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News from the tailor's workroom

by Christian Hennecke, © February 2006

The Editor in ChiefChristian Hennecke is the Editor in Chief of the VOICE Newsletter. While being a geographer originally, he runs an IT consulting and service company.

Last month, the Newsletter returned with new clothes, and we asked you to see if they fit. The many responses and our server statistics have made it clear that the answer is that the fit is quite comfortable and that you think that they were worth the wait. Actually, download numbers for the last issue have been the highest for a long time, breaking the barrier of 1600 readers. It is good to know that our effort is appreciated.

Nethertheless, we didn't rest on our laurels. Some loose threads have been cut and seams reworked, and the last issue has been updated with some of these changes. Compatibility with MS Internet Explorer has been improved without compromising the code, e.g., the pull-down menu works now and the text has a maximum width. Links and anchors have been added for text-mode and CSS illiterate browsers. In addition, we were able to automate some steps in the build process and, thus, reduce the workload a bit.
Previously, the Newsletter acted as an archive of the messages posted via the VOICE News mailing list. Since the compiled news of the preceeding month are no longer included, this had to be compensated for. Our system administrator Ken Kirchner solved this by feeding the posts into a database while keeping the user interface much the same.
In the future, we plan to improve reader feedback options by linking articles to the VOICE web forum. This might spark some interesting discussion among our readers.

It is also relieving to know that our updated and tightened author guidelines did not send authors running for the hills. Judging from the code we received, authors even seem to find it easier to work the new way once they have come to terms with it. Four articles have already been submitted in accordance with the new guidelines, and we'd especially like to thank Andreas Peters and Per Johansson who readjusted their articles that they had written the old way. Furthermore, our server logs show that the English version of our new author package has been downloaded more than 50 times so far. So things look as if we can rightly hope for more articles. Which, of course, does not mean that it is safe to sit back! Good articles are always very welcome, and now writing them has become easier.

Unfortunately, we haven't been able to find someone to assist our tips editor Bill Loughman. Thanks to recent changes, the job should be less time-consuming than before and take approximately a day per month including the time you spend reading news groups and mailing lists. If you think you can give him a hand on a regular basis, please contact him at tips@os2voice.org.

Finally, good news comes to us from Germany: The OS/2 User Group Dresden of Warpstock Europe 2005 fame has offered to back-up our chronically understaffed translation team. They are going to translate one article per month. This may not sound like much, but being able to rely on somebody in that regard is highly desirable, and helps with returning to the schedule of publishing both language versions simultaneously. We certainly could use more of that.

Editing: James C. Gorman