Discussion:
Where's the Bock?
(too old to reply)
Michael Stemper
2009-03-18 12:51:20 UTC
Permalink
This is the traditional time of year for consumption[1] of bock beer.
Yet, this year, my local liquor store only has one bock for sale. It's
Leinie's "1888 bock", which I find far inferior to their regular bock,
much less their doppelbock. No sign of any bocks from Summit, Sam Adams,
or any of the other usual suspects. No imported varieties, either.

Have any of you sighted any bocks? Is this just a problem with Elk
River Municipal, or has somebody banned the bock?


[1] Responsible, of course!
--
Michael F. Stemper
#include <Standard_Disclaimer>
Economists have correctly predicted seven of the last three recessions.
Michael Stemper
2009-03-18 12:53:42 UTC
Permalink
In article <gpqqo7$qn$***@news.motzarella.org>, ***@walkabout.empros.com (Michael Stemper) writes:

Sorry, wrong newsgroup.
--
Michael F. Stemper
#include <Standard_Disclaimer>
Economists have correctly predicted seven of the last three recessions.
Michael Benveniste
2009-03-18 13:34:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Stemper
Sorry, wrong newsgroup.
There's a wrong newsgroup for beer?

In Boston, there's no problem finding either Domestic or Imported
bocks. Most of the larger brands, like Sam Adams, now seem to
be brewed year-round, but Harpoon only does bocks as part of their
"100 barrel" series.
--
Michael Benveniste -- ***@murkyether.com (Clarification required)
Alcohol kills brain cells...but only the weak ones.
Dorothy J Heydt
2009-03-18 16:49:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Benveniste
Post by Michael Stemper
Sorry, wrong newsgroup.
There's a wrong newsgroup for beer?
More to the point, there are few entirely wrong topics for
rasseff. Beer is a topic having zero interest for me, so I'm
not going to follow the thread any further, but I bet
somebody's interested.

Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at hotmail dot com
Should you wish to email me, you'd better use the hotmail edress.
Kithrup is getting too damn much spam, even with the sysop's filters.
Will in New Haven
2009-03-19 18:03:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Michael Benveniste
Post by Michael Stemper
Sorry, wrong newsgroup.
There's a wrong newsgroup for beer?
More to the point, there are few entirely wrong topics for
rasseff.  Beer is a topic having zero interest for me, so I'm
not going to follow the thread any further, but I bet
somebody's interested.
I agree with you that this is not a "wrong" topic for this newsgroup.
And, like you, I am not interested in beer.

Wild Turkey tastes better, you don't have to run to the john as often

And you wake up in the same jail.

--
Will in New Haven
Michael Stemper
2009-03-20 13:05:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Will in New Haven
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Michael Benveniste
Post by Michael Stemper
Sorry, wrong newsgroup.
There's a wrong newsgroup for beer?
More to the point, there are few entirely wrong topics for
rasseff. Beer is a topic having zero interest for me, so I'm
not going to follow the thread any further, but I bet
somebody's interested.
I agree with you that this is not a "wrong" topic for this newsgroup.
Since my question was about what bocks were being distributed in the
Twin Cities area, it was intended for mn.general. Responses about what's
available on one of the coasts, or in Europe, or someplace don't really
help me.

*That's* why it was the wrong newsgroup.
--
Michael F. Stemper
#include <Standard_Disclaimer>
There is three erors in this sentence.
Nels Satterlund
2009-03-20 15:46:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Stemper
Post by Will in New Haven
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Michael Benveniste
Post by Michael Stemper
Sorry, wrong newsgroup.
There's a wrong newsgroup for beer?
More to the point, there are few entirely wrong topics for
rasseff. Beer is a topic having zero interest for me, so I'm
not going to follow the thread any further, but I bet
somebody's interested.
I agree with you that this is not a "wrong" topic for this newsgroup.
Since my question was about what bocks were being distributed in the
Twin Cities area, it was intended for mn.general. Responses about what's
available on one of the coasts, or in Europe, or someplace don't really
help me.
*That's* why it was the wrong newsgroup.
I understand that, but here is more useless information anyway.

Saw Shiner Bock at the store ... not sure it's a real bock though.

Nels
--
Nels E Satterlund I don't speak for the company
***@Starstream.net <-- Use this address please,
My Lurkers motto: I read much better than I type.
a***@gmail.com
2009-03-19 00:04:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Benveniste
Post by Michael Stemper
Sorry, wrong newsgroup.
There's a wrong newsgroup for beer?
LIES!!!

Oh. Sorry. What was the question? >:)

-Chris Krolczyk
Keith F. Lynch
2009-03-19 02:03:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Benveniste
Post by Michael Stemper
Sorry, wrong newsgroup.
There's a wrong newsgroup for beer?
alt.recovery.aa, perhaps.
--
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.
David Harmon
2009-03-19 17:07:04 UTC
Permalink
On 18 Mar 2009 22:03:13 -0400 in rec.arts.sf.fandom, "Keith F. Lynch"
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by Michael Benveniste
Post by Michael Stemper
Sorry, wrong newsgroup.
There's a wrong newsgroup for beer?
alt.recovery.aa, perhaps.
Which goes to show that there is a newsgroup for everything.
Corollary: web forums are unnecessary and redundant.
Keith F. Lynch
2009-03-20 02:09:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Harmon
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by Michael Benveniste
There's a wrong newsgroup for beer?
alt.recovery.aa, perhaps.
Which goes to show that there is a newsgroup for everything.
Corollary: web forums are unnecessary and redundant.
I've never understood why web folks reinvented Usenet, or why they
did such a bad job of it, or why anyone ever used their forums.

The net was around long before the web. The web is just one of many
net applications, each of which has its own mixture of strengths and
weaknesses. Trying to do everything on the web makes as much sense as
trying to use one room of your house for everything, leaving all other
rooms empty.
--
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.
Paul Treadaway
2009-03-20 14:41:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by David Harmon
Which goes to show that there is a newsgroup for everything.
Corollary: web forums are unnecessary and redundant.
I've never understood why web folks reinvented Usenet, or why they
did such a bad job of it, or why anyone ever used their forums.
Isn't it because a large number of people started using the internet
without knowing that anything other than the web existed? Surely
that's also why so much email is now done by webmail apps? I
guess lots of people thought reinventing the wheel was easier than
educating all the newcomers.
netcat
2009-03-20 17:29:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Treadaway
Isn't it because a large number of people started using the internet
without knowing that anything other than the web existed? Surely
that's also why so much email is now done by webmail apps?
No, most of the appeal of webmail apps came from them being accessible
anywhere, wherever you are. Started way before everyone and their dog
had a laptop that could provide a permanently configured mail client
that you could carry with you anywhere. And after... people were just
too lazy to deal with different server setups upon moving from network
to network, or set up authenticated smtp accounts. A webmail app is
available anywhere a browser is available.

To understand this appeal, you have to understand - to this demographic,
which is 99% of them, shell accounts and ssh might as well not exist.

If I couldn't use ssh, I'd have been the first in line to get a webmail
account set up.

So I do understand the appeal, even if I've never really liked webmail.

rgds,
netcat
Keith F. Lynch
2009-03-21 02:06:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by netcat
No, most of the appeal of webmail apps came from them being
accessible anywhere, wherever you are. Started way before everyone
and their dog had a laptop that could provide a permanently
configured mail client that you could carry with you anywhere.
Those are two attempts to reinvent the shell account, both done badly.

I'm not anti-progress. Far from it. But in some ways, the Internet
was more advanced 20 years ago than it is today. A lot of "progress"
since then has been nothing of the sort, but has just been reinventing
the wheel, and trying every shape for it but round -- while boasting
of its new improved color, not of its wretched shape.
Post by netcat
To understand this appeal, you have to understand - to this
demographic, which is 99% of them, shell accounts and ssh might
as well not exist.
Why is that?
--
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.
Paul Treadaway
2009-03-21 19:02:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
I'm not anti-progress. Far from it. But in some ways, the Internet
was more advanced 20 years ago than it is today. A lot of "progress"
since then has been nothing of the sort, but has just been reinventing
the wheel, and trying every shape for it but round -- while boasting
of its new improved color, not of its wretched shape.
Partly because of the other big change in the last 20 years - the
demographics of internet use. Back then, people using the internet
were more likely to be technologically literate. These days it's a
very wide cross-section of society (in the developed world anyway).
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by netcat
To understand this appeal, you have to understand - to this
demographic, which is 99% of them, shell accounts and ssh might
as well not exist.
Why is that?
Surely because of the dominance of WIMP as user interface?
These days I doubt even most university students know about
multi-user operating systems, shells or command-line interfaces
in general. Whereas 20 years ago I was using an IBM mainframe
and various flavours of Unix, and IBM-PCs and Macs were only
just being introduced, nowadays I think people will expect to do
everything from a PC connected to the internet, using a point
and click interface, and with the exception of a few specialist
fields, they'll probably be able to. So even with relatively well-
educated people who are open to new ideas, there's a lot of
inertia, and they're a minority.
Keith F. Lynch
2009-03-21 02:21:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Treadaway
Post by Keith F. Lynch
I've never understood why web folks reinvented Usenet, or why they
did such a bad job of it, or why anyone ever used their forums.
Isn't it because a large number of people started using the internet
without knowing that anything other than the web existed?
Perhaps. But that raises two obvious questions:

* How did they learn about the Internet, and why didn't that learning
include the non-Web parts of it?

* Why have people who are very much aware of Usenet been drifting away
from it, into crappy web-based forums instead?
Post by Paul Treadaway
Surely that's also why so much email is now done by webmail apps?
I guess lots of people thought reinventing the wheel was easier than
educating all the newcomers.
Why would educating them about good things be any harder than
reinventing those good things badly then educating them about those?
--
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.
Paul Treadaway
2009-03-21 18:40:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by Paul Treadaway
Post by Keith F. Lynch
I've never understood why web folks reinvented Usenet, or why they
did such a bad job of it, or why anyone ever used their forums.
Isn't it because a large number of people started using the internet
without knowing that anything other than the web existed?
* How did they learn about the Internet, and why didn't that learning
include the non-Web parts of it?
Presumably from companies (like AOL I guess) packaging and selling
it to them that way, and from other companies (like MS) integrating
web browsers with their OS, but not making much effort to integrate
newsreaders and other apps. I guess the prevailing marketing view
was that the web was the main selling point for people who didn't
know about the internet, so why bother to tell them about the other
stuff.
Post by Keith F. Lynch
* Why have people who are very much aware of Usenet been drifting away
from it, into crappy web-based forums instead?
Well I guess it could be seen as a market. As more traffic moved to
forums, blogs etc. people moved to where the traffic was. People
presumably have the same amount of time to devote to discussing
things online, so it's inevitable that as time progresses usenet will
be increasingly depopulated. I can already see tumbleweed blowing
through some ghost groups.
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by Paul Treadaway
Surely that's also why so much email is now done by webmail apps?
I guess lots of people thought reinventing the wheel was easier than
educating all the newcomers.
Why would educating them about good things be any harder than
reinventing those good things badly then educating them about those?
Well, if there are a large number of people who view the internet and
the web as synonymous (and there are), then either you can provide
the education on a website (including links to other software they will
need to install and/or configure) or you can just provide an
approximation of the basic functionality without the need to use
anything other than the same web browser. I'd say the latter is self-
evidently easier, though you could certainly argue that it isn't better.
No doubt we'll see more and more wheels being reinvented as time
goes on.
netcat
2009-03-23 09:55:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
* Why have people who are very much aware of Usenet been drifting away
from it, into crappy web-based forums instead?
Because they want to talk to other people who have never come to Usenet.

