For the third time in a row I must begin by apologizing for what is now a massive delay. The first time is was my hard disk crash, the second time it was the one of the worst blizzards in Montana history, and this time it is something that makes both of those pale in comparison: an affair of the heart.
Dionne and I have been involved for about two years, and for the last year we have been breaking up, almost getting back together, and breaking up again. Despite all my efforts she decided to leave the group just after the last issue was launched, in large part because she was very busy and had a hard time getting access to the only Mac with a hard disk in the campus computer room. It was an amicable parting: I assured her that she would be welcome back whenever her situation improved.
This month things have finally come to a head. I acknowledged some of the past mistakes I made in our relationship and have been lobbying desperately to get back together, this time with the direct goal of marriage, mortgage, and the whole bit. It's the first time in my life I've ever cared deeply enough about a woman to make that commitment.
Unfortunately, Dionne has started to see another man and the whole affair has turned into an enormously melodramatic soap opera. I have been slowly twisting in the wind while she is trying to decide whether or not to give me another chance. The situation is changing from day to day, but things are looking pretty bleak at the moment.
ANYWAY, I've had a very hard time concentrating lately. This issue was about 90% ready to go when my heart hit the fan, and after two weeks I've decided to launch what I've got and try to tie up the loose ends next time. If I decide to join the Foreign Legion I'll make sure they have electrical outlets so that Archipelago WILL continue. Rain and sleet and dark of night and so forth.
The two main causalties are the new printing feature, which is now on hold, and my discussion of the Archipelago Telemetry Project, an experiment I tried last issue. Mr. Wizard was to have illustrated this technology by recreating a race through last issue's maze. I'll try to have something ready next time around.
Even so, the fifth issue of Archipelago brings many changes including several brand new stacks, a myriad of new voice card innovations, and several changes to the main screen.
We have a somewhat smaller stack of voice cards this time, which may be a source of some relief to those of you with bleary eyes and tight schedules. When I first started this insane project, I had no idea how many cards we would generate. Theoretically, if everyone responded to everyone else's cards each time the number would grow exponentially: a hundred, then a thousand, then ten thousand, etc.
But just as animal reproduction is curbed by a finite food supply, so card production is curbed by a finite time supply. It's actually rather interesting: more cards means more time consumed reading which means less time to create new cards. It's all very Malthusian. Fortunately there seems to be no similar constraints on the QUALITY of our cards!
Incidentally, before you get too deep into your reading, you should be aware that some of the new innovations can significantly reduce your reading time. As always, I have placed a summary of all changes in the Suggestion Box card which follows this one, but you should pay special attention to the new SPEED READING MODE; See Vol 5 John 10. You can also get quick help by typing "?".
Let's see, what else? We have plenty of goodies, two more HPL cards, more stunning HyperPoetry, two more book reviews, and a moving and thought-provoking issue of the Quotationist. I am also pleased to announce that Tomás is the first member other than myself to produce an independent HyperEssay stack, and it is superb! Another triumph for Archipelago! We also have a Pelago Notebook, a new Member List stack, a new Conquest Comparison Stack, printing capabilities, voice pictures, and many surprises!