Monday, May 18, 2009

Little Orphan Annie Decoder Ring Needed

Plugging in...

Has anybody ever seen a printout like this:

meta http-equiv="Content-type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" meta name="description" content="Blogger is a free blog publishing tool from Google for easily sharing your thoughts with the world. Blogger makes it simple to post text, photos and video onto your personal or team blog." meta name="keywords" content="blogger, blogspot, blog,,, free blog, personal blog, weblog, create blog, new blog"

You would recognize this seemingly illogical gibberish if you were a web designer or web programmer. It is HTML, HyperText Markup Language, a language used to format YOUR paper-based scribbles into eye-catching, easy-to-navigate webpages for viewing on the internet. Would your head go into a point if every time you clicked print, this is what appeared on paper? And not just a paragraph or two, but 30-45 pages! Every time. Arrrrrrrrggggh - big head point visible on client.

If it looks like "code", acts like "code" and prints like "code", where the blazes does one find the de-coder to print just the contents of the single, email that was on the screen before the print button was clicked?

Hmmmm. Hello Google? Yep, yes, come on, really? Wow. Ok - uh thanks. This code-producing computer didn't have the Internet Explorer set as the default web browser. Who knew this one, little unchecked item under Internet Options could cause so much trouble.

No Little Orphan Annie Decoder Ring to the rescue this time. Sorry Annie, you've been replaced by GOOGLE! You're being punished for your role in The Christmas Story, when you spelled out a "crummy commerical" while Ralphie locked himself in the bathroom to de-code his secret Ovaltine message.

ALWAYS REMEMBER: before calling for help - is it plugged in, is the default browser set, and is it turned on?


It's NOT as Easy as I Make it Look!

Plugging in...

Paper can be tricky. Two-sided, and sometimes we forget that other beautiful, blank, welcoming side. When we're really thinking, we "green" the paper, and actually print on the other side. On occasion, people try to help us be "green", but forget to tell us. That's what happened today.

A client called in a lather of confusion. Why, dear Tutor, is my incoming fax printing OVER the google driving directions I printed yesterday? Because, because, because: because of the wonderful things she does. Whoops, wrong lyrics. It's not the Wizard of Oz, it's the Wizard of Uhs.

Uh, the paper in the printer was already used on one side, uh no one told you, and uh, it was placed in the printer THE WRONG SIDE FACING UP? Uh-huh. Instant answer, instant gratification, problem solved, no money exchanged hands. Great for the client, the country and the stimulus package. The grateful paper was turned over, and the blank side that was begging for a story to be printed on it, got its wish.

Apparently it IS as easy as I make it look. This time. Not usually. OK, hardly ever.

ALWAYS REMEMBER: before calling for help - is it plugged in, is the paper right side up, and is it turned on?


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Covies of Quail

Plugging in...

What do covies of quail and computers have in common? The Tutor will give you a minute on this one. Think. Harder. Thinking?

The hard "C" sound comes to mind. Computer, covey, quail. An illiteration. Anything else?

Basically, you're right. Not much else; unless one decides to automate 34 years of quail hunting data currently hand-written in log books. That was the gist of a recent inquiry. "Can you help us automate the hand-written log books of our quail hunting" dating back to 1975? Umm [thoughtful pause], yes, OK, can do.

The Tutor hasn't seen the logs yet, and hopes the data is legible. There's not much in the way of affordable automation technologies capable of scanning bound, hand-written log books into digital form, capable of being further manipulated into statistical, meaningful data, along with colorful, relevant graphs. What a mouthful. It won't be a quick process (think lots of data entry here), but the possibilities are endless, once the information is in an electronic form.

Watch out quail, we're coming to track you in more ways than you could possibly imagine!

ALWAYS REMEMBER: before calling for help - is it plugged in, and is it turned on?


Puppy Chow

Plugging in...

Typical diet of a new puppy: anything in sight, usually left in the puppy's territory by accident. Or a stealth puppy could slink off, undetected, and chow on the first available item that his sniffer finds delectable.

Something tells the Tutor that Purina wouldn't be happy knowing one of it's own recently chewed through two monitor cables. The first cable, the original monitor cable, acted as a delicous, thick appe-teaser. The second cable, a monitor extension cable, was indeed the juicy, main course. It was extra long and delicious.

These two cables were not left inadvertently hanging around. The puppy was able to access them both by wiggling through a stairwell railing, plopping himself less than delicately on the rug, and chewing through them while they were still attached to a working computer and monitor.

All the animal fans out there will be pleased to note the puppy's dining experience did not harm him in any way. The puppy's owner however, was out some computer time, and had to employ the Tutor to replace the cables and relocate them out of puppy's reach.

ALWAYS REMEMBER: before calling for help - is it plugged in, is it un-chewed, and is it turned on?