Computer underground Digest Sun Jan 24 1999 Volume 11 : Issue 05

Computer underground Digest    Sun  24 Jan, 1999   Volume 11 : Issue 05
                           ISSN  1004-042X

       Editor: Jim Thomas (
       News Editor: Gordon Meyer (
       Archivist: Brendan Kehoe
       Proof Readur:   Etaion Shrdlu, Jr.
       Shadow-Archivists: Dan Carosone / Paul Southworth
                          Ralph Sims / Jyrki Kuoppala
                          Ian Dickinson
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CONTENTS, #11.05 (Sun, 24 Jan, 1999)

File 1--"On Keeping American Secure in 21st C" (Pres. Commentary)
File 2--Re: File 1--Microsoft Zealotry
File 3--Re: Microsoft Zealotry
File 4--Re: Microsoft Zealotry (CUD 11.03)
File 5--AOL Pulls Thesaurus After Complaint
File 6--Islands in the Clickstream. When Computers Are Free
File 7--Talk about your urban myths. . . (humor - fwd)
File 8--Cu Digest Header Info (unchanged since 10 Jan, 1999)



Date: Sun, 24 Jan 1999 17:27:41 -0600 (CST)
From: Computer underground Digest 
Subject: File 1--"On Keeping American Secure in 21st C" (Pres. Commentary)

((CuD MODERATORS' NOTE: Normally, we do not run  Presidential
speeches that lie outside of cyber issues. However, given
proposals related to online security and "cyber terrorism"
embedded in this week's speech, we make an exception.  Given
attempts to restrict online speech, curtail privacy protections,
and expand law enforcement oversight of the Net and other
electronic media, we judge the following comments to reflect the
kind of hyperbolic rhetoric that has in the past presaged
previous attempts at restrictive legislation)).



    For Immediate Release January 22, 1999


    National Academy of Sciences
    Washington, D.C.

    10:30 A.M. EST

    THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Jamie, Dr. Lederberg, I'd like
    to thank you for your service in this and so many other ways. I
    would like to thank Sandy Berger for many things, including
    indulging my nagging on this subject for the better part of six
    years now.

    I was so relieved that Dr. Lederberg not very long ago -- well, last
    year -- brought a distinguished panel of experts together to discuss
    this bioterrorism threat, because I then had experts to cite on my
    concern and nobody thought I was just reading too many novels late
    at night. (Laughter.)

    Madame Attorney General, Secretary Shalala, Secretary Richardson,
    Director Witt, Deputy Secretary Hamre, Commandant of the Coast Guard
    and our other military leaders who are here, Mr. Clarke, ladies and
    gentlemen. I'm delighted to be here to discuss this subject. With
    some trepidation, Sandy Berger noted that Dr. Lederberg won a Nobel
    Prize at 33, and I was governor you can infer from that that I was
    not very good at chemistry and biology. (Laughter.)

    But any democracy is imbued with the responsibility of ordinary
    citizens who do not have extraordinary expertise to meet the
    challenges of each new age. And that is what we are all trying to
    do. Our country has always met the challenges of those who would do
    us harm. At the heart of our national defense I have always believed
    is our attempt to live by our values -- democracy, freedom, equal
    opportunity. We are working hard to fulfill these values at home.
    And we are working with nations around the world to advance them, to
    build a new era of interdependence where nations work together --
    not simply for peace and security, but also for better schools and
    health care, broader prosperity, a cleaner environment and a greater
    involvement by citizens everywhere in shaping their own future.

    In the struggle to defend our people and values and to advance them
    wherever possible, we confront threats both old and new -- open
    borders and revolutions in technology have spread the message and
    the gifts of freedom but have also given new opportunities to
    freedom's enemies. Scientific advances have opened the possibility
    of longer, better lives. They have also given the enemies of freedom
    new opportunities.

