JMS: If it were up to you...

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Jan

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May 23, 2002, 7:25:11 AM5/23/02
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JMS,

As much as I'm enjoying Jeremiah, I find myself too conscious of the fact that
each episode is 'only' 45 minutes long.

In an ideal 'JMS sets the standards' world, what do you think would be the
optimum length for a television episode? What about the number of episodes to
constitute a season?

Any chance of you giving us a 'State of the Straczynski-verse' note on what's
new, what's pending, what you can't talk about, how you're healing (fast and
well, I hope) and all the other questions we keep asking?

Thanks, as always,
Jan
Hmmm...maybe that should be JMS-iverse?

Tlsmith1963

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May 23, 2002, 11:50:50 AM5/23/02
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Without commercials, I think TV-episodes are about 45 minutes long anyway,
aren't they?

Tammy
B5 New Beginnings
http://hometown.aol.com/tlsmith1963/myhomepage/babylon5.html

Theodrake

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May 23, 2002, 2:27:47 PM5/23/02
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tlsmi...@aol.com (Tlsmith1963) wrote in
news:20020523115050...@mb-da.aol.com:

So its already setup to move to commerical channels.

Pelzo63

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May 23, 2002, 4:40:05 PM5/23/02
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tlsmith1963 wrote:

>Without commercials, I think TV-episodes are about 45 minutes long anyway,
>aren't they?

if i'm not mistaken, B5, minus commercials and credits was 42 minutes long.
take away the credits from jeremiah, and you probbaly have the same 42 minutes.

p.s. is this the same tammy that was known as g'karfan on webtv?

...Chris

Tlsmith1963

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May 23, 2002, 11:39:30 PM5/23/02
to
>p.s. is this the same tammy that was known as g'karfan on webtv?
>
>...Chris
>

Yes, it's me. :)

Jms at B5

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May 24, 2002, 2:35:26 AM5/24/02
to
>In an ideal 'JMS sets the standards' world, what do you think would be the
>optimum length for a television episode? What about the number of episodes
>to
>constitute a season?

You have to understand that I'm a Russian, and we're not known for telling
short stories. So for me an episode would be perfect at 60 minutes, no
commercials, and a season would have 52 episodes per year.

What can I say, I yammer....

>Any chance of you giving us a 'State of the Straczynski-verse' note on what's
>new, what's pending, what you can't talk about, how you're healing (fast and
>well, I hope) and all the other questions we keep asking?

Jeremiah: finishing post production on our last batch of episodes, including
the two-part finale "Things Left Unsaid," which Mike Vejar directed and it's
just *killer*. Of all the things I've ever done, and I'm including B5 in this,
on an invidual basis this may be the best thing I've ever done, certainly the
most ambitious. It's just frikkin' HUGE, the performances are great, the story
moves ahead by leaps and bounds, I'm just *real* happy with it.

(Another crucial arc story, "Tripwire," airs next Friday. This is one to
definitely see if you're thinking of following the show.)

What's pending...I'm about 4-5 issues ahead on Spider-Man now, with another
issue coming out next Wednesday...I've turned in the next draft on "Polaris" to
the SciFi Channel, and that seems to be moving ahead nicely....

And there's another TV project that's been in the works for a while now that's
also getting a bit toasty at the moment, but I can't say anything about it yet,
not until the ink dries.

As for the healing...not great. The finger didn't heal right after the
dislocation, and it looks like the emergency room doctor who put it on (who
said she hadn't done this sort of thing before) kinda put it on sideways...so
it locks and hurts and when I went for a follow-up in LA, the doctor took one
look at the thing and said, "Surgery." Looks like a combination of a ruptured
tendon and some bone bits that got into the joint and have been sawing back and
forth all this time.

So now I've got to go in and have the damned thing operated on, and there's a
better than even chance that because of the surgery I may lose some function in
the finger.

Sucks.

jms

(jms...@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2002 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)


Andrew Swallow

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May 24, 2002, 4:10:49 PM5/24/02
to
In article <20020524023526...@mb-ct.aol.com>, jms...@aol.com (Jms
at B5) writes:

>
>You have to understand that I'm a Russian, and we're not known for telling
>short stories. So for me an episode would be perfect at 60 minutes, no
>commercials, and a season would have 52 episodes per year.
>
>What can I say, I yammer....
>

Two hours with commercials and a short cartoon. That should
save the TV stations some money over two programs.

[snip]

>As for the healing...not great. The finger didn't heal right after the
>dislocation, and it looks like the emergency room doctor who put it on (who
>said she hadn't done this sort of thing before) kinda put it on sideways...so
>it locks and hurts and when I went for a follow-up in LA, the doctor took one
>look at the thing and said, "Surgery." Looks like a combination of a
>ruptured
>tendon and some bone bits that got into the joint and have been sawing back
>and
>forth all this time.
>

I hope the operation works and your finger gets better.

Andrew Swallow

Robert Perkins

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May 24, 2002, 4:32:07 PM5/24/02
to
On 24 May 2002 06:35:26 GMT, jms...@aol.com (Jms at B5) wrote:

>The finger didn't heal right after the
>dislocation, and it looks like the emergency room doctor who put it on (who
>said she hadn't done this sort of thing before) kinda put it on sideways...so
>it locks and hurts and when I went for a follow-up in LA, the doctor took one
>look at the thing and said, "Surgery." Looks like a combination of a ruptured
>tendon and some bone bits that got into the joint and have been sawing back and
>forth all this time.

I think I can speak for all of us when I say, "Ow!
Owowowowowowowowowowow!"

I hope things go well for you in the surgery. I don't envy you that.
Here's to a speedy recovery.

