Misunderstanding Computers

Why do we insist on seeing the computer as a magic box for controlling other people?
Why do we want so much to control others when we won't control ourselves?

Computer memory is just fancy paper, CPUs are just fancy pens with fancy erasers, and the network is just a fancy backyard fence.
コンピュータの記憶というものはただ改良した紙ですし、CPU 何て特長ある筆に特殊の消しゴムがついたものにすぎないし、ネットワークそのものは裏庭の塀が少し拡大されたものぐらいです。

(original post/元の投稿 -- defining computers site/コンピュータを定義しようのサイト)

Monday, January 2, 2012

mailing lists vs. e-mail -- メールリストとEメールはどう違う

Mailing lists and newsgroups have a lot in common with ordinary e-mail.

I mean, they're called "mailing lists", aren't they?

True, some people are a bit surprised that newsgroups and mailing lists are more or less the same thing. But, if you think about the evolution from mail to mailing list to newsletter to newspaper, it's not so surprising after all. (Not to mention the question of the difference between a blogger and a journalist.)

So, how are they different? How should they be different?

One thing I can think of is the expected volume. Another is potential audience.

With e-mail, you only expect a few messages per topic, maybe two to ten or so.

With mailing lists, the average number of messages per thread is often more than two, and the upper limit may be the size of your server's hard disks. Threads with more than a hundred posts are not uncommon, anyway.

And e-mail is intended to be more-or-less private, where mailing lists are expected to be at least semi-public.

(Of course, we all are aware, sometimes a bit painfully, that even private mail can easily be made all-too-public. And if we have ever (ahem) set up a Google or Yahoo group and waited for people to join, and waited, and ..., well expectations are not always fulfilled.)

So, there are some differences. the protocols and software should reflect those differences.

I'm a little radical. I think that everyone should have their own mail server. Private mail should be stored locally, even if we ask for some (hopefully dependable) company to back our mail up for us, it should be primarily stored locally.

Oh, yeah, if you can get your own mailserver set up, it's not that hard to make it accessible to yourself across the web, the only reason to depend on a provider is if you don't want to bother with doing the setup yourself. Okay, the setup should be easier than it is now, too, but that's part of what we need to work on to get there from here.

Mailing lists, on the other hand, will tend to require enough maintenance that it may make much more sense to ask a provider to handle them for you, especially with the current state of technology.

If only service providers really provided what you want for mailing lists.

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