Technology and control – the future revisited.

A Note on Production

… there were 21 papers presented at the conference. [-] I typed all the edited papers onto a main frame computer (a VAX 780) with the intention of transferring the files on-line to a computer at Oxford capable of laser typesetting (Lasercomp). However, time ran out, and an alternative plan had to be activated. The main frame computer did not have a word processing facility, so the files were transferred to floppy disc and word processed on a micro-computer (a Gemini Galaxy 1); each floppy has an amazing 800K capacity. Finally, the files were printed out on a daisy wheel printer, pasted down on lay-out sheets and presented to the printer photo-ready.

I would like to thank a number of people for their help in this process. Mike Tomlinson had the hassle of dealing with the printer and the binder, and of organising the manual collation of the printed sheets. Had we been able to use Lasercomp he would have had the main hassle there also. [-] And Alistair Gilmore in the Faculty of Social and health Science at the University of Ulster at Jordanstown was more than pleased to drop everything else in order to introduce me to the mysteries of transferring files from the main frame to the micro computer.

A final point: it is perhaps a minor example, but the very process whereby these Working Papers have been produced shows that new technology is not totally oppressive. The papers that follow consider some of the many ways in which it is oppressive, but they also contain the hopeful message that “we” can master the machinery in some ways ourselves, that we do not have to leave it all in “their” hands.”

From: Bill Rolston, ‘Introduction’, in The State of Information in 1984 – Conflict, Social Control and New Technology. Working Papers in European Criminology N° 6, European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control, Cardiff, September 1984