Personal ponderings from a natural night-owl!

Archive for January, 2009

Email Etiquette

Email is NOT new. Email as we know it has been around for at least 25 years. If email were a person, (s)he would be well past drinking age and probably married with kids by now.

I apologize if you’re the choir and I’m preaching, but I need to get this out of my system.  (In my defense, I lasted almost a year and a half longer than John at Taste of Tech before blogging this.  He has particular problems with #7 and #9 ).

DEBBIE’S TOP 10 EMAIL DO’S AND DON’TS

1.  DON’T forward ANY email that says, “Forward this to all your friends.”  Ever. Period.  You know the old question, “If you friends all jumped off a bridge…”  Expect a terse email back if you send these types of emails regularly to me.

2.  DON’T forward every “funny” email you receive, and especially don’t forward them to me.  I’ve probably already seen them.  MAYBE send me the occasional REALLY GOOD ONE if you truly think I’d enjoy it.  Only my dad can get away with sending every dumb email “joke” email he gets – and even HE is going to get reprimanded one of these days!

3.  DO use the “bcc” – blind carbon copy – line and not the “to” line if you insist on forwarding the types of emails listed in #1 and #2.  If you don’t use BCC, you have just potentially sent my email address to thousands of people without my permission.  That makes me grumpy.

4.  DO check SNOPES.COM before sending me a “warning” you received via email.  I know you are well-intentioned, but the thing against which you are warning me is most likely bogus, wrong, or outdated.

5.  DON’T send an email that says only, “Thanks.”  And especially don’t “reply all” with a “thanks” email!

6.  DON’T TYPE EVERYTHING IN CAPITAL LETTERS.  IT MAKES YOU SEEM LIKE YOU ARE SHOUTING AND IT IS RUDE!

7.  DO use “Reply All” if you answer via email a question I emailed you with other people copied in.  Otherwise, I just have to forward your message to the other people, which wastes my time.

8.  DON’T click on any links in email.  Copy the link location and paste it into your browser.  Just because your friend sent the email to you doesn’t mean your friend checked it for viruses OR didn’t pick up a virus from another “friend.”

9.  DON’T send an email with a blank subject line.  It only takes a few seconds to title your email.  If it’s important enough to send, it’s important enough to title.  I know people who won’t answer or even acknowledge emails with blank subject lines.

10. DO keep all emails you send for at least a year, if not longer, and DO create a folder filing system for your incoming emails.  It’s simple, it’s fast, and it saves me from having to re-send something you should already have.

So there you go.  I feel so much better!

Before I posted this, I did an informal survey of my Plurk friends.  Their most annoying pet peeves were #1, #2, and #9.  It’s nice to know I am not alone!

So do me a favor and email the link to this blog post to anyone you know who is still email illiterate.  And if a friend sent you to this blog post, don’t be mad, be grateful!  For every one friend who tells you that you are annoying, there are probably 10 who are thinking it and letting you stay that way.

Simple Solutions

Sometimes, the simple solution staring us in the face still eludes us.

I’ve had a mini-van for over 7 years, and for at least 5 of those years, the placement of the plastic garbage cans has caused me a problem: they get in the way of my sliding door.  I have long, unsightly white scratches on my van door from frequent collision with the cans.  Until today, it was a problem without a solution.

old-way

There’s simply no better place for the garbage cans than where they are.  Slimmer cans are not to be found.  My van won’t fit on the other side of the garage without MAJOR rearranging, and there are sliding doors on both sides anyhow.

But this morning, I came home knowing I would be leaving twice more.  I usually crawl through the front seats from/to the passenger side to get in and out, but in the winter THAT becomes a major pain with drippy, heavy boot on my feet.  So I decided to back into the garage for today. That’s when I noticed that when I’m backed in, the garbage cans are not in the way at all!

