Ding dong the damsel’s dead

I killed another techno-damsel today and I couldn’t be more pleased. I’m sitting here at my computer, mentally dancing on her grave. If you read this blog regularly, you know how much I love to dance.

I finally figured out how to get a web badge into my sidebar, courtesy of a helpful article forwarded on by the helpful people at WordPress. If you need to figure it out, too, search for info on inserting an image into a sidebar (or comment on the blog and I’ll send you the link).

There was a time when I would have just let the issue drop, figuring that I could live without a web badge or that I could get someone else to help me do it. I like being able to learn these things myself. Don’t get me wrong—I don’t intend to become a computer expert, but I figure that a person should be able to do the small things for herself. I can fix a flat tire, I can assemble furniture, and now I can insert a web badge into my blog any time I want to. That’s good to know, because sometime during the month of November I intend to insert another badge showing that I have succeeded at the National Novel Writing Month challenge. Who knew that the first challenge would start before November and would have nothing to do with plot, pacing, or word selection? According to the rules, we are allowed to work on character development before the month begins, and I think I just added a little bit of polish to my own. It just goes to show that challenges often provide more benefits than the ones you expect.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:

198. The next time you face a technical challenge, try to figure it out using your own resources. These may include reference manuals, online help, or an e-mail to a helpful support person. If you succeed, dance on the techno-damsel’s grave. She didn’t need a knight-in-shining armor after all.

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Look Ma, I made a picture

See this little picture? Cute, right? It’s a web badge for National Novel Writing Month, and I can’t figure out how in the heck to get it into my sidebar. A lot of the help on this is in computer-ese or doesn’t tell me how to get it in the sidebar. But I got it here, after about an hour, and I feel very proud of myself, as I don’t know a lot about the technical aspects of computers. I am rejoicing! (and I’m still going to try to put it where it belongs).

Questions questions questions

Dear Reader: I’ve decided to do something different on the weekends—something less formal and structured, much like the weekends themselves. Enjoy!

I love to read magazines, and it’s something I don’t often have enough time for. Magazines are expensive, so I tend to enjoy them as a rare treat or in a place where I can peruse them for free. Sometimes people leave old ones at my workplace, and today I found the June/July issue of Atlantic. I’m looking forward to reading it. I mention it here, because even the title of the feature article intrigues me. In large letters across the face, the magazine screams “Is Google Making Us Stupid?: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains.” The author is Nicholas Carr.

I’m looking forward to his conclusions, because I’ve been thinking about this issue a lot lately. Many members of my generation, Generation X, did not grow up with access to personal computers. Most of us have adapted, and have learned to surf the web with the best of them. I’ve found a lot of useful information online, as well as a lot of diversion. I’ve also become concerned because it seems that a lot of people accept everything online at face value. This is more modern disguise for the old fallacy that “because it’s written down it must be true.”  This worries me as a scholar—I used to be a medieval historian in a past existence of this life. It worries me more as a person, because this fallacy is a powerful weapon in the aid of those who seek to preach hate and violence.

It’s something to think about, whether or not you seek out the article. Unwavering belief in the supreme greatness of computers is one of unquestioned assumptions of our times. I find myself more joyful when I ask questions about everything (or maybe that’s just my pesky curiosity speaking)!

See you tomorrow!