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My e-mail bulletin, news, and opinion letter is the Buffalo Bull.

It’s free, but it comes with no warranty: you might not like it, you might not agree with it, and I might not even send it out. No warranty of merchantability or fitness for any particular purpose, and so on... whatever the boilerplate, weasel words usually say. (Sorry, weasels, that wasn’t fair. Weasels are OK, really.)  

Paper, at first...

The first issues of the Buffalo Bull were created in the early 1990s, printed on copy machines, and usually mailed with postage stamps but sometimes handed out personally. I wrote about computers, nature, theatre, cooking, languages, and whatever else came to mind. There have been reviews and poems and rants and an occasional joke or two. Over the years, the emphasis has changed from one period to another. I haven’t shared any recipes for years (although I still enjoy cooking), and the last few years there have been a disproportionate number of essays on politics. Don’t count out the recipes, though: I’ve come up with some new ones, I simply haven’t written them out yet.

There have been a few gaps of several years. The number of readers has climbed and descended: the peaks haven’t been as high as the valleys have been low.

For years, the issues have been released by e-mail in html format, with copies put onto my web site. Earlier, they were in plain text format, but I had trouble with some articles needing non-Latin alphabets, so I had to switch. (Plain text is problematic when left-to-right scripts are mixed with right-to-left scripts: the rendering isn’t consistent among common viewers.) I’m toying with going to pdf, but it probably won’t happen until I write something that requires more precisely defined page layouts.

The Buffalo Bull is currently written using libre office, exported to xhtml, and post-processed with some simple programs to clean up the format. In 2018, I succeeded in creating html documents with images as data in the html file itself (not needing external image files), and expect to release some issues soon with graphics. Why this isn’t a common option with word processors – embed the images as data – I don’t understand, I would expect it to be a widely used feature. Without images embedded as data, either you can’t read the file off line, or you might have a reader or mail user agent that can’t handle the separate files; in almost any case, the e-mail form of the document doesn’t match the web site format.

When I first went to e-mail, the issues were sent out by hand, by sending a copy to myself with the subscribers listed in the bcc line. The subscriber list was maintained by hand. After a while, there were too many readers, and I had to send out multiple copies, so I switched to a list manager. I’ve tried several list managers, and for now gnu mailman does fine.

With each major change in the format or the production or distribution procedure, I assigned a new series designator to the issues. The first issues, the paper ones, were retroactively designated the A series. Now the issues belong to the E series.

On the whole, looking back at old issues, they’ve been embarrassingly bad, with some occasional exceptions. This venture has taught me that I’ll never make a living as a writer – nor should I, given the poor quality of my work. But as long as I have readers, I’ll keep trying. To all of my patient and tolerant subscribers, thank you!

Additional Information

The current issue at any time can be found at the Buffalo Bull main page.

All of the back issues which can be found on line are in the archives.

For subscription information, please go here.

Send your suggestions, comments, compliments, and complaints to me at buffalo-bull-editor@tatanka.com.

 

 

 

Copyright 2018 Michael Marking. All Rights Reserved.
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