    Last August, at Andrews Air Force Base, I grieved with the families
    of the brave Americans who lost their lives at our embassy in Kenya.
    They were in Africa to promote the values America shares with
    friends of freedom everywhere -- and for that they were murdered by
    terrorists. So, too, were men and women in Oklahoma City, at the
    World Trade Center, Khobar Towers, on Pan Am 103.

    The United States has mounted an aggressive response to terrorism --
    tightening security for our diplomats, our troops, our air
    travelers, improving our ability to track terrorist activity,
    enhancing cooperation with other countries, strengthening sanctions
    on nations that support terrorists.

    Since 1993, we have tripled funding for FBI anti-terrorist efforts.
    Our agents and prosecutors, with excellent support from our
    intelligence agencies, have done extraordinary work in tracking down
    perpetrators of terrorist acts and bringing them to justice. And as
    our air strikes against Afghanistan -- or against the terrorist
    camps in Afghanistan -- last summer showed, we are prepared to use
    military force against terrorists who harm our citizens. But all of
    you know the fight against terrorism is far from over. And now,
    terrorists seek new tools of destruction.

    Last May, at the Naval Academy commencement, I said terrorist and
    outlaw states are extending the world's fields of battle, from
    physical space to cyberspace, from our earth's vast bodies of water
    to the complex workings of our own human bodies. The enemies of
    peace realize they cannot defeat us with traditional military means.
    So they are working on two new forms of assault, which you've heard
    about today: cyber attacks on our critical computer systems, and
    attacks with weapons of mass destruction -- chemical, biological,
    potentially even nuclear weapons. We must be ready -- ready if our
    adversaries try to use computers to disable power grids, banking,
    communications and transportation networks, police, fire and health
    services -- or military assets.

    More and more, these critical systems are driven by, and linked
    together with, computers, making them more vulnerable to disruption.
    Last spring, we saw the enormous impact of a single failed
    electronic link, when a satellite malfunctioned -- disabled pagers,
    ATMs, credit card systems and television networks all around the
    world. And we already are seeing the first wave of deliberate cyber
    attacks -- hackers break into government and business computers,
    stealing and destroying information, raiding bank accounts, running
    up credit card charges, extorting money by threats to unleash
    computer viruses.

    The potential for harm is clear. Earlier this month, an ice storm in
    this area crippled power systems, plunging whole communities into
    darkness and disrupting daily lives. We have to be ready for
    adversaries to launch attacks that could paralyze utilities and
    services across entire regions. We must be ready if adversaries seek
    to attack with weapons of mass destruction, as well. Armed with
    these weapons, which can be compact and inexpensive, a small band of
    terrorists could inflict tremendous harm.

    Four years ago, though, the world received a wake-up call when a
    group unleashed a deadly chemical weapon, nerve gas, in the Tokyo
    subway. We have to be ready for the possibility that such a group
    will obtain biological weapons. We have to be ready to detect and
    address a biological attack promptly, before the disease spreads. If
    we prepare to defend against these emerging threats we will show
    terrorists that assaults on America will accomplish nothing but
    their own downfall.

    Let me say first what we have done so far to meet this challenge.
    We've been working to create and strengthen the agreement to keep
    nations from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, because this can
    help keep these weapons away from terrorists, as well. We're working
    to ensure the effective implementation of the Chemical Weapons
    Convention; to obtain an accord that will strengthen compliance with
    the biological weapons convention; to end production of nuclear
    weapons material. We must ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
    to end nuclear tests once and for all.

    As I proposed Tuesday in the State of the Union Address, we should
    substantially increase our efforts to help Russia and other former
    Soviet nations prevent weapons material and knowledge from falling
    into the hands of terrorists and outlaw states. In no small measure
    we should do this by continuing to expand our cooperative work with
    the thousands of Russian scientists who can be used to advance the
    causes of world peace and health and well-being, but who if they are
    not paid, remain a fertile field for the designs of terrorists.

