3.1027 ideal workstations (189)

Willard McCarty (MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca)
Fri, 9 Feb 90 22:16:06 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 1027. Friday, 9 Feb 1990.

(1) Date: Thu, 8 Feb 90 23:23:54 PST (8 lines)
Subject: 3.1019 Ideal workstation

(2) Date: 9 Feb 90 09:39:22-EST (37 lines)
Subject: Ideal Workstation

(3) Date: Fri, 9 Feb 90 11:46:00 EST (11 lines)
From: DEL2@phoenix.cambridge.ac.uk
Subject: Re: [3.1004 ideal workstation! (144)]

(4) Date: Fri, 09 Feb 90 13:08:51 EST (88 lines)
From: Andrew Gilmartin <ANDREW@BROWNVM>
Subject: A Scholars Environment

(5) Date: Fri, 9 Feb 90 10:35:00 EST (10 lines)
From: N_EITELJORG@cc.brynmawr.edu
Subject: Re: 3.1020 ideal workstations (85)

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Thu, 8 Feb 90 23:23:54 PST
Subject: 3.1019 Ideal workstation

Re Charles Faulhaber's example of multitasking: what software
was he using at his end, other than Sun/OS? What was the on-line
library catalogue running, and how was it possible to cut and
paste from it?
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------47----
Date: 9 Feb 90 09:39:22-EST
Subject: Ideal Workstation

I agree with Charles Faulhaber that multitasking is one of the essential
features of a good humanities workstation. But I disagree when he complains
that he cannot run his database and word processor at the same time on an
today's IBM PC systems.

I have been running a DOS multitasker called EZDOSIT for over 4 years on
an ordinary 8086 based Compaq deskpro. I regularly download files and work on
my database or word processor at the same time. I also run Word Perfect and
the LIBRARY MASTER database manager at the same time. This allows me to keep
my research notes and bibliographic references on the database and do my
writing with my word processor. At the push of a button I can send a
note or part of a note or a bibliographic reference formatted in the style
sheet of my choice from the database to my word processor document. This
inexpensive (under $100) program is probably the most useful single program
I own, in terms of increasing productivity. Other solutions include
DOUBLE DOS (which does multitasking) and Multiple Choice, which is shareware.
The latter option does not give you multitasking, but only context switching
so you can have both programs in memory in different virtual machines and
switch between them in a fraction of a second. But it is very cheap and
greatly increases the productivity of a database program like LIBRARY MASTER,
since it simulate the convenience of an integrated program like NOTABENE,
by allowing you to run the word processor and database of your choice
at the same time.

Of course for someone like Charles the obvious solution is WINDOWS 386 or
DESKVIEW. These programs allow a 386 based machine (such as his Model 70)
to run multiple DOS applications in different windows. If I could afford it,
I would buy a 386 clone and one of these programs. It is as close to an
ideal workstation as you can get with today's hardware. We can always hope
and wait for the "ideal" system, but unfortunately our work can't wait for
the ideal arrive. Today's work has to be done today.

(3) --------------------------------------------------------------19----
Date: Fri, 9 Feb 90 11:46:00 EST
From: DEL2@phoenix.cambridge.ac.uk
Subject: Re: [3.1004 ideal workstation! (144)]

Sounds like I have the ideal workstation, according to at least many of
the comments I have read. All applications open at once, I can get email
and stick it straight into any other application without problems.
It cost me 200 pounds sterling, and you can add to the wish-list
absolute portability, almost total silence and the ability to pour
coffee on the keyboard. It's the Cambridge Z88.
Regards, Douglas de Lacey, Cambridge UK.
(4) --------------------------------------------------------------96----
Date: Fri, 09 Feb 90 13:08:51 EST
From: Andrew Gilmartin <ANDREW@BROWNVM>
Subject: A Scholars Environment

Attempting to answering my own question I would like to suggest not
the ideal but a practical environment that is extensible.


The basic configuration is a Macintosh Plus with 2.5Mb of memory, a
40Mb hard disk, and a network connection. Where departments or
individuals can afford better hardware they should consider the
Macintosh SE/30 and the Macintosh IIcx.


A department's workstations are connected together via PhoneNet
(presumably with Star Controllers). These departmental networks are
then connected to a campus wide ethernet backbone with Kinetics

Upon the ethernet lives centrally maintained unix boxes (I don't know
enough about unix boxes to suggested which kind to buy). It is
important to highlight that unix boxes are very difficult to maintain
but offer the greatest reward in terms of configuration flexibility
and long term growth: As you need more power buy another unix box and
it to the pool of existing unix boxes.


I am here concerned not with microcomputer applications but more with
campus wide file access, electronic mail, and remote login to the unix

For campus-wide file access each Macintosh has the AppleShare
workstation software installed. The unix boxes have the Columbia
AppleTalk Protocol (CAP) installed (providing AppleShare like
servers). With this configuration, a unix box's volumes can be mounted
by any Macintosh and, more importantly, be used just like any other
Macintosh volume (diskette or hard disk).

For campus wide electronic mail and remote login to the unix boxes
each Macintosh has MacTCP software installed. This allows the
Macintoshes access, via the Kinetics gateways, to TCP/IP servers.
These services include telnet, SMTP, and POP2.

Telnet service allows remote login. NCSA Telnet is a Macintosh
application that uses these services. SMPT and POP2 services have to
do with electronic mail. While the details are complex, Stanford's
MacMH is a Macintosh application that uses these services to provide
electronic mail.

I think unix access is very important for it is there that you can
find the tools necessary to do the types of data processing needed in
many fields including the humanities.


This is the most difficult to solve. At the minimum you need a network
support organization that maintains the campus wide "plumbing." A
systems organization that maintains the unix boxes, does backups,
dispatches printed output, etc. A general user support organization
that handles everything from getting a new account to doing footnotes
in Microsoft Word.

Lastly, and most importantly, you need a project support group. User
services organizations can not handle the tasks involved in supporting
a humanities project. Any project needs planning, in the humanities
this planning must come from people that know both computing and the
field. Those on HUMANIST has spoken often and clearly about this need.

What I haven't made clear is how this configuration helps the
humanist. In essence, every user now has on her desktop a Macintosh
for preparing new documents and otherwise looking into the world, a
unix workstation for processing the texts, very large disks that
someone else backs up, and lastly electronic communication.

As someone who works primarily with technology the above seems like a
productive environment. Comments?

-- Andrew Gilmartin
Computing & Information Services
Brown University
Box 1885
Providence, Rhode Island 02912
andrew@brownvm.brown.edu (internet)
andrew@brownvm (bitnet)
(5) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Fri, 9 Feb 90 10:35:00 EST
From: N_EITELJORG@cc.brynmawr.edu
Subject: Re: 3.1020 ideal workstations (85)

George Aichele asks about data interchange across computer platforms. In
the computer-assisted drafting and design area, that is one of the most
important benefits of AutoCAD. Data files are transparently interchangeable
across various platforms. Macs, PCs, Unix (Sun, at least) files are all
the same and can be transferred from one to another without translation.
Nick Eiteljorg (n_eiteljorg@brynmawr)