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Podcast Episode: Chronicling Online Communities

EFFector - Volume 1, Issue 10 - Steve Jackson Games Update: The Government Files its Response


EFFector - Volume 1, Issue 10 - Steve Jackson Games Update: The Government Files its Response

########## |   Volume I         August 24,1991       Number 10   |
########## |                                                     |
###        |                   EFFECTOR ONLINE                   |
#######    |                                    |
#######    |                                                     |
###        |                                                     |
########## |           The Electronic Newsletter of              |
########## |        The Electronic Frontier Foundation           |
           |       155 Second Street, Cambridge MA 02141         |
########## |       Phone:(617)864-0665 FAX:(617)864-0866         |
########## |                                                     |
###        |                        Staff:                       |
#######    |            Gerard Van der Leun (        |
#######    |             Mike Godwin (          |
###        |             Mitchell Kapor (         |
###        |                   Managing Editors:                 |
###        |Chris Davis (, Helen Rose (|
           |                                                     |
########## |       Reproduction of Effector Online via all       |
########## |            electronic media is encouraged..         |
###        |      To reproduce signed articles individually      |
#######    |    please contact the authors for their express     |
#######    |                     permission.                     |
###        |                                                     |
###        |                                                     |
###        |                                                     |
effector: n, Computer Sci. A device for producing a desired change.


                        STEVE JACKSON GAMES UPDATE:

This week, after several delays, the EFF has at last received the
government's response to the Steve Jackson Games lawsuit. Our
attorneys are going over these documents carefully and we'll have more
detailed comment on them soon. 

Sharon Beckman, of Silverglate and Good, one of the leading attorneys
in the case said: "In general, this response contains no surprises for
us. Indeed, it confirms that events in this case transpired very much
as we thought that they did. We continue to have a very strong case.
In addition, it becomes clearer as we go forward that the Steve
Jackson Games case will be a watershed piece of litigation when it
comes to extending constitutional guarantees to this medium."

                         OTHER ITEMS IN THIS ISSUE:
                             WHO PAYS FOR FTP?
                                 THE MAVEN
                            WRITING TO LEN ROSE


                            IN OVER THEIR HEADS
                WHY THE 911 DOCUMENT COST $79,449 TO PRODUCE
                                AT BELLSOUTH
Over the months since it first came to light, many have wondered
how BellSouth could spend the immense amount of money that it
claimed it spent on producing the brochure known as the
E911 document.

Now it can be told!

The following is BellSouth's actual estimate of its production costs
as sent to Bill Cook in January of 1990.  We were amazed that the
company felt it necessary to add in the entire cost of a major
computer system, printer and software. 

          [Text of letter from K. Megahee to Bill Cook]

                              1155 Peachtree Street. N E
                            Atlanta, Georgia 30367 -6000
January 10, 1990

Bill Cook - Assistant United States Attorney
United States Attorney's Office
Chicago, Illinois

Dear Mr. Cook:
     Per your request, I have attached a breakdown of the costs 
associated with the production of the BellSouth Standard Practice 
(BSP) numbered 660-225-104SV. That practice is BellSouth 
Proprietary Information and is not for disclosure outside 
    Should you require more information or clarification, please 
contact my office at XXX-XXX-XXXX.         FAX: XXX-XXX-XXXX  

Kimberly Megahee
Staff Manager - Security, Southern Bell

                   [Handwritten total]

          [Attachment to letter itemizing expenses]


1. Technical Writer To Write/Research Document
-200 hrs x 35 = $7,000 (Contract Writer)
-200 hrs x 31 = $6,200 (Paygrade 3 Project Mgr)

2. Formatting/Typing Time
-Typing WS14 = 1 week = $721.00
-Formatting WS 14 = 1 week = $721.00
-Formatting Graphics WS16 = 1 week = $742.00

3. Editing Time
-PG2 = 2 days x $24.46 = $367

4. Order Labels (Cost) = $5.00

5. Prepare Purchase Order
-Blue Number Practice WS14 x 1 hr = $18.00
-Type PO WS10 x 1 hr = $17.00
-Get Signature (PG2 x 1 hr = $25.00)
(PG3 x lhr = $31.00)
(PG5 x 1 hr = $38.00)

6. Printing and Mailing Costs
Printing= $313.00
Mailing WS10 x 50 hrs = $858.00
(Minimum of 50 locations/ 1 hr per location/ 115 copies

7. Place Document on Index
-PG2 x 1 hr = $25.00
-WS14 x 1 hr = $18.00

Total Costs for involvement = $17,099.


