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Dec 29, 1993 10:29 AM
by Katinka Titchenell

                           ASTRAL XMODEM
                          reflections by Kim T.

     o                                      o
     o                                      o
   ;-V                                     :-o

During the ages of snailmail when a message from Simla to London
required a month or more, the transmission of data through astral
means was remarkable, useful, and clearly an improvement over
state-of-the-art.  The shortcomings of this mode of communication
could easily be overlooked when its advantages were contrasted
with available alternatives.  However, in modern terms, astral
communication left much to be desired.

Baudrate:  Astral baudrate was, by all accounts, abysmal.  It is
    possible that the process was restricted by storage and
    processing limitations at the receiving end rather than
    transmission but it is still doubtful that transmission rate
    could have exceeded 100 baud.

Error detection/correction: apparently non-existent.  Anecdotes
    reveal some consistent dyslexic data corruption.

Channel reliability: intermittent and sporadic.

Overhead:  There is evidently a heavy premium on the use
    of astral transmission and related phenomena.  It seems clear
    that accounts were billed according to usage, though whether
    it was done by time, distance, number of characters (or some
    combination of these) is not clear.

It seems unlikely that there haven't been at least some astral
upgrades during the past few years as existing methodologies have
become undeniably superannuated.  Clearly some improvements are called
for.  The question I would like to put to the group is: what form
might they take?

Though the need to print it out, mark it up, fax in around, and
then reenter changes will probably endure at least another
generation and await new developments in display technology
before giving way to the proverbial "paperless office," Ancient
theosophists have successfully grappled with and overcome the
difficulties of converting to digital data communication after
decades of hardcopy editorial tradition.  One is now prompted to
wonder: "To what degree, after MILLENNIA of communication
tradition, have the adepts been able to adapt?"

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