Computer underground Digest Sun June 20 1993 Volume 5 : Issue 45 ISSN 1004-045X Editors: J

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Computer underground Digest Sun June 20 1993 Volume 5 : Issue 45 ISSN 1004-045X Editors: Jim Thomas and Gordon Meyer (TK0JUT2@NIU.BITNET) Archivist: Brendan Kehoe Shadow-Archivists: Dan Carosone / Paul Southworth Ralph Sims / Jyrki Kuoppala Ian Dickinson Copy Editor: Etaoin Shrdlu, Seniur CONTENTS, #5.45 (June 20 1993) File 1--LISTSERVE FOR CuD DESPERATELY NEEDED!!! File 2--Re: 2600 testimony to Markey's subcommittee File 3--Newsgroup Moderator Survey -- Respondents Requested File 4--CUnews - SPA sues software rental; Sega/ratings; Censorship File 5--Newsletter on work in computer industry File 6--Course on "Politics and Technology" File 7--GPO WINDO text here! File 8--Re-AB1624: dumbing-down leg displays w/o dumbing-down data File 9--6/17 AB1624: dumbed-down displays - ADDENDA Cu-Digest is a weekly electronic journal/newsletter. Subscriptions are available at no cost electronically from The editors may be contacted by voice (815-753-6430), fax (815-753-6302) or U.S. mail at: Jim Thomas, Department of Sociology, NIU, DeKalb, IL 60115. Issues of CuD can also be found in the Usenet news group; on CompuServe in DL0 and DL4 of the IBMBBS SIG, DL1 of LAWSIG, and DL0 and DL12 of TELECOM; on GEnie in the PF*NPC RT libraries and in the VIRUS/SECURITY library; from America Online in the PC Telecom forum under "computing newsletters;" On Delphi in the General Discussion database of the Internet SIG; on the PC-EXEC BBS at (414) 789-4210; and on: Rune Stone BBS (IIRG WHQ) 203-832-8441 NUP:Conspiracy CuD is also available via Fidonet File Request from 1:11/70; unlisted nodes and points welcome. EUROPE: from the ComNet in LUXEMBOURG BBS (++352) 466893; In ITALY: Bits against the Empire BBS: +39-461-980493 ANONYMOUS FTP SITES: UNITED STATES: ( in /pub/cud ( in /pub/CuD/cud in /pub/mirror/cud AUSTRALIA: ( in /pub/text/CuD. EUROPE: in pub/doc/cud. (Finland) in pub/cud (United Kingdom) COMPUTER UNDERGROUND DIGEST is an open forum dedicated to sharing information among computerists and to the presentation and debate of diverse views. CuD material may be reprinted for non-profit as long as the source is cited. Authors hold a presumptive copyright, and they should be contacted for reprint permission. It is assumed that non-personal mail to the moderators may be reprinted unless otherwise specified. Readers are encouraged to submit reasoned articles relating to computer culture and communication. Articles are preferred to short responses. Please avoid quoting previous posts unless absolutely necessary. DISCLAIMER: The views represented herein do not necessarily represent the views of the moderators. Digest contributors assume all responsibility for ensuring that articles submitted do not violate copyright protections. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Thu, 12 June 1993 19:12:21 CDT From: CuD Moderators Subject: File 1--LISTSERVE FOR CuD DESPERATELY NEEDED!!! CuD's mailing list has grown sufficiently large that we crash our University mainframe's mailer with almost every issue. The computer folk at Northern Illinois University have been patient, supportive, and helpful. Sadly, they are constrained by the same fiscal constraints that plague most other schools and cannot solve the problem without a substantial investment of resources. NIU does not (and for at least the near future cannot) support a listserve. So, CuD is looking for a host to channel CuDs out to the mailing list of about 1,400 subscribers (growing at about 15-20 a week). If anybody can provide a listserv, it will keep our local (and up to now very friendly) computer sysads happy and help us keep CuDs coming out once or twice a week. Any suggestions, advice, or volunteer hosts will be appreciated. Basic Information: 1) Reliability (obviously--an established university system preferred) 2) Capable of handling about 1,400 addresses 3) Each issue is about 40 K If you have suggestions or can offer a site, contact: Jim Thomas / ------------------------------ Date: Mon, 14 Jun 93 20:31:17 -0700 From: gnu@TOAD.COM Subject: File 2--Re: 2600 testimony to Markey's subcommittee I was at the subcommittee hearing last Wednesday when "Emmanuel Goldstein" testified, and I took notes. It is true that two committee members (about half of the total who were present) focused on 2600 as being a handbook for crime. Don Delaney, who was also on the panel, giving good evidence about the extent