PS. That arched glassway in the last photo and the building attached? Is the place formerly known as the Sears Tower.
PS. That arched glassway in the last photo and the building attached? Is the place formerly known as the Sears Tower.
So I am tired.
I am still trying to work on my thing with money. May has not been on track so far. I had a graduation and a birthday and another graduation and Mothers Day. Expensive. I had a hair appointment, which I save for in a sinking fund, but I also ran out of foundation and lipstick and eye shadow, all at once. Since I wear make up every day to work, and there would be pictures at graduations, this was an expense I had to live with. There were also numerous doctors appointments to find out what is wrong with my back, and co-pays for this (so grateful to have medical insurance, you have no idea).
There were two road trips, and in at least one of them I stood up on stage in front of 7000 people and hammed it up. Thank you Dave Ramsey fans, for cheering and laughing. That was awesome.
I am excited by Digital Preservation. I am working on a presentation I can then market to local libraries. Which does not pay (yet). I am also working on a brochure design for the Lithuanian Archive Project. Which does pay, once I get it done.
In the middle of all this, my boss announced she was resigning. And that they would not replace her. So our department is being absorbed into another. And the dreaded word restructuring came out. So there has been dealing with that, and all the uncertainty. And some job applications.
This weekend there is a NATO Summit in Chicago. And I work downtown, plus in the Financial District, specifically. Protests and violence and possibly terrorist plots are expected. No joke. Security is tightening up. I am taking Monday off so I don't have to try and brave the commute.
And now we are coming on Summer.
It's an exciting time! But I really want a nap.
Ridiculously excited by the content of this webinar. It was designed for the regular person who has digital photos to keep long term, not for professionals. The webinar followed the outline available on the Library of Congress webpage on the topic. At the page, you can download the outline as a PDF.
I wasn't expecting to learn much I didn't already know and that was the case. I was still excited about it, mainly because I have been meaning to (someday) promote my small scanning business by putting myself out there to do talks locally on the topics of scanning and managing digital photo collections. It was one of many things on my to-do-someday list. (I am STILL trying to get a website up.)
But I have the problem of knowing way too much about the topic AND of being a librarian, a person who naturally overshares information. Narrowing down all I know into a short (45 minute) presentation with action steps for attendees to take was a big job and not something I was motivated to work on in my few hours of free time.
But the more I watched this webinar, the more I saw that I do not have to re-invent the wheel! The Library of Congress has done it all, already. All I have to do is follow their outline of ideas, with my own presentation.
Pulling together resources and re-packaging for new audiences is a very common thing for librarians to do. After all, we do not create NEW information. We simply provide direction to what already exists!
I also have some ideas to add in that come from my years of scrapbooking and actually working with my digital photos. From years of following the Library of Memories workflow too. The Library of Congress does not seem to know much about modern scrapbooking as a hobby and industry, but I sure do.
The webinar also included time for audience questions, and that was fantastic. I got to see the kinds of questions regular people have on the topic, and how the LoC would answer those questions. This gave me more ideas for what to include and how to adjust focus as needed.
Maybe not everyone wants to scan their physical photos. Maybe not everyone thinks it's a big deal. But a LOT of people have large collections of digital photos. The collections are now, after 10 years, becoming too large, unweildly and unmanagable. The time is coming to an end where you can just dump the contents of a camera into a folder on your HD and move on.
My brother emailed me just this week, asking if I had copies of photos I'd scrapbooked of his son's 1st birthday, which was in 2003. His wife's PC crashed and they lost all the photos she had on there, including most baby photos. No backup for her stuff. My brother works in the industry, and I am surprised he did not back up her stuff. So if he's not doing it, others aren't doing it either. I myself am very bad about it because I don't always have my external HD on me when I am carting my laptop around and taking time to work on it.
I am thinking this is a huge topic of interest, and many people would want to come to a free presentation on the topic at their local public library. I have been working on my own version of the presentation. I am even debating going on ebay to buy some visual aids - like some old floppy disks, and maybe a Beta tape, just to show people how technology changes and that data has to be migrated.
Within that large pool of people there will be a smaller subset of people who DO want to get their older pictures scanned and who would definitely want to hire someone to do it. that someone would be...ME. So if I provide a handout with the main points and some resources, people will take it, and that handout will have my website and information on it. SWEET.