Rob

Mac Breck

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May 24, 2002, 4:32:48 PM5/24/02
to
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jms at B5" <jms...@aol.com>
Newsgroups: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated
Sent: Friday, May 24, 2002 2:35 AM
Subject: Re: JMS: If it were up to you...


snip


> As for the healing...not great. The finger didn't heal right after the
> dislocation, and it looks like the emergency room doctor who put it on
(who
> said she hadn't done this sort of thing before) kinda put it on
sideways...so
> it locks and hurts and when I went for a follow-up in LA, the doctor took
one
> look at the thing and said, "Surgery." Looks like a combination of a
ruptured
> tendon and some bone bits that got into the joint and have been sawing
back and
> forth all this time.
>
> So now I've got to go in and have the damned thing operated on, and
there's a
> better than even chance that because of the surgery I may lose some
function in
> the finger.
>
> Sucks.
>
> jms
>
> (jms...@aol.com)
> (all message content (c) 2002 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
> permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
> and don't send me story ideas)

Yikes! That's almost as bad as breaking a bone, having it heal wrong, and
then hearing the doctor say that they'll have to break it again, to be able
to set it correctly. :-(

Mac Breck
------------------------
http://www.scifi.com/crusade/ http://www.b5lr.com/

"Nothing much good on TV tonight anyway." (Captain Gideon, Babylon 5
Crusade - The Memory of War)

The Nuclear Marine

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May 24, 2002, 6:26:29 PM5/24/02
to
jms...@aol.com (Jms at B5) wrote in
news:20020524023526...@mb-ct.aol.com:

>>In an ideal 'JMS sets the standards' world, what do you think would be
>>the optimum length for a television episode? What about the number of
>>episodes to
>>constitute a season?
>
> You have to understand that I'm a Russian, and we're not known for
> telling short stories. So for me an episode would be perfect at 60
> minutes, no commercials, and a season would have 52 episodes per year.
>

Yeesh, sounds like a quick route to burnout if you had to produce it along
with writing. Of course, we all know you want a world where you can write
and have it made without a word being changed. Or has that desire altered
a bit with being a producer/writer/one-time director/bit actor now?

> What can I say, I yammer....

Well, I guess we can stand to put up with that annoying quirk week after
week.


>>Any chance of you giving us a 'State of the Straczynski-verse' note on
>>what's new, what's pending, what you can't talk about, how you're
>>healing (fast and well, I hope) and all the other questions we keep
>>asking?
>
> Jeremiah: finishing post production on our last batch of episodes,
> including the two-part finale "Things Left Unsaid," which Mike Vejar
> directed and it's just *killer*. Of all the things I've ever done,
> and I'm including B5 in this, on an invidual basis this may be the
> best thing I've ever done, certainly the most ambitious. It's just
> frikkin' HUGE, the performances are great, the story moves ahead by
> leaps and bounds, I'm just *real* happy with it.

Excellent, it finishes with a bang. The world (ok, I am) wants to know, is
there a season two and who is the winner of the Ass Kicking Contest.

> As for the healing...not great. The finger didn't heal right after
> the dislocation, and it looks like the emergency room doctor who put
> it on (who said she hadn't done this sort of thing before) kinda put
> it on sideways...so it locks and hurts and when I went for a follow-up
> in LA, the doctor took one look at the thing and said, "Surgery."
> Looks like a combination of a ruptured tendon and some bone bits that
> got into the joint and have been sawing back and forth all this time.

Is this going to conflict on a possible appearence (and shopping spree) at
the San Diego Comic-con? As for surgery, best of benefits. *I avoided the
easy joke about God making you his little bee yatch for certain lines in
your stories*

Nuke - 198 pound weakling

--
Listen to the Black Atheist Avenger: www.InfidelGuy.com

Atheist Radio on the Internet: www.AtheistNetwork.com

"Potential is nothing if not realized." Charles Applin

Gary Seven

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May 24, 2002, 7:26:52 PM5/24/02
to

"Jms at B5" <jms...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:20020524023526...@mb-ct.aol.com...

> You have to understand that I'm a Russian, and we're not known for telling
> short stories. So for me an episode would be perfect at 60 minutes, no
> commercials, and a season would have 52 episodes per year.

In which case they probably would have already rolled out a pine box for
you some years ago due to overwork.

> As for the healing...not great. The finger didn't heal right after the
> dislocation, and it looks like the emergency room doctor who put it on
(who
> said she hadn't done this sort of thing before) kinda put it on
sideways...so
> it locks and hurts and when I went for a follow-up in LA, the doctor took
one
> look at the thing and said, "Surgery." Looks like a combination of a
ruptured
> tendon and some bone bits that got into the joint and have been sawing
back and
> forth all this time.
>
> So now I've got to go in and have the damned thing operated on, and
there's a
> better than even chance that because of the surgery I may lose some
function in
> the finger.
>
> Sucks.
>
> jms

That's horrible --I hope things work out better for you in this regard
than you predict.
It must be very annoying trying to type around that injured
finger.


Jan

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May 24, 2002, 9:39:31 PM5/24/02
to
JMS wrote:

<<You have to understand that I'm a Russian, and we're not known for telling
short stories. >>

I don't have a problem with that! I love long series of books. About time
somebody did the same for TV!

<< So for me an episode would be perfect at 60 minutes, no commercials, and a
season would have 52 episodes per year.>>

All right! But let's plan this a little better this time, okay? First get a
season or two of scripts pre-written so that you can Exec-Produce in say,
'just' a 12 hour day or so and then write the balance of the scripts during
your 'leisure' time.

Oh, and what's the optimal number of seasons?

<<Of all the things I've ever done, and I'm including B5 in this, on an
invidual basis this may be the best thing I've ever done, certainly the most
ambitious. It's just frikkin' HUGE, the performances are great, the story
moves ahead by leaps and bounds, I'm just *real* happy with it.

