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Week of July 23, 2001:
Strategic Alliances, Worms, Publication Tips, Car Theft, Hospitals, & Polite Present

Strategic Alliances

These busy days, I often pause and think of the benefits of having trusted colleagues. Example: people ask me to design sites for them, but my specialty is renovating small business sites: I rarely create sites anymore. After determining what they have in mind, I give them the names of several professional Web developers.

The same holds true if someone needs an analysis or copyediting that goes beyond my expertise. Often people think they just need their copy edited, when the challenges lie deeper. Perhaps there are vital site organizational changes needed, or better branding, or better graphics, or more customer interaction, or significant structural changes ... or all of the above. What a joy to be able to refer professionals I can trust.

Sometimes the people wanting changes insist that I be part of the picture, therefore, increasingly, my work involves partnering. What components help in choosing the right partner? I suggest they must have:

  1. The necessary technical skill.
  2. Excellent communication skills.
  3. Integrity.

Remove any one of these components, and you're asking for trouble.

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Worms

Tuesday evening my Norton anti-virus program caught and quarantined a virus it called SCam32 dot exe. So far so good. But upon rebooting my Windows 98 system, I found I couldn't open any applications. I went to my backup computer and one of the comments from Symantec's site was, "CAUTION: In some cases, if you have had NAV quarantine or delete infected files, you will not be able to run .exe files, however you will still be able to run the removal tool."

Wednesday I contacted my techie, Mike Hastings, of PowerPlus Computers, and he immediately worked with me to fix it. He went to Symantec's site, downloaded the "fix" for the worm, e-mailed it to me, and gave me instructions. I copied the fix onto a floppy, put it in my main computer, went to Start/Run, and a:\, and it opened up and began the fix. It went through every file on my hard drive. When it was finished, I once more had access to my programs.

You may wonder why I didn't just follow the nine pages of information and instructions on the site. I knew that I could damage my computer if I started messing with the registry. I needed someone else. If he doesn't have information about something, he'll search it out. He usually knows, being coversant with computers from a PC to networks. Mike Hastings is my hero.

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Car Theft

Sunday morning we awoke to discover our car had been stolen from our carport. We called the police and the insurance agency, then plotted our course of action for the next couple of days. Not knowing whether or not we'd ever see our familiar 1993 car again, we bought a replacement on Monday.

We learned from our insurance adjuster that Dodge Spirits are frequently stolen, because they're so easy to break into. Now they tell us.

Everyone was nice to us on Monday. We picked up the car rental, then went to a nearby Arby's to grab a sandwich and some iced tea. The salesperson recommended we get the smallest size, because seniors buying iced tea can get as many refills as they want. From the other side of the mirror, I feel so youthful and energetic, I sometimes forget I'm a senior. Not to worry. We took the small size.

We now have another car, and hope this one stays with us for a while. The visit to the first (and only, it turned out) car sales agency was a resounding success. The sales manager worked with us (we'd come in on a referral), and we didn't have to play games. I'd built up a negative attitude about car salespeople, and was so relieved to be in a regular sales atmosphere that I actually had fun.

The past couple of weeks I've learned of the illness, surgery, and death of some wonderful people. I can see strength and courage in the lives of the supporters and survivors. Extraordinary people. It is mostly for these reasons that I cannot be upset over the loss of a car. While it is a necessity, we have the means to get a replacement. We are blessed.

How can I compare this miniscule loss to the loss of Woody, a beloved wife and mother? And how about the young woman who just had a kidney and pancreas transplant (the result of Juvenile Diabetes)? Or the woman with a severely autistic son who battles daily to give him (and other autistic children) a better life? And my friend who is the mother of both of these women? So many people face tragedy with courage and grace. Why should I whimper over a stolen car when my family has life and health? And love.

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Hospitals

I took Jack in for his second epidural cortisone shot today. We had a bit of a wait, so I took time to walk in the hallways of the hospital. After a while, a young man of about 13 (who had been sitting near Jack in the waiting room) came up to me to let me know Jack had gone back to surgery. As we headed for the waiting room he explained that Jack had trouble getting out of his chair, so he was able to help him.

This boy was thrilled that he could do this, but not as thrilled as his mother (who was sitting nearby) or my husband. I grinned and said, "I'll bet Jack offered to adopt you as one of our grandchildren." His eyes opened wide, and he said, "Yeah, that's exactly what he said!" Small deeds of kindness, never to be forgotten. He made my day.

We didn't think the two nurses who spent time with Jack on the first visit could be equaled in skill and nurturing, but today we met their match. We didn't leave until after 5 PM on this hot, muggy day, but our nurses (and the doctor) were cheerful and perceptive. We're impressed with Thunderbird Samaritan.

Polite Present: Manual of Good Manners, 1831

Excerpts from a charming, serious 2 1/2" x 4" book published in 1831 by Munroe & Francis.

AT TABLE: Come not to table, without having your hands and face washed, and your hair combed. Sit not down until your elders are seated. It is unbecoming to take your place first.

Offer not to carve for yourself, or to take any thing, though it be something you much desire. Ask not for any thing, but tarry till it be offered to you.

Find no fault with any thing that is given you. When you are helped, be not the first to eat.

Speak not at table. If others are discoursing, meddle not with the matter; but be silent, except when spoken to. If you wish any thing from the servants, call them softly.

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