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Cool Tools: A Pocket Full Of Windows
Like many others in today's high tech world, I'm more than a little dependent on my computer. My husband and I were computer hobbyists for many years before we made the big career switch in the mid-1990's and began making our living using, teaching others to use, writing about, networking together, and otherwise attempting to tame the electronic beasts.Like many others in todays high tech world, Im more than a little dependent on my computer. My husband and I were computer hobbyists for many years before we made the big career switch in the mid-1990s and began making our living using, teaching others to use, writing about, networking together, and otherwise attempting to tame the electronic beasts.
I will confess without shame that my PC and I share a codependent relationship. Like most such relationships, though, it's not an evenly balanced one. The computer wants only one thing from me. Talk about power-hungry; our machines are dead in the water without electricity. We don't have to worry about them taking over the world a la the Matrix until they learn how to acquire electrical power without us. As long as we have control over the fusebox, we're safe from mutiny. The hand that can pull the plug rules the world.
I, on the other hand, rely on my computer for numerous things. Without it, I would be relegating to scrawling this column - and all my books - by hand. Or at the very least, pounding on a typewriter, getting high on Liquid Paper as I white out mistakes or mind-changes, buried under reams and reams of the product of dead trees. Been there and done that. Like it this way better.
I also depend on my PC to keep up with my appointments and deadlines, to send and receive hundreds of email messages per day, to provide quick, inexpensive and almost limitless access to a wealth of information (both reliable and otherwise) about almost any subject under the sun, from the comfort of my own home or office. No way do I want to go back to the days of trudging to the library uphill for twenty miles in the snow to research an article (okay, perhaps I exaggerate a little).
Much as I love my computer, it has one serious flaw. It's too big. It sits nicely on my desk, the magic beige box surrounded by all manner of fancy peripherals - scanners, printers, speakers, microphones, cameras, ergo keyboards and optical trackballs and three (count 'em) monitors across which I can lavishly spread my desktop. This is all well and good - unless I want to go someplace. Then what? I'm tethered to my PC, its Ethernet cable like some electronic umbilical cord through which pulses the elixir of life. Cut it and I'm lost, in a world of isolation, unable to check my mail or log onto the CCN website to find out who's filed the latest lawsuit in the infamous Florida election fiasco.
At the very least, I need my Outlook calendar and task list with me at all times. That doesn't seem like too much for a PC junkie to ask.