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Distributed Proofreaders Update for 29 October 2003

So there we were rolling along at our normal October pace, collecting historic production records every few hours, when suddenly the server was hit by anenormous geomagnetic solar wave. The dynamic momentum of the past weeks was brought to screeching halt, and for several hours the future of world literacy seemed to be in imminent peril. Alright ... so maybe it wasn't a magnetic storm disruption, but something knocked DP out of the rounds last weekend.

It happens from time to time for all on-line ventures, systems crash and access is denied. For some reason it seems more like a crisis of solar proportions among the DP community when our own network goes down. Perhaps this is due to the fact that we don't only lose our involvement with the project, but we also lose our link to each other at such times. Once again we are reminded that this is not a distributed network of machines, but rather a world-spanning association of unique individuals who choose to band together for a common endeavor. It has become easy to form strong attachments within this collaboration, and thus it is understandable why we miss it so much when the system is down.

It took us a day or so to get back up to speed, but by Tuesday we were back above 7,000 pages a day and looking forward to greater growth and expansion for November. At press time for the newsletter we are within the final 72 hours of October. Short of another meltdown, the close of the month promises to be as exciting as anything we have seen over the past 28 days.

Looking back from today, we have an abundant set of achievements to celebrate, and celebrate is what we are going to do...right up to midnight on the 31st. Just within the past couple of days we have passed both the milestone of pages ever proofed in a month and the objective of 300 texts Post Processed. After that, there is only one record left that October has not set. The greatest number of pages proofed in a single day still belongs to November 8th, 2002. That may change on Friday of this week, but for the present it lingers well out of reach of even the best day of 2003.

This Friday is Halloween. Appropriate to a month as grand as this one, DP is holding a day/night long party for October's final 24 hour session. If you have been away for a while, this is a good time to log-in. The mad doctor is on the loose, the Wolfman has the keys and the gates of the asylum are wide open. Normal proofing projects will go undisturbed, but beware! ... all manner of texts will be roaming the rounds. From the enigmatically obscure to the chillingly horrific, content will be provided (I may not say by whom) to satisfy the tastes of the most ghoulish proofer. So dig up your favorite costume and enjoy the incanta. . .err celebrations. The fun begins (of course) at Midnight, Friday morning.

Wrapped up within Friday's festivities is a defiant challenge to go after the single day record of November 8. This is quite an undertaking, and will only succeed with a well coordinated effort from all sectors of DP production. The number to surpass is 15,309. The most obvious need to reach this objective is the availability of proofable texts that could be processed in a quality manner within a 24 hour period. Content providers, scanners and project managers have been busy building up a strong reserve of projects in advance, and from what I have learned the odds are slowly turning to Friday's favor. We'll be sure to let you know the outcome next week. could stop by on Friday and add a few pages of your own. Whether we catch November 8th or not, it's still likely to be the best proofing day of 2003, so you'll still be a key participant in making DP history. Besides, one could do worse than spend some time preserving dead authors on Halloween!

So where do we go after the party, when we have finished enjoying the wondrous heights October took us to? All the excitement is justified and well worth celebrating, yet we have not lost our focus nor the sense of practical planning. It is important during exceptional times to make the most industrious use of the gifts that are placed before you, we have not lost our sense for this. Within the heart of this festive atmosphere, there is as much discussion and debate going on as there is proofing. While the range of topics is far and wide, what seems clear to me from all I measure, is that DP will not rest upon its many accomplishments. This talented and diverse group has met every challenge thus far faced, and with each the project has grown stronger and more innovative. The future will proudly carry on this tradition. That future begins November first...even as we are cleaning up from the night before. It seems as if I was just writing the column of October first. Now a new month is at the door which promises to be as interesting and exciting as the one which is winding down... or winding up, as seems to be the inclination!

The 'Road Ahead' for PG/DP is very different than the one Bill Gates set out a few years back. It is more along the lines of the original promise of the Internet, before it even registered on the radar of the corporate world. Those of us who have chosen to support the ideals of Project Gutenberg would feel right at home on this road. If there is a common belief across the diverse communities of PG and DP it is a conviction that the vehicles of digital communication can change the world for the better. This faith is what holds many of us close to the objectives of PG when we would have long left the ranks of other group endeavors. There is something real and true going on here which is close to heart of what called people to the Internet in the first place.

2003 has been a very good year for the association of Distributed Proofreaders withProject Gutenberg. Both projects have grown and reaped the benefits of a closely intertwined collaboration. The future is bright ahead and is already calling forth from all of us the best we have to offer of dedication and innovation. With the initial fanfare of the 10,000th title subsiding, the real meaning and inspiration of this accomplishment is beginning to settle in for those who are interested in the future of this ever-evolving world library. The questions which are buzzing amongst all parts of this community linger ever on that road ahead. These are exciting times. Seldom when we travel down a road do we receive the privilege of also building it as we go forward.

Enjoy these times! Wherever we go from here these later months of 2003 will always retain a unique quality all their own. The celebrations of this week at DP will surely continue as we draw closer to the closing of the year. Bring the best that you have within yourself and participate in these celebrations and activities. Join together with others--for that is what has made these projects what they are today--and initiate discussions. Share your ideas of what the future can be like. Creative production, like success, is magnetic. Many new faces will joining us with each passing week and there will be a great deal of attention upon PG and DP. These are times of great promise and potential. Give your best to them, freely, and be certain in your heart that the only the best will return to you in its time. This medium can indeed change the world for the better, but it cannot do so of itself. Each of us is the catalyst for change when we give ourselves that one chance to act upon what we believe and share who and what we are with others in dedication to a common vision.

Believe in the value of what you have to offer.

For now...

Thierry Alberto

Links to Articles

19 October 2004
18 February 2004
11 February 2004
4 February 2004
14 January 2004
17 December 2003
3 December 2003
19 November 2003
12 November 2003
5 November 2003
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15 October 2003
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1 October 2003
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10 September 2003
3 September 2003
27 August 2003
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