About Notes from the Metaverse

Notes from the Metaverse is the mostly technology-related weblog of Mike McCallister. When I first started out, I had three broad themes, reflected in the blog’s subtitle:

  • Working: What it’s like to be a working writer or just a plain worker, and on rare occasions call to your attention fights for justice, or against injustice. There used to be more of this here, but things change.
  • Writing: where I write about writing generally, writing technical articles and books more specifically, and more often these days about writing for and about the web and the blogosphere. Did I mention that the second edition of WordPress in Depth is now in better bookstores everywhere?
  • Open Source: This is the mainstay of Notes topics. I work with open source software for hours every day, and I try to share my experiences, good and bad, here. You’ll read a lot about Linux (openSUSE and Kubuntu are the preferred distros in this household, but your mileage may vary), WordPress, the KDE desktop, Firefox, OpenOffice.org/LibreOffice and whatever else is striking my fancy on a particular day. Want my opinion on something in particular? Feel free to leave a comment here, or on any post.

You’ll see other tags and topics here from time to time. I work hard to provide interesting and relevant links in every posting too.

Frequency: I truly wish I had the time to write a cogent post every day, but it just doesn’t seem to happen, and I don’t want to just write one- or two-line posts just to generate traffic. That just wastes everyone’s time. I also reblog other worthwhile material from smaller sites. As much as I love BoingBoing, H Open, Lorelle and other well-known sites, I like to call attention to good ideas that appear in my WordPress Reader from time to time.  In an ideal world, there would be at least one post per week from me, but my postings seem to come in bunches. Please be patient. I hope you’ll find what does appear here of interest.

About the Title: Notes from the Metaverse began as a newspaper column in Milwaukee’s alternative weekly, the Shepherd Express (celebrating 30+ years in business now). It was 1995, and I’d had an Internet account for a year or so. I think I’d just read Howard Rheingold’s Virtual Community and wanted to share some of my experiences with readers. So I had this great idea of covering Usenet newsgroups and listservs related to the news of the day. My friend and editor at the Shepherd, Doug Hissom, thought it might be worth something, so I started writing a few of these columns. But what to call it? Well, besides Rheingold, I’d also recently read Neal Stephenson‘s Snow Crash. As you may know, most of this terrific cyberpunk novel takes place in a virtual reality/community/game called the Metaverse. Well, that certainly sounded cooler than “the Internet,” no? And so it began.

Then my head got too big. I wanted to take the idea to other alt-weeklies, so I wrote editors at every member of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies pitching the idea–and got nowhere. My dream died, and my enthusiasm for the column died with it. I don’t think Doug has forgiven me yet.

Some years later, I heard about this “blogging” thing, and decided to take a shot at it. But what to call it? Guess what, it still works as a title, and no one else was actually using it! So here we are.

About me: Until mid-April 2020, I wrote software manuals and help systems for PKWARE in Milwaukee. If you have technical writing work to be done, I’d love to hear about it! On evenings and weekends, I write about open source software, here and in books like openSUSE Linux Unleashed and WordPress in Depth. I am very active in the Wisconsin chapter of the Society for Technical Communication. I am not a retired executive at a major health insurance company. You can find even more about me at MichaelMcCallister.com.

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