Alleviating Email Issues

Alleviating Email Issues
Image provided by Megan Amaral
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mamsy/

I can remember when I used to wish that advertisers would stop sending mail. You know, those things with envelopes. I’d walk to the mail station down the street to retrieve the bills I needed to pay along with, hopefully, a real letter from someone I care about. Lo and behold, my little compartment would be filled with junk mail.

Sure, some of it I’d scan: catalogs, coupons, and local events. Most of it, though, was tosses into the waste paper basket immediately. Even most of the items I glanced at got dumped as well. I lived frugally. I still do.

Now, I have even more junk mail thanks to the internet. It isn’t just the post person dropping garbage off at my home. It’s even coming in through the wires and air! –Depending on if I’m using my PC or laptop.

I guess I could just close my email account. I’d still have the social media sites to bring me news. Most of the blogs I subscribe to are connected to sites where I can read notification at those host sites: WordPress.Com, LiveJournal.Com, and Dreamwidth.Com.

Still, I do love getting email in the morning. I especially love the ones from friends and family. I read as much of it as I can while I drink my first mug of coffee for the day. My email site, Gmail.Com now, tries their best to keep the junk out of my folders. They do a better job at this than Outlook.Com was doing. At least with Gmail, I can rat on the jerks who are sending me spam and know with some certainty something will be done. Outlook says they do this but they need myriads of improvement. The spam problem with Outlook upsets me a great deal. I had hoped Microsoft would have a better handle on this situation in cyber space. I really did want to stay with Outlook. I was trying to limit my use of Google as much as I could because of their determination to become an internet monopoly. I’m totally against that–obviously.

To say the least, I’m sorely disappointed in Microsoft.

Surfing the blogosphere can get rather time-consuming. Having the notifications come by email helps out a little. More often than not, they come trickling in so I can read a few in the morning, a few a lunch, and more after dinner without my inbox getting overloaded. I know that some people get things so organized within their email account that they have all email of one type going to a specific folder found just below the inbox. It does make the account look cleaner, but those people are still seeing how many emails are waiting for them. It can get quite staggering. They better not take a vacation from this daily chore–or a sick day.

Gmail has made it a little easier to organize the inbox. There’s tabs above where the list of emails show, giving me the option to use the ones they provide or add my own. I never have to look at all of the emails in the list at one time. That is except for at the sidebar. Right after the word, Inbox, there the TOTAL number of emails staring at me.

I couldn’t imagine being the only one who feels the anxiety of the large number. After all, there’s only so much storage in these email accounts. Sure, I don’t have to scan each and every email. In fact, I barely glimpse at the ones in the spam folder before I dump them all. Still, the hankering to read each one that makes it to my inbox can keep me glued to my seat. I’m sure there are others who are like me.

With these thoughts in mind, I created a newsletter for my blog. It’ll be delivered to subscribers’ inboxes once a month, the last Friday of each month. There’s a short article you may or may not want to read. The important element of it is the list of posts from the prior four weeks in the sidebar linked to the posts themselves. The people who subscribe will be able to stop the notifications from WordPress.Com, thus lessening the number of emails in their inboxes by a small but significant three per month from yours truly.

True, probably quite trifling in the big scheme of things, but if more bloggers offered this, the email inbox won’t seem to daunting.

Anyway, the sign up is at the top of the page here on the sidebar if you’re so inclined to subscribe to my newsletter.

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P.S. Jacqui Murray asked about continuing my series of #weekend coffee. Jacqui, one of the posts will be just that. This means one post each month will be a little late so it coincides with Daily Post’s Weekend Coffee Share.

Blogging is great, and I read blogs all day long. However, my goal is really to have a deep, meaningful discussion with people. For some reason, I’m able to accomplish this best via email. —Jason Calacanis

 

That Contrite Decision

That Constrite Decision
Image provided by Karim Moukalled
https://www.flickr.com/photos/karimmoukalled/

Have you ever been in that state of mind where you’re certain you can make the situation better with just a few tweaks? Nothing major, mind you. They’re the types of adjustments that show little on the surface, if at all, but you’re positive the changes will greatly improve your life in so way. After the choices are set in place, you may feel a little relief, giving you a sense of feigned tranquility. Of course, you don’t realize the calmness as being fake at the time.

