As one who habitually indulges in catastrophism, I appreciated this essay by John Stackhouse on why people don't get back to us right away when we communicate.  I'm not usually upset when people don't answer e-mails immediately, because if everyone answered e-mails immediately, we'd get sucked into in a destructive vortex.  However, I confess to what might be an inordinate desire for blog comments; my hope for many of my posts is that they will be discussion-starters, and with any of them it's nice to know that someone is at least reading my offerings.  What's more, there are certain blogs I check frequently, looking for information, commentary, and discussion, and it's hard not to be disappointed when nothing new is forthcoming. (I'm not just referring to my own family's blogs, though of course they are the most important and most eagerly sought-after.)

My resigned sigh of "Everyone is too busy actually living life to write about it" is much more accurate than my joking, "Nobody loves me."    Perhaps the most useful response, however, is to remember the times I'm slow at responding to e-mails, or fail to make a comment on a post I like, or to acknowledge a comment on my own blog—as well as the days I allow to pass without providing a new post for my own readers.  In my own case I know there are good reasons for my lack of communication.  Okay, so some of the reasons aren't really all that good—but none is malicious.

Assuming the best rather than the worst sounds like a far happier and healthier approach to all of life.
Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, August 6, 2007 at 6:41 am | Edit
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Our laptop has been used in a docking station for months, and today I took it out to use it independently.  No go.  I could not log on.  Do you have any idea how maddening it is when Windows keeps asking, "Did you forget your password?" when you know for certain you did not?

I tried all the obvious things—CapsLock on?  NumLock on?  Making sure they were both off had no effect; I still couldn't log on.  I'm writing the saga so that (1) I won't forget, and (2) it might help someone else as clueless as me. (More)

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, July 17, 2007 at 7:17 pm | Edit
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That's the subtitle of a Wired article by Edward Tufte.  My brother sent me the link.  I prefer to believe he didn't know I was in the middle of working on a PowerPoint presentation of pictures from our recent trip to Europe.

Tufte is not speaking primarily about education, but he makes this perceptive observation: 

Particularly disturbing is the adoption of the PowerPoint cognitive style in our schools. Rather than learning to write a report using sentences, children are being taught how to formulate client pitches and infomercials. Elementary school PowerPoint exercises (as seen in teacher guides and in student work posted on the Internet) typically consist of 10 to 20 words and a piece of clip art on each slide in a presentation of three to six slides -a total of perhaps 80 words (15 seconds of silent reading) for a week of work. Students would be better off if the schools simply closed down on those days and everyone went to the Exploratorium or wrote an illustrated essay explaining something.

PowerPoint isn't really the villain here, however. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, June 25, 2007 at 2:27 pm | Edit
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The May 21, 2007 issue of Computerworld has an interview with Amory B. Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute.  Talk about RETHINKING—who would have thought industry had a good use for slush?

You advocate using, of all things, slush to cool data centers. Can you explain that? We recently did a design for a high-tech facility in a temperate climate that was originally going to have over 20,000 tons of chillers, and by the time we got through, the number was zero.

We found we could meet about 70% of the load with the coolness or dryness of the outside air using either air-side or water-side economizers, depending on the time of year. The rest [came from] a mountain of slush sprayed out of snow-making machines into a hole in the ground on a few cold nights and used to provide 32-degree Fahrenheit meltwater all year.

Twenty thousand tons of chillers originally planned; zero used.  They use snow-making machines to generate the slush; perhaps the next step should be finding a way to use the mountains of snow urban areas are always struggling to dispose of in the winter. (More)

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, June 23, 2007 at 4:53 pm | Edit
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Our router seems to be acting erratically again.  Last time the problem was the power supply, and I have a spare one to try now if necessary, though it's hard to believe this one would fail after just three months.  (Then again, I said that about our car battery recently.)

It's fine at the moment, but in the past 12 hours has twice done strange things like allowing just one half of a telephone "conversation," or allowing e-mail to be received and sent but not allowing web access.  To be on the safe side, I've set up the system to ring my cell phone if it doesn't establish contact via the regular phone.

Computers.  You can't live with them, and...it's hard to remember that we once lived without them.
Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, June 5, 2007 at 8:33 am | Edit
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I wrote earlier about our failing telephone system.  We limped along for a week with all calls forwarded to one or the other of our cell phones.  Actually, it wasn't much of a limp.  It was slightly annoying not to be able to have more than one person on this end of a call, and since my cell phone has no "free" minutes (it's a prepaid plan), I was conscious of the cost of every call.  But it wasn't that much, really.  A definite plus was that the forwarding message, "please wait while we try to contact your party" effectively foiled all those robotic telemarketers!

