The Vernon Touch column from Genii

Discuss your favorite books, authors, and tricks from Kaufman and Company.

Postby Guest » 02/11/05 07:39 AM

Hello Mr. Kaufman,

I have read in another online forum that you plan to release the old Vernon Touch columns in book form.

Do you have an approximate release date in mind?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/11/05 08:56 AM

It's over 500 pages, and frankly I'm having trouble finding the time to read through it!
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Postby KirkG » 02/11/05 03:34 PM

Richard,

Send them to me. I am a very fast reader. Kirk
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Postby Randy Naviaux » 02/17/05 04:38 PM

Send them to me instead. I'm a faster reader!

I got through this whole thread in a couple seconds:)

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Postby George Olson » 02/17/05 07:22 PM

I'm sooo fast...where do you want me to return them, the office or home???

GO
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Postby Brad Jeffers » 02/17/05 08:35 PM

Richard, I know that you are going through all the old Vernon columns with an eye towards editing out repetitive material, correcting typos and grammatical errors and such.
However if you were to just reprint them exactly as they originally appeared, I believe that most everyone would be satisfied with that, and it would be a lot easier on you.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/17/05 09:28 PM

We're long past that stage: everything has been long scanned in by Joe Pecore, then edited first by Matthew Field and later by Gary Plants. It needs one more run through and then layout will begin.
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Postby Pete Biro » 02/17/05 09:53 PM

... then the Reel Works?
Stay tooned.
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Postby El Mystico » 02/18/05 02:46 AM

The last few weeks I've been reading through old Genii's, and have been enjoying Pete's Reels....but I guess Richard needs a break ...!
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Postby Joe Pecore » 02/18/05 05:15 AM

Can't wait to see how the Vernon Touch book turns out.

For the Reel Works, I'd volunteer to do the scanning again! :-)
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Postby Guest » 02/25/05 12:40 AM

Richard,
Thank you for the update on this project. I just want to say that you have one very interested customer here for the Vernon Touch Book. This will certainly be a treat for those of us who don't have such a Genii collection.

Roberto
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Postby Tabman » 02/25/05 08:40 AM

This will be a must have book!!! Also I'd like to echo the outcry by the proponents of a Reel Works reprint as well.

-=tabman
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Postby Brisbin » 05/11/05 11:04 PM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
... then the Reel Works?
Pete, I'd reely like to see them in one collection! :D
"No Dough, No Show" - Stan Kramien
"What the mind harbors, the body manifests." - Tohei Koichi
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Postby George Olson » 05/12/05 09:24 AM

Vick

Missed you last week-end at Kramien's Jamboree.

Pete stayed at the house and it's a wonder just to sit back and watch him think! Thursday, Reed came over and they just "jammed."

The "Reel" was winding!!!!!!!

GO :p
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Postby Guest » 05/16/05 06:11 PM

Will there be plans for a Charlie Miller Magicana book? Understand I know nothing about publishing. What would really be great is the entire run of Genii on cd-rom.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/16/05 08:24 PM

Yes, after we get The Vernon Touch out (looking likely before the end of this year), we will start working on all the Magicana from Bill Woodfield's first separately published issues, all the way through the end of Charlie Miller's term. Joe Pecore has already scanned the text and it's immense. It will be a number of years before the book appears.
The poor sales of books on CD-ROMs make it unlikely that we will publish anything that way in the near future. In the far future, of course, everything will be published as an electronic document. Just what that will be is anyone's guess (though the University of Texas just went entirely digital and got rid of all its books!).
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Postby Richard Hatch » 05/16/05 08:58 PM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
...though the University of Texas just went entirely digital and got rid of all its books!
Which UT? Austin? Hard to believe, they have a massive library, one of the best in the nation, including one of the best magic collections. Reference please! I'll be happy to adopt many of the books they'd be getting rid of, if this is true...
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Postby Ryan Matney » 05/16/05 10:49 PM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
The poor sales of books on CD-ROMs make it unlikely that we will publish anything that way in the near future.
This is surprising to learn. Surely it's a lot easier on publishers and buyers to do cd-roms of massive files like linking ring, sphinx, etc. I'm surprised they have not sold well.
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Postby Guest » 05/18/05 03:04 AM