Hmmm...does anybody here have a cooperative Dr who would prescribe heart meds
'just in case'? Please, please tell me it's not going to be a cliffhanger
since talk of the second season hasn't been forthcoming! Oh, and are we going
to cry?

<<And there's another TV project that's been in the works for a while now
that's
also getting a bit toasty at the moment, but I can't say anything about it yet,
not until the ink dries.>>

::Whwhwhwhwhwh...whwhwhwwh...::What??!! I'm blowing on the ink to make it dry
faster!!

<<So now I've got to go in and have the damned thing operated on, and there's a
better than even chance that because of the surgery I may lose some function in
the finger.

Sucks.>>

Sorry to hear it, it sounds MOST painful. I hope you have a great surgeon.
Hope the ankle did better!

Please keep us posted as things develop.

Thanks,
Jan

WRWhite963

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May 24, 2002, 10:56:54 PM5/24/02
to
>Hmmm...does anybody here have a cooperative Dr who would prescribe heart meds
>'just in case'?

Hmmm.... I always thought Doctor Who was *very* cooperative - unless you're a
Dalek, Cyberman, the Master, or any of a host of other assorted nasties.

;-)

WRW

Tlsmith1963

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May 24, 2002, 11:39:06 PM5/24/02
to
Yes, I hope they find a way to help your finger get back to normal, Joe.
That's not good for a writer.

Aaron Malchow

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May 26, 2002, 1:35:39 AM5/26/02
to
JMS wrote:
"As for the healing...not great. The finger didn't heal right after the
dislocation, and it looks like the emergency room doctor who put it on (who
said she hadn't done this sort of thing before) kinda put it on sideways...so
it locks and hurts and when I went for a follow-up in LA, the doctor took one
look at the thing and said, 'Surgery' Looks like a combination of a ruptured

tendon and some bone bits that got into the joint and have been sawing back and
forth all this time.

"So now I've got to go in and have the damned thing operated on, and there's a
better than even chance that because of the surgery I may lose some function in
the finger.

"Sucks."


Add my voice to the chorus of well wishers, JMS, and if you feel inclined to do
so, let us know how the surgery turns out.

Wishing you the best,
Aaron Malchow

Lisa Coulter

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May 25, 2002, 4:59:56 AM5/25/02
to
jms...@aol.com (Jms at B5) wrote in message news:<20020524023526...@mb-ct.aol.com>...

> >In an ideal 'JMS sets the standards' world, what do you think would be the
> >optimum length for a television episode? What about the number of episodes
> >to
> >constitute a season?
>
> You have to understand that I'm a Russian, and we're not known for telling
> short stories. So for me an episode would be perfect at 60 minutes, no
> commercials, and a season would have 52 episodes per year.
>
> What can I say, I yammer....
>

Quite ok - we all seem to enjoy your "Yammering!"

> >Any chance of you giving us a 'State of the Straczynski-verse' note on what's
> >new, what's pending, what you can't talk about, how you're healing (fast and
> >well, I hope) and all the other questions we keep asking?
>
> Jeremiah: finishing post production on our last batch of episodes, including
> the two-part finale "Things Left Unsaid," which Mike Vejar directed and it's
> just *killer*. Of all the things I've ever done, and I'm including B5 in this,
> on an invidual basis this may be the best thing I've ever done, certainly the
> most ambitious. It's just frikkin' HUGE, the performances are great, the story
> moves ahead by leaps and bounds, I'm just *real* happy with it.
>


Woah! Not sure I'm up to another B5-level killer ep at this point!
I'll definitely take my tranqs before this one! Sounds great!

Is this a cliff hanging S1 finale? Is there (do you want there to be)
a S2 planned?


> (Another crucial arc story, "Tripwire," airs next Friday. This is one to
> definitely see if you're thinking of following the show.)
>
> What's pending...I'm about 4-5 issues ahead on Spider-Man now, with another
> issue coming out next Wednesday...I've turned in the next draft on "Polaris" to
> the SciFi Channel, and that seems to be moving ahead nicely....
>
> And there's another TV project that's been in the works for a while now that's
> also getting a bit toasty at the moment, but I can't say anything about it yet,
> not until the ink dries.

Sounds great. Please keep us informed.


>
> As for the healing...not great. The finger didn't heal right after the
> dislocation, and it looks like the emergency room doctor who put it on (who
> said she hadn't done this sort of thing before) kinda put it on sideways...so
> it locks and hurts and when I went for a follow-up in LA, the doctor took one
> look at the thing and said, "Surgery." Looks like a combination of a ruptured
> tendon and some bone bits that got into the joint and have been sawing back and
> forth all this time.
>
> So now I've got to go in and have the damned thing operated on, and there's a
> better than even chance that because of the surgery I may lose some function in
> the finger.
>
> Sucks.


That's really awful. I hope you have a top-notch surgeon, and things
go better than expected. Since you don't mention the ankle, hope it
at least healed well.


I'd guess typing is really tough. Have you tried any of the voice
recognition stuff out there? It's said to be getting pretty good, and
with all your academic / scientific contacts, who knows, you might
even get stuff earlier than the market.

Best wishes,

Lisa Coulter

Jms at B5

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May 26, 2002, 9:52:13 PM5/26/02
to
>Is this a cliff hanging S1 finale? Is there (do you want there to be)
>a S2 planned?
>

Yeah, it's our s1 finale, as for a second season, that's in the hands of the TV
gods.

>I'd guess typing is really tough. Have you tried any of the voice
>recognition stuff out there? It's said to be getting pretty good, and
>with all your academic / scientific contacts, who knows, you might
>even get stuff earlier than the market

Problem is, I think through my fingers, I can't dictate for squat.

