Latest News and Events
Keep up with the latest aspects of Horn & Whistle Magazine on this page, which was last updated on 12 28 2022.
Newest Issue # 148 is almost ready (finally!). I am waiting for one more article which should be ready by December 31 which would be really good because then I can start the new year off with a new issue. It's been a while since the last issue, but we're moving forward, my one resolution for this coming year is, as publisher, to produce the year's quarterly issues at the start of each quarter!
Paper Issues Are Back! For several years now we have made H&W available only as an on-line publication. This was because it became too expensive to produce paper hardcopies. However, market research, individual customer feedback, and my telephone communications with some members indicated that many of our subscribers wanted Horn & Whistle to continue as a paper magazine. So I did a lot of research into this in 2021. Now formerly, we were charging $25.00 per year for a paper subscription of four issues per year, and I found out the hard way that we were losing money on paper issues. For a while I bore the cost overruns but that was before I retired from a full-time power station career. But after I retired, this was no longer possible. It is no secret that we lost many long time subscribers by eliminating paper and going on-line exclusively. And I certainly will admit that there is a definite appeal to a paper publication that an on-line subscription does not have. In fact some on-line subscribers would download the online issues and then print a paper version for their own use.
It is important to realize that H&W is a specialty niche publication. As such, we do not have thousands of subscribers. Even during H&W's peak production time, we never quite made it to even 600 subscribers. So, high production printing methods are not available to us; it is absolutely not at all cost effective to use offset lithography for the number of copies that we would require. This means that we must resort to a photocopy process instead. Photocopy printing is suitable for small print runs, but the per-copy cost is much more than the per copy cost for offset lithography, but the set-up for offset litho printing makes small runs much more expensive overall and we would really need to produce at least 5000 copies to make this option attractive.
Anyhow, we are beginning to pick up some paper issue subscribers, folks who had not subscribed for a while and are now back with us, so this is definitely a good thing for Horn & Whistle Because of the cost of mailing outside of the USA, we will offer only the on-line version to subscribers who do not live in the USA. Likewise, we will not be able to offer the lifetime subscription option for paper issues for the same reason; much greater production and distribution expenses. Also notice that because of the much lower expenses associated with on-line publishing, we are still selling on-line subscriptions for only $10.00 per year, and on-line also provides the advantage of full color throughout, and links to sound clips or other articles of interest, and it also allows occasionally exceeding our former 44 page limit. The new page limit for paper copies will be forty pages. however by carefully tweaking margins, font size, spacing between letters and words, it is possible to have the same amount of content on four fewer pages, which in itself represents a small but definite savings which is going to help make a return to paper possible.
On the advice of the marketing consultant who has been helping me with getting paper issues started again, I am being less generous with carrying subscribers who have let their subscriptions lapse. I am only providing one free issue, with a reminder to renew. After that, I'll send out one or two more reminders, but no more magazines. I used to carry lapsed subscribers for four or in some cases even five issues, but sometimes it takes a hard-nosed outsider to look over your business and then say right out, "What are you? Crazy? You can't be giving the store away and expect to stay in business," and unfortunately, he is right. Likewise, the paper issues have to be slightly profitable, thus the $50 price for four issues. So they are there for those who want them. I would still recommend the on-line version, as it's only $10.00 for four issues and it has other advantages as well, including links and pretty soon also videos and sound clips. Anyhow, that's where we presently stand regarding on line and paper versions of Horn & Whistle.
Featured articles in #147
The Hammond B3 Organ, How does it work? Why is it an excellent teaching device to learn about harmonics and how they form different sounds and also how it can be a wonderful source of accurate pitches for tuning horns and whistles.
Crosby Whistles, quite possibly the nicest looking steam whistles ever produced. Excellent photos of various Crosby Whistles show how this is true.
The Marketplace. What's going on with Whistle, Horn and Siren sales on eBay? Here's where you can find out what to pay if you're buying, and what to ask for if you are selling, And via humorous comments, I tell you what makes a good eBay ad, and what you should avoid doing if you are selling these devices on eBay.
Harry Barry shows us an interesting Gong Whistle by a different manufacturer.
And, last but certainly not least, we have some more interesting views from old whistle and siren catalogs that show what the major whistle and signal device makers were doing in the 19th century and the early 20th. The illustrations are interesting works of art in themselves, because back then many of these were actual engravings, hand done by master craftsmen and artists. Today it's so easy to get good pictures. The average smart phone usually contains a very decent digital camera, and then we can upload these photos to our computers and print out very nice looking quality pictures. And we have highly sophisticated graphics editing programs like Photoshop, for example where, if our pictures might not be exactly what we would like to see, we can tweak them to perfection. But when these whistle makers were in business they had nothing like that. Often an artist would have to render a good drawing or painting of a whistle on paper or canvas, and then other specialists would engrave that image onto a suitable plate that could eventually reproduce those images via a printing press on paper. And sometimes colors would be added after the fact to enhance the engraving. Although photography was around before 1900, it was a very complicated process in itself to go from the camera to the printed page and thus engravings were the way it was usually accomplished. So these early catalogs are interesting, not only to see how the makers presented and priced their products, but also how they illustrated them for their customers. And the language of the sales copy that they wrote is in itself an interesting study, where sales copy was often in the form of an educational article rather than an exhortation to buy it now.