VT220                        $850
Vaxstation II             $31,000
Printer                    $6,000
Maintenance                10% of costs


Interleaf Software        $22,000
VMS Software               $2,500
Software Maintenance    10% of costs

[End of Document]


                         A Report by Brad Templeton
                                via ClariNet

NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT, U.S.A., 1991 AUG 20 (NB) -- The first National
Conference on Computing and Values concluded last week on the campus
of Southern Connecticut State University and was proclaimed a big
success by its organizers.

The NCCV attracted a multi-disciplinary audience, with attendees and
luminaries from the fields of philosophy, computer security, privacy,
law, academia and general computing.

Mitch Kapor and John Perry Barlow, founders of the Electronic Frontier
Foundation, described the EFF and updated the audience on their recent
efforts to educate lawmakers on how to apply the law to the new world
of electronic networking. The EFF has been instrumental in curbing
what its members see as serious civil rights violations perpetrated by
law enforcement officials who over-react to the danger of alleged
computer criminals.

Gary Chapman, founding Executive Director of Computer Professionals
for Social Responsibility spoke on "The 21st Century Project," CPSR's
new venture to deal with the technology related social problems they
expect us to encounter as we enter the next century.

Joseph Weizenbaum received the first award for Leadership and
Excellence in Human Values and Computing. Accepting the award
he addressed the conference about the necessity of technical 
professionals considering the consequences of their efforts.

Richard Stallman, ideological leader of the Free Software Foundation
(GNU Project) and League for Programming Freedom spoke and contributed
to a lively panel of the nature of intellectual property. Stallman
believes that all software should be free of copying and use
restrictions. Another panelist, Helen Nissenbaum of Princeton,
suggested the less drastic step of changing copyright law to permit
"casual copying" (the non-commercial copying of originals for family
and friends).

Discussions on privacy issues ranged over the spectrum. Those
examining the impact of computers on privacy had to grapple with
fundamental issues such as the very nature of privacy before coming to
conclusions about it. Richard Wright of the U. of Omaha proposed that
individuals be granted ownership and control over the data about them,
allowing them to charge royalties on its use, or block undesired use.
Others feared such complex legislative changes, decrying what they
viewed as a growing trend to say "there ought to be a law" when there
is no need for one.

Speculation is that there will be a division between the two main
"computers and values" societies, with CPSR pushing for privacy
protection legislation and EFF objecting to excessive government
regulation of how computers may be used.

Other addresses and panels covered Computer Security and Crime,
Academia, and equal access to computers for the handicapped and the
disadvantaged. "Equity" advocates warned that software designers are
unaware that they are designing software and computer systems to be of
interest primarily to "young, white, able-bodied men."

Computers need to be made more accessible not just through funding and
special tools to aid the handicapped, but through changes in their
fundamental design, panelists argued. Providing more computers for a
school often does little more than provide those already keen on
computers with more toys, according to one panelist.

The conference consisted both of panels and papers and six special
working groups. Each morning conference attendees gathered in their
six groups to debate particular issues of interest. Each group
prepared a report delivered at the close of the conference with
recommendations for the center for research into computing and values
at SCSU and for the National Science Foundation, which helped fund the

Other speakers and panelists included former ACM President and CACM
editor Peter Denning, and computer security expert Dorothy
Denning, who spoke on the Hacker Ethic. Gene Spafford of Purdue
University chaired the security panel and Peter Neumann, editor of the
ACM RISKS forum gave the security address.