I did such tweaking a few weeks ago. My hopes soared envisioning better organization. A diverse system of how I’d receive and send email depending on the reason for the transmission sounded ingenious to me. Individual compartments for different functions in total isolation from one another struck me as the way to go to help with the cognitive muddle that sometimes fogs my brain.

I set up a second email account at Gmail to handle all correspondence from WordPress.Com. The account I already had with Google, I designated for personal conversations. I set up my Outlook email account to receive and send from Twitter and blogs not affiliated with WordPress.

I felt a little off doing this adjustment though. There was a  personal paradoxical element to the matter. I’m not a fan of Google. Despite having an account at Google+ that I intend to keep and having that first email account with Gmail, I despise how the company tries to control the whole damn internet, making site owners jump through hoops of regulations and analysis tactics. Who decided their search engine had precedence over any of the others? But this is a whole other topic and I only bring up this much to explain the irony of my actions.

Five days ago I noticed how Google sites were sticking if more that one Google site was open in my browser. When a person has more than one Google account, the person has to open one in one of the next tabs while the one first opened is still in use. The person needs to click on his/her icon to do this. Just opening up another tab doesn’t work. You’ll end up back at that first account. Yes, ludicrous. The second tab of Gmail was sticking, forcing me to close my browser. True, I’m not using the Chrome browser. Windows doesn’t play well with Chrome anymore. My assumption is Google is trying to force me into buying a Mac or a Chrome book. Sorry fellas, but I’m poor. Besides, I hate Google trying to force me into doing anything at all. I refuse to let them become a monopoly. I deviated again. Sorry.

I finally had enough of the syrupy gooey mess associated with Gmail a couple of days ago. I changed my WordPress emails back to Outlook and forwarded all correspondence from the original Gmail account over to Outlook. The second Gmail account won’t be used. I’m just waiting for all the stragglers that may show up in that inbox so I can deal with them and delete that account.

Outlook isn’t fantastic by any means. It doesn’t always catch the junk before it dumps into the inbox. The options of design are minimal at best. Still, I like the setup there, which is, or in my opinion is the most important when choosing an email carrier site. I have two accounts with them although I just use the one. If I was ever to require the use of that second account, it could be done without ever opening another tab or window each time I’d want to use it. A much more efficient setup than at Google.

The idea of unrestricted separation to assist my mental shortcomings was a flop. This isn’t the first time I’ve tried doing something like this and I can’t expect it to be the last. I get in these moods of wanting to change something in the hopes of making everything better. It’s a complete emotional reaction to something that should be rational. Where it comes from is a mystery to me, except to say most thoughts of any kind that I have must go through the right side of my brain before hitting the left. I can’t even figure out when I get these zany ideas. Do they pop up when I’m trying to get out of a funk? Possibly, but I don’t know how that could be. Do they appear when I’m feeling exceptionally brave? I don’t think so but then again… Do these notions creep in what my brain needs a break from my WiP? Another possibility, although I can find better ways to spend my time.

I should pay more attention to this phenomena and maybe write about it.

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What do you think?

I have made decisions that turned out to be wrong, and went back and did it another way, and still took less time than many who procrastinated over the original decision. Your brain is capable of handling 140, 000 million bits of information in one second, and if you take hours or days or weeks to reach a vital decision, you are short-circuiting your most valuable property. – Jerry Gillies

 

Reader or Email Subscription?

Reader or Email Subscription?
Image provided by Ed Yourdon
https://www.flickr.com/photos/yourdon/

I have been blogging at WordPress.Com for a little over ten years. When I dwell on this fact, I start wondering why I haven’t paid more attention to this host site. Some of their improvements over the years, I consider to be utter ludicrousness. (Please don’t take the original editor away!) One of the many features I like about the WP site is the options provided to read the blog posts. As far as I know, no other blog host site has this aspect. (If I’m wrong about this, sorry.) All the same, I find myself perplexed about what option is the best — in any case, the best for me.

