[And Cyber Poet]
An experiential, experimental treatment of the Internet and record of yet another on-line life.
First on-line January 1998.
Major update June 1st, 1998.
Minor update July 10th, 1998.
Minor update October 2nd, 1998.
Major corrections September 28th, 1999.
Copyright @1995-2000 Peter Timusk.
[This is a Hyperlink Table to Sections of this Document. ]
The Internet as a volunteer organisation.
A. There are people known as volunteers in Cyberspace
There's no limit to where people do, in fact, volunteer, even though, there are limits to how much time people volunteer. And limits based on security checks, number of volunteers recruited and planning that affect what a volunteer can do in an organisation. You'll find volunteer's in drop-ins, food banks, hospitals, jails, movements, politics, theatres, the community police, and, yes, even in Cyberspace.
I am a Cyberspace volunteer, I am not the first or the last. Someday I'll die and leave my web page to live on after I am buried. Timothy Leery did leave his home page funded after he died. I have visited his home page once, and I thought, well that's psychology, but, there are many subjects, and I have to work. And I am not a psychologist.
I also study volunteers. These people are hard to study in the abstract, but once you know them they are always easy to study, while they help you.
People with T-shirts representing the peace movement whose sons are lawyers. People who want to be actors and gather you and your neighbors for little skits. People from the pound with photocopies of information about cat problems. All these people are volunteers. So I find it normal that people would also offer what they can, organise for the better, and spend their time in Cyberspace volunteering.
But, if you've been on-line, you may also realise, that being in Cyberspace makes it easy to communicate in a helpful way. And you have probably found, that help is needed and a traditional part of computing itself.
I with poor writing skills, actually found it easy to help people with my on-line communication. And sure I wrote a little non commercial spam but very little.
You may be thinking now, that, I am one of the big shots. Like the people who volunteer with the Internet Society. I may be saying that with the title of this web page. But actually my experiences as an Internet volunteer are as limited as, anyone on the Internet. Or you may feel, that because I am a former computer programmer, and maybe, even a computer scientist, who worked in physics, that I am somehow the same guy as Tim from CERN, the guy who started the capabilities now so popular, but I am not him. And it is true that during that work as a programmer in a physics institute and slightly before the Internet existed for commercial use I wanted the Internet to exist for my work. And I knew it could. But again I am no longer drawing that minimal wage from that employment. Maybe, I am just the guy who coined the term Micjob. Because I did that in my own way too. And I had no idea of the exact nature of the Internet and how it was all to be done. I just knew I wanted to speak with others and get some recognition for my Texas Instruments keypunch work and my grades in school weren't going to let me lecture to people. I also knew that some day the data I entered would be connected by phone to the computer it went to and a home computer of some scientist. People at the computer workplace didn't really talk to me much giving me the impression that I was shy, there are shy people on the Internet but I think we are all communicating there.
[This is a Hyperlink Table to Sections of this Document. ]
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[This is a Hyperlink Table to Sections of this Document. ]
II. My role as a FreeNet volunteer.
A. The technical nature of my FreeNet use.
FreeNet is a level two connection to the Internet. I am a registered FreeNet volunteer. I fill out an on-line form before I register for volunteer duties. Or I submit to interview. When registering, I have to describe my interests and in particular my computer skills. I am a former FORTRAN programmer and data entry scribe. FORTRAN is one of the oldest of computer languages.
I may also know how to use the word processor program Word Star operating with CP/M on an Osborne 1. Word Perfect, another word processor on an IBM XT operating with DOS. And can program in Basic on Commodore computers also operating with CP/M. The commodore computer was a present from my father for my brother and I, the other two computers I bought on my own in the used market here in Silicon Valley North. Total cost to me for both IBM XT and Osborne 1, 320$.
But my skills have not been used to program the FreeNet. In fact, I had to learn to use the on-line editor, for e mail and posts to the sigs. So, I use my English language skills, with the FreeNet. This is very different from my past professional experience, with computers, when I used my knowledge of chemistry and thought a lot of crazy gibberish like expressions from the periodic table while doing data entry.
The FreeNet software is programmed some other way, by, both the originators of the FreeNet software, and the FreeNet sys-op. The FreeNet use I have is as someone, who posts messages on the Usenet and, uses e mail and has a web page on the FreeNet server.
B. Newsgroup use on FreeNet.
1. General issues.
Newsgroups are files where people can read and write more files or e mail. Also web sites can now be accessed by Newsgroups. Of course, I have used the Newsgroups in all these ways. The news it ain't, and chatting it is not. Serious work issues and topics seem to be discussed. As well people from around the world seem to be able to write there. If they really are reading all these messages then so am I, in fact, reading from one to twenty messages each time I have a Newsgroup to read.
I choose to use only Newsgroups that had topics that I had an education, interest in, or am active with, as places to post and read messages. My choices like those of other people soon were corrupted by the large choices offered by some menus and corrupted by the rude, surveillant and otherwise nasty things some people write on the Usenet. And of course I joined right in with stuff like that and got hurt in the process.
New sigs (the Newsgroups internal to FreeNet) appeared that had themes that were closer to my education and the education of previous generations like physics and philosophy as I was on- line from 1994-1996. I used these sigs or - Newsgroups within FreeNet- and even started a long debate about ethics on the philosophy sig. I also started a long debate about bass playing in the bass sig.
There were no general geography Newsgroups at first, locally in the FreeNet. I had, to use the larger Usenet, out of the control of FreeNet to study geography.
I found some geography Newsgroups on the larger Usenet. Many of the Newsgroups that I wanted to use were either labeled sci or comp standing for science or computer. Sci.geo is the address on Usenet for the geography or geology Newsgroups. I tried using the sci.geo.hydrology Newsgroup as I have been interested in a degree in this field for years. Science, of course, is more traditional and so far these Newsgroups on Usenet seem to give me more luck at learning with others.
2. Computer Newsgroups.
The computer Newsgroups were just too cryptic and I have used only really the FORTRAN computer Newsgroup (comp.lang.fortran) in my first year on the FreeNet. This Newsgroup has discussion of program style and syntax. I was, also, able to read messages from the users there. This helped me. So I thanked these people in my posts and e mail to them.
The Newsgroup is also about compilers the software for using FORTRAN. I was able to get a compiler from my father which was on a shelf at his laboratory and not being used there . Then I loaded, or installed it, into a laptop computer there in Hamilton. I had been able to learn about the brands of compilers for FORTRAN 77 & 90 that will function on my Macintosh computer and, of course, Windows machine compilers. The compiler I installed is a Canadian product and most of the compilers on the Newsgroup were American products.
Mostly the people helping me were authors of books about computer programming, it seemed to be very boring, because these books, haven't changed much, in twenty years. But, then one author offered me a book, which was actually an advancement in this language. I was able to call the local University and get a copy of this book placed in the library shelves. Then I went there, and I borrowed it. It had some programs that I was able to run on the new compiler.
I read a lot of posts and didn't really need to know everything I read. I just posted messages of being new to the Internet and requests for help in the comp.lang.fortran Newsgroup. In an e mail exchange, one of the people I met there, informed me, that I was going back and forth between my input and output device. This describes well, the behavior I have learned, for using computers on the Internet. So I learned Internet answers could be indirect and smart in the computer Newsgroups.
