NOTICE: Hard copies of the Australian New Crops Newsletter are available from the publisher, Dr Rob Fletcher. Details of availability are included in theAdvice on Publications Available.
I love my computer. I'd be lost without HIM. The sound of the hard-drive whirring or the printer producing masses of paper makes me feel good.
I call him HIM because he's my Hard-working Irreplaceable Machine.
Why do I love HIM?
HIM is so useful.
In seconds, I can search and download information from the World-Wide Web.
For example, if I type in the words 'bush tucker' I can get a news report from the US which tells how the Governor of Texas, George Bush Jr. was considering commuting the sentence on Tanya Faye Tucker some time ago.
In seconds, I can provide my son with a street map, in colour, of the capital of Tahiti for his primary school assignment. His assignment was on life in the South Sea Islands.
In seconds, I can download every press release over a twelve month period from a former Federal Government minister.
Unfortunately, it took a lot longer to find the information I needed about a new Government scheme, announced last week.
In seconds, I can access all types of statistical information by selecting among a list of categories available.
Unfortunately, some of the statistical information I sought, I never found. Several of the web sites encourage me to send money.
In seconds, I can produce anagrams of mottos and my colleagues' names and they think I've done them myself.
(An anagram for New Crops is Corn Spew).
With HIM it seems I can communicate with almost anyone anywhere.
In less than 50 seconds, I can send more than 400 pages of new crops information to a colleague in Finland or Russia or South Africa or a 65 page report, complete with 12 pages of
delightful colour photographs, to a
colleague in the Netherlands.
Unfortunately, it has taken several months of organisation for me to be able to forward a short message electronically to a colleague across the hall; if a circular gets sent electronically to a number of people in our large organisation, it is sent in a number of forms and even then, not everyone gets it in a readable form.
In seconds, I can access the web sites of companies, universities, associations or individuals anywhere in the world.
Unfortunately, it sometimes takes for ever, sometimes never, to find a relatively simple piece of information about the company, university or association.
For example, what is the full mailing address of a particular overseas university, if I want to send a colleague a copy of a 250 page report by mail?
For example, what is the email address of one of the heads of department within a large organisation?
In seconds, I can print a magnificent colour handout for a group of visitors.
Unfortunately, the expensive glossy paper for colour printing only has one side on which to print the colour images and I've put it in the printer the wrong way around.
In seconds, I can set the computer the task of printing a long report, using both sides of the paper because the printer has a duplexing unit.
Unfortunately, every time a page has one kind of page orientation on one side and another type of orientation
on the other, the printer skips a page. Also, if there is too much information on both sides of the page, the printer sometimes chooses to only print some of one of the pages.
In seconds, I can set the computer the task of printing several hundred pages of a report and go away and leave it.
Unfortunately, there has been a single phantom carriage return added to the base of page 1 and the whole print job (except for page 1) is trashed.
HIM has not really been very well lately.
Although HIM is so 'useful', HIM does have one rather nasty little ailment which has spread to every other piece of equipment that HIM has been connected to.
He suffers from High Activity Stress (HAS) disorder.
Whenever there is a need for rapid and efficient action, HIM suffers from HAS.
The most obvious and frequent symptom of HAS is the manner in which HIM over-reacts to problems. Instead of calmly indicating there is a problem requiring a bit of discussion, HIM has to over-react with 'Fatal Error'.
HAS is particularly cantagious and has infected all the printers, scanners, modems, monitors and removable disc drives who have had to work with HIM over the past year. The symptoms always appear at the worst possible moment.
I have found the only way to get HIM to behave is to avoid subjecting HIM to stress.
Whenever I give HIM a task to perform, I take my time to ensure that all the appropriate steps have been taken to perform the job stress free.
I now ensure that I use many Web search engines, phantom carriage returns are not present in documents, I put the paper in the printer correctly, I have increased the printer memory, I have set up the Email system properly and I have even occasionally spent some time reading instruction manuals.
Now that we have made the time, my Highly-strung Incompatible Monster and I often get the time to actually do what I set out to do in the first place.
I have to, because I don't want HIM to have a relapse.
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Any claims made by authors in the Australian New Crops Newsletter are presented by the Editors in good faith. Readers would be wise to critically examine the circumstances associated with any claims to determine the applicability of such claims to their specific set of circumstances. This material can be reproduced, with the provision that the source and the author (or editors, if applicable) are acknowledged and the use is for information or educational purposes. Contact with the original author is probably wise since the material may require updating or amendment if used in other publications. Material sourced from the Australian New Crops Newsletter cannot be used out of context or for commercial purposes not related to its original purpose in the newsletter
Contact: Dr Rob Fletcher, School of Land and Food, The University of Queensland Gatton College, 4345; Telephone: 07 5460 1311 or 07 5460 1301; Facsimile: 07 5460 1112; International facsimile: 61 7 5460 1112; Email:email@example.com
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originally created by:GK; latest update 6 June 1999 by: RF