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The part that really counts

technofile  by al fasoldt

Columns and commentaries in a life-long dance with technology

Simple gray rule

The part that really counts

By Al Fasoldt

Copyright © 1991, The Syracuse Newspapers

Two of my favorite authors are Bob Cramer and Father Hal.

Most of you have never read what they have written or even heard of them.

But to me they are worth all the Hemingways and Updikes of the world.

I have never met them in person. They live in my computer. They speak to me every day when I come home from the office.

That's when I read my electronic mail. Bob Cramer and Father Hal are the two brightest luminaries among the cosmic bits and pieces that remind me, every day, that I am living on the edge of an information revolution.

Bob Cramer is a Californian. He's a liberal, always ready to look for the gentle way out of a confrontation, ever vigilant against the insidious tendency of governments to rule rather than lead.

Father Hal is an Upstate New Yorker, living along Lake Champlain. He is a chef of great talent, an expert in wine and literature, a partisan of an old school of gentlemanly conservatism. I've never learned his full name. I only know that "Avatar" is the handle-the on-line nickname-that he always uses.

They argue a lot about nearly everything. In their public conferences, carried to my computer daily through a telecomm service called NWI, they seem to be at opposite sides of a ring, ready to dance out with a left hook or right jab at every bell.

Both men are religious-one strongly Protestant, the other deeply Catholic. In another era, they could not have been further apart. Yet in the age of laser-guided destruction and 45-day wars, these two adversaries have become partners in an almost unspoken compact: Let each of us speak the truth as we see it, they seem to have promised each other, but let us also chase that truth and follow it wherever it leads.

So far, they have kept that agreement. Their discussions, especially when I am able to follow them daily through the incredible telecomm program called BizLink, have been more enlightening than a dozen editorials from the New York Times, and they have been more informative than anything on CNN.

That's what telecommunications is all about. It's the second part of the word that matters. The first part is just so much technobabble. It's the content that's important, not the package.

My discussions of Prodigy and GEnie over the last few weeks have dealt with the package too much. I thank Bob Cramer and Father Hal for reminding me of something that lasts a lot longer.

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