Not to dwell…

The baby quail are delightful to watch. They get my mind off the unpleasant.

So. Apple contacted me at 7 a.m. yesterday. Just like they said they would. However the news was not good. At least the customer service was excellent with the tech keeping his word on when he’d call. He followed up with me several times throughout the process.

If you missed my post yesterday you can read it HERE to learn what happened.

“It looks like they have recovered all available files that could be recovered. They also stated that they will have no other ways to recover the data if it is still 
missing,” he said.

I looked through my computer to see what files they were able to recover. I noticed three and four copies of the files already there. So now I have a mess to clean up.

I felt a mourning loss for my work. I don’t look forward to my next newsletter that I have to start without the use of the two published newsletters to use as templates.

My son told me something I’ve never heard before. Ernest Hemingway lost 10 years of his work. It was all in one briefcase that he left on a train in France.

I’m not the only one to lose a manuscript. And it happened before computers and the cloud. Who knew?

“Did you know that D.H. Lawrence never edited his drafts?” My son told me. “He threw it out if he didn’t like it and started over.”

He told me to look at my NaNoWriMo missing manuscript as an opportunity, not a loss.

Thinking about that, he may be right. I get too married to my first rough draft. I make little edits here and there on later drafts, but I never get to the meat of throwing out scenes or restructuring my plot. I’ve submitted manuscripts to agents and publishers and have gotten interest. I’ve been given suggestions and have been asked for rewrites. But, after I resubmitted, I’d hear that I didn’t go far enough.

Do you find the silver lining in your mishaps? When life gives you lemons, do you make lemonade? Can you give an example?

Where did it go?

Mule deer
A mule deer I saw on my morning walk.

When I sat down at my laptop yesterday morning something didn’t look right. The folder on my desktop called “All My Files” wasn’t there. It was there before I went to sleep. Gone 10 hours later.

I googled how to restore files. How to find files. Apparently the OS I’m using can hide documents from view. I went through five ways to find my files. I went to icloud. My missing files are still missing.

Finally. I went to the Apple website to book an appointment at the local “genius bar.” Instead I clicked on “call.” They called within seconds. I spent more than three hours on the phone yesterday with two techs. They searched near and far and in the cloud for my files. They both asked me if I had backed up my files on a thumb drive or external hard drive.

“No.”

What was I thinking about? Why didn’t I? I realized it had to do with our move. My two external hard drives that used to sit by my computer at home….didn’t make it back to that handy place where I used them. Out of sight. Out of mind.

I found my bright orange La Cie external hard drive and it’s now sitting next to my computer. I won’t make the mistake thinking my computer automatically stores all my files on icloud. Some files are there. But the ones most important to me are not. My entire NaNoWriMo 50,000-word manuscript is gone. My newsletter files are gone. There’s a gap of a few days in May when I finished the newsletter that are missing. There’s a month when I wrote the manuscript that is gone.

I had both of these files open on my laptop. Where did they go?

I’ve learned my lesson to make copies and backups.

My case with Apple has been escalated to engineering. They “may” be able to restore my hard drive with all my files. Or they may not.

I’ll let you know tomorrow. In any case they were very helpful and didn’t chastise me for not backing up. But I learned my lesson. What’s left is backed up.

A mule deer catching afternoon shade against our fence. The mulies have nothing to do with my post today — except keep me calm with their beauty.

How often do you backup your computer? Have you experienced a computer snafu that stressed you out? What was it?

Too many emails

brother and sister photo
My brother and me before anyone had heard of emails.


Is anyone else suffering from a deluge of emails? I get hundreds every day.

I scan through them and delete them in batches of 100 or more. I can’t go through them one by one. It would take up hours each day.

Then I end up deleting the one or two emails that were important.

My son set me up with an email program that had folders that emails automatically went into. For example, all the WordPress emails ended up in the “Social” folder. My inbox would be small and manageable. Unfortunately, this savvy email program went belly up.

So, I’m back to wading through the dredges of advertisements. I find it annoying.

I feel like all the ads we get is defeating the value of emails. I unsubscribe, but the emails keep coming. I’ve never successfully unsubscribed from anything.

What are your thoughts on email? Do you have the same issue with too many and losing the important ones in the crowd? Any suggestions or solutions?

No can do

black and white book business close up
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Have you ever said the phrase “No can do?” I have and I remember a song from my college days that had those words in the chorus.

I ran across a story from the University of Washington that went viral because of their list of “problematic” words they produced for people in IT. It’s called “IT Inclusive Language Guide: A reference for software and other information technology content.” Here’s a link if you want to peruse the problem words.