Kathryn Huxtable

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May 26, 2002, 11:26:55 PM5/26/02
to
jms...@aol.com (Jms at B5) writes in re voice recognition software:

> Problem is, I think through my fingers, I can't dictate for squat.

And besides, I've heard your voice. Although it's quite different from
mine I think you do the same things that make my voice hard to
recognize. They call it mumbling. I don't mumble, not really, but to a
speech program it's much the same effect. I have ViaVoice and it only
works so-so. In practice, I don't use it.

Bona fortuna.

-K

John R. Campbell

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May 27, 2002, 11:00:19 AM5/27/02
to
On 27 May 2002 01:52:13 GMT, Jms at B5 <jms...@aol.com> wrote:
>Problem is, I think through my fingers, I can't dictate for squat.

Understandable.

Working with computers for so long, I can't use a baseline
typewriter any more; I'm dependant upon the embedded
intelligence in the editor program to make up for the lack
at my end.

Computer-based editors (and word processors) provide for
expression through one's hands since, once you've used a
particular tool for long enough, all of the necessary
condition reflexes are imprinted into the nervous system.

I regularly use an editor called "vi" on various unix systems
(as opposed to "emacs") so I'm not able to become comfortable
with a different editor simply because my nervous system-
below the level of conscious attention- knows how to perform
various tasks I want it to do. That's something that will
take a long time to provide with dictation software since
many of the actions we need to take require an ability to
jump around.

Finally, the biggest difference between speech and WRITING
is that Speaking/Dictating is basically a presentation task
and not a "creative act". Have you noticed that almost all
creative tasks require the use of our hands? (Get your minds
out of the gutter, I'm talking "creative", not "procreative".)

Just as a potter/sculptor shapes a physical object through
the loving and passionate touch of their hands, so also does
an author sculpt memes and emotions into a symphony.

It's up to the actors to present these words in speech- and
in the silences.

I wish *I* had some talent for writing stories- but at least
I can write code to tell a machine what to do.

--
John R. Campbell Speaker to Machines so...@jtan.com
- As a SysAdmin, yes, I CAN read your e-mail, but I DON'T get that bored!
Disclaimer: All opinions expressed above are those of John R. Campbell
alone and are seriously unlikely to reflect the opinions of
his employer(s) or lackeys thereof. Anyone who says
differently is itching for a fight!

RobWired

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May 27, 2002, 12:22:06 PM5/27/02
to
>Problem is, I think through my fingers, I can't dictate for squat.
>
> jms

Well, you DO think through your fingers! Even when typing an off-the-cuff
phrase such as ''I think through my fingers.'' I like that; it's probably the
journalist and musician in me. Which is another way of saying: You never know
what will trigger somebody's post.

Robert Folsom

Dan Dassow

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May 27, 2002, 1:10:17 PM5/27/02
to
jms...@aol.com (Jms at B5) wrote in message news:<20020526215213...@mb-fd.aol.com>...

> >Is this a cliff hanging S1 finale? Is there (do you want there to be)
> >a S2 planned?
> >
>
> Yeah, it's our s1 finale, as for a second season, that's in the hands of the TV
> gods.
>
> >I'd guess typing is really tough. Have you tried any of the voice
> >recognition stuff out there? It's said to be getting pretty good, and
> >with all your academic / scientific contacts, who knows, you might
> >even get stuff earlier than the market
>
> Problem is, I think through my fingers, I can't dictate for squat.
>
> jms
>

Joe,
We all hope that the surgery on your finger is a complete success
with no loss of function. Otherwise, we will simply have to
consider neural implants due to computer voice recognition's
inability to accurately transcribe your speech. :-)

A more practical solution may be to hire a highly skilled court
reporter, someone that could accurately transcribe your speech.

Dan Dassow

Andrew Swallow

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May 27, 2002, 4:55:45 PM5/27/02
to
In article <20020526215213...@mb-fd.aol.com>, jms...@aol.com (Jms
at B5) writes:

>
>>I'd guess typing is really tough. Have you tried any of the voice
>>recognition stuff out there? It's said to be getting pretty good, and
>>with all your academic / scientific contacts, who knows, you might
>>even get stuff earlier than the market
>
>Problem is, I think through my fingers, I can't dictate for squat.
>

There were experiments with small computers that only needed
one hand to type. Does anyone know if they are still on sale.

Andrew Swallow

John R. Campbell

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May 27, 2002, 7:03:40 PM5/27/02
to

I think it was back in 1976 or so that a magazine named
"Interface Age", in an attempt to work around the expensive
keyboards at the time (> $100 in the 1970s was pretty damn
stiff for a parallel interface device) came up with the a
"ball" (actually half a ball) which used a 4 buttons for the
normal fingers (mapping to the lower 4 bits of ASCII) and 8
extra button for the thumb arranged in pairs so that you
could strobe in a 7bit quantity from this device.

Of course, you were keying in chords and your thumb did most
of the moving. It was reputedly much faster for someone
trained on the device to send in the necessary characters
(again, a matter of imprinting the appropriate conditioned
reflexes- does the name Pavlov ring a bell?) but this didn't
go very far since the learning curve for a non-techie (i.e.
someone who couldn't spell ASCII) was so steep.

I have no idea what kind of repetitive stress injuries would
have arisen should this device have become common.

Karl Cheng

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May 28, 2002, 12:03:35 AM5/28/02
to

"Jan" <jbon...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:20020523072511...@mb-mq.aol.com...

> JMS,
>
> As much as I'm enjoying Jeremiah, I find myself too conscious of the fact
that
> each episode is 'only' 45 minutes long.
>
> In an ideal 'JMS sets the standards' world, what do you think would be the
> optimum length for a television episode? What about the number of
episodes to
> constitute a season?
>
Since I don't have Showtime, I haven't watched the show. However, I assume
that if each episode is only 45 mins, then it might be that there are plans
to syndicate the show on network or cable channels. I think in the past,
Stargate SG-1 and the Outer Limits were first shown on Showtime, and then
rebroadcast on network the following year.

