HUMAN-NETS Digest V8 #11

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Mar 28, 1985, 1:45:40 AM3/28/85
From: Charles McGrew (The Moderator) <Human-Nets-Request@Rutgers>

HUMAN-NETS Digest Thursday, 28 Mar 1985 Volume 8 : Issue 11

Today's Topics:
Responses to Queries - Lapsize Computers &
Programming Environments (3 msgs) &
Computer Networks - Stargate (2 msgs),
Information - MIT Communications Forum seminars


Date: Wed 20 Mar 85 10:25:32-PST
From: Ken Laws <La...@SRI-AI.ARPA>
Subject: Lapsize Computers

The March issue of IEEE Spectrum reports (on p. 91) that there is now
a monthly newsletter covering the smallest portable computers.
To get PICO -- The Briefcase Computer Report for a year, send $14.97
to PICO, 150 South Main St., Wood Ridge, NJ 07075.

-- Ken Laws


Date: Wed, 20 Mar 85 13:34 CST
Subject: bullpens

If you don't have some kind of a common room, one will be designated
by the project team: somebody's office, a wide space in the hall, or
the pub down the street. So there is no question whether; it is just
a question of where. I personally do not like to do keyboard entry
where there is a lot of a chatter, and I think a lot of people would
agree with that. My ideal would be a quiet room for terminals with a
large lounge attached. The old "make ready" room in the basement of
Encina Hall at Stanford was like that (the lounge being the wide space
in the hall between the make ready room and the in box for your card
decks -- yes, children, I said card decks) and I have fond memories of
it, mainly because it is where I met my wife. Not all side effects
are negative.


Date: 20 Mar 85 14:10:30 PST (Wednesday)
From: Charlie...@XEROX.ARPA
Subject: Re: HUMAN-NETS Digest V8 #10
To: Cond...@XEROX.ARPA

At Xerox, most of us are "entitled" to have private offices, but for
years, I have chosen to share my office with an office mate. We "own"
two offices, but both sit in one (with our displays and keyboards),
and have both cpu's in the other, thus eliminating fan and disk noise.
We rewired at our own expense. 8 x 10 ft is a little tight, but worth

I think staring at a screen for a whole day can be unhealthy, and some
human interaction is necessary. Sharing an office, we get to chat, ask
each other technical questions, find out about each other's projects,
meet each other's friends and visitors.

The ONLY disadvantage, since our office is so quiet, is when we need
to make VERY personal calls. At these times, we either transcend our
need for privacy (perhaps a good goal in itself) or wander down the
hall looking for an empty office from which to make a call.

It's a bit of a hassle for management. Some office-mates are
incompatible, or at least uncomfortable. Once, when we HAD to share
offices during a space crunch, I HAD to back out because of
incompatiblity. Management has to cope with employees wanting to do
their own "matching", rather than throwing people together by project.
I think that the cross-pollination between projects is a good thing,
and worth the hassle that management has to go thru.

Charlie Levy


Date: Wed, 20 Mar 85 12:06:40 cst
From: Richard Smith <>
Subject: common terminal rooms

I've worked in common rooms and in private rooms both in industry
and in universities. If someone is employing me to work with their
computers, then it's a waste of everyone's time and money to NOT
provide a terminal on my desk. I'll assume that's not the question.
The problem with common rooms is that they succeed or fail depending
on the people involved. It's one thing if you all start out at the
same time and develop good working relationships as you learn
together. But what if you're walking into a new situation where your
ignorant questions are seen as a 'loud disturbance'? In the wrong
atmosphere there can be even less interaction in a bull pen than on a
floor of private offices where the doors are usually open. The
problem with any kind of shared office space is that you need customs
to prevent disturbances that keep work from being done. This can
easily get very restrictive.
Other than in the very special case where everyone is in a learning
mode, I can't think of any advantages to being in a bull pen. Are
there any that are an attribute of the space and not of the people?



From: Willis Ware <willis@rand-unix>
Date: 20 Mar 85 11:33:00 PST (Wed)
Subject: Re: HUMAN-NETS Digest V8 #10

In reference to the request for format details on AUTODIN, the source
of all wisdom and knowledge on DIN is the Defense Communications
Agency in Washington, 8th and Courthouse Road, Arlington (I think it
is), VA. From the DoD phone book, here are some phone numbers that
might help you:

Public Information Officer 703/692 2051
Chief of Staff 703/692 0912
Defense Switched Network PMO 703/696 5759

In the long run, of course, AUTODIN will give way to the Defense
Data Network which started with the splitting apart of the military
users of the old ARPAnet into the MILNET. "Long run" means a gradual
exnlargment of DDN until DIN is dismantled. The date of the latter
is not yet specified, sofar as I know, but it's bound to be in the 90s
at earliest.

Willis H. Ware


Date: Thu, 14 Mar 85 09:35:54 cst
From: wer...@ut-ngp.ARPA (Werner Uhrig)
Subject: Tickler: quickie status-report of STARGATE-project

[ if readers of this group who have no access to USENET-newsgroup let me know of their interest, we can forward
the most interesting messages on a regular basis. Werner ]

From: lau...@vortex.UUCP (Lauren Weinstein)
Subject: quickie status report

Date: Wed, 13-Mar-85 07:13:04 CST
Date-Received: Thu, 14-Mar-85 01:31:27 CST
Organization: Vortex Technology, Los Angeles
Lines: 29
Xref: seismo

Just a very short note. The reason you haven't heard too much lately
is that we've now entered a "slower" phase in the project where a
variety of issues regarding organization and internal technical
issues are being hashed out. I'm currently waiting for the first
of the new production data decoders to become available for my
direct testing. Unlike the big rack-mount type unit I'm using now,
the new unit will resemble a set-top cable TV box and should include
remote addressing, error correction, and decryption facilities. Its
small size will enable me to test it in a variety of locations with
much less hassle than the current old style decoder entails.

