Editorial Ramblings


First let me pass on that - you the reader - can reach this newsletter via email to the address:

Newsletter@RexxLA.org

And of course you can use any casing you wish.  Tom Brawn, the webmaster for RexxLA.org kindly set up this address to make it easier for you to reach us.  The table of contents will from now on also contain the email addresses of our columnists.

Now let me pass on a (fictive) conversation people might have when reading this newsletter.

    Tom:   "So he wants to edit the Newsletter, does he?"
    Dick:  "Yup.  But only in plain-text, he says..."
    John:  "Tsk.. Tsk.."
    Dick:  "No pictures?"
    Tom:   "Nope."
    John:  "No HTML?"
    Dick:  "Just plain ol' text."
    John:  "How about URLs?"
    Tom:   "Not even that!"
    Dick:  "Does he use a computer??"
     (silence..)

Yes, I do.  No Windows, no browser, no fancy hard/software.  Just plain old DOS, still at version 3.30...  And I have the temerity to cast myself into a world filled with all that magnificent state-of-the-art stuff?

Yup!

I retrieved and downloaded the top-level pages of the RexxLA web-site a few weeks ago - all 12 of them, in text-mode via an email-to-web server!  Then I extracted the next-level URLs, which comes to 150-plus different URLs to retrieve, download, and peruse.  WOW!  Not nothing! But first my impressions of level-1.  A huge amount of information has been collected and made available!  Useful data?  You bet!  I thank my lucky stars that only 20% of the second-level URLs seem to be directories.  At least, I HOPE so!  If not, I could spend days - or WEEKS - just reading
and correlating all the information I missed out on these past four years.

One of my projects is a definitive list of all the Rexx implementations in existence.  And the data seems to be available; I only need to collect it, sort it out, pretty it up, and publish it.  Oh, it will take more than a few minutes, but it can be done.  Certainly more easily than I initially thought.  But that list is useless in itself, other than showing how much diversity there is.  And how much effort has already been duplicated, for that is already evident!  That list will be much more useful if it includes links to the relevant implementation (which it will!), the major shortcomings and plus-points of each one, and which applications are friends or enemies.

For that project - and others - I'll need a GOOD browser.  Here I mean one I can set to text-mode and configure to my own idea of intuitiveness; all those buttons illogically strewn all over the place, different-sized fonts, and even more colors are too confusing and distracting for me.  OK, the browser itself is not to blame for all those fonts, colors, and sizes used.  It is the web-page designers who seem to think that lots of colors, different fonts, animated pictures and text make it easier for readers to extract the necessary data.  NOT!

Does anyone out there have a REXX program that can be set to reformat each & every incoming page to the same font type and -size, the same color (fore- and background), and turn off all pictures and animation, etc.?  So I only need to hunt down buttons and URLs?  Till then email-to-web service will simply have to suffice.  (sigh)

Regards,
$$/
F. Scott Ophof  (Editor)  <Newsletter@RexxLA.org>