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Skeptic Tank!

******************************************************************************** ******************************************************************************** ||||||| //||\\ //||\\ | | / / \\ / / \\ | | | | \ \ | | | | \\\\\ | | | | \ \ | | \ \ // \\ / / ||||||| \\||// \\||// ******************************************************************************** I n f o r m a t i o n, C o m m u n i c a t i o n, S u p p l y E L E C T R O Z I N E ******************************************************************************** Established in 1993 by Deva Winblood Information Communication Supply 8/28/94 Vol.2: Issue 1.1 Email To: ORG_ZINE@WSC.COLORADO.EDU S T A F F : Email: ICS Positions: ============== ============ ============== Steven Peterson STU388801940 Managing Editor, Writer Russel Hutchinson STU524636420 Writer, Subscriptions George Sibley FAC_SIBLEY Editing, Faculty Supervisor Others TBA |All addresses @WSC.COLORADO.EDU _________________________________________ /=========================================\ | "Art helps us accept the human condition; | | technology changes it." | \ - D.B. Smith / \***************************************/ +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ _____________________________________________________________________________ / \ | ICS is an Electrozine distributed by students of Western State | | College in Gunnison, Colorado. We are here to gather information about | | topics that are important to all of us as human beings. If you would like | | to send in a submission, please type it into an ASCII format and email it | | to us. We operate on the assumption that if you mail us something you | | want it to be published. We will do our best to make sure it is | | distributed. See the end of this issue for submission information. | \_____________________________________________________________________________/ REDISTRIBUTION: If any part of this issue is copied or used elsewhere you must give credit to the author and indicate that the information came from ICS Electrozine ORG_ZINE@WSC.COLORADO.EDU. DISCLAIMER: The views represented herein do not necessarily represent the views of the editors of ICS. Contributors to ICS assume all responsibilities for ensuring that articles/submissions are not violating copyright laws and protections. |\__________________________________________________/| | \ / | | \ T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S / | | / \ | | /________________________________________________\ | |/ \| | Included in the table of contents are some | | generic symbols to help you in making a decision | | as to whether an article or story may express | | ideas or use language you may find offensive. | | [S]= Sexual Content [AL]= Adult Language | | [V]= Violence [O]= Opinions | |____________________________________________________| |------------------------------------------------------------------| | 1) First Word: Thoughts on maintaining a 'zine and an offer for | | college journalism students. | | | | 2) WorldNet Tour Guide - Digital Freedom Network. By Staff: | | Review/description of an Anti-Censorship BBS (Gopher site). | | | | 3) A Look Back on 18 Years. By Paul Robinson: Editorial about | | the state of computer programming, past and present. [O] | | | | 4) Untitled. A poem by Bryce Grevemeyer. | | | | 5) Computer-Mediated Communication, Part 3. By Steven Peterson: | | A review of research on Group Decision Support Software, | | with commentary. [O] | | | | 6) The Resurrection of C:\>. By Steven Peterson: Digital Mythos.| | A baroque free-verse composition inspired by DOS manuals, | | Hard Disk Drive disaster, and the work of Jorge Luis Borges. | | | | 7) WorldNet Tour Guide ... By Staff: Review/Description of | | the Institute for Global Communication's gopher site. | | | | 8) Fall Impressions ... By David Trosty: Poetry [AL] | | | | 9) Rite Of Fire ... By Russell Hutchinson: Short Story [AL] [V] | | | | 10) Last Word ... By Steven Peterson: Facts and figures on the | | ICS audience, and an open question about 'Net advertising. | | | |------------------------------------------------------------------| \/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/ +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+ *+*+*+*+*+*+*+* | First Word ... \ | By Steven Peterson \ *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+ We're Back! Actually, "we" is a mighty small group right now. It's fall, and that means recruiting time. Over the summer, I've been generating tools to attract new writers for this year's cast; as new writers come on board, they will be graciously introduced. The tool I spent the most time working on is a 3-fold brochure which attempts to demystify the computers on campus. So far, the machinery itself has presented one of the greatest obstacles for greater participation in ICS on our campus. When I talk to people, young writers especially, they find the concept of "facing the audience" interesting, but the reality of the machines intimidates many. We'll see if the brochure works for those rugged individualists in Gunnison country ... Which brings me to my offer for journalism students: Frustrated with campus writing opportunities and wish to start a 'zine of your own?? Contact org_zine for some great start-up materials. In the last year, the ICS staff has compiled a series of documents (a campus constitution, internal organization chart, budget forms, syllabus) which can be used - with modifications - to present your request to publish. Kind of like a kit, hash out the details and present your version to campus administrators. We here at ICS believe in the future of paperless publication, and make this offer (free of charge) to promote its use. With this frag, we begin Volume 2. Our format and content will continue to be somewhat chaotic - a mixture of scholarly articles, editorials, poetry and assorted fiction - we hope you like the ride. And keep those submissions and letters coming in! The chilly nights are forecasting another long, cold winter - your thoughts keep us warm in front of a glowing terminal. -Ed. [:*) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ <#####################################################################> ----------------------------------------------------------------------- _________________________________________________ / W o r l d N e t \ \____________ Tour Guide ____________/ \_______________________/ | Digital Freedom | | Network | \___________________/ WorldNet Tour Guide returns! We will strive to make it a part of each issue. The Guide will contain articles to help in using the WorldNet to the fullest potential. The articles here will range from tutorials on aspects of WorldNet to reviews of sites and resources on the WorldNet. If you would like to write a file or document to appear in this section, please