i guess it's really dead

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David Weinshenker

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Apr 16, 2014, 12:33:26 AM4/16/14
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not one post since november last
year... i guess it had to happen
sometime but it's hard to let it
go without one last forlorn ping

"and because i love you, i'll give it one more try"
(pete seeger, "my rainbow race")

-dw

Ulrich Schwarz

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Apr 18, 2014, 3:38:12 AM4/18/14
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On 04/16/2014 06:33 AM, David Weinshenker wrote:
> not one post since november last
> year... i guess it had to happen
> sometime but it's hard to let it
> go without one last forlorn ping

What this place needs is a new Harry Potter novel, or something
spectacular in terms of recipes. (Alas, our best new offering is mango,
pineapple and cucumber salad.)

"So who's coming to BiCon this year?"

b11

David Weinshenker

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Apr 19, 2014, 11:18:22 AM4/19/14
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Ulrich Schwarz wrote:
> What this place needs is a new Harry Potter novel, or something
> spectacular in terms of recipes. (Alas, our best new offering is mango,
> pineapple and cucumber salad.)
>
> "So who's coming to BiCon this year?"

Is that still happening these days?

-dave w

Ulrich Schwarz

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Apr 21, 2014, 4:23:44 AM4/21/14
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On 04/19/2014 05:18 PM, David Weinshenker wrote:
> Ulrich Schwarz wrote:

>> "So who's coming to BiCon this year?"
>
> Is that still happening these days?

Let's say they have a date (July 31 -- August 3), a venue (Leeds), and
are taking people's money. It looked a bit worrying two years back when
the point of the agenda that usually is "confirm team by acclamation"
was "ummmm anybody wanna step up and do this", but it seems to be happening.

U.

Peter Flynn

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Apr 22, 2014, 4:32:36 PM4/22/14
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Mailing lists as well as Usenet newsgroups are dropping like flies as
their kernels of knowledge and support get spread ever more thinly among
web sites and other media. It would have been nice to be able to say
"support isn't needed any more" but alas that's not yet true; and it's
now no longer possible to point newcomers at any One True Source Of
Information.

I went to a BiCon in the UK once, years ago. The sessions were
interesting, but none of the con staff, from doorkeepers to panel
chairs, seemed to have done any "be nice to the delegates" training, and
none of them appeared to see the irony in they themselves telling people
selectively and forcibly not to discriminate or be offensive. Rather
offputting; I hope they have fixed this.

///Peter

Peter Flynn

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Apr 23, 2014, 10:48:51 AM4/23/14
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On 04/16/2014 05:33 AM, David Weinshenker wrote:
> not one post since november last
> year... i guess it had to happen
> sometime but it's hard to let it
> go without one last forlorn ping

Copied and edited from another forum (with permission):