    But we cannot rely solely on our efforts to keep weapons from
    spreading. We have to be ready to act if they do spread. Last year,
    I obtained from Congress a 39 percent budget increase for chemical
    and biological weapons preparedness. This is helping to accelerate
    our ongoing effort to train and equip fire, police and public health
    personnel all across our country to deal with chemical and
    biological emergencies. It is helping us to ready armed forces and
    National Guard units in every region to meet this challenge; and to
    improve our capacity to detect an outbreak of disease and save
    lives; to create the first ever civilian stockpile of medicines to
    treat people exposed to biological and chemical hazards; to increase
    research and development on new medicines and vaccines to deal with
    new threats.

    Our commitment to give local communities the necessary tools already
    goes beyond paper and plans. For example, parked just outside this
    building is a newly designed truck we have provided to the
    Arlington, Virginia, Fire Department. It can rapidly assist and
    prevent harm to people exposed to chemical and biological dangers.

    But our commitment on the cyber front has been strong, as well.
    We've created special offices within the FBI and the Commerce
    Department to protect critical systems against cyber attack. We're
    building partnerships with the private sector to find and reduce
    vulnerabilities; to improve warning systems; to rapidly recover if
    attacks occur. We have an outstanding public servant in Richard
    Clarke, who is coordinating all these efforts across our government.

    Today, I want to announce the new initiatives we will take, to take
    us to the next level in preparing for these emerging threats. In my
    budget, I will ask Congress for $10 billion to address terrorism and
    terrorist-emerging tools. This will include nearly $1.4 billion to
    protect citizens against chemical and biological terror -- more than
    double what we spent on such programs only two years ago.

    We will speed and broaden our efforts, creating new local emergency
    medical teams, employing in the field portable detection units the
    size of a shoe box to rapidly identify hazards; tying regional
    laboratories together for prompt analysis of biological threats. We
    will greatly accelerate research and development, centered in the
    Department of Health and Human Services, for new vaccines, medicines
    and diagnostic tools.

    I should say here that I know everybody in this crowd understands
    this, but everyone in America must understand this: the government
    has got to fund this. There is no market for the kinds of things we
    need to develop; and if we are successful, there never will be a
    market for them. But we have got to do our best to develop them.
    These cutting-edge efforts will address not only the threat of
    weapons of mass destruction, but also the equally serious danger of
    emerging infectious diseases. So we will benefit even if we are
    successful in avoiding these attacks.

    The budget proposal will also include $1.46 billion to protect
    critical systems from cyber and other attacks. That's 40 percent
    more than we were spending two years ago. Among other things, it
    will help to fund four new initiatives. First, an intensive research
    effort to detect intruders trying to break into critical computer
    systems. Second, crime -- excuse me detection networks, first for
    our Defense Department, and later for other key agencies so when one
    critical computer system is invaded, others will be alerted
    instantly. And we will urge the private sector to create similar

    Third, the creation of information centers in the private sector so
    that our industries can work together and with government to address
    cyber threats. Finally, we'll ask for funding to bolster the
    government's ranks of highly skilled computer experts -- people
    capable of preventing and responding to computer crises.

    To implement this proposal, the Cyber Corps program, we will
    encourage federal agencies to train and retrain computer
    specialists, as well as recruiting gifted young people out of

    In all our battles, we will be aggressive. At the same time I want
    you to know that we will remain committed to uphold privacy rights
    and other constitutional protections, as well as the proprietary
    rights of American businesses. It is essential that we do not
    undermine liberty in the name of liberty. We can prevail over
    terrorism by drawing on the very best in our free society -- the
    skill and courage of our troops, the genius of our scientists and
    engineers, the strength of our factory workers, the determination
    and talents of our public servants, the vision of leaders in every
    vital sector.

    I have tried as hard as I can to create the right frame of mind in
    America for dealing with this. For too long the problem has been
    that not enough has been done to recognize the threat and deal with
    it. And we in government, frankly, weren't as well organized as we
    should have been for too long. I do not want the pendulum to swing
    the other way now, and for people to believe that every incident
    they read about in a novel or every incident they see in a thrilling
    movie is about to happen to them within the next 24 hours.