A personal example. 5 years ago, when I had some DIY question about
renovating my apartment I would have gone to the appropriate group on
the local Usenet hierarchy, to get advice from other people who
discussed building matters. This group is now dead. The professional and
amateur builders and renovators congregate in web forums. When I want
information, I have to use them.

Another personal example. I'm on a mailing list for local sf fans - with
much the sort of content we have on this group here, except nobody
bothers to discuss politics much. Ever since the founding of that list
there was talk of gating the list to a newsgroup - but the newsgroup
never materialized even when the local hierarchy was still functional,
as there were too few people to push the idea - and now there is a web
forum instead, and people are split into factions over which they hate
more, the list or the forum, but they're all in agreement that Usenet is
a dead and rotted cause not worth a seconds consideration.

OTOH, I'm also a willing member of a cooking forum/portal, and a
newsgroup just could not perform the same function - we have a recipe
database, with pictures, and comments, and elaborate search functions,
and tens of permanent subforums where people post lots of pictures
related to their current post, and so on.
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Why would educating them about good things be any harder than
reinventing those good things badly then educating them about those?
It's all about what you can _sell_ easier, no one cares about the
educating. Pretty pictures always have had a larger target group and
always will.

rgds,
netcat
David Friedman
2009-03-23 16:12:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by netcat
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Why would educating them about good things be any harder than
reinventing those good things badly then educating them about those?
It's all about what you can _sell_ easier, no one cares about the
educating.
I'm puzzled about why you not only said "sell" but emphasized it. Most
of the choices we are discussing have very little to do with buying or
selling.

You might as well say that changes in language over time are about what
you can _sell_ easier. In each case, what's happening is people
coordinating on a standard, where one important feature is that you use
the same one other people use.
--
http://www.daviddfriedman.com/ http://daviddfriedman.blogspot.com/
Author of
_Future Imperfect: Technology and Freedom in an Uncertain World_,
Cambridge University Press.
Kevrob
2009-03-23 16:40:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Friedman
Post by netcat
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Why would educating them about good things be any harder than
reinventing those good things badly then educating them about those?
It's all about what you can _sell_ easier, no one cares about the
educating.
I'm puzzled about why you not only said "sell" but emphasized it. Most
of the choices we are discussing have very little to do with buying or
selling.
You might as well say that changes in language over time are about what
you can _sell_ easier. In each case, what's happening is people
coordinating on a standard, where one important feature is that you use
the same one other people use.
--
 
The web-based forums are often advertiser supported. Usenet, unless
you read and post through a web portal, is free of that. Usenet
servers aren't cost-free, of course, and we have seen various ISPs
drop their news feeds, because they don't want to incur the costs
involved with providing them.

The straw that broke this particular camel's back may be the legal
stick various state attorneys general have threatened ISPs with,
regarding file-sharing of kittypr0n on the binary groups.

Kevin
David V. Loewe, Jr
2009-03-23 17:53:41 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 23 Mar 2009 09:12:55 -0700, David Friedman
Post by David Friedman
Post by netcat
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Why would educating them about good things be any harder than
reinventing those good things badly then educating them about those?
It's all about what you can _sell_ easier, no one cares about the
educating.
I'm puzzled about why you not only said "sell" but emphasized it. Most
of the choices we are discussing have very little to do with buying or
selling.
I don't think it was meant as a monetary transaction. Sometime you "buy
into" an idea, for example.
Post by David Friedman
You might as well say that changes in language over time are about what
you can _sell_ easier. In each case, what's happening is people
coordinating on a standard, where one important feature is that you use
the same one other people use.
--
"Red meat is NOT bad for you. Now blue-green meat, THAT'S
bad for you!"
- Tommy Smothers
netcat
2009-03-24 10:19:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Friedman
Post by netcat
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Why would educating them about good things be any harder than
reinventing those good things badly then educating them about those?
It's all about what you can _sell_ easier, no one cares about the
educating.
I'm puzzled about why you not only said "sell" but emphasized it. Most
of the choices we are discussing have very little to do with buying or
selling.
Well, perhaps you'll spend a lot of your time learning about news
transport & reader systems and setting one up, and just as it is all
ready to go your boss will tell you to scrap it, as there's absolutely
no profit in offering a Usenet service anymore, as there's so few users.

And you suggest, well perhaps if we advertised that we have what
essentially is the last free public news server in the country, it might
provide some sort of additional attraction.

And you get told, no, it would not.

Something like that.


Educating takes resources also. Lots of them. Why would someone spend
their resources on educating people to use a money sink that generates
no profit?

rgds,
netcat
Keith F. Lynch
2009-03-24 00:16:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by netcat
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Why have people who are very much aware of Usenet been drifting
away from it, into crappy web-based forums instead?
Because they want to talk to other people who have never come to Usenet.
Fair enough. But why don't they invite those other people to come to
Usenet, where the action is?
--
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.
Kip Williams
2009-03-24 00:49:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by netcat
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Why have people who are very much aware of Usenet been drifting
away from it, into crappy web-based forums instead?
Because they want to talk to other people who have never come to Usenet.
Fair enough. But why don't they invite those other people to come to
Usenet, where the action is?
Begging the question. You are presuming that the action is, in fact, on
Usenet. Increasingly, it is not. I do wish it were otherwise.


Kip W
Keith F. Lynch
2009-03-24 02:06:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by netcat
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Why have people who are very much aware of Usenet been drifting
away from it, into crappy web-based forums instead?
Because they want to talk to other people who have never come to Usenet.
Fair enough. But why don't they invite those other people to come
to Usenet, where the action is?
Begging the question. You are presuming that the action is, in
fact, on Usenet. Increasingly, it is not. I do wish it were
otherwise.
It was when the first web forums started. I'm puzzled as to why, when
Usenet people joined those nascent web forums, they didn't talk the
newbies into moving to Usenet, which not only had a better user
interface, but at the time had far more message traffic.
--
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.
Alan Winston - SSRL Central Computing
2009-03-24 03:12:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by netcat
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Why have people who are very much aware of Usenet been drifting
away from it, into crappy web-based forums instead?
Because they want to talk to other people who have never come to Usenet.
Fair enough. But why don't they invite those other people to come
to Usenet, where the action is?
Begging the question. You are presuming that the action is, in
fact, on Usenet. Increasingly, it is not. I do wish it were
otherwise.
It was when the first web forums started. I'm puzzled as to why, when
Usenet people joined those nascent web forums, they didn't talk the
newbies into moving to Usenet, which not only had a better user
interface, but at the time had far more message traffic.
You don't seem to understand that there are a bunch of people who are
paralyzed at the idea that they might have to memorize a command or
learn a keystroke. The "better user interface" isn't better for people
who'd have to learn how to use a terminal.

-- Alan
Keith F. Lynch
2009-03-24 02:36:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alan Winston - SSRL Central Computing
You don't seem to understand that there are a bunch of people who
are paralyzed at the idea that they might have to memorize a command
or learn a keystroke. The "better user interface" isn't better for
people who'd have to learn how to use a terminal.
Usenet is no harder to learn to use than web forums are. There's no
such thing as an intuitive user interface.
--
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.
Alan Winston - SSRL Central Computing
2009-03-24 04:03:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by Alan Winston - SSRL Central Computing
You don't seem to understand that there are a bunch of people who
are paralyzed at the idea that they might have to memorize a command
or learn a keystroke. The "better user interface" isn't better for
people who'd have to learn how to use a terminal.
Usenet is no harder to learn to use than web forums are. There's no
such thing as an intuitive user interface.
Dude, I totally didn't make any claim about intuitive user interfaces, nor
about the superiority of web vs terminal _in the abstract_. (Of course,
there's no such thing as the Usenet user interface, any more than there
is such a thing as the email user interface. So your response is a
non-sequitur.

But you have to understand that most of the people using computers now don't
understand computers, don't know what's going on with computers, may be to
some degree scared of computers. They're kinda comfortable with a browser,
although they don't really necessarily understand the difference between the
software installed on their machine and what they use it for - eg, they think
they're launching "my Yahoo account" when they're launching the browser.


It's really not worthwhile trying to get those people to get a shell account,
install a terminal, and teach them how to use an editor to make their Usenet
posts, nor to get them to install a PC-based newsreader and get a feed, etc,
when they can have online conversation in a pointy-clicky environment without
having to (knowingly) install anything or learn anything.

-- Alan
Doug Wickstrom
2009-04-01 02:26:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alan Winston - SSRL Central Computing
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by Alan Winston - SSRL Central Computing
You don't seem to understand that there are a bunch of people who
are paralyzed at the idea that they might have to memorize a command
or learn a keystroke. The "better user interface" isn't better for
people who'd have to learn how to use a terminal.
Usenet is no harder to learn to use than web forums are. There's no
such thing as an intuitive user interface.
Dude, I totally didn't make any claim about intuitive user interfaces, nor
about the superiority of web vs terminal _in the abstract_. (Of course,
there's no such thing as the Usenet user interface, any more than there
is such a thing as the email user interface. So your response is a
non-sequitur.
Actually there is, in the sense that at some point you have to
enter the address of the server, the address or login name of the
user, and a password. And that's where your main point, below,
comes in.
Post by Alan Winston - SSRL Central Computing
But you have to understand that most of the people using computers now don't
understand computers, don't know what's going on with computers, may be to
some degree scared of computers. They're kinda comfortable with a browser,
although they don't really necessarily understand the difference between the
software installed on their machine and what they use it for - eg, they think
they're launching "my Yahoo account" when they're launching the browser.
Most people now using e-mail don't even realize they probably
have a built-in mail client, and don't have to use their ISP's
clunky and slow webmail interface. And if they did, they'd have
to do the same with their mail client as with a new client. My
mother, for example, who was an actual computer programmer in the
'70s and '80s, is scared stiff of interacting with the actual
machine using the keyboard, and much prefers doing everything
with a mouse. She never even used to _see_ her company's
computers. Hardware, even with very simply interfaces,
overwhelms her.
--
Doug Wickström
har fiol, vill resa
Keith F. Lynch
2009-04-04 03:56:58 UTC
Permalink
Of course, there's no such thing as the Usenet user interface, any
more than there is such a thing as the email user interface.
Actually there is, in the sense that at some point you have to enter
the address of the server, the address or login name of the user,
and a password.
To post here on Panix, I don't have to do any of that. I have to log
into Panix itself, with a username and password, of course, but after
that I just type "rn" -- no need for any other information.
Most people now using e-mail don't even realize they probably have a
built-in mail client, and don't have to use their ISP's clunky and
slow webmail interface.
Built-in to what? I generally send mail from within trn, by pressing
r, which brings up emacs with an email header already in the buffer.
Nothing to do with the web.
--
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.
Kevrob
2009-04-06 15:07:30 UTC
Permalink
Of course, there's no such thing as the Usenet user interface, any
more than there is such a thing as the email user interface.
Actually there is, in the sense that at some point you have to enter
the address of the server, the address or login name of the user,
and a password.
To post here on Panix, I don't have to do any of that.  I have to log
into Panix itself, with a username and password, of course, but after
that I just type "rn" -- no need for any other information.
Most people now using e-mail don't even realize they probably have a
built-in mail client, and don't have to use their ISP's clunky and
slow webmail interface.
Built-in to what?  
Built into an M$ Windoze product, which _most people_ have, or use.

