BTR 08.AUG.2009

‘What’s in a name?’ A question asked many times by equally many pondering minds. Value. Honor. Family. Origin. Future. Regret. These and many more make up the sum of the names we carry; assigned or assumed. Writers, in many cases write under ‘assumed names’ – referred to as PEN NAMES or in the French tongue, Nom de plume. A bit of a travel among the stacks of Wikipedia provided this tidbit on the art of writing under an assumed name.

In today’s venue of communication offerings, eMAIL has grown to unimaginable levels in just the past 10 years. How we send these tiny digital bits of yak ‘n frak, is as varied as the options offered in a Google on the subject. But another matter entirely arises when we descide the archival and recall of our online correspondence is important. There are a number of offerings and I personally use more than one. Mostly because I am constantly kicking the .exe files to see what’s new. And partly because I just haven’t found that ‘perfect’ email reader/storage/recall tool. Maybe we have gotten a bit closer with the offering from a group called POSTBOX-INC.COM. is not a free tool, but neither is it cost prohibitive. At $30, if it works as well as it is promoted to, then it will be well worth it and well on its way to providing a more ‘total solution’ package. It’s free to download. I have and will be testing it soon. But I still won’t give up my Gmail accounts! Nope. I like and enjoy the versatility and access freedom far too much to look elsewhere… yet.

And with that I segue into the next item. As mentioned I use Gmail .. a LOT (> 45 accounts, presently! … and I use them all day, by-the-minute!). With all those accounts and all that email: I also rarely delete any email deemed worthy of keeping: I obviously don’t want to ‘loose’ my email. So, like all good computer technology practices DATA BACKUP is a ‘good thing’. A REAL GOOD THING!!

I began looking for ways to gather groups of email within my various Gmail accounts and send them in .zip compressed files to people wanting such information. I have yet to find such a resolution (hint, hint! please let me know if you KNOW of such a tool or technique!) – but I did find a neat tool for backing up my Gmail email accounts. The took is called Gmail BACKUP – odd eh? – and is a 3rd party product produced by a couple of enterprising Czechs. I can’t give a ‘thumbs up or down’ on this as I’ve not tried it yet. But it sure looks easy enough to execute. I will test and provide my findings in an ‘update’ – on this page – when I do.

While I’m on NEW STUFF … Adobe® has come out with a cool tool called the BrowserLab. It’s essentially a browser testing tool – for your web designs – all under one FLASH roof. Actually this is a very welcome tool. I only took it for a quick turn around the block, but it sure did the trick on finding the kinks and offering solutions in a quick design. Not sure what ALL it will do, but knowing Adobe as well as I do! – they will have it tricked out and downright indispensable within couple of versions; if not sooner.

The good folks over at photo store’n’share giant, Flickr have come up with a very cool tool, currently in (Beta), called Flickroom [note the shared ‘r’ in the spelling!]. The idea here is to have a Lightroom-like viewing window in which to view all of your Flickr goodies … and those of your Flickr associations; established or serendipitous! Flickroom is based upon the Adobe® Air technology. Quite slick, but a bit slow on older machines [read: impossible!! FLASH 10 is NOT usable on OS X below 10.4 or Vista]. And now it’s time for a bit of spawned btr editorial comment. Two (2) topics today…

[1] I am a web designer – have been for 15 years – and I really, no longer, design for legacy technology. I did this in my early years. Beat myself to death trying to make my web designs work for every platform. I stopped. It was not worth the effort. If you choose to design with cutting shelf technology, then do so without looking over your shoulder. But, if you must design looking back, then drop the box of goodies you just found in the latest-n-greatest what’s-new-in-online-technology-bundle and stick to the basics of HTML and forget about ‘cool’ looking. Just the facts is all ‘Joe Friday HTML’ is looking for. This might grate in the craw of those who try to say we ‘must’ design for legacy data and those who are still ‘behind’ in their run-toward-technology. My response is still the same. I’ve not seen the data to support the so-called, lagging-element. What I do see is a lot of people who choose NOT to update – for whatever reason [most of it being ‘fear-based’ .. ie, primarily: fear of change]. But I don’t see people still using WIN 98, NT or 2000 complaining their machines can’t do ____ (fill-in-the-blank). The same goes for legacy users of Mac 9.0 or lower. By far, the majority of these users are not interested in updating. Thus they either are unaware of new offerings or just don’t care. For them, their computer is an ‘IBM selectric upgrade’, nothing more. Fine. Let’s understand this and move forward, NOT trying to drag the disinterested along and everyone else – including technology advancement – down.

[2] Flickroom DOES ask to have FULL, unfettered access, to your Flickr account; both public and private material. So, if you are not willing to have the items marked PRIVATE in your Flickr account, Go Public! – then I would say, ‘steer clear of this tool opportunity’. I have nothing to hide in my data, but I do have a few Flickr sites for certain art and marketing projects that I use for ‘private storage’ and/or communication between a small group of specific colleagues. Thus the material is NOT for general (aka: Public!) consumption. That’s why Flickr has the PRIVATE settings! However, if you activate this 3rd party extension, you will be negating the ‘Private’ portion of ANY Flickr account you give discovery access to this software. Flickroom is still a very cool tool, but this is something to be aware of.

OK. Peachbox Platform is OFF.

I love technology as much as the next nerd, but there is no replacement for running and romping outdoors, no matter what age you are. Kids need to get outside and play. I grew up on a small creek, surrounded by riparian buffers of old growth Hoosierland hardwoods. My playtime was spent amid trees, fish, tadpoles, mud and all the fun and mess that goes along with it. I would not trade that for anything. So the next item is near and dear to me and it was a wonderful serendipitous find. The folks over at have teamed up with a design firm called RED DIRT and a very impressive gathering of outdoor artists (my friend Bob White of WhiteFishStudio.comis one!), to produce a great site for kids called Fishy Kid.

FishyKid is right down my aisle. It’s about teaching kids the values of fishing, knowledge of the natural world, respect for environment and the lifelong values each of these areas bring to life. Do check it out and get you kids involved in the FishyKid Coloring Contest.

If you want to see the influence natural beauty has upon the life of the person who participates in such endeavors and for those influenced by such a person, then visit the site of Yoshikazu Fujioka called, Trouts and Seasons of a Mountain Village. Yoshi is an amazing artist and a wonderfully gentle man. I have no doubt anyone visiting this site will do as I did back in 1997 when I first stumbled upon it – just after Yoshi had first released his new web site. And like then, I find myself everynow and then re-entering this Japanese Brigadoon. Once again, being swept up in it’s magical mystery and then leaving it only to return by serendipitous encounter again a few years later.

This is why I love the act of serendipitous encounter. Why I write the Beyond The Ripples.

Until later …


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