I'm also just really excited at the prospect of traveling around the local area and doing talks on the subject, educating people. As a librarian, this is my mandate. I really REALLY miss presenting to groups and talking to people. My current job allows me none of that. I am excited at the prospect of making a name for myself locally as an expert on these topics. I am definitely AN EXPERT. There are many librarians out there who know something about digital archiving but they don't have 13 years of professional experience in digital publishing, which gives me a unique perspective.
The webinar also gave me great idea for my own personal project, because the speaker definitely emphasized a point that I have been complaining about in re: digital scrapbooking for YEARS:
The best way to preserve digital photographs is to print them out.
People think digital is the way to go for... forever. It's not, not at this point. I've had several people suggest that a good way to overcome my memorabilia issues is to scan the originals and toss them. Except that digital files are not stable, not secure, and not a good option long term. ONLY PRINT LASTS.
I've been digital since 2000 now. Over 10 years. So I am going through my digital archive and pulling my top, most important, favorite 300 photos from that decade. My LOM storage binders from Pioneer hold 300 photos. I can fill one of them up with prints of the most important pictures, and that one album will not take up nearly as much space as if I was holding on to all my photos in print form. This is an example of an idea that is MINE that I could share in a presentation. Most people, if asked to do so, could think immediately of a dozen or more photos or even events that have been vitally important to them. A photo of each of your children being born. Photos of that loved one who passed away. Graduations and weddings. Photos you would be devastated to lose. Even if you only print out a measly 25 photos and keep them in a little slip in photo album or a shoebox, those photos will last longer than the digital files will.
Of course, I'm only at 2006 and I have 400 photos already... I might have to cull some. :-( But I am liking this project. I am liking seeing the "highlights" of the previous decade, in my life, gathered together. Things and people and events that are important TO ME. Places I have lived. My dog. My nephews being born. My goddaughter growing up. My mom becoming a grandma. Trips around the country, relationships, friends, groups, communities, graduate school, this fantastic city I love so much. Scrapbooking, cross stitching, cooking, running, letterboxing, playing volleyball, road trips. Pieces of my life. The last decade was an incredibly rich time in my life, and this project is really helping me see that.
1. Photo bar from the Library of Congress.
Today, I checked my bank account online and saw a pending transaction from NETZERO for the account that I could not cancel. I immediately called my bank. I reminded them of this whole situation, and that THEY had told me to cancel my debit card to prevent this happening. I protested that any time I have had to change debit cards in the past, my auto withdrawl companies will contact me that they cannot charge my card. I have to update my card information with them. SO WTF? Why was this transaction even appearing? My bank said, checking and verifying account information is what honest and legitimate companies do. They want to be sure they are charging the right person and that they legally have authorization to charge the account. However, you CAN "force" the transaction through. Which is what NetZero is doing. They do not care to find out why the card used to sign up doesn't work. And they are not a US company so they really apparently don't care about US banking laws, because, what can you do to them? Nothing. They are just trying to "force" the transaction to clear anyway.
Oh NetZero, YOU are all a PACK OF LIARS AND THIEVES!
I have had someone from there calling me and trying to get me to call him back. On messages he says again and again that I need to cancel my account. Except, I cannot cancel my account. I need a "NetZero email address" to cancel my account. They cannot look up my account with my name or any other information. And I don't have a NetZero email address. BECAUSE THEIR SOFTWARE DOES NOT WORK ON MY COMPUTER. I have never been able to access this mythical account!
Oh I am sure their technical services could help me figure it all out. However, they charge $1.95 A MINUTE to be on the phone with that department, and they won't even talk to you without you giving them a credit card number.
Rot in Hell, NetZero. Sincerely.
I had no idea I could be angrier with some low-rent, internet-only company than I was with ING. But I am. At least with ING, you are talking to people in the US, people who speak English. Condescending people, but at least English-speaking ones. There will be more swearing in this post. Consider yourself warned on that.
Before I signed up for netzero, I did a Google search on "netzero sucks" and I found a lot of people complaining about things like how slow the service was, how they kept getting dropped off the dial up, how they didn't like ads flashing on their homepoage and so on. I figured I could deal with all that. So if you hopefully have come HERE due to doing a similar search, I hope this information is useful to you. If I had read any of this, I would nevernevernevernever have signed up with them. NEVER.
I only signed up for this company because they offered internet using a mobile Hot Spot device, and as I've mentioned before, I can't get on the wifi at home. I thought, this is a great idea, I will have my own internet connection with my laptop at any location in my local city. And if you don't use much data you can use their service "free" for a year just to try it out. What is the risk?
