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MonTAGe: An Eclectic E-Journal

MonTAGe is the Electronic Journal of the TAGFAM Mailing list. MonTAGe is written by and for the families of gifted and talented individuals.

Editor: Valorie J. King (vjking@erols.com)

Permission is hereby given for noncommercial electronic or print format redistribution of intact articles from MonTAGe. Please cite "MonTAGe: The TAGFAM E-Journal (c) 1996 Valorie J. King."

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the individual authors.

In This Issue:

  1. From The Editor's Desk
  2. The NEW TAGFAM Welcome Message
  3. The Campaign To: STAMP OUT E-MAIL UGLINESS
  4. A Word About Our Sponsors

From The Editor's Desk by Valorie King (vjking@erols.com)

I have never met Dr. Z, Bob Zenhausern, in person, yet we've talked off and on via Internet mail and MOO (a virtual reality environment that allows real-time conversation) for almost three years now. In my mind's eye, I see him "sitting in a rocking chair" ... the description written on my computer monitor whenever I would "enter" his virtual office to chat. Dr. Z is one of many persons who have helped me to learn about and understand what makes an intellectually gifted person different and why gifted individuals have social, emotional, and educational needs that are "exceptional," differing from the norm.

A little over two years ago Dr. Z asked if I would like to start a mailing list cum online support group for other families like mine, families struggling to cope with the challenges of raising gifted children. Not too long afterwards, TAGFAM was born. We started with an announcement on the NEWLIST -- where most new mailing lists are announced to the Internet world. From then on out our growth has been by word of mouth. Our first month saw thirty or forty subscribers. Within six months we had over two hundred subscribers. Today, sixteen months after the official launch of the mailing list, we have close to five hundred subscribers.

Most of our subscribers are lurkers. They read but do not comment publicly via the list. A core group of between thirty and fifty subscribers account for over 90% of the postings to the mailing list. We offer each other help and support. Those with ready access to research libraries, professional journals and textbooks, and Internet resources give freely of their time to answer questions and make suggestions to our online community.

TAGFAM has indeed become a community. I would like to thank all those who have helped to make this happen. In "A Word About Our Sponsors" I have included information about our host institution, St. John's University, and about Dr. Z, our faculty sponsor. But, there are others who deserve a big THANK YOU as well:

1) Sandra L. Berger, M.Ed. (ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education, The Council For Exceptional Children)

In the early days of TAGFAM, Sandra brought to us information about gifted children, told us how to access the ERIC database via the Internet, and posted many legislative alerts to keep us aware of proposed changes in federal legislation regarding ERIC and the Javitts Grants. Thanks for the education, Sandra!

2) Draper Kauffman

Someday, I'll go back in the archives for the wonderful postings where Draper has pinned my ears back because I've gotten my facts mixed up or misused statistics. Thanks Draper! Your knowledge, from the inside, of the US system of education has been an invaluable aid to the growth and development of our corporate body of knowledge here on TAGFAM.

3) Cici Clovis

Occasionally "missing in action" due to a "sick" computer ... Cici has shown us that humor is an effective way of getting through the "worst" of times. Thanks for the "Legend of the Pink Monkey" and many other tales!

4) Lois Seyler, Sylvia Richards, and Lynn Proegler

For all the times you've come to my rescue when I've been burned out or felt the hopelessness of the situation descend upon me. Thanks for all the reassuring e-mails and for the wake-up calls too!

5) Trindel Maine

For being the "light at the end of the tunnel" with your stories about Alistair's successes with skipping grades in school and, especially, for bringing us information about the Early Entrance Program at CSULA. Thanks!

6) Monique Lloyd

You've shown us through your example that it is possible to advocate for changes in the school environment. Thanks!

7) All the teachers, parents, and professionals who worked so hard to convince me that advocacy does work ... that the educational system does respond to outside pressures. You've convinced me! Thanks for your example and your encouragement.

A scan of the TAGFAM archives shows that there there are many, many more individuals who have made significant contributions to our community's health, well-being, and growth. Thank you to ALL of you.

--- Valorie ---


The Campaign To: STAMP OUT E-MAIL UGLINESS by Valorie J. King (vjking@erols.com)

In my undergraduate days, we called it "playing computer." Sitting there in basement of the computer science center, reading and decoding one instruction at a time ... trying to find the bugs that kept our programs from running and, more importantly, kept us inside working instead of outside "playing in the sun." Reading e-mail these days brings back those memories ...

Example #1:

... < HTML>< PRE>< BODY>< BGCOLOR="#400080">< FONT  COLOR="#ff0000" SIZE=4> I have to

... snip ....

... < /PRE>< /HTML>


Example #2:

... <---- Begin Attached File ---->
... begin 644 LEDNET26.TXT
... M3&%N9"!%8V]N;VUI8R!$:6=EF%T:6]N(`T*3&%N9"=S(&]V97)S96%S(&)R86YC:&5S(&%R


Example #3:

... ------ =_NextPart_000_01BB4084.BAD802C0
... Content-Type: application/ms-tnef
... Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64

... eJ8+IgkIAQaQCAAEAAAAAAABAAEAAQeQBgAIAAAA5AQAAAAAAADoAAENgAQAAgAAAAIAA
... ADgBAAABAAAADAAAAAMAADADAAAACwAPDgAAAAACAf8PAQAAAFEAAAAAAAAAgSsfpL6jE


Example #4:

... ------ =_NextPart_000_01BB3079.D21CCEE0
... Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
... Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

... snip ...

