The author of this e-book, Eric Shackle in Sydney, Australia, and its publisher, Barry Downs in Kimberley, South Africa, have never shaken hands. They ran into one another on the internet in 1999. Since then, they have exchanged thousands of emails, and have become close yet distant friends.
Last week, while preparing this 71st edition of their e-book, they spoke to each other for the first time, taking advantage of two marvellous new services, Google Talk and Skype, which make available unlimited free telephone calls to computer users joining their networks. Literally millions of subscribers around the world have already joined up. (Once you've registered, you can speak to any of their other subscribers.)
It's often said that to become famous (and rich), authors have to indulge in shameless self-promotion. We doubt whether we'll ever be famous or rich, but we'd like to skite (boast) a little.
Praise from one's peers is best of all, which explains why we were particularly chuffed (pleased) to read an email from Peter Hinchliffe, founder/editor of the world's most interesting daily webzine, Open Writing. Peter is a veteran British journalist who has worked on newspapers in the US, Kenya and the UK.
He also loves good food. Only the other day he wrote: "I've eaten couscous in Tunis. Squid served in its own ink in Hermosillo, Mexico. Roast goat in the deserts of Kenya. Fried rattlesnake in Texas. Birds' nest soup in Hong Kong. Frogs' legs in Montreal. Pigeons coated in icing sugar in Casablanca. And lived to tell the tale."
Anyway, this is his unsolicited testimonial: "I have yet to find a site that interests me as much as your e-book. A huge range of fascinating material featured there. The whole thing is the work of a civilised mind."
New York computer guru Steve R. White wrote: "What a wonderful website you've put together! Thanks for sharing your creativity with the world."
And here are comments entered in our GuestMap last month:
Our grateful thanks to all our virtual guests for their messages. If you would like to add your comments, just click on GuestMap.