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Let’s do something Live!

March 26, 2012

If you ever use computers at the library, here’s a cautionary tale for you.

One night, L got a rare call from a sister who said she’d received a strange email that had been sent to everyone in L’s address book.

Oh, dear. She tried to remember actually closing her email before leaving the library computer. The question nagged her, and since we don’t have Internet access at home, we went back to the library to check.

Sure enough, there was the bogus message in her Sent folder—a long thing about sexually transmitted diseases copied from a web page and sent to all her email correspondents.

At the bottom of the message in big colored letters was the warning, something like “And that’s why you should always close your email.”

So, she had, in fact, left her email open on a library computer and a subsequent user had found it and felt moved to do this odd thing.

On the one hand, the person who did this could have done much worse. On the other, why do this at all? It was as if he or she felt a certain righteousness teaching someone a “lesson.”

Another option would have been simply to close the account, as staff members often do. If this person felt adamant about instructing L in the art of safe computing, a simple email would have sufficed.

It’s not as if L doesn’t know to close her email; it was a mistake made on a busy day. The experience haunts her a little. It’s like having your bike stolen or your property entered by someone uninvited. To put it succinctly, she said it felt “icky.”

At the library, we find it remarkable how many people walk away from a computer leaving all kinds of personal information behind—documents open on the desktop, open email, even bank accounts.

It’s a concern, although there’s not much we can do about it except close such things when we find them.  However, both the current Apple computers and the previous Windows computers have been configured in a way that can help you.
If you have any question about whether or not you’ve closed everything you’ve been working on, you can always log off the Guest account. When you do so, all files are deleted and the computer comes up fresh and clean with the next log-in.

Ask us if you’d like instruction about this.

While on the subject of computers … some users of library-provided sites such as Mango Languages, Universal Class, etc., have had trouble logging in. Eventually, we realized that Internet Explorer won’t log in through the authentication site if the “Privacy” setting is too high.

Most computers are probably set to “medium” by default, but the setting needs to be “low” to work here. The privacy settings are under “Internet Options.”

Enough of the virtual world. It’s not that the virtual world doesn’t impact our lives. Just think of L’s experience, or a bogus transaction on your credit card, or of finding lost relatives on Facebook. But so much of it is in our heads.

Let’s do something Live! This Tuesday, at approximately 3:00 p.m., “You’ve Got Male,” a local male choir, will extend part of the day’s practice session into the library lobby, where they will perform “That Lonesome Road” by James Taylor.

If you miss this special appearance, here’s their upcoming schedule:
Friday, April 13, 7:30pm—United Methodist Church
Saturday, April 14, 7:00pm—Ute Theater, Saguache
Sunday, April 15, 3:00pm – SteamPlant


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