... We have one or two gifted young adults on the list, =
... snip ...                                            ^ 
     note the "equals" sign at end of lines      -------^
... snip ...

... ------ =_NextPart_000_01BB3079.D21CCEE0
... Content-Type: application/ms-tnef
... Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64
...
... eJ8+Ii4BAQaQCAAEAAAAAAABAAEAAQeQBgAIAAAA5AQAAAAAAADoAAENgAQAAgAAAA
... AEgEAAACAAAAFAAAAAMAADAFAAAACwAPDgAAAAACAf8PAQAAAGEAAAAAAAAAgSsfpL

What on earth is all this stuff? Well, example #1 is from AOL's fancy new mail software. Great if you're on AOL but, for the rest of us, this is what it looks like. Examples 2-4 appear to be variations on a theme from MicroSoft Mail and/or MicroSoft Exchange. Example #4 also shows another common problem -- what happens when "word-wrap" has not been turned on. My fellow listowners refer to this as "=20" ugliness. It's hard on the eyes and seriously affects the readability of your postings.

TAGFAM isn't the only mailing list that has this problem with gobbledygook being attached to e-mail messages by "new and improved" mail handling software. Last night, while searching the archives for LSTOWN-L (LISTSERV listowner's forum), I found several examples sent by people who should know better. In one archive file alone there were five messages with encoded attachments totaling just over 1800 lines of gobbledygook. For a mailing list that handles between 3 and 5 messages a day averaging less than 30 lines each ... that works out to the equivalent of 60 extra messages sent to the list.

Is this a problem? You bet it is. The excessive length of these messages causes subscribers' mailboxes to overflow. The gobbledygook becomes a permanent part of the list archives and consumes precious disk space. The question of what to do about "base64 ugliness" (MIME attachments) and "=20 ugliness" ("=" signs appended to the ends of lines) was addressed recently on the LSTOWN-L forum. Two of the messages are included below both to explain the source of the problem and to suggest a solution for those using MicroSoft Mail.

If you receive a message from the listowner or another subscriber asking you to change your mail settings, please take heed but not offense. Yes, it is hard to figure out all the different places where Windows-95 _hides_ things. Eudora is yet another mail package that may have similar problems. If you cannot figure out how to make your mail software stop including gobbledygook with your mail -- TELL US. We'll try to find someone who knows the answer and can help.

So, do your part to help STAMP OUT E-MAIL UGLINESS. Thanks!


The Problem: (excerpted from the LSTOWN-L Archives)

"I use Microsoft Exchange as my personal mailer ... a trailing blank on a line will cause an =20 on some, but not all, Listserv servers ... some Listserv servers send posts with some combination of content or header fields that causes MS Exchange to conclude that the originator was an MS rich-text aware mailer -- not a Listserv on some mainframe someplace! -- and that causes it to insert rich-text formatting codes as base64 ugliness [in my replies]."

An Answer: (Excerpted and modified from the LSTOWN-L archives)

Note: Thanks to the DDK-L listowner for these helpful hints

"Subject: How Do I Post From MS Exchange?

"When posting from MS Exchange, you need to be sure that your messages do not contain formatting information that looks like junk to most others on the list. That's because MS Exchange normally sends Rich Text Format (RTF) information with every message.

The solution is to create a special address book entry for use when posting to the list, and to _always_ use that entry whenever posting to or replying to the list.

A) CREATING THE listname ADDRESS BOOK ENTRY:

1) Open your address book (Ctrl-Shift-B)

2) Create a new entry (Alt-F, Alt-E)

3) Select the entry type (Internet Mail Address) and press ENTER.

4) For the "Display name," put "listname".

5) For the E-mail address, put "listname@domain"

6) Make sure that the box "Always send messages in Microsoft Rich Text Format" is NOT CHECKED.

7) Press ENTER.

B) WHEN POSTING TO THE LIST:

1) NEVER simply reply to a message from the list. If you do, you will end up posting an RTF message.

2) ALWAYS erase the "To" field and enter "listname@domain" for the "To" address.

3) Enter other "To" addresses, as desired.

4) Proceed with posting your message normally."


A Word About Our Sponsors by Valorie King (vjking@erols.com)

They don't ask for money from us. They don't ask for fame, acclaim, or fortune. They make their resources available, not just to us, but to hundreds of Internet mailing lists cum online support groups. Who are they? The wonderful people at St. John's University in Jamaica, NY.

Our faculty sponsor is Robert Zenhausern, Ph.D., Neuropsychologist, Department of Psychology, St. John's University. Dr. Z, was the moving force in the creation of hundreds of mailing lists and a clearinghouse for disability and rehabilitation information at St. John's. In addition to his teaching and research responsibilities, Dr. Z is the List Master for St. John's -- a guiding angel providing oversight and management -- keeping our mailing list and hundreds like it running smoothly with the help of the computing center staff and, especially, the Postmaster at St. John's (Kary).

Please take a moment to visit the St. John's University Website and sign their guestbook. And, if you would please, include a "thank you" for supporting TAGFAM in your comments. As a community, we owe them a great deal for providing us a home on the Internet. While you're there, check out the textbook excerpts in the Learning Styles Network section -- it's a new text on gifted child counseling and education!!!

Internet Resources at SJU


Editor: Valorie J. King (vjking@erols.com)

Return to... Hoagies' Gifted Education Page

Send suggestions and corrections to webmaster@hoagiesgifted.com
Copyright 1997 by Valorie King, All Rights Reserved
Last updated July 28, 1997 counter


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