Big news coming in January Issue!
Changes coming! PLUS...THREE drawings for $10,000+ EACH in Microsoft software! The January issue should be published by Jan 19, 2006. (Sorry for the delay! We're frantically working away on final edits and coding updates.)
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I'm sure you've all been sitting on pins and needles, since last month, just waiting to hear how the ol' Mouse Hunt has been going. The truth is...the mice seem to be winning!
Not willing to murder the little beasts...well, not yet, anyway...I attempted to trap them. Which worked somewhat, not counting the time one decided to run up my arm as I was attempting to set him free! They got wiser, so I moved to technology and installed a few sensors to emit vibrations. This was supposed to annoy them and drive them out. But, in truth, I think they're all enjoying the groove and are dancing to the beat in the back of my cabinets. Conga line, anyone?
Okay, that's it! It's time to break out the big guns...the Mouse Police. Meet Bugsy! Yup, I added to our feline arsenal. I know, I said I wouldn't subject a helpless kitty to The Barker Gang. But trust me, if you could have seen the bleeding stubs I called hands after his first week with us, you'll know that little Bugsy is anything but helpless. He may be small, but he's fast, has tons of places to hide and never leaves home without his Edward Scissorhand switchblades. So it's more the dog noses I worry about than this little guy.
Greg's birthday is this month and he's a cat lover. Old Scoops won't be around forever, so Greg's birthday present this year was a lively one. Also, I've learned from dogs that it's best to get a new, young pet while you still have the old, trained pet, because they can teach the youngster the ropes. So gentle, majestic ol' Scoops (named not for the litter box tool, but because he was born in the basement of a newspaper office) is teaching Bugsy the ropes and helping him understand that having humans pick you up is not a reason to totally freak out and tear them to bits!
Scoops also has no problem with the dogs, so seeing him just sit there while dogs sniff him will hopefully help Bugs learn that not all dogs need their noses shredded. But with any luck, he'll also learn that mice are bad! That is, if we can get Scoops off his butt long enough to take a nightly prowl through the kitchen while the dogs sleep. Thankfully, cats are very quiet, since one strange noise in this house and there's a sudden dog charge! But to help coax Bugsy's confidence, I've made a point of staying up late to make sure the kitties get a little uninterrupted time to inspect the kitchen with the barking beasts safely locked away in the other part of the house. So far, Bugsy seems to look forward to his nightly patrol.
And for those of you wondering, Bugs/Bugsy didn't get his name from the notorious gangster history here in Chicago. He got his name when Greg noticed that his white, back feet make him look somewhat like he has long bunny feet when he does his mad kitty jumps.
Now if dogs, cats and fish weren't enough to qualify this house as a zoo, we added one more creature to the list for a few months. Mom made the geriatric trek to Florida for the winter to hang out in the warmth with her "baby" brother (81 yrs). I grew up with an Amazon Parrot as somewhat of a sibbling. Peg, mom's parrot, has been around as long as I can remember and is pushing 50 years old!
Peg has a pretty good vocabulary and can scare the heck out of you if you forget she's here and you walk out in the middle of the night...assuming you're the only one around...and you suddenly hear a deep voice say "Hello, whatcha doing, huh?"
But even for nearly 50, Peg can learn a few new tricks. Now remember, this house has a bunch of barking dogs...who like to bark when they play and wrestle around. So now Peg, the parrot, also barks!<hee, hee> Yup! Don't believe me? You can see/hear her doing her thing in this short streaming video. (You need the Flash plug in, but if you can view my video tips each month, this is the same type of file.) Click this link to check it out. PegLeg Barking. Too funny. Well, I guess that'll teach mom to give us the bird! HA!
Even though we were in the midst of a
homestead zoological challenge, we still managed to get out a pretty good issue this month. Granted, I hope you don't mind my writing, because with nearly all our authors busy with the holidays and beta testing both the next version of Windows (Vista) and Office (Office 12) right now...you'll have to deal with a large dose of me this month, as I typed my little fingers to the bone for you.
But I was not completely alone. The ever faithful Mike Glen and Geetesh Bajaj are here to pass along their project management and powerpoint training, respectively. And as the cover this month says...Martin Palicki has joined our writing team and Marty loves his Macintosh computers and Adobe software. So those of you who have felt left out in the cold have a new advocate for the Mac. In fact, we've given him his own department...MacTrax!
I first met Martin a couple years ago when we both were doing consulting work for a tech firm. Marty was using his writing talents to help them make their documents sound more professional and I was using my doc design talents to make his words look more professional on paper. Marty is a fun guy whose passion is Amusement Parks. He's worked at some of the top ones and now publishes an industry magazine...InPark Magazine, which focuses on all the cool stuff going on at amusement parks across the country. If you're also an amusement park buff...subscribing to InPark is a great way to get the inside scoop on all the cool stuff parks are doing. Martin is also quite the ice skater. Which worked out nicely when he was working for Six Flags in Gurnee and also taught lessons at the ice rink across the highway at Gurnee Mills...a huge shopping center in the midwest.
I'm thrilled to have Martin Palicki join our team and hope you'll tell your Mac friends that they can come in from the cold, as TechTrax is now Mac friendly!<smile> Welcome, Marty!
We've also added another new department this month...SideTrax. I know, it's a bit overkill on the "trax" name, but I ran out of ideas. SideTrax will feature tid-bits of information that we feel is worthy of sharing, but not elaborate enough to warrant a full article. Similar to a blog, you'll never know what you'll find in there. As we hear important, interesting or fun things during the month, we'll log them in SideTrax to give you a
smorgasbord of information.
And before I sign off this month...we have a winner! Congrats to Susan Rauhut who won a copy of Office 2003 Pro. Upon my standard request, I asked Susan to tell us a little bit about herself..."I'm thrilled! I've never won anything before, and THIS is something very
worthwhile! Thank you. I'm still using Office 2000 so I am looking forward
to many hours of new learning--using Mousetrax tutorials, of course! This is amazing: Today at school (I'm a teacher), I was given a new
computer with Office 2003. If I hadn't won this program, I would be out
buying it this weekend for my home computer! Talk about timing (and good
fortune). I have the best job in the world--I teach computer applications to junior
high kids. When I'm not at my computer, I can be found with my husband and
my dog, Pearl, hiking the trails in a nearby park. My husband and I have
also hiked the Grand Canyon--twice!"
Congrats again, Susan...I'll get that package out to you this next week.
Well, that'll do it for this month. Have a wonderful holiday season...be careful and be safe during your new year celebrations!
Peace on Earth...good will to all!