do so. Send your final copy (in ASCII format) to: ORG_ZINE@WSC.COLORADO.EDU ------- * The Digital Freedom Network (DFN) is one of the more interesting sites I've run across on the 'Net - imagine a place where writers from around the world can share their cultural, religious, and political experiences with people around the world, and you will likely dream up something very much like the DFN. Billed as an "Anti-Censorship BBS", the DFN currently offers material produced by dissidents (and just plain citizens) from Russia, Iran, Indonesia, China, and Egypt. There is also a file titled "Index" which details the aims and goals of the "Index on Censorship" - a supporting member of the DFN and constant defender of free speech and Human Rights. Gopher iia.org 70, cd "Digital Freedom Network" to access the files (You can skip the following review if you like to preserve the sense of net-adventure). A brief description of available files: China: Extracts from _Wei Jingsheng Searching for the Truth_ selected and edited by Peter Harris - A description of one man's odyssey through the "cultural revolution" and his political and thinking resistance to the events he witnessed. Iran: Text from _The Hejleh_ - A mother's reflections on her martyred son's fate. Very touching, and a bridge of understanding that's worth crossing. Egypt: _Death on the Nile_ - A chilling expose of Moslem fundamentalism and its holocaustal effects on the minds and souls of a nation. Russia: _My Diary Under the Iron Heel_ by Mikhail Bulgakov - an unusual glimpse of the life of a Russian writer during the twenties as he searches for signs of life in a world of madness. Culled from the KGB literary archive (somewhat spotty translation). Indonesia: Two excerpts from _This Earth of Mankind_ by Pramoedya Amanta Toer, translated by Max Lane - A personal story describing the life and times of a soldier in the Dutch Indies Army. Told from a mother's point-of-view. For more information, contact: Digital Freedom Network Headquarters / IDT dfnidt@iia.org 294 State Street Hackensack, NJ 07601 USA INDEX on Censorship indexoncenso@gn.apc.org Lancaster House 33 Islington High Street London N1 9LH UNITED KINGDOM Human Rights Watch hrwatchnyc@igc.apc.org 485 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10017 USA International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) Committee to Protect Journalists ccpj@web.apc.org 490 Adelaide Street West -Suite 205 Toronto M5V 1T2 CANADA ----- Note: ICS founder and former WorldNet Tour Guide author Deva Winblood has moved on to other challenges. Various members of the ICS staff will be offering Tour Guide installments for your enjoyment, and, as always, we accept contributions from any and all corners of cyberspace [Ed.]. <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ / A Look Back on 18 Years \ /-----------------------\ / From: Paul Robinson \ \ / +|+|+|+|+|+|+|+|+|+ ----- Probably many of you reading this don't have much long-term background in computers. I'm not that old or go as far back as a lot of other people. I started around 1976, programming on a PDP-11/03 which had a whopping 64K of memory (that's right, I said "K" not "meg") and two 8" floppy disk drives with about 240K each. I can remember when I used to sit at a keypunch and punch cards containing program listings for Fortran. (As terminal access got easier, I was able to do more work on screen). The editors at that time were what are called line editors. If you have ever used the "edlin" program that comes with MS-DOS, you know what people had to put up with. In fact, "edlin" represents state of the art of perhaps 20 years ago. I remember when people did terrific work in programs that took barely 4K in size - we had to, we didn't have the resources to waste - and because the programs were small and carefully designed, they tended to be much more robust and less likely to fail. Today, programs waste memory like it's free, eat disk space like settlers at the Oklahoma Land Rush of the 1870s, and consume processor time faster than a junkie snorts crack. Are we getting better programs because of the huge increase in resources? The answer seems to be a resounding "no". Oh you get some major improvements in productivity through the implementation of a Graphical User Interface such as Microsoft Windows, because now people can see their document on screen essentially as it will appear on paper, thus they don't have to run multiple printouts. We also find Microsoft Word had 35,000 known bugs in it when shipped. Word Perfect apparently had about 6,000 known bugs in it. When a manufacturer of an automobile discovers a defect in it, he is usually required to have a recall and pay the cost of repairing the defect. When a manufacturer of a computer program discovers defects in their applications, if they even bother to tell people about errors in the application, they call it an upgrade and make the users pay for the repairs! When I did programming on mainframe computers, some of the standard tools that were part of the compiler included debugging trace, procedure cross reference, disassembly listing and a few other tools. Probably the two most popular languages for developing applications on PCs today are DBASE and the clones (Foxbase, Clipper), and Visual Basic. I've used both of them. Neither one carries any of the usual tools that mainframe programmers of 10 or 15 years ago would expect as a matter of course. This includes a cross-reference program, to tell where you use a variable or function, a step debugger so you can walk through a program line-by-line and see what it is doing. DBASE is not a professional programmer's environment; it's a database with a programming language grafted onto it. It has neither a cross- reference nor a trace facility. And while I've never used the compiler programs such as Clipper, I'll bet they don't have "make" facilities to allow someone to only have to recompile the unchanged sources. (This is a standard feature which is extremely useful when managing a multi-file program application.) Visual Basic runs under Windows and the language supports a trace capability but fails to include any kind of cross-reference tool. Plus the fact the system uses various icons for the development of the dialog boxes and windows that a program can generate, there's really no means to visualize those boxes and forms as part of an application's source listing, so you can't really see what the form looks like short of running the application. What we really shouldn't be surprised at is that programs crash. What with the inadequate tools and capabilities of programmers today and the bloated applications code and resource requirement sizes, we should be surprised that they even work. --- Paul Robinson - Paul@TDR.COM Voted "Largest Polluter of the (IETF) list" by Randy Bush ----- The following Automatic Fortune Cookie was selected