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Midnight Writer

I have been told that I'm a stubborn man. I prefer to think that I'm not easily deterred from taking a path once I've decided on it. Whichever way you choose to look at it, many people will be surprised to find me still at the editing helm of the newsletter in its first all-electronic issue. I argued and plotted against doing away with the paper version of the AJ for years, and have several times said that such a move would also require a search for a new editor. I had--and have--several of what I think are excellent reasons for my adamant stance, and I believe that they're still as valid as they ever were. You are welcome to discuss them with me over a few beers some evening, but the fact is that I have finally come around to agreeing that although good, they're no longer good enough. Quite simply, the TPC cannot afford to print and distribute the printed version any longer.

With membership markedly lower than it was in the bubbly good old days, the group's cash is reduced. If we don't want to join the ever-increasing host of bankrupt organizations, we need to cut costs and raise income. A great deal of time and effort is being expended by the group's management to try to raise funds, but meanwhile the printing and distribution of the newsletter remained the highest costs by far, and so we have reluctantly decided to publish only an electronic version.

I may be stubborn, but I'm not vindictive without good reason, and I prefer to try to be part of the solution instead of adding to the problem, so I have decided to stay on in the job. For now the plan is to make a PDF version of each newsletter available to members only for the month it is published, and subsequently to move it to the general public viewing space on the website.

One of my concerns has been that submissions will become rarer now, and indeed a couple of contributors have indicated they're not so interested in providing material for an all- electronic publication. On the other hand, another couple of people have said that they'd continue as before, which makes me very grateful, indeed. One of them, stalwart former editor/ publisher and long time columnist David Parry, gives his views on the change in his column elsewhere in this issue.

From a work point of view, for me there's relatively little change except somewhat less immediacy about deadlines. It's a bit more troublesome converting the finished newsletter to PDF format, but no more so than it was to burn the files to a CD, or to print camera ready masters as was done before that. And delivering the files to the TPC server minders should be much easier than it was getting them to the printer in time. One advantage is that any layout oddities in the PDF version will be either my fault or Justin's; there had been an increasing number of mismatches lately between my version and the printed version, apparently because the printer didn't have the default printer set properly, so that shouldn't be happening again.

This issue I'm doing both the editing and the layout work, so any errors are mine. You can expect some further tweaking in the next few issues as we strive to come up with what will look best both on the website and in the printouts that some readers may want to make. I'm always eager to hear suggestions for improvement.

I'm also always eager to receive submissions of articles, reviews, anecdotes, PC advice, or whatever you think might be of interest to other readers. My colleagues in the executive committee listed on the facing page are eager to hear any suggestions for improvement to the TPC, and especially any ideas for ways of increasing the membership and thus the group's income. In whatever form it comes, your input is valued.

Next time, I'll probably give you my impressions of a couple of new pieces of gear I've acquired: a Mitsubishi RDT175M-A monitor and an HP psc all-inone printer. They were bought to replace a printer and monitor each of which died suddenly recently, and so far I'm happy with both of the new additions. We'll see if I continue to be. Meanwhile I wish all of you a very exciting and happy new year. Stay tuned.

© 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.

Algorithmica Japonica

January , 2003

The Newsletter of the Tokyo PC Users Group

Submissions : Editor

Tokyo PC Users Group, Post Office Box 103, Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo 150-8691, JAPAN