[SIGCIS-Members] Virtuality versus transprency -- trying to locate a quote about the difference

David Alan Grier grier at gwu.edu
Thu Oct 30 06:36:24 PDT 2014

"Evanescent" is close, though is really means vanishing and nearly imperceptible.  

David Alan Grier
Past President, IEEE Computer Society 


Associate Professor, International Science & Technology Policy  
Elliott School of International Affairs 
George Washington University
grier at gwu.edu

On Oct 30, 2014, at 9:12 AM, Ceruzzi, Paul <CeruzziP at si.edu> wrote:

> I heard it from Mike Williams, when he had his professor of computer science hat on! Here’s how he said it:
> If it is there, but you can’t see it, it is transparent.
> If it isn’t there, but you see it, it is virtual.
> If it is there, and you see it, it is real.
> For the purposes of symmetry, what if something is not there and you can’t see it?
> Paul
> From: members-bounces at sigcis.org [mailto:members-bounces at sigcis.org] On Behalf Of Thomas Haigh
> Sent: Wednesday, October 29, 2014 7:01 PM
> To: members at sigcis.org
> Subject: [SIGCIS-Members] Virtuality versus transprency -- trying to locate a quote about the difference
> Hello SIGCIS,
> I am trying to locate a quote I remember reading circa 1998. It is something along the lines of “Something virtual isn’t really there but looks as if it is. Something transparent is really there but looks as if it isn’t.” That is of course the computer science sense of transparency as making the work of software invisible a user or process – for example how the network stack shields applications from whatever network media the data is travelling over to present the illusion of a connection.
> Google is not helping me. Does anybody know the source and correct wording?
> Thanks,
> Tom
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