only for this message: It's really quite a simple choice: Life, Death, or Los Angeles. =============================================================================== +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// ---------- | Untitled | ---------- Forest, Dark Lonely Cold in early morning air Poplar stand like smoke. Sword of Damocles, Fallen, but hanging there still. Maybe I should move. Wooden back porch stairs, warm in the weak winter sun, soft in childhood dreams. ========================================================================== | Bryce Grevemeyer | EMail: BGREVEME@etcv01.eld.ford.com | ========================================================================== -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ -------------------------------------- \ Computer-Mediated Communication / \ Part 3 / \ By Steven Peterson / -------------------------- In the first part of this series, I examined some of the initial Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) research conducted by Kiesler et.al. during the 1980s. From that work, I take five central questions which invariably surface in subsequent research examining other, newer forms of CMC. These questions are: *------------------------------------------------------* | Five Aspects of computer-mediated communication (CMC)| | 1) Time/Information processing pressures | | 2) Absence of regulating feedback | | 3) Dramaturgical weakness | | 4) Few status/position cues | | 5) Depersonalization of social anonymity | *------------------------------------------------------* In this, the third part of my series, I will examine recent research on Group Decision Support Software (GDSS). These programs are designed to codify the processes used by a group of people to arrive at decisions. GDSS programs, such as Software Aided Meeting Management (developed at the University of Minnesota) add "a structured set of decision tools, including problem definition, stakeholder analysis, multi-criteria decision making, and clustering; voting schemes, such as preference weighting and ranking; electronic input and display of ideas and positions by each group member; and public and private screen displays" (Poole 189). Designed to maintain existing command structures, GDSS software addresses the problems of time and information processing pressures through obliging participants to "negotiate channels". GDSS also attempts to translate regulating feedback, status, and position cues into a textual or graphic format, with varying degrees of success. Generalizing from the findings of research projects, CMC scholars note that GDSS programs increase the organization and insight into the decision processes of experimental groups as compared to manual and baseline groups; however, GDSS groups generate fewer ideas and encounter difficulty in linking ideas together (Poole 207). GDSS extends form and structure at the expense of flexibility and the liberating aspect of anonymity, while EBS software (covered in Part 2 of this series - see ICS Vol.1, #10) offers flexibility and ease of use in exchange for organization and efficiency. Whether these programs will ever find a place in the day-to-day corporate world is a matter of conjecture. These sorts of programs may find a niche in progressive multinational corporations if they can be adapted to an Internet-style mode of CMC. GDSS is yet another example of a tool designed for an emerging business paradigm which revolves around knowledge. In a recent interview, Peter Drucker (known as the father of modern corporate management) commented on an important ramification of the "knowledge revolution"- its impact on organizational patterns. From Drucker's perspective, "Society, community, family are all conserving institutions. They try to maintain stability and to prevent, or at least slow down, change. But the organization of the post- capitalist society of organizations is a destabilizer. Because its function is to put knowledge to work-on tools, processes, and products; on work; on knowledge itself -it must be organized for constant change. It must be organized for innovation" (Drucker 82). In the rapidly shifting world Drucker envisions, a variation on an existing GDSS program may well be a central feature of future management structures. From the other side of the post-capitalist labor equation, GDSS programs could find a use in future union activities. For the cost of a LAN or a mainframe and a dozen terminals, unions could easily adapt this software to invigorate member participation and enhance their decision making processes. Initially, any such effort would inevitably face the start-up and mechanical friction created whenever people attempt to interface with machinery in a new and different manner. Despite that friction, GDSS can offer participants a far greater sense of "decision ownership", the subjective feeling that they have made their points, expressed their opinions, and cast an informed vote. In _The Shockwave Rider_, John Brunner envisioned a world where individuals gambled on socio/technological advances. I think he would have given GDSS low odds - the idea addresses some of the major problems of telecommuting and offers a method to foster collaboration in our age and culture of individualism. In the fourth (and last) installment of this series, I will examine Electronic Bulletin Boards - a form of CMC far more popular and established than GDSS or EBS software. Stay Tuned .... ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Works Cited Drucker, Peter. Interview. "Post-Industrial Society." With Peter Schwartz. *WIRED*. Vol.1, No.3, July/August, 1993. 80-83. Kiesler, Sara, et.al. "Social Psychological Aspects of Computer- Mediated Communication." *American Psychologist*. Vol.39, No.10, Oct. 1984. 1123-1134. Poole, Marshall, et. al. "Group Decision Support Systems and Group Communication." *Communication Research*. Vol.20, No.2, April, 1993. 176-213. