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The Annoying and Unnecessary

February 4, 2013

We had a problem with our website over the weekend, and if this affected you, or continues to, use instead of We made changes to solve a growing problem with cookies used for logging in and ended up with a DNS problem.

At the time of writing this, I can’t predict when it will be solved. So use the alternate URL.

If this means nothing to you, don’t worry. You’re not missing anything. Things go wrong in the digital world, but because of our reliance on it for the smallest things, we are easily put out when they do.

The Internet is surprisingly robust but more because it recovers than because it never fails.

The digital world is not often intuitive, but you can learn how it tends to work, if you care. Most people have negotiated email and have learned to live with spam and viruses and malware. It’s all annoying and unnecessary but it’s there.

Of course, the “real” world is not immune to the annoying and unnecessary. We had a Jessica Fletcher mystery novel returned in which someone had corrected the grammar and usage. Unfortunately, in pen.

For example, this grammarian repaired “can I” with “may I” but missed the fact that the improper use occurred in dialog within quotes. Even if it had appeared in the narrative, a narrator in fiction can have a unique, and improper, voice. Best to leave it alone.

Another mystery by Carl Hiaasen came back with all the “bad words” whited out. It’s funny to imagine this reader poring over the book with white-out at the ready, especially since Hiaasen freely uses such language, but may I suggest it’s better to return a book unread after encountering disagreeable things.

Even returning the book, one may not be safe from bad language. Saturday, someone answered a cell phone call in the library and in the usual oblivious manner proceeded with his conversation, saying loudly, “No! <bleep> it! I don’t want … etc. &c.”

I suppose it made a nice teachable moment for the parents whose children were standing nearby. We can all be careless in public, and I’m not about to advocate a culture of oppressive decorum, but cell phones have created a new kind of obliviousness.

Our awareness and focus is different during a phone call compared with, say, face-to-face conversation. When we take the call, we enter a kind of virtual space. The world around us drops away.

It’s not that you can’t do real things in a virtual space.

Consider that the library has started a collection of magazines you can read on any networked device—computer, tablet such as an iPad, smartphone. Through your library account, you can use Zinio to download and read magazines.

Once we solve our website problem, you’ll see the information there, but if you’re ready to try now, go to You’ll find a user guide and a video explaining how the service works. Click the “create account” button to make a Zinio account.

I strongly recommend watching the video first to see the steps involved. It works smoothly, but it’s not necessarily intuitive the first time. The video will make it clear.

My first try, I sampled a suggested art magazine—Juxtapoz—and was impressed with the way it looked. We added it to our subscription, which has some overlap with our print subscriptions along with new titles.

If you don’t like what you read, you can delete the magazine. White-out doesn’t work on computer screens.


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One Comment
  1. Richard Reina permalink

    Jeff, always enjoy your columns, and this was was particularly good. Stay well.
    Cousin Rick in NJ

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