Originally posted by Ryan Matney:
Surely it's a lot easier on publishers and buyers to do cd-roms of massive files like linking ring, sphinx, etc. I'm surprised they have not sold well.
TBH, I'm not at all..it's easy for the publishers/releaser to do CD-ROMs with printed 'books', but it's a "pain in the a**e" for ppl to read through this stuff on a PC-screen, and it is impossible to print it all out.

There's nothing like a book one fastly can scan through the pages and find what one is looking for, unless scanning through PDF's and deslike stuff watching a PC-screen..

Want my honest opinion?

I'll NEVER buy any digital book in any form and I hate to read through large PDFs..

Yes, it's easy for a publisher to do them, it's a pain to read them..

The 'modern', new generation might disagree, but mind you, I was sitting in front of a PC screen for many years from early morning to late evening (at work) and in private, and if there was anything of interest that had to be read, I did print it out..on a laserprinter printing several hundreds of sides in a moment..

Now, in private, this isn't possible anymore..so I well understand that e-books stuff doesn't sell too well, most ppl, even the young generation, can't spend the time to read from the screen..
JMHO... ;)
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/18/05 05:54 AM

Just a little more work to bring the stuff into something searchable with proper chapter/page/paragraph structure so we can site the stuff, and will have something useful.

I prefer paper for reading.
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Postby James Foster » 05/18/05 05:55 AM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
Just what that will be is anyone's guess (though the University of Texas just went entirely digital and got rid of all its books!).
Richard's claim is a gross mis-statement of what is going on in Austin. One of the libraries (UGL) on campus has migrated their books to other collections to make the physical space of the UGL a digital information center. The University of Texas Libraries did not get rid of any books in this process; they simply shifted them to other libraries on campus. You can read more about this process at College Libaries Set Aside Books .

Hope that clears some things up. In reference to Richard Hatch's desire to snatch up some books from the collection, be sure to keep your eyes and ears open to the semi-regular sales of weeded books from the collection. A few years back they had copies of MODERN MAGIC at pennies on the dollar.

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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 05/18/05 06:35 AM

I love books and, for the purpose of reading, I very much prefer them over their digital counterparts. That said, for pure research purposes, ebooks and CD-ROMS are vastly superior, especially since most magic books don't seem to have any kind of index to speak of.

It could take me years to track down a complete file of The Jinx, and even if I did, I'd have to scan through each issue individually to find a specific reference. And then, if I wanted to find a reference for something else, I'd have to scan through it all over again. It's not that the process isn't fun (it's easy to get sidetracked in those old magazines...there's just too much good stuff). The problem is that it's horribly inefficient. With the CD-ROM version that I own, I just pop the disc in, put in my search terms and in a minute or so, I have a full list of everything that matches what I'm looking for. For me, that's reason enough to want to buy the digital books.

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Postby Guest » 05/18/05 07:33 AM

Originally posted by Jonathan Townsend:
Just a little more work to bring the stuff into something [b]searchable with proper chapter/page/paragraph structure so we can site the stuff, and will have something useful.

I prefer paper for reading. [/b]
Jon, your wish to make *anything* more readable via an e-book or a pdf I think is currently *wishfull thinking*, though not impossible to achieve in the future.
Still, I'd like to postulate, there is nothing like a decent book with a contents-intro at the start and a fast 'manual' scan by help of ones ones 10 fingers through the pages.. no electronical medium can compete.

The sole advantage of a such one would be, that any word called for could be looked up instantly, but imagine the scenary.. :rolleyes:

Nope, a book is still no.1 and the electronic media has its advantages but to me it's more disadvantages -at least currently- re f.ex. pdfs..