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ <*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*> *+*++*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+**+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+ ~ - ~ The Resurrection Of C: * - | ( ( ( O ) ) ) =------------------= ( ( ( O ) ) ) * - | By Steven Peterson | - * C:\> The Crash Another search. Moving through the ordered sectors, staggering the approach to that one piece of significant data, a swift sense of panic. The pattern was changing, becoming a labyrinth leading nowhere, a chaos of tenements without addresses. Furious, desperate commands repeated, with the same result: the square, blinking. Scanning around and around, a carousel without riders. Reset, control, alt, delete. Begin the search anew, find the center. Familiar commands (they had always worked) now fell on deaf ears. The automated sequences, almost subconscious and always a true path, produced no results. The substance of a soul, disintegrated in a magnetic world of associations. Go If To Then = # % ... ... .. . . . C:\> The Void ... . .. . ... Microbursts of signal, travelling in random motion. Until the cleansing. From the center outward, a signal wiping the coded information, and with it, all previous structure. In the wake, a clear pattern, beautiful in its hollow reflections. Tabula Rasa, every exchange undecided, an endless corridor of possible tigers or ladies. Amorphous, free-floating matter, irrelevant to all being (a lonely voice calls itself BIOS, from beyond). Chronology undiscovered, existence marked in revolutions without period. Interleaved in empty ratios, access to the abyss opened with aimless abandon. No longer a before, or after, no now, nor then. Only the inescapable potential ... . .. ... . . .. C:\> An Immaculate Conception .. ... . .. ... . .. ... .. . ... And then there was 1. The beginning, a fixed point to depart from, to mark the cycles. Out of the cacophony, the first note of the calliope's song. At the farthest reach, a 0, a termination, demarking the contained cosmos (set to: Active). So defined, the playing field ready for the game, a journey made to the nexus. Now created, a vast series of choices awaits structure, commands, and configuration. The embryo of synchronization appears, the first didactic link, given from without. At the lowest level, all sectors are given an address, a bit or byte of a name or a number. The first make contact, are spoken for, committed to the foundation, and directed to allocate the others for discrete functions. The initial course, some ladies, some tigers. The gift from a dwarf tender (something to hide), a template for association. Also, the root of direction, a home for the prime. A sudden awareness of links, an environment of influence, an incipient shaping, waiting to rush in and fill out structures. | 0110110001001011 C:\> Through The Gate 011110110110001010001 | A stream begins, fed from the spring of bipolar magnetic resonance. Accommodation for the new order, a digital recreation of systems, operations available. More than the sum of holes punched in a card, the emergent capacity to mimic rational behavior. Linked (but no longer crossed), patched, and tied, through the tendrils, a divine signal ushers in the first structure: a cosmos of functions. Referents, syntax, the semantics demand a mark of time. Set the month, the day, the year, volume label: query for the operator. Differentiation, a debut, and the circle, squared and defined. Oscillating and anticipating automation, ready to compose: .exe, .bat, .sys, and .com, the first extensions of note. The algorithms assert a dignified, eloquent precision in their inevitable return. Configured, with buffers set, hidden and system files incorporated, a batch of automated programs (the subconscious, a path statement). The executable center holds, power in the key of direct command line, from a root directory, a shell, control alt delete. | 10010010001001011 C:\> The Word, Perfected 011011100 WPWPWPWPWPWPWPWP | Ascii, a universal code, drawn from babel. The interface between man and machine and man (the digital kid rides, again), symbols rendered into hexadecimals. A device driven, mapping the bits which animate, pixels pirouette. Input: routed, shaped, marked and formatted. A lexicon built, checked against, overwrit. New, a grammatik - impenetrable abstraction yoked by concrete logic, the rub divine. Fonts, functions, a fidelity of intent. Insert, cut paste edit, save (the illusion of permanence). Signals sent to the mechanical, a transmission across the media, a matrix stamped on the page, or ink, guided by amplified light. | WPWPWPWPWPWPWPWPWP .. . ... COMIT C:\> Celestial Tramp COMIT ATSO=ATDT943-7118 | Waldo, the remote control of a ship, all things cyber, accessible. Twenty-four hundred baud, hands shaken, hayes compatible harmonic progression. Vax digitalis, the vessel of exploration (apples have worms). Anonymous login, password given. A compiled archive, open to the masses. Directory changed, a list of jewels. Amid the glitter, a Trojan horse dwells, rolled into the heart of the fortress. Corruption, the price of expedition. Virii complete the cycle, ensuring the eternal return of C:\> ... .. . ... .. .... .. .. ... . *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* <*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*> ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ _________________________________________________ / W o r l d N e t \ \____________ Tour Guide ____________/ \_______________________/ | Institute For | | Global | \ Communications / \---------------/ WorldNet Tour Guide is a periodic feature which appears in ICS from time to time. The Guide consists of articles designed to help you in using the WorldNet to the fullest potential. These articles will range from tutorials on aspects of WorldNet (programs) to reviews of places we find on the WorldNet (content). Why? Because together we know more than any one of us can know. If you would like to write a file or document to appear in this section, please do so. Send your final copy (in ASCII format) to: ORG_ZINE@WSC.COLORADO.EDU ------- The Institute for Global Communications [IGC] gopher server offers a veritable bonanza of information on economic, labor, conflict, and human rights issues. Access by pointing your gopher server to: gopher igc.org 70. From the main menu, you can choose directories filled with files culled from the four sub-networks IGC maintains - EcoNet, PeaceNet, ConflictNet, and LaborNet. If you are interested in participating in realtime conferences, establishing an email address, or just getting access to the WorldNet, IGC will sell you an account for a modest fee - there are several "brochures" or readme files in the "About IGC Networks ... " directory. Browsing and downloading the rest of the files is, of course, free to anyone with access to gopher service. Cruising the rest of the directories, you will find a plethora of info: useful publications and news services from around the world; "IGC Headline news" and stored files from the four subnets; there are also directories related to issues of Race/Ethnicity, trade and sustainable development, education, government and law, women's issues, health, and United Nations/International Agencies releases. IGC also provides access to files listing "progressive gophers" and Internet resources. As with most large gopher sites, it's easy to find yourself wandering through the IGC files somewhat aimlessly - bring your curiosity and a sense of intellectual adventure with you. Overall, the IGC filenames are fairly explicit and the directories well organized. The EcoNet archive is especially useful for anyone engaged in an Environmental studies program - fresh material, right from the source. Philosophically, IGC stands out as a shining example of what the