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Tuesday, April 03, 2012

New Orleans, The Final Four and CorelDRAW Unleashed

At first glance, this post has a lot to do with college sports. What most people don't know is that there is a huge connection between the CorelDRAW Unleashed products, New Orleans and the Final Four. Let's first talk about the results of last night's National Championship game and then I'll explain the connection. The Jayhawks showed the heart of a champion by never giving up, but they didn't have enough to overcome Kentucky. Congratulations to the Wildcats.

Now let's roll the clock back to the Spring of 1993. All of the plans fell into place with Sams Publishing for CorelDRAW 4 Unleashed. The contracts were signed on March 17, 1993. That's right, St. Patrick's Day. Once the contracts were done, the Table of Contents needed to be finalized and the writing tasks divided among the three authors. All that was accomplished over the next two weeks. In the meantime, my Kansas Jayhawks were winning basketball games and advancing to the Final Four in New Orleans.

With each basketball season, my mother and I had an agreement that we would meet at the Final Four if Kansas was playing. She was a long-time season ticket holder and would be able to get tickets to the game. Admittedly, they weren't very good tickets as we were near the top of the Superdome. The semifinals were held on April 3, 1993 and we saw Kansas fall to North Carolina. Not the desired result, but it was still fun to be there for the atmosphere of such big games. With the Championship game left to play, there was a day to explore New Orleans and we certainly did that.

There was also a little free time and that is where I wrote the first words of my first chapter. What may surprise many people is the fact that the first chapter was written on a Mac laptop. I didn't have a laptop of my own so I borrowed one from the Font Company where I worked. I left the company at the end of 1993 and they closed their doors in 1994. There are some readers who consider my post Why You Shouldn't Expect a Mac Version of CorelDRAW to be some sort of a dislike for the Mac. If it were profitable for Corel, I'm all for it as that would lead to more users who need the training and content we provide. Because the first book started on a Mac, it does hold a very important place in the history of the company.

The Championship Game was held on April 5, 1993 and North Carolina beat Michigan for the title. What many people remember is the time out called by Chris Webber that led to a technical foul because Michigan had already used all of their time outs. Even though it was nineteen years ago, I remember it well.

Now let's move forward ten years to 2003. Once again Kansas advanced to the Final Four and it just happened to be played at the Superdome in New Orleans again. I didn't get to spend as much time with my mom on this trip as a friend had secured some amazing seats from one of the corporate sponsors. Kansas won their semifinal game on April 5, 2003 to advance to the Championship game against Syracuse.

While I would love to tell you I got some writing done on this trip, it just didn't happen. I was in the early stages of preparing CorelDRAW 12 Unleashed which was the first title I self-published. It's release was almost exactly a year later so I did take time on that trip to discuss ideas with those around me. Outside of the games, one of the highlights was a small dinner at K-Pauls with coaches Jerry Tarkanian and Bruce Weber. I was lucky enough to sit next to Tark and thoroughly enjoyed talking basketball with him as we ate an amazing dinner.

Kansas lost the Championship game on April 7, 2003 as Carmelo Anthony put on quite a show and the Jayhawks were unable to make free throws. It was so close to being the perfect Final Four experience. Unfortunately it was also the last time I was with my mother at a Final Four. She never got to see the Jayhawks win a Championship in person. I was in San Antonio in 2008 when the Jayhawks did win in amazing fashion. While she wasn't there with me, I know she was with me in spirit.

So now you know the story of how CorelDRAW Unleashed is linked to the Final Four and New Orleans. I didn't go to the games this year, but I was certainly watching them on television and in some small way they will be woven into the upcoming CorelDRAW X6 Unleashed series.

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