3.1306 Replies to Queries from 3.1297 and 3.1299; CD-ROMS (183)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Fri, 20 Apr 90 16:42:20 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 1306. Friday, 20 Apr 1990.

(1) Date: Thu, 19 Apr 90 17:28:58 PDT (62 lines)
Subject: Reply to What good are etexts?

(2) Date: Fri, 20 Apr 90 08:49:17 EDT (23 lines)
From: pdk@iris.brown.edu (Paul D. Kahn)
Subject: Descartes

(3) Date: Fri, 20 Apr 90 08:14:31 EDT (15 lines)
From: Tzvee Zahavy <MAIC@UMINN1>
Subject: Greek and Infowindow

(4) Date: Fri, 20 Apr 90 09:28 EDT (37 lines)
Subject: Twin smells

(5) Date: Fri, 20 Apr 90 04:09:24 IST (19 lines)
From: Daniel Boyarin <BOYARIN@TAUNIVM>
Subject: Re: 3.1299 Postmodernism

(6) Date: Wed, 18 Apr 90 10:08:48 CDT (27 lines)
From: Bob Parks <bob@WUBIOS.WUSTL.EDU>
Subject: cd-roms
Forwarded by: "Michael S. Hart" <HART@UIUCVMD>

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 90 17:28:58 PDT
Subject: Reply to What good are etexts?

A Reply to "Hey! What good are electronic texts, anyway?" (Wed,
18 Apr 90 09:38 PST)

Charles Young asks a good question about etexts -- what are
they good for? The list of uses he has already compiled seems
to suggest a sequence, all predicated on the same assumption.
The assumption is that we can approach etexts much as we do
printed texts -- except that the computer makes etexts machine
readable. Machine-readable texts allow us to search and
manipulate the textual object more efficiently.

Maybe etexts do more than provide an enhanced way of
researching textual objects. Unlike the printed or handwritten
text, the etext has a less firmly separate objective status and so
lends itself less to preservative and restorative contemplation.
Etexts lend themselves to interaction. The interactive text does
not submit so nicely to our objective measurements and
assessments. Electronic texts instigate new approaches to
reading and research, approaches that are sui generis. Rather
than continue to produce texts as objects of preservation and
objective analysis, we may have to learn to interact with
primary texts in new ways. Etexts bring out the interactive
nature of reading/writing.

Many possibilities for interaction are still hidden or just
emerging. One recent addition to researching primary texts
(texts taken from print or manuscript) has been the hypertext
"backtrack." That is, we can now regard our own browsing and
searching as itself a new text or a vital comment on the text.
Our interaction becomes a commentary on the reading/thinking

We can glimpse some more interesting possibilities if we
consider, speculatively, the linked nature of electronic texts.
Reading texts by Plato online may lead to dialogues about the
Dialogues. And these dialogues will presumably measure
themselves against the text they speak of in a way that no
spoken dialogue or written correspondence can. All texts,
primary and secondary, will be in the same electronic element,
hence eroding the line between primary and secondary texts.
Electronics links all texts and makes even the primary text
fungible, living, and ripe for interaction.

Does this mean that etexts might revive Plato's writings so that
they live again? Don't hold your breath. At least the notion of
the dead word of preservative, objective analysis may be
gradually eroded by etexts.

We may now search desperately for some practical uses of etexts,
but over the long haul, I suspect, we may have to ask what
etexts have done to our whole approach to thinking, reading,
and writing.

Mike Heim
Cal State Long Beach

(2) --------------------------------------------------------------34----
Date: Fri, 20 Apr 90 08:49:17 EDT
From: pdk@iris.brown.edu (Paul D. Kahn)
Subject: Descartes

During a seminar at Brown in January 1990 for faculty interested in
developing materials using Intermedia, I met Pat Manfredi, who teaches
philosophy at Hamilton College in New York. Pat had with him an electronic
version of the Meditations in English that he had already used in a
SuperCard stack. I don't know the source of the text or its extent.
The address I have for him is at Carnegie Mellon, since he is connected
to CDEC, a lab there for developing educational software.

Pat Manfredi (Hamilton College)
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Tell him I sent you.

