Hello from the new Co-Publisher
Hi, I'm the new Co-Publisher of the Algorithmica Japonica. I'd like to introduce myself, and tell you about how the AJ is produced.
Who am I? And how did I get into this?!
I've been living in Japan for about ten years. I'm an English teacher (horrors! <G>) and do some editing and writing on the side. I'm from Canada, and my educational background is in Education and Journalism.
I joined the TPC in 1988, though members of the group may be surprised to hear this. I was a "silent" member for a long time. I finally got on the BBS regularly a year ago, got to know other members better, and began contributing articles to the AJ. The next thing I knew, I found myself volunteering for the Publisher position.
The point of this background info is: If you're one of our many "silent members," we'd love to have more of your input. In the last year I quickly learned that the TPC is a great group of people, with widely varying backgrounds, and with a great range of computer experience, from beginner to guru. Don't be shy - I've been having a great time since I took the plunge and got involved.
How is the AJ produced?
Take a look at the flowchart (14 KB GIF).
Still with me? OK.
To be honest, I feel a bit inadequate when it comes to describing the process, as this is my first complete issue as publisher. But our esteemed editor, Mike Lloret, showed me the ropes on the last issue, and has been a great help in building my confidence in taking over this position.
Before I go on, I'd like to give Mike a round of applause - he's been doing double-duty as both editor and publisher, with Stuart Woodward's help, for the last year. Thanks guys!
Other AJ volunteers:
I'd also like to mention some other key members of the team, and what they do. Ann Colville has been producing the back cover "Babbitoon" for many years. She does the cartoons by hand, and it takes a lot of effort. Stuart Woodward has been doing the front covers, experimenting with various graphics programs, and sharing his secrets with us.
No newsletter is worth a damn if nobody can read it. While many members pick up the AJ at the monthly meetings, Roland Hechtenberg recently volunteered for the laborious task of mailing the newsletter to those who can't make it to meetings. Roland is taking over from Ken Cotton who did a yoemanly job of the stuffing, labelling and stamping for the last year.
The AJ also has a small but growing presence on the World Wide Web. Jim Tittsler hosts the site, and is our WWW and HTML guru. Jim has done the bulk of the work in setting up and maintaining the site. Stewart Woodward, and yours truly, have also contributed to putting some of the AJ into HTML.
We hope to put more of the AJ on the WWW, and from this issue, we should be posting more quickly and regularly. It would also be nice to get more stories from the 1995 issues on the Web. If you're interested in HTML, let us know. Contrary to rumor, HTML is not a programming language, and it's easy to learn the basics of marking up text and adding links.
What is time-consuming is tracking down and entering links into the WWW versions of articles, to make them more "hypertextual" and useful.
Where do the articles come from?
From members. Members who write reviews of hardware, software and books. Members who write stories about their computing experiences, and their visions of technology. Members who find and grab informative, useful or funny information and copyright-free articles from BBS systems and the Internet, and send them to the editor.
We are always looking for more material, so please contribute. Talk to Mike.
It's most convenient for the editor and publisher to work with text files that are saved in plain ASCII format. RTF format is the next best. This is not only for the DTP, but also for future conversion to HTML. All word processors can save into ASCII. If you send an article that depends on a lot of special formatting or tables that ASCII can't handle, send it in your native word processor, but please try to include brand and version number, and a copy in ASCII as well.
The easiest way to send files is to upload them to Mike on the BBS as files attached to email messages, or to file area #23 (Newsletter Uploads). If you can't access the BBS, you can mail a 3 1/2" floppy, or even a paper printout.
Since we are a computer club, perhaps a few words about the hardware and software involved in publishing the AJ are in order. If anybody is interested in producing their own newsletter, it doesn't take all that much to publish a decent rag (besides time!)
Editing and laying out the AJ is a cooperative effort. Mike and I both use Gateway 2000s. He's got a Pentium, and I'm still plugging away on a 486. Both of us have 24MB of RAM, running under Windows 3.1X, with memory management courtesy of RAM Doubler, so we can keep multiple graphics-heavy programs running lockup-free simultaneously.
If your system isn't quite as powerful as these, don't worry. I've published newsletters in the past on a 386 with 4 - 8MB of RAM with no trouble. It's just slower.
We've both got "jukebox" multiple CD-ROM changers that can hold 6-7 CDs, which are a great help for keeping a lot of graphics and font CDs readily available, without a lot of fumbling around and manual switching.
Mike's also got the TPC's HP scanner, to be able to scan Ann Colville's cartoon, text, photos, etc., to put in the newsletter. And he's got a laser printer to output the final pages to take to the printer. We both have 28.8 modems, which we use to communicate via the TPC BBS, and exchange files as we work on them.
Love that BBS! It makes life so easy for contributors to the AJ to upload articles, and for the editor and co-publishers to work on it every month. If you're not on the BBS, I strongly urge you to learn how to use it.
The basic DTP (Desk Top Publishing) software we are going to use from this issue is MS Publisher. Why Publisher? Mike and I both have it. How's that for a simple reason? Seriously, it's the best, cheap (under US$100), easy-to-use DTP software around. The AJ was published with Ami Pro in the past, but Publisher may have a few extra features. I'd love to try Quark or PageMaker, but a) Mike and I don't have these "king-of-the-hill" DTP packages, and the club can't afford them, and, b) they'd probably be overkill for a monochrome, short newsletter like the AJ.
Other important software includes Corel Draw! for manipulating and creating graphics, Visio for making flowcharts (the flowchart linked to this article was created in Visio 4.0),HiJaak Pro for additional graphics conversion and management, and of course, various word processing programs.
The Bottom Line
The Algorithmica Japonica depends on member input for articles. I can play with layout, graphics, etc., but we need your material! Mike is a friendly editor, please talk to him about any ideas you have. Hope to hear from you soon.
© Algorithmica Japonica Copyright Notice: Copyright of material rests with the individual author. Articles may be reprinted by other user groups if the author and original publication are credited. Any other reproduction or use of material herein is prohibited without prior written permission from TPC. The mention of names of products without indication of Trademark or Registered Trademark status in no way implies that these products are not so protected by law.
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