Getting this issue out has been a painfully difficult process. Due to a series
of unplanned and unwanted technical difficulties on the machine I use to create
each issue, I have had to radically strip down the format that OS/2 e-Zine! is presented
Before I took over the duties of Editor in Chief, our magazine was built using
Rexx scripts filtered through PPWizard, an HTML preprocessor. Using these scripts,
it was possible to create an entire issue simply by passing text files of all the
articles through a few scripts. All of the pages would be generated and linked automatically,
allowing for a very complex page to be generated quickly with little fuss. It's
a very convenient way of doing things -- if you know how to use it.
Unfortunately, I never knew how to use it. When I took over publication of OS/2
e-Zine!, I was given instructions on how to set up the environment PPWizard needs
to construct each issue, and what scripts to run to build everything.
Right off the bat, I ran into trouble. For some reason, I kept getting error
messages when I tried to build the November issue, and I had to disable parts of
the script in order for it to complete successfully. This meant that I had to go
into each page afterwards to add a few features the script couldn't automatically
generate, but for the most part, it would work acceptably.
Almost immediately after publishing the December issue, I decided to try and
set up a home network. In the process of trying to set up a file/print server for
my main machine, I did something VERY WRONG, and I had to reinstall OS/2 on the
machine I use to create OS/2 e-Zine!
Fortunately, I back up all my important files. However, I still had to re-create
the environment that I needed in order to get the REXX scripts and the PPWizard
files to operate correctly. I failed, miserably. I haven't been able to get anything
to work correctly.
January came and went, and I realized I would have to create the entire issue
"by hand." This was not a simple task -- there are lots of little features
that the e-Zine! has incorporated over the years: a printer friendly version, and
an "eye candy" version. Automatic links are generated to our forums, a
bio of the author is automatically generated and tagged onto the end of each article,
the Blast Back! tool automatically inserts the author's email address into it...
it was obvious that I wouldn't be able to recreate all the bells and whistles e-Zine!
offers manually. So I had to perform a web magazine triage, and chop out all the
"extras" that, while nice, would slow down the publication of this issue.
I've had to make the pages a LOT simpler. Gone are the "printer friendly"
and "normal" versions of each article -- now the normal pages are a lot
more printer friendly. The Blast Back! and Lash Back! features have been removed
as well... though I will be inserting links to whatever discussion forum is appropriate
for each article.
Also, most of you have noticed that the forums are not Y2K compliant. Hopefully,
this will not be a big problem from here on out, but I am still trying to find someone
who can fix this.
The worst part of all of this is that the main article I'd planned to air --
an in-depth review of SmartSuite 1.5 for OS/2 -- had to be put on hold while I tried
(unsuccessfully) to solve all the other problems. It will be featured next issue.
If this issue seems a little light, well, that's why.
All of these problems are, unfortunately, to be expected when the "top guy"
is someone who doesn't have the technical skills needed to make sure everything
is business as usual. That is why I call myself the "Interim" Editor in
Chief -- if OS/2 e-Zine! is to prosper, we need to find someone who has all the
necessary skills to make sure that the issues can come out on time, with little
fuss. Unfortunately, that's not me. I am a stopgap solution, holding down the fort
until someone better comes along.
I want to apologize to all our readers for the delay. This isn't much of an excuse,
but it is the truth. I'm very frustrated with the sequence of events that led to
this catastrophe, and I hope to be able to pull everything together and resume our
normal publication schedule.
There is still no official word on the new format. I hope you will all hang in
there while we struggle through this somewhat painful period.
Christopher B. Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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