Mike boldly shares his New Year's Resolutions...
It's time to make some New Year's resolutions, something I've always been good at...it's keeping them I have trouble with.
One of my first resolutions is to finally, really, this-time-I-mean-it, actually go through my hard disks and excise redundant and unused programs and files.
I must have dozens of unneeded .zip files, for example, that I've unzipped and then left the original .zip file to use up space I can ill afford. In fact, I've probably got several instances of some of them, in different directories. I lost a .zip file once, a big one, because I deleted it after unzipping it, then something happened to the directory into which I'd unzipped it. Since then, I almost always copy (rather than move) .zip files, resulting in a lot of space wasted.
I've got a flock of application programs that I've kept because... well...because...ah...they're kind of neat, and I might want to use them some day. Like the animated tropical fish aquarium, or about a zillion game demos, or the computerized Tarot, or the planetarium program, or...well, you get the picture.
Then there's the 10 MB or so of .qwk packets I haven't moved to a floppy or MO archive, just because I'm lazy. Pretty unlikely I'll actually go back and read something from the BBS two months ago, really, and I'm starting to stretch OLX's imagination in naming new packets. The same is true of a lot of word processor document files: I probably don't need to keep copies of in-company proposals I wrote in 1991, for instance (but you never know...).
Not too much point in having well over 100 MB tied up in games I don't have the time to play, either, I guess (it's such a pain reinstalling them, though, and maybe someday...).
So, real soon now, I resolve to do some major culling on my hard disks. This will free enough space that I'll be able to install Windows 95 when I'm satisfied that the bugs have been worked out of it. Watching my live-in engineer installing it and listening to complaints about what won't run now is moving this event further and further into the future for me, however.
My next resolution is to learn to use MS Publisher more efficiently. I've had it on The Beast since I got it; it was one of the apps that Gateway 2000 bundled with the machine. Since Dori Horn was using Lotus Ami Pro to publish the newsletter when I came aboard as editor, I learned to use it and have been using it for just about all of my word processing, replacing WordStar which I'd been using since CP/M days. Ami's very icon oriented, and it has a lot of nice features, and the "look and feel" is about as far from MS Publisher as it's possible to get. MS Publisher strikes me as a high-powered MS Word for Windows, and that's another program that came bundled with The Beast which I've never had the reason nor the inclination to use. In fact, the only thing I'd been using WinWord or MS Publisher for was for graphics selection and importation into Ami Pro.
Now, though, since Paul Cipywnyk, our new Co-Publisher, will be using it to produce the AJ, I resolve to learn to use it well. So far, so good.
I also resolve (this resolution is an old favorite; I've made it many times) to write down everything I do when I change something on The Beast, or peform some process that I do only rarely. Like the other day, when I formatted a new MO cartridge. I hadn't done it for a while, and spent maybe 20 minutes fiddling around while I tried to remember how to do it. Then another 15 minutes because what I'd done wasn't quite good enough...had to use first the SCSI utilities that can be selected on boot-up, then AFDISK.EXE, from DOS. I'd learned that maybe a year ago, failed to write it down, and had to relearn it when I wanted to format the next half-dozen cartridges. Wrote it down, this time.
Wish I'd written down what I eventually had to do the last time I had to install a hard disk. It took me a significant part of a day, and some phone calls for tech support to Todd Boyle, and it'll probably take the same thing next time, because I seem not to have recorded the necessary steps in the process. Since it was a SCSI device, my consulting engineer wasn't able to be of as much help as usual. She did offer some good advice, though: "Be sure you write down everything you do, particularly after you find out how to do it correctly."
Yet another resolution for 1996 is to pare down the fonts I have installed. WinTune tells me that my WIN.INI file is over 32,000 bytes long, that this may cause trouble with some applications, and that it's largely due to the huge number of fonts I have installed. Sternly, it tells me that I should remove unused fonts. OK, let's see...a quick count gives me a mere 350 installed fonts. I don't think that's excessive, and I might someday have a need for, say, the Terminator 2 font or the Headhunter font. It's only a matter of time before I'll have a need for the Temps Mirror font, or the Viking font, or the klinzai (Klinzai) one from Star Trek, or...well, I guess I'm going to have to cull the list a little, or risk violating my resolution (again). Paul seems more conservative regarding fonts than I, so with him doing the publishing, maybe I'll have less justification for keeping all these fonts.
One resolution I really want to try to keep is to find the time to learn HTML. I've been wanting to do this for a while, and even downloaded and installed an add-on for Ami Pro to mark up Ami Pro documents. Several people have been putting AJ articles on the TPC's WWW page, and we've gotten welcome offers from others to help with this, but I'd like to learn to use it effectively myself, and try my hand at making my own Web page one of these days, too. The only question is when can I find the time to learn by doing.
Which brings me to the next resolution: to use my time more efficiently, in order to be able to do the other stuff I've resolved to do, for one thing. A fast calculation indicates that this should be pretty simple, if I can only find a way to make every day have about 48 hours. The 1996 resolution list is already getting a little long, so I'll save "doubling the hours in every day" for next year, I guess. Meanwhile, maybe I'll begin small here, and resolve to waste less time while Web browsing. Yeah, that sounds doable...straight to what I'm trying to find, no digressions into tempting links, avoid "What's Cool?", reject all temptation. Stay tuned to see how well I manage this one.
Lots of people have been very helpful about providing suggestions for New Year's resolutions for me. Along the lines of "Why don't you resolve to get more sleep?" (or live a healthier life, eat more vegetables, drink less, cut down to three packs of cigarettes a day, etc.). I'll be working on some of those, too, but I can already see some potential conflicts between the computer-oriented resolutions and the lifestyle-oriented ones. For me, working at the computer just naturally tends to cut into my sleeping time, for example, and to increase my tobbacco intake. And if working with a computer doesn't drive you to drink, nothing will.
Happy New Year, folks, and good luck with your resolutions.
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