This even goes for the current DVDs where one can get instant access to certain scenes..still not satisfying I would say.. :eek:
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Postby Steve Bryant » 05/18/05 07:41 AM

I couldn't disagree with you more. With something huge, like Genii, you might have a point. But The Jinx is readily available in beautiful hardback editions (only 3), an utter delight to behold and search through, and not so extensive as for that to be a problem. I too own the CD-ROM version, looked at it once (became nauseated - literally - as I do looking at any .pdf file for more than a few minutes ) and have never looked at it again. (Also doubt that I could ever find the damn password!) Your comment about "research" only holds if you know pretty much exactly what you are looking for (at least key words), while I would argue that SEEING and PERUSING can often be a more important part of research, something I can't do, physically, with .pdf.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/18/05 07:43 AM

Here are the opening lines of the New York Times story which I "grossly mispreprsented":

HOUSTON, May 13 - Students attending the University of Texas at Austin will find something missing from the undergraduate library this fall.

Books.

By mid-July, the university says, almost all of the library's 90,000 volumes will be dispersed to other university collections to clear space for a 24-hour electronic information commons, a fast-spreading phenomenon that is transforming research and study on campuses around the country.
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Postby Matthew Field » 05/18/05 10:20 AM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
Here are the opening lines of the New York Times story which I "grossly mispreprsented":

HOUSTON, May 13 - Students attending the University of Texas at Austin will find something missing from the undergraduate library this fall.

Books.
Damn northern rumor-mongers.

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Postby Bob Farmer » 05/18/05 10:45 AM

The massive conversion of all books in all libraries to electronic form is more of what Cliff Stoll calls "silicon snake oil" in his wonderful 1995 book of the same name.

Cliff ain't no luddite -- he's the guy who tracked down a coven of German spies prowling through computers (see his book THE CUCKOOS EGG).

Can the computer you use today read the files or run the programs you were using in 1985, a mere 20 years ago? Nope.

Can you still read the 1584 edition of Scot's DISCOVERIE OF WITCHCRAFT? Yep.

By the time a library is converted to digital form, the form will be obselete, the program that can read the form will no longer work and the process will have to be started all over again.

Today's computers are great piles of badly designed, malfunctioning electronic junk. My stereo system works perfectly, never crashes and I don't need a 700-page manual to use it. Ditto the TV set. When computers reach the TV/stereo stage of development call me.

(Also, not a luddite, I've been a computer user since 1978.)
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/18/05 11:39 AM

I expect the Vernon contributions will be of great use to students. A searchable version where folks can set up links to sleights, names, places and props would also help the craft advance.

I hope my statement about preferring to read from paper was clear. Likewise the advantages of a searchable version of documents are obvious.

As to research from paper etc, I have to laugh. The internet was set up so scholars could manage their citations and organize their research. Also I find the statement disingenuous. If paper based research were effective, there would not be a generation of magicians believing I had passed on, since my number was listed. Likewise if the interest in research were sincere, there would be next to no confusion about older published works, retreads of questionable merit, and... well another example comes to mind where it can be shown how few people actually read the Downs book The Art of Magic. :p

It is in everyone here's interests to learn to use GOOGLE or perhaps something like the web ferret (archie anyone). We can discuss the finer points of proper search tags in documents another time. :)

In the mean time, I do prefer to enjoy the written word on paper. And I have no expectation that any digital paperback books or tablets will be comfortable to use in place of books for a LONG time.
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Postby Ryan Matney » 05/18/05 11:49 AM

I too prefer printed books to ebooks. I bought the Phenix on cdrom and have only looked at it once or twice. Given the amount of stuff on out on CD and ebook format I was just surprised it wasn't selling that well.

As Bill Maher said once..we were all afraid that computers would take over and replace our jobs and become the sole means of doing anything and now we know what computers really are: giant f***-up machines.

