The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Monday, March 31, 2014

Ridding Your Computer of the Unwanted Outfox TV Program

You were downloading some free program for your PC type computer. In my case it was a copy of Real Player. Read everything carefully when downloading such programs. Pause before checking any boxes that pop up during the installation process. One may be for a program called Outfox TV. You will feel outfoxed once it is settled into your computer. Don't feel too awful about it. In some cases, it enters unbidden, no boxes needing to be checked in the installation of the intended freeware.

Outfox TV puts up a tab on your search engines with various TV programs available and starts running immediately. It is truly annoying. Fortunately it is not actually a malicious virus (or unfortunately as your antivirus software protecting your computer might detect it otherwise and remove it). Unfortunately, it acts like one. It brings up an unwanted selection bar down one side of your screen as well. Worst of all, it cannot be easily removed. Every time I tried removing it with the standard uninstall program, it would get 3/4 of the way finished and stall out. It would say it was in the process of removing the program, but it would not actually remove the program.

So, checking online I discovered a number of solutions involving placing your computer in safe mode and rooting Outfox TV out, one system at a time. That was beyond any level of complexity I was comfortable working with on my computer. Ironically, another site told me of a free downloadable program ... a legit free program (I researched it), and my antivirus program assured me it was safe, called Revo Uninstaller. This program roots deep down into your computer and helps you remove all of this unwanted and annoying program. Be careful when you use Revo as later in the process you'll be asked to check (click) all the bolded items in the program tree, which are identified as Outfox TV, for removal. There is a select all button there that you do not want to use. Only check the bolded Outfox TV items. Otherwise, you could lose much more than you intended and have a brand new problem.

You can find both the free and professional version of Revo Uninstaller at http://www.revouninstaller.com/revo_uninstaller_free_download.html

Good luck freeing your computer!

Update, 4/5/14: To rid your Google Chrome browser of the Outfox TV tab, go to the far right of the opening screen. Click on the 3 bar icon in the far right corner. Select Settings. Scroll to the bottom and select Advanced Settings. Scroll down to the bottom of Advanced Settings and click on Reset Browser Settings. So long Outfox TV! 

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Earth Is Large and Our Control Is Limited

Before I begin, let me say my thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the nearly 240 missing passengers and crew of MH370. I cannot imagine the depth of your suffering, but I stand by you as the mystery continues to unfold.

Now, I heard two stories back to back this morning on NPR that drove home the points that the earth is far larger than we like to imagine and our control over everything is more limited than we like to think. The stories were about the continuing mystery of Flight MH370's disappearance and how the search for debris off Australia is turning up nothing. The second was about DARPA's search for robots of war. From the first, it became quickly and abundantly clear to me that despite all our globe trotting technology that lets us declare the "world is getting smaller every day," it really isn't. When technology or humanity directing that technology fails and disappears somewhere in the world, it is extremely difficult to find the missing equipment and people once again. Especially over the vast and churning oceans. This is a humbling thought and one we don't much like to face. Of course, a much more common and somewhat unnerving example of how big the world really is happens anytime you end up with a flat tire or run out of gas on the highway. Suddenly, the hour long trip home becomes something you could not accomplish in a day, most likely. The world expands and it is spooky!

From the DARPA story, the question arose that if a robot is programmed to recognize and kill a person targeted, but kills the wrong person, who is responsible? Is it the programmer, the manufacturer, or the leader who sent the robot on the killing mission? This reminds me that we are not nearly as much in control of our lives as we like to believe. When technology fails us, we howl. We do so, at least in part, because that mechanical minion's failure reminds us once again that we are not the masters of the universe. We are far more humble creatures than that.

In the end, I'm hoping that taste of humility we are getting will help draw us closer together. I want to believe this might just help drive home the point of how much we really do need each other, one human standing with another and another to face the unknowns and the tragedies of life together. That would be a wonderful thing to come out of all this. Having lost a friend yesterday to cancer, I know how much I need to comforting community of others in dark and difficult times. Perhaps these failures and mysteries will help us to put aside our ridiculous, petty fights and try to help one another along life's difficult road. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

More Flexible, Less Tribal for Spring

Welcome to the first day of Spring--to the hope of receding snow, warmer weather, and new life. Welcome to the hope of new life for us all ... flexible, springy, broadminded, boundary busting, non-tribal life in all its glory. In other words, here's to warmer weather and a sunnier, more flexible humanity.

