CSE 271: User Interface Design: Social and Technical Issues
Email Discussion
Class members are invited to contribute links and other information (to me by email). Please format your message in HTML. Some of the best messages are given below:

  1. From Walter Korman (wkorman@cs.ucsd.edu) Tue, 10 Mar 1998 16:46:37. Subject: The Cathedral and the Bazaar. In case you haven't seen or heard of it before, my idea for discussion in tomorrow's class is based on Eric Raymond's "Bazaar-style" of software development. This is the main idea behind Netscape's release of the Communicator source code. It's also a detailed description of the development process followed by the Linux development community.

    It's very relevant to what we've been discussing, and one of the more interesting things I've seen written about and discussed on the net in recent times. The original article by Raymond is available at:
    and well worth reading when you have a moment.

    Additionally, Paul Phillips, a recent graduate of UCSD's undergraduate Computer Science department, has written the first published advocacy article for Netscape's "mozilla.org" web site. See

    My hope is that Paul Phillips' immediacy, the popularity of Netscape, and the success of Linux will drive other members of the class to become interested in this. I know at least one other UCSD graduate student, David Moore, is a contributor to the public development efforts for GNU Emacs and associated libraries as well.

  2. From Brian Webb (bwebb@cs.ucsd.edu), Thu, 05 Mar 1998 22:55:28. This is the web site that I was referring to during class the other day. It is a project with similar goals to that of the Answer Garden, but implemented differently:
  3. From Maritza Borunda (mborunda@sdcc10.ucsd.edu), Mon, 23 Feb 1998 20:22:06. Hi, would you mind giving more information on how to use semiotic morphisms to explain why is a particular method better than other when it comes to listing links on a web page? I understand the reason why is one superior (that is, I understand the arguments given in the book), but I'm not sure about how to represent that. Are you expecting something formal, some sort of proof? Thanks, Maritza.

    To which I replied: Maritza, the idea should simply be that the two representations are morphisms and one of them preserves something important that the other doesn't. This does not have be formal, just clear. Hope that helps, joseph.

  4. From Maritza Borunda (mborunda@sdcc10.ucsd.edu), Wed, 18 Feb 1998 19:34:03:
    Top 50 Oxymorons...
      50.  Act naturally
      49.  Found missing
      48.  Resident alien
      47.  Advanced BASIC
      46.  Genuine imitation
      45.  Airline food
      44.  Good grief
      43.  Same difference
      42   Almost exactly
      41.  Government organization
      40.  Sanitary landfill
      39.  Alone together
      38.  Legally drunk
      37.  Silent scream
      36.  British fashion
      35.  Living dead
      34.  Small crowd
      33.  Business ethics
      32.  Soft rock
      31.  Butt head
      30.  Military intelligence
      29.  Software documentation
      28.  New York culture
      27.  Extinct life
      26.  Sweet sorrow
      25.  Childproof
      24.  "Now, then..."
      23.  Synthetic natural gas
      22.  Christian scientists
      21.  Passive aggression
      20.  Taped live
      19.  Clearly misunderstood
      18.  Peace force
      17.  New classic
      16.  Temporary tax increase
      15.  French bravery
      14.  Plastic glasses
      13.  Terribly pleased
      12.  Computer security
      11.  Political science
      10.  Tight slacks
      9.   Definite maybe
      8.   Pretty ugly
      7.   Twelve-ounce pound cake
      6.   Diet ice cream
      5.   Rap music
      4.   Working vacation
      3.   Exact estimate
      2.   Religious tolerance
    And the NUMBER ONE top OXY-Moron
      1.   Microsoft Works
  5. From Jimmy Rimmer (jrimmer@cs.ucsd.edu), Thu, 12 Feb 1998 14:53:31. The modern guide for Grammar I mentioned in class, which is wonderfully well-written and well worth a look-see if you ever write anything (naw, we never do anything like that)...
    Woe is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English, by Patricia T O'Conner
    She is an editor for The New York Times Book Review and has written for William Safire on vacation ... but now I'm just regurgitating things you can easily find at http://www.clark.net/pub/bell/review/other/oconnor_woe_i.shtml.
  6. From Walter Korman (wkorman@cs.ucsd.edu), Thu, 12 Feb 1998 10:12:02. Following are some references in support of my comments during our last class:
  7. From Maritza Borunda (mborunda@sdcc10.ucsd.edu), Tue, 03 Feb 1998 19:04:32
    I just read "Agents of Alienation" and I think it will be great discussion material for tomorrow's CS 271 section. I must admit that I don't agree with Lanier, because I think he fails to provide enough evidence to support some of his arguments ( I have underlined those passages and we can all discuss them ), but I must admire his courage for taking such an unpopular position. Anyway, as a result I went to the Internet to look for further articles on the subject and I stumbled upon an interesting IBM site that explains what agents are and even lets you download one for free! The address is http://www.networking.ibm.com/iag/iaghome.html. I'll download it right now and do some experimenting; perhaps I'll have something to report tomorrow!
    (Since she didn't show up for class that day, maybe the agent ate her up, or as Lanier might say, dehumanized her?)
  8. From Walter Korman (wkorman@cs.ucsd.edu) Wed, 28 Jan 1998 21:03:55. Following are some links I mentioned in class, and some I thought to mention but perhaps didn't, and even some that only came to me now, hours later:
Enjoy! These links should keep everyone busy for quite some time... ;-) - Walter
  • The crazy way of making a button from a table turned out to be more interesting than I expected, for two different reasons. Here is some of the class email on this topic:

    From Mona Wong (monawong@ucsd.edu), Wed, 21 Jan 98 15:56:07:

    I thought you might be interested in knowing that you can put spaces around the entries in a table. You can use HSPACE, VSPACE to give your a table entry some breathing room. Also Netscape supports CELLPADDING and CELLSPACING.

    From Kai Lin (klin@cs.ucsd.edu), Thu, 22 Jan 1998 10:41:32:

    HSPACE and VSPACE are supported only by IE, not by Netscape. CELLPADDING can be used to define the margin between the border of cell and the content of the cell. It's default value is 1. CELLSPACING defines the space between the individal cells, and it's default value is 1.

    Two interesting things: (1) my solution, using the "secret" undocumented space character, and also the HSPACE, VSPACE solution, violate the basic philosophy of HTML, while CELLPADDING does not; and (2) it seems that HSPACE, VSPACE are only supported by Internet Explorer, whereas CELLPADDING is part of the HTML standard. So this illustrates the "browser war" between Netscape and MicroSoft, as does the following further information:

    From Mona Wong (mona@eel.ucsd.edu), Thu, 22 Jan 1998 18:40:38:

    Hmm, my [1996] O'Reilly HTML book says that the HSPACE and VSPACE are extensions to HTML but doesn't say anything about it being only for IE. Also, according to the same book, CELLPADDING and CELLSPACING is for Netscape only.

    Finally, we have the following from Kai Lin (klin@cs.ucsd.edu), Mon, 26 Jan 1998 16:57:18:

    For padding in table, Netscape 4.0 and IE4.0 both support style sheet which can be used to control space, margin and element size. To solve your problem, you can use the following statement:
    border style=" padding-left: 10pt; 
                        padding-right: 10pt;
                        padding-top: 5pt " 
    But these more detailed padding commands violate the HTML philosophy as just much as as HSPACE, VSPACE do. The browser war is fought (in part) by adding features that are not in the HTML standard.
  • From Jimmy Rimmer (jrimmer@cs.ucsd.edu) Mon, 2 Feb 1998 16:40:55. Subject: Fools!

    Okay, now I've got to vent again.  I haven't barely begun this "Agents of Alienation" paper and now I've just got to say it--why is it that whenever a new technology comes out and people start talking about it, they always either hail it as the saviour of humankind or trash it as "evil?"

    Look folks...any new power can be used for whichever side the user of the power wishes; greater power merely intensifies the result.  Things move more quickly--both evil and good.

    I made a list of things from various levels of technology, both evil and good, and one can see how through the list the evilness and goodness can intensify as a result of the technology in most ways.  I'd probably have to argue with some of these...the main point is not so much that good things are better, but rather they affect more people more quickly.  I personally think a good book is far better than nearly any TV show, but a TV show can reach you much more quickly than a book.

    Technology good evil
    Books Aesop's Fables Superhero Comics
    Amy Tan Danielle Steele
    TV Sesame Street Transformers: Beast Wars
    Babylon 5 Xena: Warrior Princes
      Games Civilization Mortal Kombat
      OSes System V Windows 95
      database SQL dBASE V
    WWW Timothy Leary's Homepage www.persiankitty.com

    It's not the medium that matters, but the content.  There's always more crap out there than good.  Technology doesn't really make one more prominent than the other; it just makes the stuff easier to reach, more condensed, easier to digest...just the same as it was, only more so. Argh.  :)
    (I'm really just proud of my list, which is the only reason I sent you this.)

  • From Walter Korman (wkorman@cs.ucsd.edu), Wed, 7 Jan 1998 13:07:58:
    The book I mentioned in class today is Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age. He's the author of the more widely known sci-fi novel, Snow Crash, which is also excellent and bears reading if you like this sort of thing. There's a web page with some interviews with the author, and reviews of his books at http://www.scifi.com/pulp/fw/stephenson/index.html.

    To CSE 271 homepage
    To my homepage
    23 February 1998