Still, now that it's fixed (details follow), I'm glad not to be so tied to my cell phone.  I said to Heather, "I feel like a teenager, carrying my cell phone in my pocket all the time," to which she replied, "You're not a teenager, Mom.  You still jump every time it rings."

So, I'm sure you're all wondering:  What was wrong, and how did we fix it?  (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, March 9, 2007 at 9:24 am | Edit
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If you try to call us in the next few days, please be patient.  All calls are being forwarded to our cell phones, so it may take a little longer than usual to connect.

Our CallVantage Linksys router stopped working.  Well, to be more accurate, the router still works, or I wouldn't be posting this.  But the Telephone Adaptor part no longer functions. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, March 3, 2007 at 9:14 pm | Edit
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To Whom It May Concern:

If you need to reach us, try the good ol' telephone, or leave a comment here. For some bizarre reason our e-mail is down, even though our general Internet service is working fine. I've only been able to get a few e-mails all day, and none at all in recent hours,

It appears to work for sending, though I don't really know that, either. I'll have to remember to check when it comes back up and see if what I sent was actually received.

"When it comes back up." Soon, I hope. But at present the technicians have no projected duration of the outage....
Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, November 6, 2006 at 7:22 pm | Edit
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So, Porter delves into the dark recesses of an accumulation of objects, lifts up an old keyboard, and shouts, "I see a mouse!"

Perfectly logical. Janet had discovered that not one but both of her computer's mice are malfunctioning, and I knew we had a spare one somewhere. Unfortunately, this was the wrong kind of mouse.

It was PS/2 instead of USB.

But at least we didn't have to figure out a way to trap it.
Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, October 16, 2006 at 11:02 am | Edit
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When I have a problem, I'm always amazed at how often a simple Internet search will reveal other with the same problem and very often a solution. But sometimes not. The negative results fall into two catgories: either I'm having a genuinely rare difficulty, or I haven't found the right combination of search terms to narrow the results down to something relevant.

I don't know which was the case with our recent Firefox problem, but I couldn't find any help, so I'm posting this in case it might help someone else.

Invisible Firefox, Firefox opens invisbly, invisble window, can't maximize window, perpetually minimized window, can't see open application window. Maybe that's enough search terms, at least for someone who thinks as I do. (More)

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, August 15, 2006 at 7:34 am | Edit
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It was a bit frightening.

A few months ago we added a Maxtor OneTouch 200G external hard drive to our system, which excited me greatly because it made backing up my files much easier. Then one day last week we heard a sudden "pop!" and...nothing. No recognition of the drive by the computer, no light on the drive, no light on the power supply. The last was actually good news, as it gave us hope that it was the power supply that had given out, rather than the drive itself with all our data. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, January 25, 2006 at 2:40 pm | Edit
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For those of you who have given up on the long-broken links to Peter's Ponderings and Hannah's Happenings, I finally fixed them. Enjoy!
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, January 25, 2006 at 9:30 am | Edit
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You will notice a change in the form used for making comments. Thanks to an enterprising (among other adjectives) spammer, I've had to institute an anti-spam measure. When you want to add a comment, simply type in the authentication code you'll see in the form, then send your comment as usual. Thanks for your patience.
Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, January 24, 2006 at 4:11 pm | Edit
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Lift Up Your Hearts!, IrishOboe, Sursum Corda, and SalemsAttic have a new home: Lime Daley! This is no bad reflection on our previous host, TLC Web Enterprises, which always treated us well, but we are excited about the change. How many other people can call up tech support and get excellent service, knowledgeable assistance...and the sound of their grandchild in the background?

In addition to setting us up on the Lime Daley server, Jon upgraded our blog software version, so there are some changes. Probably the first thing you noticed is how much faster the pages load. Note also the nifty search box to the right, and the fact that posts can now be assigned more than one category. One downside of the fact that the new version uses caching: sometimes you will need to reload the page (reload, refresh, depending on what your browser calls it) to be sure you are seeing the most up to date posts.

The transition went amazingly smoothly, thanks to Jon's prompt and diligent efforts, but we're still working out some minor details as I get accustomed to the new system, so please let me know if you notice any problems.

So...Lift Up Your Hearts! is back in business—please feel free to post and comment once again.
Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, November 1, 2005 at 10:08 am | Edit
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Lift Up Your Hearts! will be undergoing non-routine maintenance for a little while.  Please refrain from making posts or comments until the changes are complete, otherwise your good words will disappear into cyberspace and never return....  Thanks.
Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, October 30, 2005 at 8:10 pm | Edit
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