One of the major benefits of the rise of personal computing and the Internet is our ability to archive information. At a click, I can search for a word in dozens of dictionaries, or scan hundreds of telephone directories to find someone’s number, or obtain real-time stock market information. This power is also available to us as individuals. Many people save their email or their checkbook or their address book in some electronic form. We have quick access to information that was unthinkable just ten years ago. We all have examples, but this was driven home for me last week when, out of curiosity, I wanted to cite the date of O.J. Simpson’s “low-speed chase” in an email I was composing; obtaining that piece of information took less than a minute, and just four mouse clicks.
It seems odd, then, that we have so little information about how the Internet came about, and the people who made it happen. While there are a few familiar names who pioneered the technical infrastructure, few people could name someone who was a catalyst in popularizing the early Internet. Can you name the people who brought you listserv or majordomo or IRC or ICQ? Do you know who founded rec.arts.sf.written or soc.motss or rec.music.misc? Those are people who transformed the Internet from a boring raw communication facility into an exciting, interesting world full of unparalleled opportunities to communicate with, learn from, and share experiences with one another. Those people are the Internet’s unsung heroes.
I want to tell you about one of those heroes: John Labovitz. A few of you may recognize his name, because it’s part of the resource he created: John Labovitz’s E-Zine List, which can be found at <http://www.meer.net/~johnl/e-zine-list/index.shtmll>. Since he began back in 1993, John has maintained the best, most exhaustive, most accurate list of electronic magazines on the Internet. He did this not out of commercial interest, but because he knew such a site was needed and would be useful to both readers and publishers. His service has been wonderfully successful, and has helped DargonZine and hundreds of other emags grow. Hundreds of readers have been introduced to our site through index sites like John’s, but John’s is by far the most widely-known, and more than a dozen of our subscribers mentioned his site by name when they joined DargonZine.
I single out John because after seven years of selfless service, John has decided to cease maintaining the E-Zine List. As a reflection of his adherence to the noncommercial spirit of the early Internet, he is presently looking for someone who will adopt this popular site and continue to operate it as a public, not-for-profit resource. We are thankful recipients of John’s valuable contribution to the Internet, and we wish him luck in his future endeavors.
On a more positive note, I’d like to mention a new feature that we recently added to the DargonZine Web site.
We know that maps of Dargon and the surrounding lands are useful ways to help readers visualize the settings of our stories. We’ve recently put together a small DHTML script which ties some of our maps together with our Online Glossary. By hovering your mouse over landmarks on the maps, you will see their Glossary descriptions. And by clicking a landmark, you will be taken directly to that feature’s Glossary page, which contains additional information. It’s a great way to familiarize yourself with the places that our stories talk about, and we’re really pleased to be able to share it with you.
However, the interactive features of these maps rely on fairly recent innovations, so they will not work for older browsers (we’ve tested the script using Netscape 4.0 and Internet Explorer 4.0). If you have a recent browser, you should have no problem using the maps, but older or nonstandard browsers may have more difficulty with the additional interactive features.
The interactive maps of the city of Dargon and of the surrounding area can be found in the map section of the About Dargon page.
In this issue we continue ongoing series’ by Dafydd and Nick Wansbutter, and print the first part of a two-part story by JD Kenyon. All three of these storylines will culminate in our next issue, DargonZine 13-4, so don’t miss that one! It should be out before the end of April.