I graduated from the U-Dub, as did my brother, mom, dad, aunt and two cousins. I’m proud of my alma mater normally. But today, not so much.

Without getting overly political, I feel censorship is getting out of hand. I don’t think it’s a one-sided issue, but it’s coming at us from all sides.

Changing our language and letting us know what words can and cannot be used I view as a type of censorship.

First, the list divided the offensive words into four distinct areas:

  • Race, Ethnicity, Nationality, Religion, Native/Indigenous Identity
  • Disability and Ableism
  • Ageism
  • Gender and sexual orientation

Grandfather makes the list of problematic words:

A “grandfather” clause, “grandfather” policy or “grandfathering” in IT s a provision in which an old rule continues to apply to some existing situations while a new rule will apply to all future cases. Those exempt from the new rule are said to have grandfather rights, acquired rights, or to have been grandfathered in.

Why it’s problematic:

“Grandfathering” or “grandfather clause” was used as a way to exempt some people from a change because of conditions that existed before the change (e.g., we’ve grandfathered some users on an unlimited data plan.”) “Grandfather clause” originated in the American South in the 1890s as a way to defy the 15th Amendment and prevent black Americans from voting.

They don’t like the phrase “brown bag lunch” either. I always thought it referred to the brown paper bag that I used to put my sandwich and apple in for school lunches. I didn’t know brown bag was referencing skin color. In fact whoever wrote this list, says it does — I’m not buying it. The damn paper bag has a brown color. That’s it.

No can do.

Other offensive words are mantra, cakewalk, ninja, guru, redline, peanut gallery and jerry-rigged. Oh yes, and the expression “no can do.”

Thoughts? Do you think the UW is going too far with their list of problem words? Or, do you think we need to be more sensitive? Do you view changing our language and being told what words we can and cannot use is a form of censorship?

Hall & Oats — I Can’t Go for That (No can do). I was in college when it came out. I hadn’t met my husband. Should this song be banned, along with the phrase “no can do?”

Defaults can change social media

Live now sign on bookshelf
A bookshelf of my favorite children’s books holds a sign reminding me to live now.
Get off social media and into the real world.

In an article from the Wall Street Journal, I learned that some of the addictive aspects of Facebook Instagram and the other social media sites can be fixed. Like eliminating “likes” is an option. You can also stop push notifications for up to eight hours. You can even limit data collection.

How? Read this article called “How to Fix Facebook, Instagram and Social Media? Change the Defaults” by Joanna Stern linked below. It shows screen shots of where to find the defaults and lists a bunch of things parents can do to limit their children’s addictive relationship with social media. Some of these I’m going to do for myself, too. Stern also discusses legislation that’s in the works for social media.

Here’s an excerpt:

Default settings in our social-media apps were designed to benefit companies and their bottom lines. What if regulation pushed them to benefit us?

Quick homework assignment: Open Instagram, tap the head icon at the bottom right, then the three lines in the top right corner, then Settings, then Privacy. (Almost there, I promise!) Tap Posts and switch on “Hide Likes and View Counts.”

A few of you hopefully followed along. Most of you probably ignored me like the airline’s automated call system when I scream, “Representative!”

That’s OK. You’ve proven my point: Most people don’t change the default settings in their social-media apps—or any apps.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-to-fix-facebook-instagram-and-social-media-change-the-defaults-11634475600?mod=life_work_lead_pos5

I for one haven’t looked at the defaults in any of my apps. I think it’s a worthwhile thing to do unless you want to delete them from your life forever.

What are your thoughts about changing defaults in apps and social media? Is it something you’ve done before? What do you think is most useful for you or your kids?

What do techies know that we don’t?

The post I wrote yesterday about how our brains are being flooded with dopamine and how social media and screens are negatively affecting our health, reminded me of a blog post I wrote a few years ago about how the high tech geniuses in the Silicon Valley won’t allow their children to have any screen time at all. Zero. They obviously know something they aren’t telling the rest of us.

brother and sister showing off super powers
Robert and Kat showing off their super powers way before social media.

Here’s what I wrote about Silicon Valley parents a few years ago:

Talk about hypocrites. I read the strangest story about parents who live in the Silicon Valley. They refuse to let their kids see or touch iPhones or any screens of any nature. These are parents who work in the high tech world and themselves use the devices. While they are at work, they hire nannies to shield their kids from the heinous devices they work to create.

