3.479 omnium gatherum: WORD, tests, PhDs, etc (268)

Willard McCarty (MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca)
Mon, 18 Sep 89 19:17:36 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 479. Monday, 18 Sep 1989.

(1) Date: Thursday, 14 September 1989 2334-EST (35 lines)
Subject: Laptop Power Supplies

(2) Date: Fri, 15 Sep 89 09:22:59 EDT (7 lines)
From: "Kevin L. Cope" <ENCOPE@LSUVM>
Subject: Re: 3.469 Microsoft Word 5.0? (33)

(3) Date: Fri, 15 Sep 89 19:12:51 MDT (12 lines)
From: John Morris <JMORRIS@UALTAVM>
Subject: Discussion 3.469 MS Word

(4) Date: Fri, 15 Sep 89 08:55:09 EDT (42 lines)
From: Revised List Processor (1.6a) <LISTSERV@UTORONTO>
Subject: File: "HUMANIST MAIL" being sent to you

(5) Date: Fri, 15 Sep 89 20:53:54 EDT (65 lines)
From: Revised List Processor (1.6a) <LISTSERV@UTORONTO>
Subject: File: "HUMANIST MAIL" being sent to you

(6) Date: Thu, 14 Sep 89 22:00:38 EDT (44 lines)
From: Revised List Processor (1.6a) <LISTSERV@UTORONTO>
Subject: File: "HUMANIST MAIL" being sent to you

(7) Date: Fri, 15 Sep 89 09:24:35 EDT (8 lines)
From: "Kevin L. Cope" <ENCOPE@LSUVM>
Subject: Re: 3.471 Computing & dearth of PhDs.... (24)

(8) Date: Thursday, 14 September 1989 2350-EST (35 lines)
Subject: Paleography Stacks

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Thursday, 14 September 1989 2334-EST
Subject: Laptop Power Supplies

In response to Kevin Cope's query about recharging battery
packs in Europe, etc., I can offer a few notes that pertain
to my early model HP Laptop that I have taken along with me
on various excursions over the past three years. It has a
built in, rechargable battery. The percentage of charge
remaining in the battery is noted when the main menu screen
is accessed. When I first took it abroad, I used a small
"intermitter" (my word) obtained from Radio Shack for use
with hairdryers, etc., to recharge the batteries. This
approached worked, insofar as the batteries were recharged,
but it threw off the relation between the actual charge left
in the batteries and the point at which the computer would
warn of "low battery!" and shut itself off. Indeed, after
a few rechargings with the intermitter, I found the computer
was warning "low battery!" when there was as much as 70%
charge (or more) available. Successive chargings in the US
have gradually made things more reasonable, but even now
I get "low battery!" warnings when the available charge
registers more than 50%. When I recharged the computer
on real transformers overseas, this sort of problem does
not seem to have multiplied as it did with the intermitter.
I do not know the explanation -- the internal clock (built
in alarm clock, etc.) does not seem to have been affected,
for example. It seems to have something to do with how the
battery recharging mechanism percieves what is happening.

(This is another reason why I sought information on true
lightweight transformers from HUMANISTS a few weeks ago.
I finally built my own.)

Bob Kraft
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------15----
Date: Fri, 15 Sep 89 09:22:59 EDT
From: "Kevin L. Cope" <ENCOPE@LSUVM>
Subject: Re: 3.469 Microsoft Word 5.0? (33)

MS WORD 5.0 is no longer the latest edition. 5.5 is the new entrant.
I undersatnd that MS will be giving a $55.00 discount to new users
and upgraders (where did that number come from?). --KLC.
(3) --------------------------------------------------------------18----
Date: Fri, 15 Sep 89 19:12:51 MDT
From: John Morris <JMORRIS@UALTAVM>
Subject: Discussion 3.469 MS Word

I have not used MS Word since version 3, and I had always found it
clumsy to use, and less useful than seemed to be promised. Unless you have a
special application requiring Word, I might be so bold as to recommend
a word processor called Nota Bene which was designed specifically for
scholarly word processing. Dragonfly Software (285 West Broadway,
Ste. 600 New York City 100013-2204) offers group discounts to educational
institutions. Another alternative might be Borland's Sprint, a powerful
word processor for the budget conscious.
(4) --------------------------------------------------------------40----
Date: Fri, 15 Sep 89 08:50 EDT
From: John McDaid <MCDAID@NYUACF>
Subject: Computer test databases (Re:3.468)

I am sure that Charles Faulhaber has shared the information on Macintsoh
test databse programs out of the best of possible motives; likewise, I
am certain that fellow Humanists would only use such programs in the
most, well, humanist way, but I still feel an obligation to at least
place on the record my deep concern about such programs.

It seems to me that the essence of the computer -- the message of this
medium -- is indivudual empowerment and metacognitive revision. Here
we have a technology which enables us, through hypertext, to externalize
and refine the associative networks of thought -- to move upstream from
linear text. It seems paradoxical to be talking about multiple choice
questions from within such a paradigm. We need hypertexts, not

While there are many practical reasons for standardized testing, we must
at least be willing to admit that these are just that: practical. And if
we are truly the leading edge of the computer revolution in education,
it is our responsibility to apply this technology to those areas where
practicality overwhelms pedagogy.