Regards,
Karl

Nielsen

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May 28, 2002, 6:49:09 AM5/28/02
to

"Andrew Swallow" <andrewm...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:20020527165545...@mb-da.aol.com...
I find that I can type at 3/4 my normal speed just using one hand on a
normal keyboard, If I practiced hard I could probably match it. But then
again If I actually practiced i would increase my normal typing speed too :)
The hardest part is getting multi key functions to work propperly. Once you
have that down you are sweet.

Jason
(Typed this using my right hand, but I find my left tends to be more
accurate (and useful since I can use the mouse with my right)).

This is using my left hand. Its faster and i can keep my right hand free for
important work (like drinking).


Adam Canning

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May 28, 2002, 10:09:46 AM5/28/02
to
In article <slrnaf5eq...@heather.uucp.jtan.com>,
so...@penrij.uucp.jtan.com says...

> On 27 May 2002 20:55:45 GMT, Andrew Swallow <andrewm...@aol.com> wrote:
> >In article <20020526215213...@mb-fd.aol.com>,
> > jms...@aol.com (Jms at B5) writes:
> >>
> >>Problem is, I think through my fingers, I can't dictate for squat.
> >
> >There were experiments with small computers that only needed
> >one hand to type. Does anyone know if they are still on sale.
>
> I think it was back in 1976 or so that a magazine named
> "Interface Age", in an attempt to work around the expensive
> keyboards at the time (> $100 in the 1970s was pretty damn
> stiff for a parallel interface device) came up with the a
> "ball" (actually half a ball) which used a 4 buttons for the
> normal fingers (mapping to the lower 4 bits of ASCII) and 8
> extra button for the thumb arranged in pairs so that you
> could strobe in a 7bit quantity from this device.

Sounds like a primitive version of the chordal keyboard. The Royal Mail
uses them because since they have to train postmen to type anyway they
might as well do it on the faster system. RSI problems are supposedly
less as well due to the lower need for hand movements.

--
Adam

Once you have pulled the pin, Mr Nova Bomb is no longer your friend.

John W. Kennedy

unread,
May 28, 2002, 11:25:22 AM5/28/02
to
Jms at B5 wrote:
>
> >Is this a cliff hanging S1 finale? Is there (do you want there to be)
> >a S2 planned?
> >
>
> Yeah, it's our s1 finale, as for a second season, that's in the hands of the TV
> gods.
>
> >I'd guess typing is really tough. Have you tried any of the voice
> >recognition stuff out there? It's said to be getting pretty good, and
> >with all your academic / scientific contacts, who knows, you might
> >even get stuff earlier than the market
>
> Problem is, I think through my fingers, I can't dictate for squat.

Just out of curiosity, have you really made an intense effort? Actually
spending an hour a day (yeah, I know, I know....) dictating, for a month
or so, to see if the magic will move?

I normally wouldn't ask that, but if I, a 53-year-old, sedentary,
overweight, terminally clumsy amateur actor can suddenly be studying
broadsword, heck, anything can happen.

--
John W. Kennedy
Read the remains of Shakespeare's lost play, now annotated!
http://pws.prserv.net/jwkennedy/Double%20Falshood.html


Laura Appelbaum

unread,
May 28, 2002, 7:49:43 PM5/28/02
to

"Jms at B5" <jms...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:20020524023526...@mb-ct.aol.com...

> As for the healing...not great. The finger didn't heal right after the
> dislocation, and it looks like the emergency room doctor who put it on
(who
> said she hadn't done this sort of thing before) kinda put it on
sideways...so
> it locks and hurts and when I went for a follow-up in LA, the doctor took
one
> look at the thing and said, "Surgery." Looks like a combination of a
ruptured
> tendon and some bone bits that got into the joint and have been sawing
back and
> forth all this time.
>
> So now I've got to go in and have the damned thing operated on, and
there's a
> better than even chance that because of the surgery I may lose some
function in
> the finger.
>
Take it from someone else who lives through her fingers and wasted two years
on non-surgical solutions to the compression in my ulnar nerve -- go for the
surgery and go to whatever is the regional hospital that specializes in hand
surgery, no matter what the cost. My first surgery, at my right wrist, was
done by a doctor recommended by a physiatrist at a local rehab hospital and
didn't help at all, probably because the problem was in fact in my elbow and
not the wrist! After a frustrating year of rehab from that surgery and then
the realization that it hadn't resolved anything, I treked an hour out of my
way to the Curtis Hand Center in Baltimore, which, it turns out, is where
all hospitals, etc in the Mid-Atlantic send their "complicated hand surgery"
patients -- everything from people with carpel tunnel or ulnar nerve
neuropathy (which is what I had) to folks who's entire hand has been severed
in an accident and needs to be reattached (my surgeon was featured in an
article in the Washington Post for doing just that -- and believe it or not,
he was in my medical plan of preferred providers.) After the surgery there,
for five months I made the trip, two hours total, three times a week to
their affiliated rehab center and at last, three years after the problem
first arose, am relatively pain-free! (Of course, now I've given myself
tendinitis in the same elbow, just proving that the Universe hates me). My
only regret now is that I didn't go straight to Baltimore in the first
place. I'm sure the LA region has a similar center -- find out what it is
and go there!

LMA

Paul McElligott

unread,
May 29, 2002, 1:12:05 PM5/29/02
to
so...@penrij.uucp.jtan.com (John R. Campbell) wrote in message news:<slrnaf4ig...@heather.uucp.jtan.com>...

>
> Finally, the biggest difference between speech and WRITING
> is that Speaking/Dictating is basically a presentation task
> and not a "creative act". Have you noticed that almost all
> creative tasks require the use of our hands?
>
Makes sense.