In my second year using the FreeNet, I started to read comp.security.misc, comp.society.futures, comp.virus and comp.databases.theory. But these too were cryptic. So I didn't read much of these Newsgroups, and certainly I didn't post many messages in these Newsgroups. I tried to understand comp.databases.theory and did at one point. But it seemed that what had been a simple and boring activity, namely data entry had been great complicated by commercialisation of databases. There were also posts in comp.databases.theory that greatly simplified my understanding of commercial databases and data gathering. I posted something of a reply to a post in comp.societies.future but the person didn't understand my point and claimed I misunderstood her point. I sent one e mail to someone posting an add for authors in comp.security.misc. I offered to let them publish this on-line record but what they were looking for was an author for a book on data mining, in my mind a topic that is just more hype and privacy invasion. Some computer journalists find it just another topic that is going to make the computer industry rich. Certainly with all the electronic records and the principle of sorting a lot of businesses are making good money with computers. So I have explored the comp newsgroups in my own way..
There was a course that I attended. It was a two day workshop in computer security at the local community college. The workshop covered anti-virus warfare. This, was what had prompted my reaching further into the Usenet, and the comp Newsgroups. There were also, just to many computer Newsgroups, that were in fields, where I had no experience in the working world. This goes to show how specialised the computer field has become with regard to skill sets, which are also taught at the college. I find computers both easy to use and the workshops too expensive for my uses. In 1997 a file was sent to me containing a virus scanning program for the Macintosh, this was sent by Robert Gray of the psychology department at the local University. The program allowed me to stay up to date, because the program was the most recent version. So the Internet at the university has software available that meets the needs of computer users for security from computer viruses.
3. The Law and Newsgroups.
I also read some posts in the police department Newsgroup and further I read listings of stolen property. The stolen property listings were given by neighborhood in a part of this FreeNet area as files. I was able to get an understanding of the type of things being stolen and the extent of the problem in my own and adjoining neighborhoods. I commented in the Newsgroup about watching out for kids on the street using roller blades. I also wrote a post to the Newsgroup about a time when I had volunteered with the peace movement as a Rally Marshall. I was really hanging out in this Newsgroup and asked the officer in charge about seeing a police person and his gun model in a post office and the officer told me the police department policy for the officers guns. I also thanked them for responding to some shoots fired in this same Newsgroup.
A year later the Newsgroup had changed and was changed so I haven't yet checked it out. I read the history of the Ottawa Police and many other things in this area of FreeNet like the structural diagrams of the department. It seemed to me that he officer also commented with encouragement in an unofficial capacity, about a post of mine regarding pen knifes for teenagers, where I attributed this as the root of violence against women and children. This post was in the men's group another sig I read in my first year of Internet use. But actually this was just an average FreeNet user posting and I was confusing the names on the sigs. There are names associated with each post to a sig or newsgroup and if you have read as many posts as I have you read many names associated with the authors of messages.
4. The alternative Newsgroups I used.
I also was interested in the great array of *alt* Newsgroups but, because some were obviously about illegal topics or only covered my more limited interests I chose to avoid using too much of the *alt* Newsgroups at first.
I started to use alt.support.schizophrenia and alt.tv.discovery.canada. I also in 1997 started to read alt.review.books and alt.beer. I posted many messages to these first two Newsgroups, using them almost every night for a year or more. Mostly this was in 1997 for the alt.support.schizophrenia Newsgroup. I also posted one message to each of alt.review.books and alt.beer, of course, reading about twenty messages first so I was sure to post on topic and in the proper style. I also wanted to enjoy my use of these two Newsgroups.
The alt.bass Newsgroup and the FreeNet bass sig were useful for working with others and I learned more about the famous bassists in the USA. I was able to form a new band and then another new band We could also do some e-mailing between band members. I could also chat via e mail with some bassists who play smaller shows like myself. The shows I have played bass at have been mostly small shows. But while using alt.bass I was able to play at a bar and actually make some money playing the bass.
Alt.punk was a bit social but it didn't seem this way when I was reading from it. I couldn't really use most of the information available in alt.punk. Mostly these Cyber punks like to discuss the latest bands in the punk catalog. And they like to debate what actually is punk about, who is a punk, and who is not a punk. Then again the organisers of shows use it to inform those who go to the shows and others of the shows time and place.
Also there are Newsgroups for each of the original bands forming the punk first wave. Some in the FreeNet punk sig in 1997 thought that they were only into questions about sex life of middle aged men on the alt.punk Newsgroup. Obviously with Newsgroups for the early punk bands the topics should be about the bands themselves, their lyrics or their fans. But also this is foreign culture in the technical sense of music recorded abroad.
C. Monday the 3rd of November 1997, one of my typical night time uses of FreeNet.
1. Logging in to the announce group.
In the speech I made at the FreeNet election in 1996 I suggested that the volunteer opportunities be more up front and perhaps be part of the first screen after log in. This is now what happens with the text connection to FreeNet, the Newsgroup ncf.announce appears. So I read a few posts here by the familiar staff and volunteers about the board meetings for the month of October, and the first contest on FreeNet, which happens to be for the best home page design. The familiarity I have is with their names as I see them in Cyberspace as authors of posts to sigs.
2. Reading my fave list.
After logging in I went to the main menu and then the communications centre where I launched my fave list of Newsgroups.
I read a few posts to the poetry sig, especially looking for posts by other members of the National Capital FreeNet Cyber poets League. I read poems about love, drinking, and death. As well, a couple of poems that don't fit neatly into these poetic categories.
I then read some classified adds for science and engineering books in sci.math.symbolic. Some of these were about Nuclear science so were complicated by my understanding of secrecy. Some were about mathematics so were instructional within my life long development. In this same Newsgroup I read a few posts that seemed interesting and didn't read some posts about software I don't use. But I have in the past learned that these softwares are now being used in the schools for teaching and learning mathematics.
I then read the sci.stat Newsgroup and reviewed some basic calculus by reading some requests for help and the follow up to these. But I didn't make my presence known.
Then I opened the alt.support.schizophrenia Newsgroup and read a post I had made about my poetry web site. The post encouraged the people I know in this Newsgroup to go to my web site and read my poems.
Then I opened the mental health sig and read a few posts, found some advice and posted a follow up because I felt like thanking the person for the advice and did not know him. I also took down the phone number of one person, who is a FreeNet board of directors member, because, if I call him, he can arrange to sell me a directory of self-help groups for my city. Then the FreeNet computer told me my session had ended so I logged out.
D. Volunteering with FreeNet:
1. Initial experiences.
As a volunteer I have helped to raise money for the operation of FreeNet-- How much money does FreeNet need? I don't know, I do know that, somewhere near two thousand dollars was raised by one hundred and fifty FreeNet volunteers in two days. I didn't manage volunteers that day but instead managed the flow of a ten thousand person crowd entering the 1995 Ottawa air show as part of a team of volunteers at the main gate. Some sold tickets and some of us watched the traffic flow. I even got a ride home from another volunteer from FreeNet, so we were well organised to help.
Also I have donated money to the FreeNet. At first when I signed up I gave two dollars in 1994, then thirty in 1995 and then fifty five in 1996. These donations were made over a two and half year period.
