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The Backpage

By Ben Okopnik

The Sound of Wedding Bells.mp3

In the Japanese garden It's been quite a tumultuous and busy month at LG, with some of the challenges and the upheaval being personal as well as professional. For one thing, your not-so-humble Editor-in-Chief just got married - and was lucky enough to have many of his friends, including several LG staffers, present at the ceremony. What a blast! My darling bride and I flew to Los Angeles for our wedding (that being where most of our families and friends live) and spent three days composed of high-speed driving, inventing solutions on the spot, and plain old insanity (liberally mixed with laughter) to substitute for anything resembling planning or preparation - since, in the full-bore manner that seems to be the default dynamic between the two of us, we had no time to prepare beforehand, other than renting a hall for the event and arranging for an old friend of ours to perform the ceremony.

This is certain to cause heart attacks among those who believe in having The Perfect Wedding that takes several years to plan and an army of helpers to execute (and in which a single broken fingernail signals the end of the world), but we managed to figure out and assemble everything - what to wear, what food to buy (and where), our vows (written the night before and completed that morning!) and the ceremony - in about 80 hours total... it all worked out without unreasonable amounts of stress, and even included spending time with family and friends, as well as private time. Call it amazing; we call it normal for the way the two of us do things. :)

To bring things back on topic - at least somewhat - the one constant factor in making all of this happen was my old Acer laptop with a Verizon AirCard, running Debian Linux. As I drove around L.A., taking corners on two wheels, Kat mercilessly hammered the keys and ripped innocent packets out of the air; in fact, if I stare hard enough - yes, the Acer has survived and is even now being used to write this - I think I can see significant wear on the keys used to spell 'maps.google.com'. To be sure, we relied on our friends and family to help us (they all came through in magnificent style) - but all the research, all the driving directions, all the options for locations and style and food and even entertainment came from the Acer. It was an amazingly geeky experience in the process... and a warm, loving, unforgettable event as a result.

That's what I call technology at its finest.

In-house Happenings

In other news, the Linux Gazette is undergoing a little internal rescheduling and re-arranging - please pardon the dust! As a result, The Answer Gang column is absent from this issue (don't worry - it'll be back next month.) Our Editor Gal (Heather Stern) and her helpers (Thomas Adam and Jimmy O'Regan) need a break once in a while, too... the most important rule for the LG staff is "Burnout Is Not Allowed". Among this batch of friends, we often have to gently remind each other (although sometimes, the meaning of 'gently' involves a large cluebat - I, for one, have a thick skull) to sit back, have a beverage of choice, and Just Breathe. If we're a column or an article short as a result for a given month... well, that's the way it has to be. What it takes to keep LG running is a bunch of willing, committed, and reasonably sane people - and taking care of ourselves and each other is the first priority.

On the other hand, we have a couple of new volunteers: Howard Dyckoff, who will be reviving our lapsed NewsBytes column, and Jan-Benedict Glaw, who has agreed to review the C code submitted by our authors. I'm very happy to welcome them aboard, and look forward to much pleasant cooperation in the future.

Just as a reminder, while I'm on the topic - we're always looking for volunteers, particularly proofreaders, editors, and technical reviewers. If you have some time and energy to contribute, the readership of LG will appreciate it - and you'll be doing something that benefits thousands of people, which is no small reward. If you're interested, please contact me and let me know in what capacity you'd like to help - and don't forget that new ideas for improving LG are always welcome.

B. Okopnik

Talkback: Discuss this article with The Answer Gang

picture Ben is the Editor-in-Chief for Linux Gazette and a member of The Answer Gang.

Ben was born in Moscow, Russia in 1962. He became interested in electricity at the tender age of six, promptly demonstrated it by sticking a fork into a socket and starting a fire, and has been falling down technological mineshafts ever since. He has been working with computers since the Elder Days, when they had to be built by soldering parts onto printed circuit boards and programs had to fit into 4k of memory. He would gladly pay good money to any psychologist who can cure him of the recurrent nightmares.

His subsequent experiences include creating software in nearly a dozen languages, network and database maintenance during the approach of a hurricane, and writing articles for publications ranging from sailing magazines to technological journals. After a seven-year Atlantic/Caribbean cruise under sail and passages up and down the East coast of the US, he is currently anchored in St. Augustine, Florida. He works as a technical instructor for Sun Microsystems and a private Open Source consultant/Web developer. His current set of hobbies includes flying, yoga, martial arts, motorcycles, writing, and Roman history; his Palm Pilot is crammed full of alarms, many of which contain exclamation points.

He has been working with Linux since 1997, and credits it with his complete loss of interest in waging nuclear warfare on parts of the Pacific Northwest.

Copyright © 2006, Ben Okopnik. Released under the Open Publication license unless otherwise noted in the body of the article. Linux Gazette is not produced, sponsored, or endorsed by its prior host, SSC, Inc.

Published in Issue 123 of Linux Gazette, February 2006

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