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Re: [BackpackGearTest] Re: Mountainsmith wisp

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  • David Anderson
    ... I m afraid that you are going to be disappointed then. If you go to http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/Sleep%20Gear/Sleeping%20Bags/ you will notice
    Message 1 of 21 , Sep 1, 2003
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      At 09:01 PM 9/1/2003 +0000, you wrote:
      >I don't really mind if I don't get the vision, it's just that I need
      >a new sleeping bag and I want a sleeping bag to be the first thing I
      >test, as I am a newbie, and will have to wait six months until I can
      >test multiple items at once.

      I'm afraid that you are going to be disappointed then. If you go to
      http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/Sleep%20Gear/Sleeping%20Bags/
      you will notice that we have only run tests on three bags in two different
      test series so far, with a grand total of 7 testers.

      We have also run test calls for a couple of other bags where the test has
      not gotten underway, and I believe that those tests only had 3 testers
      each. Most of our well proven veteran testers haven't gotten to test any
      sleeping bags yet, and there just aren't that many in the pipeline.
      Sleeping bags are a bit tougher to come by, and as a newbie you just aren't
      going to get one as your first test.

      In fact, as a newbie, you aren't likely to get any of the more expensive or
      popular gear. You are going to be competing with testers that have proven
      themselves with a large range of gear (from towels and notebooks to tents
      and trekking poles) and have written a number of Owner Reviews. The best
      way to compete with these testers for the popular gear is to improve your
      position by testing whatever you can, and doing a good job at it. Then
      spend some of your time during that 6 months writing more Owner Reviews.
      That would put you in a much better position when the gear flood happens in
      the spring. It will also help you out when we decide to make an exception
      to the newbie rule.

      You might want to consider checking out some of the tests we have done with
      some of the less expensive gear. Most of them really are fun, and the
      testers get to play with something that they probably would not have bought
      on their own. These are the tests where you can show that you are a great
      tester that can work with anything. If you can write a good review of a
      towel or a bucket, then we will know that a sleeping bag or a pack will not
      be too difficult for you.

      --
      David Anderson
      Moderator
      http://www.BackpackGearTest.org
    • Andy Mytys
      ... I don t know... I find that multi-use things are pretty easy to write reviews on. A camp bucket is certainly multi-use (at least it was in my review) and
      Message 2 of 21 , Sep 1, 2003
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        --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, David Anderson
        >
        > If you can write a good review of a towel or a bucket, then we will
        > know that a sleeping bag or a pack will not be too difficult for
        > you.
        >


        I don't know... I find that multi-use things are pretty easy to write
        reviews on. A camp bucket is certainly multi-use (at least it was in
        my review) and something like a towel is close enough to the fabled
        banada to have over 20 practical and common uses in the field, each
        of which can be tested on their own to result in a complete and well
        thought out test.

        I would also say that the more features an item is, the better the
        odds of posting good reports. For example, packs have lots of design
        features like extra pockets, position of pockets, size of pockets,
        etc, which can serve to really flesh out a review.

        When you get to utility items that don't have a lot of variety
        in "how" you use them, reports become more difficult to write in a
        manner that our readers would find useful. Predicting the result of
        a low-feature item on the quality of a bucket or towel review is not
        a good idea, IMO.

        Unless the applicant has already done a sleeping bag review or two,
        past reports can only be used for writing style and an idea of how
        thorough the writer can be. But, in terms of the main critieria I
        would look at in narrowing down the candidates for a sleeping bag, it
        would be, hands down, the field test and test plan - this is where
        the variety will be found.

        If you're basically going to take the sleeping bag out into the field
        and never take it out of the stuff sack save for when you're in the
        conforts of your tent, I would think that your chances of getting
        selected are nil. After all, what are you going to report? Temp
        rating, which tends to be rather subjective, and how it handles in
        tent condensation for 8-10 hours/night. Whoopee! Perhaps there is
        some usefulness to the condensation, but we most likely will only
        have 3 bags to test.

