HUMAN-NETS Digest Tuesday, 25 Jun 1985 Volume 8 : Issue 20
Computers Networks - Komputers and the Klan &
In memoriam E-COM,
Computers and the Law - ACM White Paper on Hacking (2 msgs)
Computers and People - Giving users the "finger"? &
Computers Are Everywhere &
Mail System Specs,
Announcement - new AI in education mail list
Date: Sat, 15 Jun 85 20:45:30 cdt
From: rid...@ut-sally.ARPA (Prentiss Riddle)
Subject: Komputers and the Klan
The April/May issue of the Yippie publication "Overthrow" (not
entirely my political cup of tea, but interesting reading regardless)
includes a couple of articles on the bboard systems operated by the
Klan, the Nazis and their ilk. Reprinted below (with tacit
permission) is the shorter of the two.
KLAN & NAZI NUMBERS
Below are five of the six newly established "Aryan Nations
Liberty Net" data bases. These data bases are available
24 hours a day and contain Klan/Nazi propaganda, enemy
lists, electronic mailboxes, bulletin boards, and more.
All bulletin boards are set for 300 baud and most will let
you into the system without a password by typing the word
"NEW" when prompted. Have fun...
Needless to say, neither the Yippies nor I are exactly fond of the
Klan. These numbers are offered in the belief that you should "know
--- Prentiss Riddle ("Aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada.")
--- rid...@ut-sally.UUCP, rid...@ut-sally.ARPA, riddle%zotz@ut-sally
Date: 21 Jun 1985 09:46 PST
From: Lars Poulsen <LARS@ACC>
Subject: In memoriam E-COM
From "Communications Week", June 17, 1985:
"The U.S.Postal Service's unprofitable Electronic Computer-
Originated Mail (E-COM) system, which has been for sale since last
June, will be shut down by September if the Postal Service is still
unable to get an acceptable offer."
E-COM was a great idea implemented in the worst possible way. Besides
some questionable design (the message format for submissions had to be
seen to be believed), it was killed by regulatory cramps that are can
only be explained by a desire to ensure that this project would fail.
Item: E-COM had 25 service centers around the country. A natural mode
of operation would be for a customer to enter submissions at the
nearest E-COM center, and for E-COM to move the data to the
service center nearest to the addressee for printout and entry
to the mail stream. E-COM offices did have communications links
between them, these were allowed to be used only for
administrative data. If the post office wanted to move E-COM
message data between sites it was required to put them on
magtape and put the magtape in a mail bag.
Item: E-COM centers had X.25 lines to receive data on, but they were
not allowed to use these for switched service, so that E-COM
customers could place a call to E-COM via commercial X.25
networks. The X.25 lines could be used only for dedicated lines
Would you buy a used E-COM system subject to this kind of regulation ?
Unfortunately, this aspect of E-COM's troubles has not received any
attention in the press; most stories have had an undercurrent of "this
goes to show that a government outfit will screw up even the best
/ Lars Poulsen
Advanced Computer Communications
<Lars @ ACC.ARPA>
Date: Tue 18 Jun 85 23:40:58-PDT
From: Ken Laws <La...@SRI-AI.ARPA>
Subject: ACM White Paper on Hacking
You are listed as the contact and author of the April 1985 ACM Pacific
Region Newsletter. I would appreciate it if you would convey the
following open letter to the External Activities Board in regard to
their April 3-4 forum on "hacking" at SRI and their planned ACM White
Paper on Hacking.
I strenuously object to this abuse of the word "hacking". Reporters
for the news media may be forgiven for seizing one meaning of this
word and ignoring all others, but the ACM should be more professional.
Hacking has a short but proud history, and giving in to the current
abuse of the word by the uninformed denigrates all past hackers and
their hacks. It also robs us of a wonderful term for which there is
no ready substitute, while bestowing honor on those for whom
"electronic vandal" is a suitable epithet.
This is not a trivial, academic issue. Aside from my previous point,
there is a real danger in use of the term "hacking" for malicious
mischief via telecommunications or networks. The designation implies
that no previous concepts and precedents describe this phenonmenon,
and hence that entirely new laws are needed to deal with it. Attempts
at creating such laws have been uniformly ill-advised, according to
reports on the Arpanet, whereas attempts to apply or extend existing
laws seem more likely to be successful.
There is nothing we can do now to change the April forum, but I
urge responsible members of the ACM to block publication of the
resulting "ACM White Paper on Hacking" under this counterproductive
and undescriptive name.