Test data (a variety of canned netnews messages) continues to
flow over the satellite channels 24 hours/day. I recently ran decoder
tests at Lucasfilm (San Rafael) and got a 0% error rate from the
suburban cable that serves the facility. I hope to test for
error rates in very highly urbanized and very rural areas soon.

I am now receiving the test data from Stargate at a steady 1200 bps on
vortex (I have removed the artificial sleeps on the sending side that
I had installed before the Usenix demo in Dallas) and I'm finding that
vortex is usually able to keep up with the data even without flow

The next big step will probably occur when the new decoders
start becoming reasonably available--this will make possible the early
creation of a small "test network" of sites which will be able
to receive the transmitted test data.



Date: Wed, 20 Mar 85 17:19:12 pst
From: Michael C. Berch <mcb@lll-tis-gw>
Subject: Stargate/Common Carrier Liability

I wonder what level of sender authentication is reasonable to
meet the requirements of common carrier (vs. broadcaster) status.

The canonical examples of common carriers in telecommunications
are telephone companies and telegraph companies.
There's no way that a long distance carrier can tell who is the
originator of a long distance call that was delivered to its toll
switch by a local operating company. Similarly, I can appear in person
at any Western Union office and send a telegram and sign it any way I
want, and I will not be required to show identification.

In neither of these cases is the carrier likely to be held liable
as a broadcaster of the content of my communications simply because
they are unable to authenticate the source.

Whatever shields carriers like WU from liability in the case where
a person sends defamatory/tortious communications (possibly over a
false signature) to a large group of people should, it seems to me,
shield Stargate as well.

Michael C. Berch


Date: Mon, 18 Mar 85 11:27 EST
Subject: April-May Communications Forum seminars

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Communications Forum

Wideband Metropolitan Networks:
CATV and Alternative Possibilities
April 4, 1985
Stephen Weinstein, Bell Communications Research

New business and residential communications services
will require wideband metropolitan networks with capabilities
beyond those of present telephone and cable television
facilities. This seminar will describe the technical and
political problems of building these capabilities into existing
CATV systems and discuss present and proposed techniques
including hybrid systems using the telephone network. It will
review the advantages of a distributed star network architecture
and high bit rate optical fiber and discuss how these
technologies are being introduced by telphone companies, CATV,
and other communications providers. Possibilities for advanced
services on a future network of this kind will also be

Resource Sharing in Local Area Networks
April 10 (Wednesday), 1985
Leonard Kleinrock, UCLA

Distributed systems present a number of fascinating
challenges, not the least of which is the problem of allocating
system resources to an unpredictable demand stream. This problem
was presented to us in the form of wide area computer networks in
the l970's and faces us in the form of local area networks (LANs)
at present. The key issues and principles of resource sharing in
LANs will be discussed including, for example, topology, access
method, and medium. The seminar will also review how these
problems have been resolved in current products and consider some
likely new solutions.

Telecommunications Developments in Europe
April l8, l985
Peter Cowhey, University of California at San Diego
Eli Noam, Columbia University

The divestiture of ATfT and regulatory policies favoring
competition in long-distance telephone service have had a
profound effect outside the United States -- especially in other
highly developed countries: Japan, Canada, and the larger nations
of Western Europe.
In Europe, the traditional PTT (Post, Telephone, and
Telegraph Administrations) monopolies have been questioned.
British Telecom has an officially sanctioned competitor, and BT
itself has been privatized. While other countries have not
officially moved as much toward the American model, private
companies have entered new areas on the fringe of traditional
core services. Although impetus for policy change often derives
from general arguments for deregulation and competition, much is
also made of the need to stimulate European industry in order to
export to the burgeoning American market.

Encoding Voice Signals
April 25, l985
Bernard Gold, MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Robert McAulay, MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Robert Price, M/A-Com Linkabit, Inc.

Although not visible to the public, vocoders (VOice CODERS)
have been around for a long time. To date, however, technical
difficulties and cost have limited their use to such applications
as secure communications for the military. This seminar will
discuss the historical development of vocoders, why they have
been used in the past, and the potential they have for enhancing
public communications systems.

Long Distance Land Lines
May 2, l985
Gus Grant, Fibertrak
additional speaker to be announced
(note: to be held in Building 34, Room 401A)

With deregulation of long distance communications in the
United States, several corporations have announced ambitious
plans to build long distance land lines. Collectively, these
plans portend a dramatic increase in long distance capacity.
This seminar will discuss the market forces driving this
expansion and the business strategies of some of the major

New Directions in Media History
May 9, l985
Douglas Gomery, University of Maryland
Morris Dickstein, Queens College
David Thorburn, MIT

New approaches to the academic study of film and other forms
of mass media have gained prominence in recent years, as the
methods of traditional disciplines such as history, literature,
cultural anthropology, and economics have begun to be applied to
contemporary audiovisual texts. Centrally interdisciplinary,
this emerging media scholarship promises new perspectives on the
cultural significance of media texts and institutions and
powerfully revises conventional accounts of their historical

Marlar Lounge
MIT Building 37, Room 252
70 Vassar Street, Cambridge
Thursday, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
(except as noted)


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