and organization of phone fraud in New York City, noted that the First Amendment had already been abridged to protect kids from pornography, and proposed a law that would make it a crime to sell security-related information to juveniles. Subcommittee Chairman Markey told a long rambling story about people going down Maple St. rattling the doorknobs and why that was a bad thing. He compared 2600 to people who rattle the doorknobs and then post on the bulletin board downtown, "The door to 123 Maple St. is unlocked". Rep. Fields said to "Emmanuel" that it was "frightening that someone like you thinks there's a protected right to violate someone's privacy." The ironic thing is that another panelist, John J. Haugh, heads a consulting firm that publishes details about similar topics. He's the editor and principal author of a two volume reference work, _Toll Fraud and Telabuse_, published by his company in early 1992. He's also the editor of a national newsletter, _Telecom & Network Security Review_, also published by his company, with subscribers in 49 states and 18 countries. Mr. Haugh did not get hectored by the panel. But Mr. Haugh charges $170/year for six issues of his newsletter, and wore a suit to the hearing. When the same information is published at 2600 prices, packaged for more adventurous people, it is "troubling". My opinion is that when the privacy and security of society depends on those doors being locked, then yes, we ought to have whole squads of Boy Scouts, cops, hackers, and ordinary citizens rattling those doorknobs hourly and daily. And when we find one open, we should let the world know, because the privacy and security of the world depends on it. This applies to information like, "if you tune an ordinary radio to these frequencies, you can hear everyone's phone calls." If the info is suppressed, the problem will never be fixed, because not enough public pressure will be brought to bear on those responsible for fixing it. John Gilmore PS: The first half of the hearing was on encryption and Clipper, and I am pleased to say that the subcommittee took the *right* stance on that issue -- that the Clipper proposal was trouble and that fundamental rights, upon which our society is based, were at stake. ------------------------------ Date: Fri, 11 Jun 93 22:52:27 BST From: TG May Subject: File 4--CUnews - SPA sues software rental; Sega/ratings; Censorship To: >internet:tk0jut2@niu.bitnet SPA Cracks Down On Software Rental ============================== The Software Publishers Association filed a copyright infringement charges in a NY federal court last week. The charges were against Megatronics, Global Software and Accessories, and Software Review. The companies allegedly offer software for rent, which has been illegal since December of 1990. (Information Week. May 31, 1993. pg 8) Rating Games =========== Sega has announced that it will begin attaching ratings, similar to the Motion Picture Code ratings, to video games. An internal Sega council will determine the rating for each game, which will include GA for General Audiences, MA-13 for mature audiences, and MA-17 for adults. The game's premise, graphics, and audio content will be considered in assigning the rating. (Information Week. May 31, 1993. pg 8) Internet Censorship =============== Information Week (May 31, 1993. pg. 84) summarizes a Wall Street Journal (May 24, pg B1) story about concerns over censorship on the Internet. The summation focuses on programs that automatically remove anonymous postings from newsgroups, and whether or not this constitutes a threat against freedom of expression. The Journal article is "Censorship Fights Heat Up On Academic Networks" by William M. Bulkeley. ------------------------------ Date: Fri, 11 Jun 1993 13:36:57 -0700 From: "James I. Davis" Subject: File 5--Newsletter on work in computer industry CPU: WORKING IN THE COMPUTER INDUSTRY #3 Now Available Issue number 3 of the electronic newsletter CPU: WORKING IN THE COMPUTER INDUSTRY is now available. This issue includes stories on the current organizing efforts of janitors at Oracle Corporation, the world's largest producer of database software; and an analysis of the first strike ever in the Silicon Valley electronics industry, which took place last fall. Online subscriptions to CPU are available at no cost by emailing with a blank subject and a single line in the body of the message: SUBSCRIBE CPSR-CPU For example: SUBSCRIBE CPSR-CPU Robin Hood CPU back issues can be found via anonymous FTP at either in /cpsr/work or