May 2000

Additions to the newsletter

In the two weeks since publishing the newsletter, there has been new things appearing in numerous places, which I'll save for the next issue. This piece of info however, deserves mention now. I received this news blurb from Feliks of Atrocity MUD, who is among other people writing a new Aber-style codebase that will be referred to as Golem, which is a grand departure from the previous flavors of Dirt. Here's a taste of what Golem will consist of:

He has other plans for game development, with the goal making Golem a platform for easily doing some very funky stuff. For the Golem project to be completed faster, he needs some help. There are openings for some admins and one or two competent coders to take some of the C-dirt maintenance off his shoulders while development goes on. Good coder and idea people would certainly get to squirt their two cents into Golem. I was pleased to get one of his admin openings filled with a suitable candidate. More info on Golem should be appearing in AA#12.

Welcome again to the Abermud express, now that I have less to worry about in regards to the labor market and schooling, I can turn my attention to other things. Last year I only got around to putting out only two AAs, this year it’s now just April and we have a new issue already since January. So, going to keep up with the new items this month and make the issue a lot shorter than the last one that was of record length. TCAL is now officially three years old since opening in April, 1997.

This month I take a hard stance on role-playing, which is likely to really anger people who advocate this type of game play. It seems that every time I try to play my own role, someone takes major offense with it. I also interviewed one of the busiest Abermud coders there is, and lastly present a finish the zone writing contest.

The Crimefighter can say for a fact that his grades in college were much higher than vice-perpetrator Gore the Bore. At Harvard, Al Gore ranked in the bottom 20% of his class in his first two years with mostly C’s and D’s. The Crimefighter’s grades consisted of mainly B’s during his tour of Southern Illinois University. So that makes me much smarter than the Vice President of the United States. Maybe that is why I have been job hunting for so long, people want boring people or complete idiots running things instead of the intelligent people so they hire the incompetent! Ladies and gentleman, the news media can run their mouths about George W. Bush being the "dumb" guy but they are totally and completely gutless about explaining why Al Gore was a massive underachiever at Harvard. Maybe I should run for president, at least my grades are above his bar.

Ever wanted to become an archwizard but the current regime at your favorite MUD keeps overlooking you time and time again? Ever wanted to hire archwizards but didn't know where to go to get them? Lets bring these parties together. Write up an ad about yourself and what your qualifications are and post it on the FORUM board on this website. Who knows, you might get what you have been seeking. I got my current position by posting an ad on this very website.

I.T. Labor Update

I just cannot let this topic go, not with my high level of resentment towards it I’m harboring. Happily I can say that I am still employed with state government even though it may not have been my first choice and the work I do isn’t the most interesting—though I have seen videoconferencing to be a fun activity. Most recently I listened to an interview on G. Gordon Liddy with a representative of and was very surprised at the statements he made. He stated that you should not send resumes to an employer, that only 4% of all job hunters ever get a position as a result of using all these new job search websites, job fairs are phony, most employers are ONLY using head hunters to get their help and doing all the advertising as an exercise, never ever tell an employer how much you made in a previous job or give your salary requirements on first asking, and finally you MUST contact and get to know someone in the company to get in at all even if the company is hundreds of miles away. Bleh. I’ll take all the job search websites over going door to door any day of the week—it is much more difficult to find an opening at a company doing door to door than looking at ads. People who don’t need someone do not advertise! And gee, how many companies are out there that NO ONE has ever heard of? I mean you can learn the minimum of the name of the company and what they do, unless it’s a blind ad. My point stands, employers have totally screwed up everything for themselves with their waiting for Y2K layoffs of senior level programmers that didn’t happen. Meanwhile there is an inkling of a pool of untapped qualified candidates that has recruiters griping that they can’t work with them after talking to them for about a minute. Nobody seems to WANT this group of people for some reason, and maybe the candidate’s appearance wasn’t that great or their accent was too much to decipher or their suitcase wouldn’t open. I seemed to have ended up in this group for much of 1999. Maybe someone can start up a new firm, the unwanted computer gurus company with the front person the most attractive looking man and woman anyone can find, then send out the unwanted people to these sites (let no one see their faces beforehand of course). Once they get there and see who they are and go "Arrgh, this is who they have working for them?" it will be too late to cancel the contract and they will have to learn to work with different people for once. Darn that sounds too easy doesn’t it? If we had the capital and business skills and a hard list of prospects it may be doable, but I don’t…and I could not sell myself into slavery.

