I've made the papers! Sharing the limelight with the Guide Dogs is icing on the cake. Just good luck, I guess.
Then, about once a quarter, I take a deep breath, clear some time on my schedule and commit to reducing the number of unread messages to something less than a hundred. I have no idea why I don't go for zero. Maybe, by comparison, "only a hundred" sounds pretty good. Go figure.
So here's the cool stuff. I use Gmail and it allows me to sort my inbox by "importance" and if I take the time to train Gmail on what is or is not important to me, it will properly sort my email to bring those "gems" to the top of my inbox. Then, all I have to do is delete the other stuff. So, while writing this article, I've been popping in and out of my Gmail account and selecting and deleting messages. In the space of about 20 minutes, I've deleted a whopping 200 messages. That was sarcasm, in case it didn't come across properly!
Let's try a different approach. I'm going back to my email and I'm going to move all of my "important" email into a folder, then see if I can make more progress more quickly. Well, that works pretty well. In the space of about 15 minutes, I've moved about 100 messages to my "keepers" folder and I have deleted another 500 messages from the fodder. Along the way, I am training Gmail on what it should consider important for me.
That's all I'm going to say for now. I'll have to produce a short video to illustrate the process. Eventually, my instructional videos will be organized, categorized and monetized, as I complete my newest website project to offer subscriptions to my one to one video teaching series.
Until then, I'll keep working on managing my email. Be careful who you befriend via email and watch yourself when those subscription forms ask for your address, or soon you'll have thousands of unread email messages in your inbox, just like me!
To be continued....
So, it took me six days to find my way back to this topic. In the interim, I searched a bit for the proper title of this post, to allay fears of potential copyright violation. I've found that the phrase "Cognitive Impairment Is Not Inevitable" returns many results, so perhaps there is no problem with using this phrase as a title. That premise notwithstanding, I've already named this post more succinctly.
On with the show; there is some concern regarding the topic of cognitive impairment and I'm told that "mild cognitive impairment" is a phrase commonly used to describe elderly people during assessment. They are assessed as a part of the standard operating procedure of elder housing communities, whether that means independent, assisted living, or nursing homes or memory care communities. The point being that this impairment is pretty commonplace among the elderly and the premise of this article is that computer use can slow or perhaps reduce that deficiency. Much more research is in order, as usual, and this author intends to study the subject further, before posting much more about it.
Let me just say this. I am very interested in finding funding for research in this area. I would like to have the opportunity to work with people in a nearly completely uncontrolled study, to find if the use of computers and especially the use of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogging, and any other "scrap booking" types of activity on computers will help to preserve memories, or even be the impetus for bringing memories to the surface for preservation.
At the risk of obviousness, allow me to point out the double-entendre here. A blog (the noun) might be a readily available place for some memory-rich person to share their experience with the world, while at the same time, blogging (the verb) might the the very activity that helps that same person to not lose the memories they have available to share with us. OK, so, blogging preserves memory and memories, the memory of the writer and their memories for the reader.
Recently, I met a lady named Blanche. My friend, Gene Shaw, told me that this lady's family moved to a different country each time a new child was added to the brood. Wouldn't you love to hear about that experience? I seriously want to know what it was like for a child to grow up in many different cultures. With some luck, I'll have a chance to chat with this lady again, and I'll ask her a few more questions. One of those questions will be: "Would you be willing to spend some time with me, so I can write down some of the memories you have about your childhood experiences?" If I get that chance, this blog will take a turn, for sure.
Until then, think of who you may know that should get on board with blogging. If you need any help getting started, or getting them started, look me up and ask me for help.
MouseHelp at Rouzell
Watching CBS Sunday Morning, old Charley narrates a bit of history about the Oscar Winning Movie (the first Best Picture Oscar), "Wings".
Having just tweeted this, for the purpose of citation, now I see I also get to provide a short link URL for you here: http://bit.ly/z9k3gr
Scroll to the end of page one for the problem (possible data loss).
Now reading : Remembering "Wings," the 1st Best Picture : http://bit.ly/z9k3gr via @CBSNews - Best illustration of the importance of backup!