I have also helped a little by doing some documentation for using Eudora, (the popular e mail software), with the FreeNet as part of my volunteer duties. In this FreeNet use as an on-line volunteer I was helped by a team leader, Jessica Cohen who studies computer math at Carleton. She is also a director of the FreeNet and an active participant in FreeNet politics. My documentation became an on-line help screen.
This was the real Cyberspace volunteering for an organisation, but volunteering on the Internet is much more than volunteering in the context of an organisation. Some times various groups blend in the magic that is networking, sometimes the help I offer is related to help with the whole of Cyberspace and it's various institutions. So your getting the picture hopefully that volunteering on the net is about sharing ones own knowledge both of subjects one knows and also the geography of Cyberspace. Further volunteering at the help desk became secret in the interests of the membership so I can't write it here, there, or anywhere.
2. Getting people hooked up to the Internet.
I was able to get some friends hooked up to the FreeNet in 1995 and also in 1996 and again in 1997. This was because they had access to a home computer. Even though I had known people who were very active on the FreeNet who had not used their own computer to hookup. It was in 1995 that I hooked up Ann Longo and Nick Rudd. I can now look up their e mail address on the FreeNet system and send them e mail.
They both shared Ann's computer and even though she returned it to the store downtown she retained her account with the FreeNet. She was not interested in sending e mail and communicating with strangers.
Nick wanted to learn Mathematics and I suggested this would be possible with the FreeNet. In 1997 I loaned him a computer which I had bought for 75$ from a Revenue Canada programmer who, had used it, to learn COBOL. I also loaned him a printer that I had gotten from my father. The computer a laptop Tandy model 1100 HD, was able to connect to the FreeNet and Nick was able to use it to send me a few e mail, in reply to my e mailing him. I also helped Nick debug a BASIC program he typed up from his math course, at the Adult High School. Anne too used this small laptop computer the same model, that, had flown in Space, with Marc Garneau the Canadian Astronaut, and coffee drinker. As it is now, Anne uses the computer, and Nick too when he stays with her.
Now a few months later, I have given Nick my IBM XT and Anne has used it. It no longer has a modem. Their accounts at FreeNet though are still there.
I also, hooked up my friend Tina Keskull in 1996, who wanted to be with AOL and get a CD-ROM drive. She was able to buy a computer through a leasing company. It was a Packard Bell 486 model computer. She demanded that I help her with the sign-up process for AOL, and I also tried to help her secure a FreeNet account. I hoped she would use it, but she didn't even connect again through FreeNet. I told her to look for people on AOL with an interest in medicine or sports which she did. She is a medical student and amateur soccer player. She stuck with America On-Line for a year. She then in my presence deactivated her account with that service. I then learned, about how much she liked chatting on AOL. She asked me to help her get her account back, which she did with my help. I don't use AOL myself but she does use that service. She even met her finance that way.
Tina has now gotten her self a Toshiba computer and found her fiancée was abusive and so she moved back home. She recently got a Comnet Internet account. She still plays soccer.
My friend through self-help George Nikolof got a computer for Christmas and wanted my help to get hooked up to the Internet. I thought that he should ignore the big providers and go with FreeNet. And he agreed to try it out. I got him up and guided him through the system over the course of a few hour long visits. The sessions with FreeNet can last an hour and that's what I told George. He soon had all the stuff I told him about done. He made a donation and bought the Survival Guide (a book listing on-line commands) from the Main Branch of the Ottawa Public Library. He started to explore the web and we found bad web addresses in a sig about the Space Program. He also started to send me e mail and I replied. He had used his credit card to sign up for an Internet account. He had used it with an Internet service provider, whose sign up software came with his new computer, as bundled software. Eventually he had to cancel his credit card as the service billed him even though he wasn't using it. He was though using the FreeNet.
I had talked about bundled software in my comments on software piracy during a call in show called Cyber punk. Cyber punk was cable vision show that I watched a few times after signing up with the FreeNet. I had just learned this marketing term, the word "bundled" software. Yes, the guys who were staring in this show Cyber Punk were volunteers with the local cable television provider.
I offered to help both George and Tina set up web sites but neither has had my help yet with building web sites. I am helping my friend Eric Blaker though with a web site at Geo Cities. Recently I let him take a picture of himself with my computer. Manipulate it with Photoshop and then gave him the file with the photo on a PC disk for use on his computer. I intend to add it to his web site or let him add it.
I get into a lot of arguments with him about my computer and my privacy, these arguments are not on-line writing but rather real speech. So he likewise argues about his computer and his privacy and he even deleted the picture on that disk. Eventually our relationship improved and we rebuilt his web site using Front Page and put his picture there on the web.
So, some of my real life friends have joined me in Cyberspace, I hope this makes it easier to communicate between ourselves. The choice of the Internet has brought a few new people into my social sphere but that would happen naturally in life. And of course, some of the people in my work related sphere are also now talking about the Internet in real life.
Now a year later Anne and Nick have an IBM XT computer at home. In Eric's case, he is now a FreeNet member too. As well he is a Microsoft Internet client. Tina stayed with AOL. George grew bored with FreeNet but still using it some times. I visited him recently, with a special disk set put out by a FreeNet volunteer and Freenet, that enabled George to connect to the graphic web and use his copy of Netscape via FreeNet. He has collected a long list of web addresses to visit, so I call him occasionally on the phone to see how he is doing "surfing the net."
3. Demonstrating the FreeNet within a community clubhouse.
I was getting into modern computers in 1995 the year I got my first computer that used a mouse, my Performa 580CD. I was reading BYTE magazine and Internet World and preparing to learn HTML programming. I was talking with people knowledgeable about computers who didn't own machines, but had diplomas in programming. I was able to work a little in an office learning to use a drawing program.
Another day in this office the manager thought that I could demonstrate the FreeNet to some of the other workers. I used my account to log on to the FreeNet and showed the other workers some of my e mail and showed them a few sigs in the system. This work place is called a Clubhouse. I had my doubts about whether the other workers signed up for an account with FreeNet.
I also on another day used the computer's at the clubhouse to show the FreeNet off to some American Clubhouse guests. They and the manager wanted to know if there was a FreeNet in their city. I knew where to search for this info so went to the screen for telneting which would also list the various FreeNets hooked up. I looked in the USA's FreeNets list and found that no, their city does not have a FreeNet.
E. Politics of the FreeNet.
In 1996, during the period leading up to the FreeNet annual general meeting, I contacted two other FreeNet users who were also on-line early in the morning. I had them nominate me for the board of directors of FreeNet as it is a non-profit corporation and has a board of directors. They were John Dodson, green party candidate in two federal elections and Lee Murray IWW rep for Ottawa.
I managed to go to one all candidates meeting at our cities public library. I also campaigned with on-line reading and writing of the candidates discussion Newsgroup and the sigs I had used up to then where I posted vote for me messages. I had to provide information about myself which I did with a link to my web site and a short biography in a FreeNet style menu. Then some five hundred people voted for me on-line.
I lost the election. The winners took over a thousand votes each. I also wrote messages in the FreeNet system which were intended to present myself as a representative of the on-line communities in FreeNet namely the sigs that I use. This must have been my ultimate newbie experience because a few times I was not following netiquette in my posts to these sigs. On-line campaigning eh?
