Archive for the ‘ChaiTech Kvetch’ Category

The National Geographic Effect

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

In March of 1974 an eminent scientist named George H. Kaub called for the immediate cessation of publication of The National Geographic magazine. His urgent call was based on the fact that subscribers to the magazine – he estimated there were approximately 6,800,000 worldwide – never threw away an issue, storing them instead in basements, attics and garages. Writing in The Journal of Irreproducible Results he warned, “the geologic substructure of the country would no longer support the incredible load, and that subsidence would occur.”

Which got me to thinking!

I see some pretty nasty computer problems in my line of work: computer viruses, hardware failures, corrupt data and software. I’ve even treated clients for “Recyclus Binus Prematurus” and “Trashes Interruptus.” But, by far, the most unbelievable problem I see is the astronomical amount and bulk of saved email messages! Why do people keep so many email messages?

I have seen In Boxes and Sent Items Folders with thousands of messages. And the Deleted items Folder? The amounts I’ve seen in there rival the populations of some major North American cities.

There is no need to keep messages. Hey… you deleted them from your In Box – so empty the Deleted Items folder! One client I spoke to suggested that it was important to keep the deleted items “in case she needed them.” “But lady, you’ve already deleted them!”

I’m thinking maybe saving all this stuff has something to do with self-esteem: the more the merrier. “Look at all these messages… want to see what I got on March 14th 2000? Oh, and here’s a great diet idea sent directly to me by Dr. Atkins himself!” (Dr. Atkins died in 2003). Believe me, nobody needs to keep that much and they certainly don’t realize what’s accumulating on their computer.

eMail doesn’t weigh anything so I’m not worried that the stuff is going to compromise the earth. But email takes up space… lots of space! It takes up screen space and hard drive space. And getting it out of your email program, either to the trash (and don’t forget to empty the trash too) or a separate folder on your computer works wonders. For one thing you’ll reclaim a lot of hard drive space, your email program will run better and you’ll be able to navigate your eMail more efficiently. And you won’t keep getting cryptic messages from your internet provider warning you about “High Water Marks” and “Quota Overage.”

I am not calling for end of email. I’m calling for common sense and practicality. Take a deep breath and delete the forty copies of the same joke from Uncle Morris and by all means get rid of Aunt Bertha’s weekly updates on her psoriases condition.

You can read George Kaub’s article about National Geographic by clicking here.

What’s On Prince Charles’ iPod™

Saturday, November 7th, 2009

I really am indifferent when it comes to The Royal Family. All the money, the jewels the pomp and circumcision… I’m not too worried about it all. Now mind you, Prince Charles does wear nice suits and my wife tells me that some of The Queens’ purses are quite something.

But I’m thinking… is Charles a regular guy? I mean, does he get to sleep in most weekends or does Camilla bug him to go for a walk or accompany her shopping on Regent Street? Better yet, does he get up with this horrible feeling that he forgot to turn the barbeque off?

But the real question I need to know about Charles is this: is he cool enough to have an iPod? Do you think Camilla gave him one as a wedding gift? Worse, do you think he did get one as a wedding gift and hasn’t used it yet because he can’t figure out how it works?

So here’s my fantasy: Charles has figured out how to “sync” the laptop in the upstairs bedroom with his shiny new iPod. What would be on Prince Charles iPod?

He’s probably got an Elgar playlist for sure… and a Lloyd Webber one. And for pop, I’ll bet you pounds to crumpets that he’s got The Stones doing “Wild Horses”, Michael Murphy doing “Wildfire” and America singing “A Horse With No Name.”

And for video, I know Camilla helped him download “Seabiscuit”, “National Velvet” and a few episodes of “Mr. Ed.”

There, I figured it out!

Google’s StreetView

Monday, October 26th, 2009

If you haven’t tried out Google’s StreetView I think you’re really missing out on something. But that said, the product is not without controversy. I’ll get to that in a minute but first here’s your basic guide to seeing the application in action.

In your web browser go to Type your address, or any address and city in the box and then click the “search maps” button to the right. A map will appear with the location you requested and a red pushpin marks the exact location you requested.

Click once on the pushpin and a small box will appear. In addition to some options you will see a small photo of the location. (NB: Not all locations are available just yet). Click on the picture or the Street View text under the picture and voila! You be shown an actual picture of the location. And you can move the picture around by dragging your mouse around the picture.

Now this is quite cool to be sure. But some people are troubled by these views. And the jury is still out on the whole “invasion of privacy” thing. I’m not touching that aspect just yet but here’s what I saw as a humourous side to all this.

I was having coffee the other night at you typical local “one on every corner” coffee store. Two thirty-something couples were seated next to me. Here’s the conversation I couldn’t help but overhear:

Guy #1 – “Google has this great application called StreetView. You can actually see a picture of your house or any other location: Here, check it out…”

He whips out his iPhone and demonstrates. All are amazed, ofcourse, except one of the women who says:

“Well, I typed in my home address and looked at the picture and honestly… I wish they would have told me that they were going to photograph the street because our driveway was full of construction material and the house just doesn’t look good.”