Wednesday, November 22, 2006

virtual file cabinet

If you are like me, you get your best ideas when you first wake up in the morning, or a few minutes later in the shower or on the walk to work. When I woke up this morning I was thinking about all the papers in my cubicle. Even though this is a vacation day, I was thinking about cleaning out the file cabinets and throwing out obsolete forms and information, transforming the file cabinets for the twenty-first century semi paperless office.

So many forms and messages are sent as email attachments that if I want to maintain the paper files, I have to print them out and then file them. This doesn't make a lot of sense. But I think many of us like the spatial organization that a steel-and-paper filing system offers.

Currently, most computes use "folders" to organize information—tiny icons within icons of other folders. I think I would like a more visual and spatial filing system—a virtual file cabinet. The program would start by letting you choose metal, oak, or neon plastic for the cabinet. You could type labels for each drawer and drag and drop hanging files into the appropriate drawer. When you wanted to file a Word, Excel, or other document file, you could bring it into the virtual file cabinet program, where it would look like a paper document. You could drag and drop these into their appropriate files.

Don't know why, but a system such as this would make it easier for me to throw out a bunch of old files.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

a walk to the polls

The sun shone down, a nice breeze accompanied me, and late fall leaves covered trees and the ground as I walked to the polls on Tuesday. I left work a little before noon and walked to the Presbyterian Church, which is about halfway between my office and home. Even though two precincts vote here, I had evidently come at a good time. I was greeted by several neighbors who were serving as election judges. Only two other voters were in line.

The new electronic voting machine confused me a little. I had used it in the spring primaries but hadn't remembered how it worked. I had remembered it churning out a paper ballot that I dropped in a box. My memory failed me. The machine does create a paper ballot, but it stays under a plastic panel - I couldn't touch it - and when you press "cast ballot," the paper gets conveyed into the machine.

I found it pretty easy to use. A woman behind me, however, was not amused by the new technology. She kept stammering "this is stupid," and "this is totally unnecessary, it is so stupid." I finished before she actually entered a booth, so I hope she didn't end up causing trouble for the volunteers.

They encouraged me to paste an "I voted" sticker on my shirt before I left. "It might remind someone else to vote," they said.

I proudly slapped it on and continued my walk home, where I ate a big bowl of soup, played with the kitten and petted the dogs, and turned on the news to see if the rest of the country was having a peaceful day at the polls.

I did hear of intimidation and obfuscation occurring in a few cities and of new electronic machines not working in others, but overall things seemed to be going well. Many of my coworkers talked of going to the county offices to vote early this year. That doesn't appeal to me as much a getting to walk to the polls on my lunch hour.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Halloween blogiversary!

When I came into work last Wednesday, I realized, as I relayed stories about my trick or treaters, that it had been last Halloween when I had started "Coffee and a Cubicle." I was joking about what this should be called - an "annibloggery" or "blogiversary? My husband said it should just be a "blog anniversary." After all, you don't say "Wediversary." "But this is the blogosphere," I told him. "It has a special blogcabulary."

I guess my thinking is in line with other bloggers. I googled "blogiversary" and found it to be in common usage. From

1. blogiversary
The yearly anniversary of someones web-log (blog)

Ok, so let's ignore Urban Dictionary's redundancy and missing apostrophe, this is a good, simple definition.

The next question is how do you celebrate? I guess just by looking back on the past year. I don't find a lot of time to write, but when I have I thoroughly enjoyed typing these entries. I still dream of writing essays and short stories, so this helps fulfill that desire to communicate personal thoughts with a broader audience.

That brings me to another observation. Few people read this - my sister, my friend Cheri, one or two coworkers, and others who stumble on it by accident, or (be still my heart) by it coming up in a Google search. So, I have an audience of about six people in any given day. I'm elated!

I also have a goal. I would like to create a sister blog with information that would be helpful to others in university publications offices. I belong to several list serves, and I think a well-done blog could serve a similar function of bringing people with shared interests together.

My other goal, of course, is to write more frequent entries here.