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The Prez Sez

Kevin Ross

I would like to take a couple of paragraphs and tell you of some changes being made to the Encoder. Before doing so, I would also like to recognize the efforts of those who have made the Encoder a great publication for the past couple of years.

Tom and Shannon Dickens have done an outstanding job as our editors, and I am pleased that they plan to continue their roles as the editors of the Encoder. The quality of the publication is due to their dedication and hard work.

Jim Cox has been handling the printing and mailing of the Encoder, which is no small task. Each month, Jim has handled the production end on his own, and we all can appreciate the amount of effort required to mail over 125 copies each month. Jim is moving on, however, as he would like to spend more of his limited free time actually building robots. On behalf of the group, I would like to applaud his major contribution to the group.

We have also had excellent input from many members, such as Karl, Bill, Lance, and many others who have made the Encoder content interesting to read. We have several goals for the future of the Encoder.

  1. Increase our presence on the WEB. It is a much better format for distributing information about our hobby, especially since we can link to other information (i.e. Motorolas home page, data sheets, etc).
  2. Reduce the amount of work required to produce a monthly newsletter.
  3. Keep our ability to produce a high quality encoder intact without burning anyone out.
  4. Control our costs.

We have had several discussions in the monthly meetings about ways to make these goals happen. The board of directors and the Encoder staff have reached agreement on the following plan for the future of the Encoder.

  1. Quarterly encoder that has lots of articles, pictures, and our other interesting stuff. It would be a compilation of information that we can post to our website on an ongoing basis. Tom and Shannon are still interested in doing this on a quarterly basis.
  2. On-going WEB presence with the quarterly encoder highlighting or reprinting the most compelling content for our non-web enabled members. I will take on the management of this. There is at least one other group (Dallas) who is also moving to a web based newsletter ( http://www.dprg.org/newsltrs.html ), and several others are interested.
  3. As needed mailings if the need arises to annouce something extra-ordinary to the group. We can get the database updated with everyones email address, and only send physical mail to those without email. This will further reduce the work. Jim Cox is willing to maintain the mailing list. As for the physical production of the Encoder, we will have to work that one out. Office Max costs $70 to print an 18 page encoder (9 double sided sheets), which is a pretty big version of the Encoder. I will stuff envelopes if needed. Future submissions to the Encoder should be made to Tom Dickens and myself. I will be responsible for updating the WEB page.

The future for the Encoder is becoming brighter. The online version will be able to have color photographs, hyperlinks to other resources on the net, and will be available for everyone on the net. This is exciting stuff. There are several other groups in the country who are also working on getting their information online. The potential for advancement of our technology increases with the number of poeple who have access to it. Putting this information on the WEB is a great way for this to happen.