Monday, May 18, 2015

Forget the Potential

"I probably flunked it," shared Paul to a group of his high school peers. We were clustered around him, commiserating about the latest Chemistry exam. Paul looked like he wasn't going to make it through lunch. As I munched on something tasteless from my seat across the cafeteria table, I had an "Aha!" moment, a flash of insight.

Let's review the facts:

  • Paul always complained about his performance on tests in difficult subjects.
  • Paul was inconsolable until the grades were handed out.
  • Paul usually scored in the top 5 of the class.
  • Paul was a genius.
The insight? Paul set high expectations for himself, always believed he wouldn't meet them, and though he fell short, his "short" was actually quite good. So he didn't make a 100%, but he made a 99%. Tough, right?

This story came to mind when I read this quote about writing:
I've told every young writer I know to do the job all the way through, even if he thinks it’s no good. Then he’ll have the precedent of having finished a work. It isn’t unlikely that he’s been mistaken anyway. All writers are discontented with their work as it’s being made. That’s because they’re aware of a potential and believe they’re not reaching it. But the reader is not aware of the potential, so it makes no difference to him.
Source: WILLIAM SAROYAN as cited at Advice To Writers
Often when helping people with technology, there are many tools/apps and choices. While my choices are constrained by diversity and the pressure of choosing, the choices for the folks I help are bound by their ignorance. I don't need to tell them ALL the choices, only pick the top 2-3, and let them choose based on options. 

But then, part of the fun is exploring the choices, making them easier to understand, and helping them choose. This recently arose with two situations:

1) Easy backup of file on computer.
2) Managing photos and images.

1) Easy backup of file on computer.
I have our campus inventory on my laptop in FileMaker Pro. Is there a place I can store it to back it up that is live?  I save it once and a while to google drive, but not every time I update it. What are your thoughts?
My response:
1) Install GoogleDrive on your laptop. You can find out more here, and I strongly recommend reading how to sync individual folders. This will enable Google Drive to save your Filemaker Pro database to Google Drive as you make changes on it. What you want to avoid is grabbing everything on GoogleDrive and saving it all on your computer. That's why you want to sync--or "put and get"--only the folders you designate on your computer.
2) Install Dropbox and do the same thing...sync only folders you want. Don't use this option if dealing with confidential student data.
3) Get into the habit of posting the latest version of your database each day to GoogleDrive. This is tougher to remember, not automatic but you have control over the process.
In this particular situation, we ended up just using Advanced Sync Setup with Google Drive. The solution worked fine, although I did most of the setup.

2) Managing photos and images.
I have several old phones. They can still connect via WiFi, but I want to get my photos off them easily. What do you recommend?

My response:
While there are several solutions, I really like how easy Dropbox makes it--including their new Carousel app--to autobackup photos over WiFi. You get 2 gigs to start with and that should be more than enough to clear out your phones. Then, you can just save those somewhere else or use Dropbox as your photo solution.
There are other great solutions, though, like Google+/Drive and Flickr. However, I find myself coming back to Dropbox because it's so easy to work with!

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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