The next year the election candidates included one of my nominators and he lost as well. But I was able to influence the election that year as the third place winner won by some twenty votes over the fourth place loser. I also made it possible for my top choice to look good in the candidate discussion Newsgroup in FreeNet.
The top choice candidate that year is a community worker who is involved in making a community directory of self-help groups in the city and he came first in the 97 election. I supported him because I have been listed in a community directory when I was a active consumer of mental illness services in 1992 , 1993 and 1994 just before going on-line. But, he had lost the previous year when I ran. In fact, he had lost for a few years before he eventually won.
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III. Volunteer organisations I am interested in belonging too and some experimental results with the Internet.
It would be wrong to write that Newsgroups have members. A Newsgroup does have a subject, written about by those who post messages in that Newsgroup. And a Newsgroup has readers. As organisations also concern themselves and their members with subjects, ice. causes, it can be seen that organisations can benefit from the use of Usenet. And so can the readers of Usenet benefit from writing for Usenet and with a great power they can share information which relates to existing organisations and areas of knowledge if it can be done ethically as public information. And if we can look for indirect answers at the same time as we are looking for simple facts. And of course, there always individuals working outside of organisational mandates. I have belonged to some organisations in my life and through Newsgroups and sigs I have shared information that I have gained by belonging to organisations. In a more abstract sense I can share problems with the Usenet users. This could have very positive benefits for those who share membership in social organisations, non profits and political parties, and will too attract others to join in the way I have joined, belonged too and volunteered for organisations including the FreeNet. Still I don't disclose secrets or privileged information on Usenet. I know some users, in fact, fly off the handle and write some things that are too personal and leave them with less security, especially in the some Newsgroups.
B. The IWW (the wobs)
My local IWW representative is setting up a web page and has clued into the web. I told him I would provide a link to his web page from my home page. I have also offered to help with the local IWW home page. I have been to the main IWW home page. I have been one hit on that page and then a few more hits. I have also signed the guest book there at the IWW home page. The representative offered me a 1997 calendar through e mail, I just printed the e mail added my own street address and mailed it out through the postal mail with a money order to complete the order for a labor calendar. I have read about ten messages to the FreeNet anarchy sig posted by this rep about labor situations around the world. I have been both very interesting and very difficult with my rep in the FreeNet anarchy sig. He suggested I might use the e mail list server for the IWW. There are some e mail lists for the various trades, that are covered by the IWW which my rep informed me about in an e mail.
I am not sure that e mail lists as these are are all that healthy for ones information when information overload is an issue.Especially political e mail is strongly opinionated. And I have read a lot of political e mail. So I have not signed up for these lists but could at almost anytime of the day or night.
Now a year later I have made that union web page on my own site and you can have a look. The link to it is on the community volunteering or green party page. My rep who was really a delegate is now a secretary and we have a new delegate. We are making waves with the Tory provincial government. I have also fallen behind in my dues but we are all e mailing each other much more now.
I made a post to ont.politics about the quality of a speech that the Queens head of the Provincial Government made, finding it very bad and only supporting the military industrial complex. The next day the top cop resigned over her speech because she had used a persons name and breached government privacy regulations. She also was trying to expose our unionizing efforts. So hot water ahead for sure.
C. The Canadian Schizophrenic Society.
1. Introducing this disability
The Canadian Schizophrenia Society is a charity, which has a self-help group I attend, for my health problems. I attended some times without fail and recently less so to discuss the various aspects of this disease. The people who attend are all sick except for the group leader. Over the years I have also read many books from the public library about this illness or you may prefer "disorder", as I do. I have talked and listened to many people diagnosed with this illness. I have seen people on medication and off. I have seen and heard the delusional and seen and heard the healthy. Very few of these people found they could volunteer their time to a good cause but some like me do, in fact, volunteer.
The common belief is that people with medication are healthy or better off. Some of the information about this condition is available on the Internet, some has to be read from books, some has to experienced as life in a social environment, and some of it is private information. And, of course, sometimes one can ask a doctor or a volunteer in the mental health field for information or referrals.
2. The Internet as a support for Schizophrenia.
There are two ways I use the Internet for support in relation to schizophrenia.
One, I use the Newsgroup alt.support.schizophrenia. That is I read the articles posted and for the years 1996 and 1997 and I have posted articles there. Often I am lost in a loosening of association or thought disorder when I use the Internet. This is understood by other users of this Newsgroup. But this is unique to me and not part and parcel of the Internet. And some users of FreeNet can not understand my posts when I write this way. I found this Newsgroup's address in an e mail from the healnorm e mail list server. I had been told about the heal norm e mail list server on a green party e mail list.
In this Newsgroup I have talked about medications, I have talked from fear and I have been able to debate civil liberties. I find the US people to be different in opinion about their basic rights than myself. I have chatted with Mickey through the Newsgroup and e mail. Mickey is someone reading the Newsgroup and keeping an eye out for trouble. Donald from Nova Scotia is afraid of homosexuals and tells these people to stay away from the Newsgroup. I answered him with a post entitled "Smash Homophobia", a slogan I had seen on the leather jacket of a women at a party years ago here in Ottawa.
I wonder if anyone there is into the avant-garde, the new art form? But I can not find out right now the topic is about coffee. I also saw lots of postings in this Newsgroup from people with handles. I helped a few people with drugs of abuse questions and helped with people who were homeless by informing their relatives of my situation. I also put someone down because his brother had committed suicide and I thought he had not been there for him when he needed him to be but was there now. I also e mailed to a preacher in England about attending my self-help group. Also people have put me down on this Newsgroup as I shared information because that person was rude and accusative.
The second way I use the net for support is the sig in FreeNet provided for the Canadian Schizophrenia Society. In this sig I post messages about what's happening at the self-help group I attend while affecting some level of confidentiality. It took me a few years of using this sig before I settled in to this type of use and others stopped using it.
3. Suicide and the Internet, posting a statistic.
I had also been paid to attend a suicide intervention workshop and have looked into suicide resources on both Usenet and the web. Suicide was a common media topic about the Internet in 1995 and earlier. It may even have made the headlines as a group involved in a mass suicide was known to be organised on the Internet.
I have been able to research the statistics on youth suicide in both the public library and also read the more specialised literature and statistics in a hospital library. I have intervened in a handful of cases in my life off line and bragged about my success rate using suicide intervention on the Newsgroup carleton.general. This is the main Newsgroup for the CHAT system. I thought a lot about the issue of suicide intervention and saved some eight lives before I actually offered my own post on it on the CHAT Newsgroup. Someone followed up with a joke writing that two out of ten people I meet walking down the street must kill themselves. I had posted my success rate as eighty percent.
I also told the sys-op of the CHAT system that I was trying to educate people about schizophrenia when she asked why I called myself Pierre Anoid in my CHAT signature file. Pierre Anoid was originally just a punk stage name I used with the guys in my band in 1978.
The CHAT system is an award winning system for students and tutors at Carleton University. I also was able to e mail a student rep involved with the health centre on campus. To the rep I wrote about first aid and first aid training and awareness by the student body.
