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Posts tagged Letters of Note

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Please advise

An excellent CBS memo about Miles Davis’s album Bitches Brew was posted on Letters of Note. I don’t want to spoil it with a quote or repost the image, so just check it out. The text of the memo is shorter than Shaun Usher’s writeup.

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Letters of Note: The Empire State Building (Helen Keller)

Letters of Note here with a description by Helen Keller of her experience at the top of the Empire State Building.

What did I “see and hear” from the Empire Tower? As I stood there ‘twixt earth and sky, I saw a romantic structure wrought by human brains and hands that is to the burning eye of the sun a rival luminary. I saw it stand erect and serene in the midst of storm and the tumult of elemental commotion. I heard the hammer of Thor ring when the shaft began to rise upward. I saw the unconquerable steel, the flash of testing flames, the sword-like rivets. I heard the steam drills in pandemonium. I saw countless skilled workers welding together that mighty symmetry. I looked upon the marvel of frail, yet indomitable hands that lifted the tower to its dominating height.

Let cynics and supersensitive souls say what they will about American materialism and machine civilization. Beneath the surface are poetry, mysticism and inspiration that the Empire Building somehow symbolizes. In that giant shaft I see a groping toward beauty and spiritual vision. I am one of those who see and yet believe.

It is long and evocative and oh geez this lady

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Letters of Note: To My Old Master

Letters of Note posted this amazing telling off by ex-slave Jourdon Anderson of his former master, Colonel P.H. Anderson, after the colonel requested Jourdon return to work for him:

Mandy says she would be afraid to go back without some proof that you were disposed to treat us justly and kindly; and we have concluded to test your sincerity by asking you to send us our wages for the time we served you. This will make us forget and forgive old scores, and rely on your justice and friendship in the future. I served you faithfully for thirty-two years, and Mandy twenty years. At twenty-five dollars a month for me, and two dollars a week for Mandy, our earnings would amount to eleven thousand six hundred and eighty dollars. Add to this the interest for the time our wages have been kept back, and deduct what you paid for our clothing, and three doctor’s visits to me, and pulling a tooth for Mandy, and the balance will show what we are in justice entitled to.

And that’s not even the best part. Read it.

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When, in early-1986, Disney executives decided to change the title of their upcoming animated feature from ‘Basil of Baker Street’ to the less ambiguous ‘The Great Mouse Detective’, its production team were less than pleased. One animator in particular, Ed Gombert, harnessed his displeasure to comical effect by creating, and circulating, the following: a fake memo purportedly from then-head of department, Peter Schneider, in which he announced the retroactive renaming of Disney’s entire back catalogue, bar The Aristocats, in a similarly bland style.

This is the funniest thing I’ve read on Letters of Note in a while.

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The Internet Tidal Wave

Browsing the Web, you find almost no Microsoft file formats. After 10 hours of browsing, I had not seen a single Word .DOC, AVI file, Windows .EXE (other than content viewers), or other Microsoft file format. I did see a great number of Quicktime files. All of the movie studios use them to offer film trailers. Apple benefited by having TCP support before we did and is working hard to build a browser built from OpenDoc components. Apple will push for OpenDoc protocols to be used on the Internet, and is already offering good server configurations. Apple’s strength in education gives them a much stronger presence on the Internet than their general market share would suggest.

Another popular file format on the Internet is PDF, the short name for Adobe Acrobat files. Even the IRS offers tax forms in PDF format. The limitations of HTML make it impossible to create forms or other documents with rich layout and PDF has become the standard alternative. For now, Acrobat files are really only useful if you print them out, but Adobe is investing heavily in this technology and we may see this change soon.

Acrobat and Quicktime are popular on the network because they are cross platform and the readers are free. Once a format gets established it is extremely difficult for another format to come along and even become equally popular.

A new competitor “born” on the Internet is Netscape. Their browser is dominant, with 70% usage share, allowing them to determine which network extensions will catch on. They are pursuing a multi-platform strategy where they move the key API into the client to commoditize the underlying operating system. They have attracted a number of public network operators to use their platform to offer information and directory services. We have to match and beat their offerings including working with MCI, newspapers, and other who are considering their products.

One scary possibility being discussed by Internet fans is whether they should get together and create something far less expensive than a PC which is powerful enough for Web browsing. This new platform would optimize for the datatypes on the Web. Gordon Bell and others approached Intel on this and decided Intel didn’t care about a low cost device so they started suggesting that General Magic or another operating system with a non-Intel chip is the best solution.

Bill Gates wrote this in 1995 in a memo to Microsoft execs. He also talks about the development of the internet and the technology behind it, as well as future plans for Microsoft to start being internet-aware. It’s long and fabulous and even has a “hotlist of Internet Web sites” at the end!

Courtesy of Letters of Note and Donelle Gan.

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Troy Public Library History: Letters to the Children of Troy, May 1971

In early 1971, Hart wrote to dozens of actors, authors, artists, musicians, playwrights, librarians, and politicians of the day. She asked them to write a letter to the children of Troy about the importance of libraries, and their memories of reading and of books.

Hart received 97 letters addressed to Troy’s young people from individuals who spanned the arts, sciences, and politics across the 50 states, Canada, the United Kingdom, India, the Mariana Islands, and American Samoa.

Those writing included First Lady Pat Nixon; Michigan Governor William Milliken; then-Governor of California Ronald Reagan; Michigan State University President Clifton Wharton, Jr., the first African-American president of a major U.S. university; first-man-on-the-moon Neil Armstrong; Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown; authors Isaac Asimov, Hardie Gramatky, Dr. Seuss, Dr. Ben Spock, and E.B. White; and actors Douglas Faribanks, Jr., Vincent Price, and Dan Rowan and Dick Martin.

That is so cool. Letters of Note posted four of the letters, and they’re all great.

NULLARY SOURCES BONUS CONTENT: here’s a transcription I made of Vincent Price’s letter, which is amazing:

Dear young citizens of Troy,

Many centuries ago in Asia Minor in a city with the same name as yours, literature was born. One of the greatest poets who ever lived sat among his people and told the stories of the fabulous past. And they remembered them down through the years until the legends became fact, the fact not so much of history but of the word, of language.

Your new library is the home of language, yours and all others from the beginning. In it you will learn how others lived and thought and from it you will learn to live and think better for yourselves.

Vincent Price

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On August 2nd of 1943, whilst serving as commander of the PT-109 during World War II, John F. Kennedy and crew were rammed by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri; their boat instantly halved by the impact and two of the crew killed. Six days later, stranded in the Solomon Islands with his fellow survivors, Kennedy carved the following message into a coconut shell and handed it to Biuku Gasa and Eroni Kumana, two natives tasked with delivering it to the nearest Allied base 35 nautical miles away, by canoe.


Letters of Note is always awesome but HOLY CRAP

Check out the detail view at the JFK Presidential Library and Museum website, HOLY CRAP