I don't keep up with these things, what are you supposed to do if you want to take a book home from a libarary that's been converted to E-format? Have them email it to you? Few people read as it is compared to years ago. If this becomes the standard, fewer still will read.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/18/05 12:42 PM

Originally posted by Ryan Matney:
...now we know what computers really are: giant f***-up machines...
I'll go you and him one better:

Computer: Device for making mistakes; more and faster than a human ever could.
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Postby Guest » 05/18/05 12:45 PM

Originally posted by Bob Farmer:

Can the computer you use today read the files or run the programs you were using in 1985, a mere 20 years ago? Nope.

Can you still read the 1584 edition of Scot's DISCOVERIE OF WITCHCRAFT? Yep.

By the time a library is converted to digital form, the form will be obselete, the program that can read the form will no longer work and the process will have to be started all over again.

Today's computers are great piles of badly designed, malfunctioning electronic junk. My stereo system works perfectly, never crashes and I don't need a 700-page manual to use it. Ditto the TV set. When computers reach the TV/stereo stage of development call me.

(Also, not a luddite, I've been a computer user since 1978.)
BRAVO!
Exactly my thoughts!
I wouldn't miss the PC for the world, nevertheless the software is a piece of junk and that will NEVER get better, NEVER....

I know some of the guys doing it..

Oh my good..that's all I can say...
Nobody would keep up with a car malfunctioning and breaking down, behaving strangely, nobody would keep up with a stero-system behaving like our PCs..
OTOH, look at DVD-players, Satellite-receivers and deslike..they ARE computers..and they behave exactly like your PC..

It takes almost minutes before you can access your DVD ("reading"), the sat-receiver likewise takes its time before a picture is available..even the oldfashioned VHS-tapes are faster re the upstart..

Well, it will get much worst, the more so called *software* and computerstuff is incorporated in our dayly used products..and within this century our cars too might give us problems.. :eek:

Beware of e-books and avoid PDF-files... ;)
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Postby Pete McCabe » 05/18/05 01:29 PM

Originally posted by Bob Farmer:
Can the computer you use today read the files or run the programs you were using in 1985, a mere 20 years ago?

...

Can you still read the 1584 edition of Scot's DISCOVERIE OF WITCHCRAFT? Yep.

...

Today's computers are great piles of badly designed, malfunctioning electronic junk. My stereo system works perfectly, never crashes and I don't need a 700-page manual to use it. Ditto the TV set. When computers reach the TV/stereo stage of development call me.

My computer can still read files created in 1985. I have files that I created on my computer in 1985 which I can read. Most of the files that I created in 1985 have been translated into formats that match my current programs. The only ones that I can't translate now are ones that I don't care about and didn't bother to translate when I could. If I really wanted to, I'm sure I could.

The programs don't still run -- thank god. The programs I have today are orders of magnitude more capable.

Actually, if I boot up the Classic environment on my OS X system I'll bet money I could run MacWrite 1.0 and MacPaint 1.0.


I can read Scot's Discoverie of Witchcraft. I can read it on my computer. I have a pdf of the entire thing. It's great.


My stereo system works perfectly too. But it can not function as a multi-track recording studio, nor store and manage 4,000 songs (which I can carry around in my pocket), not to mention do word processing, page layout, spreadsheet, address book, calendar, email, web browsing, photo processing, movie editing, making CDs and DVDs, checkbook, and allow me to videoconference with my friend in London for free.


My computer is a great, incredibly small, portable pile of highly functioning, brilliant engineering. But then, I use a Mac.
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Postby Bob Farmer » 05/18/05 02:49 PM

Pete, I would never question the opinion of any Mac user, especially one who changed his surname to match his computer, but you seem to be agreeing with me in an odd way by accepting the shortcomings.

I have used a Mac. The printer wouldn't work and it took four Mac tech support guys to fix the problem.

A multi-function machine does not get any slack from me: with computers it doesn't matter whether they do just one thing or many things -- they're still all badly-designed junk compared to most other electronic appliances.

