Because I once had a computer fail on me on the very last day before the deadline for the newsletter, I make it a policy not to mess around with the PC on the last weekend of the month. This month, that has meant that I'm producing the AJ on my work machine, having brought it home as usual on the weekend to connect to the home LAN—luckily, because I've found that Behemoth has become unusably unstable. The usual last-minute struggle with the newsletter is bad enough, without having to deal with a computer that freezes every few minutes.
Which brings several related topics to mind. We've been fortunate the last couple of months because we had a couple of large articles in hand and because of the usual support from the (very) few stalwart supporters who regularly send in material. This month, circumstances conspired to leave us with a very large gap to fill, and if it hadn't been for VP Barbara Manning's very welcome 11th hour submission, and a chance mention in the newsgroups by Jim Tittsler of an article from last month's AJ, this would have been a 12-page newsletter, unless I'd wanted to write the remaining material myself. As it is, there wasn't time to do as much fine tuning of the layout as I would have liked. I don't think it would make you or me happy if I were to end up having to write as well as edit the AJ.
As I mention elsewhere , I'm very reluctant to do much reprinting of material. I assume that members read the newsgroups, and most folks don't want to see the same stuff here. I also believe that a user group's newsletter should have as much material from the members as possible, rather than stuff gleaned from elsewhere. This means that it's your submissions, whether articles, reviews, anecdotes, or whatever, that keep the newsletter alive. Since it's a monthly newsletter, the material is needed every month.
Ideally, a monthly newsletter ought to have about three issues' worth of material on hand. The articles can then be selected, carefully arranged and laid out, and finishing touches on the newsletter put in throughout the month. Over the years that I've edited the AJ, we've been lucky when we had enough for each month's issue as late as a couple of days before the printer's—not my—deadline (their deadline is the one after which it'd be too late for the newsletter to be ready for distribution at the meeting). So in the last week of the month—often the last weekend of the month—it's a mad scramble to try to put the newsletter together. Aside from rendering the editor's and publisher's weekend useless for much of anything else, this puts the newsletter at the mercy of the vagaries of the equipment: a system crash or component failure at the wrong time could easily keep the newsletter from being done in time. Aside from those attending the monthly meeting having to wait for it to come by mail, the TPC would incur the extra mailing expense.
We're soon going to need a new publisher, and I'm going to miss Kevin Ryan. He's been excellent to work with, and it's his talent that has improved the AJ's look. His professionalism and patience are remarkable, and he's a good friend as well as a valued colleague. It was at a long-ago presentation of Kevin's that I first heard of the TPC, and we've had a lot of good times since then. I'm glad to hear that he'll still be around, even though he has to give up the Publisher job.
I'll do my best to make the next Publisher welcome, but it'll be your submissions, regular and timely, that will determine whether he or she has a pleasant or nerve-wracking experience...and whether there's a newsletter every month.
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The Newsletter of the Tokyo PC Users Group
Submissions : Editor
Tokyo PC Users Group, Post Office Box 103, Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo 150-8691, JAPAN