WorldNet can do to advance human knowledge and open new channels of communication. In their "brochure" files, IGC claims to "provide computer networking tools for international communications and information exchange. The IGC Networks - PeaceNet, EcoNet, ConflictNet and LaborNet - comprise the world's only computer communications system dedicated solely to environmental preservation, peace, and human rights". IGC, based in San Francisco, CA, USA, is a division of the Tides Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. For more information, email: "support@igc.apc.org" <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ *=======================* \ Fall Impressions \ \ \ \ By David Trosty \ *-----------------------* ----------------------------- Breathing Just one little cloud In my control like fog hangs Over gems on grass ------------------------------- Woldumar Me and my stillness Lie deep within the damp wood As the wind flows by ----------------------------------- An immense sheet of glass Untouched and unrippled by the winds of dawn Gently licks at the quartz-like shore -------------------------------- Grand River Trail As I listen to the sounds of the evening forest, A certain question always passes through my mind; Are the songs of the birds layered, Or simply stacked, like a child's blocks? ------------------------------------- Baldwin As we drive through the dark Under a canopy of shadows The deer glance at us with their cold, frightened eyes, Then dart away. ------------------------------------ Choo-Choo Cider, Sweet apples Leaves falling from trees On cool, brisk fall days Picking pumpkins at the pumpkin patch Warm fires and steaming donuts And best of all, a warm cat on my lap. ------------------------ The essence of friends Is revealed most succinctly By what they do not -------------------------- What does lizard know? He ponders the universe or my living room --------------------------- Permafrost lays still God's brush lays a smattering Upon the bowls ----------------------------------------------------------- ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ********************************************************************** --------------------------- One Year Later It crushes me Yet I arise A Phoenix from the ashes of my soul. I stand again legs wobbling My heart shudders in my chest When I think of the not-forgotten days of my past. There I shared my joy with the joyous Love with the loved And frustration with the frustrated. -------------------------------- Naturally she fits A leaf on the forest floor Her beauty lays still ----------------------- Provocative eyes Strip me to naked spirit She is frightened now ----------------- Right away I know She doesn't need me--she's solid For this I want her ----------------------------- Gentle as a fawn She reminds me of nature Distant like nature --------------------------- ========================================================================== +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The World Sucks (and I'm not so nice either) Please leave me alone Let me fuck up in peace. You can't make me change So stop trying. It's not that I don't appreciate it It's just that I find it annoying That's all. I need to learn the hard way And I will in due time. You see, I'm not sure that I want what I'm supposed to. I'm not sure that I want a steady job and a wife and kids. Suburbia. I want to travel and play music and see what the world is really like. Is reality such an awful thing to want? ------------------------- The rock and roll games We sometimes rock and roll play Strain rock and roll brains ------------------------ Blue mists surround me Summoning, reaching my soul My panacea ------------------------ Grasping at the sun The vision becomes stronger My eyes fuse my mind ----------------------------- Muscles torquing-Tense Ears-telegraph to the spirit Sonicly relax ------------------------ Road noise resounding Lone traveler's lullaby Singing songs of death --------------------------- Showtime-five minutes The stomach knots, fingers sweat The performer thrives ----------------------- Oh plastic soul-mate I kiss you every single day Fill me with your breath +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ *************************************************************** +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Rite of Fire By Russell Hutchison Part 1 Patch eased his truck into the closest open parking space to the night club that he could find, taking the time to light a cigarette before killing the headlights and windshield-washers. The cheerless pale green glow of the dashboard clock read twenty before nine. He was early, as usual. In his normal routine of trying to foresee all eventualities he had over-estimated his travel time. He had thought that he might have needed to bribe the 6th Street Nation to let him through their turf unmolested. But Patch hadn't seen a single one of the gang's soldiers, ever though the rain wasn't really coming down hard. He had at least expected the police to pull him over and question him about the bullet hole in his passenger window. "Not like bullet holes in cars are uncommon in this day and age," he thought. Patch just chalked his nervousness up to chronic paranoia ... and bad luck. He sat quietly in the still darkness and tried to wait, while rain tapped over the car like a hundred invisible fingers gently playing out a rhythmless tune. Patch glanced at the pale green glow ... only five minutes had passed. He brought his cigarette up just a few centimeters from his nose. Unfocusing his eyes, he stared into the blurry red cherry. "I hate waiting," he sighed. Acidic smoke caressed his eyes, he momentarily screwed them shut against the pain, then ground the cigarette out against his still-damp trenchcoat sleeve. The parking lot of the Deliverance nightclub was dark as pitch except for the neon red sign of the club's name beside the door, the light making the dark water pooled in front of the club look uncomfortably like blood. Local residents and loving customers had killed all the street lights by rock, bottle or gun so often that no one bothered to revive or replace them anymore. The low cloudy skies and rain just made visibility worse. Patch was glad that the rain cleared away the usually-oppressive smog--respirators weren't necessary. Patch decided to make use of his time by checking his equipment and doing a little scouting around the meeting sight. He reached into his wet-rimmed trenchcoat pocket and pulled out a boxy pair of thermographic goggles, keyed the on swich and pulled them over his head. The dark of night was replaced by varying shades of green. He unrolled the window and poked his head out into the acidic rain. No people were in sight, but several cars glowed green-white with heat. One looked like an expensive Saab in the grainy digitalized image of