Codebase Updates and Other News

Last issue I reported that there might not be any pDirt muds left after Solstice switches to AIME and Darkscapes to LP, now the author has decided to make it publicly downloadable again. Maybe he was swayed by something I wrote? Nevertheless, get it while you can…though you may not start up a new mud there are features it has that a mud coder would find desirable for their own mud.

In what was a bit of a shocker, Rhamanthus made a public release of his XTC mud. He does not believe there will be a slew of XTC clones, but what he was really doing with this release is to assist other mud owners improve their own muds using features he created that aren’t standard or unfinished with stock code. Some of the zones included with XTC may or may not have received approval for distribution, those known for sure that can be distributed are those zones included with Dyrt 1.2 and all zones written by Spokes.

C-Dirt for Windows is getting closer to being a reality with a testmud set up by Prometheus, and fears that large numbers of inexperienced mudders from AOL will be setting up stock muds on their own PCs have increased. I say, highly unlikely. This is why: Anyone who starts up a mud has to have a 24-hour uninterruptible connection to the internet which excludes everyone with only a dial-up account on telephone lines. AOL isn’t that reliable and neither are ISPs to keep a connection going that long without a disconnection. And even if it were, the user would have to order a second phone line which gets to be expensive. Another prohibitive blockade they would have to get around is that they need to own a copy of Visual C++ which is a $250-500 package (unless they pirate it from someone) in order to compile any changes in the code. From the remaining group of people, several of them would have downloaded and started up a windows-based MUD by now with any of the other currently existing source codes for other mud types such as any one of the many variants of Dikumud. It is doubtful that there are a lot of people sitting around waiting for windows Abermud so they can start one up just for the heck of it. The costs of running a MUD will always preclude the casual user and a number of the advanced users. Ever since the source codes for Dyrt, pDirt, and XTC were released toward the end of 1999 and early 2000 there has been only one new mud that opened (which was a MUD that had closed over a year ago reopening under a new name and management), and the couple that are set to open later are based upon iDirt with heavy modifications. Alas, as it stands now, the Windows C-Dirt is failing to save character files and Prometheus is starting his own web-based business that will put the mud on the back burner.

Links to download these files can be found in the MUDstuff section of TCAL.

A new site has opened up called the Top Mud Sites at where you submit your site address and banner, then put a vote link to them on your own site. Visitors click the button effectively casting your vote or they can visit your site via the top 100 list. Running totals are kept and votes are reset every 15 days so very site has an equal chance of getting in the top 100. After getting mails from these people I decided to try it out when I had sufficient time to read and understand the sign-up instructions. So, if you think this site deserves your vote, click the banner here which will register the vote automatically and you can either see where we're ranked or come back to the site.

And now a word from our sponsor...

News roundup from the Abers

There has not been a lot of activity among the muds this time around that’s quite visible, there has however been quite a bit of work behind the scenes at places yet to open. We shall start with the muds currently open for business.

TerraFirmA introduces some new zones and new features. Riding animals such as horses can be found around the game world. Not all animals can be ridden, but finding one that can gives two additional benefits. Firstly if the riding animal has a saddlebag you can keep your equipment in it and it will not count towards the maximum you can carry. Certain mounts will also fight on your behalf if you get into a fight whilst riding. To start riding an animal, use the MOUNT command. To stop riding it, use the DISMOUNT command. Use the TETHER command to tie a riding animal to the spot and stop it from wandering off while you are exploring an area where a mount cannot go (e.g. underground), and UNTETHER to free it again so that it can again be ridden. Two quests have also been added, Mine and Ythcaren. In Mine, the miners are having problems at the Mine. A few have been killed, many have gone missing. Can you help rid them of their problem? Ythcaren is a technically difficult puzzle where mistakes usually cost lives. The quest forms part of the Dark Realms or UnderEarth of TerraFirmA. Watch out for more quests as this area expands.

