Sunday, July 31, 2011

Pure Brilliance

A good friend sent me this link.  Rather than try to summarize the whole thing, head on over to read yourself.  A very good video is included there.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


A favorite feature on one of the (too?) many blogs I read is the book reviews done over at Scriblets. I don’t know Bleets personally, but I can tell from his subject selections and thoughtful reviews that I would like to meet him one day. Although I cannot hope to emulate his style, I am compelled to tell you about a book I am reading right now.

It is rare that a non-fiction book will grab my throat as this one has. Okay, I’m a “greenie” anyway, but Alan Weisman comes at ecology from a whole different angle. The World Without Us looks at how the earth will react should humans just disappear.

If you’ve ever noticed the tiny plants that are growing in the asphalt cracks or plastic bags blocking a storm drain grate during a heavy rain (or like we see in Phoenix – floating high above the traffic on heat currents and exhaust) or the sad crumbling of abandoned buildings surrounded by tall weeds, you will understand immediately what Weisman is trying to tell you.

A quote from the book:
"'If you want to destroy a barn,’ a farmer once told me, ‘cut an eighteen-inch-square hole in the roof. Then stand back.’”
--- architect Chris Riddle, Amherst, Massachusetts
Beginning with a look at a typical human home through lightning flashes of time, Weisman zooms out to the world as a whole. With a segue into the far distant past that began without humans, we are led step by step into where we are today. Then, with the stories from individual leading scientists and fellow human beings, we begin to see example after example of how humans are affecting the planet and what would happen after we are gone.
From the book jacket

This can get rather frightening to think about and frankly, some of it is scaring me silly.  Yet, while the book reveals the horrible impact we are having right now and indicates the lingering poisons we will leave behind, I can’t help but notice the feeling of peace and, yes, hope that surrounds me. After the humans are gone and even allowing for the crap left behind us, the earth WILL survive and hopefuly, thrive.

BUT, the trick is in the timing. We need to take a serious look at what we are doing and how we are doing it. It’s time to straighten up our acts right now.

I picked up my copy from the public library. The Copyright is 2007 so I’m willing to bet you can find this book almost anywhere and I heartily encourage you to do so!

Updated 7-27-11: Corrected formatting error on book title.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A File Sharing Tool I Actually Use

Several times in the last year or so, I would run across an article here and there on the topics of backing up your work, file sharing, online storage of documents, etc. Each article would list several methods such as emailing documents to yourself or Google Docs or other stuff.

I’ve been emailing myself for years. (I rarely answer me, though. **snort**) However, it isn’t fool proof. A couple of weeks ago, I emailed in to the office that I wasn’t feeling well and was taking the day off. That email was never delivered. A coworker finally called me to find out if I was okay.

Lately I’ve been working with Google Docs for file sharing with one of my client groups. Let me say right out that I love Google. iGoogle is my home page. I use Blogger for this blog’s platform. (I finally forgave them for messing up the Google News format.) I use Google Scholar for tons of work research. I use Gmail for everything non-work related. BUT. I hate Google Docs.

Google Docs reformats everything you upload. You have to download the document to work on it or update it and if you don’t remember to upload it again, it isn’t there for the other people to use. And the same goes for the other users. So needless to say, there I was in a tight situation last week looking for a specific document only to find it GONE. And searching for something in that environment is touch and go, too. Major pain in the tuchis.

Along comes Dropbox. 9 out of 10 articles I read in the past year or so mentioned this unique program. It is a file sharing program for yourself and/or whoever else you’d like to share with. Download the program on every device you have – in my case it is my home laptop and my work laptop – and put your documents in there. It syncs automatically so no special equipment required. Nothing is reformatted. I can use my home Office 2007 with my work Office 2003 (hey, I work for a non-profit corporation) and it is the same document. I can work on it inside Dropbox just as if it was in a file on my hard drive. And it stays there. You can even find your stuff from any computer – just remember your log-in information. 

Last week I had a coworker walk up to me and thank me for cluing her into Dropbox.  She's a Girl Scout Leader who had tons (literally!) of cookies to account for and this program makes it much easier to keep the documents updated.

Go take a look. Watch the virtual tour thingy. The first 2 gigs are free!

Note: I have no affliation to Dropbox.  Just another very satisfied customer here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

That Twangy Country Song...

Okay, I've been tossing around ideas on how to update you with my "situation" and pouring it all out like one of those horrible twangy country songs just is not me.  I'm a metal head after all!

So.  The shock and awe part is over and I'm recovering (and doing rather well with it too, I must say).  I'm very VERY lucky to have so many great friends who have shown their love and support for me.  It is the key reason that I'm able to write to you all now.

First.  I'm another one of those "victims" of the economy.  I'm in the middle of bankruptcy proceedings.  I could name names (Capital One and Bank of America) but I'll take the high road here and just say that I am so wonderfully glad to be living in the USA in 2011 where we do not have debtor's prison and there is a way to start over again.

Second.  After the bankruptcy discharges, my hubby and I will start divorce proceedings.  That was the punch in the stomach.  23 years of wedded "meh" finally took its toll on both of us.  After I was able to breathe again I discovered that he was right!  We DO need to part company! 

Third.  (I don't have one yet.  These things happen in three's so that will just be a place holder.  Ha-ha!)

Thanks to these one-two punches I actually have some hope in my life.  I really and truly get to start over.

Yay for me!  [cue up Steppenwolf here]

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pentel Handy-line S: A Review

Included in Pentel's goody bag were 3 different items in the Handy-line S category.  A dry marker in black, a highlighter in orange, and a permanent marker in dark blue.
 They all share the same basic barrel and retractable features which is really nice to have.  No more dropped caps that manage to roll way under your desk leaving you to crawl under there in your best slacks or worse, a skirt just as an important client enters your office causing you to bump your head as you scramble back up to your chair.  (Yeah, an old trope but since it happens in real life, accurate.)

First up, since I have a scanned writing sample, the permanent marker.  From the Pentel website:

Small size, big impact. Permanent marker Handy-line S features a retractable bullet tip that is conveniently compact. Made of 55% post-consumer material by weight. Easy twist, pull, and replace refill system.
Reverse side.  Come on now, we all KNEW there would be bleed through - even on Rhodia.

Nothing to write home about.  It's a marker.  The odor is still there and it writes just as deep and dark as you need it to be.

Next up, the highlighter.  From Pentel's website:

Small size, big impact. Retractable and refillable highlighter Handy-line S. Made of 54% post-consumer material by weight. Chisel tip. Advanced seal technology to maintain tip freshness. Pocket-safe clip self-retracts when clipped on. Easy twist, pull, and replace refill system.

Again, just a highlighter. Bright, flame orange and it works just as it should.

Finally, the dry erase marker.  From the website:
Small size with a big impact! Handy-line S Dry Erase Markers are new to the Pentel Recycology line. Made of 55% post-consumer recycled plastic, this retractable bullet tip whiteboard marker features a advanced seal technology to prevent drying out. The amazing low odor is ideal for use in any indoor or outdoor environment. The pocket safe clip will automatically retract tip. Smooth, compact and eco-friendly, this marker truly makes a statement! Available in three bold colors: black, red, and blue.
And it too performs just as it should. Since the line this marker makes is narrow, yet dark, this would be more for your personal whiteboard as opposed to one in the classroom or meeting room where you need a bolder line to be seen from a distance.

On a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being “meh” and 5 being “awesome”, I’d have to give the Handy-line S products a 3.5.  Points for being retractable, made from recycled materials, and according to their labels, refillable.  Points away for being just like everyone else at the end.

Updated to re-order the text that was shuffled when this post went "live."