Driving Forces

Dear J-

I didn’t realize that the Internet Archive had full-color scanned copies of BYTE online (this was my path of progress: note that our lab had a Micro PDP-11 in a BA23 rack-mount, look for pictures of it, then find the Wikipedia entry and start to check out the references), so I picked an issue at random and flipped through it in some idle time I had, reading up about Winchester drive options and Princeton Graphics monitors (640×480 full-color suitable for IBM Professional Graphics Array and compatible cards: a cool $850 for the SR-12P) as well as useful articles (sorting algorithms! code optimization!) and other dated advertisements (there was a head-tracking option to move the mouse pointer on the Mac; did you realize that?). Old magazines are dangerous like that — this was the 10th anniversary issue in 1985.

Lately it feels like my editing pattern goes like this: notice minor fact detail that needs checking, okay, let’s tackle that (or find some article in dire need of improvement in the course of editing another, sure, let’s drop a few lines in). Then you start to notice how some of the references may be lacking in details (c’mon, people; bare URLs?) or may no longer be valid (let’s look it up on the Internet Archive!) so then you embark on a campaign to improve those as well. Finally you get the bug to check out all the available facts and you end up with a references window sitting off to the side full of links to be incorporated into the text and that’s how you get where I am.

Before I used to be happy surfing around Wikipedia, touching on some articles and noting the weak ones in my mind with some distaste, but not actually acting out on them. Then you put your mark on a few pages and all of a sudden, it’s all you can think about in lieu of the other million things that need to be taken care of, like taxes or uploading photos or … it has been nearly three months since I updated many of the things I hold. It has been too long, in other words.

I need to figure out how to map the Bay Trail and whether that makes sense, if that’s something that can be done easily or just painfully instead. But on the other hand, do I NEED to do anything? It’s better, I think, to stay involved and engaged.



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