That's 140 characters - count 'em, if you must. Word will do this for you. Click the Review tab, then in the Proofing group, choose Word Count. There's a free lesson on MS Word for you - but it took me right off topic. Yes, this is another article about backup.
Near the end of the segment on the "Wings" movie, the discussion turns to finding the best copy of the movie. The studio searched everywhere for a good copy, because the one they had was deteriorating as "nitrate stock" film does. Use that link above and scroll to page two of the story to find the punch line.
Or, don't - here it is. They (the studio) had made a backup copy of the film in the 1950's. Do we really need to continue? Well, maybe we do.
Now I want to see that movie. But what I want more than that, for you, my dear reader, is to know that you have the foresight of a movie studio and you are backing up your precious data. Today, that may include video footage, music, words (a precious script, perhaps) and your memories in photographs. All of that data is analogous to the material that goes into making a great film. It also makes up the story of your life.
Wait, there's more! You say you have photos, films, music, and material that is not in digital format on your computer? Eeeyikes! How will you preserve that? The most obvious solution; find someone who can do that conversion for you. My recommendation, Heirloom Productions and Gene Shaw. You could look it up, but here it is, the easy way: http://goo.gl/pF5uh
How do we get those short links? That's a topic for another post. Keep coming back for more - right after you run your next data backup.
Rouzell Enterprises, Inc.
Mousehelp at Rouzell dot com.
The simple solution is to stop using IE. Google Chrome, among many other players in this space, does a better job, with less overhead (in this humble writer's opinion - ITHWO?). There are other browsers and you have a choice. The choice you make might be based on this one piece of information: Microsoft IE is not a standards-based browser. Go ahead and search that phrase, to find the truth for yourself.
As much as Microsoft has created an industry that provides some modicum of revenue for my business needs, I have to bite the hand that feeds me here. Long ago, I began recommending Google as a better browser. Many of my new clients still use IE and suffer the pains of some of the "features" that come with that software. Alright, I'll admit it, I still use IE; mainly because some websites have been tweaked to work with it. But that is the point I make here; why should a website creator have to tweak his website to comply with Microsoft's lack of compliance with web standards? Does that sound silly to you?
That's all I'm going to say, except to suggest this: Google this phrase... "CSS the missing manual IE=Edge" and read that page. It clearly explains the conundrum of coding needed to make Microsoft IE8 play nice with web pages. OK, I'm done.
It’s bad enough that data may be lost in so many ways; hard drives crash, people steal things, lightning strikes, floods, pestilence, locusts. OK, that was a bit extreme, but you get my point. Things can happen that will cause your computer to fail, or to become unavailable to you, or more simply to deny you access to your precious files, photos, music, videos and all those programs you’ve installed and your favorites, bookmarks, links to things you may never use again, they are all lost when disaster strikes.
Unless you’ve been listening to the constant nagging mentioned above, and like a well-behaved child, you’ve taken the advice and backed up your hard drive, or at least your personal data files on the hard drive in one of the many ways soon to be described, yet again, in this article. Why, you might ask, am I saying this again? Because it’s 9:35 PM and I am babysitting an XCOPY DOS command, which is faithfully executing a transfer of data from a failing hard drive. And, as much as I am OK with having this work to do, you don’t want me to have to do it for you, too.
There are at least three ways you can protect your data; Cloud based storage (the latest thing), some external device (old faithful), and data synchronization (a kind of hybrid method that uses the cloud and other computers to mirror data directories).
There is no other purpose to backing up your data, except certainty that you can retrieve it when necessary. This is the bottom line, right in the middle of this article. That being said, here is one method; synchronization.
After a brief review of cloud-based backup services, including well-known names like Mozy and Carbonite, I settled on SugarSync. You may already know why, based on the name. Those other names in online backup are focused on ease of use, “set it and forget it” installation and configuration. For me, I chose synchronization, so I get backup and restore. In essence, that is what happens – my data is backed up to the cloud, then “restored” to a directory on another computer. Actually, there are three other computers. The likelihood of data loss is further reduced by the fact that each computer lives in a different environment. One is at home, one in my office, one is in an office in another city and one is a laptop. The chances of all four computers being lost, stolen, or dying simultaneously are pretty slim.