        I would think that, in terms of sleeping bags, testers who routinely
        spend nights outside of the safe confines of their tents would have
        an edge. There are key tests to sleeping bags that you just can't
        get in a tent... packing along a spray bottle of water isn't going to
        cut it! Of course, the best candidates will play musical chairs with
        their test conditions. Based on where they live, some testers around
        here have the benefit of, in a six month period of time, seeing
        desert and mountain conditions, dry and humid air, etc. Based on the
        conditions that they venture into, they might bivy, tarp, tent, AND
        hammock over the course of six months.

        Thinking about it even further, bags have to be some of the toughest
        things to get good testers for. For instance, a sleeping bag is
        really not something that dayhikers can test. You really have to go
        out on overnights in the field. There are only a few items around
        here (tents are another), where this is the case. Yes, dayhikers
        might argue that they can simply test in their backyards... or on
        their apartment balconies. While those might result in adequete test
        conditions, a credible report on backpacking equipment should have
        tests that were done outside of a 100 foot extension cords reach of
        electricity.

        In almost all other cases, dayhikers can report on test conditions
        just as good as traditional backpackers - maybe even better. The
        advantage of dayhikers is that they can jump outside and use the gear
        when bad weather moves in. A backpacker can go out for 10 days and
        not see a cloud. The backpacker might be in the field a few times
        during the course of a six-month test. The dayhiker can arguably be
        out testing on any given day.

        Now, I do realize that most of our backpackers are also dayhikers.
        But, in terms of things that really need time in the field, we really
        don't have that many testers that go on lots of overnight trips. We
        all have day jobs, many have families... obligations and priorities
        that just come before our beloved backpacking. This is why I say
        test cases and field conditions which are specified in the
        application will be paramount.

        A sleeping bag is just one of those unique items. It needs a lot of
        field testing in order to cover the range of weather and use
        conditions that are necessary for a comprehensive review.

        Keep this post in mind when thinking about whether to apply or not.
        Yes, it is good practice to apply often. But, getting selected for a
        sleeping bag test is hardly like winning the lottery. There is a
        fine line that will define true candidates and wanna-be's.
      • Shane Steinkamp
        ... Yes, the testers are: Carol Crooker Andrew Priest Coy Starnes Any one of these could back out at the last minute, but I wouldn t expect that... Shane
        Message 3 of 21 , Sep 1, 2003
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          > On the wisp, I just looked on the database and it said
          > waiting for shipment, does that mean the testers have
          > already been chosen?

          Yes, the testers are:

          Carol Crooker
          Andrew Priest
          Coy Starnes

          Any one of these could back out at the last minute, but I wouldn't expect
          that...

          Shane
          Acting List Moderator
        • Shane Steinkamp
          ... The major difference, for me, is that things like towels and buckets are FUN, and writing reviews on things like packs and sleeping bags is WORK. Shane
          Message 4 of 21 , Sep 1, 2003
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            > If you can write a good review of a towel or a bucket, then
            > we will know that a sleeping bag or a pack will not be too
            > difficult for you.

            The major difference, for me, is that things like towels and buckets are
            FUN, and writing reviews on things like packs and sleeping bags is WORK.

            Shane
          • Rebecca
            Actually, Michael Wheiler took the place of Andrew when Andrew went on his long term OOP. ... From: Shane Steinkamp [mailto:shane@theplacewithnoname.com] Sent:
            Message 5 of 21 , Sep 1, 2003
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              Actually, Michael Wheiler took the place of Andrew when Andrew went on his
              long term OOP.
              -----Original Message-----
              From: Shane Steinkamp [mailto:shane@...]
              Sent: Monday, September 01, 2003 9:52 PM
              To: BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: RE: [BackpackGearTest] Mountainsmith wisp


              > On the wisp, I just looked on the database and it said
              > waiting for shipment, does that mean the testers have
              > already been chosen?

              Yes, the testers are:

              Carol Crooker
              Andrew Priest
              Coy Starnes

              Any one of these could back out at the last minute, but I wouldn't expect
              that...

