Let’s Flood Them With Cash

fl2lgI know the economic times pull on everyone’s purse strings.  What I’m hoping is this will pull on everyone’s heart strings and maybe release a few purse strings as well.

Can you imagine coming home to your computer, books, TV, furniture and other beloved items under more than 3 feet of water?!  That is exactly what happened to the Louisville Free Public Library.   Fellow IT and Library friend, Greg Schwartz alerted us to the very devastating news via Twitter updates and Twitpic.  Their data center, mechanical room (for HVAC) and holding area for the books was just obliterated.

Library Society of the World is trying to raise $5,000 by September 1.  To find out more about and to contribute please read Steve Lawson’s blog post.

My heart (and my wallet) go out to all the employees, customers/ patrons/users of this library.  I hope you can come back even bigger and better than you were before.

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Why Is This Even a Question?

What is a Browser?

I have the utmost respect for LibrarianbyDay but I’m going to have to disagree (again) with her latest blog post.   She commented on this video too and feels that the average Joe doesn’t necessarily need to know what a browser is.  Personally I think that is root of most computer problems – people (average Joe or not) don’t know ENOUGH about the machines they use.

Computers are pretty much a part of all of our lives.  We use them at work, at home and they are in almost everything from our cars to our electronic equipment.  I feel that people DO need to know not only what things are called but how to use them properly.  I’m not saying we all need to be programmer and start writing code but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have some computer competencies.

It is important to call things by the right name.  If I call it a whatizt but it is actually a howzer you won’t understand what I’m talking about, you won’t be able to help me and I’ll just get frustrated.   As someone who has to troubleshoot computer problems (which can often be user problems) nothing is more frustrating to both the user and me then when we can’t communicate.  Some might say “but you are speaking techie” – no, I am not.  I am known for using plain English but I will call things what they are (often followed by a short description or analogy so non-techies get it).

So let’s not perpuate this culture of not knowing what a browser or an operating system or anything else to do with these machines that are such a part of our lives.  Let’s educate people in at least the basics of computer literacy.  As a trainer I try to pass along nuggets every time I teach a class regardless of the main content.  If they are using computers in the class I’m going to be sure they know the browser we use is Firefox, that tab browsing is fantastic way to make your life easier (CtrlT), keyboard commands, etc.  I don’t think it is expecting too much of people that work with computers daily to know not only the correct words but some basic literacy when it comes to computers.

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Open Letter to All Computer Users

To Whom It May Concern,

As your friendly IT staff member who, for whatever reason, has been assigned to work on or move your computer, may I make a few recommendations?

  1. This is NOT your computer.  This computer is on loan from the company for which you work.  Please treat it as such.
  2. If you must eat at your desk, please put up your keyboard and mouse before eating soup, chili, pretzels, chips, anything with grease or anything with food in it.  This also pertains to drinking.
  3. If you must eat at your desk and you can’t put up your keyboard and mouse – please use napkins, paper towels, toilet paper or better yet LYSOL wipes to clean up after yourself.
  4. If you can’t remember to do clean it after each meal – make it your Friday end of day closing ritual.
  5. If you can’t make it a Friday ritual, please at least clean it before I have to fix or move your equipment.

I suggest this with love.  Trust me as someone who has to move your computer/keyboard/mouse/printer/etc. I really don’t need to know what you have for lunch just by looking at your mouse pad, wrist pad or keyboard (or in some cases all of the above and the monitor).  Would you want to move a germ ridden, crud encrusted, sticky piece of equipment?  Well neither do I.

I appreciate you reading this and hopefully taking time to order some Lysol (or whatever brand) wipes or possibly a can of compressed air (just be careful you can use it too much and freeze a keyboard or mouse). Keep them in your cubicle so they’ll be handy.

You will find your computer/keyboard/mouse/mouse pad/printer has been wiped down and now in better condition than when I found it.  Please for the sake of the equipment and those that have to work on them – keep it this way.

I thank you in advance 🙂