Drowning in E-mail

Ever heard of e-mail bankruptcy? It’s what happens when you give up on cleaning out your inbox and just delete everything and start over. This little article talks about the peculiarity of e-mail and how it tends to pile up. Ironically, I spent two hours last night pairing my inbox down from 400+ messages to three (I should say my main inbox–I’ve pretty much given up on the 10+ other inboxes I have).

My biggest failures with e-mail are my desire to keep every single e-mail (necessitating a ridiculously long chain of folders for every client and source) and my inability to act immediately on e-mail. I let it sit there, deciding to deal with it later–which usually means three months later when it’s one of hundreds. Every time I clean out my inbox I try to deal with e-mail as it comes and not let it pile up again, but inevitably I’m seized by indecision and decide to deal with one later, and then another later, and then pretty soon I’m stacking ’em up again.

Seems there should be a way I can take my own advice and make life easier for myself.

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Oceans of Justice

“I can’t stand your relgious meetings. I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions. I want nothing to do with your religion projects, your pretentious slogans and goals. I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes, your public relations and image making. I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music. When was the last time you sang to me?

Do you know what I want? I want justice–oceans of it. I want fairness–rivers of it. That’s what I want. That’s all I want.” (Amos 5:21-24, The Message)

God just lays the smack down, doesn’t he?

And of course that last verse sounds a little more familiar in a more standard translation: “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream” (NIV). It adds a little more heft in context.

Tweaking the Site, Making Life Easier

I spent some time tweaking the site yesterday (again). I realized I didn’t have much of a description anywhere so I added one to the top. Maybe that will help explain what this place is to the newbies. And fill in a few of you old timers in case you forgot.

I also added an e-mail subscription box to the sidebar. I mentioned this before, but the sign-up box is new. Basically if you want to get my blog updates delivered to your e-mail inbox (in full text, no less!), you can sign up there. Entries are delivered once a day. That’s the only thing the list is used for (I couldn’t spam you if I wanted to–not that I want to) and you can unsubscribe at any time.

I’ve also been using a tracking service to see where people click on my homepage. It’s fascinating stuff, but the biggest thing I’m noticing is that a few people don’t use bookmarks. You come to my site to use the Flickr or Blogroll links at the top, instead of just bookmarking those sites (my Mom does it, but I’m sure she’s not the only one).

There’s an easier way.

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Making a Mac Computer Work with a Microsoft Keyboard & Mouse

I hate blogging about this, but I don’t know where else to turn. Maybe you can help.

I’m trying to get my Mac to work with a Microsoft keyboard and mouse, and it feels a bit like trying to broker peace in the Middle East. OK, it’s not that bad. In fact, it’s worked out great. A while back I bought this new Microsoft Wireless Desktop for Mac keyboard and mouse combo to replace the keyboard that must not be named (actually, it was an Adesso, and yes that’s my 1-star review of it). The new Microsoft keyboard and mouse worked great, despite my mixing genres.

Except when I shutdown or restart the computer. Then both the mouse and keyboard go dead until I unplug and re-plug the USB wireless receiver. Then everything works fine. I can’t figure out how to fix it so I don’t have to do the unplug and re-plug dance at every shutdown/restart. Microsoft’s site is no help and I haven’t found much Googling. Any brilliant ideas out there? Or is this just Bill Gates’ revenge?

New Movie Reviews & Book Reviews

After much tinkering, false starts, failed attempts and rabbit holes I finally have a new movie and book review system going. Each item gets a fancy 1-5 star rating (half stars are allowed) and an image pulled in from Amazon. Pretty swanky, huh?

You can see the initial results in the sidebar, with the latest movie and book reviewed. I’m not thrilled with the layout yet, but we’ll see what happens.

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Saving Water

The average American uses between 100 and 176 gallons of water per day. About half of that goes down the toilet. The average African family uses 5 gallons of water per day. More than one billion people lack access to clean drinking water.

Suddenly something so mundane like washing your hands or taking a shower seems like an incredibly extravagent thing to do, reserved only for the very wealthy. And if you can do those things in your own home, you are very wealthy.

I’m a long way from one of those crunchy environmentalists, but simple concepts like conservation seem like really good ideas, environmentally, economically and even biblically. Water is not an unlimited resource and some argue that it will become this century’s oil.

So what do we do?

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Too Much Extra Junk on Blog Posts

Marketing guru Seth Godin blogged today about adding some fancy new links on his site.

First, he added this little pop up thing next to his books. It’s not a true pop up window (it’s all web 2.0–what is that? Java? Ruby on Rails?) but it gives you a number of link options. You can buy the book on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or Google it or do half a dozen other things. It’s interesting. Some what useful. I can’t help but wonder if one more arrow next to his book will confuse people (do I click on the book, the arrow, or the title?). It’s also fairly similar to SnapShots, which I also find some what confusing/distracting.

But second, Godin also added “flair” to the bottom of each post for Technorati, Digg and del.icio.us saving/linking/adding/whatever-you-do-there. I’m so unsure about this sort of feature-creep. I talked about it before, getting some inspiration from Jason Kottke to tone down the excessive information.

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Letter to Iraq

Aspiring rock star Nathan Arizona has started the Letter to Iraq campaign. He wants to send a letter to the Iraqi people signed by ordinary Americans that apologizes for our mistakes (Abu Ghraib, among others) and expresses a wish for peace in Iraq. He’s got a moving song and video, too.

Will it make any difference? I have no idea. Iraq is such a mess it can’t hurt. Maybe if ordinary people did something on their own instead of governments or militaries or corporations, maybe that would make some small measure of difference. Who knows? Anyway, I’m signing it.

(link via Brad Abare, who in the same post made up the word “sadulous” [sad+jealous=sadulous], which I feel quite often when my friends move away.)

Panhandling is Big Business in Twin Cities

Apparently panhandling is big business in the Twin Cities:

  • Some people can make $80-100/hour
  • Hot corners are being bought and sold
  • Tips on best practices can be found online

That should help assuage the guilt I feel every time I pass by someone begging on the corner. Instead the article encourages giving to organizations that can actually help people, which is a good start.

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