In this author's humble opinion, we humans are becoming far to brittle and tribal for our own good. We are becoming rigid over all sorts of issues (many quite bizarre if you step back and look objectively) and are busy telling everyone (loudly and with high technology) that if they don't believe like our little tribe believes then they are fools, terribly stupid, ridiculous fools! You hear it every day from a wide variety of groups, all of whom claim to have a lock on the truth even when their whatever it is cannot hope to cover all the truth available.  We may be able to communicate globally, but we're allowing our most primitive minds to take over and force us to think tribally. The tribal mind is happy with no more than 150 people in its group. Well, we live in a global community and our reach is far too vast and our power to great and there are just too many of us to let that little tribal mind rule the day.

If we continue down this path, death and destruction lie ahead. Much as the brittle tree shatters, falls, and dies in a wind storm, we are in danger of our spirits shattering, our societies falling, and far too many of us dying if we let this dangerous trend continue.

This Spring let's all practice a little flexibility. Keep your roots planted in the fertile grounds of your beliefs for sure, but be more like the grass or the reed and be willing to bend with others, listening to them, learning from them, working with them. Lower the boundaries, eliminate the tribes, deny the brittle tendency, refuse the tribal mind, and let's work together for a better tomorrow. Heading that way has to be better than where we appear to be headed now.

Have a flexible, tribe free Spring day.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Managing Your New Job: Month One

I have a new job, actually a new career, for the first time in 20 years. The details don't matter, just the fact that I too am coping with getting accustomed to a brand new, shiny job. Here are a few things I learned in the first month that you should know as you struggle to come to grips with your new job situation ... congratulations, by the way.


  1. Do not freak out: whether this is your first job or not, this advice applies. The whole package is unfamiliar and the routines are strange. You feel more out of place than not. You feel like you are tripping over your own feet. For me, after a previous career of decades where I knew the routines inside and out, it was a shock being in a new environment with entirely different rules. 
  2. Rely on what you know or what you have learned: which will give you a much needed sense of familiarity in all that newness. Lean on the skill sets you bring with you for comfort.
  3. Don't sweat the little stuff: come to grips with the biggest aspects of the job first. Learn the system in place (make no suggestions for changing it yet ... you just don't know enough about WHY things work as they do to suggest changes now) and how you are to interact with them.
  4. Start reeling in the smaller strings: it felt to me like I had to learn big blocks of basic data first and then, with those in mind, move on to the little details that felt like strings to be gathered in. Do not fear the little strings, nor ignore them. Know that they are there and you will pick them up as you go, when you get the big blocks down.
  5. Ask questions: do not be afraid to ask questions and get answers to things that mystify you. You have to learn and if it is not clear in the manual you have been given ... if there is one ... then be sure to ask.
  6. Find out who has the power, who you should ask: it is always good, and definitely one of those big blocks of detail, to know where the real power lies. 
  7. Finally, understand that for at least the first few weeks, it will feel like you are drinking from a fire hose with all you are trying to take in. It does get better. Keep telling yourself that. It really does. 
Again, congratulations. More later.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Why "It's Not What I Say, It's What The Bible Says" Doesn't Work

For anyone who has had anyone wave a Bible at them, been declared damned at worst or just terribly sinful at the very least, while the person attempting to use this sacred text as a weapon declares "It's not what I say, it's what the Bible says," don't take it to heart, please.

The person doing the waving and declaring is a literalist. For literalists, the Bible is objective truth, unbiased in any way, and is plain and simple to understand. This just is not so. Aside from the Bible being a library of very complex books using every form of literary genre available to the ancient world and in need of serious study to fathom reliably, no one comes at the Bible without bias. No one, even the literalist, comes to Scripture without assumptions and beliefs that color their interpretation--yes, interpretation--of Scripture. As the Dictionary of Pastoral Care and Counseling states, "Literalists although proclaiming to have only Scripture as authority, in actuality bring to biblical interpretation a particular perspective through which Scripture is read." Further, if you, the one against whom some charge has been leveled, do not come from the same background as your accuser, you will not be considered a person who has enough authority to be trusted since you do not believe as the literalist believes. If you provide a counter argument with differing interpretation, it will not be given weight.

In the ever "entertaining" (heavy sarcasm here) world of tit for tat between the literalist believers and the literalist atheists, similar charges are leveled against each other, each side misusing Scripture as ammunition to make one argument or another about how the other side is completely wrong. I contend both sides bring the same simplistic bias to the reading of Scripture and the same blindness, whether willful or not, to that bias in their reading. Hence, the arguments are circular and fruitless.

