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Date: Wed, 1 Apr 1998 22:13:19 -0500 (EST)
From: Edward Vielmetti  <emv@umich.edu>
Subject: Vacuum #0 - an invitation

"Forgetting is as important as remembering" Brian Eno

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I'm starting a new network mail list, it's called Vacuum. I'd like you to join in. (No pressure.)

My immediate motivation for Vacuum is straightforward and not all that hard to describe. In addition to typing up a storm on various parts of the Internet over the last ten-plus years, I've found time to fill up a foot-high pile of bound notebooks with essays, sketches, diagrams, and notes on various topics. I firmly believe there's a book hiding in there somewhere, and I'd like your help in pulling out something coherent out of those experiences.

What's the book about? I'm not looking for a big audience or an influential publication, no grand pronouncements about the future of the net or its global impact. There are all sorts of stories to tell about how people came up with ideas and tried them out and how some of them succeeded and some failed. Certainly there have been a lot of neat folks along the way and I somehow want to capture that feeling.

I'm also aiming at something a bit more mystical, alas - how can people organize in their minds information about a network of people and services that used to seem small enough to grasp (if you spent enough time at it) but now feels like it's too hopelessly large and thinly spread out and uneven that one person can take it in? Think "vacuum" as the relative density of space most of the universe has now compared to the way it was oh around the time of the Big Bang.

Anyways, I think there's the core of a book there. Please help join me in finding it!

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It's entirely likely that portions of Vacuum will be sent out in paper format rather than electronic where there's a need to show sketches, doodles, diagrams, and experimental layout. If you'd like to get paper mail every so often (no guarantees, of course, this project might disappear into a vacuum at any moment) send your postal address to me at "emv@umich.edu" and I'll buy some stamps with your name on them.

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If you know anyone who you think would also be interested in this project, please let me know and I'll forward them the current version of this invitation.

I'm not even going to wonder about how to turn the eventual manuscript into a pile of books, not yet at least; a bunch of people have done that and if the result is any good there should be at least a dozen ways of accomplishing that task.

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I'm using a technique that Dave Winer came up with for doing big mailings but keeping them on a human scale. Every message goes out to a maximum of eight or so people at a time, so when you look at the To: line you hopefully see a name you recognize and whose interest in the subject presumably piques your own curiousity about what they're seeing.  You're part of a different group of 8 each time so slowly you see the entire distribution list.

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Hope you can join in, or at least that you'll listen in while the work is in progress. I am aiming to engage in many fine lunches and dinners in the process of putting this project together. My travel schedule takes me to California roughly one week a month these days, so I'm hoping to see Bay area folks who've been mostly names on the net for a long time.

thanks

Ed

home: emv@umich.edu work: evielmet@cisco.com (as of 2/98) phone: +1 734 761 4248 (note new area code) post: 317 S Division #218 Ann Arbor MI 48104 (packages OK)