Even with all of that certainty, here is another backup method – disk image backup to a local external drive. Each of my computers has been backed up (at least once) by creating an image of the entire drive, and that file is stored on another disk. Given that hard drives today hold hundreds or thousands of gigabytes of data and there are only tens of gigs to preserve, there’s plenty of room for this method. For this, you can use a product called Shadow Protect desktop, made by StorageCraft. It’s not cheap, but it’s easy to understand and run and it can be used for continuous incremental updates. The only drawback here is that you really should store your backup drive in a location other than right next to your computer. One of my clients had his backup drive stolen along with his primary computer. He will not be restoring his lost data from that drive. That’s the problem with local backup. This leads us to one more method.
You can get a 16 or 32 or even 64 GB USB drive with a backup program built into it. This handy little gadget provides the simplest method of protection. You plug it in, answer a few questions, and in a few minutes you’ll have all of your important documents in your hand. The downside is; it is a handy little gadget, which means it is easily lost. You must now protect it with all of the fervor commensurate with the value of the data on it. That means lock it in a safe, or at least keep it as safe as you would your car keys or your wallet. In other words, know where it is and don’t misplace it. Lose this little gadget and this backup strategy is pointless.
That’s it for now. I could beat this up a bit more by telling you how hard it is to put a dollar value on photos and documents you have created and stored on your computer. But, I won’t. I’ll simply repeat the basics here. Start backing up your data as soon as you realize it is valuable to you. Use one of the three methods mentioned here. Get a USB drive, use disk imaging software, or subscribe to some online backup service. Just do something before your computer is lost, or stolen, or simply dies from any number of natural or unnatural causes.
Well, that's nowhere near the punch line. Wait for it! Wait for it....
One site that links back to rouzell.com is: http://www.reocities.com/Augusta/8928/ This is a website I created way back when, like around 1996 or 1997, It was updated a few times, like when our beloved Champagne died and I created a digital memorial to her life and times. She was a real beauty! But, that's not the punch line.
ReoCities turns out to be the Phoenix of GeoCities, an early "do-it-yourself" website creation website that allowed you to put together a site using some pretty basic file transfer utilities. It was pretty slick for the time and I thought it was a good idea to create these neighborhoods, or cities, and you could choose where your website would be listed. I chose Augusta, based on my passion for golf at that time. GeoCities was purchased by Yahoo!, who then shut down the site (for reasons I can only assume had to do with a lack of revenue - so you have to wonder why they bought it in the first place!) and if you were unfortunate enough to have spent any time on your creations there, you were about to be left high and dry by the then almighty, Yahoo! Enter ReoCities. Just one letter away from the aforementioned GeoCities, created specifically for the purpose of collecting and redeploying most of the data comprising GeoCities.
Go ahead and type in reocities.com and read all about it. When you get to the end of the story, click the last link on the right. Where it says, "madebyabi" and read some of that stuff. This guy is a "GeekJock", self-proclaimed and he freely offers links back to his sites, his email, etc. I dropped him a line to thank him for his efforts to help transition geo to reo in the cities resurrection.
OK, there's no punch line. This was just another example of random ramblings about how one thing leads to another and the path is as much fun as the destination. In the end, I relived a bit of history and found a new online resource for cool things done solely for the purpose of just being good, I guess. Also, I'm following Abi Noda on Twitter now, just to see what he is up to lately.
This post will find a short link and introduction on Twitter in a few minutes. For now, this is all I have to say. Here's hoping you found this enlightening or at least somewhat entertaining. I know I did.
Recent events, as mentioned above, include two computer thefts and one computer crash, along with just some strange behavior that is causing some anxiety. The first three result in irretrievable data-loss, while that last one presents a challenge, but will be resolved. Here’s the thing; data backup should be one of the first few things you install and configure on a new computer. Very few computer users will not create data that is irreplaceable. I’ve met a few myself, but I’m on the other side of the spectrum, with tens of gigabytes of data that is important to me. My stuff is protected at least two or three different ways and I’m going to share with you three strategies I use for this process. Each has its merits and each has its cost and return on investment.