"Free." It's not "free" There is no "Free Trial".
You need to purchase the "device" they sell in order to use the service. For one computer the device is $50. For a multiple user household, with up to 4 computers, it is $100.
Worse than that, the cost of shipping my little device (for ONE computer) was $20. For TWENTY DOLLARS here is what they shipped me:
* A tiny device the size of a flash drive.
* An adapter to plug in if your USB drive is configured oddly, which is even smaller.
* A CD with their software on it.
All in a big box. TWENTY DOLLARS to ship items that could have fit in a small padded envelope. Which means I spent SEVENTY DOLLARS to get this device to my house... and guess what?
Their software will not work with my Mac. And yes, I did check. Before I spent $70 on something? You bet your ass I checked! I read. I looked at the fine print. Everything.
So it turns out that their software and device will work with my type of computer. With my OS. With my version of the OS. But not with the processor in my computer. Which of course, I did not know. Now I am pretty Mac savvy. Certainly more computer savvy than the usual person. And I know my Mac pretty well. But I did not know this device would not work on MY computer. Since I have an older laptop I definitely check all the time to make sure that anything I buy new will be compatible. And of course there is no one there you can call to check and see if your computer will work with their software. You are stuck reading the fine print on their website - by the way it is red text on a black background, and I am sure that is not just a design choice.
Of course I was frustrated and disappointed. To my arrogant, entitled, spoiled American mind, I was going to have to argue with them to get back the $20 I spent on SHIPPING when I returned this non functioning software and non useful items to them, and I was going to possibly have to argue with them about paying to return it too.
My arrogant, entitled, spoiled American mind went searching ALL OVER their website for a way to contact them to arrange a return and a cancellation of any service. I found numbers for Technical Support, which required a credit card to call them, and which charged almost $2.00 a minute for every minute you were talking to them. I found numbers for a lot of thing. I called the main customer service number and the only options I got were to sign up and that was it.
To make a long story short, after 40 minutes of being on hold and being transferred around, this is what you should know:
NetZero is in India. In case I have not mentioned it here, my publishing career was shipped to India. Numerous friends in the IT field have lost their jobs with technical services being shipped to India. I hate India with every fiber of my being.
You might not discover this if you call them and stick to their script. Because they have all been trained to talk with a fake American accent. And they all give fake American names when they answer, like "Thank you for caling netZero, this is Katie." Like there is a KATIE working at some IT sweatshop in fucking INDIA?? OH YES. The accent sounds a bit off, like it's an American with a hearing problem or that slightly flat tone you get when speaking with someone who is hearing impaired. But call them angry and go off the script they have memorized, and the truth comes out.
No one there can help you unless you can answer their questions, in order. If you've called them with anything else, they just put you on hold for up to 10 minutes. Hoping you will give up and hang up. Because they do not care, not one little bit, about customer service. NOT even a little. Did I mention I fucking hate India?
So since I had never been able to use their service, I did not have a "netzero email account." I had my OWN email account, the account I've used for years. I would give it to them, and they would be confused. Then I would tell them I did not have a netzero account because I never got the thing to work. Then they would tell me I had to talk to someone else, put me on hold for almost 10 minutes, the next person would come on the line, and it would start all over again.
And the worst thing --
They do not give refunds. Nope. No money back. If they send you a device and it's defective, and you want to pay another TWENTY DOLLARS they will send you another. Other than that -- they do not issue refunds. For any reason.
My spoiled, entitled American ass was, frankly, shocked. I told the idiot on the phone to go and get her supervisor because she did not get paid enough to deal with how mad I was. Her response was to put me on hold. For fifteen minutes. Of course I had to hang up since I have other things going on with me.
They do not care about keeping customers. They do not care about solving your problem. Mainly they want to gouge you. And the sneakiness of the fake names and the fake accents makes my blood boil.
So here I am with useless software and useless little devices, having really been tricked into spending $20 on shipping, and I could not even cancel my account with them. I could not because I do not have a netzero email address. Because their software will not work on my computer.
I called my local, American, cares-about-their-customers bank and I cancelled my debit card and ordered a new one. No auto withdrawals will go through my account, as of right now. I am sure when netzero can't charge me for this useless account I can't access, they will be sending me a lot of automated emails. Emails I cannot reply to. Emails asking and then demanding me to fix it so they can withdraw funds from my account.
So if you happened to stumble upon this diatribe while searching to find out if NetZero is a good idea for you, my answer is: NO. No no no. Just say NO to NetZero.