Humans have been using tools and their hands longer than they've been
using language.

I've looked into voice recognition programs and come to the conclusion
that, for someone with reasonably good typing skills, they would
really be a hinderance, not a help.

I can just do things so much faster with my hands than my voice.

John R. Campbell

unread,
May 29, 2002, 8:06:25 PM5/29/02
to

I once suggested that the "dataglove" was a much cheaper input
device than a microphone and sound card (and all the processing
that implies) when just being able to accept sign language into
the system would allow silent input to the system.

I had a little fun with this suggesting special gestures for
deleting SPAM and files, re-initializing the interface, etc.

I would suspect that there'd be a fair amount of compression
available because a gestures can evolve over time and an ability
to insert in-band commands to the interpreting system can extend
the reach of such a system.

And, in an office full of cubicles and phones (and lacking the
necessary white-noise generators) silent data input is not such
a terrible idea...

Matthew Vincent

unread,
May 31, 2002, 4:59:40 AM5/31/02
to
jms...@aol.com (Jms at B5) wrote:

>Problem is, I think through my fingers, I can't dictate for squat.

You'd get used to it. It'd be much better if you didn't have to,
though. Hope that things go okay for the surgery. I'd offer to send
you healing energy, except that you're an atheist, so instead I'll
just say that my thoughts are with you (which is largely the same
thing, anyway, IMO).

Matthew

Aaron Malchow

unread,
May 30, 2002, 9:33:24 PM5/30/02
to
Paul McElligott wrote:
"I've looked into voice recognition programs and come to the conclusion
that, for someone with reasonably good typing skills, they would
really be a hinderance, not a help.

"I can just do things so much faster with my hands than my voice."


It should be noted that there are also notable differences between speech and
writing.

Even fluent speakers are known to make remarks that translate quite poorly in
written form, as unpolished transcripts will often show. Speech also relies
upon phrases (called deictic expressions) like "this one" and "over there,"
which refer to some item in the speaker's immediate physical surroundings.

Speech minimizes the possibility of preplanning complex syntactical structures,
often requiring filler phrases like "you know" and "you see" to buy the speaker
time to compose his/her thoughts. Perhaps most importantly, spoken statements
do not always break down into the same sort of sentence patterns as used in
writing. These last two points are the source for most errors made by
inexperienced writers, who often instinctively rely upon their speaking skills
in writing, usually leading to awkwardly worded sentences and poorly structured
narratives.

Take care,
Aaron Malchow

John W. Kennedy

unread,
May 31, 2002, 2:06:08 PM5/31/02
to
Aaron Malchow wrote:
> Paul McElligott wrote:
> "I've looked into voice recognition programs and come to the conclusion
> that, for someone with reasonably good typing skills, they would
> really be a hinderance, not a help.
>
> "I can just do things so much faster with my hands than my voice."
>
> It should be noted that there are also notable differences between speech and
> writing.

While this is true, let us remember that JMS is primarily a dramatist.

Aaron Malchow

unread,
Jun 1, 2002, 12:02:29 AM6/1/02
to
I wrote:
"It should be noted that there are also notable differences between speech and
writing."

John W. Kennedy responded:


"While this is true, let us remember that JMS is primarily a dramatist."


True, although I'm not quite sure how being a dramatist might mitigate those
differences.

Aaron Malchow

Jeff Teunissen

unread,
Jun 2, 2002, 2:51:16 AM6/2/02
to

I think perhaps someone who's writing a dramatic presentation ought to,
you know, put some of the types of, umm, speech quirks into the dialogue.
Less than that used in Real Life(tm), but enough to give the impression
that the characters are saying the things they're saying, not just
reciting them.

--
| Jeff Teunissen -=- Pres., Dusk To Dawn Computing -=- deek @ d2dc.net
| GPG: 1024D/9840105A 7102 808A 7733 C2F3 097B 161B 9222 DAB8 9840 105A
| Core developer, The QuakeForge Project http://www.quakeforge.net/
| Specializing in Debian GNU/Linux http://www.d2dc.net/~deek/

John W. Kennedy

unread,
Jun 2, 2002, 9:11:34 AM6/2/02
to
Jeff Teunissen wrote:
>
> Aaron Malchow wrote:
> >
> > I wrote:
> > "It should be noted that there are also notable differences between
> > speech and writing."
> >
> > John W. Kennedy responded:
> > "While this is true, let us remember that JMS is primarily a dramatist."
> >
> > True, although I'm not quite sure how being a dramatist might mitigate
> > those differences.
>
> I think perhaps someone who's writing a dramatic presentation ought to,
> you know, put some of the types of, umm, speech quirks into the dialogue.
> Less than that used in Real Life(tm), but enough to give the impression
> that the characters are saying the things they're saying, not just
> reciting them.

C. S. Lewis remarks, in the essay, "Variation in Shakespeare and
Others", that one of the reasons for Shakespeare's greatness is that he
is able to write verse that sounds as though the character is making it
up as he goes along.

Aaron Malchow

unread,
Jun 5, 2002, 4:47:21 AM6/5/02
to
[ The following text is in the "utf-8" character set. ]
[ Your display is set for the "ISO-8859-1" character set. ]
[ Some characters may be displayed incorrectly. ]

Agh, I sent this post two days ago, but it never made it online. Here it goes
again鈄捆

Jeff Teunissen wrote:
"I think perhaps someone who's writing a dramatic presentation ought to,
you know, put some of the types of, umm, speech quirks into the dialogue. Less
than that used in Real Life(tm), but enough to give the impression that the
characters are saying the things they're saying, not just reciting them."

