Helping a friend
I’ve spent a few minutes on the phone with my friend, Paul Moor from Berlin, this morning. He’s evaluating NEO, Nelson Email Organizer, an alternate interface for Microsoft’s Outlook. In the process of installing it, he also chose to install some other program that added additional toolbars that he found objectionable to his Browser and to Outlook. I helped him remove those from both applications.
In the course of our discussion, he mentioned that he didn’t understand how to use Favorites. After giving hime some introductory instruction about that, I searched Google for “using favorites” and found a couple of neat resources. This one, Using Favorites Effectively, gives a pretty good basic explanation. And this link has a Windows Media video that makes learning to use favorites a bit easier because you can listen, watch and see how the author of the video explains the process.
It would be very unproductive to surf for very long without knowing how to save the sites you visit so that you can revisit them when you want to. I’m pleased to have the chance to share this technique with him.
You know you’re getting old when …
Last night I received an email from my friend, David Steele, in which he questioned whether I had ever thought about writing a book that summarized the lessons I’d learned through the years in my profession. His suggestion was at once flattering and just a little bit sobering. It recalled an experience I had many years ago at the Decatur First Christian Church. Ralph Smith, the pastor, commented about a group to which I belonged that we were going to have to revise our opinion about ourselves as “radical young thinkers” because we were no longer young and quite frankly our thoughts weren’t all that radical any more either.
I’m flattered that David thinks my experiences in organizations are worth committing to paper and that they might possibly have some value to others. On the other hand, I don’t feel nearly old enough to be ready to write my memoirs. It’s one of those activities that one tends to see as a possibility that lies out there in that distant future somewhere, but of course, those who do write their memoirs have to do it before they’ve “finished” their lives. So all of them are works in progress, I suppose.
At any rate, David’s suggestion provided me an opportunity for some interesting contemplation. And it reminded me of the fact that time is fleeting. I think we all need three lives — one of them to learn how to live a worthwhile life, one of them to actually live it, and one to reflect on and summarize that life for posterity. It is the rare individual who combines those three lives into one.
Thanks, David, for your thought-provoking message.
PBASE Announces Changes
PBASE announced recently that it was changing from a totally free site to a fee based system. I am not surprised.
Chuck “Slug” Neel, the Chapil Hill resident who is the owner and operator of the site, has finally accepted the fact that he can’t continue to permit people to submit photos for free. As of December 2002 over 7 million photos from people all over the world are posted there. For a long time, Slug has had a request at the site suggesting that people voluntarily submit “contributions” to support the expenses of operating it, but as of about February 1, he’s going to restrict access to those galleries that haven’t paid up. I certainly can’t blame him for this action, and over the weekend, I submitted a payment to cover the costs of the photos that I have posted there.
Slug’s decision is another instance of the trend that I believe we’ll see more of in the future. The days of free sites on the Internet is over. We’ll soon begin talking about “the good old days” of the early years on the Internet.
When I first began using computers back in the 80’s, the acronym RTFM was quite popular. And it remains so, because so many people would rather ask someone how to do something than to spend the energy to learn themselves. Since the advent of the Internet, the correllary to RTFM is STFW. It stands for “Search the Fucking Web.” Those same folks who won’t read the manual are still around, and they are now too lazy to type a search term into the Google search engine and review the results to find the answers to their questions. They “don’t have the time,” they tell you, to do that. They apparently think you have unlimited time to meet their needs in explaining what you have learned from doing the things they don’t have the time to do.
Having vented my spleen at the lazy bastards who rely on others to help them learn how to use technology, let me now acknowledge that I too have benefitted from the instruction that others have shared with me online. So I really should shut up and realize that I am as guilty as anyone else of doing these things.
One of the places where I have benefitted most from the knowledge and expertise of other people is at the Retouching forum at Digital Photography Review. This collection of folks with a similar interest has been exceptionally helpful in learning how to improve the digital photos I have taken. If you have a hobby and want to gain expertise in pursuing it, Interenet Interest Groups provide a wonderful source of support and expertise. If you are willing to devote the time to lurk and follow the threads as one person helps another, it is amazing how much you can pick up.
A New Beginning
January 1, 2003. A new day. A new year. A chance to start again.
One never knows how many more such chances he’ll get, but I, like most people, tend to live as if the supply of new opportunities were unlimited. Intellectually, I know it is not, but emotionally I am seduced into the hallucination that I’ll do something I’ve been intending to do on that day out there in the future when it feels right for me to do it. So as 2002 closed the book on another year of uncompleted to-do lists, I begin 2003 with the hope that it is filled with more days when those lists are completed before I lay my head on the pillow each night. If I did that, then 2003 would be a success for me.