4. Psychologists and Cyber punk literature themes.
At times people in the psychological profession have found computer workers to be different psychologically. But then Cyber punk literature presents a picture of legal and illegal communities. In a legal and normal community the psychological professions have status and can win or lose their function. The computer programmers and other computer workers have a different status. If psychologists can really affect these workers by being of the opinion, they have different personalities then the affect is perhaps equivalent to a programmer giving a psychologist an unemployment file on a welfare office computer.
As you might know the Cyber punk literature connects disorder with modern psychiatry as well. And then using the concept of Cyberspace to describe a connection between a brain and a computer. Interesting yes, modern psychiatry NO! Although psychologists have used computers for dream research. And there was a computer software called LISA which was made to ask questions like a therapist. But the programmer at the time was sure it was a trick, smoke and mirrors that would never have affective use.
For years our National Science Museum had a computer display with just such a computer therapist. When I was young this was cool, then as I aged I thought it was limiting, then still later I thought it was useful to discuss psychology with a young girl who is a friend of my mothers as we visited the Museum. The Museum now has caught up with more computing by having an Internet exhibit.
Nowadays psychologist are writing cool titles about communication by computers. Again the Internet is compared to something else, in this case, dolphin intelligence? What actually do Dolphins have to do with the Internet? Well I have used a Newsgroup for dolphins before, but found people misusing that part of Cyberspace. They were just chatting in posts because they assumed that the dolphin researchers weren't using the Newsgroup.
By promoting the term "anarchy" which is a political term, with use of the Internet, people who write books about computers even fictional ones are also doing disservice to both anarchists and Internet users like me.
D. The groups to which I belong
1. Peace groups
As I was growing up, there was the resistance to the war in Vietnam. I too, even in Canada, wanted the war to stop. I still try to stop war, and am alerted to war from the media and the Internet, and then, do such things as phoning the embassy of the country involved, and asking them to stop the fighting. I also have called a war zone long distance because I found the number on the Internet of a peace activist who was in a city under siege.
Also, with the war in the Ex-Yugoslavia, I realised from the media reports, that this was going to explode and talked to the coordinator at the local Peace Resource Centre about the need to do something about it. Or do something about me and my TV who thought great another tank war when I saw it on the TV. I then sent regular pen and ink letters to a Canadian Peace Keeper, who was serving in this conflict.
Some years later, I got an e mail... from Tuzla, which is in the middle of that conflict, saying they were ready to send x- rays via the Internet, so I knew that the conflict was winding down. I had to refer this e mail and e mail address in Tuzla to a person in hospital administration here in Ontario. I had to use the government pages, the blue book, in my local phone book. I called the Army too but the receptionist there passed my phone call to a psychiatrist and then it got passed to a Sergeant, when all that happened was a miss routed e mail that I reacted to with TV M*A*S*H watcher intensity.
Eventually I signed up for an e mail list about Peacekeeping studies at a US University. There seemed to be quite a few Canadians from the Universities as well on this e mail list.
Basically I have, belonged to GREEN PEACE, the Green Party, the local Peace Resource Centre and Amnesty International as peace groups. I consider myself to be a part of the peace movement and a pacifist. I have written many letters, signed many petitions and attended many protests against arms, mines and atomic weapons, fighter and bomber planes.
There have been soldiers in my family. My Grandfather was a wing commander in the Canadian Air Force and his son, my Uncle went to Royal Military College. I too have tried to join the military to find work, as I want to be an astronaut. My great Uncles on both sides of the family were killed in war or revolution. One in Italy on the allies side and two in Estonia on the side of the middle class.
I have read history of the peace movement and much history of war. And donated a book about the history of the peace movement in the USA to the Peace Resource Centre. Of course every country has a peace movement. So I still do not have a lot of knowledge of the peace movement world wide. Maybe the Internet will help me with this knowledge search.
A few years later now, and we have managed to arrange a peace vigil with Latin Americans as visitors just as one dictator has resigned. And COAT has made use of the local FreeNet to share letters and also to some extent extend our pamphlet distribution. The networking has been judged a success by our leader Richard Sanders.
I have also been able to debate the Indian Nuclear tests at Yahoo's chat and to complain about the recent US threats against Iraq by chatting about this issue in the Geo Cites government/ philosophy/ and education chat area and on IRC on a general Cyber chat channel.
2. Poverty groups
After being on the net for one and a half years, I joined the National Anti-Poverty Organisation. I had a discussion with a friends son about the homeless and this three year old knew that people sleep on sidewalks.
I also helped to organise a drop-in that I attended funded by the Community Branch of The Ministry of Health.
These activities did not require the Internet. But, I used a description of the drop-in I had written, on my web site. By some strange coincidence this drop-in is called A.P.P.L.E.. Which, is also the name of the company, that made my more powerful computer.
3. Professional groups
For a few years and all the time I have been on the Internet, I have belonged to the Canadian Mathematical Society. I have donated money to the libraries of math schools in the former Soviet Union and to the International Mathematics Olympics. I have worked as a statistician for one summer with some other students. We had students in marketing, public relations, translating, graphics and typing but I was the projects mathematician. There were no computers in the office.
I have searched the sci.math Newsgroup and the sci.math.symbolic Newsgroup for a while off and on during 1994- 1996 with very little interaction. Now days I read these Newsgroups even more. I sent an e mail to the FAQ maintainer of sci.math and found out he plays synthesiser and he answered my question about his relation to a famous musician. This sort of fit the hype that I had read about where one could talk to famous people on the Internet. He said he was busy with working on the math topic of N-tuples so I left him alone. I started to surf sci.stat in 1997 just as I started a statistics course.
But I haven't volunteered much in Math with the Internet, just a few help sessions while Chatting on-line on the channel #math and on the web with Geo Cities high Tech chat.
I have volunteered at the local University as a scribe in an advanced statistics course but didn't really do a great lot of the work. I guess I was learning too so there was more than a general conflict here between the student and myself. I couldn't really afford to learn quickly the computer languages for using SPSS and SAS two math applications that would be used to do the homework assignments. But I did manage to keep notes for about a month for the other student. This was with the Centre for students with disabilities and they gave me a notebook for my contribution.
4. Environmental groups
a. Volunteering for solar energy.
While volunteering as an assistant to a manager of volunteers, through the Peace and Environment Resource Centre, for the Canadian Solar Discovery Challenge, I was shown a CD-ROM and web site from the Ministry of Industry. It was a program that solves environmental problems and is also available to use from the Ministry's web site. This program I said to the demonstrators, employees of the Ministry, would be good for job searching, as with each solution, there is contact info for a company that does the solution. But this volunteering only lasted one day and some volunteers had nothing to do.
b. History of my environmental volunteerism
When young, I took an environmental careers option in my grade seven year. Then in university I chose to study some physical geography, and joined the green party. One year after joining, I worked a part-time summer job as a canvasser for the Green Peace Foundation; if you lived in Ottawa in 1984 you might remember me coming to your door. We didn't have a computer in the Green Peace office. But the green party and the Green Peace foundation are separate organisations. Later I kept in touch through a membership to Green Peace and then rejoined the green party.
