Good Ideas for the New Year

Named after Ms Gabor? I dunno. All I know is Jajah is cheap or free and it really works well. I’ve charged my account with a few bucks to see if my first impression holds up to real-life use. Unlike some other means of online telephone calls, this one uses your regular phone (and I think cell phones can be involved too) with absolutely no loss of quality. Click the number on the webpage or in your address book (that you create) or in the JaJah box on Firefox and your phone rings. You answer, it connects you to your call number. If they have a JaJah account, the call is FREE. If not, it costs 2.5 cents a minute over a vast spread of continents. It’s a no-brainer. No codes, no delays, no scratchy reception.

Winter Ergonomics
From our “wish I’d thought of that” category, the WOVEL. Of course, it won’t do us much good, lacking both snow and paved driveway or sidewalk. But if you value your back and shoulders, and live in areas where white is still the color of winter, take a look. Working smarter, not harder!

Bonsai Dogs!
Well, maybe this isn’t such a great idea. Definitely not. The Japanese are into cute-ifying all sorts of things, including dogs. (At least they don’t find them delicious like some other Asian cultures.) But their penchant for novelty has taken some bizarre genetic twists, and the puppy-mills of the Custom Dog Business over there are coming under some well-deserved scrutiny.

New World Order
Seems like a good time to take a look at the somewhat haphazard order of my WinXP Explorer Folders. Having done that, even though I have an external hard drive, it would be nice to have the assurance that, even if the house burned down, my files would be available to restore down the road after the smoke cleared. I’ve been using MOZY on the laptop since the beginning. Now, I’ve also downloaded the FREE program (which will hold up to 2GB on the Mozy servers) on the desktop, but find I can’t make it fetch a shared folder where I keep the OneNote files I’m using to work on upcoming writing projects. Those, I’ll have to hand-transfer from desktop to external drive. Oh well. But check out Mozy. The price is right!

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. That Wovel looks like a wonderful solution to snow shoveling – but $119? That seems steep, but I guess if you have a lot of snow, it would be worth it. We have a snow shovel, but it has not been out of the storage closet for about 6-7 years (and I hope it doesn’t have to)!

    Happy New Year!

  2. Look for SyncToy from MS. It was a power tool they were giving away as a tool for photographers to sync folders on different drives for backup purposes. I use it to keep all of my folders on three computers in sync using a traveling hard drive. The program lets you set up rules that will sync changed files on all drives.

  3. Gary, I used SyncToy for a while, but ended up with SyncBackup and have used it now for more than a year. Free was nice, though.

    Kenju, yep $119 is steep, but it could last decades…and when’s the last time you priced a Physical Therapy visit? If this gizmo saves ONE it’s paid for!