[e. g. : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outlook_Express ]

One reason for the popularity of web-based newsreading and/or e-mail
would be folks who are not in charge of what's on "their computer." I
started on USENET before I ever owned a computer, using one at my job,
or publicly available machines at libraries and cybercafes. When I
did buy a computer I found that I didn't care for a main e-mail
address that had to change everytime I switched ISPs, and I wasn't
going to go to the bother of setting up my own domain name.

When I've owned my own computer and signed up for ISP service, I've
never seen the need to depend on a mail/news client. I've used
Outlook Express at work, but at home it has mainly been a backup for
various free web-based services. I've never been one for sending email
in any sort of quantity, and rarely attach files of any size, so
that's worked for me.

Kevin
Marcus L. Rowland
2009-04-06 22:45:35 UTC
Permalink
In message
Post by Kevrob
Of course, there's no such thing as the Usenet user interface, any
more than there is such a thing as the email user interface.
Actually there is, in the sense that at some point you have to enter
the address of the server, the address or login name of the user,
and a password.
To post here on Panix, I don't have to do any of that.  I have to log
into Panix itself, with a username and password, of course, but after
that I just type "rn" -- no need for any other information.
Most people now using e-mail don't even realize they probably have a
built-in mail client, and don't have to use their ISP's clunky and
slow webmail interface.
Built-in to what?  
Built into an M$ Windoze product, which _most people_ have, or use.
[e. g. : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outlook_Express ]
One reason for the popularity of web-based newsreading and/or e-mail
would be folks who are not in charge of what's on "their computer." I
started on USENET before I ever owned a computer, using one at my job,
or publicly available machines at libraries and cybercafes. When I
did buy a computer I found that I didn't care for a main e-mail
address that had to change everytime I switched ISPs, and I wasn't
going to go to the bother of setting up my own domain name.
When I've owned my own computer and signed up for ISP service, I've
never seen the need to depend on a mail/news client. I've used
Outlook Express at work, but at home it has mainly been a backup for
various free web-based services. I've never been one for sending email
in any sort of quantity, and rarely attach files of any size, so
that's worked for me.
Kevin
There's a reason why people don't like to use Outlook Express - after
Internet Explorer it's the program most targeted by virus and malware
writers. There are plenty of alternatives that are less likely to cause
problems.
--
Marcus L. Rowland http://www.forgottenfutures.com/
http://www.forgottenfutures.org/
LJ:ffutures http://www.forgottenfutures.co.uk/
Forgotten Futures - The Scientific Romance Role Playing Game
Diana: Warrior Princess & Elvis: The Legendary Tours
The Original Flatland Role Playing Game
Kevrob
2009-04-07 17:14:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marcus L. Rowland
In message
There's a reason why people don't like to use Outlook Express - after
Internet Explorer it's the program most targeted by virus and malware
writers. There are plenty of alternatives that are less likely to cause
problems.
--
I knew that was a problem. I remember that some years ago we had to
retrain everyone at work to avoid using the preview function on
incoming emails, because various nastiness might launch. At some
point we got around to installing antivirus software, but there's no
getting around the fact that, since M$ products are most popular,
those who want to spread evil code most widely make them Target 1.

At least in setting up OE I became familiar with what a mail/news
client does, and how to configure one to communicate with the mail and
news servers. I gather a significant # of casual users haven't
learned about that.

Kevin
Keith F. Lynch
2009-04-09 02:06:24 UTC
Permalink
I remember that some years ago we had to retrain everyone at work to
avoid using the preview function on incoming emails, because various
nastiness might launch.
It's not even safe to *preview* a message to check if it might not be
safe? Clever design, that.
At some point we got around to installing antivirus software, but
there's no getting around the fact that, since M$ products are most
popular, those who want to spread evil code most widely make them
Target 1.
There's some truth to that, but if Microsoft wrote their code right,
it would be utterly impervious to "evil code" except when someone
chooses to knowingly install and run software they find in an email
or on a web page. There's a big difference between "I want to view
the contents of this email" and "I want to run code that's attached
to this email." There's a big difference between "I want to view
the contents of this web page" and "I want to run code that can be
downloaded from this website." Microsoft deliberately chose to not
only blur that distinction, but to override users' choices when they
attempt to make that distinction using Microsoft software.
--
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.
Paul Treadaway
2009-04-09 09:19:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
There's some truth to that, but if Microsoft wrote their code right,
it would be utterly impervious to "evil code" except when someone
chooses to knowingly install and run software they find in an email
or on a web page. There's a big difference between "I want to view
the contents of this email" and "I want to run code that's attached
to this email." There's a big difference between "I want to view
the contents of this web page" and "I want to run code that can be
downloaded from this website." Microsoft deliberately chose to not
only blur that distinction, but to override users' choices when they
attempt to make that distinction using Microsoft software.
Are we sure it was deliberate? After all, Microsoft came late to this
stuff - I got the impression that IE (for example) was a rush job to
get them a toehold in the market (that at the time was dominated
by Netscape, which had overtaken Mosaic). Are you sure they
didn't just not think of these things? And given that there were
exploits in e.g. their buggy image rendering in some versions,
would it even have made much difference if they had? The
problem is surely their tendency to get something out as quickly
as possible, on the assumption that they can just fix the bugs in
later versions or with patches.

Alan Woodford
2009-03-24 06:54:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by Alan Winston - SSRL Central Computing
You don't seem to understand that there are a bunch of people who
are paralyzed at the idea that they might have to memorize a command
or learn a keystroke. The "better user interface" isn't better for
people who'd have to learn how to use a terminal.
Usenet is no harder to learn to use than web forums are. There's no
such thing as an intuitive user interface.
At the end of the day, i\t\ g\e\ts\ d\a\r\k\ it doesn't matter what
the interface is like, it's what the people and conversations are
like.

This is, and pretty much always has been, the only usenet group I lurk
in, but that's OK, there are interesting people holding mostly
interesting conversations.

The one web forum I lurk on is pretty similar in overall feel.

Lots of interesting people, a few not so much, and plenty of
interesting conversations.

In a lot of ways, the overall dynamic is a lot like RASFF at it's
peak, before lots of people wandered off to the blogosphere.

And a fair number of the regulars know what usenet is :-)

There are differences, of course - it would be difficult to have a
multi-thousand post image association game here - but the similarities
are much more impressive than the differences.

Alan Woodford
The Greying Lensman
Paul Treadaway
2009-03-25 01:35:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by Alan Winston - SSRL Central Computing
You don't seem to understand that there are a bunch of people who
are paralyzed at the idea that they might have to memorize a command
or learn a keystroke. The "better user interface" isn't better for
people who'd have to learn how to use a terminal.
Usenet is no harder to learn to use than web forums are. There's no
such thing as an intuitive user interface.
The human body?
Alan Winston - SSRL Central Computing
2009-03-25 02:54:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Treadaway
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by Alan Winston - SSRL Central Computing
You don't seem to understand that there are a bunch of people who
are paralyzed at the idea that they might have to memorize a command
or learn a keystroke. The "better user interface" isn't better for
people who'd have to learn how to use a terminal.
Usenet is no harder to learn to use than web forums are. There's no
such thing as an intuitive user interface.
The human body?
I don't think so. (You kind of have to learn to walk; most people have to
learn how to give pleasure to sexual partners; women often have to learn
how to give themselves orgasms. And post-stroke or other trauma, you often
have to relearn other physical activities. So I think it's not entirely
intuitive either for the resident or for someone else working on it.)

-- Alan
Keith F. Lynch
2009-03-25 02:14:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Treadaway
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Usenet is no harder to learn to use than web forums are. There's
no such thing as an intuitive user interface.
The human body?
I don't think so, otherwise small children wouldn't be clumsy, nor
would virgins be bad at sex.
--
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.
Karl Johanson
2009-03-25 05:41:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by Paul Treadaway
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Usenet is no harder to learn to use than web forums are. There's
no such thing as an intuitive user interface.
The human body?
I don't think so, otherwise small children wouldn't be clumsy, nor
would virgins be bad at sex.
None of the virgins I've had sex with were bad at it.
Paul Treadaway
2009-03-25 13:01:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by Paul Treadaway
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Usenet is no harder to learn to use than web forums are. There's
no such thing as an intuitive user interface.
The human body?
I don't think so, otherwise small children wouldn't be clumsy, nor
would virgins be bad at sex.
I would consider an intuitive UI to be one that one can use without
being taught. I don't think getting better with practice makes a UI
non-intuitive - surely it's true of all UIs?
Keith F. Lynch
2009-03-25 23:59:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Treadaway
I would consider an intuitive UI to be one that one can use without
being taught. I don't think getting better with practice makes a UI
non-intuitive - surely it's true of all UIs?
To me, "intuitive" means you fully understand how to use it as soon as
you see it. By your definition, *everything* is intuitive, since you
can learn anything without being taught, given sufficient time and
sufficient trial-and-error.

