Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Working Late is Counterproductive

I know this because while I'm waiting on Excel to crunch numbers on a 50K record file, my mind wanders. Every little four to five minute yawn-fest then doubles in size like I've left the auto-mitosis (or is it meiosis?) gear engaged in my brain.

While I'm waiting, I hurry to check USA Today, Yahoo, Google and Fox to make sure I'm not missing anything. Those are my information staples. Occasionally if the spreadsheet is thinking exceptionally hard, I'll hit CNN, too. Wikipedia is also great for what I like to call "steam-of-consciouness" surfing. You pick a topic - ANY topic that comes to mind - type it in the search box and hit enter. In the articles that appear, there are zillions of links sprinkled throughout the narrative so that you could find you had jumped from Benjamin Franklin > Armonica > Interview With the Vampire > Brad Pitt before you can say Shiloh Nouvel!

BTW, I'm not sure why I should even care, but I'm slightly relieved by Brangelina's choice in baby monikering - it's not totally strange like Apple or Bluebell Madonna, but it's also no Plain Jane (no offense Janes of the world); nor is it an overused, cutesy-pooh cheerleader handle like Britney or Jessica (no offense Britneys or Jessica's...except for two overexposed bottle blondes - you know who you are!).

The cool thing is that by the time I'm caught up [on the latest happenings in the world], Excel is too - and I can initiate the next sequence of code which will in turn give me another much needed surf-break.

Hot on the heels of my current events update is the "contest entry relay". This is where I hit F9 (manual calculation) on my spreadsheet, and then Alt-Tab to I.E. and bounce from site to site entering sweepstakes for "fabulous prizes" from the likes of HGTV, Food Network, and DIY. You can enter once-per-day until May 31st on several current sweeps - so of course I do. It used to take longer to fill out the web-forms. But lately I've noticed lots of sites let you slide with just your e-mail address once you've completed the full form on your initial entry. Sweet! But it has it's downsides....now I'm done entering all my contests for the day, but my spreadsheet is still clocking. Hmmmm. What to do, what to do...

We can't play games where I work...that'll get you a security violation. There are ways around it if you know how to ghost your way across the web. But most times, the ghost sites have Java disabled so the games don't work anyway. It's just as well since the game I'm addicted to is PopFu - which ensnared me with it's wiley ways by being free but is now an exclusive Club Pogo selection (which means ya gotta pay to join the Club to play the game). I suppose I could do crosswords on some newspaper websites, or if I were really desperate, I could launch a "fun-filled" game of Sudoku (can you see the forced grin? ....ugh). Look, don't get me wrong, I like puzzles as much as the next....nerd. But sheesh! What is it about Sudoku that has the rest of the world enthralled but me? I've tried to do them, really I have. And I could, if I wanted to put the time and energy into it....or had a gun to my head. But it's just not....worth it. (Well, okay, yes - if there were a gun to my head, it would be totally worth it.) I apologize to all you Sudoku fans out there if I've offended you....bless your hearts, you do like your number puzzles. And, hey, thanks to my dislike of them, there's more for you! (Don't hurt me.)

Ooh! If you really wanna zone out at work, check this out....but take my word for it: Visine is advisable in order to avoid ocular injury. Enjoy.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

How is it possible there are still people who forward hoax e-mails???

I got another one the other day:

Subject: Re: Missing 13 year old girl
Body of e-mail begins: Date: May 10, 2006 12:58 PM Please look at the picture, read what her mother says, then forward his message on. [Image removed] Maybe if everyone passes this on, someone will see this child.
Oh the humanity, the urgency! Of the 112 e-mail addresses and 3 states (I counted) this dire plea had traveled...NO ONE bothered to check this out before mindlessly forwarding it on. Why?? Heck, a person applying a little common sense could read the e-mail and conclude it was more than likely a sham. The lack of details about the alleged incident (how did she go missing? who was the last to see her? what are her vital statistics?) as well as the complete omission of any reference to law enforcement working the case would've had me guessing.

But FOLKS - you don't even have to read the e-mail or break out your Home CSI Kits to figure this out. Why? Because 90% of the time, the good folks at http://www.snopes.com/ have already done that for you. In fact, you can help STOP THE INSANITY (ty Susan Powter for that phrase) by telling everyone you know to STOP forwarding those inane e-mails UNLESS they first check it out on Snopes.

I used to worry about embarrassing my friends, acquaintances, suitors, etc. by replying just to them with the info that they'd been had, and btw, here is the proof at http://www.snopes.com/. NO MORE! Nowadays when I get sham-spam from those in my trusty address book, I use the dreaded 'REPLY-TO-ALL' feature to expose the fraud. It goes something like this:

FYI - this is a hoax. See: http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/missing/ashleyflores.asp p.s. I usually check http://www.snopes.com/ when I want to verify items like this. (Although they also have info on urban legends in general, not just emails or online shenanigans).
That little quip is e-mailed to the sender of said sham-spam, along with everyone they sent it to when sending it to me. Heck, in my quest to educate, I've even been known to grab all the e-mail addresses along the trail and include them, too.

It is my sincere hope that a recipient of this newfound knowledge will stop and think before forwarding future questionable e-mails. As a result of the sheer embarrassment at having been exposed mindlessly forwarding sham-spam like some kind of e-lemming running off the forward-all-emails-Cliffs-of-Insanity (ty Princess Bride for that phrase) they will a) now take the time to check it out first, or b) stop forwarding e-mails altogether. (Either one will work for me.)

So consider yourself warned people. Do your civic duty and check things out before you "forward-to-all". After all, when they enact the e-mail tax, you'll only be hurting yourself.