> Scene: a large dark deserted space, could be a cave or maybe an
> airplane hangar - hard to tell in the gloom. Voices and steps
> resound.
>
> DP: A grandfather, late 60's - early 70's, and grandchild, 12-ish.
>
> ***
>
> GC: Gee, Grandpa, this place is really spooky. I don't really like
> it here.
>
> GF: I know, Timmy, I know. It's spooky all right but not dangerous,
> and I thought it would be important for you to see it before it gets
> torn down. It's really a piece of history.
>
> GC: History of what?
>
> GF: Well, it belongs to the history of bisexuality. And maybe to the
> history of computers and what they call "social networking" now.
>
> GC: ... you mean like Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and ...
>
> GF: Exactly - all those things.
>
> GC: What's the name of the place?
>
> GF: It's called soc.bi, Timmy. (Chuckles) We were never sure how to
> pronounce it - some folks said sock-bye, some folks said soash-bye.
> Funny that I think of it now and realize that you really never had to
> know how to say it.
>
> GC: What did they do in this soc.bi place?
>
> GF: It was like a place where people who were bisexual exchanged
> ideas. Somebody would introduce a topic and other folks would say
> things about it. All text, no character limits, but no pictures or
> attachments or anything like that. If you had something to say, you
> sent a message to a server, and then the program in charge of the
> computer in charge of that place would send your message to all the
> other computers so it went to everybody else. Once you sent it,
> everybody else could see it.
>
> GC: Wow! No privacy allowed? Yikes!
>
> GF: No privacy, Timmy. Even if you made a mistake and thought you
> were sending a message just to one person, once the computer saw the
> group address, everybody got a copy. The system just did what it had
> been programmed to do. Why, I remember once ...
>
> GC: (interrupting excitedly) I guess my eyes are getting used to the
> dark - I thought I saw some pictures on the far wall there.
>
> GF: Sorry, son - just a trick of the light. Nobody on soc.bi ever had
> any idea what anyone else looked like. You know that great cartoon of
> years back - "On the Internet nobody knows you're a dog!"?
>
> GC: No ... (unsurely) What would a dog be doing on the Internet?
>
> GF: Uh ... probably nothing. It was just a cartoon. The idea was that
> you could be anybody and - at least back then - nobody else cared. If
> there were a hundred other people posting on soc.bi, I knew what
> maybe five of them looked like. And I didn't know the birthdays or
> favorite colors or favorite donuts of any of them, and I didn't
> care.
>
> GC: So all you did was send messages around and other people would
> send messages to comment on each other's messages?
>
> GF: Yeah, you got it.
>
> GC: Sorry, Grandad - that sounds like really boring. I mean, you had
> to read stuff, no videos, no sound bytes ... no wonder this place is
> empty.
>
> GF: The funny thing is that it lasted as long as it did. A lot of
> people liked the fact that they could be dogs.
>
> GC: There are loads of dogs and cats - especially cats - on the
> internet now. Did soc.bi have cats? Kittens in toilet bowls are my
> favorites ...
>
> GF: (perceiving that metaphor isn't working too well) Not that I
> know of. I think it was mostly about people, from all over the
> world, just a couple of mouse clicks away from talking to other
> people. No identity theft, no data trawling, no pop-up ads. We could
> carry on the weirdest discussions and have the nastiest arguments and
> nobody else cared. The people who knew how it all worked set up a few
> rules, everybody mostly followed them, and that was it. Say something
> brilliant, say something stupid, then sit back and watch the
> fireworks.
>
> GC: Do you miss it, Grandpa? I mean ... sounds like fun, like if
> you're old and stuff.
>
> GF: I guess I do miss it, Timmy. It would be fun if we could get
> some life back in this old building, but I don't know. Might be too
> much going on in the real world now ... all kinds of websites
> talking about the same things we soc.bi people talked about. They
> probably reach a lot more people than we ever did, provide a lot more
> tools to work with. Heck, some of them have their own apps!
>
> GC: (after a pause) I can tell it wouldn't be the same for you.
>
> GF: You're probably right, as usual. (turning to leave) Well, that's
> it. Like I said, I wanted you to see it before it disappeared
> forever.
>
> GC: Thanks, Grandad. (takes one last look over shoulder) Doesn't
> seem as scary in here now, only kind of sad.

[Thanks to Bill Black]

David Weinshenker

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May 4, 2014, 10:09:01 AM5/4/14
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Peter Flynn wrote:
> Copied and edited from another forum (with permission):

>> GC: So all you did was send messages around and other people would
>> send messages to comment on each other's messages?
>>
>> GF: Yeah, you got it.
>>
>> GC: Sorry, Grandad - that sounds like really boring. I mean, you had
>> to read stuff, no videos, no sound bytes ... no wonder this place is
>> empty.


This sums up my frustration with the general trend of the net lately -
moe and more it's all "videos and sound bites" - so many times I see
a link that looks like it might be an interesting article, and it turns
out to be a video of a talking head with all the verbal content in the
audio, and no transcript provided... so I would a) have to equip my PC
with speakers (in an open-cube office environment where the noise would
be unwelcome), and b) sit there continuously focused on the playback to
not miss anything for however many minutes and seconds it would take for
the thing to run through, in order to encounter a text that I could have
read in a tenth the time.

Are people so illiterate any more that "having to read stuff" is a burden,
compared to having it droned out vocally in "Multi-Media Content"?

The internet is getting to be like TV anymore - the assumption is that one
needs this externally-provided "cultural content stream" to have anything
to talk about - "share a link", "post a photo", etc, - but actually saying
something oneself is is a mere "status update" and doesn't count as "content"
in the same way.