The green party interested me in electronic confrencing, and I now exchange e mail with this conference. It's a policy discussion, and I have not fully understood the rules of the Internet game with this e mail exchange. A lot of the e mail, that comes from this list is about actions, political results from various countries or regions of Canada and there is some argument of policy as well. It is one of my first experiences going National and International in the English language. Although I have been able, I think, to patch up some of the hurt feelings that were produced, again this is through e mail. Although I was hurt too and embarrassed by this e mail conference.
When it came time to canvass the streets, as all political parties do at election time, a candidate contacted me through e mail and we made arrangements to canvass the streets of a local neighborhood. Of course, we had to switch to the phone and our voices for the actual arrangements of times and the details to where we would canvass. This was volunteering in politics using the FreeNet to communicate.
c. Volunteering in the environmental movement.
I was surfing my local punk Newsgroup in FreeNet one night and saw that Shawn a local young adult animal rights activist needed to borrow a TV and VCR for an evening meeting. He had posted a request for help on the punk sig. He wanted to show a video about the fur trade. So I phoned him up and volunteered my VCR and TV for his group. His friend a young journalist came to my house in a car and gave me a ride to the meeting with my TV and VCR. After some talk of punk rock and how good or bad a vegetarian, I am, we got the TV and VCR to the community centre where the meeting was held. I then sat around with my TV and VCR and watched the video and listened to the meeting. I added my two cents worth during the discussion saying that in the past the movement for animal rights was known as, conservation. I got ride home from the journalist and brought my TV and VCR safely back to my house. We talked very little on the net to arrange this loan of audio video equipment.
We all learned more about fur bearing mammals and the pain they go through and I have even done further research into the animal rights movement and the native survival movement. These movements conflict and I guess I am like a weather vane with this debate.
There is a lot of environmental writing going on the Internet. But here we must realise that much of the net in the USA depends on the Nuclear Reactors that provide power. And, of course, Nuclear Reactors are not safe forms of energy and are opposed by the green party world wide.
5. Musical groups
a. Introduction: I play bass.
You may think that because I am a musician, that I am a rock star. Actually I have belonged to many groups, played a few shows, but have never been in a group that stayed together for more than a few shows. I also have recorded very little of my good playing.
For the record I have belonged to The Condemned, The Revs, The Primitives, the Insurrection, the Iguana Puppets, The Mechanic City Psychos, El Feden, Little Sister, the Convoyuers, and Flinch. These names are listed on a page of my home site on the WWW.
b. The President of the USA plays Sax.
When I visited the White House web site on my brother's computer, we toured the White house and made a few jokes about political science. My brother has been a rock star in the city of Ottawa. When I got home from my brother's house and his computer, I went on-line with my old IBM XT and FreeNet and sent the President of The United States a couple of e mail, just when He had driven down my street escorted by the Ottawa police.
The strange association here, is that there's a rock band called the Presidents of the United States. One of the guitarists for that band uses a certain PEAVEY REACTOR guitar which is all white in colour. I recently bought the same guitar at a local music store. I didn't know about the association until I saw the bands video on Much Music.
With the Vice Presidents help the Internet will have affects within the commercial and consumer arena, even after the parody has gone away.
I asked the users on alt.punk, if this band, the Presidents of the United States, were really punks. They, of course, said that this band was a comedy band.
c. alt.punk and other music Newsgroups
I use the Newsgroups related to punk music and bass playing. Here in these Newsgroups we exchange opinions on music bands, styles, and often e mail each other back and forth. The punk Newsgroups all seem to agree that the individual is free to define themselves as a punk although the listening to punk music is a common thread.
There are a lot of for sale items in the bass sig but I don't know if this is a great opportunity on the Internet. Related to sales is advise on purchases and repair advice, which is I think a real plus, and perhaps, this aspect of use in other areas of consumer goods could be a good and promising use of the Internet. Much like the library has auto repair books and other consumer related books. And again, just discussing bass playing technique, musical notation, record companies, or opinions of the reason to join the musicians union is all possible with this sig and has helped me to play music.
One of the other candidates for the 1996 FreeNet election had suggested this as a good use of the FreeNet. He suggested using the FreeNet to search for auto sale adds. He lost that year as well. He claimed to be a Micron hacker to my claiming to be a Cyber punk.
I had mentioned a few times in both the punk sig in FreeNet and the Carleton Computer Society Newsgroup that I was a punk fan, both live music and recorded, when, I worked in computers in the late 70's. I never did find out anything about the musical interests of the other candidates in the 1996 FreeNet general election. But we did discuss fund raising through music and one successful candidate had tried this for the FreeNet.
d. Tunes in my head
It's is weird that the lights that come from a computer resemble the lights of a rock show. Being experienced in both fields as a worker I have often felt the similarity. Seeing my old XT in dark early morning sets off thoughts of rock music tunes in my head. Rock music tunes do that for most people.
e. Radio on the Internet
But, of course, there's also radio on the Internet. With my band FLINCH we are setting up on the web to deliver our music using the latest technology, Real Audio. When our tape is ready we will release it but Real Audio also has to improve.
f. Radio Newsgroups are part of the Usenet.
Also I have used the community radio Newsgroup for the demand of air time and it worked. Of course I had to package a tape and take it to the right show and the stations music director whom I seemed to get along with in the FreeNet sigs. In fact, I hand delivered it, to a FreeNet member Rory, who is also a station music director at one of my local community stations. I had volunteered at the station in 1983-84. Although like most radio stations most of the networking goes on through the postal mails, as this is where the records and tapes, CD's and magazines, arrive at the station.
I have listened to this station for years and years. They are a good listen for activity both night life, and politics and also can correct their mistakes, but then it's weird at times. And their announcers pull no punches. Especially the specialty announcers are very hard nosed about what they'll play. The younger volunteers though are usually a friendly bunch with very much a natural service attitude and can sometimes play just what you request.
I donated some money to the station in 1996 and received a copy of the book Health On-Line, another book about the Internet written by a Whole Earth Review editor. The station now have a information area in FreeNet, and, of course, some of the volunteers are very interested to communicate with the FreeNet. They now use their FreeNet addresses on the airwaves during their feedback segments. They are known by the call letters CKCU.
But it seems that their use of the Internet too, is not anything new to say or a debate. It's just to tell people their schedule. This is good too for some, so that they can look up the show and time. As well a list of giveaways for donations was useful to me and it was posted in the punk sig.
g. One day, some technical facts.
Sometimes I just surf the web, going to Yahoo and doing a search. I don't always search for a category listing. One day, I searched for acoustics and read the FAQ about this science. According to the book Success with the Internet, this is sometimes all one needs to do. With this FAQ that was all I needed to do that day. I learned about decibels and thought about the noise complaints I had received over the years. I also realised that, I was not alone in hearing too much street traffic. I was able to practice my mathematical physics skills, as I read this FAQ. I then, checked for companies in the Yahoo directory, that might help me within the music industry and with my performances. I didn't have much luck with this second part of the search. Eventually, I found someone I know who was is an expert about acoustics, by searching for his name in a e mail searcher named 411, also on the web.
h. The hype and the Beatles.
One episode of the show Life on the Internet, a TV show about the Internet shown on the Discovery channel, featured a women who had been curious about the Cyberspace and looked for a lot of what was out there. She then was approached for a date by someone who she had been in e mail contact with and she found it inappropriate. She then restricted herself to rec.beverages.coffee. After seeing this on the Discovery channel, I discovered the rec Newsgroups.