Promised Land reopens Bal Harbor after making modifications to its content, which had stirred a lot of controversy over representations made of certain characters and situations. This zone has been revised a few times already after alternative texts were rejected as too political even though they were much tamer. A staggering sixteen zones have yet to be added to the game ensuring that there will be new areas to run in over time and the quest count will pass sixty. As for the new stuff, we’ve added zones that are currently either uncommon or relatively common elsewhere, with one new ZGEN convert called Sundhaven by Mercy of the former Exile MUD. The story with Sundhaven is that it is a huge zone clocked at 200 rooms that is designed to be a newbie starting area (like blizzard, valley and village combined) with some difficult mobiles mixed in—but most everyone is very peaceful. There are things to do in town, you will just have to find out what! We also have some new types of objects, potions that will protect you from enemies that drain your score, resistance to fire, cold, spell reflection, scrolls of recall, poison and poison cures. Since the world has grown outward so much, there will be one start spot that allows players to start in whichever part of the world they want. Like playing capture the flag tournaments? We will now have those, but up to ten different teams can play against each other elimination style. Whether we can gather enough people for ten teams...

More about Bal Harbor: I am actively seeking an Abermud that will take in Bal Harbor in its original form, and am willingly to do the coding of this zone for you given the zone’s size. I’ve had a pair of offers from a couple of MUDs that have yet to open but they are a long way off from appearing. Contact me on this site if you are interested.

The new features in Phoenix include the following. Players can now run as Vampires full-time, but as a real vampire suffer during the daylight hours and must hibernate in dark rooms or burn up. Several underground zones were created to accommodate these people authored by Katri, Hope, and Thalassa. To become a vampire, you must brawl with one at level 15 or higher and intentionally lose. They also can’t be themselves, the dreaded role-playing is required (guess I won’t be one.) Running to wizard as a vampire is much harder than the normal way, and you have to start over at level one no matter how many points you’ve scored.

There’s now a shop called Josetta’s Fresh Flowers for giving plants to other players, which is apparently different from the actions flowers and rose. These flowers cost money and can be delivered by your familiar. New skills for character classes, druids can regenerate lost limbs from enemies that somehow manage to yank arms out of people’s sockets, thieves can lure a mobile out of a peaceful location (maybe out of rooms where a pack of them lie in wait), another new quest called DarkHeart by Gimlet and Conrad., a werewolf cave for newbie players in the vampire tunnel, the dwarfen citadel now gets invaded by roaming bands of orcs, a crypt containing a vast network of underground tunnels rich with equipment, corpses can be buried, familiars can teleport you to the Alluvea continent, and there are some new shops in the Camelot zone. Aso added a new version of the Nexus zone called Breach as a quest. And finally Gimlet has created another low level quest called Gingerbread where you have to rescue the Phoenix’s baby chick.

Delusion has hit a staggering 79 quests with the addition of two zones that have appeared elsewhere. It is unknown as to how large this mud has become but it is certainly 2500-3000 rooms larger than the runner-up. A better parser that guesses keywords according to your level is in, along with an entirely new pager.

Hysteria has game play changes, renamed objects must be of a role-play nature, so you cannot have fluffy bunny slippers. The halfgod class has five new spells, named void, blood, bloodlust, reflect and stalk. The Legends series of levels have been changed a bit, it has been broken up into two tiers with regular Legend levels between 115-135 and advanced between 136-150. This is only for playerkillers and non-halfgods. Last issue I talked about the total elimination of all guilds, this issue new ones have replaced the previous ones which include Shadows, Knights, Aquarius, Anarch, and Deathounds. A new quest called Geminidream by Ehlana, Fulk and Sampras. There also is a Hysteriafest event in July, of which I offered to attend cause it was close to where I live, but was told bluntly that I was not welcome to go there citing fear that I would only be going there to spark trouble. Guess they are in great fear of being confronted by the people they made enemies with the past couple of years.

Interview with TheMentor

Now this is someone that I thought I should seek out and interview. TheMentor, also known as Dave, is 18 years old, admits having a mudding addiction, and currently does quite a bit of coding several muds including one that has yet to open. His goals are to help implement some of the greatest Abermuds ever, make safe happy places for people to hang out and run, and to be remembered in Abermud history. Make note that this interview has been edited for flow and transition from topic to topic. So, for this issue I talk to a very busy man to find out what makes him take on this much MUD work. We join the interview at this point.