Whenever I talk about data backup, I talk about return on investment. It only takes a moment to draw the analogy to data restoration. There is no other purpose to backing up your data, except certainty that you can retrieve it when necessary. This is the bottom line, right in the middle of this article. That being said, here is method one - synchronization.
After a brief review of cloud-based backup services, including well known names like Mozy and Carbonite, I settled on SugarSync. You may already know why, based on the name. The biggest names in online backup are focused on ease of use, “set it and forget it” installation and configuration. For me, I chose synchronization, so I get backup and restore. In essence, that is what happens - my data is backed up to the cloud, then “restored” to a directory on another computer. Actually, there are three other computers. The likelihood of data loss is further reduced by the fact that each computer lives in a different environment. One is at home, one in my office, one is in a home office in another city and one is a laptop. The chances of all four computers being lost, stolen, or dying simultaneously are pretty slim. Even with all of that certainty in my case, I’ll tell you about method two - disk image backup to a local external drive.
I’ve backed up each of my computers (at least once) by creating an image of the entire drive, which creates a file to be stored on another disk. Given that hard drives today hold hundreds or thousands of gigabytes of data and I only have tens of gigs to preserve, there’s plenty of room for this method. I’ve been through a few computers in the last decade and I have images of those drives stored somewhere on other drives. For this, I use a product called ShadowProtect desktop, made by StorageCraft. It’s not cheap, but it’s easy to understand and run and it can be used for continuous incremental updates. The only drawback here is that you really should store your backup drive in a location other than right next to your computer. One of the victims of computer theft had his backup drive stolen along with his primary computer. He will not be restoring his lost data from that drive. That’s the problem with local backup. Which leads us to method three.
You can get a 16 or 32 GB USB drive with a backup program built into it. This handy little gadget provides the simplest method of protection. You plug it in, answer a few questions, and in a few minutes you’ll have all of your important documents in your hand. The downside is, it is a handy little gadget, which means it’s very easy to lose. You must now protect it with all of the fervor commensurate with the value of the data on it. That means lock it in a safe, or at least keep it as safe as you would your car keys or your wallet. In other words, know where it is and don’t misplace it. Lose this little gadget and your backup strategy is pointless.
That’s it for now. I could beat this up a bit more by telling you how hard it is to put a dollar value on photos and documents you’ve created and stored on your computer. But, I won’t. I’ll simply repeat the basics here. Start backing up your data as soon as you realize it is valuable to you. Use one of the three methods mentioned here. Get a USB drive, use disk imaging software, or subscribe to some online backup service. Just do do something before your computer is lost, or stolen, or simply dies from any number of unnatural causes.
Yesterday, I saw an email from "ProPay.net" with the subject line: "Brian Rouley sale bil 1308838083" - telling me that my account would be "debited of $436.00 USD" - with other non-sensical details. Like the numbers did not add up, the columns were not aligned and a return address in the header of PlugnPay.net - which did not match the From: information in line one. Enough said?
You know (if you know me), it's never enough. Don't click the link, don't send a reply, don't even think about clicking any of the live hyperlinks in this message. There is no bill (or bil), your account will not be debited for any of the four different dollar amounts (also malformed - 416.00$ 1 414.00$ ) and there is no tracking method or profile for you to manage. It is all bogus and almost clever, given that most people will want to know where they've inadvertently spent over $400 on something they don't remember. You didn't, so don't go looking for trouble.
Lucky for us, the email has enough evidence to convince even the casual reader that it cannot be real. Without the spelling errors, there are still many incongruities (there's a $10 word I've never used before...) to clue in even the least vigilant reader t0 the idea that whoever sent this email must be a moron. Clicking the links or looking for a way to avoid the "debited of" penalty will be an expensive move at this point. Blacklist the sender, trash the email and move on with your day.
That's all for now. Later today, I'll post the full content of the email and provide a link to it, so you can see for yourself how bad it really is!