-dave w

Peter Flynn

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May 4, 2014, 5:53:57 PM5/4/14
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On 05/04/2014 03:09 PM, David Weinshenker wrote:
[...]
> Are people so illiterate any more that "having to read stuff" is a
> burden, compared to having it droned out vocally in "Multi-Media
> Content"?

Yes.

> The internet is getting to be like TV anymore - the assumption is
> that one needs this externally-provided "cultural content stream" to
> have anything to talk about - "share a link", "post a photo", etc, -
> but actually saying something oneself is is a mere "status update"
> and doesn't count as "content" in the same way.

"Content-free" is the accepted term :-)

///Peter

Ulrich Schwarz

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May 5, 2014, 11:52:57 AM5/5/14
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On 05/04/2014 11:53 PM, Peter Flynn wrote:
> On 05/04/2014 03:09 PM, David Weinshenker wrote:
[...]
>> The internet is getting to be like TV anymore - the assumption is
>> that one needs this externally-provided "cultural content stream" to
>> have anything to talk about - "share a link", "post a photo", etc, -
>> but actually saying something oneself is is a mere "status update"
>> and doesn't count as "content" in the same way.
>
> "Content-free" is the accepted term :-)

Well, this place in particular had a tendency to occasionally be very
HFCS�, so we shouldn't throw muffins from the inside of this hothouse.

U.

� High Fluff Contentfree Sillyness, what did you thing?

David Weinshenker

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May 23, 2014, 2:20:00 PM5/23/14
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Peter Flynn wrote:
> On 05/04/2014 03:09 PM, David Weinshenker wrote:
> [...]
>> Are people so illiterate any more that "having to read stuff" is a
>> burden, compared to having it droned out vocally in "Multi-Media
>> Content"?
>
> Yes.

On further reflection, I'd say it goes farther than that - humans,
formerly the "word-using species", are becoming a race of monkeys-
with-camera-phones, as our verbal skills degenerate to the extent
that we can only point at images and say "look look" to each other.

It's not just "having to read stuff", but "having to say stuff",
that seems to be burdensome any more.

-dave w

Peter Flynn

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May 23, 2014, 3:53:57 PM5/23/14
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On 05/23/2014 07:20 PM, David Weinshenker wrote:
> Peter Flynn wrote:
>> On 05/04/2014 03:09 PM, David Weinshenker wrote:
>> [...]
>>> Are people so illiterate any more that "having to read stuff" is
>>> a burden, compared to having it droned out vocally in
>>> "Multi-Media Content"?
>>
>> Yes.
>
> On further reflection, I'd say it goes farther than that - humans,
> formerly the "word-using species", are becoming a race of monkeys-
> with-camera-phones, as our verbal skills degenerate to the extent
> that we can only point at images and say "look look" to each other.

More likely, "Ook, ook" :-)

> It's not just "having to read stuff", but "having to say stuff", that
> seems to be burdensome any more.

From the thread "New To (La)TeX... Unlearning Bad Habits" on 11 Mar 2003:

>> [...] Many people have become Word Processing Junkies and no longer
>> �write� documents, they �draw� them, almost at the same level as a
>> pre-literate 3-year old child might pretend to �write� a story, but
>> is just creating a sequence of pictures with a pad of paper and box
>> of Crayolas � this is perfectly normal and healthy in a 3-year old
>> child who is being creative, but is of questionable usefulness for,
>> say, a grad student writing a Master's or PhD thesis or a business
>> person writing a white paper, etc.

Grump, grump, grump...:-)

///Peter

Ulrich Schwarz

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May 25, 2014, 10:28:06 AM5/25/14
to
On 05/23/2014 09:53 PM, Peter Flynn wrote:

> From the thread "New To (La)TeX... Unlearning Bad Habits" on 11 Mar 2003:
>
[...]
>>> is just creating a sequence of pictures with a pad of paper and box
>>> of Crayolas � this is perfectly normal and healthy in a 3-year old
[...]

Surely it should be "Crayolae"? ;)

U.