Paul Kahn (pdk@iris.brown.edu)
(3) --------------------------------------------------------------18----
Date: Fri, 20 Apr 90 08:14:31 EDT
From: Tzvee Zahavy <MAIC@UMINN1>
Subject: Greek and Infowindow

In response to the query from our colleague in Amsterdam:
Duke language Toolkit does come with a Greek character set
for the EGA and VGA. I believe it can be obtained from
WiscWare, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706.
I have used DLT for our Hebrew instructional programs
(MILIM vocabulary drill also from WiscWare) and have found
it to work nicely.

On another matter: does anyone out there want to purchase or
barter an Infowindow? We have an extra one and would like to see
it put to use on some worthy project.
(4) --------------------------------------------------------------43----
Date: Fri, 20 Apr 90 09:28 EDT
Subject: Twin smells

RE: Douglas Bottons, Jan Eveleth, and Skippy, the Evil Twin:

The smell of synthetic banana flavoring seems quite an appropriate
choice for a twin smell. Artificial banana flavoring has some unique
properties, one of which is its incredible potency. Dairies which
use these flavorings have to change all the non-metallic pipes and
tubings after a run of banana ice-cream; a friend at a dairy told
me once that only a couple of molecules of this flavoring suffices
to generate the perception of banana flavor, and the stray molecule
or two might hang around in the PVC piping. Thus banana is always
the last flavor run in the local dairy.

The reason I remember all this is that a disgruntled employee at the
local dairy dumped a couple of ounces of banana flavor into a huge vat
where buttermilk was fermenting, creating perhaps the most ghastly
taste known to man -- banana buttermilk.

The artificial banana flavoring is utterly synthetic; as Jan Eveleth
suggests, the radically different chemical properties of the
synthetic and the real banana molecule (banana molecules?) make it
the perfect candidate for the twin. Perceptual sameness masking
separate and unique characters ...

And, for didactic purposes, the artificial banana scent is readily
available on kiddy scratch-and-sniff toys (I think there are some
featuring The Smurfs; this would be the perfect choice, as all the
Smurfs are twins ...)

From another non-twin,
Mark West

(5) --------------------------------------------------------------27----
Date: Fri, 20 Apr 90 04:09:24 IST
From: Daniel Boyarin <BOYARIN@TAUNIVM>
Subject: Re: 3.1299 Research Computing; Why E-Texts?; Postmodernism

on postmodernity and beginnings

dear mikael,
it seems to me that you are confusing poststructuralism with
postmodernism, which although roughly concurrent belong to different
fields of endeavor. poststructuralism has to do with literary theory,
postmodernism with an entire change in our culture, including but no
limited to its art. now, if you are interested in post-modern esthetics,
brian mcchale has written a fine book on postmodern fiction, published
by routledge in the new accents series. also linda hutcheon writes about
such subjects. you migh want to have a look at a "novel" by italo
calvino called "when on a winter's night a traveller," which will have
some surprising insights on narrative beginnings. finally, do look at
edward said's book, entitled "beginnings." which is poststructuralist
but hardly postmodern. nor is reader response postmodern in any
meaningful sense of the word -- wolfgang iser would be horrified. be well
(6) --------------------------------------------------------------48----
Date: Wed, 18 Apr 90 10:08:48 CDT
From: Bob Parks <bob@WUBIOS.WUSTL.EDU>
Subject: cd-roms
Forwarded by: "Michael S. Hart" <HART@UIUCVMD>

----------------------------Original message----------------------------
Those of you interested in the costs of mastering CD's may be interested
in this item from SAS-L. I don't read INFOWORLD, so contact the author
for more information. --Jim

Jim Cassell Institute for Research in Social Science
(919) 962-0514 University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
----------------------------Original message----------------------------
There was a discussion some time ago about manuals, etc. for SAS on
CD-ROM. I just noticed in INFOWORLD that CD Technologies, INC. is
offering to master CD-ROMs for $1,995 for 50 copies and about $5 per
copy after that. Seems as if that kind of cost ($40 per ROM maximum)
would make it very feasible in terms of duplication cost. Of course
there is the cost of making the text available to the masterer which is
not trivial. But I would think that CD Technologies is signaling the
industry that we can have very inexpensive CD ROM production.