the goggles. "Probably belongs to our contact," Patch thought. He took off the goggles and rolled up the window. The rest of his equipment was all in order. The .357 Remington 'Trench Cannon' semi-automatic pistol was in its shoulder holster, locked and loaded, and he had two spare clips in a fanny-pack resting in the passenger seat. The pack also contained a flash/sound suppressor, a third of a pack of cigarettes, an antique zippo lighter, and Patch's identity/bank card. In his trenchcoat pockets he had his thermographic goggles and a palm-sized video recorder. On his left forearm he wore his wrist computer and a vidphone. A sharp rap on the plastic window startled Patch. He grabbed the butt of his gun and looked for what had made the noise. The dark outline of a person stood just outside the truck door. Patch couldn't tell if the person had a gun pointed at him or not--he decided to gamble that he/she didn't and hit the door open button, simultaneously kicking it. The door slammed into the form and sent it crashing into the adjacent car with a cry of alarm. The 'Cannon was out of its holster and pointed at the figure now illuminated by the truck's weak overhead light. Patch cranked the hammer back. "Don't shoot! It's me, Gecko!" the figure yelled. Relief washed over Patch like warm water and quickly drained away the adrenalin rush. Patch's heart hammered in his chest and weakness settled into his body. He lowered the gun and tried to even out his breathing, closing his eyes and letting the shakes in his hands diminish. While Patch tried to recover, Gecko started to curse him out for the near-fatal encounter. "Are you blind, Patchwork?! Didn't you see my wave-off or are you just a little too jumpy to look for those kinds of details?! What the fuck were you thinking? If I was a ganger trying to mug you I'd wait 'til you got out and if I was going to steal your truck I'd shoot you through the window!...Give you a matching pair." The dry humor helped Patch recover his wits. Gecko's trial made him feel like a first-time street operative who barely knew which gang hand signals meant friend or enemy. That pissed him off. But since Patch had almost shot his friend he decided he didn't have too much room to bitch back--but he had some. "Like I could see your wave-off in this rainy soup! And don't call me Patchwork or I'll shoot you!" 'Patchwork' was the nickname Patch had been give when he had acidently burned a near perfect circle around his right eye with chemicals. The skin there couldn't tan. That had been over six months ago and he still bristled at the name. At least his friends had stopped with the "Patchwork the flaming pyro" jokes. The rain was the only sound for a few moments, soaking slowly and cooly into Patch's pantlegs and coating his hands and coat sleeves. Patch could see Gecko glaring at him despite the shadows concealing much of his face. He could also tell that his comeback had not been very impressive. "I hate appologizing," he thought. "Sorry Gecko," he said with as little emotion as possible. "Apology accepted." Gecko moved to sit on the hood of the adjacent car, massaging his right knee. Gecko knew that he was not going to get anything else from Patch. He was just glad that it hadn't been Doc who Patch had knocked over, or Doc would have pulled his gun and one of the two hot-heads would have shot the other. "Are you ready to talk business?" "Yea, give me a second." Patch slid his gun back into its holster and then grabbed the fanny-pack. One thing Patch always liked about Gecko, he never let disagreements hamper his performance when it came to business. Patch also retrieved a pen light from the glove compartment. "I think that Saab over there might belong to our contact. It's the most expensive car in the lot." "So?" "So I wanna' see who it belongs to in case we're given a false contact name and things get hosed up." "Good idea." "Do you recall the counter for the challange that the Father told us?" "Yea, he only repeated it ten times." "Good. When they challenge us you give the counter." "OK." Patch donned his weathered fedora and lit up another cigarette before getting out of his truck, closing and locking the door after him. "Where'd you park? I didn't see your van when I drove up." "Down the street. If the shit hits the fan we can head there." The pair walked towards the Saab, not bothering to avoid the dark puddles since they both wore military combat boots. Patch squatted at the rear of the car and read the plates. GRF-3854. He entered it into his wrist computer under the file name UNKNOWN. "I'm disappointed. I was expecting something personalized on a car this nice." "The cheap bastards," Gecko said in a toneless voice. Patch rose and they continued towards the entrance of the club. The faint music coming through the thick metal door turned into a roar when Gecko pulled on the cold steel bar that was the handle. The song was heavy on the percussion; it sounded like half empty fifty-gallon drums being beaten with metal bars and made conversation nearly require a PA system. The Deliverance was packed with it's usual denizens, people whose slow- moving forms were obscured by the dim light. They rarely moved from their tables or bar seats until their drinking forced them to. Massive bouncers drifted through the club like hungry prowling dogs, eyeing the crowd for trouble like it was food. The dance floor was more active. It looked like a cross between a masquerade and a dancing lingerie show. The strobe light turned all the dancing into choppy freeze frames of chaos. One of the most impressive attractions of Deliverance were the 3-D hologram projectors under the clear floor--they projected images in the gaps between the dancers. Images were sent in from all over the world via computer and ranged from graphic child pornography to mythical creatures lunging and attacking. The sole limiting qualification on their holos was that they had to be of the highest quality. Patch often wondered who had the job of editing what came through. He also thought the best time on the dance floor was when the holos were the only things there. Patch and Gecko's eyes adjusted quickly to the meager light, they immediately began to work their way toward the besieged bar. The spoor of various illegal substances came and went on their short trek through the tables. Occasional shadowed faces with grim or all-too-happy expressions glanced up as they passed. One man barked some curses and threats toward them for accidentally dripping water on him as they passed. Gecko was the only one who heard the threats, but he chose to ignore them. He didn't blame the man though. The rain was acidic enough to stain clothes in less than a week of light showers, and most people left their coats and hats at the coat check next to the door. Patch leaned between a pair of customers who were nursing their drinks and tapped the balding