Hurray! We're off to a great start (at last)! When the first packet from Tomás arrived in my mailbox I started doing cartwheels and shouting "It works!" (much to the amusement of the woodland creatures). We now have a pile of packages on our main screen and a bulging wad of voice cards. These cards reveal a fascinating mix of talents and backgrounds; I think this diversity will be our greatest strength. Special thanks to Stuart and Holly for having the courage to continue the Crab Creature story; I hope we can get some more attempts next time around!
I spent much of November carrying equipment up the side of a mountain in a sleet storm. We have been surveying my late grandmother's ranch and trying to settle and divide her estate. I am somewhat surprised to admit that I actually enjoyed the minimum wage manual labor; it gave me a chance to see a lot of beautiful country up close. We finally finished last week and I can now devote my undivided attention to Archipelago.
I had hoped to launch issue 2 several weeks ago. Some first-time-out confusion caused several members to delay the return of their packets; but the bulk of the delay is my doing, I'm afraid. I've been rewriting Archipelago from top to bottom and nailing down the automatic harvesting procedures. Along the way I've incorporated a number of your suggested improvements, with special attention paid to revamping the voice cards. I have discussed the changes in this issue's Suggestion Box Voice Card and I have also responded to many of your cards directly. Thanks for the many excellent suggestions; I think Archipelago is rapidly evolving into an exciting and useful communication tool.
It is appropriate that most of the improvements centered on the voice cards; these cards are the most complex, the most innovative, and the most important part of Archipelago. Voice cards are where we will spend much of our time in each session. We are doing more than just chatting; we are weaving an enormous, long-term, highly interconnected database. This tapestry will become more valuable (and more interesting!) as time goes on.
This issue includes some superb book reviews and island quiz cards (keep 'em coming), artwork, hyperessays, the first installment of Stuart's HyperPoetry stack, Paul's Quotationist column, a whole folder of virus vaccines and information, assorted computer goodies, sound effects, and the results of the Thinking Styles Quiz. I am also distributing updated replacement copies of the Member List and HECK/ASK stacks.
I've spent most of my time this issue crawling around the inner workings of 'Pelago oiling gears and tightening screws, but I have a number of wacky schemes on the drawing board that should start to materialize in the next couple of issues. Now that this monster is finally up and running I hope to drastically reduce the turnaround time. Specifically, I'd like to get one more issue out before Christmas. If you're going to be out of town anytime after mid December, please respond to my Holiday Plans voice card (John Card Number 9).
Thanks again for your patience and all your wonderful contributions! Happy Thanksgiving!
P.S. If you value your health, please do NOT try to answer all ninety odd voice cards in one sitting!