Conference organizer Walter Maner of Bowling Green State University
expressed great pleasure at the success of the conference and the
large variety of material it addressed. Attendance was low, at around
200 participants, however this met Maner's expectations for an August
conference. Plans are already under consideration for another
conference in the future, though no date has been set. Maner can be
contacted as or at 419-372-2337.

(Brad Templeton/19910820)
For futher information on ClariNet
write to or phone 1-800-USE-NETS.


                   How Your EFF Memberships and Donations
                              Are Put to Work

Now that we have become a membership organization, we'd like to outline
for you the ways in which your money is used to advance the cause of
free and open online communications.

Essential Litigation:
Memberships help with the costs of litigation in key cases such as the
Steve Jackson Case, and others.

Washington office:
In order to better track and participate in legislation of critical
interest to this new medium, we are beginning a Washington, D.C. branch
of the EFF.

As we learned last year with the events that led to the rewriting of
Senate Bill 266, a strong Washington presence is necessary if we are to
make sure that legislators have the input that only an informed and
committed organization can provide.  It is much better to have wise and
fair laws from the outset than to try and correct bad laws through
litigation later.

The Open Road Project:
This is the EFF's major initiative for 1992 and beyond. We see The Open
Road Project as a broadly based plan encompassing both the social and
technical realms of networking; an armature for the design and creation
of a National Public Network.

The goals of the Open Road are to ensure equal and fair network access
to all, along with technological tools that make the NPN easy to use,
and affordable.

The EFF Node on the Internet:
We have worked hard to make an important part of the Internet by
providing access to our central files via ftp, an open forum for a wide
range of view on the Usenet group, and a home for other worthy
newsgroups whose interests and commitments compliment ours, such as the
Computers and Academic Freedom group.  We will be expanding our online
capability significantly in the last quarter of 1991 and on into 1992.
To this end we have been creating an offline library of our extensive
archives.  This process is almost completed.  The next step will be to
move these files online via scanning technology.  As you might expect
this is a time-consuming and labor-intensive task, but an important one.

Other activities on the system involve the creation and expansion of our
email capabilities and the effort to bring all of our online text into
WAIS for use across the Internet.  WAIS is a powerful, though still
experimental, information retrieval service that allows full-text
searches of large document archives. We are also adding new online
publications in various subject areas.

In addition to these projects, there are the numerous conferences that
EFF staff and representative attend as commentators or main speakers;
the costs associated with the publication of EFFECTOR, EFFector Online,
and numerous brochures and flyers. As we have seen time and again, much
of the trouble associated with online communications comes from
ignorance or simple misunderstanding. One of the most effective programs
of the past year has been the attendance of EFF staff members at various
law enforcement conferences and conventions. That kind of simple,
face-to-face work has proven to be one of the most helpful activities we
can perform.

Add to all the above the overhead at the main office and dozens of other
activities from the marvelous to the mundane. and you have a snapshot of
the way in which we try to make every penny of your membership or
donation advance the goals of the EFF. Our aim is to keep the
organizational overhead low so that the largest possible portion of your
donation can go towards the goals of the EFF and our current and new


                         Feedback to EFFector #9

From: ccastmg@prism.gatech.EDU (Michael G. Goldsman)
Subject: Re: EFFector Online 1.09

In Effector Online #9 the editors write:
>                              WE WUZ HACKED!
>As Monty Python has wisely noted, "NOBODY expects the Spanish
>Inquisition!" In like manner, nobody expects people to crack their
>system in quite the way that they *are* cracked. After all, if you
>knew about an unlocked door in your system, you'd lock it. Right? As
>soon as you could get around to it, of course....
>"User 'mycroft' was logged on at the  
>time, and admits entering the machine, but denies 2, 3, 4, and 5."

What,you fail to mention is the fact that the EFF then secured the
services of the Secret Service who confiscated every computer at MIT
along with every disk, manual, and power-outlet they could find.
MIT, I believe has issued a request aimed at getting their equipment
back, but as of yet, the Secret Service has declined citing "National
Security Interests." A Secret Service spokesman was quoted as saying
"MIT operates a huge network of computer criminals who are intent on
bringing our free country to its knees. Their Techno-Terrorism cannot
be tolerated!!!
The EFF will be representing MIT in their case.