The big selling point of graphical user interfaces was that they were
supposedly intuitive. You were supposed to be able to take your Apple
Lisa out of the box, plug it in, and start using it, with no manual
and no instruction. They of course turned out not to be. They are
learnable, but no more learnable than other kind of user interface,
and often less so, as well as less powerful, less flexible, slower,
and buggier.
--
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.
David V. Loewe, Jr
2009-03-26 00:16:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by Paul Treadaway
I would consider an intuitive UI to be one that one can use without
being taught. I don't think getting better with practice makes a UI
non-intuitive - surely it's true of all UIs?
To me, "intuitive" means you fully understand how to use it as soon as
you see it. By your definition, *everything* is intuitive,
By your apparent definition, *nothing* is intuitive.
Post by Keith F. Lynch
since you
can learn anything without being taught, given sufficient time and
sufficient trial-and-error.
The big selling point of graphical user interfaces was that they were
supposedly intuitive. You were supposed to be able to take your Apple
Lisa out of the box, plug it in, and start using it, with no manual
and no instruction. They of course turned out not to be. They are
learnable, but no more learnable than other kind of user interface,
and often less so, as well as less powerful, less flexible, slower,
and buggier.
--
"Nothing shocks me. I'm a scientist."
- Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones
Keith F. Lynch
2009-03-26 01:53:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by David V. Loewe, Jr
Post by Keith F. Lynch
To me, "intuitive" means you fully understand how to use it as soon
as you see it. By your definition, *everything* is intuitive,
By your apparent definition, *nothing* is intuitive.
Probably true. Though some things are effectively intuitive in a
society all of whose members were exposed to those things in early
childhood. Would how to stack cubical blocks be obvious to someone
who had never seen any such things? Maybe if infants are all exposed
to GUI computer interfaces, they will grow up to find them intuitive.
Of course this would require unprecedented stability in computer
interterface design.
--
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.
Alan Winston - SSRL Central Computing
2009-03-26 08:50:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by Paul Treadaway
I would consider an intuitive UI to be one that one can use without
being taught. I don't think getting better with practice makes a UI
non-intuitive - surely it's true of all UIs?
To me, "intuitive" means you fully understand how to use it as soon as
you see it. By your definition, *everything* is intuitive, since you
can learn anything without being taught, given sufficient time and
sufficient trial-and-error.
The big selling point of graphical user interfaces was that they were
supposedly intuitive. You were supposed to be able to take your Apple
Lisa out of the box, plug it in, and start using it, with no manual
and no instruction. They of course turned out not to be. They are
learnable, but no more learnable than other kind of user interface,
and often less so, as well as less powerful, less flexible, slower,
and buggier.
One difference is that WIMP interfaces allow more random experimentation. You
can click around, pull down menus, and see what happens. This fits better with
some people's styles. (Lorimar bought a Lisa for the Finance manager when I
was there in the early-mid1980s. He was not a computer guy, but in fact he
became productive on the thing pretty quickly.)

-- Alan
Paul Treadaway
2009-03-26 22:36:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by Paul Treadaway
I would consider an intuitive UI to be one that one can use without
being taught. I don't think getting better with practice makes a UI
non-intuitive - surely it's true of all UIs?
To me, "intuitive" means you fully understand how to use it as soon as
you see it. By your definition, *everything* is intuitive, since you
can learn anything without being taught, given sufficient time and
sufficient trial-and-error.
I don't think so. Put in front of a command line interface (such as
MS-DOS or a Unix shell, I doubt someone with no prior knowledge
could work it out by trial and error, and most would give up very
quickly (which we can count as an infinite amount of time).

Presumably given an infinite number of monkeys, one would
randomly be an intuitive Unix guru. See also Borges. However
humans only have a finite amount of time on the planet.
Post by Keith F. Lynch
The big selling point of graphical user interfaces was that they were
supposedly intuitive. You were supposed to be able to take your Apple
Lisa out of the box, plug it in, and start using it, with no manual
and no instruction. They of course turned out not to be. They are
learnable, but no more learnable than other kind of user interface,
and often less so, as well as less powerful, less flexible, slower,
and buggier.
I would say WIMP is slightly more intuitive - by trial and error
someone with no prior knowledge is likely to work out moving
mouse makes the pointer move, clicking the mouse makes
things happen and so on. To actually use it productively
certainly requires training. Certainly it isn't as intuitive as
claimed by those who marketed it, but I think the average
person would get further than with a command line, though
it's likely their understanding would be phenomenological.
Keith F. Lynch
2009-03-27 01:38:44 UTC
Permalink
By your definition, *everything* is intuitive, since you can learn
anything without being taught, given sufficient time and sufficient
trial-and-error.
I don't think so. Put in front of a command line interface (such
as MS-DOS or a Unix shell, I doubt someone with no prior knowledge
could work it out by trial and error, and most would give up very
quickly (which we can count as an infinite amount of time).
I agree that it would take a long time, even if the user can read and
type English. I think it would take weeks, not decades, but most
people would give up in a matter of hours.

But if you tell them that the help command is called "man" (short for
manual), I think it would be doable, and probably at least as fast as
learning a GUI interface.
I would say WIMP is slightly more intuitive - by trial and error
someone with no prior knowledge is likely to work out moving mouse
makes the pointer move, clicking the mouse makes things happen and
so on.
I read about one user who tried using a first-generation MacIntosh
without any instructions or manuals. They gave up after several
hours. It had never occurred to them to *double* click the mouse.

Of course the most important thing about a user interface isn't how
quickly it can be learned by someone with no instructions or manuals,
or even how quickly it can be learned by someone *with* instructions
and manuals, but how useful it is once learned.
--
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.
David Friedman
2009-03-27 03:30:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by Paul Treadaway
I would say WIMP is slightly more intuitive - by trial and error
someone with no prior knowledge is likely to work out moving mouse
makes the pointer move, clicking the mouse makes things happen and
so on.
I read about one user who tried using a first-generation MacIntosh
without any instructions or manuals. They gave up after several
hours. It had never occurred to them to *double* click the mouse.
I did the experiment and got a different result.

At some point very long ago, when the Mac was pretty new, I had some
work that needed to be done on a Mac by a secretary at the university
where I was working. I brought my Mac in for her to do it; she had never
used one.

About an hour to get going, including the time to set it up.
--
http://www.daviddfriedman.com/ http://daviddfriedman.blogspot.com/
Author of
_Future Imperfect: Technology and Freedom in an Uncertain World_,
Cambridge University Press.
Keith F. Lynch
2009-03-30 02:44:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Friedman
Post by Keith F. Lynch
I read about one user who tried using a first-generation MacIntosh
without any instructions or manuals. They gave up after several
hours. It had never occurred to them to *double* click the mouse.
I did the experiment and got a different result.
At some point very long ago, when the Mac was pretty new, I had
some work that needed to be done on a Mac by a secretary at the
university where I was working. I brought my Mac in for her to
do it; she had never used one.
About an hour to get going, including the time to set it up.
Did she have a manual? An instruction sheet? Did anyone tell her to
double-click rather than single-click? Could she have already learned
that somewhere?
--
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.
David Friedman
2009-03-30 05:01:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by David Friedman
Post by Keith F. Lynch
I read about one user who tried using a first-generation MacIntosh
without any instructions or manuals. They gave up after several
hours. It had never occurred to them to *double* click the mouse.
I did the experiment and got a different result.
At some point very long ago, when the Mac was pretty new, I had
some work that needed to be done on a Mac by a secretary at the
university where I was working. I brought my Mac in for her to
do it; she had never used one.
About an hour to get going, including the time to set it up.
Did she have a manual? An instruction sheet? Did anyone tell her to
double-click rather than single-click? Could she have already learned
that somewhere?
It would have been well before the existence of Windows, so she is
unlikely to have encountered a graphical interface. I probably gave her
some verbal instructions, but it's long enough ago that I don't remember.
--
http://www.daviddfriedman.com/ http://daviddfriedman.blogspot.com/
Author of
_Future Imperfect: Technology and Freedom in an Uncertain World_,
Cambridge University Press.
Paul Treadaway
2009-03-28 00:55:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
By your definition, *everything* is intuitive, since you can learn
anything without being taught, given sufficient time and sufficient
trial-and-error.
I don't think so. Put in front of a command line interface (such
as MS-DOS or a Unix shell, I doubt someone with no prior knowledge
could work it out by trial and error, and most would give up very
quickly (which we can count as an infinite amount of time).
I agree that it would take a long time, even if the user can read and
type English. I think it would take weeks, not decades, but most
people would give up in a matter of hours.
If you had a natural language interface it might be as quick as that,
but then you're getting into the realms of AI.
Post by Keith F. Lynch
But if you tell them that the help command is called "man" (short for
manual), I think it would be doable, and probably at least as fast as
learning a GUI interface.
That counts as training them. To be intuitive an interface must
be learnable with no help system or man pages. In fact if there
are man pages or equivalent, then that's a pretty good
indication that it's not intuitive, and the minimum amount of
user documentation required is a fair measure of how
non-intuitive it is.
Post by Keith F. Lynch
I would say WIMP is slightly more intuitive - by trial and error
someone with no prior knowledge is likely to work out moving mouse
makes the pointer move, clicking the mouse makes things happen and
so on.
I read about one user who tried using a first-generation MacIntosh
without any instructions or manuals. They gave up after several
hours. It had never occurred to them to *double* click the mouse.
Of course the most important thing about a user interface isn't how
quickly it can be learned by someone with no instructions or manuals,
or even how quickly it can be learned by someone *with* instructions
and manuals, but how useful it is once learned.
Well yes, but that's a different question (and the answer will probably
be different for different people as well).
Keith F. Lynch
2009-03-28 21:33:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Treadaway
Post by Keith F. Lynch
I don't think so. Put in front of a command line interface (such
as MS-DOS or a Unix shell, I doubt someone with no prior knowledge
could work it out by trial and error, and most would give up very
quickly (which we can count as an infinite amount of time).
I agree that it would take a long time, even if the user can read
and type English. I think it would take weeks, not decades, but
most people would give up in a matter of hours.
If you had a natural language interface it might be as quick as
that, but then you're getting into the realms of AI.
If it had a natural language and AI interface it *would* be intuitive
to anyone who can read and type English.

I said weeks. On further thought, I think it would probably take less
than one week, assuming the person spent eight hours every day working
at it. Of course this would be a silly and tedious thing to do if
there was a manual or instructor available, but it could be done.
Numerous persistent hackers have done similar or more difficult things.

I'm assuming that you're logged in. Successfully guessing usernames
and corresponding passwords *would* take decades, if good passwords
had been chosen. So you're at a prmpt. You try typing things. You
see that those things simply echo back at you. Except when you press
the <enter> key, in which case you get an error message. The error
message is usually generic (e.g. "abc: Command not found."), but for
valid commands it's different and often somewhat informative (e.g.

cp

usage: cp [-R [-H | -L | -P]] [-f | -i] [-pv] src target
cp [-R [-H | -L | -P]] [-f | -i] [-pv] src1 ... srcN directory

cp abc def

cp: abc: No such file or directory

). Eventually you'll stumble on the man (manual) command, and from
that point it's easy. Note that there are only 17,576 combinations
of three letters. That may sound like a lot, but if you can type one
such combination per second -- a fairly slow typing speed -- that's
less than five hours.

If the system has a help command called "help," which many do,
inclduing Panix, you're likely to find it almost at once.
Post by Paul Treadaway
Post by Keith F. Lynch
But if you tell them that the help command is called "man" (short
for manual), I think it would be doable, and probably at least as
fast as learning a GUI interface.
That counts as training them. To be intuitive an interface must be
learnable with no help system or man pages.
As I said, I wouldn't call it intuitive unless it needs no learning.
I don't believe there are any intuitive user interfaces. And I do
think Unix, DOS, VMS, etc., could be learned even without any help
system or man pages, though it would take longer.
Post by Paul Treadaway
In fact if there are man pages or equivalent, then that's a pretty
good indication that it's not intuitive, and the minimum amount of
user documentation required is a fair measure of how non-intuitive
it is.
Required for what? If it takes an enormous amount of reading before
the user can do *anything* useful, I'd agree. But I've never seen any
such user interface. (At least not for computers. The legal system
is such a system, which is why it's unwise to do much with it without
a lawyer, and why it takes years or training for anyone to become even
a mediocre lawyer.)

