Tablets, Too modest Tom stewart, Logistics, Linda, and Lifestreams

Dave Long dl@silcom.com
Wed, 16 Jan 2002 14:25:30 -0800


>      Just like we wonder how some old guy could possibly stand to 
> call a pretty young secretary into his office several times a day so 
> she could write down everything he says. What torture.

According to a book from the early 70's,
the leverage of a pretty young secretary
was that she could write down much *more*
(and much less) than everything he says:

"Re: Logistics, Linda, and Lifestreams"
<http://www.xent.com/sept99/0320.html>

> Flat files.  Query languages.   People who know how to structure queries.

>     Some of these activities involve software--of several kinds. Some involve 
> wetware. Librarians are as important as libraries, for example. 

We need Hugin along with Munin.

Since Mr. Stewart is old enough to remember
circulating correspondence, perhaps he can
tell us if the secretaries of 30 years ago
really were the non-coms of business.

-Dave

It is interesting to see how most automation
tends to increase how much can be done with
a given amount of wetware, but always needs
some minimal amount.  One man with oxen can
do more fieldwork than several men, and one
man with a tractor can do more than several
ox teams (quick, what is a furlong, and how
do they relate to the acre?), but we always
need that one man.  (and the point of the
non-com was to make sure *someone* had the
wetware, even if the commissioned officer
lacked it)

Self-scan at the grocery store is nothing
new: the chains already economize by using
their customers as warehouse pickers and
deliverymen; why not go ahead and use them
as clerks too?

> I don't want a tablet PC so much as a voracious scanner that can suck 
> in whatever odd-sized, torn or crinkled, thick or thin paper I throw 
> at it, capture both sides reliably in high-resolution color, then drop 
> the original in a dustbin.

That might make it cheaper to retrieve
information, but I find that for most
purposes, it is easier to regenerate
necessary information than to bother
filing and retrieving the unnecessary.

On my laptop, it takes ~30 searches
before it is worth sorting a list.
On my desktop, many collections are
not searched more often than once a
quarter.

> Turns out they needed to cultivate their guru and his disciples instead.

Circulating correspondence is a way to
effectively enable everybody to "sit
next to Carlos".  Source code serves a
similar purpose for programmers.

"Xenophon On Open Source Software..."
<http://www.xent.com/FoRK-archive/feb99/0112.html>

It is interesting to note that humans
are not the only ones who benefit from
sitting next to Carlos.

For horses, Xenophon avoids mention of
the practice of "ponying" a green horse
along with a made one only because his
treatise was a gentleman's guide. (in
the same sense that Feynmann's _QED_
is only a gentleman's guide to QM: if
the officer wishes to know if some term
in bra-ket notation disappears, he can
have his non-com calculate the actual
integrals and whatnot)

For hounds, the counting in "couples"
refers to the practice of running the
newer ones as bracemates, alongside,
or even tied to, experienced ones.
(leading to the *other* TCP:
<http://beaglesunlimited.com/2001sep-oct/twocouplepack.htm>)

For hawks, we can find the practice in
an epigraph of Kipling's _Kim_:
> Your tiercel's  too long at hack,  Sire. He's no eyass
> But a passage-hawk that footed  ere we caught him,
> Dangerously free o' the air. Faith! were he mine
> (As mine's the glove he binds to for his tirings)
> I'd fly him with a make-hawk.  He's in yarak
> Plumed to the very point - so manned, so weathered ...
> Give him the firmament God made him for,
> And what shall take the air of him?

(and it is even more interesting, from
an etymological point of view, that all
four: humans, horses, hounds, and hawks,
may "hack" when they aren't working)