    What we are seeing here, as any military person in the audience can
    tell you, is nothing more than a repetition of weapons systems that
    goes back to the beginning of time. An offensive weapons system is
    developed, and it takes time to develop the defense. And then
    another offensive weapon is developed that overcomes that defense,
    and then another defense is built up -- as surely as castles and
    moats held off people with spears and bows and arrows and riding
    horses, and the catapult was developed to overcome the castle and
    the moat.

    But because of the speed with which change is occurring in our
    society -- in computing technology, and particularly in the
    biological sciences -- we have got to do everything we can to make
    sure that we close the gap between offense and defense to nothing,
    if possible. That is the challenge here.

    We are doing everything we can, in ways that I can and in ways that
    cannot discuss, to try to stop people who would misuse chemical and
    biological capacity from getting that capacity. This is not a cause
    for panic -- it is a cause for serious, deliberate, disciplined,
    long-term concern. And I am absolutely convinced that if we maintain
    our clear purpose and our strength of will, we will prevail here.
    And thanks to so many of you in this audience, and your colleagues
    throughout the United States, and like-minded people throughout the
    world, we have better than a good chance of success. But we must be
    deliberate, and we must be aggressive.

    Thank you very much. (Applause.)


Date: Sun, 17 Jan 1999 20:46:39 -0600 (CST)
From: Neil Rickert 
Subject: File 2--Re: File 1--Microsoft Zealotry

>Microsoft Zealotry: Thoughts on the Debate
> by Tim King

Tim King has written an opinion piece.  It is unfortunate that he is
not well acquainted with the situation.

>There are many common misunderstandings. Monopoly is harmful because it
>restricts productivity.

There are many computer scientists who are very concerned that
Microsoft's behavior is a threat to innovation.  This is a field in
which there has been a great deal of innovation, most of it not from
Microsoft.  But we see case after case where an innovative company
has been bought out by Microsoft on Microsoft's terms, or has been
forced out of business because Microsoft used its size and its
control of the OS marketplace to defeat the company.

The Netscape case seems to be yet another example of this in
progress.  The Java case seems to be an example of Microsoft
subverting a standard so as to control it.

>                        In other words, it's inefficient. But a monopolist
>cannot charge whatever he wants.

Inefficiency we can tolerate.  It is the loss of innovation that it
worrying.  Why should a company put up money to develop a new
product, if the inevitable result is that either the company will be
crushed or it will by bought out on Microsoft's terms?

>Can't we find at least part of the answer in history? Microsoft has been
>challenged. It has seen MacOS, OS/2, BeOS, Linux, Solaris, and a host of

But why can you not buy up to date versions of Microsoft Office for
OS/2, BeOS, Linux or Solaris?  If Microsoft had made versions of its
office products for OS/2 it would have sold many copies, and that
operating system would be in a considerably stronger position today.

>                                                               Windows'
>continued dominance should not concern us here.

Agreed.  The problem is not their dominance, but the way they use it
to endanger future innovation.


Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 11:29:05 -0500
Subject: File 3--Re: Microsoft Zealotry

I wanted to respond briefly to Tom King's piece on the Microsoft
Debate. While I've taught finance and economics for several
years, I'm not a specialist in regulation or industrial
organization so I should not claim that I'm particularly less
ignorant than Mr. King.  However, it seems to me that part of his
discussion, like the public debate, misses the point.

The question of whether or not Microsoft is a monopoly is
probably irrelevent to all but the most hardened academic. As Mr.
King notes, monopolies are not always bad and there are natural
limits on their power.

The interesting question is whether Microsoft is best serving the
public interest.  In a market economy, we think market forces go
a long way to make companies serve the public interest by
encouraging efficiency, productivity, innovation, consumer
choice, etc.  In the same breath, however, we believe that market
forces have various shortcomings that we try to address in ways
that(we hope) benefits society.  That why we have things like
patent and copyright laws, monopolies on the use of particular
communication frequencies, airline safety standards, laws against
insider trading, price fixing, dumping, etc.

