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Chris Wright- by Christopher B. Wright
OS/2 e-Zine!

Christopher B. Wright is a technical writer in the Richmond, VA area, and has been using OS/2 Warp since January 95. He is also a member of Team OS/2.

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Summary: Chris Wright talks about his trip to Warpstock '98, and some of the things it means

Well I'm back from Warpstock, and other than being constantly mistaken for Chris Wenham I had a jolly good time.

It was wonderful to meet people, to attach faces with .sigs. I was astounded by the variety of people there. I was astounded by the variety of age groups there. I was astounded by the fact that the majority of the OS/2 e-Zine! staff is a good two to four inches taller than I am.

But most of all, I was astounded by the number of OS/2 users who were all in the same room at the same time.

I've always known, rationally, that there were more us out there. And I've always known, rationally, that those people I'd talk to via e-mail, Usenet or IRC were actually people. But the Internet can be a somewhat distant method of communicating with people. While it can cover enormous distances, and allow people in many different areas to cooperate and interact with each other in ways they wouldn't be able to otherwise, it's not quite like actually living in a community where you step out the door, wave at your neighbors, and socialize at the community picnic.

Think of Warpstock as that community picnic.

Warpstock was a smashing success -- not because the presentations were great (though they were), and not because the Vendors booths were great (though they were as well). No, Warpstock was a success because it allowed the OS/2 community to meet in the town square and realize that it was, after all, a real live community of real live people.

It's easy sometimes to forget that all those little e-mail .sigs and IRC nicknames are actually people who use OS/2. After a while, it's easy to dismiss them as really counting because you don't see them. It's just another e-mail message, or Usenet post. The lack of a face or voice to associate with these virtual entities makes it difficult, at times, to really register that all these people who use OS/2 really exist. Sure, intellectually you know they're there, but emotionally, well, sometimes emotions simply don't respond to logic very well.

Warpstock was more than fun and informative -- it was reassuring. For the first time, I could walk into a room and say "I use OS/2" and not have everyone else in the room look at me like I was some kind of bizarre scientific experiment gone horribly wrong. I saw other people who were just as enthusiastic and happy using OS/2 as I was -- and some who were more so (boy, did they make me nervous).

We met, broke bread together and cheerfully talked about anything from the current state of the OS/2 community on Compuserve to cheerfully (and with gusto) dogging Microsoft any chance we could get. Instead of having a conversation over the course of a few days that focused on writing e-mail, sending e-mail, and receiving e-mail, we just talked and listened.

People from Germany, Spain, Australia, and that most Foreign and Unknowable of All Nations (Canada) were there. End users were there. System Administrators were there. People from the Shirley Temple Collectors Item Association were there, but they wandered into the wrong convention room by accident.

Special kudos are in order for Tim Sipples, who despite having had a serious conflict with the Warpstock Steering Committee, still donated many, many boxes of OS/2 software for a huge raffle at the end of the first day. What else needs be said? Oh yes, this does: thanks Tim.

For those of you who attended Warpstock this year, it was great meeting you all. For those of you who did not attend Warpstock this year, start saving your money now! See you at Warpstock '99.

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November 1, 1998