Give me a book.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 05/18/05 03:28 PM

Do not mistake planned obsolescence for a failure in design or quality of manufacturing. Cars are expected to last a certain amount of time before needing replacement (but they could be built so as to never break downbut this is not the case). Ditto for many other high-ticket items we consumers purchase. Computers can and have been built to last decades. We recently threw away my late fathers 25-year old IBM cloneand it was still perfectly functional. (Of course, who wants a PC with 64K of memory?) Computer manufacturers and software developers have us conditioned to accept that we need to replace our equipment every two or three years just to keep up with the technology and the hardware is built to fail within that time period as well.

And the beat goes on.

Interestingly, most of todays high-end magic books are manufactured to last centurieslike those books that were made before the advent of commercial paper mills that produced acidic paper. Ive seen a first edition of Scotts that looks and feels brand new. Ive see a first edition of Erdnase that I was not allowed to touch because it would disintegrate in my hands. I have seen, first hand, stunning editions of books penned by Galileo and Newton. My dads high school French book is now a brown, crumbling mass of what used to be crisp, white pages.

The PDF files we have on disk will also, ultimately, die: Whether by a failure of the medium (I remember when the word corrupt was reserved only for politicians and public officials) or as a result of being passed over by a new form of technology. I suspect that the first edition of Scotts that I saw, as well as those books by Galileo and Newton, will still be around and eminently readable.

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Postby Pete McCabe » 05/19/05 09:11 AM

Originally posted by DustinStinett:
The PDF files we have on disk will also, ultimately, die: Whether by a failure of the medium (I remember when the word corrupt was reserved only for politicians and public officials) or as a result of being passed over by a new form of technology. I suspect that the first edition of Scotts that I saw, as well as those books by Galileo and Newton, will still be around and eminently readable.

Sorry, but this is nonsense.

My PDF copy of Discoverie of Witchcraft will never die. I already have a half-dozen copies on backup disks; if my main copy becomes corrupted I'll just replace it. And if the pdf format is superceded by something better I'll just translate my file into the new format. When I die, whoever inherits my computer will have a readable copy of this book.

The first edition on paper, meanwhile, will also still be readable -- but not by Dustin, because he doesn't own it. And would the owner of a first edition Scot let Dustin take it home, read it, make notes -- in other words, actually use it? If Dustin wants my copy, he's welcome to it anytime.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 05/19/05 09:44 AM

Originally posted by Pete McCabe:
The first edition on paper, meanwhile, will also still be readable -- but not by Dustin, because he doesn't own it. And would the owner of a first edition Scot let Dustin take it home, read it, make notes -- in other words, actually use it?
He might, had I bothered to ask him, which has never occurred to me because it's not my style and I have a fine copy of my own. Of course, when "global warming" destroys our atmosphere and all sources of electrical power are shut down because of the dangers they impose upon the half-dozen or so people left on the planet (subterranean, of course, using millions of microscopic aquatic phosphorescent life forms as a light source), they will be able to read the first edition of Scot, but not your PDF file. So there! Nyaaa! :D
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Postby CHRIS » 05/19/05 12:57 PM

I can only underscore what Pete McCabe has said. If you guys are so unhappy with your computers, then don't use them. Who said you need to be posting on this board? Clearly, the benefits outweigh the costs and troubles we all have with complex machines like computers. I have currently one Mac and 10 PCs in my home. They increase my productivity tremendously.

A few comments to ebooks, since most who complained about ebooks have used them once or twice. I use ebooks every day and I use them more and more. It clearly is an adaption process, but the benefits pay off handsomly. There is just no way one could search hundreds of thousands of pages in any other way. Yes, browsing a real book is cool, but so is searching in a magic repository. We will reach the point where one can search in such a massive amount of magic material which one could never imagine to browse through let alone read in ones lifetime.

It is just another order of magnitude of access to information. This is only possible with ebooks. Reading devices will improve, reading software will improve, digital document management will improve. We are probably today with ebooks were books were in the 16th or 17th century.

Ideally you want to have the book as well as the digital version. If you can't have both my suggestion is to go with ebooks if you mainly after the information and with books if you are mainly a collector.