If the issue is not monopoly, but is the public interest, that in
turn changes the facts on which we need to focus.  The fact that
other OS's are available and have a small market share tells us
little.  The interesting question is *how* they compete with
Microsoft.  As Mr. King notes, companies have a natural financial
interest in discouraging competition since this means that they
can charge more for their products.  Of course, this is directly
opposite to the public's interest.

>From a social and a lawmaker's point of view, the interesting
question is not whether Microsoft (or IBM, or AT&T) dominate a
particular market at a particular time.  Instead, they need to
ask whether the company tried to limit competition in a way that
harmed the public interest, perhaps by pricing policy, or useof
standards, or forcing suppliers to carry their products, or not
carry thoseof others, etc.  The questions of standards is a
particularly thorny one that the law is not good at dealing with.
We know that there are some benefits from standardization, that
not all standards are created equal, and that they can be
manipulated to limit competition.

Note that this is not the same as asking whether Microsoft has
broken the law.  It is possible that Microsoft may be innocent
and that we need stricter laws. It is also possible that
Microsoft may be guilty of some technical infraction, but that
society has still be well served. I haven't followed the details
of Microsoft's business strategies and tactics, and I would not
be competant t o judge them even if I had. More generally,
however, I don't think that many people have faith that our
current laws are ideally suited to the regulation of new
information technologies, which is why serious thinking is being
done on how to improve them.

I think the debate about what laws are needed is more
enlightening than wondering about what constitutes a monopoly.


Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 22:05:41 +0100
From: Peter Kaiser 
Subject: File 4--Re: Microsoft Zealotry (CUD 11.03)

Tim King misses the point about Microsoft completely in "Microsoft
Zealotry: Thoughts on the Debate", CUD 11.03.  He builds straw men and
burns them to the ground.  This speaks poorly for objectivity.

Microsoft isn't in court simply because it's a monopoly -- though by all
the common measures of what constitutes a monopoly, it is one -- it's in
court charged with using its monopoly power coercively.  Tim King's article
doesn't contain the word "coerce" or any synonym in context.

Microsoft is charged with using its size and monopoly power coercively
several ways, including

    ** coercing OEM customers to pay Microsoft license fees even for
       systems sold without Microsoft software

    ** coercing OEMs not to offer their customers products that compete
       with Microsoft's products

    ** attempting to force competitors out of the market by the predatory
       pricing (also called "dumping") that TK brushes off, rather than by
       the quality or features of products priced in relation to their cost
       of deployment in their market

    ** forcing on its business partners contracts with anticompetitive
       provisions entirely aside from provisions about the products or
       services under contract

These are things only a monopoly can do.  No one denies that Microsoft
arrived at its monopoly by producing popular products and marketing them
well; but US policy (that is, the law) does say that once a company is a
monopoly it must wield its monopoly power with care.

It may arguably be okay for King's two-year-old daughter to slug a
three-year-old, but it certainly is NOT okay for an adult to slug one: just
by becoming adults we acquire responsibilities we didn't have as children.
The law -- and good judgment -- forbids adults some behaviors permitted to

And just by becoming a monopoly Microsoft acquired certain responsibilities
that other companies don't have, including the responsibility not to try to
coerce the market using its power as a monopoly.

It doesn't matter that it might have a competitor in some market tomorrow
or in April of the year 2003: it's a monopoly today, and up to today it has
misused its power as a monopoly.  Or so the suits declare.  Interestingly,
Microsoft seems not to deny the facts of what it's accused of doing;
instead it says "they tried to do it too!" (pointing to companies that
aren't monopolies) or "sure, but it might not work tomorrow" (pointing to
the possibility that successful competition might arise) or "sure, but just
because we have 97% of the market, that doesn't mean we're a monopoly" (oh,
no?) or "oh, you just hate our success" (pointing everywhere at once).

