Re: HTML: woes

Eugene Leitl (
Thu, 12 Mar 1998 15:05:48 +0300 (MSK)

On Wed, 11 Mar 1998, Michael Lorrey wrote:

> > > That even ascii based browsers like ALPHABrowser now support HTML email indicates
> > > that even the most primitive interfaces are capable of rising above their origins.

Mike, what is HTMLized mail really good for? You still have not given a
single pro example.

I use Mozilla for browsing (snipping urls from pine's xterm), pine for
mailing (soon emacs' MH). Browsing web pages with the equivalent of lynx?
Brrrr. Yes, I will archive my emails with searchable Hypermail-archive
type of stuff. Otoh I will write a perl filter to filter out all HTML from
my mail box -- this will also take care of 50% of spam.

> > hmm, I wasn't aware of this. Do you have a url?
> The stand alone browser app JSB has licensed to WYSE. JSB packages it as
> part of their AlphaWindows office package.

Is this a free source software? Free downloads alone are quite
insufficient today, you know.

> > > Its people, and their stubborn resistance to change that is the sticking point. As
> > > extropians, we need to get the anti-change meme out of our systems through regular,
> > > habitual purging of obsolete techniques, tools, etc. from our regular use.
> >
> > I entirely agree. However, I really don't think that plain-vanilla ascii email is
> > "obsolete", and I'm not really sure why HTML is so vastly superior. All I've seen so
> > far is the ability to change fonts and colours. Woopee doo is my reaction to that. It
> > in no was changes the -content-, merely the presentation. We're still reading text,
> > it's just text prettified up slightly.
> At this point. Much more interesting stuff is possible. For those of you who have browsers
> that are 'shocked', check out:
> This guy is really on the edge. He is the new standard we should all shoot for for web

Yeah, but he really should risk a few steps more.

> content....IMNSHO

In which RFC is Shockwave defined? How long has it been around? How many
revisions has seen this standard since its invention? Will anybody be able
to read this stuff a decade from now?

In scientific online publishing, I must provide a *.ps.gz, possibly a
.dvi, maybe a *.pdf, and certainly a *.html (canonical html, not the
latest whizbangmegablinkbupbup version either by M$ or N$). In certain
cases, plain *.txt (e.g. bibtex dbases) are entirely sufficient.

I will be very slow to adopt new standards, for I'd like this type of
content to be accessible for decades. In fact, many scientists are highly
wary of web publishing not only because of lack of established peer review
mechanisms -- they consider the medium itself much too ephemeral.

Shockwave, indeed.

> > I agree with what you are saying in principle, it's just that I don't think it applies
> > to email. If even one member of the list cannot read HTML, why should the rest of us
> > exclude this person, when it really serves no valid purpose? Is the ability to mix and
> > match fonts going to make the list more useful than the opinions/thoughts/rants/agitprop
> > of that individual? I doubt it, although suffering through the interminable abortion
> > thread makes me doubt this conclusion.
> Flip it. Why should the rest of us who are moving ahead be held back by the stubborn
> intransigence of those opposed to progress? This list is for forward thinkers.

Mike, there has been a (little-noticed) exodus of the 'forward thinkers'
to polymath@ already. Salt extropians@ with a little bit text markup, and
only the @AOL crowd will remain.

Just my 0.00000000002 $.