"[I]f I `send' you a message I do not lose it myself but retain it in
memory or in a duplicate copy. We have then shared it. Consequently,
it is true to say that messages, unlike commodities, are not required
to be lost to the `sender' when he communicates them to another.
Indeed, the word `sender' is a misnomer; strictly, he cannot send
messages as he can send goods or commodities, he must always share
them ....Messages do not have the nature of commodities and cannot be
                     -- Colin Cherry, THE AGE OF ACCESS, 
                        Published by Croom Helm,London, 1985


                             Who Pays for FTP?

(Dan Kenny, Network Specialist/ U of N-Omaha)

In a previous article, 
(Terry Davidson) writes:
"One question: I've asked this before, and have received no response. 
Who pays for ftp? Some uploads/downloads can take a *VERY* large amount of 
time; and this has to cost someone some hard cash - but  who? Is the login   
used to send bills to the company from where the call originated (some ftp 
may be anonymous, but modern UNIX systems darned well get the info anyway,
including the actual line/port/phone of the originating machine).  
I'd like answers to these questions, simply because (1) I have 
approximately   5 MB of shareware (DOS) utilities to upload to an ftp 
site for propagation,   and (2) there are some GIF files out on the ftp 
sites I would like to ftp in. Whether or not I actually do this depends 
on how ftp is billed.  


FTP (the file transfer protocol), NNTP (the protocol for the news
service you are reading), TELNET (the remote login protocol), SMTP
(the mail protocol you receive Internet mail through), and other
protocol services in the TCP/IP specification are made available to
you courtesy of the educational system in America.

Individual colleges, military sites, organizations and commercial
sites wire up their machines as a campus network. These networks join
a consortium of regional networks (like MIDnet for the Midwest
colleges, MILnet for the military, etc) for a fee and if they are an
educational institution, also receive subsidization on the cost of
connecting their campus networks to the regional network through the
National Science Foundation. Additionally, the NSF foots the bill for
the long-haul national network connecting the regional networks in one
giant internetwork. This long-haul network is built upon the work of
the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPAnet) in
the 1970's and 1980's.

These resources are provided to the average Internet user virtually
for free, and are done so in the spirit of research and cooperation.
Not everyone in the world ascribes to the philosophy of the
"bottom-line" business mentality, and they recognize the value of open
access to educational resources in the quest for enhancing
communication between educators, researchers, students, businesses,
organizations, and the community. 

So to answer your question, we all pay - just like we all pay for open 
and public access to the nation's highways, the open and public access 
to community libraries, the open and public access to secondary 
schools, and the open and public access to the state universities. 

Individual sites on the Internet make services and resources available
(like disk space for anonymous FTP or the ARCHIE database service) out
of the spirit of this cooperation and belief that the greater benefit
of increased communication outweighs the per-unit-cost of a megabyte
of disk storage or a packet of network bandwidth. Usenet news feeds
are traditionally provided as a courtesy between educational
institutions in this spirit also. 

If you believe your 5 megs of utilities have educational value, by all
means upload them to an appropriate FTP site. If you believe that
files you find on an anonymous FTP will enhance your education,
download them. Realize that the mere act of communicating with someone
on the Internet and exploring available services has educational value.

Speaking as a student majoring in one of those science/technical and
engineering fields (Computer Science) that people keep worrying about
due to growing lack of interest from our youth, I can assure you that
the educational benefit I have received through the cooperation of the
Internet community has been tremendous. Innovation is not dead in
America, at least not yet. We just need to properly recognize the
value of long-term investment and commitment to cooperation (whether
that be in basic research & development, educating ourselves, or in
laying fiber to every household like Japan is doing), regardless of
short-term cost (or lack of profit). Remember the technological
fallout from the Apollo Moon program? We -all- foot the bill for it,
and we -all- (consumers, industry, education, military, and our
general competitiveness in the world) benefited from the cooperation
and technology-sharing of that national project. 