I'm a big believer in trying to be objective, in being fair to capitalism,
and in talking appropriately to two-year-olds, of whom I've had a couple.
I don't "hate ... success generally."  And it matters to me not a bit
whether Bill Gates is an egotistical nerd.

But it does matter to me that important facts and issues in public debate
be honestly represented.  If they're not, how can we hope to be objective
about them?  If we're not honest with each other in public debate, it's
like lying to your own doctor about your symptoms: it does worse than get
you nowhere, it's positively a threat to your own wellbeing.  We mustn't do


Date: Tue, 19 Jan 1999 13:24:14 -0600 (CST)
From: Jim Thomas 
Subject: File 5--AOL Pulls Thesaurus After Complaint


06:10 PM ET 01/18/99

AOL Pulls Thesaurus After Complaint

           DULLES, Va. (AP) _ America Online Inc. and Merriam-Webster Inc.
 pulled an online thesaurus after gay rights organizations
 complained about the synonyms given for ``homosexual.''

           The thesaurus listed the slurs ``fruit,'' ``homo'' and

           Deborah Burns, Merriam-Webster's director of marketing, said the
 company decided Monday to remove all synonyms for ``homosexual'' to
 conform with a 25-year-old policy not to offer entries for racial
 or ethnic groups such as Jews, Hispanics or blacks, Ms. Burns said.

           ``Along the way, we should have incorporated sexual groups into
 that same policy,'' she said.

           Merriam-Webster, a leading publisher of dictionaries and
 language reference books, has also begun a review to check for
 other disparaging entries in its Collegiate Thesaurus.

           ``But first, we're making an apology about this. We were in
 error in a couple of ways and we're glad someone has brought it to
 our attention,'' she said.

           Gay rights groups had asked not that the words be removed but
 that they be flagged as derogatory, said Cathy Renna, a spokeswoman
 for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

           ``It's not that they are words that people don't know and don't
 use, but in 1999, they are words that should be presented in some
 sort of context,'' she said.


Date: Tue, 19 Jan 1999 08:37:44 -0600
From: Richard Thieme 
Subject: File 6--Islands in the Clickstream. When Computers Are Free

Islands in the Clickstream:
When Computers are Free to be Computers

Which, for the moment, they're not.

Computer technology is still brand-new, relatively speaking. We're so aware
of how much has changed that we can't see how much hasn't.

Take this column, for example.

I am whacking away at a keyboard designed for a typewriter, playing on keys
that are built to slow me down. My fingers dance as fast as they can, but
my mind is way ahead of my fingers. When images emerge, instead of simply
intending that they blossom on your monitor or in your mind, making them
flow as fast as I think, all I can do is describe them in words.  Our minds
are constrained by this ancient tool, bent to its cramped dimensions.

They say that if all you've got is a hammer, every problem looks like a
nail. Communication looks to me like words, like text to parse, and always
will. So when I try to define the qualities of an interactive game or even
a great film, I don't have the vocabulary. I lean heavily on words given to
me by the study of philosophy and literature, when I was immersed in a
canon that's been completely redefined.

I can see in my mind's eye something like luminous neurons emerging in this
space we are creating by our digital interaction, linked by lines of light.
But our tribe does not yet speak a common tongue so we can't say what it
is. The most visionary among us look like miners crawling through a tunnel
in a dark mountain, their little lamps illuminating a square foot of dirt.

On a long ride through a cold snowy landscape last weekend, I listened to
tapes from the Teaching Company, a wonderful set of lectures by Stanford's
Seth Lerer on the history of the English Language. Lerer recalled that when
William Caxton brought the printing press to England in the 1470s, society
changed over centuries, not overnight.

People wrote manuscripts by hand for at least 150 years and both written
manuscripts and printed text co-existed. The first printed books were
expensive, hardly meant for the masses. Their type fonts were designed to
look like writing.