              Shane
              Acting List Moderator


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            • rcaffin
              ... Ha! We should be so lucky, here in Oz. When it does stay dry that long, it means a drought is getting going and the bush fires will be coming over the
              Message 6 of 21 , Sep 2, 2003
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                Andy Mytys wrote:

                > A backpacker can go out for 10 days and not see a cloud.
                Ha! We should be so lucky, here in Oz.
                When it does stay dry that long, it means a drought is getting going
                and the bush fires will be coming over the hill.

                OK, an exaggeration - slightly. But only slightly. We can NOT assume
                it will not rain here sometime in the next few days. Of course, in
                the UK you can't assume it won't rain sometime in the next few
                hours...

                > But, in terms of things that really need time in the field,
                > we really don't have that many testers that go on lots of
                > overnight trips. We all have day jobs, many have families...
                > obligations and priorities that just come before our beloved
                > backpacking.
                Priorities!
                Do you really want to keep working 5 days a week until you are 65 and
                get the shove? And are then a too old and too unfit for all the good
                walks?
                Priorities!
                </endsermon>

                OOP for the next 5 days. :-)

                Cheers
                Roger caffin
              • Coy
                ... wrote: . ... and ... good ... OK Rodger Dont give CB any encourgment. Whe have already decided he will work till he has one foot in the grave. He tried
                Message 7 of 21 , Sep 2, 2003
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                  --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "rcaffin" <r.caffin@t...>
                  wrote:
                  .
                  > Priorities!
                  > Do you really want to keep working 5 days a week until you are 65
                  and
                  > get the shove? And are then a too old and too unfit for all the
                  good
                  > walks?
                  > Priorities!
                  > </endsermon>
                  >
                  > OOP for the next 5 days. :-)
                  >
                  > Cheers
                  > Roger caffin

                  OK Rodger

                  Dont give CB any encourgment. Whe have already decided he will work
                  till he has one foot in the grave. He tried those same arguments on
                  me.

                  Mrs Coy Boy
                • llenrocnave
                  See, with me, I m still in middle school and I don t do anything, hardly on the weekends, so I can go on weekend trips with my dad almost every weekend and I
                  Message 8 of 21 , Sep 2, 2003
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                    See, with me, I'm still in middle school and I don't do anything,
                    hardly on the weekends, so I can go on weekend trips with my dad
                    almost every weekend and I can go to state parks, and almost anywhere
                    I want.
                  • Fuzzy
                    ... anywhere ... To Shane, Stephanie, etc., This kid s got test fever something bad. I have a feeling you re gonna get more apps from him than you do from me,
                    Message 9 of 21 , Sep 2, 2003
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                      --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "llenrocnave"
                      <llenrocnave@b...> wrote:
                      > See, with me, I'm still in middle school and I don't do anything,
                      > hardly on the weekends, so I can go on weekend trips with my dad
                      > almost every weekend and I can go to state parks, and almost
                      anywhere
                      > I want.

                      To Shane, Stephanie, etc.,

                      This kid's got test fever something bad. I have a feeling you're
                      gonna get more apps from him than you do from me, which means lots
                      (right?), but it will at least give him some practice.

                      To Evan,

                      Enthusiasm is good... just be careful not to go overboard. I think
                      it is fabulous that someone your age is so interested in the
                      outdoors, but you've gotta be careful about hounding the group to
                      test items that may not be available at all. As we like to say
                      around here (it's been said to me, believe me), "Patience,
                      Grasshopper" You will get your chance to test. When you do, work
                      with your monitor, write good reports, and polish up your application
                      skills - your chances wil come. Trust me.