-- Dr. Kenneth I. Laws
333 Ravenswood Avenue
Menlo Park, CA 94303
Date: 19 Jun 85 16:48:11 PDT
Subject: Re: ACM White Paper on Hacking
To: Ken Laws <La...@SRI-AI.ARPA>
Cc: JWhi...@Xerox.ARPA, SU-BB...@SU-SCORE.ARPA
Thanks for the input regarding ACM's use of the term Hacking. I'll
forward you letter to the Chairman of ACM's External Activities Board.
Personally, I share your concerns.
-- John White
Date: Wed 12 Jun 85 17:27:22-EDT
Subject: "Finger" information policies
To: m...@CMU-CS-C.ARPA, spr...@CMU-CS-C.ARPA
I have talked with various people recently about the use of "finger"
and other locator programs. Mike Blackwell, of CMU, reports that
"finger" is among the most frequently used programs on that
university's TOPS-20s. Administrators of BITnet describe the
existence of "BITnauts": people who are fascinated by "finger"
information on users at other sites (some halfway around the world). I
have also encountered people who find the free access to data which
"finger" provides a violation of privacy. This tradition maintains,
for example, that job status and terminal location are privileged and
should not be revealed casually.
These observations have started me thinking about "finger". At CMU,
people seem to take for granted that information is freely available
via "finger". I always assumed that this was true at other sites. Now,
in light of some of the conversations mentioned above, I am not so
sure. I would be interested in hearing from Human-net readers about
why they think "finger" is important, why it is such a popular program
-- and what guidelines exist at other institutions to govern the
extent and type of data provided by "finger".
One theory might be that computer users tend to feel isolated, hence
"finger" allows them to become aware of their larger social
environment. Or, perhaps people just enjoy reading other people's plan
files (are plan files a universal thing?). Still another theory
suggests that attitudes toward "finger" are determined by
organizational context. For instance, a private institution might have
a very liberal attitude toward "finger" information -- while a public
institution (with a stronger obligation to adhere to federal
guidelines on privacy? what are these guidelines?) might disable
"finger" mechanisms all together.
Are "finger"-type programs a good thing? As the world moves toward
distributed networks this information becomes less easy to collect and
disseminate (because users are no longer conveniently centralized on
one time-sharing system). Early users of one network environment at
CMU were somewhat perturbed to find that the new system did not
provide the accustomed dynamic information on other users. Instead,
information on other users could only be obtained via an on-line "user
directory" (ie a phonebook). Will future users be content to work in a
"finger"-less world, or will administrators and implementors have to
bow to popular demand, and commit the resources to design and maintain
a new generation of "finger" programs?
Committee for Social Science Research on Computing
EXAMPLES OF "FINGER" INFORMATION: (? = phone numbers)
*Name Job PrName Idle %Cpu TTY Terminal Location
Thomas Finholt 27 Finger 1.7 46 F/E dialup
---- Plan File ----
Graduate Student, CSSRC and Social Science
Office: PH 319, Office Phone: x????
Home Phone: (412)-???-????
Home Address: 5000 Forbes Ave.
If you own a Kaypro II or play tennis please give me a call.
*Name Job PrName Idle %Cpu TTY Terminal Location
Samuel Shipman 8 Bboard 1:26 161 Via ETHERFE-52 #176260
Allen Newell 9 Exec 17 50 Newell house ???-????
Vince Fuller 20 Detach Det from 5120 VAF's lair x????
Rob Maclachlan 21 Detach 3:27 Det from 3207 Spice Rack x????
Skef Wholey 24 Exec 5 155 8218 Black&c x????
Thomas Finholt 27 Finger 2.2 46 F/E dialup
Marc Raibert 29 Emacs 2.9 156 Raibert house ???-????
Wei-Min Shen 30 Clisp 40.9 157 8301 Birkel&c x????
Kathleen Carley 37 Emacs .7 51 F/E Dialup
Leona Champeny 40 Emacs 1.8 47 Term. Rm. D6 x????
John Aronis 45 Doverq 7 52 4212 Sylvia/Dyane x????
Login name: bovik In real life: H.Q. Bovik
Directory: /usrsp0/jdoe Shell: /usr/cmu/new/csh
Last login Tue Jun 11 11:37 on ttypq (Floating PERQ)
Mail came on Tue Jun 11 17:58, last read on Tue Jun 11 13:27
Research Programmer, Computer Science
Projects include Speech Understanding and Spice
Office: WeH 4500, Office Phone: x????
Home Phone: (412) ???-????