in /pub/CPSR/work. Current issues of CPU are also posted in the gen.newsletter conference on PeaceNet. CPU #1 (3/26/93) included original material on the state of work in the computer industry, the global software labor market, and a personal account of the implosion at IBM. CPU #2 (5/13/93) included original stories on the engineers' strike at Boeing in January, and contracting at Apple. Each issue also includes "Labor Bytes", a summary of some of the top stories about work in the computer industry. CPU is a project of a working group of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility / Berkeley Chapter. ------------------------------ Date: Fri, 11 Jun 1993 15:57:19 -0400 (EDT) From: Larry Flood Subject: File 6--Course on "Politics and Technology" (MODERATORS' NOTE: Judging from response we receive, a number of CuD readers are academic types who try to integrate issues we address in their classes. It might be helpful if we began sharing course info, strategies, resources, reading lists, and other information and perhaps make them available via ftp. Larry Flood is offering once such course. If others are involved in teaching, perhaps they could send any relevant material over, including electronically available papers, syllabi, or reading lists, and Brendan will create a directory (if there is sufficient response) for them)). Next Spring I will offer a new course on politics and technology. Emphasis will be on the impact of computers on politics and politics on computing, but we will also consider other technologies and b roader issues. Students will be introduced to the Internet and computer communication. I'm writing to ask for suggestions for readings, net-accessible materials, topics, contacts or whatever. I will of course share my syllabus and discoveries with all who are interested. Thanks in advance. Larry Flood, Political Science, Buffalo State College floodlg@snybufva ------------------------------ Date: Thu, 17 Jun 1993 20:13:04 GMT From: kiddyr@GALLANT.APPLE.COM(Ray Kiddy) Subject: File 7--GPO WINDO text here! In the spirit of the GPO WINDO Act, just signed, here is the GPA WINDO Act, as reported out of the Senate. 103RD CONGRESS; 1ST SESSION IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES AS ENROLLED S. 564 1993 S. 564; AN ACT TO ESTABLISH IN THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE A MEANS OF ENHANCING ELECTRONIC PUBLIC ACCESS TO A WIDE RANGE OF FEDERAL ELECTRONIC INFORMATION. TEXT: BE IT ENACTED BY THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IN CONGRESS ASSEMBLED, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. THIS ACT MAY BE CITED AS THE "GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE ELECTRONIC INFORMATION ACCESS ENHANCEMENT ACT OF 1993". SEC. 2. AMENDMENTS TO TITLE 44, UNITED STATES CODE. (A) IN GENERAL.-TITLE 44, UNITED STATES CODE, IS AMENDED BY ADDING AT THE END THE FOLLOWING NEW CHAPTER: "CHAPTER 41-ACCESS TO FEDERAL ELECTRONIC INFORMATION "SEC. "4101. ELECTRONIC DIRECTORY; ONLINE ACCESS TO PUBLICATIONS; ELECTRONIC STORAGE FACILITY. "4102. FEES. "4103. BIENNIAL REPORT. "4104. DEFINITION. "4101. ELECTRONIC DIRECTORY; ONLINE ACCESS TO PUBLICATIONS; ELECTRONIC STORAGE FACILITY "(A) IN GENERAL.-THE SUPERINTENDENT OF DOCUMENTS, UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE PUBLIC PRINTER, SHALL- "(1) MAINTAIN AN ELECTRONIC DIRECTORY OF FEDERAL ELECTRONIC INFORMATION; "(2) PROVIDE A SYSTEM OF ONLINE ACCESS TO THE CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, THE FEDERAL REGISTER, AND, AS DETERMINED BY THE SUPERINTENDENT OF DOCUMENTS, OTHER APPROPRIATE PUBLICATIONS DISTRIBUTED BY THE SUPERINTENDENT OF DOCUMENTS; AND "(3) OPERATE AN ELECTRONIC STORAGE FACILITY FOR FEDERAL ELECTRONIC INFORMATION TO WHICH ONLINE ACCESS IS MADE AVAILABLE UNDER PARAGRAPH (2). "(B) DEPARTMENTAL REQUESTS.-TO THE EXTENT PRACTICABLE, THE SUPERINTENDENT OF DOCUMENTS SHALL ACCOMMODATE ANY REQUEST BY THE HEAD OF A DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY TO INCLUDE IN THE SYSTEM OF ACCESS REFERRED TO IN SUBSECTION (A)(2) INFORMATION THAT IS UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY INVOLVED. "(C) CONSULTATION.-IN CARRYING OUT THIS SECTION, THE SUPERINTENDENT OF DOCUMENTS SHALL CONSULT- "(1) USERS OF THE DIRECTORY AND THE SYSTEM OF ACCESS PROVIDED FOR UNDER SUBSECTION (A); AND "(2) OTHER PROVIDERS OF SIMILAR INFORMATION SERVICES. THE PURPOSE OF SUCH CONSULTATION SHALL BE TO ASSESS THE QUALITY AND VALUE OF THE DIRECTORY AND THE SYSTEM, IN LIGHT OF USER NEEDS. "4102. FEES "(A) IN GENERAL.