Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Taking e-mail to the cloud

I have taken my email to the cloud. For years I have used Outlook and later Windows Mail to download my email to my computer and have worked with it and filed it there. There was always a certain comfort in having it all stored right here in my lap.

But I became uneasy about local data storage a few years ago when I had a computer hard drive crash on me. Lost a lot of pictures in that one and all my saved emails and other documents. Interestingly I had recently bought an external hard drive to store data in case of a computer crash. It didn't work either. Somewhere in the fruitless search for someone who could get my pictures off the external hard drive an expert told me that since a hard drive is a mechanical instrument they will all eventually fail.

About a year ago I started backing up my data on-line (i.e. on "the cloud"), primarily so I don't lose my photos, but since I haven't had to use it to retrieve my data, I still am uneasy about it. I am not especially concerned about someone else getting into it, because one of my principals is transparency. I don't have any secrets other than social security number and the like, and they are not out there.

I have held off to the last on going on'line with my email, but have recently made the change. I am still a little uncomfortable not having it stored right here with me, but am gradually building confidence in the cloud. Wish me luck.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Last Year's Resolutions

It's frustrating. I wrote this once, then lost it. So I'm going to try again.

In a way it's a metaphor for last year's resolutions. I tried, I failed, I have a decision to make. Do I try again? Or do I trash the idea?

One thing I enjoy about the new year is revisiting last years resolutions. Though in recent years I have come to call them "goals." It seems less threatening somehow.

I can revisit them because I have them inscribed at the bottom of my "To Do" list. So as I finish the year I am confronted with the chore of rewriting last years goals. Last year I had four. I know I will reveal something of myself, by talking about them, but that is in keeping with my (unwritten) goal of transparency (maybe more about that in a later post).

Last year's goals tend to fall into three groups: 1. Sucessfully completed, Hallelujah, Amen! 2) Missed it completely, try again this year. Ugh! and 3) Missed it completely, drop it, forget it, Whew! It is that third category that prompted me to write this little piece. It makes me smile.

You see, for years I have compulsively carried over all of last year's unmet goals into the coming year. They constituted a huge collection of difficult expectations with which to confront the new year. Instead of fresh opportunities, the coming year looked rather bleak against the back drop of old failures. Maybe at 69 it is the approaching decade of the 70's that has prompted me to start dropping goals from the list, but it has proved to be an exciting prospect, rather than the bitter nostalgia you might expect.

In 2010 I met two of my four goals - both causes for celebration. I failed to meet two others. One of the two unmet ones goes to the top of the new list with excitement for early work on it in the coming year. The other one goes into the trash can, with a certain glee. It's not that the fourth goal was not worthy. It is just that I have carried it over for far too many years. It was at least as unlikely to be met in 2011 as it was in 2010 and 2009 and...

Goal 1 was to finish the third book: "Relax Christian: God Still has Your Back." I didn't get that done, but it goes back on top for 2011. Goal 2 was to rework my web site (an important step in marketing the ideas that have become an big part of who I am). Got that one done! It didn't take as long as I thought it would. I could have done it sooner. But it is done! It will need to be an ongoing project, but doesn't need to go back on the goals list. Goal 3 was to learn 300 new Haitian Creole phrases by the end of the year. I flunked that one. I don't do well with things that require daily drill. I took some delight in not repeating that one for 2011. I still would like to be able to converse with the Haitian people, but I will have to continue my search for a method other than the "phrase a day" method I had devised. Goal 4 was to clarify for myself my focus on Haiti. I did that one. It took a good deal of time (both mine and that of a large number of other people) and some money, but I got it done. I am not sure anyone but me will benefit from it but I feel a lot better about my interactions with the Haitian people.

So I crossed two off as successfully completed, eliminated one as failed, and carried over one that I want to continue work on. Maybe I'm just old and easily distracted, but it was an interesting and exciting time for me.. I hope the new year brought new joys for you as well.