Date: Fri, 8 Sep 1995 13:37:47 -0700

From: David Harnick-Shapiro david[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]BUCKAROO.ICS.UCI.EDU

Subject: Re: ADS-ANS deadline September 1

On Thu, 31 Aug 1995 14:23, Betty Phillips writes:

* This message contains the file 'PHILLIPS.ADS', which has been

* uuencoded. If you are using Pegasus Mail, then you can use

* the browser's eXtract function to lift the original contents

* out to a file, otherwise you will have to extract the message

* and uudecode it manually.

and all hell breaks loose. Some good things did come out of this

affair -- an increase in the number of humanists who appreciate the

difficulties in file exchange, for example. And I'll bet there's

quite a few who will think twice before assuming, "I use insert

favourite word processor , so *everyone* must use it"; they may

even disabuse a few colleagues.

So why am I dragging this up again? I *did* bother to try to find

out what the original post was, and thought I'd share with those more

noted for their morbid curiousity than for their reason.

Here we go: message comes in as a digest; program number one is my

mail reader. Burst the message out of the digest: that's program

number two. Three: an editor to remove the mail headers and other

non-uuencoded stuff (this step was probably not actually necessary).

Four: uudecode. This is the first step where an error is reported;

the file was probably not uuencoded properly, or the uuencoded version

may have been clobbered, but let's press on regardless. Five and six:

the Unix "file" and "less" commands, to try to figure out what kind of

file was created; decide it's not a Unix or text file (which was

unlikely, anyway), so I'll try a Mac. Seven: 'Fetch', to copy the file

from Unix to a Macintosh. Eight: MS Word for Mac. Word, when coerced

into opening the file, announced that it was converting a WordPerfect 5.1

file, but was unable to finish.

So: eight programs, two platforms, several machines and several networks

later, I have: an unreadable portion of a WordPerfect file. I love

the way computers empower me.



David Harnick-Shapiro Information and Computer Science

david[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] University of California, Irvine