Home Address: 2300 Foobar Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Date: Mon, 17 Jun 85 12:37:15 CDT
From: William Martin <control@ALMSA-1>
Subject: Computers Are Everywhere (Another)
Recall the note I sent out some months back about the computerized
fishing reel? Well, that same publication I found that in now has
PUMA'S COMPUTER RUNNING SHOE MEASURES PERFORMANCE ELECTRONICALLY
Photo caption, on a photo of a modern-style lace-up running shoe, with
a sort of added block which wraps around the rear of the shoe and has
a switch mounted on the top:
An electronic device attaches to the left foot of Puma's RS Computer
Shoe, measuring distance according to the runner's own calibrations
and sensing footfall. After a run it plugs into a computer to read out
detailed performance data and comparisons with pre-set goals.
[There is also a photo of a graph displayed on a micro's screen, an
example of the output capabilities of the software package.]
Puma's RS Computer Shoe comes with its own electronics and software to
document individual runners' performance. It has a built-in electronic
device that communicates with a personal computer, allowing runners to
electronically measure the time, distance, and energy and/or calories
expended on each run.
It will retail for $200, packaged with the software, the electronic
measuring device and the plug that connects shoe and computer.
Replacement shoes, which, like the original, represent Puma's top of
the line, will retail for $90.
...will be in stores by late 1985. ...a high correlation among running
enthusiasts and home computer owners.
[Comment leading to the impression that the software is designed for
Apple IIe's and/or Commodore 64's.]
The same software program can be used by an unlimited number of
runners who wear the computer shoe model. The software can access a
file containing information on each individual's running performance
before calculating the distance and caloric measures. This aspect is
expected to provide teams and groups of individuals with an important
motivational and training tool, according to Puma executives.
Information stored in the shoe can be accessed right after a run or
stored indefinitely in the device as long as the shoe is not turned
off. [Gee, another thing to worry about -- "No! Don't turn my shoe
off yet!! No! No!...." :-)]
The shoe itself, including the device, weighs approximately 13 oz. It
will initially be introduced in men's sizes from 6 to 13. ...a women's
version is also scheduled for production in 1986. ...Puma has similar
devices for other shoe products on the drawing boards.
***End of article***
(From SPORTS MERCHANDISER, June 1985, p. 36)
Hmm.... Maybe they can build a radio data link to get realtime info
transmitted from the shoe as you run...
Thought y'all might be interested in this....
Regards, Will Martin
Date: 19 Jun 85 21:18:06 CDT (Wed)
Subject: Re: Mail System Specs
I note one aspect of this requirements spec that disturbs me: the call
for editing and spelling checking as part of a *message* system.
While I don't dispute that editing and spell-checking are important to
use of a message system, this is an open invitation to implementors to
re-invent the wheel yet again, poorly. "Re-invented wheels are often
square." I would like to see a requirement along the lines of:
Should work with or extend existing text editors, rather than
inventing its own incompatible editor, unless there are truly
compelling reasons (not just implementation convenience) for
and likewise for spelling checking. Existing text editors have
evolved over many years as engines for manipulating text; they are
likely to be distinctly better at this than a two-week hack by a
message-system author. They are also more likely to be functionally
complete and fully debugged. They may need extending to handle the
message-specific aspects, but this is not a valid excuse to throw them
away and start over.
What was that quote about standing on each other's shoulders rather
than each other's feet?
Henry Spencer @ U of Toronto Zoology
Date: Mon 24 Jun 85 14:16:53-PDT
From: Mark Richer <RIC...@SUMEX-AIM.ARPA>
Subject: new AI in education mail list
There seemed to be enough interest to create a mailing list on
artificial intelligence in education. If there are several people at
one site that are interested, try to form a local distribution system.
Here's the description:
Discussions related to the application of artificial intelligence
to education. This includes material on intelligent computer
assisted instruction (ICAI) or intelligent tutoring systems (ITS),
interactive encyclopedias, intelligent information retrieval for
educational purposes, and pychological and cognitive science models
of learning, problem solving, and teaching that can be applied to
education. Issues related to teaching AI are welcome. Topics may
also include evaluation of tutoring systems, commercialization of
AI based instructional systems, description of actual use of an ITS
in a classroom setting, user-modeling, intelligent user-interfaces,
and the use of graphics or videodisk in ICAI. Announcements of
books, papers, conferences, new products, public domain software
tools, etc. are encouraged.
Archives of messages are kept on SUMEX-AIM in:
All requests to be added to or deleted from these lists, problems,
questions, etc., should be sent to AI-Ed-Request@SUMEX-AIM
Coordinator: Mark Richer <Richer@SUMEX-AIM>
End of HUMAN-NETS Digest