MouseHelp at Rouzell.com
One complaint I often hear is this: "I've received this email message and I want to just pick up the phone and call, but there is no contact information here!" The solution is obvious and fairly easy to implement. You simply include a signature at the end of your message. To be clear, to create this solution for the recipient is simple for the sender. We will discuss Outlook here, but if you need to work with signatures on a Mac, just search: "apple mail signature file" to find pages that will walk you through what you need to do. Or, just search "email signature file" and you'll get a lot more information on how to use these things.
In Microsoft Outlook, depending on the version you are using, the instructions will be something like this. In MS Office Outlook 201o, click on New Email and then click the Insert tab at the top of the ribbon. Under Signature, you'll find a drop down menu and there you select, Signatures, to get started. Click New and name your signature file. This suggests further use of this feature, which I'll cover later. For now, just type a name and hit enter. Not much will change in the window, but the name of the Sig file will be in the top left window pane. Click in the lower window pane and let the artist in you begin this creative exercise.
I could go into many of the options available to you here, but I would rather cover the basics of a sig file. For instance, one of my signatures has this information:
Yes, I am changing my company name to MouseHelp, but that is an entirely different subject. The point here is to observe the simplicity of name, email address and phone number. In my case you may have a company name and perhaps some catchphrase or slogan that supports your identity. For me, less is more, as I simply want you to go to my website, send email or call me and all of those options are presented with that signature. Enough said? Maybe not.
Earlier I alluded to the idea that you can use these things for more than one purpose. As an example, let's say that I want to advise my senders on the virtues of having a signature file in their email messages. I might create another sig file that includes those basic elements, but adds a paragraph:
To help your email recipients get
back to you as quickly as possible,
add a signature to your messages.
In Outlook, I can choose which signature goes on each email, so adding this second paragraph to a second sig file allows me to encourage my senders and lead by example with my own signature. Pedantic, yes - self-serving, too, but if you want to be a crusader for change, start with your circle of influence, I say. I'm sure you can think of a number of other uses for lines of information you use often and each of those could constitute a sig file to be used where appropriate. Let your imagination work on this for a few moments and you'll probably come up with a handful of custom sig files you can apply to any situation.
That's all I'm going to say on this topic, except to say that you'll have to find the signature feature and how to make it work for you in whatever email client software you use. Even Gmail and other online services provide this facility. Learn to use it and you'll wonder how you ever lived without it.
Email is still a "killer app", but blogging is quickly becoming the best way to get the word out to more people. It's the difference between push and pull. Go figure. For me, I'll be sending emails to my client base, pushing out information about information they can pull from my blog. Take care and as always, enjoy!
When buying a new computer, if you are not a "power user", buy a minimum of 4 GB of RAM. You can add RAM later, if necessary. Seriously! BR
While pondering how I would begin this article, I searched the term, "power user" and found little help with understanding this expression. Then, I searched "power user definition" and got a lot more help. Go ahead, try it. The title of this article came from my thinking about the term "power user" and whether or not that expression was used early in the twentieth century, when power distribution was relatively new.
I was trying to determine whether or not I am a power user. Short answer is, no, I don't think so. Backing up another step, I should tell you what I was really thinking is that although I recommend 4 GB of RAM as a bare minimum for new Windows 7 systems, here I am working on a system that I upgraded to 2 GB of RAM, then upgraded to Windows 7 and I am willing to suffer the pain of the inevitable message: "System Memory is Low." Based on that evidence and one definition of power user, I am not a power user. So, here we go.
If you are going to buy a computer today, 4 GB of RAM will likely be enough memory to allow you to run several applications simultaneously, without Windows complaining about running out of memory. It is interesting to note that many Windows XP systems with 512 MB of RAM (often times this RAM is shared by on-board video display adapters) are overdue for replacement. These computers were probably once pretty zippy, with speed and power to spare. Consider Microsoft's approach to releasing software that is not fully baked and missing a few ingredients, and you'll quickly see that with every "Windows Update" released, the RAM required by Windows' OS grows. That leaves less RAM available for the applications that are opened after Windows is up and running. In other words, Windows XP might have been happy with 256 MB of RAM, before all those updates and SP3, but now almost all of that 512 MB is used just to run the system. You could spend a couple hundred bucks to upgrade the RAM, or put that money to better use, applying it to your new PC purchase.
