Yes, this is the May edition! I'm determined to catch up on the remaining months before the end of the year. However, to make this work, the next several issues (which will come fast and furious) will be light on free content and will concentrate on member's material. Somewhat of a hiatus on free content. There will probably be some, but not nearly as much as a regular issue.
For those of you emailing me with good wishes for mom...things are still up and down from day to day. She has good days when her mind and body are working well...and then there are other issues. She had problems with her hands swelling from arthritis. This is a serious issue for her because she not only needs her hands to hold on to help her walk now, but she needs to write herself lots of notes to remember things day-to-day, since her memory doesn't last long. Thankfully, the swelling went away.
But she also recently broke a couple teeth, so we had a huge dental situation to deal with. Under normal circumstances, it wouldn't be too bad. But when you've had a stroke, have a pacemaker and have to take a few dozen different drugs every day, including two blood thinners...and being put under for tooth extraction might be the last time you go under...not to mention you could bleed to death...it becomes a bit more serious than just having a tooth pulled. But the kinda cute thing was that now she is the one who needs her hand held. So there I was joking about how this is a reverse of what life was like some 40 yrs ago when it was me sitting in that chair, scared, and she was the one holding my hand telling me everything is going to be alright. Note to parents...be nice to your kids because some day they may be in charge! And you know what they say about paybacks!<smile>
But apparently the guy upstairs didn't think things were entertaining enough yet, so he tossed in another event...my sister tripped and broke her shoulder in three places. So now her husband, who is taking chemo...battling two types of cancer...and Parkinson's Disease...and has a tendency to pass out, is doing all the driving. Joy! She was at her house, which was damaged when Fox Lake flooded out during the summer Chicagoland monster rain storms a few months ago. The kitchen was being redone. A worker apparently dropped something and she thought hubby had hit the deck again. So she rushed in to make sure he was okay...tripped and blasted herself to the floor. Granted, she can be a major thorn in my side when it comes to caring for mom, so I was secretly hoping that she'd end up having to walk around with one of those arm-pole type casts, but she lucked out on that one because she's still fairly mobile. I just needed a giggle seeing her trying to navigate halls with that thing. What can I say...when life gets as ridiculous as it has been for some time now, you need a giggle now and then.<evil grin>
We did have a nice thing happen recently. My nephew came in from California on a business trip, so we had an opportunity for a family reunion of sorts. And my brother was determined to be here at mom's house for the gathering rather than becoming a quick stop on the way to the airport the next day. So out of his wheel chair for the first time in months since his hip reconstruction, he moved to crutches and was able to hobble up the stairs of the house to spend time with all of us for a nice visit. When it was time for them to leave, we considered pitching mom and my brother for a little race...him on his crutches and mom with her cane, but we figured that might be a bit much! Soon I'll post a fun story in my blog, Mouse Droppings, about a life-time game my brother and I have had called...Got Ya Last. I'm sure you'll get a giggle out of it (at my expense)...everyone else has.
But now, it's time to move on to some geek business. Lots to catch up on. Last issue our members had a chance to win Office 2007 Ultimate. That ended up going to Rhonda Gray. Turns out Rhonda is a VBA Programmer Analyst for an IP Law Firm in Washington, DC and she's thrilled to now start working on programming with the new 2007 Office Ribbon. She told me when the box arrived...she was the envy of her office.
We also received several very cool 1-year free subscriptions to give away from the beautiful eCard site, Ojolie.com. This drawing was open to both members and free subscribers to TechTrax. Our winners were: Dietmar Schafflik, Marcia Berkey, Loretta Berrier, Janet Daugherty, Sherri Hodge, and Daryl Kline. Congrats to you all.
And I also recently learned that Ojolie has enabled a terrific new feature when you send cards from their site. You can not only customize the card itself, but also the email subject/post that goes to the recipient. This is a wonderful idea because as I told you in the last issue, you, sadly, now have to be quite cautious about greeting card emails due to spyware hackers. With this unique new feature, you can add personal details so people will know that the card is from you and safe to open. I use their service, too, and recently sent their beautiful dove card to a neighbor who lost her father. It was great not having to worry that she might not open it because I was able to customize the sending email for condolences to her dad, so she knew it was really from me. Great feature!
