By John Merrells

Overload, 7(30):, February 1999

Dear Readers

Whilst wading through the swamp of files on my hard disk I realised that this is my eleventh issue of Overload. It doesn't seem long since I wrote in the Overload 20 editorial page:

"Hi folks. I've been appointed editor for the next three issues. If this role suits me, and more importantly suits you, then I hope I'll be here for some time."

That was nearly two years ago. So, it must be time to shake things up a little! I'll be shirking my editorial responsibilities for the next couple of months. Einar Nilsen-Nygaard, one of our esteemed Readers, has agreed to edit Overload 32 in my stead.

Ray Hall, another member of our editorial board, has written to resign his position…

"I was reading the December issue of Overload on the train this morning, having been busy when it arrived, and observed that I had missed the January deadline. Although 1998 had been the year of the pig in the Hall household, I was still somewhat abashed to find that I had done nothing for Overload in that time.

I think therefore that you should remove my name from the list of credits at the end, since it raises false expectations. I will still be happy to comment on, or sub-edit, any pieces which you may throw at me, but I am not in a position to allocate time to initiatives. (In fact I am programming in Delphi, writing a book on music and planning to move house properly…)"

We thank Ray for his contribution to Overload and wish him well with his endeavours.

Volunteers now take a step forward please. For we need to recruit a replacement Reader from the membership. The duties are light and of course the work is highly rewarding. Generally we need someone willing to read submissions for technical and language correctness. But, you can pretty much make of it what you will; taking a role that best suits your knowledge and skills. It'd be great if someone could revive and maintain the dusty Overload website, or could spend their time finding and nurturing budding new authors. The greatest threat to the survival of Overload is that so few first time writers are coming forward with their ideas.


Whilst Einar is working on Overload 31 I'm going to be catching up with a couple of my other extra-curricular projects.

I recall Nicolas Negroponte writing in Wired that he only reads books during his yearly month of vacation time. For eleven months of the year he buys books and has them delivered to his Greek holiday home. A month of books, and no doubt fine wines, sounds like bliss. I only have time to buy the books, not actually read them. They're stacked up all over my home and my office in roughly categorised piles, just waiting for another package to arrive and its contents distributed across the stacks.

I've been buying all my books online at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. But, I recently read about this…

Printer's Ink

A local, slightly offbeat, bookstore closed recently blaming its fate on a new breed of book buyer. The customer comes to wander the aisles and browse, has a coffee, and then goes home to save a few bucks by buying the books at Amazon.com. My feelings are drawn here, for I love bookshops, but I also love Amazon. I find that I don't actually have time to go shopping, but I do have time to surf shop. It's the immediacy of it… a couple of clicks and another batch arrives two days later. But, I don't want those bricks and mortar stores to fade away. Wherever I travel I want to visit the landmark bookstore. Dillons and Foyles in London. Blackwells in Oxford. Heffers in Cambridge. City Lights in San Francisco. Computer Literacy in San Jose. And, Printers Ink in Palo Alto. But, I think Amazon is wonderful. I even bought shares. But now I feel so bad because maybe it's all my fault.

My online book buying fetish has now been extended to www.alibris.com . They specialise in out-of-print and rare books. Packages from them are now feeding my most obscure literary tower. The Economic and Social history of early 20'th century Chicago. Otherwise known as Gangsters… By explanation I can only offer up one of my other distractions www.tightbeam.com/godfather .

Farewell until Overload 32. But, remember to support your local bookshop and your favourite magazine serving all your C++ and OO needs.

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