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I'm still here! Really, I am!

February 18, 2004

If you're a longtime visitor and a newsletter subscriber, this note is for you. And especially for those of you who've emailed especially to see if I am still here!

I realize that it's been a lot longer than a month since the last newsletter went out... It's been over a year! I must confess that the newsletter has taken a back seat to the business of homeschooling my boys, among other things. I'll spare you the details, but there have been a few hospital trips for me, as well, which seriously cut into my time and my energy. Thankfully, I am recovering steadily, and I'm back to my old wee-hours schedule of working on the website.  In fact, except for the days when I was actually in the hospital, in November, I usually managed to get something new online almost every day. At least on those days I could walk to the computer!

 Of course, schoolwork and judo tournaments continue to keep us quite busy, and as a voracious, insatiable reader I am constantly tempted by yet more new books. I sometimes find myself working until 3 in the morning, adding new pages to the site. Yet when I slide into bed, I can't resist reaching for whatever book I'm reading. I huddle under the covers with my flashlight to avoid waking my slumbering husband, and sometimes... the next thing I know it's light outside! Whoops! Though I usually fall asleep within a short time.

I cannot, however, sleep without reading. Anything. Doesn't matter what. More than once I've found myself in some hotel room, having forgotten to pack something to read on some impromptu trip, and ended up reading the yellow page ads in the local phone book because some sinner had pinched the Gideon Bible. Now that's a real habit, isn't it? Beats heroin, though, and it's less expensive than a mall habit. Well, a little less expensive.

 

 

Alas, the reading does cut into the website update time, but I figure it keeps me from burning out on the website. After all, this is a break-even proposition, mostly, rather than a serious income source. I am still updating the site on a daily basis, somewhere, though with newspapers from around the world it might take me a while to get new stories on any one particular state's or country's section.

As for the next newsletter, I can't say with certainty when I'll have it online, though I will eventually get the thing out. Hopefully I won't email too many people who've unsubscribed, yet have not gotten off of my list, and end up getting fined for spam! 

Don't forget that you can always check the Updates page to see if I managed to post the latest newsletter but didn't manage to email you about it. I have kept links to all the previous newsletters there, too, though I may remove some of the older ones.

I will mention now that I am considering an alternative to the newsletter, which I have found takes a great deal of time that I would rather spend adding new genealogical material to the site.  I know you would like for me to get a lot more material online, too! And yet everybody likes to the occasional reminder so they can check back in  to see what's new on TheOldenTimes.com. I know that when I bookmark a site, it doesn't necessarily mean I'll remember to check back regularly to see if there are relevant updates. There are so many great websites out there that my bookmark list is pretty long by now. And I'll confess that the newsletter is something of a chore for me, too, and as I get farther behind, I procrastinate on it more...

I'd love to be able to use one of those services that lets readers request email when a page is updated, but I can't afford that.

However, I am seriously considering a new service which would allow visitors to download a little "toolbar-like" thingy (sorry, I forget what it's called) that would reside on their desktop. It would be a lot like a news service's online ticker, where a little window on the desktop would have the latest headlines scrolling by. Whenever I add a new page to the site, like "Police Shatter New Marriage; Girl Learns She Married a Lunatic," that headline would go scrolling across the little window.  The newest obits for the week would scroll by, along with whatever other new pages had been added. If it doesn't turn out to be prohibitively expensive, I'd like to be able to make it available in regional versions: that is, you could download a ticker for all the newest material, or download Virginia-only news, or New Hampshire-only news. I am still looking into this, but it looks like a good option: one that will free me from the hassle of putting out a newsletter, and will still provide regular updates (considerably more regular, in fact) than I have been able to manage.

One of the things I'm doing is downloading a version of this service to add to my own desktop, with its links to some other website, to see how it "test drives." I want to make sure it doesn't cause crashes, doesn't bring me spam or other garbage, etc., before I get more serious about it. I would never ask my visitors to download a news ticker to my site that would end up causing them problems! Of course, I can only evaluate it from the standpoint of my own computer and configuration, but I don't have anything that's all that unique. I'm lucky enough to have a cable modem, which is more than worth every penny. (I am reminded of that every time I'm out of town and have to use a hotel phone line and my backup: my dial-up AOL service at 14,4000 mps! ARGH! ). I run Windows XP on a Dell Inspiron 8500, and I use Internet Explorer as my browser. I'm sure there are probably more nuanced and sophisticated and satisfactory  arrangements, but it works for me.

I will certainly let you know how this goes. If it looks good, I'll post links to this service's website so that you can check it out for yourselves, while I find out if I can afford to use their service, and afford to have them program it for TheOldenTimes.com's unique needs. I'm not a programmer, folks, as you can tell. I'm a doctor and a homeschooling mom. I don't know nothin' 'bout no programmin'!!

And if that doesn't work out, I may try something else entirely, or beg for volunteers to do the newsletter. I'd certainly like to focus on getting more of those old obituaries, birth and marriage announcements, vintage recipes, old photos, and everything else online for you!

In the meantime, I'll try to add more Publisher's Notes and keep ya'll more informed about what's going on here at TheOldenTimes.com, instead of waiting for the next Updates newsletter to let you know. I won't make any promises, since I've had the very unpleasant experience of having to make use of the lovely accommodations of my neighborhood hospital quite unexpectedly. Ugh! I hate being a patient, especially in the hospital! I'm not complaining about the hospital, but just about being sick and not being in charge of meeting my own basic needs. But check back here at the Publisher's Notes page and I'll try to keep you posted about the newsletter alternatives and any other site news.

Time to get busy scanning another page of genealogical gold from my newspaper collection!

Take care, and happy hunting, ya'll!

Barbara

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