So, again, dear reader, if you have been wounded in the past by someone saying, "It's not what I say, it's what the Bible says," please, understand that it isn't and you shouldn't take it to heart. I'm sorry you've been harmed in this way.


Enjoying First Sign of Spring After Long, Hard Winter


I realize this is probably of little interest to the blogging community and my readership. Still, this winter sucked and I'm glad to see my perennial friends the snowdrops make their annual return, this time without having to push their heads up above the snow. If anyone else feels the same way, enjoy. It's an early sign that spring's renewal is on the way ... and I'm glad.

Awake, thou wintry earth -
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!
~Thomas Blackburn, "An Easter Hymn"


AND ...

Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party!"  ~Robin Williams

This post is dedicated to my mother and grandmothers, all of whom loved their gardens and all of whom have moved on to a very special renewal ... 

For more springtime quotes, see: http://www.quotegarden.com/spring.html


Big News About Legs Bound for Space, Two Stories: One: Robonaut 'Waltz': Space Station Droid's Legs Get Movin' | Video





In recent news, Robonaut 2 aboard the International Space Station is about to get legs and more freedom. Moving around inside and outside the station will now be possible with the humanoid robot and its not so human legs. As high tech as R2 is, the work awaiting it in all locations will be those annoying repetitive tasks the astronauts will be happy to have someone else accomplish while they work on more complex projects. These legs give R2 a 9 foot extension, allowing it to "stand" head and shoulders above the rest. The "end effectors" allow R2 to hang onto handrails and sockets, freeing up its upper extremities for other work. The cameras beside the effectors will assure R2 is where R2 needs to be and will eventually allow the robot to work more autonomously.

Robonaut with legs
Image Courtesy of NASA

Amusingly, the legs are headed for space aboard the Space X CRS-3 resupply mission, delivering 5000 pounds of materials to the ISS, which will be boosted by the Falcon 9 rocket sporting new landing legs of its own. In time, these legs will be used to make future Falcon 9 rockets fully reusable, returning to a landing site from a powered descent, landing on those legs, enabling the rocket to be refurbished, refueled, and sent on its way once again. The launch date for the resupply mission is tentatively set for March 30 (all launches are tentative until they happen).



So, right now, "space news has legs," so to speak!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Power of Timeless Photograph. The Five Minute Response

Want to take photos that will withstand the test of time? 

Start with people. We find each other fascinating. Play with color and black and white photography. Notice that with color your mind focuses on the masses of color and their interplay. With black and white photography it is all about detail and patterns. A lot of the best people photography doesn't try to get the whole body in the photo, but focuses on faces, hands, the interplay with others, the emotions. We all know what feet look like and really don't need to see your subject's unless there is something compelling going on down there. However, the type I'm exploring today includes the whole person in action ... and WOW did that photo bring back memories!

However, the photo that really took me back yesterday at a local restaurant called The Avenue was the photo of a kid, about 12 years old, on a massive bike from the 1950s to 1970s era with 26" wheels and extremely sturdy construction. That photo took me back to my own childhood and the 26" wheels on my golden Hercules. When I first got it, like that kid, the bike seemed huge. I had to mount it from a street curb to get enough height to ascend. In that timeless photo, the kid is leaning over the handlebars, peddling for all he's worth to get the speed up, and going like the wind. I remembered those days in a flash. The feel of those large tires on the street or the trail or going down the middle of a rocky creek bed. While this kid's bike had a basket, mine had a headlamp run by a friction generator on the back tire. I remember changing gears with the white handle grip gear shift, running up and down the three speeds as the hills demanded, leaning forward and peddling my heart out going uphill and feeling the heady rush slaloming down hill with those tires going faster and faster, the later added speedometer telling me when I was exceeding residential street speed limits ... always a little rush when you're twelve. 

All of this from one timeless photo. That's how it is done, my friends.

And that's the five minute response.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Furious Following Cosmos Episode One: Response: Science, Religion, TIME OUT!