If a system is *powerful*, it will have a lot of documentation, since
it can do many different things, each of which needs documenting.
--
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.
Paul Treadaway
2009-03-29 00:19:39 UTC
Permalink
"Keith F. Lynch" <***@KeithLynch.net> wrote in news:gqm53j$2ss$***@panix2.panix.com:
[...]
Post by Keith F. Lynch
I'm assuming that you're logged in. Successfully guessing usernames
and corresponding passwords *would* take decades, if good passwords
had been chosen. So you're at a prmpt. You try typing things. You
see that those things simply echo back at you. Except when you press
the <enter> key, in which case you get an error message. The error
message is usually generic (e.g. "abc: Command not found."), but for
valid commands it's different and often somewhat informative (e.g.
cp
usage: cp [-R [-H | -L | -P]] [-f | -i] [-pv] src target
cp [-R [-H | -L | -P]] [-f | -i] [-pv] src1 ... srcN directory
cp abc def
cp: abc: No such file or directory
But how will you ever work out that cp is copy a file?
Post by Keith F. Lynch
). Eventually you'll stumble on the man (manual) command, and from
that point it's easy. Note that there are only 17,576 combinations
of three letters. That may sound like a lot, but if you can type one
such combination per second -- a fairly slow typing speed -- that's
less than five hours.
Well as I say, man or help counts as being taught. Having worked
for many years on a helpdesk, and dealt with countless queries to
which the correct (but not permitted) response was RTFM, this will
train a fair proportion of users. Maybe as many as 50%. The rest
will remain clueless.
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by Paul Treadaway
That counts as training them. To be intuitive an interface must be
learnable with no help system or man pages.
As I said, I wouldn't call it intuitive unless it needs no learning.
I don't believe there are any intuitive user interfaces.
Well I still stick with my original answer - the human body. I'm
pretty sure that a human baby, raised in isolation and not taught
anything, would intuitively master their body to some extent. Of
course they would seem pretty odd within any particular culture.
I would guess it might one day be feasible to design a UI that is
intuitive to the same degree, but I would certainly agree that
there are currently no man made UIs that are intuitive.
Post by Keith F. Lynch
And I do
think Unix, DOS, VMS, etc., could be learned even without any help
system or man pages, though it would take longer.
I find that hard to believe.
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by Paul Treadaway
In fact if there are man pages or equivalent, then that's a pretty
good indication that it's not intuitive, and the minimum amount of
user documentation required is a fair measure of how non-intuitive
it is.
Required for what? If it takes an enormous amount of reading before
the user can do *anything* useful, I'd agree.
Yes, that's pretty much the point. How much reading is required to
do anything useful is a reasonable metric for how intuitive the UI is.
Post by Keith F. Lynch
But I've never seen any
such user interface. (At least not for computers. The legal system
is such a system, which is why it's unwise to do much with it without
a lawyer, and why it takes years or training for anyone to become even
a mediocre lawyer.)
Well yes, there are many kinds of UI. The standard measure would
be whether your paleolithic ancestors would recognise it, I suppose.
Anything developed more recently is likely to be non-intuitive.
Post by Keith F. Lynch
If a system is *powerful*, it will have a lot of documentation, since
it can do many different things, each of which needs documenting.
Unless it is intuitive, in which case it will need no documentation.
Presumably once we get to UIs at that level we will be on the
verge of The Singularity.
Dorothy J Heydt
2009-03-29 01:42:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Treadaway
Well as I say, man or help counts as being taught. Having worked
for many years on a helpdesk, and dealt with countless queries to
which the correct (but not permitted) response was RTFM, this will
train a fair proportion of users. Maybe as many as 50%. The rest
will remain clueless.
Cliff Stoll tells in _The Cuckoo's Egg_, IIRC, that the
proper response at LBL was "Don't tell me to RTFM if you
WTFM."

Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at hotmail dot com
Should you wish to email me, you'd better use the hotmail edress.
Kithrup is getting too damn much spam, even with the sysop's filters.
Keith F. Lynch
2009-03-29 20:16:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Treadaway
But how will you ever work out that cp is copy a file?
You're assuming that the man (manual) command has been deliberately
removed for some reason?

$ cp

usage: cp [-R [-H | -L | -P]] [-f | -i] [-pv] src target
cp [-R [-H | -L | -P]] [-f | -i] [-pv] src1 ... srcN directory

$ cp abc

usage: cp [-R [-H | -L | -P]] [-f | -i] [-pv] src target
cp [-R [-H | -L | -P]] [-f | -i] [-pv] src1 ... srcN directory

$ cp abc def

cp: abc: No such file or directory

These error messages imply that the cp command requires two arguments,
and that the first argument to the cp command is the name of a file or
directory which should exist for the command to work. You may not get
much further with cp until you discover the ls command:

$ ls abc

ls: abc: No such file or directory

$ ls abc def

ls: abc: No such file or directory
ls: def: No such file or directory

$ ls abc def ghi

ls: abc: No such file or directory
ls: def: No such file or directory
ls: ghi: No such file or directory

It appears to take any number of arguments, each of which should be a
file or directory that exists. The ls command with no arguments will
do nothing if there are no files. If there are files, it will list
them. Assume there's one file, and it's called abc:

$ ls

abc

$ ls abc

abc

$ ls def

ls: def: No such file or directory

$ cp abc def

$ ls

abc def

That's clear enough, I think. But what if there are no files? Then
you'd have to create one. Assuming you tried every one-character
command in alphabetic order, then every two-character command in
alphabetic order, I think the first command that would create a file
would be "as". You'd be stuck in "as" until you happened to press
control-C or control-Z, either of which would get you back to the
prompt. After that, "ls" would show you that you have a file named
"a.out".

$ ls

a.out

$ cp a.out a.out

cp: a.out and a.out are identical (not copied).

$ cp a.out foo

$ ls

a.out foo

That's clear enough, I think. So now you know what cp does.

If you're on a multi-user system such as Panix, then the single-letter
command "w" would have given you a listing of all the users who are
on, together with what command they are running. This gives you a
list of commands you can try. It looks something like this:

4:02PM up 6 days, 8:26, 75 users, load averages: 0.66, 0.85, 0.66
USER TTY FROM LOGIN@ IDLE WHAT
kfl pts/16 mva1-dial1.popsite.net 1:50PM 0 w

I've edited out all the users except myself, to protect their privacy.
But here are the commands they are currently running:

(pine-4.64-uwmail)
-bash
-ksh
-ksh93
-tcsh
-usr/local/bin/tcsh
-zsh
/bin/ksh -i -o /bin/
/usr/bin/more -s /tm
/usr/local/bin/elm-2
/usr/local/bin/ksh
/usr/local/bin/vim /
alpine
centerim -a
emacs
irssi
lily
lynx
lynx nytimes
mutt
sleep 10
sleep 60
ssh
tf
trn4
vim setup/cmajor.sch
w

That would give you plenty to play with. Emacs, for instance, has its
own help system. Or are you assuming that's been removed too?
Post by Paul Treadaway
Well as I say, man or help counts as being taught.
I'm not claiming that it's *intuitive*. I am claiming that it
wouldn't require a teacher's time.
Post by Paul Treadaway
Having worked for many years on a helpdesk, and dealt with countless
queries to which the correct (but not permitted) response was RTFM,
this will train a fair proportion of users. Maybe as many as 50%.
The rest will remain clueless.
I'm not claiming *everyone* can learn that way, or even that everyone
can learn at all.
Post by Paul Treadaway
Unless it is intuitive, in which case it will need no documentation.
Presumably once we get to UIs at that level we will be on the verge
of The Singularity.
Either the enhancement is to the user's brain, which is just another
kind of teaching, or else the interface is a true AI, in which case
you're bootstrapping off the effort they took to learn English.
--
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.
Paul Treadaway
2009-03-30 17:56:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by Paul Treadaway
But how will you ever work out that cp is copy a file?
You're assuming that the man (manual) command has been deliberately
removed for some reason?
Or the man pages were never installed (I've actual had that on some
systems). But in terms of the original question, yes if we wanted to
judge how intuitive it was we might imagine designing an experiment
that involves getting someone with no experience of that kind of
interface to use a system with man/help disabled.
Post by Keith F. Lynch
$ cp
usage: cp [-R [-H | -L | -P]] [-f | -i] [-pv] src target
cp [-R [-H | -L | -P]] [-f | -i] [-pv] src1 ... srcN directory
$ cp abc
usage: cp [-R [-H | -L | -P]] [-f | -i] [-pv] src target
cp [-R [-H | -L | -P]] [-f | -i] [-pv] src1 ... srcN directory
$ cp abc def
cp: abc: No such file or directory
These error messages imply that the cp command requires two arguments,
and that the first argument to the cp command is the name of a file or
directory which should exist for the command to work. You may not get
Whilst it implies that to you and me, it may not imply that to
everyone. In my experience a lot of people treat error
messages as a foreign language that they have no hope of
understanding, and so they don't try. I think you are
assuming a particular kind of person in your examples,
and in reality many people would not make the inferences
you expect.

[...]
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by Paul Treadaway
Well as I say, man or help counts as being taught.
I'm not claiming that it's *intuitive*. I am claiming that it
wouldn't require a teacher's time.
I thought degrees of 'intuitiveness' are what we were
discussing.
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by Paul Treadaway
Having worked for many years on a helpdesk, and dealt with countless
queries to which the correct (but not permitted) response was RTFM,
this will train a fair proportion of users. Maybe as many as 50%.
The rest will remain clueless.
I'm not claiming *everyone* can learn that way, or even that everyone
can learn at all.
I would say that a defining feature of an intuitive interface would
be that almost everyone could learn it.
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by Paul Treadaway
Unless it is intuitive, in which case it will need no documentation.
Presumably once we get to UIs at that level we will be on the verge
of The Singularity.
Either the enhancement is to the user's brain, which is just another
kind of teaching, or else the interface is a true AI, in which case
you're bootstrapping off the effort they took to learn English.
I was also thinking of possible virtual reality interfaces, where
you would have the illusion of carrying out the sort of actions
that humans have always done (such as picking things up
using hands).
Keith F. Lynch
2009-03-31 02:12:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Treadaway
Post by Keith F. Lynch
These error messages imply that the cp command requires two
arguments, and that the first argument to the cp command is the
name of a file or directory which should exist for the command
to work. You may not get much further with cp until you discover
Whilst it implies that to you and me, it may not imply that to
everyone. In my experience a lot of people treat error messages as
a foreign language that they have no hope of understanding, and so
they don't try.
That's certainly true of some error messages, from the inscrutable
error codes on old IBM mainframes (e.g. "IEF285I") to the wordless
frowny face on the original MacIntosh. Some Unix error messages
aren't much better (e.g. "Not a typewriter"). But a response of
"cp: abc: No such file or directory" to "cp abc def" certainly
implies what I said.

