May 2003

Instant messaging can be fun

As you may know, I am a big user of Instant Messaging, real-time chatting between 2 people across the Internet. I use AOL Instant Messenger to talk to my friends, clients and even my parents back in Ohio. There are several other instant messaging systems (i.e. MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, etc.), but you need to make sure that you and your friends are using the same system to make the most use of it. Even better, instant messaging software, and the service itself, are free.

I am usually “logged in” or available on instant messaging whenever I am near a computer. This makes it easy for friends to find me and clients to ask a quick question or two. Some people, though, don’t want to be interuppted when they are doing their work. You can still use instant messaging, though, by setting up a specific time to go online. My wife, Rosanne, and I sometimes use this method when we need to work with someone who could be anywhere in the world. She recently worked through the edits on a movie script this way and saved probably $100 in long distance fees. For only the cost of your Internet connection, you can communicate across the world. As an aside, some instant messaging systems also allow you to “talk” to someone using your computer much like a standard telephone.

It may take a little practice to get used to typing your thoughts instead of just talking into the phone, but instant messaging can be tremendously useful in your work and your life. If you are interested in trying it out, or have a great story about how you use instant messaging, drop me a line at douglas@welchwrite.com.

Remember to update operating systems and anti-virus programs

The beginning of each month is the perfect time to ensure that your operating system (Windows/Macintosh OS) and anti-virus software are up-to-date. Your anti-virus software cannot pro tect your computer from the latest viruses without these updates. Updates are released at least once a month, unless a new virus is dangerous enough to justify an immediate update.

Operating System Updates
For Windows (98, 2000, XP), there should be an icon labeled Windows Update in your Start Menu

For Macintosh OS 9 systems, check Apple Menu, Control Panels, Software Update
For Macintosh OS X systems, check System Preferences, Software Update

Most systems can be set to automatically check for updates directly from the Internet, as well. If you want to learn how to set up automatic updates for these programs, drop me an email or give me a call.

Software Updates

Apple iTunes 4 Upgrade
Safari Public Beta 2 Upgrade
Mac OS X 10.2.5 Upgrade


HandyShopper 2.7.5

HandyShopper is a great shopping list tool with plenty of features. But it can do so much more than just manage shopping lists -- it's great for managing any kind of lists! HandyShopper 2.0 works on Palm OS 2.0 through 4.0, on all Palm-based devices (including HandSpring, Sony, HandEra, etc).And best of all, it's freeware!


Windows Updates

A variety of important Windows Security Updates are available using the Windows Update service at http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com

Software Updates of all sorts



My Writing

My weblog. My Word with Douglas E. Welch, is a daily gathering spot for all the information I come across in my travels. There I announce new software updates, post photos, highlight interesting news stories, book recommendations and LA Events. You can check it out at: http://www.welchwrite.com /blog/

Fullerton Rail Days

Saturday, May 3rd, 9a-6p
Sunday, May 4th, 9am-5pm.

Where: In the Metrolink parking lot adjacent to the Amtrak / Metrolink Station at the Fullerton Santa Fe Depot in Fullerton, California 92832

We are planning on visiting on Saturday, May 4 and taking Amtrak from Van Nuys to Fullerton. Amtrak is running a special right now:

1 person full price, 2nd person half price, 3rd person free

AAA also offers discounts at all times.

If you want to go together on the train, or meet us there, drop me a line. I haven't booked the tickets yet but it looks like we would be taking these trains:

768 Van Nuys-Amtrak/Metrolink Fullerton 05/03/03 8:48am 05/03/03 10:12am
785 Fullerton Van Nuys-Amtrak/Metrolink 05/03/03 6:09pm 05/03/03 7:33pm

Check out the Rail Days web site for much more information.

Added 1217p:

Our friend, Lyn, will also be exhibiting at the show with the Southern California Lego Train Club. Be sure to stop by and say hello.

A Gardener's Notebook is a daily weblog of the trials and tribulations of a part-time gardener. It includes notes on what is blooming, what I am planting and what is struggling. It also contains links to new (or newly found) gardening books and more. Spend some time in my garden! http://welchwrite.com/agn/blog/

Latest Entry:

Why Mow?

An interesting book excerpt has started a small discussion over at MetaFilter on just this issue. Are you a mower or a meadow-er?

My own garden contains no lawn at all, and I like it that way. As a kid, I spent hours mowing our 1.5 acres of grass and came to dislike it immensely, even using a riding mower. When I had to mow it with a push mower, I often contemplated a meadow with a few mown paths instead of the great tracks of green lawn. Well, I contemplated that and other, less acceptable things.

How are you going to address your lawn issues this year?

Read more at: http://welchwrite .com/agn/blog/

Career-Op, now in its 6th ye ar, is my weekly column on high-tech careers. In Career-Op, I address some o f the particular issues of working in high-tech and also general issues that we all face in our careers. You can find the latest column, and a complete archive of past columns, at: <http://welchwrite.com /dewelch/ce/>

Latest Column

Career-Op: Mac in a PC World
by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

Hi, my name is Douglas and...I'm a Mac user. It isn't just a fling either. I have several Macs and one is even running (gasp) OS X. If you were to ask my clients, though, many would have no idea that I am a Mac user. More importantly, this is exactly the way I want it. If they saw me only as a "Mac Person" they might question my ability to solve their Windows problems. A successful high-tech career depends on being flexible and having the ability to deal with as many different computers and operating systems as possible. Identifying yourself too closely with any particular piece of hardware or software can diminish your employment opportunities.


WelchWrite Bookstore and Rec ommendations


American Pie: Slices of Life (and Pie) from America's Back Roads

WARNING: Before you sit down to read this book, go out to your favorite bakery and buy 2-3 pieces of pie. I can guarantee that you will be glad you did before you even finish the first chapter.

Coming from a small town, I really enjoy stories about real people from the parts of the country most people describe as "the flyover states." It can be amazing what you discover when you ask a simple question, "where can we find some good pie around here?" The author and her companions discover a lot about people, America, and, of course, pie.


Interesting Web Sites

Design Dont's

If you, or someone you know, is studying design, this is a definite "must-see." It makes you wonder how someone could make such basic mistakes -- and how they could go unnoticed throughout the design process.

Via Metafilter

More web sites of all sorts

Contact Information

I am available for assistance via telephone, cell phone, e-mail and instant messaging. The fee for assistance via these methods is my basic hourly rate, pro-rated by the minute.

Contact Numbers:

Office     818-781-6955
Cell        818-601-00 51
Email      help@welchwrite.com
AOL Instant Messenger   WelchWrite