If you are not a subscriber to Horn & Whistle, change that situation right here! Subscribe to H & W E-zine.
Don't forget; if you change any aspect of your address, either physical or e-mail, let me know. Here's a good way to get in touch with me regarding Horn & Whistle. Just click on the word "Access" and then select my name from the list of Horn & Whistle people that appears and type in your name and message.
Back Issue CDs. I have PDF file copies of every issue that I have produced beginning with #101. These are available on three CDs, presently $15.00 ea plus $4.22 for packaging, handling and shipping. Here's a direct link to the purchasing form for these. You can also find a link for these on the Home Page by clicking the Subscribe button.
Here's a handy form to fill out to expedite an address change: Change postal or e-mail address.
Regarding returning pictures or articles that you have sent in; it is worth repeating yet again that if you send us pictures and/or articles and want them back, you need to include a note with your material stating that fact and also include a self-addressed, postage-paid envelope. Without that, we will not save either pictures or articles once we have processed them for inclusion in the magazine unless the pictures are of exceptional interest. The amount of material that sometimes comes here can be quite formidable, and storage of pictures and papers is really neither practical or possible. I am sorry to say but if you send in material without either a request to save them or the postage-paid envelope and then later on change your mind, it will probably be too late, so please keep this fact in mind when you send in items that you want returned to you.
Previous publishers have in many cases kept photos that were sent to us; indeed, that is how the Whistle Picture Book will become possible. But eventually there came a time when there was just too much stuff and that was why the previous publisher instituted the present policy of no longer keeping material once it was either used in the magazine or deemed unusable. Thus the present policy regarding returned material. If you want it back, include a postage-paid suitable envelope and also a written notice that you do indeed want the materials returned.
More web site info. Tweak, tweak, and tweak again! This seems to be a rule that a webmaster must follow, not by choice but by necessity. The Internet is constantly changing, and new devices and systems appear regularly. What this means now is that people access the Internet on many different devices, and one of the big challenges for any webmaster is to make sure that his pages look good and are fully functional regardless of what any web client uses to access said pages. So as of this last year, I have recently acquired a MAC, and also an Ipad and a Kindle, and also a reasonably new cell phone. This in addition to two Windows PCs, one older and still running Win XP, and a newer one running Win10. So why all this stuff? Out of necessity. I need to have the opportunity to view my web pages on various devices to have the opportunity to see my pages as potential web clients would see them. There are many different sizes for computer monitors today, and also for portable devices as well. If you proportionately scale down a page that displays well on a desktop 22" monitor to display the same way on a smaller cell phone, the majority of the text will be really hard if not impossible to read. Links will be so small and close together that web page navigation likewise would become impossible. Therefore, we must consider this fact and make our web pages able to change in size and also proportion and even layout, so that a person using a cell phone can read all the text, see all the pictures, and easily use the various links. Then too, on many of these smaller portable devices, you touch the screen whereas on a desktop PC, you generally use a mouse-controlled cursor.
So it has now become necessary for meto contend with this. Fortunately, there are ways that we can make web pages correspond to the size of the viewing screen automatically. I won't go into the mechanics of how this gets accomplished; and unless you yourself design web pages, it isn't necessary to know anything about that, other than to know that it exists. So to make a long and complicated story short and non-technical, by having a number of different devices on which to view the web pages I create for H&W, it helps me to make the website work and be functional and legible on many different devices, so nobody gets deprived. A secondary somewhat related concern is accessibility which means how we might design web pages so that people who may be visually handicapped can still use them, and then finally, another important area is web-page code validation. This pertains to eliminating coding mistakes and following the WWW3 guidelines. Anyhow, I am not beginning a computer collection, but having access to several different devices helps me to turn out better pages. However, I continue to ask any users of this site, if you find pages that don't work right, or non-functioning links or contact forms, to let me know so that I can investigate and hopefully correct the problem.
One thing that I have noticed is that there are many people who are called "Internet Gurus." These folks have studied and become very proficient at various Internet-related tasks that us webmasters have to do. Unfortunately, it seems that most of them make the assumption that those of us who consult them know as much about the subject as they do, and when they explain something to us, their explanations are geared to people who already have their level of knowledge. Obviously, if we already had their level of knowledge, why would we be consulting them? So if any of you Internet Gurus read this, I hope you'll pay attention to what I just wrote and realize that when we ask you about something, it's because we do not have your degree of knowledge and you should not assume that we do!
