Alternate Ask Dr. Internet #2
Date: Wed, 24 May 95 23:50:31 PDT
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Subject: Alternate Ask Dr. Internet #2
Forwarded-by: firstname.lastname@example.org (Lani Herrmann)
Forwarded-by: Rob Hawks <rhawks>
Last week, I posted to NETTRAIN an alternate Dr. Internet column that
appeared mysteriously on my terminal one morning. I inadvertantly
ascribed that column to our janitor, who sometimes uses my workstation
when I forget to logout. In fact, there has apparently been a cockroach
jumping up and down on my keyboard, typing out this nonsense.
Regardless, the number of people asking me to provide another Alternate
Dr. Internet column barely outnumbered the people threatening legal
action, so here it is.
1. How Do I Get Documents Into Emailable Format?
With the rapid development of word processors into complicated
document processing programs, it has become increasingly difficult
to use them for generating the simple text used by most e-mail
programs. I usually recommend two strategies.
The easiest solution by far is to print the document, run it
through a scanner, save it as a compressed TIFF file, and send it
as a MIME attachment to a regular e-mail message. Since the person
receiving the message may not have an e-mail program that can
handle MIME attachments, it's usually wise to re-type the body of
the document just to be on the safe side.
The second solution is to use a program specifically designed to
process simple text. Two common examples are the Very Intuitive
editor and the Easily Mastered ASCII Creation System.
2. What is a MIME attachment?
One of the earliest examples of non-text communication is the mime,
that charming street artist who rather than saying "Look, I'm
trapped in a box" prefers to show you what it's like to be trapped
in a box. This sense of communicative efficiency is preserved
today in a mechanism that allows you to send any kind of non-text
file (say, a drawing of a person in a box) as e-mail.
Other connections between street art and the computing world are
well documented; many programmers are clumsy jugglers or bad
magicians, and several are noted for standing in the hallway
holding out an empty Seven-11 coffee cup and haranguing passing
coworkers who decline to give them change.
3. What Is Happening With The PC Market?
I normally refer questions about the PC market to Dr. Desktop,
since the Internet is really a network of Unix workstations.
However, it is well documented that computers double in speed every
18 months. This is often presented as a significant fact, which it
4. Do You Know Anything About "Johnny Mnemonic?"
The Dr. Internet household is usually limited to watching movies on
videotape, so I'll limit my comments on information technology to
last summer's Keanu Reeves movie, "Speed." There are two essential
points to remember about this movie, the first being that Dennis
Hopper's mad bomber character *could* have picked up all his mad
bombing tricks from the Internet, which should therefore be
subjected to strict government censorship.
The second essential element is that "Speed" co-starred Sandra
Bullock. I don't wish to belabor the point, but maybe your seven
dollars would be better spent at "While You Were Sleeping."
5. What About That "Email/Etext" Virus We Heard About?
Viruses on the Internet are nothing to sneeze at. They are a
serious risk; for example, reading an e-mail message with the
...will send a subliminal message along your optic nerve to the
visual cortex, which is right next to the digital cortex, which may
cause your fingers to to type commands that reformat your hard
drive. Most Internet users will tell you that the best protection
against this problem is to back up frequently; when reading through
your new e-mail you should regularly back up to the previous
message. This will cause any subliminal message to be transmitted
in reverse, which clears their effect and also lets you in on
secrets about important musical personalities.
Another useful tip is to take a deep breath and concentrate on the
GOOD TIMES you have had in the past.
Tune in next time for Ask Dr. Internet--
"I have a master's degree....in Internet!"
Dr. Internet, Master of All Knowledge
Benedictine On the Rocks With a Twist
No official connection to Dr. Science
© 1995 Peter Langston