-THE SUPERINTENDENT OF DOCUMENTS, UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE PUBLIC PRINTER, MAY CHARGE REASONABLE FEES FOR USE OF THE DIRECTORY AND THE SYSTEM OF ACCESS PROVIDED FOR UNDER SECTION 4101, EXCEPT THAT USE OF THE DIRECTORY AND THE SYSTEM SHALL BE MADE AVAILABLE TO DEPOSITORY LIBRARIES WITHOUT CHARGE. THE FEES RECEIVED SHALL BE TREATED IN THE SAME MANNER AS MONEYS RECEIVED FROM SALE OF DOCUMENTS UNDER SECTION 1702 OF THIS TITLE. "(B) COST RECOVERY.-THE FEES CHARGED UNDER THIS SECTION SHALL BE SET SO AS TO RECOVER THE INCREMENTAL COST OF DISSEMINATION OF THE INFORMATION INVOLVED, WITH THE COST TO BE COMPUTED WITHOUT REGARD TO SECTION 1708 OF THIS TITLE. "4103. BIENNIAL REPORT "NOT LATER THAN DECEMBER 31 OF EACH ODD-NUMBERED YEAR, THE PUBLIC PRINTER SHALL SUBMIT TO THE CONGRESS, WITH RESPECT TO THE TWO PRECEDING FISCAL YEARS, A REPORT ON THE DIRECTORY, THE SYSTEM OF ACCESS, AND THE ELECTRONIC STORAGE FACILITY REFERRED TO IN SECTION 4101(A). THE REPORT SHALL INCLUDE A DESCRIPTION OF THE FUNCTIONS INVOLVED, INCLUDING A STATEMENT OF COST SAVINGS IN COMPARISON WITH TRADITIONAL FORMS OF INFORMATION DISTRIBUTION. "4104. DEFINITION "AS USED IN THIS CHAPTER, THE TERM 'FEDERAL ELECTRONIC INFORMATION' MEANS FEDERAL PUBLIC INFORMATION STORED ELECTRONICALLY.". (B) CLERICAL AMENDMENT.-THE TABLE OF CHAPTERS FOR TITLE 44, UNITED STATES CODE, IS AMENDED BY ADDING AT THE END THE FOLLOWING NEW ITEM: "41. ACCESS TO FEDERAL ELECTRONIC INFORMATION 4101". SEC. 3. STATUS REPORT. NOT LATER THAN JUNE 30, 1994, THE PUBLIC PRINTER SHALL SUBMIT TO THE CONGRESS A REPORT ON THE STATUS OF THE DIRECTORY, THE SYSTEM OF ACCESS, AND THE ELECTRONIC STORAGE FACILITY REFERRED TO IN SECTION 4101 OF TITLE 44, UNITED STATES CODE, AS ADDED BY SECTION 2(A). SEC. 4. SPECIAL RULES. (A) OPERATIONAL DEADLINE.-THE DIRECTORY, THE SYSTEM OF ACCESS, AND THE ELECTRONIC STORAGE FACILITY REFERRED TO IN SECTION 4101 OF TITLE 44, UNITED STATES CODE, AS ADDED BY SECTION 2(A), SHALL BE OPERATIONAL NOT LATER THAN ONE YEAR AFTER THE DATE OF THE ENACTMENT OF THIS ACT. (B) FIRST BIENNIAL REPORT.-THE FIRST REPORT REFERRED TO IN SECTION 4103 OF TITLE 44, UNITED STATES CODE, AS ADDED BY SECTION 2(A), SHALL BE SUBMITTED NOT LATER THAN DECEMBER 31, 1995. SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE. ------------------------------ Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1993 18:20:31 -0700 From: Jim Warren Subject: File 8--Re-AB1624: dumbing-down leg displays w/o dumbing-down data Tuesday, June 1, 1993 [modified for ASCII distribution, June 14th] to: Legislative Data Center, California State Legislative Counsel State Net Legi-Tech Debra Bowen, AB1624 author Michael Galizio, Chief of Staff, Speaker Willie Brown Rodney Smith, Democratic Caucus programmer Ron Cole, Director, Assembly Computer Services (ACS) Michael Hannigan, ACS Hardware Engineering Manager Linda Beattie, Assistant Director, Assembly Office of Research (AOR) Brian Wright, referenced in 5/24 AOR report Art Torres, AB1624 Senate Principal Co-author Keith Felty, Senate computer operations Hi all, One of the problems with distributing computerized legislative information is how to map the bill-text - notably including semantically-meaningful strike-thru, underscore and italics - to dumb character-only terminals and printers with only 80-columns. Worse still, some terminals and printers only have 40 columns, as in the case of some super-cheap consumer devices - and especially including some of the terminals used by the hearing-impaired, some large-font displays used by visually-impaired and possibly some Braille printers. Dumb-terminals and dumb-printers cannot be depended upon to have anything more than the standard ASCII character-set - no strike-thru or underscore, much less reverse character-images or italics. Most implementers seem to have settled on some sort of bracketing technique. E.g.: First, original and official bill-text is typset in regular, bold and italics, with and without strike-thru, formatted, with some text centered and most of it left- and right-justified. The italics versus regular has meaning, as does strike-thru. Page- and line-numbers are essential to understanding amendments - that are specified as modifications to isolated lines on random pages. The print-area is about 27.75 pica wide (~4-1/2 inches) by 43 pica high, plus page numbers. Secondly, the Legislative Inquiry System, inside the Legislature, can print bill-text right-ragged using a typewriter-style mono-font on a fixed-spacing printer. It has