VOICE Newsletter 08/2001 - From Your New President...

VOICE Home Page: http://www.os2voice.org
August 2001

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From Your New President...

By Walter Metcalf © August 2001

Dateline: 07/10/01

For those of you who may not realize it yet, I was elected the new President of VOICE effective June 4, 2001. A new election was necessitated by the untimely and sudden death of Dan Casey earlier this year. Mark Dodel, editor of the VOICE Newsletter, and others took on many of Dan's duties until an election could be arranged.

As I became more involved in VOICE, I became aware of the tremendously high regard Dan was and is held by many of you. Please be aware that I'm sensitive to this, and I realize that I cannot replace Dan in your hearts and memories: I can only succeed him.

  1. Background

    1. Some of you may be wondering, "Who is this guy Walter Metcalf, anyway? I haven't seen him around the "corridors" of VOICE before". Well, let me explain a little of my background and why you may not have noticed me that much. In May 1998, I became "Guide" of what was then called The Mining Company's Focus on OS/2 web site. The following January I decided that VOICE's goals and purposes exactly coincided with what I had determined for my own small piece of internet real estate, so I joined, and have been a member ever since. However, my contract with The Mining Company (later About), prevented a lot of direct involvemment, such as writing for the Newsletter. In addition my responsibilities to About kept me very busy, and that prevented even more! However, I did manage to read all of the articles in most editions of the Newsletter, and posted links to many of them in my web site. So the reason you didn't see a lot of me is because I was generally in lurking mode.

    2. Things changed for me radically and swiftly early in the second quarter of this year, opening the door to greater involvment in VOICE on my part, for which I am glad.

    3. 80 About Guides, including myself, received completely unexpected bombshells in the form of emails from the authorities at About and Primedia, who had just purchased About, informing us that our sites were being dropped, and therefore our services were no longer required.

    4. I created an announcement about what had happened, and emailed it to the various news services, including VOICE-News.

    5. A strange thing happened: BEFORE Mark Dodel posted it to the News Server, he emailed me inviting me to post my articles on WarpDoctor, which I found out later had pretty much fallen into disarray.

      1. This really stunned me. I knew Mark, of course. I think I remember meeting him at Warpstock in Philly, and he referred to Focus on OS/2 in the Newsletter a couple of times just a few months earlier. Other than that, I didn't think he had much idea who I was. (Sorry, Mark. <g>)

      2. I responded immediately and began an extended email exchange, resulting in a mutually satisfactory agreement. Briefly, it's my intention to write an article every other month (or more often when time permits) for the Newsletter, to save the article in WarpDoctor, and to mirror it on my personal web site. To these new articles will be added the articles that were published on the About site. (WarpDoctor team member, Jeremy Workman, has jumped in and is providing me with a huge amount of assistance with this project.)

    6. Mark pointed me to the WarpDoctor mailing list, where Judy McDermott along with some other people, began to work on me, trying to convince me that WarpDoctor would benefit from my abilities as co-ordinator. When I pointed out that I didn't feel I had the necessary qualifications, they wouldn't listen to me. Finally I agreed to accept the position on a trial basis, to see if there was anything to what they were saying. Thanks to the tremendous support of my team, it's working out much better than I expected, and we're actually getting work done. There's still a lot to be done and more volunteers are still needed. In particular, we still need volunteers to assist Charles McCluski with the DB2 engine.

  2. Why did I get involved in VOICE?

    1. I admire the principles for which VOICE stands. That, after all, is why I became a member in the first place.

    2. What are some of the principles that stand out in my mind?

      1. VOICE is people oriented. Mark, with his nursing degree, and whom I got to know first, is so characteristic of this. When discussing writing for the Newsletter, he told me he never wants a writer to push themselves too hard. He said he'll tell them to forget the article until another time. "There will always be another issue of the Newsletter," he told me. This came at a very appropriate time in my life, as you might imagine.

      2. VOICE is altruistic. All of our services, and nearly all of our IRC meetings are open to non-members and members alike. Certain other OS/2 organizations are completely private, or exist more or less for the sake of empire-building. We ask people to join and pay very minimal membership dues in order to help pay for these services (e.g. the hardware that runs WarpDoctor and VOICE-News).
        Here are some of the services I am referring to:

        1. The Newsletter - in my opinion it is one of the best OS/2 newsletters available. It's available - free - in a large variety of formats, AND in two languages. I challenge anyone to show me any newsletter of that quality that's available free in two languages. I'm proud to have a small part in it.

        2. VOICE-News - When people realized that WarpCast was finally dead, they began to route the announcements to VOICE-News instead. VOICE made appropriate adjustments in the VOICE-News engine to accommodate the increased traffic, and posted the required announcements. Business went on as usual. Later on we had to add a hard drive. All this was accomplished without raising membership dues or asking for money.

        3. WarpDoctor - After many false restarts, this is finally starting to go somewhere. Go see the new WarpDoctor Clinic; Not only has the "look" changed, but new articles have been added as well.

  3. What are my plans as your President?

    1. Short term

      1. First, please rest assured that I'm no corporate raider or revolutionary! Remember that I came to VOICE as a member because I believe in what it stands for. I decided to run for President to help build VOICE up and to protect it, because you have so much of value here.

      2. Apart from the Newsletter and WarpDoctor, my first goal as your President is to get to know VOICE as thoroughly as some of you old-timers do. Any changes I make during this first period of six months or so will be small. They will have to be, because the other leaders of VOICE will also be using this period to see how far they can trust me.

    2. Long term

      1. Long term is harder to say, of course, because there are many variables, including the success of eComStation, when it is finally released. Here are some things I want to work toward:

        1. Do whatever we can to increase the number of members. Over the past two or three years this has begun to level off. The reason this is so important is that VOICE's "prime directive" is to serve all OS/2 users, and "user fees" are something I want to avoid if at all possible. This requires a certain amount of money for software, hardware, Internet services, etc., and also, manpower. VOICE is running short of money and is acutely short of manpower. Increasing our membership solves both problems simultaneously, allowing us to expand our services to the OS/2 community at large.

          As an example, in the past, VOICE has traditionally made a sizeable financial contribution to each Warpstock event. Last year, because of the reduction in our membership growth, the amount of that contribution was reduced. This year, though the exact amount has yet to be determined, the amount of the contribution is in danger of being further reduced for similar reasons. Personally, I think that if this does happen, it would be a real tragedy.

        2. Cooperate more with existing OS/2 operations. I know that VOICE already does cooperate some, but mostly I sense this is on an individual basis. I may be off-base because I'm still new, but it seems to me this is an area where VOICE could expand our service to OS/2 users, in a manner similar to what we are now doing with Warpstock.

        3. I have three additional, specific, projects I would like to see VOICE investigate and/or undertake in the future. One is internal to VOICE to improve communication, and the other two represent investments in other OS/2 operations. That's all I can say now, except that they would all need additional funds and, even more important, additional manpower.

    3. Even if you're flat broke, but think you might be able to spare a few hours per week, or even if you're just plain curious, please go to our web site at VOICE and look around. Our next chat is on August 6, 2001 at 8:00 EDT. Please come and join us. For instructions, go to Meeting Information. You will be welcomed and your presence valued.

For Further Reading:

The VOICE web site
Virtual OS/2 International Consumer Education

The VOICE Newsletters, edited by Mark Dodel, Christian Hennecke, et. al.
VOICE Newsletter

See Judy's excellent web site,
Judy's Warped World

Walter Metcalf

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