Anyhow, for a long time, I put in a special line of coding that would, if a subscriber had a very old computer that was still using Internet Explorer 6 as a browser, put up pages that were somewhat different so that they would display correctly within the many limitations of IE6. Today, IE6 is almost completely nonexistent. Therefore, I am no longer including either this line of code, or making special pages to run correctly under the constraints of IE6 or any other antiquated browsers. For me, this is a big burden lifted, and means that I do not have to spend time creating multiple versions of web pages. The main criterion seems to be to make a page work correctly on Google Chrome, which is the most widely used browser today. If your page works well on Google Chrome, the probability is that it will work well on Firefox and Edge, which are also important web browsers. Recently I read a statement by one knowledgeable web source which simply stated, "If your site runs correctly and looks right on Google Chrome, it should do likewise on all popular modern browsers."
It is, however, impossible to check how pages display on every
system and device out there. If you see mistakes on, or have issues
with, any pages in the H & W web site, send me an e-mail here:
Likewise, dial-up Internet is in use by so few communities, and it is so slow and cumbersome that much of today's web content doesn't even work with dialup. I've been informed by one subscriber who still has dial-up Internet access that most of the time he can't even download our on-line issues because the files are so big that his system times out before the download can finish. I recently found out that, contrary to what I had thought, dial-up Internet access is still in use, and this use, though very limited, is more widespread than I would have thought. Therefore, what I am, however, gearing up to do is to start putting each issue of H & W on CDs, so that subscribers who are still in that situation can get the on line issues that way. So that will still involve the Post Office, but I do not see mailing more than maybe 5 or 6 CDs to those who live where dial-up is still the only way to get on line. But I would recommend that if you are still using a dial-up Internet connection by choice, this is a serious mistake. So much of today's web content is going to be unavailable to you, and what is available is going to perform badly in most cases, and many functions that are designed into modern web pages will not work, so there really is absolutely no advantage to remaining on dialup if modern Internet connections are available to you. And if they aren't, then start complaining to your Internet service providers! Today, if you have dialup Internet service, you might as well not even bother trying to be on line, because so much now will be completely unavailable. What new systems can download in mere seconds will, on dialup, possibly take several hours to download, that is if your system doesn't time out first.
I should also advise you that if you are still using IE6 by choice, but have a modern hi speed Internet service, you should dump IE6 and get the newest version of Internet Explorer that will run on your machine, or any of the other modern web browsers. And there are reasons why Google Chrome is the web browser of choice for most Internet users. And, best of all, all of these modern browsers are FREE! All you do is Google the browser you want, click it; you get right to the site and then just follow the download instructions. You'd be amazed at how much more nicely stuff works and how many more great features you can use that IE6 has no way of delivering to you. And if you are still clinging to an old relic of a computer from the mid nineties, well, all bets are off as to what you can even access on the Internet or how jumbled and screwed up many modern web pages will look. Get a newer computer! They're not that expensive and they work so much better and faster than the relics of the nineties.
Regarding our on-line subscription methods, I tried another experiment, that of offering automatic subscription renewal. However, nobody wanted that, so that has gone away. I won't renew your subscription when it is up for renewal. YOU will renew it if you want to. I send you notices along with each new issue when you are within a couple of issues of having your present subscription end, and so you should pay attention when you see that so you can renew on time and not miss an issue. Regarding the on-line issues, I generally will give you a complimentary copy of the newest issue even after your subscription has expired, but I can't afford to be too generous with continuing free subscriptions. H&W has never been out to be a big moneymaking operation; those of us who are involved with its production do so for the love of our hobby and not with the idea of making a buck, but we can't afford to have it become an expense; that is, financially, H&W has to be self-sustaining. So, when your subscription is getting close to ending, it's entirely up to you if you renew or not. I certainly hope that you will renew, but I will not automatically renew it for you. I must admit that I don't like auto-renewal at all. Even though it could be a convenience, I just don't care for some other entity suddenly slipping a charge on my credit card even if it is for something that I want. Absolutely nobody, when given that option, chose to have us auto-renew his subscription. I have seen auto-renewal in many other publications, so I figured I would offer it for H&W subscribers. But since you did not want it, it's gone.
And if you are still without a computer by choice, although actually most likely you would not be reading this if you weren't on a computer (or smart phone) although somebody else could have told you about this page, but anyhow, listen to this: everybody whom I know who held out for years on getting a computer and who finally did get one marvels at how much easier it makes many tasks and how useful it has become in a very short time. Also, please don't say that you “are too old to use a computer.” I had a friend who lived to be 101 years old. He had been using computers for the last 31 years, which means he was 70 when he started learning.I started using a computer when I was 54. I will admit, it was new to me and it was complicated. But I'm very glad that I did indeed take the necessary time to learn.
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