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adios, auf Wiedersehen. au revoir, sayonara

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To colleagues, friends and critics on the SEAOC listserv:

This posting likely will be my last one to the listserv.  I am leaving
tomorrow on a month-long trip, and am unsubscribing from all listservs and
usenet forums to avoid a hugh backlog of e-mail upon return.  In reflecting on
how my priorities and foci in life have changed since I retired a year ago, I
don't expect to rejoin the SEAOC listserv when I return.

Engineering no longer is at the center of my radar screen.  Indeed, it has
half- disappeared from the screen, displaced by new challenges and interests.
Lessons as a sixtysomething piano student, and the daily practice sessions,
take up a surprising amount of time, although my progress seems as stalled as
the progress I've made in persuading Bill Allen to chair a SEAOSC committee.
It's frustrating when your brain issues an order, and the dang fingers won't
follow.  Equally challenging are my efforts to learn Mandarin and Spanish, but
in this case, the brain too often forgets what signals to send to the vocal
chords.  And so it goes with other new and renewed interests.  But these are
enjoyable challenges, and I am optimistic about eventually achieving some
modest success.    Perhaps during nostalgia attacks, I'll spend some time at
the SEAOC listserv's archived postings.  But daily attention to the listserv
and virtual jousts with folks like Dennis and Bill are in a chapter of life I
am closing.

A parting observation.   Much of the traffic on this listserv can be put into
two broad categories.  One category is the exchange of technical information.
And the other is the broadcast of opinions and jeremiads.  The listserv is a
great resource and forum for seekers of technical information.  Someone posts
a question on, say, the interpretation of a code section, or the names of
manufacturers of a product, or references and publications on a subject.  Most
listserv subscribers will skim the posting, determine that he/she can or can't
help, and type a quick reply or hit the delete key and move on.  Most queries
seem to draw  one or more useful replies.  And those who reply will feel good
about being helpful, at just a very modest investment in time and effort, and
knowing that they may be the one posting the next question and being helped.
It's likely that many lurkers also gain useful information from these
exchanges.  Everyone benefits.   This type of listserv traffic should be
encouraged and expanded as much as possible.

The second category generally is much less rewarding, althought some threads
do have the redeeming quality of at least being entertaining as participants
talk past each other.   Folks like Dennis and Bill like to use the listserv as
a soapbox to issue a call to arms for their passionate beliefs.  Come one,
come all - it's painless, requires no significant committments of time, energy
and expenses.   We'll get results if we are united and just sound off.  We'll
ship the collected  postings on this or that thread to SOMEONE or SOME GROUP
(don't ask who or which) who will wake up, get our messages, be convinced, and
lead us to our goals.

Face it, virtual special-interest groups have virtual impact on the real
world.  For most folks, other than those in high tech who seem to get rich off
of IPOs and stock options with little effort, the results we achieve generally
correlate with the time, energy, and resources we put into the effort.  It's a
cliche, but it's also true:  to be a player or to earn respect, ya gotta put
your money where you mouth is.   Bill and Dennis no doubt will continue trying
to do it on a shoe string.  And they'll continue to be disappointed until
they, and the engineering community at large, push some real piles of chips
onto the come line and become stakeholders in the game.  I believe this
listserv would be better served if the sturm und drang from this second
category are minimized.

Participating on this listserv over the last several years has been
interesting and a mostly pleasant experience.  On numerous occasions, I was
drawn into threads to raise some real-world factors that Dennis in his
idealism, and Bill in his dogmatism, would not otherwise consider.   In the
process, my image seemed to have morphed into a Scrooge-like party pooper.
But I'm really an optimist in drag  :-))

Anyone who wants to contact me in the future should address e-mail to

 I thank everyone for past courtesies and attention.  So long.  And .. Bah!

Frank Lew,  ex-SE
Orinda, CA