Given that I am running low on RAM with 2 GB and only a few apps running, it makes sense to plan for the future (and by that I mean the growth of Windows 7 on your computer via updates) and get at least 4 GB at the outset.
You may want to add RAM in a couple of years, but it will likely be cheaper to
upgrade later, just search; "price of ram over time" to see what I mean.
We'll not go into processor speed just yet. We can, however, celebrate the end of the Celeron era. To that end, I'll say; if it says "Celeron" on the front of your computer, plan to hand it to a responsible recycler for scrap. Even someone who has no computer may be better off than someone with a slow processor!
Buy as much speed and power as you can afford with your next computer purchase. But do insist on at least 4 GB of RAM with whatever you buy.
That's all for now. Five hundred seventy-eight words later, maybe you should have been happy with the Twitter version!
That is not what drew me back to post, though. What did is the realization that whenever I find something that works for me, I feel an obligation to share it with my people. That's you, if you are reading this!
The title of this entry came from my search results for a tool to remove duplicate items from Outlook (that's part of Microsoft Office 2010 Professional Plus - if you really must know). You'd think they would have an acronym for that by now. Anyhow, I found a tool called ODIR. In my mind, pronounced; "Oh Dear!" That acronym stands for - you might have guessed - Outlook Duplicate Items Remover.
I would take the time to go through the set up and operation of this utility, but their help file is adequate and should fill that need. One caveat is that they have not updated their instructions to account for the change from menus to the ribbon implemented in the 201o version of Outlook. So, I'll provide this one clue: Add-ins tab is where you'll find the new tool. From there, it's pretty easy to see what you can do.
If you need more help with any or all of this, click back over to Rouzell.com or the new MouseHelp.com for my contact information and call or write. I'll talk to you then, or see you soon, whichever is most appropriate to your need.
Much of the story is easy to predict, but the way it unfolds, although at times approaching tediosity (yes, it is a word, obsolete as it may be), keeps you hoping for a brighter outcome. You are not disappointed, even if one of the characters does in the end leave you wanting. References to Elton John and the somewhat scant music reflecting the time makes it a pretty entertaining package. The last scene accented by Led Zeppelin is extremely satisfying.
Lessons learned; people who write descriptions of movies for Netflix sleeves should do a bit more to invite curiosity. And, sometimes you have to hang in there when things are going slow and even if this story is predictable to a large degree, it does not lack value. Also, sometimes you have to turn on the subtitles for an English film. If we hadn’t done so, we would have missed a lot of this movie.
We don’t do the thumbs version of movie reviews in my house. We sometimes say, “Nobody saw this movie. Too bad for them.” This was one of those times. It would pay you well to seek out this film and given the feel good finish, you’ll know you gained something by the experience.
In the inimitable style of Porky the Pig; inimi, inimi, inimi - that's all folks!
Imagine that this could happen to you.... Your significant other breaks up with you because you are an arrogant (insert profane derogatory term here) and you storm back to your dorm room to drink and write nasty things in your blog. This leads to the further mischief of writing computer code that becomes the basis for a billion dollar company. OK, now imagine zero. Now imagine infinity and beyond. It seems a little far-fetched, wouldn't you say?
Maybe it happened that way. Maybe it didn't. I heard that Bill Gates (also portrayed in this movie) at some point would not talk to you if you were not a technical minded person. He considered it a waste of time. How we got to this point with the Internet and how we got to the point where social networking is done through computer applications seems strange to me. The history of the creation of the Internet is somehow far more compelling than the story of Facebook - but I still liked the movie.
And now I know that I've used further and farther in the same blog post. So, that's one more thing that I no longer don't know. The difference is so subtle and so severe at the same time - something like a spelling error would point out the subtle difference between severe and sever - so I'll cut it off here.
An overview of what will be taught and a little bit about my style of instruction
So, now, studying the 500+ pages of "The Missing Manual" on CSS will be a bit easier and far less boring. You have to love a great resource - but now I truly love online tutorials!
By the way, you might not understand the title of this post until you read "Exploring CSS for my websites" on mousehelp.org - Enjoy!
8 AM - time for breakfast. More, later.....