Issue Date: August 4, 2004
Publisher: Mellanie True Hills, The Health & Productivity Revitalizer
The Healthy Living Newsletter brings you health updates and tips for optimizing your life, health, and work.
Welcome to the many new subscribers since the last issue. It's good to have you with us. Please help get this to those who can benefit from it by sharing it with them.
Through testing with the past few issues, I've concluded that the text-only version more effectively navigates the junk-mail filters, so I'm returning to a text-only format for now. But you can always read the hyperlinked version online here.
I'm back, after four weeks of traveling by RV on business and vacation with my husband and teenage son. We saw El Paso, Tucson, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Zion National Park, Grand Canyon, Sedona, Santa Fe, Carlsbad Caverns, and Alpine/Marfa, Texas. It was a great trip, and we highly recommend a couple of great restaurants, the El Tovar Hotel restaurant at the Grand Canyon, and Andiamo in
During the business part of the trip, I planned to keep up with my e-mail, but that proved to be quite the challenge. I'm not an e-mail newbie, having managed an early
-mainframe-based e-mail system for a large manufacturer almost two decades ago and led JCPenney's Internet project in the early 1990s, but even so, this time e-mail proved to be more than I bargained for.
What we had envisioned for e-mail has come, and gone. It's now a big fat pain due to overwhelming quantities of junk mail. E-mail has become totally unreliable. In fact, Information Week magazine found that only 60-70% of e-mail reaches its intended recipient. You're not getting 30-40% of your e-mail, and it's not all junk that is getting weeded out--you may be missing important e-mails, too.
It's gotten crazy! Have you ever re-sent e-mail, asking "Did you get this?" Or do you ever call to make sure your message survived the e-mail gauntlet? It's weird what we've had to resort to.
I knew that on our trip, some RV parks would have wireless Internet or instant-on phones, but that most would not. Keeping up with e-mail would be a challenge because when you're in a 36-foot long motorhome with a "toad" (RV-speak for towed car), you can't just swing into the nearest Starbucks to connect up and take a hit of e-mail. And, as hard as it is to believe, you can travel clear across West Texas, for 600 miles, and never see a single Starbucks (or Wal-mart either, for that matter). Thankfully, the state of Texas will be putting wireless in rest areas soon to encourage drowsy drivers to take a break.
But, maybe getting e-mail wouldn't be such a challenge after all as a wireless network recently sprang up connecting truck stops across the country since truckers need frequent access to e-mail and corporate intranets. I signed up for a one-month trial and was full of anticipation of pulling e-mail while my husband was fueling the RV. Thank goodness for technology!
A few days into the trip, it was time to check it out. A truck stop on this wireless network was only two miles from the RV park, so we unhitched the toad and I drove over to download mail. My computer easily latched onto the wireless network, so I signed on and was ready to fly. Web at high speed. Yes!
But I couldn't access e-mail. Tech support found a cure. Was it deleting cookies, closing the spyware checker, adjusting Internet security, or changing the firewall? Who knows, but it worked. Pulling message 1 of 2,958that will take a while to download.
After a few minutes, the wireless connection dropped. When I signed on again, Outlook started pulling the same messages a second time. Why wasn't it smart enough to start where it left off? After multiple dropped connections, I packed it in to save for another day.
At the next truck stop, same story. After starting at square one, and pulling the exact same messages again, with 4,796 message now accumulated, Outlook gave up, and blew up! Maybe it is more accurately called "Look Out"!
I'd brought backups, but didn't think to pack Outlook's installation disk. Time for Plan B. By dial-up at the next RV park, I traded in Outlook for a more cooperative e-mail package.
for a convention, I resorted to going into the RV park's office at
to download mail so I'd finish before the office needed its phone line.
As we left out on vacation after convention, at other truck stops I found that I still couldn't pull e-mail, even with the new software. In the process of trying to connect, my new inbox and sent messages got destroyed. OK, that's a sign--time to start vacation and forget about that infernal e-mail.
It was a good vacation. We just got home. I've fixed the corrupted Outlook, and my e-mail provider has rebuilt the corrupted e-mail index on the server, so I'm now back in business.
You may be thinking "Why didn't she let the system filter that junk mail so she didn't have so many messages?" Fair enough. That's logical. In my experience, generic filtering is inaccurate, throwing away good mail and keeping the bad, especially for health topics that seem to be fodder for the filters. I've lost lots of mail to them. My current filter uses Bayesian analysis - once trained, it accurately sorts good from bad using MY criteria. It only works in Outlook, and requires downloading mail, but is worth it, usually.
What are some takeaways from this adventure?
E-mail and technology are stressful, making you sometimes feel out of control. That's normal. Just accept it and move on.
We all experience feeling out of control at times, and can empathize with others. I'm asking for your forgiveness if you sent me a message that I didn't answerI probably didn't receive it. Please forgive me and resend it. Thanks.
Stay productive. When something isn't working, let it go, and try something else. While it should be easy to do e-mail, I changed tools when Outlook turned it into "flail-mail".
Actually, my husband found the new tool for me reach out to others for help.
When my inbox blew up, I had a profound sense of relief there wasn't much I could do about it, so I let it go and transitioned into vacation mode for the rest of the trip.
It was a great vacation. I came back refreshed, rejuvenated, re-energized, and revitalized. Even ready to tackle e-mail!
Have you had a rejuvenating vacation lately?
Until next time, wishing you productivity, health, and happiness,
Mellanie True Hills
The Health & Productivity Revitalizer
Speaker, author, consultant, and coach
PS. If you would like to have Mellanie speak for your organization, or help revitalize your health or your company's productivity, just send me an e-mail. Please check out some of the organizations for whom Mellanie has spoken or with whom Mellanie has worked and read comments from attendees.
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