TM: I am a creator on Link To Perfection after I’ve slowly worked my way up the wizlist, and have been trusted with shell access there for around 6 months now, and have implemented many things, and a lot of debugging. I am a God on Inferno and have recently gotten shell access there, and recently added some heavy code to there tournament system to make it easier to use. I have been an admin (prophet) on Serenity for almost 2 months now, and enjoy my time there, as Socrates is always making cool changes. Most recently I have began coding for Apocalypse, my friend Khayman's place that he's wanted to get started for quite some time. Apocalypse is coming along as quickly if not quicker than any mud I've ever saw, and the coders are all good friends I've known for quite sometime now. Other powers I have obtained was a God on Ground Zero, but that went down due to CountZero's life busyness. I was an archwiz on Everest and coded there for a while, but I couldn't get along with a few rude people there, and retired myself. I've been mudding since September of 1998, and Pyra got me started.

CF: Okay...the obvious does one code for three muds when I have only time for one?

TM: That’s hard to answer really, I somehow manage the stress without killing myself, force myself to get on as often as possible, and stay determined, because of my goals.

CF: Well, you're taking on this you do anything else offline like school or jobs?

TM: Well, I date a little, party a little, am currently enrolled in the Cisco Systems Networking Academy trying to get my CCNA, I have a part-time job at a fast food restaurant (hey, I’m trying to get better hehe).

CF: Oh, not going for the college degree then...

TM: No, I’m planning on having my CCNA and Panduit Certifications before I graduate, and have a company pay for my MCSE and A+ tests.

CF: Oh gosh...if you find one let me know....

TM: (laughs) Hoping Secant Technologies will, I've got a job there if I get my Panduit Cert, which I'm going to have when we're done installing the new network at school.

CF: Who are your best online friends and worst enemies?

TM: For best online friend I’d have to say either Johann or Khayman, and worst enemy would be gin or splat.

CF: Going back to Apocalypse, tell me about the mud, and what expectations you have for it.

TM: I think Apoc is going to go down as one of the best Abermuds in history, we have a lot of experienced players who are helping make things happen. Sleuth, former owner of Astral Plains, has put in his all-famous armband code, which many runners love. Magnus--who is a very good coder and has been mudding for quite a few years. Khayman--who's been around for a long time, who is the owner and idea man. He is putting in or having put in all his favorite things he's seen on Abers and the things he's seen to be successful with runners. We've put in some of our own code, some code from XTC, and are looking at pDirt as well. We are going to have the swoosh command from Purgatory.

CF: C-Dirt?

TM: Hehe, we may include some ideas from C-Dirt, but we haven't downloaded the base yet. The one thing we have taken from C-Dirt is some zones, though. Apoc is an iDirt 1.82 based mud, but in time, will be heavily modified, we are working on debugging all of Illusions left bugs, and his memory leaks.

CF: Why iDirt for Apocalypse?

TM: Well, if ya look at who's coding, we're all experienced iDirt people. Khayman has been on idirt since it was created, Magnus (friend from school) has been on it for a long time and knows it well, Sleuth ran a mud (AP) on it and made that place very good, and it's the only base i've looked at that i can really get into. What I most like about it, its bare, and its configurable. C-Dirt has a LOT of stuff on it that i'd end up taking out or re-doing. XTC, I don't know, just really didn't wanna go that route. pDirt, looks like i'd have a lot of re-learning to do, same with the other guys, zones and zone specs are WAY different. There are so many patches out for iDirt on Abermud Central and on Drey's page. I've emailed Drey a few patches as well. I think iDirt is the easiest to modify and work with. Though I like features from every mud, like C-Dirts link dead code rocks. I like XTC's quests/qpoint/qdone system. pDirt looks very stable and coded very well.

CF: Who are your mentors?

TM: People that have helped me and assisted me in learning have been Rhubix, Elezar, Magnus, Johann, Colormage, and I'm sure others I can't think of offhand.

CF: When you're coding for three muds do you ever feel you're shafting one in favor of another?

TM: Well, in a way, a little, but not much--my view is this. Inferno doesn't need me too much, as the place has most things looking very good. Link To Perfection, I feel I'm the only one who cares about it, so I'm planning on getting that place setup once I get my ideas in on Apoc. Apoc is my #1 issue right now, as I feel it has a great shot at being an awesome mud. I've put in probably 26 hours in on Apoc the past 2 days and with all the ideas I have I can go on for quite sometime.

CF: Ah, should've gotten idirt 1.90.

