Make a Donation as a Holiday Gift

It’s not even Thanksgiving and there are Christmas trees in store windows. I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready for holiday decorations until Santa Claus makes his appearance at the end of the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Still, it’s time to start thinking about holiday plans and gift giving. No good waiting until the last minute.

GiftIf you have anyone on your gift list who’s difficult to shop for, I have a suggestion: make a donation to one of their favorite causes. Donations have been down the past couple of years due to the economy, yet the need is greater. A donation can be a terrific gift–nothing to store, no worrying that it’s the right size or color, and the recipient may be pleasantly surprised by your imaginative gift. You can “wrap” it in a simple envelope, along with an appropriate greeting card or note, and most non-profits will send an acknowledgment directly to the recipient on your behalf.

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Answer E. All of the Above

When I was in school it seemed like every multiple-choice test included at least a few questions for which the answer was “E. All of the above.” Once you get the hang of it, it’s not difficult: if you’re absolutely sure that at least two of the answers above are correct, “All of the above” is the right choice.

Moore's Law Graph

It’s been a while since I graduated high school. The intervening years have seen the rise of the Internet, the availability of smaller, faster, cheaper computers, and a sometimes bewildering choice of mobile communications technology. Along the way I’ve become a huge fan of Moore’s Law, which in 1965 predicted that “The number of transistors incorporated in a chip will approximately double every 24 months.”

If you think that the number of transistors on a chip doesn’t matter, think again. You many not know what goes on inside your computer, but because Gordon Moore turned out to be right the laptop you’re probably using right now could run rings around ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), the world’s first general purpose computer, which weighed 30 tons. And your laptop is much, much cheaper. Continue reading

Catching Up – November 2010

I noticed recently that it’s been more than three months since I started this blog and much has happened. I was also looking at a calendar, thinking about what I want to blog about as the holidays and new year approach. So it seems like a good time to look back and follow up on a few of the subjects I’ve already written about.

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The Menu Toolbar as a Metaphor for Life

Spend enough time using computers and you’ll realize a few things. For example, my old laptop had a highly-developed means of sensing when I was almost finished and wanted to shut down; processing slowed to a crawl and the last couple of tasks, which should have taken no more than ten minutes, took 30. Pretty sophisticated for a machine whose processing speed was measured in hours and battery life in minutes.

MS Word ToolbarOne thing I learned early on is that there is almost always more than one way to do any task in a program. Save a file? You could use File|Save from the Menu Toolbar. Or click the Save icon which, oddly, looks like a floppy disk, even though very few new computers come with floppy disk drives. Or just hit Control-S. I’ve done enough copying, pasting and moving of text within documents that Control-C (or Control-X to cut) Control-V is a single swoop of my fingers across the keyboard–and magically the text is in a new location. Yet I’ve met people who rarely copy and paste who use the Menu Toolbar, a method that seems clunky to me but not to them.

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