So I read a lot of rec.music.beatles. I even posted there after reading the FAQ. Some person named Saki who is a sort of moderator for this Newsgroup followed up my post. She and I were talking about Linda Eastman's parents and good and bad scholarship. I vowed to become a good scholar after reading her post.
I learned that some people posting were strong Paul fans and others were strong John fans and likewise some like Ringo better and some George.
Ringo then played a benefit gig for the Schizophrenia charity I was involved in and I learned about it on the Internet. So the hype seemed to come down to earth in a place called Peterbourgh some two hundred miles from my home. That is I combined the Beatles remarketing of 1996 with the Internet hype of the Discovery Channel. But back to rec.music.beatles....
As well people from Norway were taking issue with Paul's environmentalism and his opposition to the whale hunting business.
I started just yakking away about myself and my connection to this group. Others were debating the instruments and styles of the Beatles. And yet further people were on about lyrics which I think is an easy topic for many people who know Beatles songs. Even Lunch Boxes were discussed and were being bought and sold.
As well my choice of this Newsgroup in the rec hierarchy was determined by the go music command in FreeNet. I learned about the command from Gordon Pearson a FreeNet director and also freelance journalist.
I actually read the FAQ for this Newsgroup which is one time I have used a Newsgroup correctly. The suggestions that I have read state that one should read the FAQ before posting and that a user of Usenet read as many messages as one can to get the style as well as the all important topic for the message that gets posted.
I often post not because I have a post with some topic in mind but because the Usenet is there and the topic is appealing because I choose it and I can post about the topic if I put my mind to it.
6. Youth Groups and Music and the Early Cyber Culture.
Things like cubs and a youth film club are the sorts of things I did with other youth in my life. By the time I was organising Youth Culture Promotions I was in my twenties and I had to do a lot of the work involved in making the club work. I had to go to organising meetings and choose bands and set prices for the shows. I had to carry and lift electrical equipment and sometimes even play guitar. I was wrestling with a transition from paid summer jobs to volunteer work. I had to use the phone a little and also negotiate contracts for a record. My main function was trouble shooting the crowds we had and speaking at the meetings. I learned more about youth adult conflict, and also more about the various charities, we supported, both official registered charities and the unregistered non profits known as protest groups. In those days I had a VIC-20 computer which was not networked.
I made one web page for this youth club fifteen years later. One of the DJs Roxy at CKCU used this web page for a trip down memory lane. Basically the web page is a list of the shows we did with some of the bands names and the locations in Ottawa of the shows.
Also I added a paragraph describing my professional theatre work and a link to the IATSE web site on this youth club web page. As I remember it my friends from this club helped me to get somewhere with Cyber punk literature. In fact, one of my friends Julia Pine gave me a copy of Neuromancer by William Gibson.
The leader of Youth Culture Promotions Greg Foise, who also lead other shows, in fact, studied electronics and computer programming at the local community college.
I met many people and discussed some art and poetry at these shows. It was a strange mix of underground and above ground musicians we worked with over the few years of our existence.
I have read an art theory book in 1990 about these D.I.Y. youth clubs in which were happening in the early eighties. I guess the best thing to result from this volunteer experience and studies was my being employed by our National Arts Centre.
Although, this poor theatre and youth club gave me a chance to socialise and learn more about social withdrawal and peer groups, topics of sociology or psychology, I found it did not meet my needs completely so I continued to volunteer in arts.
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IV. My experiences with the web and the graphic web.
A. Learning the web browser.
1. Initial experiences with the web.
a. My first experiences of the web were plain boring. At first the web was this text screen I saw on FreeNet with the Lynx browser using my XT. Then my father showed me his copy of Mosaic and took it to CERN and then Estonia which seemed like the world telephone book. This was the first graphic stuff I saw. This was in 1994.
2. My web site.
a. A web remembered.
The next year my brother and I ramped up with Netscape on his Macintosh and visited the cool sites of the day like the White House and the Louvre. We also found that Carleton University had some Macintosh information pages which got me telling my brother to learn about doing some web programming. That is HTML. I was still using the Lynx browser for a number of months until I got a more powerful computer that could ramp up to an ISP and thus allow me to run successfully a copy of Netscape. So far I have used successive versions of this software. I have downloaded further versions has they became available. And deleted the old versions or as we say in the Mac world I trashed them. I also learned both through books and web sites how to code HTML and have my own freelance programmers web site made up now for less than 5,000 dollars including the price of my home computer. It sometimes gets as many as ten visits per day.
People view my site and someone liked the picture of my father which was beside a picture of a KGB agent who has our last name. Then again most visitors including my girl friend do not even leave an e mail. On my web site today one can leave an e mail by clicking one of the bottom of the page link on most any of the pages.
Most of my web site that people see is serious science or resume style web pages. I have worked in a few science positions both paid and volunteer. My design of my home page site continues to grow and I get so few e mail through my site. My web site has an e mail link to me on nearly every page. I also have a web site with diverse content ranging from my science work and resume to my bands and music work. And I have some poetry or songs on my web site and links to further poetry web sites. I also include some essays, from different types of school science work, on some pages of my web site. This is the serious science that I share with the world. The site also is in some senses a copy of other sites but in my eye it is very self-aggrandising.
Yet ten people visit it every day of the week. I only know when my brother or father visits it really, sometimes my cousin, or in rare cases someone I have already met through e mail or school like my astronomy lecturer.
My site is listed in Yahoo's directory business: companies: computers: software: databases category along with Watcom and Sybase and the other major players. I get listed with the major players for next to nothing. This is an example of the web leveling the playing field in my use of computers. I then had my resume listed with the most popular web page directory on the web. Yahoo again!
It also follows the rules to some extent for setting up a computer consulting business and reaching workers and customers. But I don't actually let this happen because unlike these new corporations that sell and make software, I don't sell software. I do offer pointers to software that works for the science of crystallography.
The search engine listing my site was featured in Internet World. This site then produced a magazine that my friend Tina bought called Yahoo, Internet Life. The search engine is something I used to look up my own site and too search for links to my site from other web sites. I had to add my site's URL to Yahoo in the first place.
b. My web redesign.
I had some plans and some limits for my web site. I applied these and tips I learned from books about web design to this redesign. Not being sure that I would like the end result and not wanting to give up totally on my old home page, I saved the original home page within a new folder on my computer. I then used the two icons my brother designed, for each page, as navigation icons and tried to reorganise the whole site, all the files and pages around these two icons. This worked but there were problems with the authoring software and I needed to correct the files with a text editor and my knowledge of HTML. And I didn't like the new design of the home page but instead reverted to the old design. The new navigation icons stayed on the site.
Now a year later, I am still developing the same web site. I needed to add a text navigation table at the bottom of most of the pages for clarity. I have further made a few more web sites with different styles of navigation, two of them at the Geo Cities web space and have added this document your reading to my original site.
c. Crystallography on the web.