I'm assuming the user knows that the first word is the command. He
could learn that by the response to invalid commands. For instance
"abc: Command not found." in response to "abc" or to "abc def."
Post by Paul Treadaway
I think you are assuming a particular kind of person in your
examples, and in reality many people would not make the inferences
you expect.
Yes, I'm assuming a user who is intelligent, motivated, and not
frightened of offending the computer or its owner or sysop by
making too many mistakes.
Post by Paul Treadaway
I would say that a defining feature of an intuitive interface would
be that almost everyone could learn it.
I don't think "intuitive" is the right word for that property.
Post by Paul Treadaway
I was also thinking of possible virtual reality interfaces, where
you would have the illusion of carrying out the sort of actions that
humans have always done (such as picking things up using hands).
Whether that is possible depends on the task. For point-and-click
kinds of tasks, such as playing a first-person-shooter video game,
point-and-click user interfaces work well. For verbal or mathematical
tasks, not so well. A Wii controller is no substitute for a keyboard
-- or vice versa.
--
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.
Paul Treadaway
2009-03-31 23:50:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Yes, I'm assuming a user who is intelligent, motivated, and not
frightened of offending the computer or its owner or sysop by
making too many mistakes.
I think that excludes most of the population.
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by Paul Treadaway
I would say that a defining feature of an intuitive interface would
be that almost everyone could learn it.
I don't think "intuitive" is the right word for that property.
What word would you use then?
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by Paul Treadaway
I was also thinking of possible virtual reality interfaces, where
you would have the illusion of carrying out the sort of actions that
humans have always done (such as picking things up using hands).
Whether that is possible depends on the task. For point-and-click
kinds of tasks, such as playing a first-person-shooter video game,
point-and-click user interfaces work well. For verbal or mathematical
tasks, not so well. A Wii controller is no substitute for a keyboard
-- or vice versa.
Well picking things up in one place and putting them down in
another in a 3D environment such as the ones we all physically
inhabit is surely more intuitive than 2D drag and drop, for
example. Verbal tasks sound like they could be accomplished
by speech recognition easily enough, unless you're talking
about written language, but then that is in itself a non-intuitive
interface (otherwise it wouldn't have taken so long to invent it).
Doug Wickstrom
2009-04-01 02:35:54 UTC
Permalink
On 26 Mar 2009 21:38:44 -0400, "Keith F. Lynch"
Post by Keith F. Lynch
By your definition, *everything* is intuitive, since you can learn
anything without being taught, given sufficient time and sufficient
trial-and-error.
I don't think so. Put in front of a command line interface (such
as MS-DOS or a Unix shell, I doubt someone with no prior knowledge
could work it out by trial and error, and most would give up very
quickly (which we can count as an infinite amount of time).
I agree that it would take a long time, even if the user can read and
type English. I think it would take weeks, not decades, but most
people would give up in a matter of hours.
But if you tell them that the help command is called "man" (short for
manual), I think it would be doable, and probably at least as fast as
learning a GUI interface.
And when you leave that command line interface for one which the
help command is called "help," instead, which _is_ actually
semi-intuitive, at least much more that "man"?

Then there are the command-line interfaces that don't have a help
command, but five or six fat manuals sitting somewhere on a shelf
in someone else's office, because storage space is _expensive_.
--
Doug Wickström
har fiol, vill resa
Michael Stemper
2009-04-01 13:08:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Doug Wickstrom
Post by Keith F. Lynch
I agree that it would take a long time, even if the user can read and
type English. I think it would take weeks, not decades, but most
people would give up in a matter of hours.
I am reminded of the Doctor Who episode _Castrovalva_. The Doctor was
incapacitated by a bad regeneration. Tegan and Nyssa were trying to
figure out how to prevent the TARDIS from falling into Event One --
Hydrogen Inrush.

They tried to use the TARDIS's computer for aid, but didn't know how
to find anything. Nyssa remarked that, if they had the index file,
they could look up stuff in it -- including the index file. Tegan
didn't like the idea of recursion. Eventually, however, she decided
to type "IF" for "Index File".
Post by Doug Wickstrom
Post by Keith F. Lynch
But if you tell them that the help command is called "man" (short for
manual), I think it would be doable, and probably at least as fast as
learning a GUI interface.
And when you leave that command line interface for one which the
help command is called "help," instead, which _is_ actually
semi-intuitive, at least much more that "man"?
After successfully typing "man", the next thing to try is obvious:

walkabout:mstemper$ woman
ksh: woman: not found.
walkabout:mstemper$
--
Michael F. Stemper
#include <Standard_Disclaimer>
Economists have correctly predicted seven of the last three recessions.
Kip Williams
2009-04-01 13:46:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Stemper
I am reminded of the Doctor Who episode _Castrovalva_. The Doctor was
incapacitated by a bad regeneration. Tegan and Nyssa were trying to
figure out how to prevent the TARDIS from falling into Event One --
Hydrogen Inrush.
They tried to use the TARDIS's computer for aid, but didn't know how
to find anything. Nyssa remarked that, if they had the index file,
they could look up stuff in it -- including the index file. Tegan
didn't like the idea of recursion. Eventually, however, she decided
to type "IF" for "Index File".
IF you can keep your wits intact
To find the precious recursion,
Then you'll save the TARDIS and everyone in it
And, what's more, the world, from Event One.


Kip W
scanning badly
Michael Stemper
2009-04-01 17:26:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kip Williams
Post by Michael Stemper
I am reminded of the Doctor Who episode _Castrovalva_. The Doctor was
incapacitated by a bad regeneration. Tegan and Nyssa were trying to
figure out how to prevent the TARDIS from falling into Event One --
didn't like the idea of recursion. Eventually, however, she decided
to type "IF" for "Index File".
IF you can keep your wits intact
To find the precious recursion,
Then you'll save the TARDIS and everyone in it
And, what's more, the world, from Event One.
Is this a quote from a filk-song or something? Google doesn't show
any antecedents.

(Of course, "saving the world" from Event One would be a poor idea.)
--
Michael F. Stemper
#include <Standard_Disclaimer>
If this is our corporate opinion, you will be billed for it.
Kip Williams
2009-04-01 19:15:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Stemper
Post by Kip Williams
Post by Michael Stemper
I am reminded of the Doctor Who episode _Castrovalva_. The Doctor was
incapacitated by a bad regeneration. Tegan and Nyssa were trying to
figure out how to prevent the TARDIS from falling into Event One --
didn't like the idea of recursion. Eventually, however, she decided
to type "IF" for "Index File".
IF you can keep your wits intact
To find the precious recursion,
Then you'll save the TARDIS and everyone in it
And, what's more, the world, from Event One.
Is this a quote from a filk-song or something? Google doesn't show
any antecedents.
No, just a spur-of-the-moment swipe from Kipling.
Post by Michael Stemper
(Of course, "saving the world" from Event One would be a poor idea.)
Now that you mention it...


Kip W
Paul Treadaway
2009-04-01 21:23:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Stemper
I am reminded of the Doctor Who episode _Castrovalva_. The Doctor was
incapacitated by a bad regeneration. Tegan and Nyssa were trying to
figure out how to prevent the TARDIS from falling into Event One --
Hydrogen Inrush.
They tried to use the TARDIS's computer for aid, but didn't know how
to find anything. Nyssa remarked that, if they had the index file,
they could look up stuff in it -- including the index file. Tegan
didn't like the idea of recursion. Eventually, however, she decided
to type "IF" for "Index File".
So the key is to ensure that people know their life depends on
getting the right answer.
Post by Michael Stemper
Post by Doug Wickstrom
Post by Keith F. Lynch
But if you tell them that the help command is called "man" (short for
manual), I think it would be doable, and probably at least as fast as
learning a GUI interface.
And when you leave that command line interface for one which the
help command is called "help," instead, which _is_ actually
semi-intuitive, at least much more that "man"?
walkabout:mstemper$ woman
ksh: woman: not found.
walkabout:mstemper$
As I recall the joke from alt.timewasters:

$ make love
$ don't know how to make love
stop
David Goldfarb
2009-04-01 23:42:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Stemper
I am reminded of the Doctor Who episode _Castrovalva_. The Doctor was
incapacitated by a bad regeneration. Tegan and Nyssa were trying to
figure out how to prevent the TARDIS from falling into Event One --
Hydrogen Inrush.
They tried to use the TARDIS's computer for aid, but didn't know how
to find anything. Nyssa remarked that, if they had the index file,
they could look up stuff in it -- including the index file. Tegan
didn't like the idea of recursion. Eventually, however, she decided
to type "IF" for "Index File".
I think you're misremembering that. As I recall it, it was Tegan
who had the idea of looking up the index file in the hypothetical
index file. Nyssa recognized the recursion. "Recursion is a powerful
mathematical tool," she said, "but I don't see how it can help us here."

(For many years I've been disappointed that in the index of _Goedel,
Escher, Bach_, the entry for "self-reference" does not include the
page number of that page in the index.)
--
David Goldfarb |"The only thing better than messing with somebody's
***@ocf.berkeley.edu | sense of reality is messing with a whole LOTTA
***@csua.berkeley.edu | people's sense of reality...."
| -- J. Michael Straczynski
Kip Williams
2009-04-02 02:00:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Goldfarb
(For many years I've been disappointed that in the index of _Goedel,
Escher, Bach_, the entry for "self-reference" does not include the
page number of that page in the index.)
It's because it's necessarily incomplete.


Kip W
Gödel, Escher, Bock
Daniel R. Reitman
2009-04-03 03:00:50 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 01 Apr 2009 22:00:51 -0400, Kip Williams
Post by Kip Williams
Post by David Goldfarb
(For many years I've been disappointed that in the index of _Goedel,
Escher, Bach_, the entry for "self-reference" does not include the
page number of that page in the index.)
It's because it's necessarily incomplete.
This is an entry in the index of the book, which is found once in the
index.