Use real imagery, folks! Come on! Courtesy of NASA and Cassini. 
Back in the last quarter of the twentieth century, I was disgusted when powerful religious groups sniveled that they were being picked on by big-bad society or big-bad science or big-bad government (some continue to do so and my disrespect for them remains strong). I was entirely repulsed by gigantic churches with massive followings whining that they were victims. Now, in the first quarter of the twenty-first century I am equally disgusted and repulsed that science in the new Cosmos series has taken up that sniveling whine with a long-and-wrong sequence concerning how mean the church was to a ... well, no, actually not a scientist but one of their own with a dream (the series admits he did not follow the rigors of scientific method) of a larger universe and larger God.

One thing I've always been entirely disgusted with is being lied about or lied to ... especially when it is done poorly. Bad research just makes me climb the walls.

Given the bad behavior of both religious organizations and scientific organizations (or at least science's biggest spokesman), I repeal all my calls of the past for the two to work together with their complementary strengths to make a better world, a kinder humanity, and a more fitting, smarter place to live. Instead, like any parent or teacher at the end of his/her rope, I declare a time out for both. Until both sides grow up enough to understand they BOTH come to the world with a sense of awe and wonder and BOTH have complementary spheres in which they can work ... basically until both sides can act like adults ... you both are in TIME OUT. Stay out of each other's backyards ... you simply don't know enough about each other's business to be there and you make fools of yourselves when you go there to tell poorly constructed tales of woe about the other guy/gal and how mean they are to you (boo hoo). GROW UP!

Right now I'm just too angry to give you a rational, detailed refutation of the inaccuracies in that animated snivel about how mean Christianity is ... so I'll let more level heads prevail. See this article at Patheos.com for a rational look on how off base the whole story was, and how off base the snivel over being picked on is, written in part by a Catholic and in part by an atheist, both who really know their stuff and don't whine  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/christophers/2014/03/cosmos-may-get-science-right-but-it-gets-church-history-wrong/. I respect that.

Off the religious side, into the science, why use an animated opening tour of the solar system when we have such magnificent imagery from spacecraft we have sent to or past every single planet?! We even have a spacecraft now on the way to that non-planet Pluto. Seems mighty lazy to me and lacking in inspirational visuals for all those young minds you want to "inspire with science."

Here's hoping episode two can do better.

For previous posts on the series (more guardedly hopeful and one humorous), see:  http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2014/03/does-cosmos-have-comic-connection-in.html and http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2014/03/divided-on-new-series-cosmos.html

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Surviving the Time Change Sleep Deprivation

We lost an hour last night when we moved the clocks ahead an hour for Spring. Ugh. I'm feeling it today and I'm sure many of you are as well.

Courage.

WebMD states the worst time following your sleep deprived night will be first thing in the morning. That is when you'll feel it the most.

Remember, foggy brained friends, it gets better. Forge on into the day and just keep telling yourself that. You'll be more alert later.

Still, be cautious. Your brain will not be as sharp today. Remembering, alertness, decision making will all be somewhat impaired. So, drive carefully and navigate your day cautiously.

Good luck ... and tonight, go to bed early.

Does Cosmos Have a Comic Connection in the Ship of the Imagination???

I have to wonder if producer Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy fame) isn't using popular astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson as his straightman for a small joke. I hope so.

I had to laugh when I heard Cosmos would use the "Ship of the Imagination" to get from place to place around our amazing universe. I know Carl Sagan used some similar device in the original series. However, between 1980 and today, there has been this little cartoon on TV with the improbable title Spongebob Squarepants. Back in season three there was an episode called "The Idiot Box," in which the square one and his starfish buddy Patrick purchase a large TV so they can have the box to play with. Within its cardboard confines, the dynamic duo go everywhere, powered, as straightman Squidward discovers, by IMAGINATION (imagine Spongebob saying this in his squeaky voice while spreading his hands apart with a rainbow forming between his palms).

Squidward finally climbs into the box for an attempt at adventure himself and ... being the straightman and foil for all jokes ... mayhem ensued.

This is the advantage of being a parent and having watched cartoons along with your kids as you raised them (and refused to allow cartoons with way too many bodily fluid jokes to be watched). So, I have to wonder if MacFarlane isn't Spongebob here to Tyson's Squidward. We may never know. But I'm glad for the chuckle on this sleep-deprived morning when the clocks have been sprung ahead.

Have an imaginative day.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Tell Your Adult Children Seeking Jobs the Truth About Your Career Arc, Parents: The Five Minute Response

The job market out there is incredibly unfriendly in America to the new job seeker. It is particularly frightening for the recent college graduate saddled with serious debt looking for that first job in the chosen field while the clock is ticking to begin loan repayment (no tsk tsking here about how "back in my day we worked through college and took no loans" ... this ain't the same world and these aren't the same prices).