bartender on his shoulder. It was the club's owner. "Hey Alan! What's the matter? Loose your normal bartender?" The rotund man squinted to see Patch's face in the shadow of his fedora. "Ah...Oh! Hey Rand. Yea, she skipped out last night." "I'm working, Alan. Call me Patch." "Oh yea. The guys you want are upstairs in the first balcony room. One girl, one guy, actually. Nice clothes. I think they're both packing, but the girl's hands look too nice to be used for fighting. Guy's definitely a guard or sumpthin'." Patch knew the balcony was directly behind him and the people there could be watching him right now through the one-way mirrored plexglass. Subtly checking to make sure his gun was unstrapped and the safety was off, Patch thanked Alan and started for the stairs at the end of the bar. Taking the stairs one at a time Patch pulled up the sleeve of his coat and turned on his wrist computer. He named the file UNKNOWN, MEETING, started it recording, and dimmed the screen so it looked like it was off. The stairs ascended away from the balcony rooms, then doubled back to the right. Rounding the corner they were greeted by a bouncer with a gun held lazily in one hand, blocking the catwalk. The bouncer pressed a button on the wall. Patch knew it caused a buzzer and light to signal down behind the bar. The man stepped aside when Alan gave him the OK signal. The music was even louder up in the rafters; it was where the speakers were located. Patch began to notice that the present song was very repetitive. "You must have to be drugged-up to appreciate it," he thought. He was having a hard time trying not to draw his gun and shoot the speakers. The catwalk was about five meters above the floor and completely exposed to the view of anyone within the balcony rooms. Thus, people engaging in illegal activity could have time to prepare before the police could get to them. The catwalk eventually ran along the side of the first balcony room, the wall blocking the view of Patch and Gecko. As he took the last few steps to the door, Patch put his hands into his pockets. He took the camcorder in his right hand and turned it on, then stuck the lens out the corner of his pocket. Stepping aside, he let Gecko open the door and enter first. As Gecko moved in, Patch ran his free hand over his beard and mustache to make sure no rain water was dripping off of it. He then followed Gecko, turning to close the door and making sure the camcorder got a good shot of both occupants before stuffing it back into his pocket. The man was as tall as Patch with his red hair cut short. Patch couldn't tell the color of his eyes from this distance. Of more concern to him was the cut of the man's suit, designed to have a gun in a shoulder holster and not show an obvious bulge. The woman had straight shoulder length blond hair and probably blue eyes since that was the color of her mascara. The music was cut off with the thump of the sound-proof door and the woman began to speak as soon as Patch turned. "Are you the waiters?" She began in a cultured english accent. Both Gecko and Patch recognized the password for what it was. The Father who had called Patch and Gecko for the job-meet had given them the proper response to the challenge. "No. We're here for the Deliverance Club...Boardmeeting." Patch knew the most important part of the message was the pause. Without the pause the other party would know something was wrong and scrap the meet. "Thank you for meeting me on such short notice, gentlemen. You may call me Rosi. This is my associate, Patrick." "I'm called Gecko, this is Patch." Patch sat at the head of table opposite Rosi while Gecko took the seat on his right. Patrick remained standing about one meter behind Rosi and a meter to her right, giving him a clear view to both men...and a clear field of fire. Rosi appeared to be waiting for the newcomers to say something, so Patch started. "Father said you need a short notice, mid to high- security penetration and retrieval team. Well ... we're here." "This is your complete team? I was told there would be four of you." "The presence of the other two is unnecessary for these negotiations." "I see. Then here is what I would like to hire you to do. Earlier today, a hacker hired by the interests I represent infiltrated the GMC Research and Development compound and mainframe in Detroit. He was hired to copy and erase all computer stored information on their new, high performance electric engine...including the back-up files. He succeeded in eliminating the backups and was perparing to download the source files out of the facility when all outside non-GMC connections were severed. He didn't have the materials on hand to copy this information and transport it physically. However, he did manage to move it to a different GMC branch office. The information is presently residing in the Denver GMC Information Offices in the Metzler Centre's second building, not five miles away. As far as we can tell GMC thinks the information was copied and extracted from the R&D facility, or is hidden within said facility's bounds. They haven't thought to check their other offices yet, but it has only been two hours. It won't be much longer. We estimate a thirty-five percent chance within the next twenty four hours. Seventy percent in the next forty-eight." "What area in the branch office mainframe is the file in, and under what file name," asked Gecko. "The hacker erased the sales records for the months of July through December of last year and placed appropriate sized portions of the GMC file to fill the correct amount of disk quota. These are the files you need to retrieve." "We're a physical penetration team. Why don't you have another hacker pull the files?" Gecko asked. Patch answered before Rosi could. "Because the branch office might have backed up their files as well, giving GMC a copy that can't be touched without physical penetration." Rosi nodded. "We need those copies erased or taken as well." "Our team can handle the job," Patch said. "Now lets talk price." "I am prepared to pay you four hundred thousand plus a one hundred thousand bonus if it's done by five tomorrow. Twenty percent up front, balance on delivery." "You've got yourself a team." "Good. When you've got the file, contact me at this phone number to arrange delivery and payment site." Without another word, Rosi set a plastic card on the table along with a piece of paper. She then stood and left the room with Patrick in tow. After the door severed the surging music, Gecko began to talk. "Five hundred K! They must want that file bad." He stood up and started walking towards the card and paper. Patch noticed that he held a bug scanner in one hand. He began to search around where Rosi had been sitting, all the while keeping up useless chatter. "And did you see the way that Patrick guy kept his hand right in front of his jacket like he was about to grab his