My front door clears the pole, the sliding doors are obstruction free, and the problem is solved!

new-way

I know why I had never considered this solution before.  Somewhere along the way, I picked up the impression that backing into the garage wasn’t as safe as pulling in forward because exhaust fumes get trapped in the front part of the garage instead of being vented out the large open door in the back.  It probably does increase the amount of trapped fumes, but cars today emit a lot less exhaust.  I don’t ever idle my car in the garage so I bet the “increased risk” is minimal, if measurable at all.

Just to be safe, I posted over in NPR’s Car Talk forum to see what others had to say.  But at this point, I’m pretty sure the increased blood pressure I experience every time my car door hits the garbage can is a larger health risk than the exhaust fumes.

From now on, I’m backing in.  Problem solved!

Living History

It’s been 12 momentous hours.  More words have and will be written about this day than one person could read in a lifetime.  People far more qualified an insightful than I will dissect every aspect of this day.

There’s no doubt that President Obama is an outstanding orator and an inspiring leader.

“We will extend a hand, if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

“Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met.”

“Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed.”

“We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.”

“We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and nonbelievers.”

Wow.  And yes.  To it all.

Let me add just a few personal, and uncharacteristically non-sentimental observations on the day.

1.  President Obama spoke thousands of words today.  Many were well-crafted, profound, thought-provoking.  But these words, spoken near the beginning of his remarks at the Congressional luncheon after the swearing-in ceremony, stopped me in my tracks:

“I want to think the devoted staff and volunteers, including our wait staff here today who were putting up with me wandering through the tables.  It’s always hazardous duty serving in a room full of politicians, but I thank all of you for just an incredible, incredible event.”

In the midst of his 12 hour marathon academy acceptance speech, he thanked the luncheon wait staff.  Complete class.

2.  President Obama is left handed like me.  I didn’t know that until I saw him sign his first official documents, then I noticed immediately.  He is only the 8th left-handed president in history.  (I love the internet!)  Here’s the list.  This is also a cute article that discusses his lefty-ness.

3.  The watch President Obama wore to the inaugural balls was ugly!  A big clunky, chunky black thing – ugh.  But it’s interesting that he wears a watch.  So though he’s young, he’s not quite young enough to be of the “let me check my cell phone for the time” generation.  The 39 your old me likes that, because I am still a watch person myself.

4.  He’s been in office just over 12 hours and he’s already starting to fulfill campaign promises. Within the last hour, he suspended for 120 days proceedings involving prisoners at Guantanamo.  And there’s this from the new, improved, and completely redesigned www.whitehouse.gov website that went online at 12 noon:

“One significant addition to WhiteHouse.gov reflects a campaign promise from the President: we will publish all non-emergency legislation to the website for five days, and allow the public to review and comment before the President signs it.”

What?  We get to SEE and COMMENT ON legislation pending signature? Yes.  And wow.  (Go sign up for the White House blog RSS feed – and if you don’t know how to do it or what “RSS” even means, I challenge you to go find out and learn something new!)

History’s been made.  The future awaits.

If I Can, You Can, Too!

I was going to blog about something totally different today, then I found this article in my Google reader.  Apparently, cosmetics manufacturers and retailers were caught colluding to fix prices.  Their “punishment” is a requirement to give away product for free.  And no, this is NOT a hoax!

If you puchased a cosmetic item in the last 10 years, you should read this document closely because starting THIS TUESDAY, January 20th, 2009 you might be eligible to receive one free cosmetic item.

Now, I don’t wear makeup very much.  I probably buy makeup once every 5 or 6 year, in flagrent disregard of all the warnings that you should replace your makeup every 6 months.  But even I do legitimately qualify for a freebie under the terms of this settlement.

No receipt or proof of purchase is needed, but this is a “first come, first served, while it lasts” offer, so I suggest getting to the store bright and early on Tuesday.  And I am printing a copy of the settlement and the Snopes.com page in the very likely event that I run into a clueless store employee.

Happy freebie shopping, everyone!

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