ASSOCIATES (2008, November, v. 15, no. 2)

Column

My View from the Back Room

carolb.gifCarol Borzyskowski
Library Associate II
Winona Public Library
Winona, MN 55987
carolb@selco.info
www.winona.lib.mn.us

We have been experiencing strange weather for Minnesota. Even though Winona is located in the “southern” part of the state, November temperatures of over 70 degrees can be considered weird. Today, the day after the interminable election 2008, it is cooler and cloudy. Which posits the theory that the unseasonable warm weather was caused by the huge amount of hot air created by local, state and national candidates running (but not fast enough!) for office.

Not only has the weather been strange but also my technological side has gone all wonky and reverted to low-tech. For the past year or more, I have really been searching out new programs, ideas, and technologies to use at work and at home. I had fun studying and learning through Minnesota’s “23 Things on a Stick”, I took an on-line class from Madison, Wisconsin about Library 2.0, I went to MLA and absorbed interesting classes on social networking, Web Junction and Library 2.0, and I have tried to implement some new things into our web site. I wouldn’t say that I have failed spectacularly, but I seem to be in one of those dreams where you are trying to run and your legs won’t move, or you are stuck in sand, or there is water up to your knees and the waves are crashing all around you. I think you get the picture.

First of all, my computer at work, one month before its scheduled replacement, died. It just blinked, sighed, and died. I did have most of my work saved on the server, but I had many other things, mini projects, quickies and such, that were just on my machine. Gone. All my e-mail, and some were things that I had transferred from computer to computer, for years, gone. All my addresses, gone. Did I have a back-up? No.

So after a good solid week of getting my new work computer set up the way I liked, I began to realize just what little things I was missing. And, I am running VISTA now, which means some of my favorite programs don’t work anymore. But I am using the server more, and keeping less on my local machine, so that is one good thing. But the whole operation set me back on my Library 2.0 advancement plan.

Next, my computer at home, obviously feeling ignored, decided to stutter, shudder and stop. After long phone conversations with the techie–and the beast is under warranty, so at least the calls were free–it was finally proclaimed that the only way to “fix” it was to re-format the disc. Now listen, after all the years computers have been around, can’t these “specialists” fix the dang things instead of resorting to wiping out the hard drive? Isn’t there a “Computer 2.0” class somewhere? Anyway, I lost everything. That included all the email I had carefully transferred from my old machine (which is still chugging along just fine for my granddaughters) that I had saved for years. I was going to use the material for a story. HA!

I had my magazine stuff all saved on a zip drive (I co-edit and co-produce the literary magazine Main Channel Voices at http://mainchannelvoices.com/), and I had attempted to back up my computer but didn’t have enough space, so the few files I got are not going to be much help. All of this means that I am back to manually re-creating all my address lists, for things like Christmas cards. I am going to buy a BIG zip drive and back it up, but I haven’t yet. My co-editor is thrilled I managed to save all the magazine stuff, and I had saved my poetry (most of it) but lost all the new stuff.

Computers and technology. There is so much new out there, but I keep getting stuck in the inner third circle of technology hell and can’t ever seem to work my way out. To mix a few religious metaphors, I must have a lot of bad Karma to work though. I don’t think it is fair though that I had to basically re-create the website for Main Channel Voices because even though I had a back-up it wasn’t current and transferring the files from local to remote and back again was a nightmare. Then, Yahoo was upgrading or changing things and that caused even more problems.

So, technology. It can be exciting. I sort of think it will, if I ever get to play with the new things, but I have to tell you this: I actually feel free. I feel like a big weight just rolled off me. What exactly did I lose? I lost some information, so what. I can now say, I dunno, I lost it. It has reminded me that my family and friends are here, now and real, there is no Friends & Family 2.0 that I need to learn about. And for that, I want to say THANK YOU!


Carol Borzyskowski, Library Associate II, has worked at the Winona Public Library in Winona, Minnesota, for over 20 years. She is almost 2 inches shorter now than when she started. To the left of her computer monitor is a magic wand which she uses to answer circ questions and regulate the weather. She has been known to make lights dim when passing under them. She co-edits and publishes a “Dam Fine!” literary magazine (Main Channel Voices) and although she has not given up on being recognized as a brilliant poet, she realizes no longer can anyone say “and she did it all so young!”

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