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It Is 1979 And Do You Know Where Your ARPANET Is? - Morgan Dawn Livejournal:The Here And Now
The Here And Now
It Is 1979 And Do You Know Where Your ARPANET Is?

Today the date is 1979 and sci-fi fans have set up their own little mailing list, SF-LOVERS, on ARPANET. I wonder what they are talking about? 

“The latest Star Trek movie is crap” (they are actually talking about the first Star Trek movie, but who is counting? Or rather, who can keep count?)

Date: 8 Dec 1979 2046-PST
Sender: GEOFF at SRI-KA
Subject: Re: Star Trek The Movie
From: the tty of Geoffrey S. Goodfellow

I thought the movie was "hokey", and wanted to throw up, but
instead sat thru it and laughed (out loud) thru the "serious
moments" of the movie along with other people in the place.
I think comparing the movie against star wars is like comparing
the Prisoner Series and Green Acres, (i.e. Apples and oranges).
Yes, go see it, but don't go in expecting much, except to see a
few gimmicks, and not much more.

A lot of discussion about mailing list tech problems. Apparently, only one email message was being delivered per day to Xerox Company’s server and they needed volunteers to manually forward the rest. And of course, the origin story of their mailing list.

Date: 8 Jan 1980 4:58 pm (Tuesday)
Sender: Brodie at PARC-MAXC
From: Richard R. Brodie <Brodie at PARC-MAXC>
Subject: My baby--she's become . . .
To: Science Fiction Lovers <SF^>

In the beginning there was void, and the void was without form,
or any form of SF lovers mailing list.
Then I thought it would be a nice idea to have such a list. And
I created SF.Dl. And The People thought that it was good, for it
grew and grew to the point where it contained 52 recipients.
But I saw that it was lonely, and that it needed companionship
and an influx of fresh ideas from the East Coast, where weather
is cold, blondes are scarce, and relationships are meaningful.
And I created SF-LOVERS at MIT-AI, and linked SF.Dl to it
through the LISP-like miracle of MIT's mail system. And The

People thought that it was wicked good, for there are now
several hundred people from all parts of the world on SF-LOVERS
at MIT-AI.

And it became very difficult to maintain the list from afar, so I
created laws of nature and physics, also known as Roger <DUFFEY
at MIT-AI> to rule over the list and maintain order in the

But there was one thing that was not good. That was that
PARC-MAXC had no automated mailing list facility. And although I
saw that that was bad, I did grin, and think, "shucks, it's not
too difficult to forward messages by hand to SF.Dl when they come
in over the ARPAnet, rather than having the computer do it for
me, even though one would think that Xerox PARC, being as it is
the edge of the world in computer science and technology, would
be able to handle incoming mail to distribution lists in at least
some rudimentary fashion." And I did forward many messages to
SF.Dl by hand for many months.

But I saw that my hand was getting tired and i did decide that
very soon I will stop forwarding mail by hand. Therefore, if you
are at PARC-MAXC and wish to continue to receive mail from
SF-LOVERS at MIT-AI, which does comprise the bulk of mail to
SF.DL, you must ask Roger <DUFFEY at MIT-AI> to add you to
SF-LOVERS at MIT-AI. Just clip the coupon below and send it to
Roger Duffey, c/o TCCC-HUBNET, Peoria, IL 60431.

Rich Brodie

How there is just too much email and traffic!

Date: 10 JAN 1980 1338-EST
From: MOON5 at MIT-AI (David A. Moon)

Please limit yourselves to 2 or 3 messages a day. I hate to be fascist
about this, but at present the redistribution of SF-LOVERS mail is using
up an entirely unacceptable amount of our highly-overloaded computer.
Bear in mind that when you send a message to SF-LOVERS, it is going to
over 225 people. This means that you are committing about an hour of
computer time, several hundred tenex-pages worth of disk storage, and
at least 3 hours of human time. If you have a trivial remark to make,
keep it to yourself

And: “OMG This thing is gonna blow any minute!”

Date: 10 Jan 1980 1621-PST (Thursday)
From: Lauren at UCLA-Security (Lauren Weinstein)
Subject: restraint!

I was just musing about the sudden massive increase in SF-LOVERS

activity, and worked out the following fact. If the average
message is 1000 bytes, and there are 225 recipients, and there were
some 30 odd messages in the last 24 hours or so, that adds up to
almost 7 megabytes of disk storage across the net. We've got
to get this thing under control or BELIEVE ME it will collapse
under its own weight!

Crappy TV shows and how reporters and outsiders always dismiss us and our awesome stuff.

Date: 12 Oct 1979 2301-PDT (Friday)
From: lauren at UCLA-Security (Lauren Weinstein)

Commercial Television is a wasteland because it is the most massive
of mass medias. The lowest common denominator theory is not
necessarily desired by network exec's, rather it is forced on them
through the very nature of the system. In reality, many of them
watch very little commercial TV themselves -- largely sticking with
PBS if anything at all. The bottom line is ratings <==> $$$.
DIRECTLY. Every point is worth advertising revenue. And, as
commercial firms, the management must try to obtain the highest
profit possible for their stockholders.

This demonstrates why, largely, the only decent television programming
is either PBS or other noon-commercial. However, being non-commercial
isn't necessarily good enough. The BBC is a good example. Most
of the BBC stuff we see is really good. BUT, there is alot of
bad stuff over there as well. BORING!!! Lack of funds is part
of the problem, but bad writing, concepts, etc. is another.
(Look at "Dr. Who", which seems to exist on $100/episode but still
is basically solid Science-Fiction).

Oh yeah, about 60 minutes. Well, it may be better than most of the
rest of the crap on the old cathode-ray tube. But I've always
had the feeling they write their material BEFORE they investigate.

One of my persistent nightmares is what a full-scale 60 minutes
investigation of the ARPANET would look like. It would probably
show how the whole thing was an incredible waste of money so
people could play ADVENT and ZORK.



A geeky discussion of whether (SPOILER ALERT) Darth Vader is really Luke’s “vater”

Date: 26 Jun 1980 2239-PDT
Subject: Vader

I would be disappointed if Vader turned out not to be Luke's father.

First, one small thing makes me think Vader was by design intended to
be Luke's father: "vater" is German for father. The contrived
circumstances used to support their father-son relationship also make
other explanations more contrived. His father was a Jedi knight who
has disappeared into the past, and Darth was apparently a Jedi before
succumbing to the dark side of the force; coincidences such as this
might have been arranged simply for dramatic effect. If so, then the
real explanation had better be a good one. Besides, having Darth
Vader for a father gives credibility to this otherwise unremarkable
boy's influence on the galaxy.

There is at least one poster who is writing everything in ALLCAPS. And no one seems to care.

You can read these email messages yourself. First stop here and then head over here. The index summaries should be readable in your browser and the digests can be downloaded as .TXT files

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