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Email Subscription

Right now I have all the blogs I follow at WP under email subscription. Believe it or not, this doesn’t mean my inbox is bombarded with blog post notifications every day. I have them set up according to how often the blogger posts and how much my general interest in the blog or owner is.

The authors I’ve been following for what seems like decades (no, not really quite that long despite my years of being with the site itself), are usually in the category of daily alerts. I say usually because there’s a few in there who only post once a week. And, of course, I’ve adjusted the delivery of their pieces to the weekly slot.

The blog writers whose posts are not always in my line of enthusiasm are put on my weekly bulletin list. Some of their posts just don’t move me so there isn’t any reason to fill up my inbox with those notices. I still get them undoubtedly, but they come in one batch. I just scroll the email until I come to the pieces I want to read.

There is another category for email subscriptions from WP — instant delivery. I don’t know of anyone who would need this, but then my cyber circle isn’t all that large either. Could it be that some of the business blogs are that important to some of their followers? Could be.

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Reader

I’ve used the reader at WP, but not for the daily and weekly activity. When using it in the group of the blogs I follow, I’m usually looking for the site address of one because I’m quoting something in my post from his or her blog. (I believe in giving credit where it’s due.)

Through the reader, a person can shop for blogs to follow, scan blogs WP recommends based on the type of blogs a person follows, or search for blogs by word tags. There’s even a place to list those most used tags. Mine is a list of tags about writing, general life, and the personal blogs.

As I stated before, I’m a little muddled as to whether I should continue to use my email inbox so profusely (even though it’s still manageable) or switch to the reader at the WP site.

I’m aware that I’d have to go through more blogs every day, and I’m not real sure if I want to do that. Still, I would be more inclined to read blogs I’ve ignored and just haven’t seen before, which could widen my scope of information and people to know.

When I first considered this change, I thought there may be a way to do both the email subscriptions and the reader in some sort of fashion. Mulling it over though, I realized that the site doesn’t have the capability to section the reader according to when the clients want individual posts. (Something for WP to consider, ya?)

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Is it just an internal dispute about deciding how much time I want to spend in the blogosphere each day?

Do you prefer the email subscriptions or do you visit the reader often? What is the reasoning behind your preference?

A man without decision can never be said to belong to himself. – John W. Foster

 

Reciprocating Follows

Reciprocating Follows
Image provided by Katherine Anderson
@ https://www.flickr.com/photos/misstinykitten/

I started blogging in 2004 — or was it 2005 — or was it 2003. Anyway, I’m not a newbie by any means. As a personal blogger, one of my major activities should and is traveling through the blogosphere visiting other blogs and writing comments about what I’ve read. It’s known as common courtesy. They visit my blog. I go visit theirs.

During the past few years, I’ve tried to tighten my blog travels to the blogs where my comment just isn’t “Nice post”, “Another good one”, Enjoyed the read”, etc. Much more often than not, these bloggers aren’t visiting my blog for anything interesting either. They do it so their count of ‘followers’ stays up. Some don’t even reciprocate the visit even though they’re ‘following’ me. I’ve been guilty of the same thing in the past. The appearances have ended up feeling more like a competition, which in my estimation isn’t what the activity should be about.

I don’t know how it is at other blog hosting sites, but at WordPress.Com, this type of activity is going on constantly. I’ve been with WP for over four years. I can tell you honestly that this behavior wasn’t half this bad when I first joined the site.

My opinion: This practice is bogus,  phony, cheesy. I know. It sounds harsh and cruel. Nonetheless, is this manner of conduct something I want to be known for, to be a part of? No. I want to be know as a person who is sincere, caring about the people I know, authentic, and truthful. It should be this way in cyberspace as well as in the off-line world.

How do I go about creating and keeping a conscientious and decent presence? Of course, a lot has to go into this, but for this post, I’ll address my mannerisms within the realm of the blogosphere.

