The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

December 20, 2008


Gmail/Pine

Can't sleep as usual, thinking about my discomfort w/Gmail, and bones,
bones, bones -

Gmail is a corporate wrapper; skins are extraneous but beautiful. Gmail
isn't there - it loads; it's not transparent. Pine is ascii, bones and
speed. It appears within the instantaneity of human time. Deleting in Pine
is deleting; the software operates on the assumption you know what you're
doing. Delete in Gmail like so many other programs sends to the trash
directory. If you reply in Gmail it goes to sent mail. You go to sent mail
and send to trash and then delete, Gmail expands; Pine contracts. In Pine,
headers on is 'h' establishes them within the body of the full text. Pine
is replete with technical configuration. Saving in and out of folders,
directories, is just on a par with any other commands that are similar to
command lines. A lot of things use ctl-. Bouncing in Pine is everywhere
and fast, not a standard option in Gmail. Uploading email in any form is
simple from Pine, difficult but not impossible in Gmail. Pine is based on
Pico; they blend; Gmail is its own framing device. You can write scripts
in Pico; you can search Pine's directories with scripts or any way at all
- they're not bound to the software. Gmail operates within a browser that
permits sound, image, video; Pine is pure text. If I want to look at
something in Pine, I bounce to Gmail. If I want to open email securely, I
bounce to Pine. If Pine clears something, I can bounce to Gmail or open in
Pine. Pine is lean and windows are standardized; everything is designed
for fast reading, writing, filing, classifying, deleting, saving; appear-
ance is secondary. Appearance is critical in Gmail. Gmail offers messages
constantly, for example accompanying the spam folder. Pine only does what
you tell it to do. (You can control window size in Pine of course.) Pine
is not pretty unless radiolaria or porifera spicules are pretty. Pine is
old-fashioned; Gmail is new. Gmail is a multi-tasking window; Pine is
task-oriented. Gmail is multimedia even with text; Pine is text. Gmail
uses embedded italics, colors, bold, underlines, and so forth; Pine is
standard ascii. Pine is book- and text-based; Gmail is dynamic image-
based. Pine developed out of an open university system; Gmail developed
out of a closed corporate system. Gmail is part of a global struggle; Pine
is part of a local group. Gmail holds on to your email within its corpor-
ate environment; Pine holds on to your email on its server. Pine is yours,
Gmail is theirs. Inscription is yours, vision is theirs. Where Pine
speeds, Gmail displays. No one knows what I do in Pine; everyone knows
what I do in Gmail. Gmail appears to load everything; the page changes
when the directory changes. Pine appears to load nothing. Pine appears
inhering but always steps out of itself with open directories and open
source. Gmail appears expansive but remains within itself with closed
directories. Gmail appears inviting; Pine neither invites nor uninvites.
Personal: I use Pine 95% of the time. I'm uncomfortable in Gmail. I wonder
if this is an age/experience thing; if the medium in fact _is_ the message
and the message is always audio-visual wonder. But I use Pine within a
Windows or X-Window format within its own window that also harbors through
telnet, all of the tools of Unix or BSD or Linux. Gmail exasperates me; if
I write quickly, text or email, I want to go back and forth between pro-
grams and back and forth from external files to email. I want to see al-
most nothing on the screen except for text. I want the text to appear as
if it's mirroring thought, as if its inscribing is an external that has
evolved within, as if it's mind in the text, not waters. I want the speed
of thought, or what passes for the speed of thought. I want raw sememe,
not corporate splatter. But then at one point I played with bang paths,
with escape commands, with relay. I felt I was mind in the wires, not
text, that text was surface, just as now I feel that Gmail is surface. And
before that, there were those who wrote letter by letter making protocol
work without these frames at all; I remember once having a sense of this,
working with an HP from 1984 with 9 lines of text and no storage - finding
a way to send and receive files from the Panix server without ftp at all -
a minor accomplishment, but pointing again to bones, bones, bones. And
there are bones all the way down and up; Gmail will transform into holo-
graphic transmissions, molecular pipelines, while we're all gnawing roots
in the ground. (I may have details wrong in the above, but you get the
drift which itself seems crippled to me.)

chromatic more and more confused because it's listening to soccer

http://www.alansondheim.org/soccer1.mp3
http://www.alansondheim.org/soccer2.mp3

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