Digressions & Diatribes

by Kort E Patterson, Editor

Ninth Anniversary Issue!

This will be my ninth annual expression of surprise that I'm still serving as the editor of your regional newsletter.

Looking back over the last year, I like to think Port Of Call has continued its self-proclaimed tradition of providing a “good read”. While I'd like to claim credit for all the good stuff – and of course deny any responsibility for the bad – in reality I can't do either.

Being largely dependent on a chronic shortfall of submissions severely restricts my opportunities to arrogantly manipulate the contents of the newsletter to suit my personal preferences. As the saying goes, beggers can't be choosers. However, looking back over the past year's issues, I'm pretty pleased with the results. I hope you've found similar pleasure and intellectual stimulation in reading your newsletter.

Even after nine years of learning on the job, putting out POC every other month continues to provide plenty of technical and intellectual challenges. It seems like the intellectual challenges have been a little easier this last year. While I'll admit that I've carefully avoided any objective measures just in case my subjective impressions are based more on wishful thinking than reality, it seems to me that we've enjoyed an improved quantity and quality of submissions this past year – which meant there was less empty white space that your editor had to fill with his own screeds.

Still, issues blessed with sufficient submissions to entirely displace your editor's filler pieces continue to be the exception rather than the rule. POC has been favored by a few fairly regular contributors, but they send me pieces on their own schedules - and I'm loath to “kill the golden goose” by nagging them to contribute more. And so this anniversary issue also marks my ninth year of continually begging for more submissions. The range of topics that have already appeared in POC have pretty much established that we don't have any editorial guidelines regarding acceptable topics or perspectives. The only requirement is that submissions be a “good read”. Ideally, even those who don't agree with the author's perspectives should be able to find some food for thought and/or entertainment in a piece - or at least not regret spending the time to read it.

This issue marks a significant technological change in the production of Port of Call. I used PageMaker on a windoze machine to publish previous issues. PageMaker was my last “windoze dependency”.

This issue was produced entirely on a Linux workstation. I used Open Office for desktop publishing, and Gimp for graphic image processing. I did use an old DOS word processor (Sprint) for cleaning up source text files, but ran it in a Linux Xdosemu window. Sprint still has the best spelling checker I've found in a dozen years of searching. It also has very useful functions for stripping text files down to the ideal format for importing into a desktop publishing program – such as converting a text file with hard carriage returns into a pure ASCII file with each paragraph on a single long line. I'm reluctant to give up such a useful tool just to feed microscam's greed and malicious intentions – especially when microscam isn't capable of offering anything better to replace it.

Sprint won't run on my last windoze machine anymore. What a surprise - installing microscam's service pack 6 broke nearly all of the non-microscam software I was still occassionally using on that machine! However, instead of forcing me to waste my time and money buying microscam replacements, the destruction of the remaining useful value of my last windoze machine just accellerated my transition to the far superior Linux desktop I'm now using to share my outrage – and solution!

I'm also currently involved in another experiment in alternative publishing - putting my three novels on CDs for “The Hoffman Family Artist Reception” in April. My aunt, Elaine Hoffman, is the matriarch of this artistic family, so I've been invited to participate. Tentitive price for each CD is $10.

The public is welcome if you happen to be in the area:

Sunday April 27, 2003, 10 AM - 6 PM
Heritage House
398 10th St.
Lake Oswego, OR

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