And so it is with e-mail. On the numerous lists to which I subscribe I've learned to associate certain qualities to names that show up frequently. I come to know the frequent contributors to these lists as I do characters in a novel. Their characters unfold with time and with greater exposure, but what they look like, and their characteristics beyond the scope of the topic of the list, are open for me to determine, just as I do when I read a novel.
The story I'll relate in this issue of the Boidem is much less personal than Cathy's in the comic above, but at its root it relates to the same phenomenon - the ways in which virtual communication and face-to-face communication differ.
Anyone who's become familiar with my home pages (though of course there's no obligation to do so) knows that I'm married to Tzippi who is a professional horn player. For years she's been a member of the International Horn Society and avidly reads all the publications that come to us through that membership. When a fellow horn player told her a few months ago that there was an e-mail discussion group for horn players, she promptly subscribed. Since then we've been receiving around 70 messages a day related to different aspects of horn playing. Sometimes these messages are interesting, and most of the time they're quite the opposite. Though over the years I've learned to take an interest in the mechanics of horn playing, on the whole these discussions don't interest me. But about a month ago one post and the ensuing discussion around it definitely caught my eye:
Is there any way of finding out what all you people look like out there? Whenever I read the letters here, I have a visual image, but I'm sure you're all much uglier than I imagine. any ideas? (I, by the way am young, handsome and single and very very humble and I never, ever tell lies)
All the best,
It would be easy enough to attach graphic files to e messages, provided they were intelligently compressed and not too large (just hit "Attach" in Netscape). Depending on who has access to a scanner, it would probabaly be easy enough to organize. There are over 200 of us though, it could be interesting. Another cool thing might be to attach sound files (voice, horn, etc.), which is just as easy or easier. Might be something to try.
-- Andrew Karre
(Interestingly, this was, I think, the only mention of the idea of attaching sound files. It seemed to me that horn players, much more than wanting to see what other horn players look like would want to know what they sound like, and the technology involved in attaching sound files certainly isn't difficult. Tzippi, however, had a different approach to this problem: Attaching a sound file may not be difficult, she told me, but making a home recording of yourself of good enough quality so that you'd be willing to let others hear it isn't that simple, and few people would want to make public home recordings of dubious quality and merit.)
>Is there any way of finding out what all you people look like out there?
I myself have two eyes, a nose and a mouth. karen
I don't think attaching files to horn-list messages works, that wasn't what I was thinking of at all: if only a fraction of us try that I'm sure that we will clog up the system (and burden those who are not interested with heavy download bills!) I know that many subscribers have individual web pages. What I was wondering was whether there was a web page which carried maybe photographs and notes on some of the better known contributors.
It's not important, of course, in fact, possibly the faces we imagine are more honest than the real thing - how many good books lose out when they're made into films and the faces one has imagined are replaced by something more real?
It was just a simple question to pass time now that the flames have stoppped for a while and we seem to be in a silly season. (Anybody got any matches?)
All the best,
Whoa, wait a minute! There are probably more like 800 of us, not 200! At least, the last time I looked, there were about 600 on the regular list; 200 sounds like a reasonable number for the digest, though.
If people have scanned pictures, sound files, etc it would be better to put them on a web page and post the URL, rather than mailing graphics files all over the internet.
Even "intelligently compressed" files would put a huge load on the list. Not to mention that these would be binary files. IMHO, very few people are adept at sending binary files via email.
Most often, when someone sends me a binary file, they have to send it 2 or three times before they get it right. :-( I also hear a lot of "so and so sent me this file, and I can't get it to work..." complaints, and it's usually because someone has screwed up the binary file on the other end.
Off my soapbox now....
* Jonell Lindholm * ***************
* Reisterstown, MD USA ************
* firstname.lastname@example.org ****
PLEASE DON'T DO THAT!!!
Much as I would like to know if the Cabbage really is round and green, I have yet to see e-mail attachments to list postings that work properly. It's partly a function of server protocols that can make a real mess of things, but the main problem is that the digest form of the list (and of other lists I've seen) seems to be unable to handle attachments. They appear in the body of the digest instead and are useful for nothing except wasting bandwidth. If there is enough interest in Lawrence's suggestion, an alternative solution would be to e-mail scanned photos (or in some cases cartoons?) privately to some generous soul who is prepared to put them on a web site (Robin M, are you listening?). That would work. But don't don't don't attach anyhting to your list postings. I promise I will flame you if you do.
Another approach, banal in its simplicity was also suggested (it came from Israel, and yes, we know him, and he's very nice guy):
Thank you very much for sending me addresses of horn player's web sites ! I think that attaching pictures of us is a good idea, and those who don't think so may write shortly about themselves (as I did below). Can you send me information about scanning and sending pictures to the horn-list.
"In Horn We Trust"
4th Horn in "The New Israeli Opera House"(Rishon-le-Zion SymphonyOrchestra). Privet student of Jerome Ashby in Montclair State College NJ
e-mail : email@example.com
It's often noted that in cyberspace you can assume any persona you choose - nobody knows who you really are. I enjoy the adventure of constructing my image of someone else's persona - for me that's part of the adventure of cyberspace. But I guess that it's pretty clear that sometimes it can be a good thing to have the basic information available, upfront and untainted.
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