strike-thru and underscore capabilities, but no italics font. And finally, formatting for the [sadly, still common] worst-case dumb-terminal or dumb-printer - which would not have underscore or strike-thru capabilities - is difficult. Here is one example that spans across two printed pages from AB1624 as amended May 18th. It is exactly as it appears from one of the current premium-priced private- sector legislative information distributors . It uses "[>A ... ... the Legislative Counsel, with the advice of , State Library in electronic form on each day that either house of the Legislature is in session public by means of access by way of computer modem and , , statutory enactments, and the California Constitution .) I had occasion to consider this problem in 1992, when I wanted to upload the text of a bill for distribution across the computer nets. This required adjusting to the lowest common denominator of dumb ASCII-only terminals and printers. Of course, the printed bill had strike-thru's and italics as it wound its torturous way to its final veto. Incidentally, it took me - as an educated professional, but unfamiliar with bill-formats or legislation - some time to realize the ramifications of italics versus regular font where they were used for current code in some sections, entirely new proposed-code in other sections, and code amendments in other sections. Furthermore, I also wanted to retain a full record of its modifications as it was whipped and torn through the legislative process. I distracted myself before I finished designing a systematic representation. However, hyar 't'is: PROPOSED FORMAT FOR LEGISLATIVE INFORMATION PRESENTED ON DUMB DEVICES The following is the first draft of a [ego alert!] "Warren format," display/printing system designed to present legislative text on dumb-terminals and printers. It uses only ASCII characters without underscores or strike-thru's. It identifies: 1. current code/statute/law (there is none in this example, preceding), 2. original bill-text (such as the Legis Counsel's Digest example, above), 3. text to be added (italicized or underscored in the examples), and 4. text to be deleted (that was struck-thru in the preceding examples). The following position-numbers are listed only to illustrate how this would fit on an 80-column terminal or printer. For 40-columns, it remains an exercise for the reader to wrap and indent from the previous line, including the left-side flags. 12345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890123456789012345678901233456789 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 v========== current law (c), if any, or page number (page) v========= 1: 1st version, the bill as originally introduced v======== 2: 2nd version, the bill as first amended v======= 3: 3rd version v====== 4: 4th version v===== 5: 5th version v==== 6: 6th version v=== 7: 7th version v== 8: 8th version - eight because the God of Digital favors eight; would only use as many as are needed v= final version as adopted by the Legislature and sent for the Governor's veto (or maybe even approval) 012345678f ln c=current law; +=text added; -=text deleted; o=original text Current and added text begins in column 15. Paragraph indents begin in column 17. Text deleted in the current version begins in column 21. Text deleted in earlier versions begins in column 24. Here is how this system would present the sample bill-excerpt from above, including the four header-lines that explain the left-side flags: v========== current law, if any v========= 1: AB1624 as introduced, March 4, 1993 v======== 2: AB1624 as amended in Assembly, May 18, 1993 012345678f ln c=current law; +=text added; -=text deleted; o=original text page 0001 o This bill would require + the Legislative Counsel, with the advice of o the Joint Rules Committee of the Senate and Assembly + , o to make available to the o- State Library in electronic form on each day that o- either house of the Legislature is in page 0002 o- session + public by means of access by way of computer modem o specified information concerning bills o- and + , o the proceedings of the houses and committees of the Legislature + , statutory enactments, and the California Constitution o . (This takes about twice as many lines. But, the four header lines would appear only one time per bill-listing or per screen- or printed-page - programmer's or user's choice. And, this example text may or may not be unusually hacked; filled with small additions and deletions. Also note those shy, added commas now stand