Think of the Internet in the same fashion. I do. 

Just my opinions,
Dan Kenny, Network Specialist : University of Nebraska-Omaha


            We Know What You Are Doing and We Know Where You Live

From: spaf@cs.purdue.EDU (Gene Spafford) 
Subject: Re: where do I find out my Longitude and Latitude? 
In article <3048@maserati.qsp.UUCP> scotts@qsp.COM (Scott Simpers) 
writes: "Why do you want your position that accurately for 
UUCP registration? "

Why, so the net.police can target the missiles if your site 
posts any articles that:
1) offer anything for sale
2) tell the string joke, or Paddy O'Furniture jokes 
3) suggests new groups dealing with aquaria 
4) request postcards be sent to Craig Shergold 
5) predict the death of the net
6) threaten to disclose the plans of the secret backbone cabal that 
   really control the Usenet

Provide elevation and room number, too -- the net.police just got 
a great deal on a bunch of smart weapons.
Gene Spafford

                          From:(allen h. lutins)  

I just got an interesting report, "Computers & Privacy: How the
Government Obtains, Verifies, Uses, and Protects Personal Data"
{GAO/IMTEC-90-70BR, Aug. 1990} available free from the U.S. General
Accounting Office {P.O. Box 6015, Gaithersburg, MD 20877;
(202)275-6241}. Among the tidbits revealed, the report notes:

"(N)ew applications have made it easier for agencies to access, share,
and process information and to carry out their missions effectively and
efficiently. However, they have also increased opportunities for
inappropriate or unauthorized use of personal information and have made
it more difficult to oversee agencies' information management practices
and to safeguard individuals' rights." {p. 7}

-- Computer profiling involves using inductive logic to determine the
characteristics of individuals most likely to engage in behaviors or
interest -- for example, illegal activities...Computer profiling raises
privacy and constitutional concerns because individuals may be singled
out for scrutiny or different treatment...

"Thirty seven agencies [of the 178 who responded to a GAO inquiry]
reported that they conducted computer profiling...In developing
profiles, agencies use social security, health, educational, financial,
tax, law enforcement, property, and housing and public assistance
information." {p. 32}

"Agencies use profiles for many purposes, including program analyses,
planning, investigation, screening, scientific research, and
surveillance. Two examples of agencies' computer profiling descriptions
are the Social Security Administration's profiles on people most likely
to have unreported changes in income, resources, and/or living
arrangements; and the U.S. Secret Service's profiles of individuals most
likely to commit aggressive action against a public figure." {p. 33}

Of 910 computer systems at 178 federal agencies: 

o 16 agencies reported using profiling for occupational 
  and/or regulatory purposes
o 12 agencies reported using profiling for "investigations" 
o 10 agencies reported using profiling for "screening" 
o 6 agencies reported using profiling for law enforcement
o 2 agencies reported using profiling for surveillance 
o Law enforcement records were used for profiling on 81 
o Credit history was used for profiling on 58 systems 
o Information on 15 systems was made available to state
  agencies  for surveillance purposes
o Information on 13 systems was made available to local 
  agencies for surveillance purposes
o Information on 3 systems was made available to the "private 
  sector" for surveillance purposes
o 13 systems had no operational controls to protect against 
  alteration and unauthorized access
o Security measures and training were not available for 
  personnel working on 65 systems
o Incidents of unauthorized access or exceeding authorized 
  access to personal information were reported six agencies;
  eight agencies did not know whether there were security
o Breaches of security numbered 13 in 1988; there were 21
  such incidents in 1989


