My 8th Grade English teacher passed away the other day. Actually, all my 8th grade teachers have now passed away. So why was Miss Dunn's passing more significant to me? Well, for starters, I actually knew about her passing. Thanks to the Internet with sites like Classmates.com and email, I've been able to reconnect with many of my childhood friends. The other night one of them emailed me to let me know Miss Dunn had succumbed to cancer. I'd never heard from any of the other teachers since 8th grade. But I had been in touch with her. She'd joined the virtual reunion site I'd programmed. So I'd not only had a chance to chat with her and help her with her computer work, but more importantly...I'd had a chance to thank her for being such a good teacher!
Many a time I think of her and how she forced us to diagram those stinking sentences! "WHY DO I NEED TO KNOW THIS STUFF? I'm not going to be a writer!" Oops! "I'm not going to be an editor!" Oops!
She made learning fun. Sure, we had tons of homework, but in class she'd make diagramming sentences a game by creating teams and letting us compete to see who could get the job done faster. And you'd better believe that you're going to study when you know your teammates will be screaming at you if you mess up when it's your turn!
I had a cool boss like that for many years. When he wanted me to learn how to create boring financial graphs, he let me play with the program and have fun creating stupid cartoon graphics to learn. Sure enough, in very short order I had that animation program mastered. Not only did we end up with cool animated financial graphs, but I created the greatest animated screen saver. What fun!
When I went to Miss Dunn's wake the other night, I told her family how glad I'd been to talk with her later in life to say thanks.
It's Valentine's soon. The greeting card companies' commercial holiday of love. Time to stuff your lover with chocolates so you can later complain about their weight!<smirk> But also, it's a good time to remember to tell all those important people in your life that you love and/or appreciate them...whatever the case may be.
And speaking of Valentine's (here she goes again with the segues!), a few years ago we tossed out a fun, little Valentine's compatibility test. If you haven't tried it, gather up a test prospect or two and give it a shot.
This month we're saying hello to a new writer and goodbye to one who's provided us with a lot of terrific articles. John Mansfield joins us this month. John is an Excel junkie. He runs a web site where other Excel junkies gather to find out the latest info. He often has TechTrax article links posted for his readers to find. Now he can also link his own articles. Welcome John!
But this month also marks the end of Kim Hedrich's writings for TechTrax. Granted, we're definitely leaving the door wide open should she decide that she can't live without us and wants to continue contributing in the future. However, when she came to us to offer up her talents, she explained that she had written a manual with lots of lessons about Word's Drawing Toolbar. She said she would like to offer each lesson up as an article for our readers. She has now advised me that her article this month, Text Effects, Part 2, is the end of the manual. So at least for now, Kim's not planning to contribute any further articles. We hope that fact changes. Thanks so much for sharing your skills and knowledge with us, Kim. We've enjoyed your articles and you've taught us tons about many cool Word drawing features. Good luck!
I need to apologize to anyone who clicked on some article links for Stephen Bullen's Excel web site and ended up at a pretty raunchy porno site! I've explained the problem more in this month's Feedback. But the bottom line is that someone hijacked his site! He, and we, have since fixed the problem. Sorry we didn't catch all the links sooner.
Life is very busy around here, and seems like it's getting busier and busier all the time. I'm still working on plans for giveaways, soon. But I'm also starting to think about this year's hiatus...when TechTrax will take a break for a couple months. This probably won't happen until the summer months. But...I NEED A VACATION!<grin>
In the meantime, if there's anyone out there who would like to volunteer to help us out a little with some editing and maintenance work, please let me know. If you have Dreamweaver and a little time to spare at the end of each month, I'd be happy to help you learn more about Word and Dreamweaver in regards to editing articles and dealing with document conversions from Word to Dreamweaver. Free training, your name in lights and my undying graditude...such a deal!
We have some great stuff for you this month. But before I let you go get rolling on it all, I need to say one thing. Now I've always believed that you should never discuss religion or politics in public because those topics are just too passionate. But I need to break that rule this once, because I just have to tell the people of Iraq how much respect I personally have for them after watching how many defied danger and death threats to vote to promote their freedom. I was so happy for them that I literally got tears in my eyes as I watch their determination. The best to you and your country for the future! (And, of course, thanks and great respect to all our military who are risking their lives to help these people find freedom!)