: Matthew Wall <wall@cc.swarthmore.edu>
Subject: Useful Tool for Humanist-Reading Mac Users

(2) Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1992 10:42 EDT (67 lines)
Subject: re:toolkit

(3) Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1992 15:18 EST (11 lines)
Subject: RE: 5.0774 Rs: E-Dicts.

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1992 14:54:44 -0500
From: Matthew Wall <wall@cc.swarthmore.edu>
Subject: Useful Tool for Humanist-Reading Mac Users

Or is that Mac-using Humanists?

By serendipitous accident, I recently discovered that the "Digest Browser"
by Manuel A. Pere'z, designed to quickly browse text-only copies of the
Info-Mac electronic digest works very nicely, thank you, on _Humanist_
postings. If you're like me and tend to fall several days behind Humanist,
you may find it useful.

If you can save one or more Humanist postings to Mac disk, the Digest
Browser will give you a nice little table of contents sortable by Subject,
Sender, and date. To view an individual article, simply click on the item
in the table of contents, and the item appears in a nice scrolling Mac box

Again, this will probably be most useful to those who tend to read several
messages at once and who can easily download posting to their Mac (my
mailer sends mail directly to my Mac.) The browser does NOT have search,
sort, or find features.

The Digest Browser is available via anonymous ftp from the info-mac archive
(and presumably shadow sites): ftp sumex-aim.stanford.edu, and download the
file /info-mac/app/digest-browser-12.hqx. You'll need Binhex 4.0 or an
equivalent utility to convert the file to a Mac application.

Incidentally, the browser ought also to work on any electronic digest that
has the standard dashed line as a delimiter between articles.

- matt
Matthew Wall * wall@cc.swarthmore.edu | 7-word SF story:
Swarthmore College Academic Computing | Red Sox world champs
Swarthmore, PA 19081 <-> 215-328-8506 | and President Brown.

(2) --------------------------------------------------------------137---
Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1992 10:42 EDT
Subject: re:toolkit

I am replying to Paul R. Falzer's statements partially reproduced

"Someone writing in a letters to the editor column of a PC
magazine recently made a curious remark: he said that he didn't
know what all the fuss is about when it comes to graphical word
processors, since word processing is inherently a character-based
activity. Really. Remember the freedom and flexibility you lost
when you moved from pen to typewriter, and worse, to an elec-
tronic typewriter or elementary word-processor? The most
advanced character-based word processing programs (such as Word
Perfect 5.1) are no less constraining than the old horses and
buggies--they just have more features. But with a graphical
program, you recover the ability to express yourself; you can see
what you are actually doing; you are looking at the product as
you are producing it. Moreover, you can work with words,
graphics, tables, charts, and drawings. By embedding and
linking, you move seamlessly between one application and another.
In short, you can work much like you _used_ to work before you
made that fateful decision (which you may have regretted ever
since) to trade-off creativity and flexilibity. But you can work
with all the power and efficiency that father technology has
bestowed on us."

I must admit to being baffled by the above statements. When I
moved from a pen to a typewriter (an electronic one, anyway), I
_gained_ a lot of speed and clarity of thought. And when I moved
to a word-processor, I gained a lot more flexibility (mostly,
that of always already revising). I hardly use a pen anymore,
and when I do it's difficult to make out what I've written. It
_is_ sometimes fun to use it when revising a printed copy, as a
sort of lever or hinge into the textual process. Ultimately, I
think I work much more creatively now because I am free to revise
and to write stuff down that I will soon delete or change.

"But with a graphical program, you recover the ability to express
yourself; you can see what you are actually doing; you are
looking at the product as you are producing it."

Does this mean that because the tilted letters on the screen
sloppily resemble italics, I am somehow "closer" to the process?
Writing is a code, and different technological devices represent
this code differently. The one we like the most has more to do
with taste than with some "truth" of representation. My courier
font an a vga screen is clearer than the Times Roman on a
Macintosh. I prefer clarity, but someone else may prefer
verisimilitude or simply variety. Someone else may argue
phenomenology and say that just because my letters are thicker,
they are not "clearer." And so on.

I think the mega computer Paul R. Falzer mentions which is
required to run the graphical word-processing is simply too big
and expensive for the majority of "humanists." Most grad
students I know can't possibly afford more than $1000 to $1500
for equipment. I use Nota Bene because it finds and manipulates
lots of text very quickly and its command structure is _very_
flexible. It also runs well on "low end" systems. Other people
prefer other systems and "looks." I think the important thing is
to show friends (and relatives?) the possibilities of the systems
we use. Many people just don't know the options available and
how they can help perform research.

(3) --------------------------------------------------------------15----
Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1992 15:18 EST
Subject: RE: 5.0774 Rs: E-Dicts.; Caldecott; E-Italian;

I have used the electronic _American Heritage Dictionary_ and found it very
useful as well as easy to use, as usual with a Macintosh. It also enables you
to find words with same endings, etc., to do anagrams, and other goodies.
|Alexander A. Di Lella, O.F.M. |Bitnet: DILELLA@CUA |
|Catholic University of America |Internet: DILELLA@CUAVAX.DNET.CUA.EDU |