A new technology always tries to look like an old technology. The first
"horseless carriages" had whip sockets in their dashboards, Lerer observed.

When the infantry was first mechanized, men continued to be posted near
large artillery pieces, one hand raised in a fist. Long after cavalry
officers gave up horses, those men had to stand there when the canon
boomed, their empty hands holding the ghosts of a horse's reins so it
wouldn't bolt.

Real computer literacy will extend far beyond our screens of scrolling
text, dictation to a little mic, the evolution of book-like containers to
hold our words ... beyond a mouse in our cramped fingers, clicking icons
like hieroglyphics ... beyond images pasted on a flat panel display ...
beyond dancing applets, clever animations, snippets of film.

When we live inside the space created by real computer literacy, the pixels
on our screens will turn to flame.

Computers will be free, free at last to be real computers and won't have to
pretend to be televisions or books. The generations immersed in that
modular interactive world will experience multi-modal constructions of
meaning and possibility, adaptable and plastic - right here, right now -
with communication like balloons in comics that pop up in your mind as well
as mine, the result of a nod or a wink, not a click. Seemingly
instantaneous meanings happening in the matrix of spacetime, our conscious
intentions like gravity wells, bending vectors of electromagnetic energy
toward our nodal selves. And we will be inside.

Inside the rooms of a digital castle, its walls made of mist as we are,
dreaming ourselves deep in the interior of a single mind.

We are not the first generation to be alienated from their own childhood
memories, Lerer reminds us, estranged from what we once thought was "human
nature," which we see now is simply the way we constructed identity and
self in the context of prior technologies. The abrasion of the present
against our evolving souls is the price of a digital future.

In 1490, William Caxton wrote that language had changed beyond recognition
since he was a child, two generations earlier. Dialects evolving in the
countryside forced people to choose the way they wanted to be human. They
lived, Caxton said, in a variable world of transitory forms, including the
structures of power.

Five hundred years later, compressed by digital technology, our world
presses us against choices like that too. The Computer like the printing
press inaugurated a contextual shift in how people wield power. To know
that we can choose identities, choose how to be human ... that throws us
for a loop. We too live in a variable world of transitory forms, our
boundaries dissolving. We are old men old women clinging to tribal
identities and gods carved in words as we wash out to sea in a tide of
digital transformation.

A seachange, then and now. What does it mean to be "English?" asked Caxton
like a newlywed trying on the strange word "husband." What does it mean to
be ... "human?" And who will WE be, living inside those fluid powerful
selves that extend themselves in immersive 3-D virtual collaboratory
landscapes (our monitors, keyboards, and modems in museums) ... when
poetry, art and dance are difficult to distinguish, and the evidence of the
senses blurs ... when the electromagnetic spectrum visible to our modified
eyes extends to unimaginable lengths ... and we realize that we don't write
code, our code writes us, defining the extensible horizons of our conscious

But that will be then. This is now. And for now, there's nothing to do but
bang away at these keys, waiting for more spacious bandwidth ... and click
and send these little email bombs to explode with a flash and a bang and
drift like acrid smoke in the night sky and disappear.


Islands in the Clickstream is a weekly column written by
Richard Thieme exploring social and cultural dimensions
of computer technology. Comments are welcome.

Feel free to pass along columns for personal use, retaining this
signature file. If interested in (1) publishing columns
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email for details.

To subscribe to Islands in the Clickstream, send email to with the words "subscribe islands" in the
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Richard Thieme is a professional speaker, consultant, and writer
focused on the impact of computer technology on individuals and

Islands in the Clickstream (c) Richard Thieme, 1998. All rights reserved.

ThiemeWorks on the Web:

ThiemeWorks  P. O. Box 17737  Milwaukee WI 53217-0737  414.351.2321


Date: Sat, 09 Jan 1999 10:54:06 -0800
From: Cynthia Robins 
Subject: File 8--Cu Digest Header Info (unchanged since 10 Jan, 1999)

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End of Computer Underground Digest #11.05

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