                      Fuzzy
                    • Andy Mytys
                      ... Right - absolutely nothing wrong with enthusiasm. That said, looking at the BGT.org site, I see only one review from Evan - the Gregory Shasta backpack.
                      Message 10 of 21 , Sep 2, 2003
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                        --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "Fuzzy" <ckime@n...> wrote:
                        >
                        > To Evan,
                        >
                        > Enthusiasm is good... just be careful not to go overboard. I think
                        > it is fabulous that someone your age is so interested in the
                        > outdoors, but you've gotta be careful about hounding the group to
                        > test items that may not be available at all. As we like to say
                        > around here (it's been said to me, believe me), "Patience,
                        > Grasshopper" You will get your chance to test. When you do, work
                        > with your monitor, write good reports, and polish up your
                        > application skills - your chances wil come. Trust me.
                        >

                        Right - absolutely nothing wrong with enthusiasm. That said, looking
                        at the BGT.org site, I see only one review from Evan - the Gregory
                        Shasta backpack.

                        Someone's getting WAY ahead of themselves here.

                        First, there needs to be two owner reviews on record. That's the
                        minimum needed to participate in "official" tests. Now, something
                        like a sleeping bag or tent is what's considered a "high ticket"
                        item. They go to people who have proven themselves though Owner
                        Reviews, group participation, and a rock solid track record of other,
                        official, reviews.

                        So, after you get your two ORs in, you then need to get at least one
                        official test under your belt before you have a prayer at a "high
                        ticket" item.

                        That means you're at least 8 months away from being eligable. 6-
                        months of testing, plus a 2 month padding (MINIMUM) for that first
                        test to even begin (getting your second review in, seeing a test
                        call, applying for the test, being selected, receiving the product).

                        In this eight month period, if you think you can simply finish that
                        one test and have your next test be a high-ticket item, that's also a
                        LONG SHOT. You should be continuing to bulk up your credentials
                        during the probation period of your first official test by publishing
                        MORE Owner Reviews.

                        If you are applying and applying, but just not getting selected for
                        that first official test, by all means keep those Owner Reviews
                        coming. They do nothing but help your position!!!

                        I've been around for almost three years (Dec will be my
                        anniversary... start shopping :) and consider myself a successful BGT
                        participant. I still crank out the Owner Reviews, and continuously
                        have something in the works on my PC in addition to my official BGT
                        committments.

                        You can test just about anything you take into the woods with you.
                        It doesn't have to be EXPENSIVE. So, if you're lacking in ideas
                        think about items like a multi-tool, cup, bowl, pot, matches,
                        lighter, clothes, water bottle, sunscreen, soap, bandana, bandaids
                        (how well does your favorite stick when wet... when used over days
                        straight?)... you get the idea.

                        Patience is indeed key here! However, it still takes some work on
                        your part to use that key and unlock the door.

                        As you can see, if you want to get in on a sleeping bag test, it's
                        time to get cracking. There will be a lot of competition from other
                        testers... testers that have been around a long time and have a long
                        list of published work here. You too can join these ranks, but you
                        have to plan well in advance and be prepared for when that test call
                        eventually hits.

                        Make no mistake - you are in competition with your fellow testers.

                        In that respect, you can look at all of this as a game of chess...
                        but one where you start out with no pieces. It's kind of hard to
                        play without any pieces, let alone do well. So, you need to get
                        cracking and get some pieces. The first and second owner reports get
                        you a King. Great - you can move in any direction you want, but
                        often you can't move at all because, with only two ORs going up
                        against all your opponents (the other test applicants) pieces, you're
                        vulnerable. Any move against an opponent with just a few pieces will
                        result in check and mate!

                        At this lowly stage, you yourself can declare checkmate (get
                        selected) with just a king, to be sure, but you have to select your
                        opponents carefully. Look for the tests will few applicants, where a
                        high percentage of those applicants are newbies like you. King -vs-
                        King is better than King -vs- King, rook, and bishop, with four pawns
                        on the side.

                        Each official test you get in on AND COMPLETE is an upper level
                        piece - rook, knight, bishop... a high-level test (tent/sleeping bag)
                        is a queen.

                        Each OR that you publish is a pawn.

