Monday, February 27, 2006

melt aweigh pounds - but not with Spam

Bradley installed last year a "spam quarantine firewall" to prevent our inboxes from being inundated with unwanted, disgusting, and even x-rated e-mail. The filter generally does a good job, although occasionally it does filter legitmate e-mail, especially if it contains an attachment. One day I found an e-mail to myself (from my Bradley account) in the quarantine box. Because of this, we are forced to scan the quarantine box regularly.

This morning I realized that this has become one of my least favorite tasks—right up there with adding toner powder to the copy machine.

The messages are often from or some other address that is completely indecipherable. Or they come from "Doctor" or "Angel" or maybe from just plain "Bill." I suppose they try to avoid filters looking for common spam words, so several words in the subject line are always misspelled: Nexican Phamacy.

The spammers assume that most of us want to boost our sexul performance, take drugs for anxity, get the inside scope on an invetment deal, or lose wait. Many of us also evidently fear that we forgot to pay for the Canon printer we bought on ebay and are sure our account is about to be suspended or that an identity thief has discovered our PayPal or Citibank password.

I am tired of it and no longer wish to check this list of come-ons for legitimate e-mails. Not sure what I will miss by neglecting it, but it won't be Angel.

Monday, February 20, 2006

a bright yellow office!

I may work in a cubicle, but when I take work home in the evenings or on weekends, I get to spread it out in an office that has two huge windows and a door to the outside (the door doesn't actually open, but it has windows, and maybe this summer I will fix it). This office is one of my favorite rooms in the house, because I can look out onto the yard and the street and watch passersby as I work. Recently, I decided to paint the floor. Even though the floor is hard wood, it is in disastrous condition (from a leaky radiator and a very sloppy paint job). I didn't discover this until I tore up the carpet a few months back.

So, I decided to paint the floor, as I hate to part with the cash to have it refinished right now.

Somehow, the idea of painting the floor led to visions of transforming the semi-gloss white walls to a bright color. I was looking through a "cottage living" magazine and kept seeing yellow and blue as a very pleasant combination. As I looked at the walls, I realized that the crack that stretches all around the room must have been caused when someone removed a chair rail. So, I decided I would try my hand at the mitre saw and restore the wall by adding a white rail.

As I was shopping for a new printer on the Epson website today, I found a playful link that I couldn't resist: "Create a Relaxing Work Environment", which uses Feng Shui theory.

The first suggestion is:

Red flowers placed in the upper left quadrant of
your office or desk can bring financial success.

I doubt that, but I was greatly pleased by the second tip:

Yellow is the best color for the home office because
it is peaceful and cheerful.

Now, I can't wait to get this painting done (it has taken quite a while) so I can relax in peace and cheer as I proofread!

The tips also include this:

If you don’t have a view outside from where you sit
at your desk, hang a plant or a picture of a plant in
your line of sight. It promotes peace and tranquility
which will make you more relaxed and productive.

My cubicle here at work does have several plants, but I sit with my back to them. I am going to start looking for a bright riotous picture of yellow flowers to hang on the wall in front of me.

I also learned that:

Round-edged furniture stimulates creativity;
squared edges promote assertive negotiations.

All my cubicle furniture has sharp angles. Not much I can do about that, but perhaps I should trade in the library table I use at home for a round table. That would be fun and would go with the happy look of the yellow paint.

By the way, Epson lists as its source for these tips: Marilyn Zelinsky, Practical Home Office Solutions, p. 142-143

Thursday, February 02, 2006


"An oral contract is not worth the paper it's written on."

"Paper Jam." "Open Tray 1 and remove the jammed paper."

"I have to write a paper for Psychology class tonight."

"Jumbo Sized GEM Paper Clips."

I have been thinking a lot about paper lately. On one of the listservs I belong to the discussion of moving to web-only university catalogs or schedules of classes has come up again. I can understand this for class schedules because the information can change on a daily basis and they have a short shelf life. I think for catalogs it's a bad idea. If they exist only online, will people be able to access them in 25 years? Will they have the software to read the files?

I was cleaning out some office files yesterday and came across a banana yellow 3.5" floppy disk that must have contained some important information at one time, as it had been carefully put in a plastic envelope and filed away. Before throwing it out, I thought briefly about hanging it on my cubicle wall for decoration. I have no idea what was on it because I doubt there's a computer on the entire Bradley campus that has a drive that could read this disk. Whatever was on it has been lost. Since this is the Publications Office, however, its contents probably are printed in a catalog or newsletter somewhere. A copy of it most likely still exists.

At the doctor's office the other day, I watched the nurse carefully write down my weight and blood pressure on a neat little form for the doctor to review. She signed the bottom of the form before leaving the room. The doctor came in and wrote more notes on the form and he too signed it. He handed me my file to take with me to the front desk. Of course, I had to take a few minutes to look throught it while I slowly put my shoes on. It chronicled, in several different people's handwriting, my health for the past ten years. It contained xray readings and lab reports. All on paper! Perhaps some doctors have gone paperless, but it's probably more time consuming to make sure computers are available (and working) in every room and that people know how to use them. And that you can find what you need on them when you need it.

For many things, paper just makes more sense. I'm not giving up my job in the print world that easily!