If you did your job as a parent well (and I'm sure you did noble reader of mine), you shielded your children from the terrifying ups and downs of your career arc as best you could. They didn't see you sweat over lost jobs, changing career paths, dwindling opportunities for raises, promotions, benefits, and all the rest. Your children have a false image of your career (unless you are one of the truly blessed few who has had a smooth career ... does anyone still have that ... no, really, I don't want to know) as being a smooth, calm arc of choices well made and paths thought out well in advance.

This vision of your career path is poison for the child struggling to find that first toehold on the career path (that near vertical cliff these days). Their job is hard enough. Finding that first job is often a soul crushing experience that raises doubts about who they are and what they've chosen to do. That false vision makes it worse. Help them. 

Tell them the truth about the trials and tribulations you faced in your career ... and those you continue to have. Tell them of the long, sleepless, doubt-filled nights. Let them know you understand where they are. Better yet, let them know you've been there and you managed to move forward. Give them hope and truth instead of that dangerous illusion. The facade you erected when they were little to keep them innocent and carefree needs to come down now.

And that's the five minute response. 

Divided on the New Series Cosmos

Image Courtesy of NASA
It has been a bad few weeks for me. (Bill Nye vs. Creationist ... Oh, my head ... have we really stooped to this?!)

My father is retired from a career as a science news reporter. I grew up with the American manned space program and have a deep passion for it. I am awed by the discoveries in astronomy and fascinated by our ever-expanding universe. My first degrees are in anthropology and history. My first Master's degree is in Archaeological Resources Management. I have a deep appreciation for the scientific method and understand all the hitches and lurches that accompany advancement. I am well read and trend toward the intellectual ... even the geeky at times.

I am also a lifelong Christian. I am an ordained minister. I have a deep knowledge of my faith from heavy research, which was required to obtain the Master's of Divinity degree (an extremely labor intensive degree). I know many great intellects, past and present, in Christianity. I also understand well the hitches and lurches that accompany advancement here. I am equally awed by all God has done and where my very personal faith has led me. Awe burns at the very core of my being.

Here's the problem.

I enjoyed the original Cosmos series on PBS. I'd like to watch the new series. However, as someone with a foot in these two worlds (worlds that should complement each other well ... IF allowed), I feel myself increasingly being pushed away from the table of scientific discovery by ridiculous comments made about my faith, my intellectually rigorous faith (no, I won't argue with you about this). Neil deGrasse Tyson is a remarkable astrophysicist and an extremely talented public speaker, conveying the enthusiasm for his science well. I enjoy that. However, when he ventures into the world of religion (I know, he doesn't bring this up himself generally), he peddles out of date arguments ("God of the gaps" arguments, Neil, really?!) against the faith (responding to the attacks from the most fundamental, I'm sure) which truly disrespect all I have worked for and all the intellectual people of faith I know. His best comment, and the one I most agree with, on issues outside of the scientific world that don't apply to his passion, "I don't care." That I can respect.

I wish we could all get past the truly time wasting arguments which boil down to kindergarten "I'm right, you're wrong" nonsense. I'm glad we haven't yet descended into "My dad can beat up your dad" arguments yet ... or have we? I wish we could all agree that we are motivated by awe, all of us, and leave it there. But, it seems we can't. So, I'm torn.

I gained some insight though. I see that the new Cosmos will air on Fox. Instantly I sneered, tarring the series with Fox News, just as I've been tarred. Well, I guess we're all human here.

I'll have to decide what to do. It's a shame it has come to this.

UPDATE: I watched the first episode and was disappointed. Looks like I'm the bad guy in the science world. The incredibly biased view of Christianity portrayed is precisely what I'd expect from Fox News. It's terribly sad. Choosing to go with an opening sequence with animation for a tour of the planets rather than the wonderful images we have of all the planets from various spacecraft was surprising and disappointing. It was particularly bad when the "ship of the imagination" flew past the Viking lander on Mars rather than the current Curiosity rover, of which there are many impressive self portraits and images of the surrounding landscape. All in all, I wished it was better. I wished I wasn't being tried and found guilty like Bruno (with whom I have great sympathy), a guy with both passions for the cosmos and for his faith ... by people whose conceptions of both were just too small ... just like Cosmos's.