Oh, and I realized that I neglected to tell you who won all the software I gave away back in Spring when I was offering a bunch of it up to help raise funds for my Bark in the Park charity walk, as well as for one of our previous TechTrax drawings. So...in March 2007 I gave away Office 2007 Standard edition. That went to Norman Hillman from Indiana who is helping his wife get her college degree to teach nursing. In May the Bark offerings went to anyone who donated to my dog/cat cause. The winners were: Microsoft Office 2003 Pro w/OneNote went to Jon Mon. Another Microsoft Office 2003 Pro w/OneNote went to Steven Nicols. A license for Expression Web went to Norman Pearce from the UK. And Jackie Payne picked up a copy of Microsoft Digital Photo Deluxe Suite. Congrats folks! And if you missed my note in Mouse Droppings, my blog, you can find the photos from Bark 2007 HERE.
With this current issue, members will be able to win a copy of Microsoft's cool, new web development software, Expression Web. But not to worry, members, if you don't win this time...because I have a few licenses to give away for Expression Web (thanks to MVP Dawn Crosier for donating one of her licenses to us), so I'll be giving away several copies over the next few issues. I also have to clean out my software closet because I have some software I need to give away before it becomes obsolete, like copies of Windows XP upgrades and some Student software, as well as some photo applications. For now, if you are a member, head over to the May Member's page where you'll find a button to click to enter for this Expression Web software drawing, which will be held on Monday, November 12th, 2007. Not a member? Check out this page: TechTrax Membership.
And I'm also quite proud to tell you that I was recently renewed for yet another year as a Microsoft MVP. What's an MVP? As Microsoft puts it...Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) are exceptional technical community leaders from around the world who are awarded for voluntarily sharing their high quality, real world expertise in offline and online technical communities. Microsoft MVPs are a highly select group of experts that represents the technical community's best and brightest, and they share a deep commitment to community and a willingness to help others.
Each year, Microsoft reviews each MVP and potential new MVP. So Microsoft still sees me as being one of approximately 3,500 people in the world who they feel are worthy of their Most Valuable Professional award. I'm proud to say that I first won this award in 1995 and they have seen fit to give me the award again every year since. That makes me one of only a handful of MVPs who have now been part of the program since its near beginnings (which was actually in 1993). But this is also good news for you folks, because it means I have a renewed supply of virtual MVP bucks to spend on more software that I'll be giving away to you all. Consequently, lots of goodies will be floating around here in drawings over the next several months.
I'm very excited to tell you that we are welcoming a new writer here in TechTrax this issue, but she's done lots of technical writing, as well as Microsoft web casts already. Welcome to Stephanie Krieger, author of Advanced Microsoft Office Documents 2007 Edition Inside Out, as well as Microsoft Office Document Designer. Bill Coan wrote a review here in TechTrax on Stephanie's new 2007 book, which you can read HERE. However, I feel bad that I didn't get this issue out in time for you all to view her live web cast on Office, but I'll get the details for the rebroadcast posted here next issue so those interested can view it. Incidentally, TechTrax author and MVP, Beth Melton, was the technical editor on Stephanie's new book. So we're talking high level knowledge on Office! But know that her Advanced book is not for the newbie to Office, this is a book for intermediate users who want to become power users. For those of you who need something a little less powerful, I strongly recommend TechTrax author and MVP, Herb Tyson's Microsoft Word 2007 Bible or the Office 2007 Bible. And really, the fact that I was the technical editor for both those books has nothing to do with my recommendations. Really!<grin> Welcome Stephanie and thanks for adding us to your very busy schedule!
In this issue, you'll notice a new department along the left sidebar. We now have a Q&A department. I realized that many of the feedback posts we get are questions to clarify issues in articles here. But I also realized that when I post the answers in the feedback listings, they lose their query power in our archives. So to help make that information easier to find, I'll now be posting those more detailed answers in this Q&A section so they will get their own search terms related to the subject.
And finally, it is worth noting that TechTrax hit the 15,000 subscriber number recently. In fact, at this point, we're very near 16,000 of you out there who show up each issue to read what we have to say. So thanks. I really appreciate all of you who continually tell me how you tell all your friends about us and thank me for what we do here!
Okay, enough jabbering...time for you to get busy learning.