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Will Microsoft Market VFP Where Is The Letter


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The following message was extracted from Universal Thread and is the reply made by Steven Black to Tamar Granor on 3/2/01 under the thread entitled "VFP7 Removed from .NET". Nice words, Steve! -- Fernando Alvares
Marshall McLuhan said that, in operational and practical fact, the medium is the message. This is now a cliche, but I reckon not 10% of people actually understand what this means.

(For lurkers, "the medium is the message" means, in short, that the characteristic of all media is the content of any medium is always another medium. For example, the content of your computer screen right now is writing, the content of writing is speech, the content of speech is an actual process of thought, which is in itself nonverbal, and even this can be further decomposed, ad infinitum.)

Without putting too fine a point on it, the Wiki open letter draft *is* the letter. Printing it and affixing a stamp, or pasting it into an email, may be symbolic and cathartic, but it does not change that hundreds have read it, and that thousands more will read it in the future.

My web logs show that the related topics are being accessed on almost a daily basis by IPs from the Microsoft domain. Therefore it appears that putting the message into another medium is rather beside the point. To send it in the post or as an email doesn't change that the message (however disjointed it may be as present) is being heard, and that committing it to a less public and less live medium, such as a letter or email, changes fundamentally nothing.

Arguably, actually sending the message in another medium conveys an illusiory sense of consensus, impact, and finality. Our mothers sent letters. Today we know that a great way to draw fire to a cause is to set up a website. A letter is a one-shot message. A letter writing campaign is a collection of one-shot messages. A well-publicised web page lives and broadcasts as long as broadly as necessary. A wiki page, the product of continuous broad peer review and input, is arguably much more powerful than a single page composed by a single activist, or a small group of activists.

McLuhan is right: each new technology and each new medium changes the patterning of human relationships well beyond the immediate application of the technology or medium itself.

Therefore I suggest that the individual section topics be consolidated, the noisy paragraphs mercilessly moved and linked to anciliary discussion topics, so that this living evolving message is unambiguous, and henceforth remains so.
Comments

I'm not going to try to top that, Steve! Given the title of this page, it behooves me to point people to my own draft of an Open Letter to Microsoft at http://www.ideaxchg.com/ix07/bymda/mdav0017.htm. My "letter" is merely offered as an introduction to the dynamic, collaboratively created message on wiki which is just as much a part of the "letter" to me. - mda
See Also:

Will Microsoft Market VFP
_ Will Microsoft Market VFP Announcements
_ Will Microsoft Market VFP _ How It Started
Open Letter Bogus Counter Arguments
Category Open Letter To Microsoft
( Topic last updated: 2001.03.22 06:45:49 PM )