For my final word on the first episode of Cosmos, see: http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2014/03/furious-following-cosmos-episode-one.html

Red Dwarfs Increase the Potential for Habitable Real Estate Yet Again!!!

Image Courtesy of NASA
The discoveries out there in the universe just keep getting more interesting and more exciting for a sci-fi geek raised on the Star Trek and (original) Star Wars universes ... along with the magnificent 2001: A Space Odyssey. Using the HARPS and UVES instruments of the European Southern Observatory in Chile, eight new planets orbiting red dwarf stars have been found. Better yet, three are "super earths" in the habitable zone.

We now have more stars than ever to search out for new life. These three worlds are in our own astronomical backyard. It looks like we have a whole lot of potential worlds all around us. Better yet, since red dwarf stars are the most common in the universe and the data suggests most of them will have planets, the opportunity for finding other habitable worlds has increased markedly.

Even more exciting (from an article last year) is that red dwarf stars burn slower and last longer than stars like our own sun. There are far greater stretches of time available on habitable worlds around red dwarfs to evolve intelligent life that is mightily advanced. Very exciting indeed.

So the planetary news just keeps getting better.

Now, if NASA could just get back into the business of send PEOPLE into space again ...

For an additional post on this matter, see: http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2014/01/adjusting-our-sights-seeking-habitable.html

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Beware the Story That Is Just Too Good: The Five Minute Response

I was looking for an illustration to use in a public speaking engagement the other day. If you speak frequently to crowds, you understand the need. You head out into your books and onto the search engines looking for pithy quotes and engaging tales to either spice up or add some real life application to what you are saying.

The other day I came across a gem of a historical situation that seemed to illustrate my point beautifully ... too beautifully. I became suspicious. I searched far and wide for the main character found in the story.  However, he was not to be found outside of mentions of that particular story ... on sites related to the individuals I was speaking to in the days to come. I started to get the strong whiff of a manufactured tale.

Having been unsuccessful at finding reference to that particular rout, I found other, more easily cross-checked stories. Beware of these all-too-useful illustrations that fit too perfectly. You do not want to be called out after your presentation by someone who knows better. You do not want to be caught in a fictional tale you've declared was fact. You want your audience to believe you are a reliable source who has done his or her due diligence and is presenting reliable information. If your hearers ever start to doubt that, you've lost them. If you have to speak to them regularly, you'll have to fight hard to regain their trust.

Beware the perfect illustration ...

And that's the five minute response.

Writer's Corner: Computer, Typewriter, or Pen and Paper: What Is Your Choice? The Five Minute Response

I was asked not long ago whether, if given the opportunity, I'd cast aside the computer in favor of either a typewriter or pen and paper. This won't take long to answer. Less than five minutes, the clock is ticking.

While I've always wanted to own what I considered the luxury typewriter while growing up, the IBM Selectric (oooo), the answer is a resounding NO.

I used a manual portable Olivetti typewriter all through my first stint in college, typing papers laboriously, needing to use correction fluid for typos ... or, horrors of horrors, retype the page with the mistake ... an agony if you were near the end of the page. I spent a great many hours I could have spent more productively ... sleeping perhaps ... at that machine.

All of my notes were taken for those first Bachelors and Masters degrees by hand, pen and paper. I had a formidable callous on my middle finger, right hand, from that. I won't go back to either of those writing tools. I see very little advantage in the extra time they add (time for reflection some will say).

For me, the computer will be my writing device of choice until something truly better comes along. I have trained my brain to use the computer's ways to my best advantage. I've organized an entire system of note taking, organization, outlining, and writing that revolves around the way the computer works. The machine saves me a great many hours of labor. Better yet, it saves innumerable trees as I create each draft and edit each on the device without ever printing a single page of the early manuscripts. Best, all those drafts are stored in the computer's now awesomely large memory so if I edit away something I intended to keep, I'll find it in the last draft.

Best of all, the computer allows me to quickly experiment with a great many turns of phrase before I decide on a final phrasing of any line. It can be done quickly, sequentially, evolving from a kernel of thought into a developed form in a matter of minutes. The previous forms then disappear when selected and the delete key engaged. All too convenient. No, it'll always be the computer for me.

In the end though, as I wrote and thought it through, the lesson learned here is that whatever tool you prefer to write with, stick with it, explore all the possibilities, and allow that tool to become the freeing instrument of your mind ... allowing you to develop your written work in the best possible way for you.

Happy writing.

And that's the five minute response.