3.669 software issues (128)

Willard McCarty (MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca)
Mon, 30 Oct 89 20:16:38 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 669. Monday, 30 Oct 1989.

(1) Date: Sun, 29 Oct 89 18:15:36 CST (28 lines)
From: Natalie Maynor <MAYNOR@MSSTATE>
Subject: Odds and Ends Re PC/Mac Debate

(2) Date: Mon, 30 Oct 89 11:56:37 EST (58 lines)
From: Geoffrey Rockwell <Geoffrey_Rockwell@poczta.utcs.utoronto.ca>
Subject: 3.653 wordprocessors M-I

(3) Date: Fri, 27 Oct 89 09:40:00 EDT (17 lines)
From: N.J.Morgan@vme.glasgow.ac.uk
Subject: Re: 3.636 humanists and computers, cont. (79)

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Sun, 29 Oct 89 18:15:36 CST
From: Natalie Maynor <MAYNOR@MSSTATE>
Subject: Odds and Ends Re PC/Mac Debate

Although I, too, prefer command lines to dragging silly-
looking icons around a screen, I found some of the early
replies to the original posting offensive. Are Humanists
really so humorless that they can't appreciate a joke about
the translation of the word "dos" in another language? And
wasn't the original point simply to suggest that a "different
strokes for different folks" approach might help fight
At the risk of being accused of having missed the point
of James Halporn's recent posting (which was not, by the way,
one of the ones I found offensive), I want to comment on a
couple of his side-points. He writes, "How many humanists
know how to write batch files?" Come on. I don't think
humanists are quite that helpless. And he writes, "For all
the praise I hear on HUMANIST of Wordperfect, does no one
complain of the three deep nested function keys?" Why
complain? It seems as good a way as any of including a large
number of functions. And since the creators of Wordperfect
can't be expected to know which function keys will be the most
important for each individual user, they included a means of
changing the arrangement to suit individual preferences. I
have moved the functions I rarely use to the less convenient
levels and keep the functions I frequently use in the
convenient level (hitting the function key only).
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------69----
Date: Mon, 30 Oct 89 11:56:37 EST
From: Geoffrey Rockwell <Geoffrey_Rockwell@poczta.utcs.utoronto.ca>
Subject: 3.653 wordprocessors M-I

Greek fonts:

I did a search a while back of Apple Link for a list of Greek fonts for
the Macintosh. All the fonts in that list are compatible with Word 4
for the Mac. The information should still be on the Humanist server. I
have a copy I can send to people who cannot get it otherwise.

On another subject:

I agree with Willard that features are not the only way to evaluate
software. Well designed software rarely wins the features war. Instead
it is a pleasure to use. Good design cannot be trapped either. Good
design will speak to what is current. NotaBene spoke to people tired of
WordPerfect, replacing the bewildering array of inconsistent menus with
a clean command line. The logic of Notabene is its beauty. Once you've
grasped the logic then you start to love it. Their manual speaks to
those who have grasped its logic and like the product but not, in my
experience, to those who are trying to learn it without already liking
it. Notabene preaches to the converted. Their manual has the feel of a
unpublished manuscript, not yet touched by a publisher and his designer.
The use of monospaced fonts and minimal design exudes seriousness - no
concession to art.

The Mac style of doing things, so different from Notabene, spoke
immediately to me for reasons I have yet to unconver (marketing?) The
process of recovering what makes something attractive is dangerous. It
may tell one something one does not want to know. Could it be that I
was influenced by the Apple marketing? Perhaps I want to be the
graceful runner among the oppressed as protrayed in the 1984 Mac ad.
Could it be that Mac users want to belong to the red rebellion and PC
users want the respectability confered by the big blue? Respectability
and rebellion are part of the academic world too. How many of us like
to think of our work in these terms? Do designers manipulate these
desires? Software designers like all others are creating not just tools
but tools-in-a-world. The layout of manuals, the packaging, the name,
and the features create an atmosphere. Notabene breathes pragmatic
seriousness. It is endorsed by the MLA. No icons, no games, no desktop
publishing features. The manual uses a monospaced font as if to say
they don't care about the look of the manual, just the content. The Mac
exudes false class, as if by buying it you can buy grace. The exclusive
price is part of what one buys. When you buy life-style
(academic-life-style) it has to be transparent to work. If you know you
are paying for self-image then the image vanishes. This makes the
recovery of what it is one found attractive so dangerous. I am not sure
I want the truth on the beauty of the Mac. If I knew what I liked I
might not like it. The fear of having ones vanities exposed can make us
vicious. Why does this Mac-PC argument flare up so regularly, could it
be the fear of having our loves exposed?

Geoffrey Rockwell

(3) --------------------------------------------------------------30----
Date: Fri, 27 Oct 89 09:40:00 EDT
From: N.J.Morgan@vme.glasgow.ac.uk
Subject: Re: 3.636 humanists and computers, cont. (79)

Oh no ! Its dictionary time again !

The excellent Concise Scots Dictionary (Aberdeen University Press)
has dos/doss as "spruce, neat, tidy". So who's going to tell
Microsoft that !

% Nicholas J Morgan %
% Department of Scottish History %
% University of Glasgow % Where's the rest ???
% Glasgow %
% G12 8QH %