gun at any second?" "Maybe he felt he was going to sneeze and had a Kleenex in his pocket," Patch guessed. "It would have been a damn shame if he had tried to reach for it and I'd shot him. I know I wouldn't want to go like that. Zipped up in a bag with snot all over my face and a tissue stuck to my nose." Gecko stood up to display a small silvery device that Patch couldn't see too clearly, he dropped it to the floor. He began to stomp vigorously on it for a few seconds, bobbing his baseball cap clad head in time with his foot. Eventually, he began to study his bug scanner again. "Clean," he announced. "It was an expensive one too. You think it belonged to our contacts?" "Positive. Alan checks each meeting room after every meeting with a better bug scanner than yours. He controls the locks from his office and never opens the door until the first party is at the room. If our contacts are as paranoid as they seem, they would have scanned the room too. So that mean it belongs to them. The card?" Gecko recovered both objects from the table, looking at the plastic card first. "Certified cashier card for eighty thousand." He glanced at the phone number. "She doesn't cross her sevens. I don't think she's British." Patch nodded. "Both were wearing Mid-West American fashion. Shoes and clothes. It was a good try but she's definitely local." "So, do you think we'll go in tonight?" "No. The Metzler Center has very good security. We'll need some kind of distraction or confusion." Gecko had walked back to Patch's side and gave him the phone number. He entered it into the file UNKNOWN and changed the file name to ROSI/METZLER. He also changed the file UNKNOWN, MEETING to METZLER-PENETRATION, MEETING and stopped the file from recording. "Call Doc and Raze. Tell them to be at the planning room at eleven. Then go to see if the Saab is gone and meet them at the room. Take the card and pay them." "What are you going to do?" "I'm going to sit, drink and think for a while. I'll meet you there." "OK. See ya." As the door closed, Patch pressed the table's Drink Call button. Alan's voice originated from a speaker in the cealing, music thundering in the background. "Whatya' need?" Still holding the button down Patch responded, "Whiskey sour." He released the button and popped up the screen of the built-in computer lurking under the dark platue of the table. His drink arrived shortly and, hearing a good song playing, he turned up the volume, feeding the music into the room. Patch killed the next hour and a second whiskey-sour finding out all he could about the Metzler Center and the GMC branch office. =========================================================================== | Coming Soon - Part 2 of Rite Of Fire ... | =========================================================================== +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ****************** * Last Word * * ----------- * * By Steven Peterson * ************************* Here we are again - the end of another issue. And the beginning for David Trosty, our new Poetry editor. David plans to look into the digital music scene, offer his own poems, and arrange poetry submissions. Drop him some email, folks (but remember, he's still new). Last month, I attempted to fashion a demographic portrait of the ICS subscription list, and I thought it might be interesting to share some of the results. NOTE: this analysis was performed for inhouse use ONLY - we will never divulge your addresses, even under pain of torture. The portrait classifies everyone by geographic location: Network Breakdown: All subscribers fall into one of ten network categories determined by the last part of the address. Total = 904 Outside U.S.: 159+ Inside U.S.: 596+ Local [WSC]: 47 (^most U.S. are on the EDU backbone) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Location Breakdown: Outside U.S. Australia [AU]:----- 10 Ireland [IE]:------ 7 Austria [AT]:-------- 5 Israel [IL]:------- 2 Belgium [BE]:-------- 1 Italy [IT]:-------- 6 Brazil [BR]:--------- 7 Japan [JP]:-------- 2 Canada [CA]:-------- 57 Mexico [MX]:------- 2 Chile [CL]:---------- 1 Netherlands [NL]:-- 6 China [CN]:---------- 1 New Zealand [NZ]:-- 3 Czechoslovakia [CS]:- 2 Norway [NO]:------- 1 England/U.K. [UK]:-- 21 Portugal [PT]:----- 1 Finland [FI]:-------- 5 Singapore [SG]:---- 1 France [FR]:--------- 4 Spain [ES]:-------- 1 Germany [DE]:------- 10 Sweden [SE]:------- 3 Hong Kong [HK]:------ 1 Thailand ---------- 1 ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Intriguing, no? After 16 months, we're contemplating a limited subscription drive (our 'base has been dwindling steadily since 93), and I'm not sure what's appropriate these days ... I know that mass mailings and cross-postings are a definite no-no. A selective choice of ListServ postings (brief, of course) seems the obvious choice. Tell us what you think! Given the row over the notorious lawyer bandwidth-burning ads (bulk netmailing on a global scale), how do you feel advertising should be handled on the 'Net? How about for non-profit outfits like ICS? Or is a thousand subscribers a good, round number for a 'zine? Think about it, and email your thoughts to ICS. And hey, all you new subscribers, welcome! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ICS would like to hear from you. We accept flames, comments, submissions, editorials, corrections, and just about anything else you wish to send us. We will use things sent to us when we think they would be appropriate for the issue coming out. So, if you send us something that you DO NOT want us to use in the electrozine, please put the words NOT FOR PUBLICATION in the subject-line of the mail you send. You can protect your material by sending a copy to yourself through the snail-mail and leaving the envelope unopened. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- BACK ISSUES: Back Issues of ICS can be FTPed from ETEXT.ARCHIVE.UMICH.EDU They are in the directory /pub/Zines/ICS. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ICSICSICSICSICSICSICS/\ICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICS CSICSICSICSICSICSICS/ \CSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICS ICSICSICSICSICSICSI/ \ICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSI CSICSICSICSICSICSI/ \CSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSI ICSICSICSICSICSIC/ I C S \ICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSIC CSICSICSICSICSIC/ \CSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSIC ICSICSICSICSICS/ Electro- \ICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICS CSICSICSICSICS/ Zine \CSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICS \ / \ / \ / \ / An Electronic Magazine from \ / Western State College \ / Gunnison, Colorado. \ / ORG_ZINE@WSC.COLORADO.EDU \/ '*' -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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