                                The Maven

Once upon a weekend weary, while I pondered, beat and bleary,
Over many a faintly printed hexadecimal dump of core --
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some Source user chatting, chatting of some Mavenlore.
"Just a power glitch," I muttered, "printing out an underscore --
                Just a glitch and nothing more."
Ah, distinctly I remember that old Teletype ASR,
And the paper tape dispenser left its chad upon the floor.
Eagerly I thought, "Tomorrow, maybe I will go and borrow
From my friend an Apple micro -- micro with a monitor --
So that I can chat at leisure, and then throw away my paper --
                Lying all across the floor.
And the repetitious tapping which had nearly caught me napping
Woke me -- and convinced me that it could not be an underscore;
Appearances can be deceiving, so I sat there, still believing;
"My terminal must be receiving more express mail from the Source --
That's it -- my terminal's receiving new express mail from the Source;
                Posted mail and nothing more."
But my curiosity grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
I stood up and crossed the room to see what waited there in store.
Sticking up from the terminal were three inches or so of paper;
Carefully my trembling hand tore off the scrap, and then I swore --
"What is this?", I cried in anger -- here I threw it to the floor;
                Blankness there and nothing more.
Deep into its workings peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
What could cause the thing to stutter, dropping twenty lines or more?
But the ribbon was unbroken, and the "HERE IS" gave no token,
I thought the Teletype was broken, so I typed the number "4"!
This I typed, and then the modem echoed back the number "4" --
                Merely this and nothing more.
Back then to my work returning, with my temper slowly burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping something louder than before.
"Surely," said I, "surely that is just another RESET message;
With my luck, there's probably expensive data to restore!" --
As it chattered, still I sat there, trying to complete my chore.
                "'Tis the Source and nothing more."
Such a simple program, really -- just to fill 1K of memory
With the Fibonacci series, but when it reached 144,
It had failed to set the high bit -- suddenly, I thought I had it!
But, just as I found the bug, my train of thought derailed once more --
And the Teletype's loud bell rang, then it sat just like before --
                Rang, and sat, and nothing more.
Suddenly, I couldn't stand it -- Just as if someone had planned it,
Now the paper, like a bandit, rolled its way across the floor!
As I put it back, I spied two words: CHAT TCX122 --
Which I knew must be the Maven, chatting from the Eastern shore.
Presently the terminal received and printed one word more --
                Quoth the Maven, "#4?"
Such a message I was having difficulty understanding,
For his letters little meaning -- little relevancy bore;
Though I must admit believing that no living human being
Ever could remember seeing evidence of Mavenlore --
Tell me now, what kind of Maven of the saintly days of yore
                Could have written "#4?"
But the Maven, waiting for me to reply, transmitted only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing farther then he ventured; silently the Teletype purred --
Till I scarcely more than murmured: "Stars and garters, what a bore!" --
Whereupon the terminal abruptly started with a roar;
                Then it typed out, "#4?!"
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so tersely spoken
"Doubtless," said I, "what we have here could not be a line error.
Failure to communicate, perhaps -- it's late and getting later --
But I've never seen a greater unsolved mystery to explore."
Then I knew I'd never rest until I solved his semaphore ...
                "Who am I, the Prisoner?"
But the Maven didn't answer; no more data did he transfer,
So I wheeled my Herman Miller office chair across the floor;
Then upon the plastic sinking, I betook myself to linking
Logic unto logic, thinking what this ominous bard of yore --
What this unknown, unseen, unsung, unrepentant bard of yore
                Meant in typing "#4?!"
This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the dour and cryptic Maven now whose words I puzzled o'er;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the seat back's plastic lining that the lamp-light fluoresced o'er,
But whose flattened plastic lining with the lamp fluorescing o'er
                Shall compress, ah, little more!
All at once my thoughts grew clearer -- as if looking in a mirror,
Now at last I understood where I had sent the number 4!
"Look," I typed, "I was just testing -- did you think that I was jesting?
Why was it so interesting that I typed the number 4?
Did you think that you were chatting to some foolish sophomore?"
                Quoth the Maven, "... #4?"
"Maven!" said I, "Great defender! Venerable comprehender!
Whether you began this chat, or were a victim of error,
Mystified, and yet undaunted, by this quandary confronted," --
(Could my terminal be haunted?) -- "tell me truly, I implore --
Can you understand my message? -- tell me, tell me, I implore!"
                Quoth the Maven, "#4!"
"Maven!" said I, "Great pretender! Ancient Jewish moneylender!
By the Source that now connects us -- by the holy Oath you swore --
Tell me in your obscure wisdom if, within your distant modem,
You receive my words unbroken by backspace or underscore --
Tell me why my Teletype prints nothing but the number 4!"
                Quoth the Maven, "#4?"
"Be that word our sign of parting,bard or friend!"I typed,upstarting 
"Get back to your aimless chatter and obnoxious Mavenlore!
Leave no token of your intent -- send no message that you repent!
Leave my terminal quiescent! -- Quit the chat hereinbefore!
Type control-P (or escape), and quit this chat forevermore!"
                Quoth the Maven, "#4..."
And the Maven, notwithstanding,still is chatting,still is chatting
Over my misunderstanding of his cryptic "#4?";
And I calmly pull the cover and remove a certain lever
From the 33ASR, which I never shall restore;
And a certain  ASCII number that lies broken on the floor
                Shall be printed -- nevermore!
(with no  apologies whatsoever to anyone)      .the Dragon