And John W. Kennedy responded:


"C. S. Lewis remarks, in the essay, 'Variation in Shakespeare and
Others', that one of the reasons for Shakespeare's greatness is that he
is able to write verse that sounds as though the character is making it
up as he goes along."


Thanks for the clarification, guys. Good points. For my part, I wasn't talking
so much about the ability to mimic (or create the illusion of) speech patterns
in writing, as much as that the differences that exist make it unlikely that
one might compose a more sophisticated written work by dictating it instead of
typing it or writing it down.

Mimicking speech patterns in writing is based on observation, skill, and
training, and also on the fact that oral syntax is generally less varied than
written syntax. For instance, in writing, people generally use more
subordinating phrases and causes than they do in speaking. And some linguistic
studies show that people use prepositional phrases nine times as often in
writing than do in speaking. Instead, speakers tend to use coordinating
conjunctions most often to join thoughts and ideas. As such, speakers rarely
make use of all the syntactic skills that they actually use in writing.

Assuming it is even possible, I'm not entirely sure what it would cognitively
require for a speaker to successfully tap into their knowledge of written
syntax rules and use them fluently to compose a literate written piece of work
via dictation. At the very least, a speaker would have to consciously be aware
of all the syntactical patterns he uses in writing, knowing those that he fails
to use normally in speaking, and then compensate one sentence at a time,
attempting to make each sentence more grammatically complex than they would be
otherwise. That strikes me as being a very tiring effort, and that's only at
the sentence level. Constructing dictated paragraphs would require additional
levels of complexity, as would constructing a dictated series of paragraphs,
and so on. The larger, and more complex, the piece of writing, the greater
mental effort would be required to dictate it as well as one could by
instinctively writing it. (Assuming that person is a skilled writer.) I suppose
a decent analogy would be the ability to do simple mathematical equations in
one's head, but needing to write out a series of complex equations on paper to
derive an answer.

Aaron Malchow

Aaron Malchow

unread,
Jun 2, 2002, 9:15:06 PM6/2/02
to
Jeff Teunissen wrote:
"I think perhaps someone who's writing a dramatic presentation ought to,
you know, put some of the types of, umm, speech quirks into the dialogue. Less
than that used in Real Life(tm), but enough to give the impression that the
characters are saying the things they're saying, not just reciting them."

And John W. Kennedy responded:


"C. S. Lewis remarks, in the essay, 'Variation in Shakespeare and
Others', that one of the reasons for Shakespeare's greatness is that he
is able to write verse that sounds as though the character is making it
up as he goes along."

Thanks for the clarification, guys. Good points. For my part, I wasn't talking

Take care,
Aaron Malchow

John W. Kennedy

unread,
Jun 7, 2002, 12:06:45 AM6/7/02
to
Aaron Malchow wrote:
> Mimicking speech patterns in writing is based on observation, skill, and
> training, and also on the fact that oral syntax is generally less varied than
> written syntax. For instance, in writing, people generally use more
> subordinating phrases and causes than they do in speaking. And some linguistic
> studies show that people use prepositional phrases nine times as often in
> writing than do in speaking. Instead, speakers tend to use coordinating
> conjunctions most often to join thoughts and ideas. As such, speakers rarely
> make use of all the syntactic skills that they actually use in writing.

But that is only normal in, for example, written Hebrew.



> Assuming it is even possible, I'm not entirely sure what it would cognitively
> require for a speaker to successfully tap into their knowledge of written
> syntax rules and use them fluently to compose a literate written piece of work
> via dictation. At the very least, a speaker would have to consciously be aware
> of all the syntactical patterns he uses in writing, knowing those that he fails
> to use normally in speaking, and then compensate one sentence at a time,
> attempting to make each sentence more grammatically complex than they would be
> otherwise. That strikes me as being a very tiring effort, and that's only at
> the sentence level. Constructing dictated paragraphs would require additional
> levels of complexity, as would constructing a dictated series of paragraphs,
> and so on. The larger, and more complex, the piece of writing, the greater
> mental effort would be required to dictate it as well as one could by
> instinctively writing it. (Assuming that person is a skilled writer.) I suppose
> a decent analogy would be the ability to do simple mathematical equations in
> one's head, but needing to write out a series of complex equations on paper to
> derive an answer.

But people demonstrably _do_ dictate.

Raven Woman

unread,
Jun 8, 2002, 10:42:12 PM6/8/02
to
>
> But people demonstrably _do_ dictate.
>
> --
> John W. Kennedy

Indeed. Thomas Aquinas was reported to be able to keep four scribes busy at
once--working on four different tasks.

Accounts of ancient and medieval writers show them "composing" in their
heads, then dictating from memory what they had composed, or noting down
what they had composed on wax tablets--but the creative work was done with
no medium present.

I wonder if mental composition is more analogous to speech or writing?
*Memory* is supposed to rely on "visual" more than "oral" cues.......

fun discussion, anyway, guys...

Jenn


Aaron Malchow

unread,
Jun 10, 2002, 2:47:21 AM6/10/02
to
[ The following text is in the "utf-8" character set. ]
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[ Some characters may be displayed incorrectly. ]

I wrote (and it was so fascinating that it was posted twice鈄捆):


"Mimicking speech patterns in writing is based on observation, skill, and
training, and also on the fact that oral syntax is generally less varied than
written syntax. For instance, in writing, people generally use more
subordinating phrases and causes than they do in speaking. And some linguistic
studies show that people use prepositional phrases nine times as often in
writing than do in speaking. Instead, speakers tend to use coordinating
conjunctions most often to join thoughts and ideas. As such, speakers rarely
make use of all the syntactic skills that they actually use in writing."


John W. Kennedy kindly responded:


"But that is only normal in, for example, written Hebrew."


