Feb 11 2012
My friend is my age—or close to it—and his remark made me realize how lucky I have been to be able to pick up as much computer savvy as I have in recent years. That, I regret to say, is still a tiny, insignificant amount, but the fact that I have it all is thanks to the encouragement and mentorship of our Webmaster Mark Burgess who has led me patiently by the hand for years now, conducting me through the intimidating mysteries of the ‘Net and the world of Websites. Most of my contemporaries—i.e. most people my age—can’t even handle that. You’ve all met some of them . . . they’re the people who gape in open-mouthed astonishment at the entire Social Media phenomenon, baffled and dismayed and shaking their grizzled heads at so many generations of younger folks who now blithely and sublimely choose To Boldly Go Where No One Had Gone Before…
Y’unnerstand I’m talking about an entire generation (and it’s my own generation, so I’m not being ageist or anything remotely disrespectful of my own demographic!) that is honestly bewildered and slightly terrified by the entire matter of Computer Security and the dangers facing the unwary User. These people walk in uninformed and nervous dread now of the ever-present threat of Identity Theft and they believe that this new form of outrage is the direct result of becoming involved in the Great Unknown represented by the Internet and the incautious use of UserNames and inadequately protected passwords.
That’s why I decided to write this—not for you sophisticates out there, but for the odd visitor who, like my friend today, might wonder why he or she should bother to sign up for something they can see for themselves but don’t know anything about.
Well, let’s begin by pointing out what is obviously not obvious to a first-time visitor…
By registering as a User on this site, you’ll find out far more about it that you ever can as a casual visitor. Membership, just like Rank anywhere else in the world, Hath Its Privileges… By becoming a registered user (member), you gain immediate access to the multiple layers of the site that simply aren’t available to Visitors. When you log in as a registered User, you’ll be able to see whole areas you couldn’t see before. And you’ll be able to chip in and contribute to the ongoing discussions in the Readers Forum, posting your opinions, your beliefs and your general two-cents’ worth into any topic. You’ll also be able to communicate directly with me, and with our Webmaster, and you’ll be able to comment directly, and even editorialize, on these blog postings of mine.
Registration is easy; all you have to do is make up a UserName and a password, then enter them in the two boxes provided for them in the left column. But registration will give you instant access to our new Silver Marks Rewards program, in which everything you do on site will earn you Marks. Simply logging in, for example, earns one Silver Mark; a token, of course, but they add up if you visit regularly. Additional amounts earned then vary according to your activities on each visit. Those can be as simple as reading a page or a single article, or as complex as contributing in a variety of ways to Forum debates and Blog commentaries, and even to contributing reviews of Jack’s books from your local newspapers and magazines (wherever you are) or recommending the site to other people, who will be asked on joining how they came to do so. If they mention your name, you get Silver Marks.
Sooner or later, those accumulated Silver Marks will entitle you to claim rewards, and though we’re still working on the graduated lists, those will range from signed and personalized, adhesive bookplates, all the way up to autographed books including First Editions and ARCs (Advance Review Copies) from Canadian, British and American publishers. That may even include foreign language editions in up to twenty languages if the demand is there, for we have contributors and registered users from countries as far apart as France, Germany, Russia, Poland, Australia, Mexico and Brazil.
I hope you’ll join our community of members and enjoy the experience of belonging. This site was designed and built for the pleasure of our readers, and your participation, no matter what contributions you may or may not make to it, will add to everyone’s enjoyment. Welcome aboard!