                        HOW TO WRITE TO LEN ROSE

I recently spoke with Len Rose.

He asked that I post his address for anyone who would care
to write:

    LEN ROSE, 
    FPC 27154-037,
    Seymour Johnson AFB,
    Caller Box 8004,
    PMB 187
    Goldsboro, NC, 27531-5000

Michael Kosmin



From: (Rick Smith) (Industrial Poet) writes:

>There's something I've been meaning to ask.  Has anyone ever made a
>concerted effort to develop the *worst* user-interface?

I think I saw a manual describing The Worst User Interface once in a
previous job. I think it's called "TACFIRE" and it's a computer based
system the Army uses (or used to use) for fire control in artillery

You're faced with about 16 lines of text, each at least 60 characters
long. This display is filled with dozens of little mnemonics,
each followed by a colon and then a (usually numeric) value.
The displayed data represents various things like where a target
is, who's shooting at it, what you need to do to shoot at it yourself,
ammo inventory, ammo to use, amount of powder to use, etc, etc, etc. 

Different users of different kinds (observers, planners, gun crews,
etc) would be able to modify different fields according to their
role and situation; the results were all sent to some central
site and then used to update other screens.

The system is decades old, so it's "evolved" into something that
borders on unusable. An ex artillery officer told me that they
hated to let well trained TACFIRE people go on extended
vacations (more than a week or so) because they'd forget
how to make it work by the time they got back.


                    How Many People Read the EFF Groups?

From: reid@decwrl.DEC.COM (Brian Reid)
Newsgroups: news.lists
Subject: USENET Readership report for Jun 91

This is [not] the full set of data from the USENET readership report
for Jun 91.  Explanations of the figures are in a companion posting
[in news.lists].

        +-- Estimated total number of people who read the group, worldwide.
        |     +-- Actual number of readers in sampled population
        |     |     +-- Propagation: how many sites receive this group at all
        |     |     |      +-- Recent traffic (messages per month)
        |     |     |      |      +-- Recent traffic (kilobytes per month)
        |     |     |      |      |      +-- Crossposting percentage
        |     |     |      |      |      |    +-- Cost ratio: $US/month/reader
        |     |     |      |      |      |    |      +-- Share: % of newsrders
        |     |     |      |      |      |    |      |   who read this group.
        V     V     V      V      V      V    V      V
331  24000   390   79%   448   968.9     5%  0.04   1.5%
615  12000   195   77%     2    26.2   100%  0.00   0.7%
691   9400   153   46%   169   376.3     1%  0.03   0.6%  alt.comp.acad-freedom


                             NOTES FROM THE SUN

The final version of "Building the Open Road: The NREN as a Testbed for
the National Public Network" by Mitchell Kapor is available by anonymous
ftp from as pub/docs/open.road.

We are also working on an FTP service that will allow file transfer via
email. More on this soon.

In other news, this September's Scientific American is devoted almost
entirely to computer-based communications. Among many wonderful articles
is Mitchell Kapor's "Civil Liberties in Cyberspace."  This is an issue
worth reading from cover to cover We are trying to get a large number of
copies to give to our members.



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