I do not follow other bloggers anymore just because they’re following me. If the person’s blog has posts I find interesting — sure, I’ll follow that blog even if that person decides he or she doesn’t want to follow me anymore. Approximately every two to three months I’ll go peek at blogs on that recommended list at WP just to see what else is out there. If I find one interesting, I click on ‘Follow’. I do not expect a ‘follow’ back. Occasionally, I come across a blog, because I received the notice of him or her following me or I just happened to come across it, where I find some interesting posts but not many. No, I will not click that button. However, if the person has a Twitter account, I’ll follow him or her there. We have common interests but our life paths are completely different. Still, running into each other and reading each other’s post then would be enjoyable.

Do I sound like an egotistic ass? That isn’t my intention but if that’s what you think, I can’t do anything about it. It’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it.

In addition to being unfeigned — true, I only have so many hours in a day. How many blog posts can I read and still have time to write and do the daily chores of a housewife? Maybe — just maybe I could get a few more in if I didn’t have a physical disability that hinders my maneuverability. Most housework takes me half again as long as it would if I was ‘able-bodied’. The same goes for pounding on the keyboard during my writing sessions. (Sorry about bring up the disability so often, but it’s necessary to explain some of what each day is for me. I hope you don’t interpret it as a social crutch.)

Right now, I’m subscribed to 37 blogs. I know that this is a meager number to most bloggers at WP. Be that as it may, I hit each of those blogs every time there’s a new post — or at least I read one of the person’s posts once each week. My comments are not as I mentioned above. I put some thought into my replies to the posts. After all, these people put some thought into writing the entries.

I want people to see me as and think of me as being  ingenuous and real.

Reciprocating follows may  incite an atmosphere of good will and maybe even spark some friendships, but if exploited will waste time and give false impressions.

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What are your thought on this?

 

“Unless your heart, your soul, and your whole being are behind every decision you make, the words from your mouth will be empty, and each action will be meaningless. Truth and confidence are the roots of happiness.” ~ author unknown

 

A Time I Long To Be

Jeri Walker is an author and editor who I’ve know online for a few years. Last year she launched her second blog, Arresting Imagery as a free writing prompt service using pictures. In this post, I’m using her picture entitled Early Bird.

A Time I Long to Be
Image provided by
Jeri Walker
@ https://arrestingimagery.wordpress.com/

I imagine the west, during its younger days, was filled with quietness and simplicity of life. Clocks would have rarely been on time, and it was probably wiser to go by where the sun shone in the sky. You may ask what would happen on a cloudy day. Unless you’re close to the Pacific Ocean, there are, indeed, very few days that don’t have that bright ball of fire peeking through sometime during the course of a day, even in the shortest days of winter.

Life wasn’t easy back then, and I’m not taking about make complex decisions. Questions like how can I make this skirt last until next Spring when I’ll have the money for fabric; there is only three pieces of meat in the stew and somehow it has to feed four people; will the walls hold in this terrible storm. Still, life meant so much more then. Each day really was brand new. Life, despite all the hardships, wasn’t filled up with ‘what ifs’.

The mornings are brilliant and yet, almost noiseless on the high plains of the west. You can nearly hear the sweet-smelling air around you. It’ll catch your breath, if only for an instant. The dew dots the prairie grass, giving it a shimmer equivalent to diamond chips spread out on a carpet. The creek’s edge is damp where the water had been during the night. Now that dawn has broken, the water shies away from the tall reeds. The ink tone of the water has turned to the color of light mud.

Although I’m a true westerner, I’m always a little stunned by the coolness of the morning breeze, even in the height of summer. I’ve been told it’s because of the higher elevation of the land. Why is it then that the air isn’t like this in the higher elevations of the eastern United States where I currently live?

As the morning wears on, the creatures of this paradise can be seen nibbling on the clumps of sage brush and milk thistle scattering the landscape. In just a short while, the wildlife will wander off. I’ve always wondered where they hide out at during the middle of the day. I can see them one minute, turn around, and they’ve disappeared. Yet, if I come back to the same place in the late afternoon, they’ve all reappeared.

If the land in this picture was mine, I’d build a house near the small gathering of trees in the background.

The one you thought would fight for you and love you more than you’ll ever know, is the one you never thought will hurt you the most. — unknown author