Okay, who upset the man upstairs? Or has someone been trying to fool with Mother Nature? I don't know what's up, but somebody is really ticked at us! This issue was difficult to get out on time because I've been a bit consumed with not only work, but with watching CNN...as my jaw drops yet again over the most recent world disaster...and my heart aches for those who are suffering from all that's going on in the world. Hurricanes blast over Florida and pound into the Gulf...devastating the areas. Wild fires send people running from their homes in the west coast while storms are flooding out the east coast of the US. And if Katrina and Rita weren't nasty enough...Stan smashed into the Guatemala region and caused deadly mud slides. And now an earthquake in Pakistan and India have caused more tragedy!
STOP THE WORLD...I want off!<sigh>
As disaster after disaster strains the resources of our world...what can we do to ease the pain we feel and help? Just that...help! Do what you can...but please DO SOMETHING. Don't wait for someone else to save the world...we all need to dig deep into our pockets and hearts to do what we can to help. Every little bit does help...so don't blow it off, eh?
Greg, Stacy and I have been doing what we can...from making personal donations and writing emails for more donations to running to the dollar stores to buy up every pack of underwear or dog flea collar we could to ship off to the stricken areas in need. Greg was saving for a vacation to fly to his folks, but when Katrina hit, he used that time and money to head to the gulf to help fly supplies around where needed. You can read about his experience in his flight log HERE. And while Stacy was driving around the city collecting donations for a coordinated shipment to the gulf, Shelby, our one friendly dog, and I participated in a PAWS (pets are worth saving) walk this month and managed to raise over $1,000 to help hurricane victim pets. You can see our Run for Their Lives photos HERE.
There are also many organizations that are asking for human assistance, as well as virtual computer help through http://www.volunteermatch.org/. So if you don't think you can be useful from behind your computer, think again. Hit the site and see if there's something you can do to help some humanitarian organization. See this article for more info on Volunteer Match: Volunteer...It's Good Karma!
And if the good feelings you get from helping isn't enough, you never know...someone might even notice and say thanks! We missed the MVP summit this year (first miss in 10 years). But I was told that both Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO and Lori Moore, Microsoft VP publicly thanked Greg and I for our efforts while on stage giving their executive speeches. Unexpected, but pretty cool.
Before we move away from world events to our little spot on the Internet here at TechTrax, I also want to pass along heartfelt wishes for the best to all the victims of these terrible events, but particularly to Westley Annis and his family, who lived in St. Bernard Parish in LA. Westley is one of the guys who does a great job helping out in many of my free support groups and he informed us that Katrina destroyed his home. You can read Westley's story, and see some devastating pictures of his home, HERE.
I also want to wish Lou Melton, a long time TechTrax subscriber and MouseTrax supporter, and her mother, the best. Lou told me how she and her elderly mom survived the storms. "There is a lot of destruction here. We have several trees down, but none fell on the house. Neighbors across the street and next door both had their homes split in half by large trees. I have been through several hurricanes (lived 12 years in New Orleans), but nothing like this. We never had to have help before. I don't think anyone can really appreciate all the volunteers' efforts until they are on the receiving end, but believe me, I appreciate them now. I don't think I will ever take anything for granted again, such as water, sewer, power, etc."
Good luck folks...you're in our thoughts!
So it was quite a struggle to be concerned about computer work this month with all that's going on. But we managed to put together not only a very good issue of TechTrax for you, but we have some goodies for you, too.
However, before I tell you about the goodies and have you run off to get them, I also want to say thanks and welcome to Scott Russell...a new TechTrax writer. Scott is a writer who has dealt with issues in the land of geek for some time. He's a guru with many software programs under his belt and has come here to share some of his skills with us. Thanks so much for contributing, Scott and welcome!
Have you ever seen those fun birthday cards that display all the events from the year you were born? It's really interesting reliving those memories of days gone by. Well, this month we have a special treat for you. Microsoft MVP and Word developer, Bill Coan, who is also a regular contributor to TechTrax, has developed a way cool software program that runs through Microsoft Word and allows you to create really cool Timelines. But not boring technical timelines for projects...but fun timelines of family or company events. He's loaded the program with tons of historical events that you can easily add into your timeline for a worldly perspective, but you can also easily add your own family, friend, colleague photos and write your own stories to create vintage newspaper-like pages that you can print out or share in digital format. And for a very limited time (until October 16..hurry!) TechTrax subscribers can purchase this cool program for only $29.95, which is $10 off the regular price. And better...he will contribute $5 of all TechTrax subscriber purchases to PAWS...to help hurricane animal victims. So there you go! You can not only get cool software at a special discount, but also help animals and their owners! See this article for details: A Cool Way to Celebrate!
And if that wasn't enough, Americans know that October means Halloween. And Halloween means tricks, treats and scavenger hunts. We have one here for you this month. The prize for getting through the hunt is an entry in our drawing where one winner will get a copy of Windows XP Pro Upgrade. So if you're not running Windows XP Pro and want to upgrade to this cool/stable and forgiving version of Windows, here's your chance to save $100 and get the upgrade free! See our Scavenger Hunt article for details to get going.
Have fun learning, grab Bill's software discount while you can and good luck in the drawing.
And remember...do something good to help someone!