Perhaps this the most telling criticism comes from Joseph Wiezenbaum:

Yes, the computer did arrive "just in time." But in time
for what? In time to save--and very nearly intact, indeed
to entrench and stabilize--social and political structures
that otherwise might have been either radically renovated
or allowed to totter under the demands that were sure to
be made on them. The computer, then, was used to conserve
America's social and political institutions. It buttressed
them and immunized them, at least temporarily, against
enormous pressures for change.
[Computer Power and Human Reason, p.31]
(5) --------------------------------------------------------------62----
Date: Fri, 15 Sep 89 19:23:41 CDT
From: Charles Ess <DRU001D@SMSVMA>
Subject: Library Computing Resources

It seems that I keep getting put on committees...this one is to provide
faculty input into the design of a new library facility.

I am lobbying for a computer resources room to provide students and faculty
access to research and tutorial materials, e.g.:
Intermedia and other hypertext environment materials (Perseus, etc.);
CD-ROM libraries, e.g. TLG, etc.;
machine-readable texts available in other formats (disk, tape, etc);
on-line databases -- from Dialogue and BRS to ARTFL and other more
discipline-specific databases;
telecommunications for email, collaborative research and teaching
projects, etc.

While we're dreaming:
1. What have I missed in attempting to determine feasible and productive
uses of computer technology for the next few years -- in the setting of
a medium-sized liberal arts college with strong professional concentrations
in business, architecture, pre-med, and communications? For example, is
there a justification for a scanner for entering text as well as images?
2. What suggestions do those of you with experience in setting up such
labs and resource centers have regarding:
a) space and other requirements for workstations, number of printers
per given number of computers, etc.
b) number of workstations appropriate for a day student population of
1150-1200? (Wordprocessing, business and scientific simulation,
language, and architecture applications are fairly well serviced
already by existing labs at other sites on campus. Off hand,
I'm thinking of this place as providing relatively high-powered
computing resources for relatively sophisticated research and
tutorial applications -- _not_ as primarily another place to do
wordprocessing and spreadsheets.)

Also offhand: I'm inclined to argue for a network of Mac II's and IIcx's,
running A/UX on an ethernet network and perhaps a secondary network of PC's
-- driven by considerations such as: requirements for Intermedia, the
virtual absence of Macintoshes elsewhere on campus, adequacy and cost-
effectiveness of PC's for such things as Nota Bene, compatibility with
other IBM labs. (I was also impressed with the Centre for Humanities
Computing in Toronto!)

HUMANIST readers may recall that I asked a similar question a few months
back -- although that one was directed towards a humanities computing lab.
It seems to me that this potential lab is somewhat different -- and so
I hope once again to glean wisdom from the collective experience of

Thanks in advance,

Charles Ess
Philosophy and Religion
Drury College
Springfield, MO 65802
(417) 865-8731
(6) --------------------------------------------------------------31----
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 89 20:59:33 CDT
From: Mark Olsen <mark@gide.uchicago.edu>
Subject: Computng and the PHD.

If anything, computing slows down the PhD. I know of many people,
myself included, who spent far too much time learning computers -- a
constant task in an era of changing technologies -- and doing less
consistent work in writing the dissertation. Data collection for
large projects, writing software, learning methodologies that are
not part of core subject areas, all contribute to slowing down the
process. I suspect that the doctoral candidates who decide to make
extensive use of computers, particularly outside of the tried and
true methodologies, are going to have to master several areas of
knowledge which will only increase the length of their studies.
The payoff, in my opinion, is being closer to 'cutting edge' research
methods and techniques, and being able to move into non-traditional
academic employment more readily (if the much heralded shortage of
artsie PhDs fails to materialize). The only general skill which will
REALLY speed up the process is word-processing, but this is hardly
a research method and is something that most doctoral candidates coming
through can master reasonably quickly if they have not all ready.
Keep'em away from computers if you want 'em to get through faster.

Mark Olsen

(7) --------------------------------------------------------------16----
Date: Fri, 15 Sep 89 09:24:35 EDT
From: "Kevin L. Cope" <ENCOPE@LSUVM>
Subject: Re: 3.471 Computing & dearth of PhDs.... (24)

Let's not use computing (or anything else) to speed students through
Ph. D. programs. This strategy is what led to the glut of Ph. D.s some
years ago. Let's be more prudent, and not flood the market again. Learn
from errors!
(8) --------------------------------------------------------------38----
Date: Thursday, 14 September 1989 2350-EST
Subject: Paleography Stacks

Bravo to Tim Seid for his pioneering paleography work!
Jay Treat and I did some manual mock-ups of similar
procedures so that I could have something to show the
accumulation of papyrologists at the recent Cairo conference.
There was much interest in this direction of development,
and I hope we will get some time soon to test in some
detail what Tim has produced (are you listening, Jay?).

Meanwhile, building on Tim's description, here are some
things that I would like to see developed by using the
available computational power: before the individual
letters or letter combinations are clipped, the baseline
should be clearly identified as a point of orientation;
then the clipped portions can be analyzed automatically
for degree of tilt from the baseline (this will be easier
for some letters than for others, and rules for determining
the tilt will need to be developed, of course); ratios of
width and height will also be useful, and degrees of
curvature on rounded forms. What I'm looking for, obviously,
is a special sort of pattern recognition that can assist us
to make initial judgments about what are more or less similar
forms. Then the more time consuming detailed task of overlaying
letter forms can be restricted to only the most promising
examples. We will also need programs to determine "average"
shapes, angles, etc., for any given hand. All in all, a very
promising approach to an area of scholarly research that
needs detailed, standard information for an immense amount
of data. Thanks, Tim, for sharing your first steps with us,
and keep up the good work!

Bob Kraft