David Weinshenker

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May 25, 2014, 2:05:09 PM5/25/14
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Hmmm... the "-ola" ending appears in many USA trade names
from the 1900's, especially from the earlier part of that
century (e.g., Motorola, Victrola, etc.) - this is the
first suggestion I've encountered that it be parsed as
a Latin feminine noun suffix. (I wonder what the actual
origin was.)

What's the correct plural for an Italian diminutive -
surely the plural of "Nutella" isn't "Nutellae", is it?

(Speaking of names, a toy train set in the window of a local antique
shop reminded me that I first encountered "Marx" as a brand of toys,
long before becoming aware either of the writings of Karl Marx or the
movies of the Marx Brothers.)

-dave w

Robert S. Coren

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May 25, 2014, 5:58:35 PM5/25/14
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In article <MMadnY_lV5Dgrx_O...@earthlink.com>,
David Weinshenker <daz...@earthlink.net> wrote:
>Ulrich Schwarz wrote:
>> On 05/23/2014 09:53 PM, Peter Flynn wrote:
>>
>>> From the thread "New To (La)TeX... Unlearning Bad Habits" on 11 Mar 2003:
>>>
>> [...]
>>>>> is just creating a sequence of pictures with a pad of paper and box
>>>>> of Crayolas � this is perfectly normal and healthy in a 3-year old
>> [...]
>>
>> Surely it should be "Crayolae"? ;)
>
>Hmmm... the "-ola" ending appears in many USA trade names
>from the 1900's, especially from the earlier part of that
>century (e.g., Motorola, Victrola, etc.) - this is the
>first suggestion I've encountered that it be parsed as
>a Latin feminine noun suffix. (I wonder what the actual
>origin was.)
>
>What's the correct plural for an Italian diminutive -
>surely the plural of "Nutella" isn't "Nutellae", is it?

Plural of Italian nouns ending in -a is formed by replacing -a with
-e, diminutive or not. Why one would be pluralizing "nutella" is a
separate question.

--
---Robert Coren (co...@panix.com)------------------------------------
"Ideas aren't responsible for the people who believe in them."
--Don Marquis by way of Melinda Shore

David Weinshenker

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May 26, 2014, 11:23:56 PM5/26/14
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Robert S. Coren wrote:
> In article <MMadnY_lV5Dgrx_O...@earthlink.com>,
> David Weinshenker <daz...@earthlink.net> wrote:

>> What's the correct plural for an Italian diminutive -
>> surely the plural of "Nutella" isn't "Nutellae", is it?
>
> Plural of Italian nouns ending in -a is formed by replacing -a with
> -e, diminutive or not. Why one would be pluralizing "nutella" is a
> separate question.

I dunno - perhaps if there were different
varieties, as in the case of wines or cheeses.

-dave w


Peter Flynn

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Jun 1, 2014, 4:49:21 PM6/1/14
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On 05/25/2014 07:05 PM, David Weinshenker wrote:
> Ulrich Schwarz wrote:
>> On 05/23/2014 09:53 PM, Peter Flynn wrote:
>>
>>> From the thread "New To (La)TeX... Unlearning Bad Habits" on 11 Mar 2003:
>>>
>> [...]
>>>>> is just creating a sequence of pictures with a pad of paper and box
>>>>> of Crayolas � this is perfectly normal and healthy in a 3-year old
>> [...]
>>
>> Surely it should be "Crayolae"? ;)
>
> Hmmm... the "-ola" ending appears in many USA trade names
> from the 1900's, especially from the earlier part of that
> century (e.g., Motorola, Victrola, etc.) - this is the
> first suggestion I've encountered that it be parsed as
> a Latin feminine noun suffix. (I wonder what the actual
> origin was.)

In the case of Crayola, it might have been a reference to oil, which is
a component in the manufacture of crayons.

> What's the correct plural for an Italian diminutive -
> surely the plural of "Nutella" isn't "Nutellae", is it?

That would be Latin, anyway, not Italian, I think.

> (Speaking of names, a toy train set in the window of a local antique
> shop reminded me that I first encountered "Marx" as a brand of toys,
> long before becoming aware either of the writings of Karl Marx or the
> movies of the Marx Brothers.)

As a European, "Lionel" was just a boys' name until I came across my
American-raised grandfather's train-set in the attic.

///Peter

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