out clearly - if anyone cares.) Most notably, (1) the added/deleted annotations are separated from the text ,making the text much easier to read, (2) deleted text is shifted further to the right making it easy to disregard (try it), and (3) this format can easily be line-processed to produce a variety of other possibly-desired edits of the text - including any version of the bill and the text-results of the bill without the deleted text, so as to easily see what its results will be. Please note these other characteristics: * This design gains readability, but at the expense of vertical length. This particularly change-bloated example takes many more lines than the earlier versions. But, it allocates three columns per line for line-numbers (assuming a maximum of 99 lines on any page) and retains the page numbers from the printed bill, none of which exist in the other versions generated on semi-dumb and real-dumb printers. * The parts of a bill that are current statute can easily and quickly be identified by the "c" flag in column 1 - needed for the legislative novice. If text from current law is being deleted by any version of the bill, it is easily spotted by the "c" in column-1 plus a "-" in one of the columns, 2 through 10. * Text deleted in the current incarnation of the bill is indented to visually "drop away" from current text, but is still separated from older deletions, which are indented still further to the right. * Notably - and unlike the current paper and electronic system in the Legislature - this permits tracking all of the language that was ever in a bill, and easily noting exactly when any text was added or deleted. This may be useful for historical and research purposes, and for uses such as "blame management" and pacifying the "I told you so" and "Was so! Was not!" types. * By line-processing the flags at the left, it is a simple matter to generate (1) the bill-text without the distraction of deleted text, and (2) any of the ten possible versions of the bill, from its original introduction to whatever whip-sawed aberration may finally be adopted prior to the Gov's veto. * By massive induction on a teeny-weeny sample of a Legislative Data Center print-file, it appears to be very straightforward to generate this format - except for calculating the line-numbers (left as an exercise for the advanced student - perhaps, say, someone with old friends from Triple-I who are still familiar with their PageTwo antique typesetting system. :-). * Fewer lines and fewer columns would be needed for the left-side flags if the design were limited to presenting only what is in current printed bills - i.e., the immediately-previous version and the additions and deletions that create the current version. I allowed more columns because I wanted to be able to track all versions in a single presentation, and because I assume presentation software that would allow the user to trivially swap back and forth between several presentation forms by keyboard or mouse-click command - as it Should Be. I would be pleased to receive any comments or criticisms anyone might wish to offer and chat with anyone about this. It is a draft design, based on very inadequate information about the ever-so-cloistered legislative formats, Created by the Sages of Sacramento. You are more than welcome to circulate this wherever you wish and/or use this format - or any variant you choose. It is herewith placed in the public domain - hang on to this; it's "prior art" with which to battle the look-n-feel fascists. This is the first approach I will be suggesting to the volunteers and programmers who want to implement the utility routines necessary to present the public's legislative data that will [sooner or later] be made available to its owners via the computer nets. WHAT FORMAT(S) OF DATA MIGHT THE LEGISLATIVE DATA CENTER FINALLY PROVIDE? There is one final issue floating around about computerized legislative data: What format(s) will Benevolent Bion [Gregory], the Masterful Legislative Counsel. permit for providing public records publicly? For some years, as I understand it, LDC has been selling the public's data in the original print-file format that they send to the Office of State Printing (OSP). Well, sez I, what's good enough for fee-exuding distributors should be good 'nuf fo' us po' folks. In fact, the print-files are essential if the full public record is to be distributed electronically: Please note that the print-file contents - the text and exact OSP print-commands - are essential for calculating