Then to even go further, they make nannies sign contracts that they will keep them away from screens. They also hire spies to snoop on their nannies at parks to make sure they don’t cheat and check their phones. Maybe it’s because they understand how miserable the phones are making their lives, that they want to keep their kids’ lives free from tech. Or maybe they know something we don’t about how unhealthy these screens are.

Here are a few excerpts from the article I read in sfgate called Silicon Valley Nannies are Phone Police for Kids:

SAN FRANCISCO — Silicon Valley parents are increasingly obsessed with keeping their children away from screens. Even a little screen time can be so deeply addictive, some parents believe, that it’s best if a child neither touches nor sees any of these glittering rectangles. These particular parents, after all, deeply understand their allure.

But it’s very hard for a working adult in the 21st century to live at home without looking at a phone. And so, as with many aspirations and ideals, it’s easier to hire someone to do this.

Enter the Silicon Valley nanny, who each day returns to the time before screens.

“Usually a day consists of me being allowed to take them to the park, introduce them to card games,” Jordin Altmann, 24, a nanny in San Jose, said of her charges. “Board games are huge.”

“Almost every parent I work for is very strong about the child not having any technical experience at all,” Altmann said. “In the last two years, it’s become a very big deal.”

From Cupertino to San Francisco, a growing consensus has emerged that screen time is bad for kids. It follows that these parents are now asking nannies to keep phones, tablets, computers and TVs off and hidden at all times. Some are even producing no-phone contracts, which guarantee zero unauthorized screen exposure, for their nannies to sign.

The fear of screens has reached the level of panic in Silicon Valley. Vigilantes now post photos to parenting message boards of possible nannies using cellphones near children. Which is to say, the very people building these glowing hyper-stimulating portals have become increasingly terrified of them. And it has put their nannies in a strange position.

“In the last year everything has changed,” said Shannon Zimmerman, a nanny in San Jose who works for families that ban screen time. “Parents are now much more aware of the tech they’re giving their kids. Now it’s like, ‘Oh no, reel it back, reel it back.’ Now the parents will say ‘No screen time at all.’”

The bright side is these parents do care about their kids. They want what is best for them. I wonder if they use their electronics while they are at home? Do they put away the iphones at dinner? Do the parents realize that their kids will model their behavior and learn most from what they do, not what they say?

brother and sister playing cowboy
My cowboys using their imaginations.

Do you think the Silicon Valley parents have known all along how dangerous and addictive screen time is? Or, is it a personal choice not to let their kids on screens? Are they wanting their kids to have the idealized life before computers? Do you or did you limit screen time for your kids?

How to not overwork from home

robahh 1
Back when I was working from home as a stay-at-home mom with my first-born child.

Little did I know when I posted this last January, that a bunch of people would be working from home in a few short weeks! My husband’s office is shut to most employees and clients. He’s been working from home for close to a year. He’s pretty good at keeping strict business hours. In our new home, he has his own office and that’s a big upgrade from him working in our master bedroom! Here’s what I wrote unknowing what the COVID year ahead would be like:

Working from home is something I’ve done for years. At first, I had what is now our guest room dedicated as my office for my sole proprietor public relations and marketing biz. That’s why the kids called it the “computer room” when they were little.  I had a desktop Apple IIc something computer and heavy-weight laser printer. Back then, I also had a fax machine and a separate phone line for my work.

images-11
This looks like the very first Mac in my home office.

My downfall with that venture was not knowing when to stop. Even though I had a separate work space, I couldn’t stop working. I had a client who loved to call me after 6 p.m. and give me work that had to be done by morning — and they were my main client! Also, this was pre-email days and internet. I had to transfer files to the people who changed my files to film over a modem. Then the film had to be picked up from these mom and pop shops and I drove them to the printer. I’m talking newsletters, flyers, brochures and veloxes for newspapers. Can you imagine that?

I’d wake up throughout the night and to make sure the files transferred from my modem to the film person’s modem. Sometimes a newsletter or ad file would take six or seven hours to transfer.

How things have changed from the early 1990s! Prior to that it, was a Selectric IBM typewriter I used and hand delivered copy to a print shop who then had to retype it all into columns, lay it out with my photos or artwork, give me a rough copy and finally a blueline to proof before going to print. Things are so much easier these days.

I’m still working from home and everything is so much quicker and convenient with emails and the internet. But the question still remains, how do I guard my time and not work all the time?

What’s a blueline you might ask if you weren’t alive back in the olden days? Here’s the definition I got from googling it from Dictionary.com:

blueline:

a print made on light-sensitive paper and used as a proof for checking the position of stripped-up negatives or positives and copy prior to platemaking.

images-5

What are your solutions for separating a life from working hours when you work from home?