                        How many chess pieces will you need to aquire before you are ready to
                        play the BGT game effectively, playing against old-time testers who
                        have a large number of pieces?

                        Think about it...
                      • David Anderson
                        ... Not really. Evan has two, check the therm-a-rest ultralite. The search index only updates once a week, and sometimes the update process dies for various
                        Message 11 of 21 , Sep 2, 2003
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                          At 06:43 PM 9/2/2003 +0000, you wrote:
                          >--- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "Fuzzy" <ckime@n...> wrote:
                          > >
                          > > To Evan,
                          > >
                          > > Enthusiasm is good... just be careful not to go overboard. I think
                          > > it is fabulous that someone your age is so interested in the
                          > > outdoors, but you've gotta be careful about hounding the group to
                          > > test items that may not be available at all. As we like to say
                          > > around here (it's been said to me, believe me), "Patience,
                          > > Grasshopper" You will get your chance to test. When you do, work
                          > > with your monitor, write good reports, and polish up your
                          > > application skills - your chances wil come. Trust me.
                          > >
                          >
                          >Right - absolutely nothing wrong with enthusiasm. That said, looking
                          >at the BGT.org site, I see only one review from Evan - the Gregory
                          >Shasta backpack.
                          >
                          >Someone's getting WAY ahead of themselves here.

                          Not really. Evan has two, check the therm-a-rest ultralite.

                          The search index only updates once a week, and sometimes the update process
                          dies for various reasons, and it looks like it died on sunday. So it is not
                          uncommon for it to end up 2 weeks out of date.


                          --
                          David Anderson
                          Moderator
                          http://www.BackpackGearTest.org
                        • Andy Mytys
                          ... Well... that would explain things then. Thanks. Is the frequency of DB updates regulated by us or our service provider? Is there any incremental costs
                          Message 12 of 21 , Sep 2, 2003
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                            --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, David Anderson >
                            >
                            > Not really. Evan has two, check the therm-a-rest ultralite.
                            >
                            > The search index only updates once a week, and sometimes the update
                            > process dies for various reasons, and it looks like it died on
                            > sunday. So it is not uncommon for it to end up 2 weeks out of date.
                            >

                            Well... that would explain things then. Thanks.

                            Is the frequency of DB updates regulated by us or our service
                            provider? Is there any incremental costs for daily updates? How
                            long does a DB update take?

                            As for Evan... he's got a king then. Let the games begin! :)
                          • David Anderson
                            ... Both. I set the frequency, but since we are on a shared host, the best way to get booted is to be a system resource hog. ... Only if we get booted. ... The
                            Message 13 of 21 , Sep 2, 2003
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                              At 07:01 PM 9/2/2003 +0000, you wrote:
                              >Is the frequency of DB updates regulated by us or our service
                              >provider?

                              Both. I set the frequency, but since we are on a shared host, the best way
                              to get booted is to be a system resource hog.

                              >Is there any incremental costs for daily updates?

                              Only if we get booted.

                              >How
                              >long does a DB update take?

                              The last time I ran one manually it took around 18 minutes and it greatly
                              increased the amount of time it took the web server to serve up pages.

                              If we were on our own server, there would be no problem. But we are not,
                              and we need to be a good neighbor. In this case I run a cron job to di the
                              update early Sunday morning.

                              The truth is that once a week, or even once a month is often enough for
                              99.99% of the cases. The only people that ever notice otherwise are the
                              producers of the data that is not in the index. Before Google introduced
                              freshbot, it would take 3-8 weeks or more for your web pages to make it in
                              to Google, and Google made it to the top of the search engine ladder with
                              such old data. The reason is that most data doesn't change that fast. Daily
                              updates for the 0-5 uploaded reviews is just a waste of processor cycles.

                              --
                              David Anderson
                              Moderator
                              http://www.BackpackGearTest.org
                            • Andy Mytys
                              ... OK. It needs to be redone. There are two links at the bottom of the document, both pointing to accessories for the Therm-A-Rest on the CD website. We
                              Message 14 of 21 , Sep 2, 2003
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                                --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, David Anderson
                                <danderson@b...> wrote:
                                >
                                > Not really. Evan has two, check the therm-a-rest ultralite.
                                >

                                OK. It needs to be redone.