page- and line-numbers - which ARE part of the public record. Providing anything less than the OSP print-files will be a failure to provide the full public record. THE SUBLIMINAL PART OF THE PUBLIC RECORD Interesting, huh? Print-commands appear subliminally in the public printed bills. They appear as semantically-meaningful text-changes, and they functionally appear as page-numbers and line-numbers - which have significant value in the legislative process. There certainly could be no objection to the Legislative Data Center also providing bills in other formats, such as the draft design presented in this paper or whatever they spend "much less than $20,000" dreaming up, as reported by the Assembly Office of Research. But, they must provide their OSP print-files. Otherwise they would fail to provide the full public legislative information as mandated in AB1624. ------------------------------ Date: Thu, 17 Jun 1993 09:29:49 -0700 From: Jim Warren Subject: File 9--6/17 AB1624: dumbed-down displays - ADDENDA Thursday, June 17, 1993 Regarding my 6/14, "dumbing-down legislative displays w/o dumbing-down data": Some folks misconstrued this as a proposal that this be the *only* display and printing option offered - absolutely *not* the intent of my proposal. The whole issue with this bill is *MAXIMUM* PUBLIC ACCESS to legislative data. It is an essential principle that access be assured for as broad a spectrum of users a possible - even those with old and antiquated [cheap!] "digital eyeglasses," even those with Baudot-code machines (such as the many thousands that are still the standard across the deaf community). INTENDED TO ASSURE MAXIMUM ACCESS, EVEN FOR CITIZENS WITH MINIMUM EQUIPMENT The 6/14 note was no more than a proposal for how legislative information could be presented on terminals, displays and printers that *only* permit the ASCII character-set - given that the legislative files include semantically-significant strike-thru and italics text . I.e, the 6/14 proposal focused on assuring access to the many tens of thousands of citizens who still use devices that are limited only to ASCII characters - no underscore, no italics, no reverse-images, no strike-thru, no RTF, no PostScript, etc. ALSO WANT ACCESS TO FULL PRINT-FILES TO ALLOW ROBUST DISPLAY ON ROBUST GADGETS While that 6/14 proposal outlines how legislative data can be presented on very-limited devices, I am pushing for amendment-language that will guarantee public access to the full print-files - the files of text plus all the print-formatting commands that are sent by the Legislative Data Center (LDC) to the Office of State Printing (OSP) for use in calculating page- and line-numbers and for typesetting the fully-formatted bills for print publication in their official form. This is an issue because the Assembly's Chief Executive Officer has recommended determining "a [SINGLE!!] format most likely to satisfy public information needs." [My contention: The only one is the OSP print-files. From them, we can generate all other formats anyone desires.] Additionally, the Assembly Office of Research reports that LDC administrators want to "filter the data to a format usable by standard access of Internet" [sic]. WHY NOT RTF OR SGML? Several months ago, the LDC Coordinator said that couldn't use RTF (Rich Text Format) nor SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language), that they had to use a home-grown they call CGML (California Generalized Markup Language) to represent all the formats used by the Legislature in its printed records. Ask 'em about it: Bill Eubanks, Director, LDC, 916-445-4966x715. The OSP print-files that we need to assure are available to the public are of limited value for ASCII-only devices, but are *essential* if we are to be able to emulate the page- and line-number calculations and display and print the information identical to its official printed form - useful for those who DO have appropriate more-than-ASCII displays, terminals and printers. For our maximum UTILITY we must assure that they don't dumb-down the data that they provide for public access. And for maximum ACCESS, we must assure that we provide dumbed-down *displays* as OPTIONS for those many citizens who have minimal equipment. Hope this clarifies the issues and my position. Jim Warren, columnist for MicroTimes, Government Technology & BoardWatch -or- ------------------------------ End of Computer Underground Digest #5.45 ************************************


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