And for all the skeptics (and enthusiasts as well) visit my dealer stand at the SAM convention in Boston this July. I am happy to demonstrate the proper use and power of ebooks.

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Postby Guest » 05/19/05 01:24 PM

Originally posted by Chris Wasshuber:
I have currently one Mac and 10 PCs in my home. They increase my productivity tremendously.
Good luck to you...you need it :D

All those PCs not only will increase your productivity, they also will slow you badly down one day :p
Might I remind you, how many hours/days it takes not only to reinstall Windows XP but also the countless important programs one HAS to have on ones PC..

Don't believe XP can't crash..it can..and it will sooner or later and you can do nothing about it at all...
Even the best images/mirror/back-ups will give you trouble and the system recovery can fould up badly too...
I've experienced it myself, fortunately soley one time during the past 2 years..

Shutting it down in the evening, everything OK, and trying to restart next morning...no way...Windows simply didn't open and all the tricks of the trade didn't help..the bar simply was running constantly without the upload got any further..

Only a reinstall did help...and then several days passed before all the important programs where reinstalled...

Well, just do this with 4 of your 10 PCs and enjoy... :rolleyes:

And, BTW, I'm an old hand of the game re PCs..ever since the early DOS-days, I'm NOT a PC hater, but I'm realistic..
That thing gots more reliable since they left the DOS-based platform and went over to XP, but still...don't rely on it...

Your agrument re just not to use a PC is way off topic, that's not the point, the point is 'fighting' that thingy and winning once in a while..
If you never drive a car you can't smash it..same argument/principle..to use it as an argument is worthless!
:rolleyes:

Anyway as mentioned, good luck... :D
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Postby CHRIS » 05/19/05 02:09 PM

Werner, I work with computers since the Apple II days. It is not a matter of luck, but a matter of learning to work with computers. It is a tool - a very powerful tool. The computer has enabled things we take for granted today. It is the most versatile and powerful machine I know of. I use it to my advantages.

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Postby Guest » 05/19/05 02:40 PM

Originally posted by Chris Wasshuber:
It is not a matter of luck, but a matter of learning to work with computers.
Well Chris, you're a bit too optimistic..

Also one can learn to handle computers, you don't have any influence on how the software 'suddenly' can behave..

You are NOT a master (nobody is) of controlling that, it is not possible..

What about the bug present in any txt-program (IIRC though not in *word*) where one suddenly can't insert a new letter without the next one gets overwritten/deleted?
That 'phenomen' comes and goes with uncontrollable intervalls, I think each and every user of XP has experienced it..

What about, when installing new software and the thing 'crashes'?

I admit it is very seldom, but just to -again- mention the point, NOBODY can controll the software..mostly it works finely, but sometimes it folds up, no matter how experiemnced a PC-user one is..

My old teacher always had the saying that the cause of the failure is the guy behind the keyboard, and in many cases this is true, but not in all...a PC really has a life of his own and can suddenly do strange things without ones influence on that..it's all preinstalled in the software...these failures ;)

Fact of the modern PC-age unfortunately...

Same with your car that is computercontroilled..maybe your centralcomputer or the electronic/computerbased ignition one day just stops working..one can't do anything about this..
In the old days one easily -if one did know something about how mechanical breakers/the ignition coil, aso- worked, one could find the cause of the failure..

Try this with the modern sytems..one is lost without a bench and suitable programs to test the thingy..

We have gotten far to dependand on things we can't actually controll..and that is the point I wanted to make..

Ever been in a bank and wanted to withdraw some money just to get to know their system was down??

Or just phoned them and asked re some query re your account, just to get to know they currently can't access their system?

Not to use or touch a such thing isn't realistic, one is depending on it..and one is lost, no matter how much of an expert one is when the thingy folds up.. :p

Well, nothing to do with magic, unfortunately entirely off topic re our issue, but still part of life and in this case as we're communicating via the net and a forum based on the reliability of it, maybe not 'that' much off topic... :)
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