The specific linguistic studies I referred to regarding subordinating phrases
and causes, prepositional phrases, coordinating conjunctions were conducted to
examine English speaking and writing patterns. One of the more through studies
on this was conducted by linguist Wallace L. Chafe (while at UC Berkeley) as
part of a larger project on existing distinctions between spoken and written
language funded by the National Institute of Education.

There is a also great deal of literature on exploring such differences between
speech and writing for most languages, not just English, as they help address
linguistic and anthropological issues regarding important distinctions between
oral and literate cultures. Linguist David Crystal notes that it is not unusual
to find such differences emerging when spoken languages gain written
counterparts, such as has been observed with Basque (a language used in France
and Spain) and Tok Pisin (a pidgin used in Papua New Guinea by approximately
50,000 people as a first language).


John W. Kennedy wrote:
"But people demonstrably _do_ dictate."

True, but I just reasonably doubt whether an individual can dictate a detailed,
complex work (say a screenplay) as well as he/she could by writing it. I
suspect it would require a great deal of revision to have it be as polished. It
would most likely suffer from what some rhetoricians and linguists refer to as
"speech-based composing errors." (Which are also commonly found in e-mail and
message board postings, as an interesting side note.) Which is not to say there
aren't obvious similarities between speech and writing, or that a person can't
dictate a coherent, understandable, short piece of work.


Raven Woman wrote:
"Indeed. Thomas Aquinas was reported to be able to keep four scribes busy at
once--working on four different tasks."

I must admit it's a nifty anecdote, but I tend to doubt the accuracy of the
claims made by Thomas Aquinas' pupils and scribes that he did such with ease
(if at all), since they also claimed he could dictate in his sleep! (And people
worry about padding resumes now...) Both strike me as extraordinary claims that
require better-documented evidence than seemingly exists.


Raven Woman wrote:
"Accounts of ancient and medieval writers show them 'composing' in their heads,
then dictating from memory what they had composed, or noting down what they had
composed on wax tablets--but the creative work was done with no medium
present."


Some such ancient texts exhibit signs of speech-based composing errors or of
speech-based mnemonic strategies. Even in faithful English translations, texts
like the Bible or the Iliad still contain such features. In general, textual
errors in ancient and medieval works are not unusual, and palaeographers
studying ancient papyrus, parchment or paper have to take such problems into
account. I know far less than I probably should about whether epigraphers
studying ancient writings made into hard materials come across the same errors,
but I would suspect that they do.


Raven Woman wrote:
"I wonder if mental composition is more analogous to speech or writing?
*Memory* is supposed to rely on "visual" more than "oral" cues..."

Good question. It's up there with Lorein on B5 wondering whether language came
before thought or thought came before language.

Take care,
Aaron Malchow

Raven Woman

unread,
Jun 10, 2002, 7:33:28 PM6/10/02
to
> "Indeed. Thomas Aquinas was reported to be able to keep four scribes busy
at
> once--working on four different tasks."
>
> I must admit it's a nifty anecdote, but I tend to doubt the accuracy of
the
> claims made by Thomas Aquinas' pupils and scribes that he did such with
ease
> (if at all), since they also claimed he could dictate in his sleep! (And
people
> worry about padding resumes now...) Both strike me as extraordinary claims
that
> require better-documented evidence than seemingly exists.
>

Yeah...I heard that one, too. The idea is that you are delving into your
memory ("commonplaces") and compiling, and if your memory is good enough,
you can even keep on while in extreme states of exhaustion ("sleep").
Dubious but interesting. The four scribes I can believe, especially if you
have "composed" it all already.

>
> Raven Woman wrote:
> "Accounts of ancient and medieval writers show them 'composing' in their
heads,
> then dictating from memory what they had composed, or noting down what
they had
> composed on wax tablets--but the creative work was done with no medium
> present."
>
>
> Some such ancient texts exhibit signs of speech-based composing errors or
of
> speech-based mnemonic strategies. Even in faithful English translations,
texts
> like the Bible or the Iliad still contain such features. In general,
textual
> errors in ancient and medieval works are not unusual, and palaeographers
> studying ancient papyrus, parchment or paper have to take such problems
into
> account. I know far less than I probably should about whether epigraphers
> studying ancient writings made into hard materials come across the same
errors,
> but I would suspect that they do.
>

Yeah...
You'd have to distinguish between transmission errors (made by scribes
copying from other mss--things like missing lines, mis-identified letters,
switched letters, repeated lines, etc) and errors made by scribes taking
dictation. You'd also have to distinguish between "compositional" dictation
and dictation by a lector reading from the ms. to be copied.
Too many unknowns, in most cases, to get a good experiment going.

Actually, you might do something w/ Thomas, b/c there are several mss. in
his own hand, writing in a "littera inintelligibilis" (damn hard to read!)
shorthand. If you like paleography, the studies of Tho's writing, his work
w/ his secretaries, etc, have been done by Antoine Dondaine. Apparently,
Thomas wrote his earlier works out in shorthand, then dictated from his
drafts, but tended to compose his later work mentally and then dictate to
scribes without the intermediate written draft. (_Les secretaires de St.
Thomas_ is Dondaine's work, and his discussion is summed up in Mary
Carruther's _The Book of Memory_, a nifty discussion of the functions and
depictions of memory in late antiquity & the middle ages.)

Or you could collect a pool of modern day recruits and run dictation
experiments.....

>
> Raven Woman wrote:
> "I wonder if mental composition is more analogous to speech or writing?
> *Memory* is supposed to rely on "visual" more than "oral" cues..."
>
> Good question. It's up there with Lorein on B5 wondering whether language
came
> before thought or thought came before language.
>

Well...
Language is temporal. Is thought....? Does God think? Angels have no
memory, says Dante, b/c they have continuous, present understanding. Do you
have to think if you're present at every point of time at once?

YIKES
brain-meltdown ensues

Aaron, you're dangerous.
Jenn

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