As I put this, my first ever newsletter, to bed, I want to reflect on the exercise. When I accepted the suggestion that I should run for LBC Communications I figured with my background as a computer programmer, I could put it together one way or the other. Against that, I have to confess an aversion to word processors, spreadsheets and almost every other kind of office productivity aid. I have almost never put together anything on paper that was not just a flat text document unless it was the batch output from a relational database driven program.
Nevertheless, I figured from the start that I could do it if I approached it as a programming exercise. As they say, when you are a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. So I planned right away to put the newsletter together in HTML and convert it to PDF, something I also had never done but knew it was possible. I spoke to Joe Ward, a person who knows a fair bit about publishing, via e-mail mentioning my plan. He said he didn't know that desktop publishing could be done in HTML. Being halfway into it, I told him that it was probably a lot like taking a mountain bike on club road rides, something I had a fair bit of experience doing before I knew any better.
As the submission date approached, I worked at figuring out how to massage web pages into PDFs that looked as closely as possible to the excellent product produced by our recent editor, Sara Ferebee. But I had no content besides the regular ads etc. Then with two days before the printer's deadline the material flooded in, articles, spreadsheets, banquet photos etc. When I found that the absolute minimum would run 13 pages, I had to expand it to 16 due to the printing requirement of four-page increments. I was once an ultra-marathon cyclist, so I put it together almost in one marathon session with a couple cat naps thrown in and have now just about finished, only a few hours late.
I ask you to bear with the flaws. With more experience I hope to do better. And I hope that I will get content earlier next time. The deadline for May/June submissions, as noted on the front cover, is April 1. No fooling. :-)
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web posted: 10 March 2007
last updated: 15 March 2007