Dan, ad nauseam
Michael Stemper
2009-04-02 12:36:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Goldfarb
Post by Michael Stemper
They tried to use the TARDIS's computer for aid, but didn't know how
to find anything. Nyssa remarked that, if they had the index file,
they could look up stuff in it -- including the index file. Tegan
didn't like the idea of recursion. Eventually, however, she decided
to type "IF" for "Index File".
I think you're misremembering that. As I recall it, it was Tegan
who had the idea of looking up the index file in the hypothetical
index file. Nyssa recognized the recursion. "Recursion is a powerful
mathematical tool," she said, "but I don't see how it can help us here."
Nyssa had, as you say, no problem with recursion. Tegan was the one who
didn't like it -- although she didn't call it by name. The line that
you quote from Nyssa was her reassuring Tegan that recursion can make
sense.
--
Michael F. Stemper
#include <Standard_Disclaimer>
91.2% of all statistics are made up by the person quoting them.
David Goldfarb
2009-04-02 22:28:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Stemper
Post by David Goldfarb
Post by Michael Stemper
They tried to use the TARDIS's computer for aid, but didn't know how
to find anything. Nyssa remarked that, if they had the index file,
they could look up stuff in it -- including the index file. Tegan
didn't like the idea of recursion. Eventually, however, she decided
to type "IF" for "Index File".
I think you're misremembering that. As I recall it, it was Tegan
who had the idea of looking up the index file in the hypothetical
index file. Nyssa recognized the recursion. "Recursion is a powerful
mathematical tool," she said, "but I don't see how it can help us here."
Nyssa had, as you say, no problem with recursion. Tegan was the one who
didn't like it -- although she didn't call it by name. The line that
you quote from Nyssa was her reassuring Tegan that recursion can make
sense.
Well, but Tegan didn't have any dislike for the idea -- in fact, she
was the one who came up with it, saying something like, "If we had
an index file, we could look it up in the index file under 'index file'."
She did, right after, say something like "Oh, that doesn't make any
sense." Which was of course true, for the simple reason that if they
*had* an index file they would _ipso facto_ not need to look one up.
--
David Goldfarb |"I've always had a hard time getting up when
***@ocf.berkeley.edu | it's dark outside."
***@csua.berkeley.edu | "But in space, it's always dark."
|"I know. I know..." -- Babylon 5
Michael Stemper
2009-04-03 16:44:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Goldfarb
Post by Michael Stemper
Nyssa had, as you say, no problem with recursion. Tegan was the one who
didn't like it -- although she didn't call it by name. The line that
you quote from Nyssa was her reassuring Tegan that recursion can make
sense.
Well, but Tegan didn't have any dislike for the idea -- in fact, she
was the one who came up with it, saying something like, "If we had
an index file, we could look it up in the index file under 'index file'."
She did, right after, say something like "Oh, that doesn't make any
sense."
If Tegan thinking that an idea doesn't make any sense is what you call
"liking it", then I guess that we agree after all.
--
Michael F. Stemper
#include <Standard_Disclaimer>
If this is our corporate opinion, you will be billed for it.
Keith F. Lynch
2009-04-04 03:51:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Doug Wickstrom
And when you leave that command line interface for one which
the help command is called "help," instead, which _is_ actually
semi-intuitive, at least much more that "man"?
Many Unices and Linuces do have a "help" command. There's one here
on Panix, for instance.
--
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.
Kevin J. Maroney
2009-04-02 02:42:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alan Winston - SSRL Central Computing
You don't seem to understand that there are a bunch of people who are
paralyzed at the idea that they might have to memorize a command or
learn a keystroke. The "better user interface" isn't better for people
who'd have to learn how to use a terminal.
I haven't regularly used a command line interface to read Usenet in
over thirteen years--though I have used one occasionally.
--
Kevin J. Maroney | ***@panix.com | www.maroney.org
Games are my entire waking life.
David Friedman
2009-04-02 03:22:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kevin J. Maroney
Post by Alan Winston - SSRL Central Computing
You don't seem to understand that there are a bunch of people who are
paralyzed at the idea that they might have to memorize a command or
learn a keystroke. The "better user interface" isn't better for people
who'd have to learn how to use a terminal.
I haven't regularly used a command line interface to read Usenet in
over thirteen years--though I have used one occasionally.
I used a CLI for some years; my first computer was an LNW80, a
superclone of the TRS80. No desire to go back to using one.
--
http://www.daviddfriedman.com/ http://daviddfriedman.blogspot.com/
Author of
_Future Imperfect: Technology and Freedom in an Uncertain World_,
Cambridge University Press.
Jette
2009-03-24 09:33:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by netcat
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Why have people who are very much aware of Usenet been drifting
away from it, into crappy web-based forums instead?
Because they want to talk to other people who have never come to Usenet.
Fair enough. But why don't they invite those other people to come
to Usenet, where the action is?
Begging the question. You are presuming that the action is, in
fact, on Usenet. Increasingly, it is not. I do wish it were
otherwise.
It was when the first web forums started. I'm puzzled as to why, when
Usenet people joined those nascent web forums, they didn't talk the
newbies into moving to Usenet, which not only had a better user
interface, but at the time had far more message traffic.
On web forums posters can include pretty graphics, different fonts,
pretty pictures, animated .gifs, and sometimes even sound files.
Usenet - apart from the binary groups - is largely a text only medium.
Most established usenet users object even to the inclusion of HTML
in a post - which some mail/news programs do as default (which newbies
may not know how to change yet).
--
Jette Goldie
***@blueyonder.co.uk
http://www.flickr.com/photos/wolfette/
http://www.jette.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/
http://wolfette.livejournal.com/
("reply to" is spamblocked - use the email addy in sig)
Keith F. Lynch
2009-03-25 01:42:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jette
On web forums posters can include pretty graphics, different fonts,
pretty pictures, animated .gifs, and sometimes even sound files.
Usenet - apart from the binary groups - is largely a text only
medium.
I've been told that the majority of Usenet traffic is in the binaries
groups. If, say, rasff posters wanted such bells and whistles,
it would be easy enough to create rec.arts.sf.fandom.binaries or
whatever, and move discussions there.

But I don't think that "pretty graphics, different fonts, pretty
pictures, animated .gifs, and sometimes even sound files" will replace
plain text any more than television has replaced books. The vast
majority of books, at least the ones meant for adults, have only
black and white text, a single font, and no pictures, except maybe
on the cover. It would be easy enough to make books look like Wired
Magazine, with lots of different fonts, text sizes, colors, pictures,
charts, logos, and graphs, like an explosion in a graphic arts
department, but that's obviously not what most readers or writers want.
--
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.
netcat
2009-03-25 09:53:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by Jette
On web forums posters can include pretty graphics, different fonts,
pretty pictures, animated .gifs, and sometimes even sound files.
Usenet - apart from the binary groups - is largely a text only medium.
I've been told that the majority of Usenet traffic is in the binaries
groups. If, say, rasff posters wanted such bells and whistles,
it would be easy enough to create rec.arts.sf.fandom.binaries or
whatever, and move discussions there.
Some discussion, like we are having here frex, does not need those bells
and whistles at all. Some does.

I'm a willing member of a cooking forum, which has dozens of permanent
subsections in addition to temporary threads, inline images posted to
lots of them, a constantly growing database of recipes with zoomable
photos and elaborate search functions etc.

You can't represent all that in a thread of single posts through a news
client. You just can't.
Post by Keith F. Lynch
The vast majority of books, at least the ones meant for adults, have only
black and white text, a single font, and no pictures, except maybe
on the cover.
Hot damn. Must mean all those art, gardening and cooking books I've
bought enough to fill a shelf with were really meant for children. Oops.

Let me guess - you don't read nonfiction much? Or even textbooks?
Haven't seen even a lowly tech manual that would not benefit greatly
from the occasional drawings, charts and code snippets in different
fonts.

rgds,
netcat
Keith F. Lynch
2009-03-26 02:03:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
The vast majority of books, at least the ones meant for adults,
have only black and white text, a single font, and no pictures,
except maybe on the cover.
Hot damn. Must mean all those art, gardening and cooking books I've
bought enough to fill a shelf with were really meant for children. Oops.
Your English is very good, but apparently not quite perfect. You
might look up what "majority" means. It's not a synonym for "all."
Let me guess - you don't read nonfiction much?
I read about half fiction, half non-fiction. Some fiction has
pictures or graphs, but most does not. Some non-fiction has pictures
or graphs, but most does not.
--
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.
Ben Yalow
2009-03-26 04:20:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by Keith F. Lynch
The vast majority of books, at least the ones meant for adults,
have only black and white text, a single font, and no pictures,
except maybe on the cover.
Hot damn. Must mean all those art, gardening and cooking books I've
bought enough to fill a shelf with were really meant for children. Oops.
Your English is very good, but apparently not quite perfect. You
might look up what "majority" means. It's not a synonym for "all."
So I tried looking at twenty new books on my "just arrived" pile -- half
fiction (all SF), and half non-fiction. Most of the SF was from two
publishers (Tor and Baen), with three from other publishers. There were
eight different publishers of non-fiction.

Exactly zero of them had only one font in the book. I didn't count the
cover fonts in that, since it was unclear from your original statement
whether you were asserting the fonts, as well as the pictures, excluded
the cover. But it was zero anyhow, even without the cover fonts.

I realize it's a small sample of the thousands of books published every
year. But it seems pretty unlikely that a majority use only one font,
judging by that sample.
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Let me guess - you don't read nonfiction much?
I read about half fiction, half non-fiction. Some fiction has
pictures or graphs, but most does not. Some non-fiction has pictures
or graphs, but most does not.
--
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.
Ben
--
Ben Yalow ***@panix.com
Not speaking for anybody
netcat
2009-03-26 10:00:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by Keith F. Lynch
The vast majority of books, at least the ones meant for adults,
have only black and white text, a single font, and no pictures,
except maybe on the cover.
Hot damn. Must mean all those art, gardening and cooking books I've
bought enough to fill a shelf with were really meant for children. Oops.
Your English is very good, but apparently not quite perfect. You
might look up what "majority" means. It's not a synonym for "all."
The overwhelming _majority_ of nonfiction books I own, buy, read, or
have ever considered buying or reading, have some combination of
illustrations, color, and different fonts. I'm hard pressed to recall
one that doesn't have any of those elements. Even dictionaries, which
are as picture-sparse as they come, have different fonts, and about 50%
of the dictionaries I have (and since I do freelance translating
occasionally, I have lots of them) feature the occasional black and
white drawing also.

Perhaps _you_ should look up what majority means, instead. It is not a
synonym for "whatever Keith has managed to come into contact with
despite his self-imposed filters". The _vast_ majority, and by that I
mean over 99% for sure, and probably more, do not use a text-only
default browser.

Do you wish to contest this claim? The stats about browser usage are out
there. You should be able to look at them. Even if you can't display the
colorful pie chart on your terminal.


rgds,
netcat
David V. Loewe, Jr
2009-03-25 16:13:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by Jette
On web forums posters can include pretty graphics, different fonts,
pretty pictures, animated .gifs, and sometimes even sound files.
Usenet - apart from the binary groups - is largely a text only medium.
I've been told that the majority of Usenet traffic is in the binaries
groups. If, say, rasff posters wanted such bells and whistles,
it would be easy enough to create rec.arts.sf.fandom.binaries or
whatever, and move discussions there.
It wouldn't display the same.
Post by Keith F. Lynch
But I don't think that "pretty graphics, different fonts, pretty
pictures, animated .gifs, and sometimes even sound files" will replace
plain text any more than television has replaced books. The vast
majority of books, at least the ones meant for adults, have only
black and white text, a single font, and no pictures, except maybe
on the cover. It would be easy enough to make books look like Wired
Magazine, with lots of different fonts, text sizes, colors, pictures,
charts, logos, and graphs, like an explosion in a graphic arts
department, but that's obviously not what most readers or writers want.
--
"The more I know, the less I understand
All the things I thought I figured out,
I have to learn again"
Don Henley, Mike Campbell & JD Souther
netcat
2009-03-24 10:13:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by netcat
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Why have people who are very much aware of Usenet been drifting
away from it, into crappy web-based forums instead?
Because they want to talk to other people who have never come to Usenet.
Fair enough. But why don't they invite those other people to come to
Usenet, where the action is?
Because they would not come.