                                There are two links at the bottom of the document, both pointing to
                                accessories for the Therm-A-Rest on the CD website.

                                We allow only top-level links at BGT!

                                While Evan's got the hood open, I've got a few comments:

                                "Sleeping on the Ultralite during this time, I got hot during the
                                night, but I assume that was because I was using a twenty-five degree
                                Fahrenheit (-3.8 degree Celsius) sleeping bag."

                                I don't see how this statement adds any value to the report. If
                                anything, it's an unresolved question that needs further analysis.
                                I'd leave it out.


                                "I have used the Ultralite a few times in the winter, and it kept me
                                warm and comfortable"

                                OK... I have to ask. What's "Winter"? There's not reference to
                                temperature, nor is it stated if this was used on snow or not. I see
                                you're in Ohio. If the "winter" described here were conditions along
                                the Kentucky border, that would translate to "Fall" for me. You can
                                see why it's important to have solid information as to the field
                                conditions that are present with any statement you make. "Winter" in
                                this case is good only as a calendar time reference... it gives me no
                                idea of conditions.

                                I'm not trying to pick on you here, just trying to iron out the
                                wrinkles in your report. Hopefully, this will be a learning
                                experience and your future reports will be filled with relavent data
                                to give the reader an idea of your actual field experiences.

                                Solid reports in turn give you better odds at getting selected as a
                                tester.

                                Looking at your first two submissions, I'm certainly excited to have
                                you on board. Your work is definitely in the right direction - it
                                just needs a bit of polishing.
                              • Andy Mytys
                                ... hmmm... this one s interesting too. Although the Survival Guide doesn t mention it, I feel that all our text representations of links should reflect what
                                Message 15 of 21 , Sep 2, 2003
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                                  --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "Andy Mytys" <amytys@h...>
                                  wrote:

                                  > Manufacturers Website: http://www.thermarest.com

                                  hmmm... this one's interesting too.

                                  Although the Survival Guide doesn't mention it, I feel that all our
                                  text representations of links should reflect what actually comes out,
                                  not an alias.

                                  Yes, www.thermarest.com does work. However, the resulting address is
                                  actually "http://www.cascadedesigns.com/thermarest".

                                  IMO, that's what should be listed in the report. You never know what
                                  a manufacturer will do with their other aliases.

                                  What do the other "Net Weenies" around here think of this issue?

                                  Moving the BGTWeb!
                                • AsABat
                                  ... is ... what a manufacturer will do with their other aliases. ... I think a little leeway might be needed. For example, Black Diamond has
                                  Message 16 of 21 , Sep 2, 2003
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                                    > Yes, www.thermarest.com does work. However, the resulting address
                                    is
                                    > actually "http://www.cascadedesigns.com/thermarest".
                                    >
                                    > IMO, that's what should be listed in the report. You never know
                                    what a manufacturer will do with their other aliases.
                                    >
                                    > What do the other "Net Weenies" around here think of this issue?


                                    I think a little leeway might be needed. For example, Black Diamond
                                    has www.blackdiamondequipment.com and www.bdel.com . Their contact
                                    page shows email addresses with bdel.com but I've seen the longer URL
                                    on other documents. Second, anyone with a domain really needs to keep
                                    their addresses FOREVER or they'll become a sleaze site the day after
                                    the registration expires. Most businesses understand this and want to
                                    protect their trademarks.

                                    Bill
                                  • Shane Steinkamp
                                    ... Thank you, ma am. So noted. Shane Acting List Moderator
                                    Message 17 of 21 , Sep 2, 2003
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                                      > Actually, Michael Wheiler took the place of Andrew when
                                      > Andrew went on his long term OOP.

                                      Thank you, ma'am. So noted.

                                      Shane
                                      Acting List Moderator
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