TM: Doesn't have much that 1.82 doesn't, 1.90 has some orgasm code, a few simple bug fixes, golf, NoWhere, and cardinal directions [diagonals], that's about it. We're already up to over 6000 rooms and have only been working on the place for maybe 1.5 months. I think the mud will be awesome eventually. I'm hoping to have at least 60 quests and 8000 rooms when we open.

CF: Well, you must have opinions on how best to admin a mud...

TM: There are many things that you must do to admin a mud well. You must respect all the players on the mud, you must greet all users, and be very friendly to them, you must ask them if they're new to abers if they're new to your mud, and if they're not, you should ask if they have wizards they'd like a frob for, you must be there to help them and assist them with any questions, you must be alert, you must create a friendly environment for everyone. To be a good power, I believe using invis VERY little, and only if necessary. I believe snoop should only be used the most crucial circumstances because it is invasion of privacy. I believe you must take users' opinions into consideration, and if it seems their opinion doesn't fit, try to negotiate something with them. I believe a power should be very proper and business like, like cops are. They should be fair, but also firm. The best example of a great power that should be forever remembered is Shi. I believe being arrogant, banning without plausible reason, being rude to users, etc, make a power very not-liked and can quickly ruin a mud. It can be a difficult job because there are diverse people. Some people like to laugh and have a good time in that way, but some people like it to be a completely professional environment. Some don't mind cussing, some do. Administering a mud and making it good can be difficult and similar to trying to hold down a government ran democracy. You have to give people rights, but you can't let them abuse it to an extent. But since the day i got my first immortal, and got to see what muds really were, i knew i loved them, and wanted to be a big part of them.

CF: What do you think should be done to get abermuds popular again?

TM: I don't think a LOT can be done due to few people getting into this sorta thing, and newer high-tech games coming out but, things that can grab as many people as possible...I'd say make muds more newbie-friendly, set your mud up so at least one power is on at all times, try to make it fun for newbies to run, give them a cool combat system, make things interesting. Same ole gets boring quickly--there have been so many advancements since the beginning.

CF: Can you get a crowd to play Apoc?

TM: I know we'll certainly have our base crowd, which includes Khayman, me, Magnus, Darkhorse, Socrates, Andi, Highlander, Sleuth, and a few more. I'm just hoping that we'll all be able to get runners to come and stay. Recruiting can be hard but getting users that do come to stay and have fun will slowly bring the mud to success I think. Even Moses is quite active there, he talks up a storm on there, hehe. Sleuth is currently working on making our spell system very awesome. I mostly work on requests, and adding quests--like Moses requested I put in the 'nowhere' code today.

CF: Moses talked to you?

TM: Of course, heheh, we talk a bunch everyday. He's almost as crazy as I am hehe. We're supposed to meet hopefully sometime soon. I think he bases most of his attention on Apoc, its his replacement for IR being dead now. He goofs around with me and Andi sometimes on Serenity too though. He had me laughing hard one day. She was upset about something, so he said he'd drive down to her house and run her car into a tree for her. Him and I always goof off about C4...etc...was giving him opinions on this motherboard and case he's thinking of ordering. He's a helluva a guy once you get to know him. I think a crucial part of a mud is having public relations people like Shi, Meta, and Khayman.

CF: Feel as though there is a short supply of abermud coders?

TM: Greatly, tell me about it. I need 2 to 3 more on Perfection. I mean people that can code often do it in real life for a living and really wouldn't want to do it after work for free too, I think. The best coder on Abermuds I think is Dragorn. That boy can code anything you could imagine. If I remember right, he's even speaking of coding his own compiler when he's done with his class he's in. He's the only coder I think could code a place like Delusion if he had time, if not better. Good thing about Dragorn is he's a straight-up guy, not rude, very friendly, and he is 'oldschool' too. You can tell that when you take into consideration he goes to Dragonmud and Rainbow mostly. When he's done with Dominia, he will be distributing it, as I understand. To convert dirt zones to his format, he's planning on using some perl script he's going to write.

CF: Dominia will be a distributed codebase?

TM: (nods) He's an ethical person that believes in distributing code freely.

CF: How different is Dominia zones than dirt?

TM: I didn't take the time to look at his zone format, but I'm sure its a bit different, the zones are dynamically loadable.

CF: You write any zones ever?

TM: I wrote a newbie zone with Dippy for Everest once, and began writing another with him, but never finished.

CF: I guess I shall wrap this up...any parting thoughts?

TM: None.