The second example I brought, about the mailing list that never became a
Usenet group, there were people who invited the discussion to move to
Usenet. The majority resisted it, said they didn't like it, said it was
unnecessary. Even those who knew what Usenet was and had used it.

Even those who used to use the newsgroups when nothing else was
available, many have left _willingly_ and would not want to come back.

rgds,
netcat
Paul Treadaway
2009-03-25 01:34:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by netcat
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Why have people who are very much aware of Usenet been drifting
away from it, into crappy web-based forums instead?
Because they want to talk to other people who have never come to Usenet.
Fair enough. But why don't they invite those other people to come to
Usenet, where the action is?
Because the action isn't here, any more. Maybe there was a brief
window where people could or should or even did do that, but it is
long gone.
Joy Beeson
2009-03-20 04:38:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Harmon
Which goes to show that there is a newsgroup for everything.
I couldn't find one for tatting.

Nearest I could find was rec.crafts.knots, which isn't anywhere close.
Did learn that there are a *lot* of special-purpose knots.

Joy Beeson
--
joy beeson at comcast dot net
http://roughsewing.home.comcast.net/ -- sewing
http://n3f.home.comcast.net/ -- Writers' Exchange
The above message is a Usenet post.
I don't recall having given anyone permission to use it on a Web site.
Keith F. Lynch
2009-03-21 03:20:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joy Beeson
Post by David Harmon
Which goes to show that there is a newsgroup for everything.
I couldn't find one for tatting.
Nearest I could find was rec.crafts.knots, which isn't anywhere close.
Did learn that there are a *lot* of special-purpose knots.
rec.crafts.textiles.needlework
--
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.
Joy Beeson
2009-03-21 06:05:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith F. Lynch
Post by Joy Beeson
Post by David Harmon
Which goes to show that there is a newsgroup for everything.
I couldn't find one for tatting.
Nearest I could find was rec.crafts.knots, which isn't anywhere close.
Did learn that there are a *lot* of special-purpose knots.
rec.crafts.textiles.needlework
r.c.t.n. is embroidery.

Joy Beeson
--
joy beeson at comcast dot net
http://roughsewing.home.comcast.net/ -- sewing
http://n3f.home.comcast.net/ -- Writers' Exchange
The above message is a Usenet post.
I don't recall having given anyone permission to use it on a Web site.
netcat
2009-03-18 14:27:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Stemper
This is the traditional time of year for consumption[1] of bock beer.
Why?

rgds,
netcat
Paul Dormer
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Stemper
This is the traditional time of year for consumption[1] of bock beer.
Why?
Lent, I guess.

From the Wikipedia entry on bock beer:

Bocks have a long history of being brewed and consumed by Roman Catholic
monks in Germany. During the spring religious season of Lent, monks were
required to fast. High-gravity Bock beers are higher in food energy and
nutrients than lighter lagers, thus providing sustenance during this
period. Similar high-gravity Lenten beers of various styles were brewed
by Monks in other lands as well (see Trappist beer).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bock_Beer
Daniel R. Reitman
2009-03-21 19:22:23 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 18 Mar 2009 14:51 +0000 (GMT Standard Time),
Post by Paul Dormer
Lent, I guess.
Bocks have a long history of being brewed and consumed by Roman Catholic
monks in Germany. During the spring religious season of Lent, monks were
required to fast. High-gravity Bock beers are higher in food energy and
nutrients than lighter lagers, thus providing sustenance during this
period. Similar high-gravity Lenten beers of various styles were brewed
by Monks in other lands as well (see Trappist beer).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bock_Beer
High gravity? Does the drinker gain weight faster?

Dan, ad nauseam
Paul Treadaway
2009-03-21 20:09:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Daniel R. Reitman
On Wed, 18 Mar 2009 14:51 +0000 (GMT Standard Time),
Post by Paul Dormer
Lent, I guess.
Bocks have a long history of being brewed and consumed by Roman Catholic
monks in Germany. During the spring religious season of Lent, monks were
required to fast. High-gravity Bock beers are higher in food energy and
nutrients than lighter lagers, thus providing sustenance during this
period. Similar high-gravity Lenten beers of various styles were brewed
by Monks in other lands as well (see Trappist beer).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bock_Beer
High gravity? Does the drinker gain weight faster?
High specific gravity, which is sometimes informally shortened to
just 'high gravity' - the modern term would be relative density I guess.
Traditionally strength of beer was estimated by comparing the density
of the wort with that of water, on the assumption that the sugar in the
wort was mostly fermentable. An 'original gravity' of 1050 (i.e. density
1.05 x density of water [at RTP]) is expected to produce a beer of
around 5% alcohol if the sugar is mostly fermentable. These days
beers (in Europe anyway) tend to have strength quoted as alcohol by
volume instead, but some people still talk about gravity, OG etc. and
the simplest way to estimate (e.g. if you brew your own beer) is still
to use a hydrometer.
Paul Dormer
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Treadaway
Post by Daniel R. Reitman
High gravity? Does the drinker gain weight faster?
High specific gravity, which is sometimes informally shortened to
just 'high gravity'
Methinks he was joking.
Kevrob
2009-03-23 14:21:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Dormer
Post by Paul Treadaway
High gravity?  Does the drinker gain weight faster?
High specific gravity, which is sometimes informally shortened to
just 'high gravity'
Methinks he was joking.
Aarn Munro: Brewer, Patriot.

Kevin
Kip Williams
2009-03-21 21:10:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Daniel R. Reitman
On Wed, 18 Mar 2009 14:51 +0000 (GMT Standard Time),
Post by Paul Dormer
Lent, I guess.
Bocks have a long history of being brewed and consumed by Roman Catholic
monks in Germany. During the spring religious season of Lent, monks were
required to fast. High-gravity Bock beers are higher in food energy and
nutrients than lighter lagers, thus providing sustenance during this
period. Similar high-gravity Lenten beers of various styles were brewed
by Monks in other lands as well (see Trappist beer).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bock_Beer
High gravity? Does the drinker gain weight faster?
They're just more serious.


Kip W
Nels Satterlund
2009-03-18 19:41:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Stemper
This is the traditional time of year for consumption[1] of bock beer.
Yet, this year, my local liquor store only has one bock for sale. It's
Leinie's "1888 bock", which I find far inferior to their regular bock,
much less their doppelbock. No sign of any bocks from Summit, Sam Adams,
or any of the other usual suspects. No imported varieties, either.
Have any of you sighted any bocks? Is this just a problem with Elk
River Municipal, or has somebody banned the bock?
[1] Responsible, of course!
While I haven't been looking[1,2] I know there are several bock
available here (Sacramento CA) including Gordon Biersch's Blond Bock.


[1] This time of year for me it's usually Barleywine time. Umm Bigfoot!
[2] I've been avoiding beer due to my Chemo therapy, and when on
steroids it doesn't even taste good.

Nels
Yes I will talk about beer!
--
Nels E Satterlund I don't speak for the company
***@Starstream.net <-- Use this address please,
My Lurkers motto: I read much better than I type.
Kevrob
2009-03-18 20:39:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Nels Satterlund
Post by Michael Stemper
This is the traditional time of year for consumption[1] of bock beer.
Yet, this year, my local liquor store only has one bock for sale. It's
Leinie's "1888 bock", which I find far inferior to their regular bock,
much less their doppelbock. No sign of any bocks from Summit, Sam Adams,
or any of the other usual suspects. No imported varieties, either.
Have any of you sighted any bocks? Is this just a problem with Elk
River Municipal, or has somebody banned the bock?
[1] Responsible, of course!
While I haven't been looking[1,2] I know there are several bock
available here (Sacramento CA) including Gordon Biersch's Blond Bock.
[1] This time of year for me it's usually Barleywine time.  Umm Bigfoot!
[2] I've been avoiding beer due to my Chemo therapy, and when on
steroids it doesn't even taste good.
Nels
Yes I will talk about beer!
--
Does anyone brew bhok?

{Or should that be "bhrew?"}

I always liked this:

http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/435/6340/


Kevin
Tim McDaniel
2009-03-18 20:43:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kevrob
Post by Michael Stemper
This is the traditional time of year for consumption[1] of bock beer.
Does anyone brew bhok?
Is that Klingon bheer? How does it differ from our Earth beer?
--
Tim "bhok bhok, who's there?" McDaniel, ***@panix.com
Kevrob
2009-03-18 20:51:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kevrob
Post by Michael Stemper
This is the traditional time of year for consumption[1] of bock beer.
Does anyone brew bhok?
Is that Klingon bheer?  How does it differ from our Earth beer?
--
Presence of live yeast, I would think. :)

Kevin
Karl Johanson
2009-03-19 01:30:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kevrob
Does anyone brew bhok?
{Or should that be "bhrew?"}
All these years and adding the letter "h" to words is still fhucking funny.


Karl Johanson
www.neo-opsis.ca
www.youtube.com/user/KarlJohanson42
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=48525080175
David V. Loewe, Jr
2009-03-18 23:15:02 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 18 Mar 2009 12:41:53 -0700, Nels Satterlund
Post by Nels Satterlund
Post by Michael Stemper
This is the traditional time of year for consumption[1] of bock beer.
Yet, this year, my local liquor store only has one bock for sale. It's
Leinie's "1888 bock", which I find far inferior to their regular bock,
much less their doppelbock. No sign of any bocks from Summit, Sam Adams,
or any of the other usual suspects. No imported varieties, either.
Have any of you sighted any bocks? Is this just a problem with Elk
River Municipal, or has somebody banned the bock?
[1] Responsible, of course!
While I haven't been looking[1,2] I know there are several bock
available here (Sacramento CA) including Gordon Biersch's Blond Bock.
[1] This time of year for me it's usually Barleywine time. Umm Bigfoot!
[2] I've been avoiding beer due to my Chemo therapy, and when on
steroids it doesn't even taste good.
I no longer drink beer because of the liver involvement of my tumors.

I miss beer.
Post by Nels Satterlund
Nels
Yes I will talk about beer!
--
"I looked out this morning and the sun was gone
I turned on some music to start my day
I lost myself in a familiar song
I closed my eyes and I slipped away..."
- Tom Scholz
Kip Williams
2009-03-19 01:42:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by David V. Loewe, Jr
I no longer drink beer because of the liver involvement of my tumors.
I miss beer.
My sympathy is useless, but you've got it anyway.


Kip W
Paul Ian Harman
2009-03-20 13:09:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Stemper
This is the traditional time of year for consumption[1] of bock beer.
ObSF: The Drawing of the Dark

Paul
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