When I first wrote my home page I wanted to focus on my computing work, so wrote about the crystallography files I had done for work in my late teen years. As time went on with my web use I started to check out on the web the state of modern computers and crystallography. I found cool programs for the visualisation of the structures of molecules. One day, one of these companies I had found on the web, making this software allowed me to download some patterns for my computer screen. This is an area of inner space that has become expressible as Cyberspace. I could look tomorrow and find even more applications for the structures of crystals.
3. The web today ( play by play Internet use for September 12th, 1997.)
Today I surfed the web. I looked over the final logs of e- world. I also read the home page of Canadian protest.
I then surfed a lot of a web site called mental health net. First I read about disorders and other categories of mental health.
I read some posts of offenders recovering from their offenses in alt.abuse.offenders.recovery. I then read some info on web pages about sexual abuse and fighting sexism from a male perspective. I still need more social skills and I and my friends do fight sexism at least one friend and I do on the phone and in our houses and apartments. I read about sexual harassment and it's various forms.
I also read some ten posts to alt.support.stop.smoking and book marked the FAQ page. I noticed I wasn't smoking and found people there who had quit on average for two weeks telling people their time as a former smoker or ex-smoker. I felt like someday I could belong to a non-smoking identity and also like somehow I would not make it. Also one person has smoked 2 packages of cigarettes/day for 33 years. I then read an Internet writer who had posted to this Newsgroup and quit the Newsgroup. I checked for e mail and came off line.
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V. Internet as an organising tool for society.
A. Community events.
From the look of it the FreeNet parties and FreeNet activity don't really involve many people from the membership which is as high as 60,000 people who are members. The lack of attendance at the parties can be explained. The fact that everyone can't make it out is a common problem and my own explanation that people who are on-line and can't see the off line part of this community as something to do, myself included. That could be true in many cases. I went to a birthday party of one person at a local cool and hip bar and he invited us all by FreeNet e mail. But I missed the FreeNet annual picnic thrice. I also saw the executive director a few times face to face and she seemed nice. I don't belong to a great number of community groups that are on-line so I don't know how other groups do at organising on-line to do things off-line. Maybe this will work out for more people in the future. It's my studies in crowd management that guides my viewpoint on this issue. And my crowd management skills have been put to use by the FreeNet and the Air Force just as they were in the past with the peace movement.
Of course, people still post messages of events on the Internet Newsgroups, and this is to publicise events. Usually the title of the event, the time and the place are posted. As well the admission price is a necessary part of these types of postings. This type of posting compares favourably with bulletin boards that are on the inside walls of buildings. Although I don't know of everything that happens like this on the Internet schools too post messages of lectures and conferences that they are having so that they can advertise the event.
B. Community Theatre and the FreeNet Theatre SIG.
1. The strength of acting theory.
If I start a thread about acting theory or if one is started by others, my posts are followed up by others agreeing that I have a good idea. This idea was, in fact, tested by a university theatre department entrance test. The idea is simply that good foods and physical health is important to a person doing acting. Of course, I don't know a lot about acting theory, in fact, I can be wrong about acting theory so I don't offer opinions about acting theory without saying that I am actually a theatre technician.
There are some local theatres that use this Newsgroup to post notices of auditions for their plays. Also sometimes the local film co-op posts adds for necessary acting people.
3. Volunteering with musical theatre.
In with reading the notices of plays I read a message requesting volunteers. I was recruited to help with a volunteer theatre by reading the FreeNet theatre sig. So while, I have found much agreement on this sig, it was also used to communicate a need for volunteers at the local and famous musical theatre.
I simply went to the theatre when they requested and worked for an hour or so grinding some metal parts and holding set pieces as the master carpenter build a scale wooden wagon and made a door in a set wall.
The master carpenter and I then talked a bit about theatre safety and first aid. He was also able to show me the interior of the theatre. Places like the costume storage and the paint loft which are quite developed at this theatre. The play I worked on was of course a musical.
The next year a theatre in Nepean asked for volunteers through this sig too, this time it was not so easy to volunteer. I had talked to one of the production managers at this theatre and they have too many volunteers. When I called the production manager, he said I would have to have my name on a waiting list. So I gave him my name and phone number.
I volunteered with this theatre for four months before I became a FreeNet volunteer again and then missed a few calls at the theatre and had to take a break for a while. I did my usual theatre stuff and learned in more detail aspects of lighting and rigging. I managed to participate in a few events where I was able to hang out on stage with performers. I also got a credit which I could read at leisure which if you have volunteered in radio, television, or theatre you too may have found it difficult to actually read your own credits. I could do this and can go back again in the future. I guess I had to pass on other offers of need for volunteers that have been posted this year in the theatre sig.
4. Helping young aspiring actresses.
Also I have given what little I could in the way of advice to aspiring actresses who were curious about work in the theatre. Others too posted follow ups the messages after the original message which may have helped these young women explore theatre work.
5. rec.arts.stage.craft. Mark ?
I read some messages on this Usenet Newsgroup and while interesting I started to mention my disability there and told someone named Mark when asked. But I learned to order a catalog of lighting equipment and study questions put out by some of the other larger theatres in the US. It seems that the experts are there all right with answers in the thousands of dollars about about how to fly Peter Pan for instance.
A year later and I am still occasionally reading this Newsgroup and after posting that my resume was a difficult thing to write up, found myself making a reasonable theatre resume and posting it to my web site.
C. The continuing wave of Internet organising.
So I have seen some uses of the Internet to get people together in the community. I guess with more people on line now and more predicted over the coming years, the Internet will as has been reported draw more uses both technically and socially and economically. I hope that existing organisations will gain and learn to use the Internet, e mail, the Usenet, IRC and the web to keep membership informed and to organise for the better. And hopefully the Internet will remain the friendly place where volunteers will find they are needed and welcome.
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A. Rule oriented viewpoint of Cyber space.
1. Having questions in mind that a Newsgroup user might want to know from me.
2. Having questions in mind that a commentator might post as a follow up post in a Newsgroup.
3. Having questions in mind that the Investigator of a Cyber crime might ask.
B. References I used with Cyber space.
1. Success with the Internet.
This book allowed me to understand the connected nature of the Internet. This was the first Internet guide book I read. It also was published by a publisher that donates some of their money to the rain forest.
2. The Official National Capital FreeNet Survival Guide.
This book has the key board commands listed to use FreeNet effectively to do e mail and also to read and post in sigs the Newsgroups internal to the FreeNet. I bought this book at the branch of my public library. It's a reference and guide book for using FreeNet.
3. Internet 101.
This book I borrowed from the local branch of the public library. It has an entertaining element and has helped me understand web pages a little more, in particular the personal web page. There are many personal pages too on the Internet and I visit a number of them.
4. The Virtual Community.
While I have often read the Whole Earth Catalog, of which the author is an editor, this book describes some of the authors experiences on-line with the WELL the Whole Earth Electronic Link. This is the book that injected the word community to the concept of the Internet at least in the popular press.
5. The Internet Road Map.
This book is for UNIX users and is a poor introduction to the Internet for Mac and PC users. It argues as do many books about the Internet that Mac and PC users should learn something about UNIX because it is the nodal computer of these networks. There is though some good insight into the way the Internet will change your interests in academic subjects. I recommended this book to my brother.
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This document was updated most recently on September 28th, 1999. Some
of the contents have changed or been corrected or been updated.
Copyright Peter Timusk @ 1995-2000.