CF: Thank you for your time.

Dragorn's website is We'll see how Dominia turns out and report its release when it occurs.

Finish the Zone Contest

I thought about trying this again at some point after the last one did not see much in the way of participation. About two years ago I held a contest for budding zone writers that were either clueless as to what kind of zone to create or wanting to write a zone but could not put their ideas to paper. I had a pair of zones, Batcave and Brookmere that were distributed about with the C-Dirt codebase that were incomplete. So, in a bid to get some good public domain zones out there for incorporation on various muds, I set up this finish the zone contest. It ended up being that Sanyth took the prize by default for his very decent version of the Batcave zone. So, lets try this contest again now that a couple years have passed. For download at this link is a copy of the Brookmere zone in an unfinished state, what one has to do to enter is indeed download and finish the zone. Be creative; add to it whatever rooms, mobiles, or objects you need to make it something an adventurer would want to visit every so often. You can also put in those interactive specials if you wish in either C or whichever system your mud uses for it. If not, you should at least describe any events that are supposed to occur in the zone—I will code them for you. When finished, mail in your entries here where a selected panel will judge them, and the best ones will be selected. It could be only one person's entry is picked for everything, or several people will be picked for different parts of an entry. Everyone from newbies to mud owners are welcome to enter. The winner or winners will be credited for having co-authored the zone (the original author[s] are unknown) and will be bestowed all of the perks and privileges a zone author would get for contributing a zone to any particular mud. The rewards for contributing a zone vary greatly from mud to mud. One mud may hire you as an archwizard, another may just give you an emeriti, another a wad of points, and some other one may just give you a big pat on the back. It has been my experience that the most played muds tend to give the fewest rewards while the lesser-played ones give the highest. You are however guaranteed to be rewarded greatly on at least one mud, mine. The deadline to enter will be set at >>>July 31, 2000<<<. The deadline could be extended if too few entries are received, or no winner is picked from the received entries (that shouldn’t happen, unless the writers all make horrible descriptions with numerous grammar and spelling errors.) Good luck.

My Dissatisfaction with Role-playing

My experiences with actual role-playing have been sporadic at best. Now someone has to be thinking already, "what the heck makes him an expert about role-playing if he doesn’t participate in it?" I’m certainly not an expert, but impressions of it have been burned into my head. The role I’ve played from almost day one is the Crimefighter. When I take that role to places that have role-playing, I’ve run into stiff resistance. Most recently I invoked the crime fighting role on one such mud’s in-character line when someone else was acting out the role of henchman for some greater evil-doer. This guy was making threats as to what they were gonna do to everyone else on the mud, a major criminal act of death and destruction. I start into my role telling the guy what I would do to him and his "boss", bust him and haul him off to jail as judge, jury and executioner. Days later, someone started up with me questioning my identity again of which I had to slam them for getting into their own identity excessively and criticizing mine. Sad to say, it seems there is a great resistance to that, where the potential victims would rather allow the evil-doer to succeed committing their crime than let someone like me prevent the act from taking place. Bustin’ ain’t easy, but if there’s anything I hate more than a criminal is a criminal coddler. So they throw a fit when I conduct myself as judge, jury and executioner—my role. It gets even worse, when I’ve gone onto a MUD that not only has role-playing, but also enforces a time-zone, the powers seem to think there were no such thing as Crimefighters or criminals back then. So they tell me to change their name or else, more for the reason of they don’t like my role not the time frame. Well too bad I’m here to stay and you had better get used to it. Some people take their own roles too seriously I usually come to the conclusion that these people are kookburgers. Too much acting on their part and they exert no human characteristics or sanity. When I visit a new mud that has RPG in effect, the wizards of the game do not help you with starting out, they order you to start playing a role immediately which is not a smart move if your mud already has low attendance numbers. This is why I don’t like role-playing and stay away from these so-called role-playing muds. Is what I said actually whining? No, it is my warning to those who are taking their roles too seriously and coming across as idiots—ala the "Cruel Doubt" scenario.


That is all for this edition of AA#11. Summer is coming up, college kids will be going home, and we’ll need to keep attracting players to maintain the level of usership. A goal was met with this newsletter, it's much smaller than the previous one saving me a lot of work.

Issue completed on 5/1/2000. Interviews are edited for grammar, spelling, clarity, and readability. Click NEWS to read the previous issue.

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