My Week Ending February 3, 2019

Here’s a summary of some of the things I learned and published this week.


(You can follow my daily readings as they happen here.  Here are a selected few, with commentary, from the past week.)

  • I like the concept of removing the active tiles and other things in this article but we’ve heard of Microsoft’s new OS and implementations many times only to see it dropped.
  • This is a great concept and we can’t enough awareness about cybersecurity. Who will train the trainers?
  • We could see it coming. It still was as cold as _______ around here. Fill in blank with your favourite items.
  • I’ve used the Chrome Browser for long enough that many of these features are not hidden from me. But, it’s still enjoyable to read the article to find new things perhaps and help others to get more from their browser. Productivity rules.
  • You know, if Apple would just decide to use standard things, like screws, assembling their stuff in the USA wouldn’t be a big deal. Thankfully, there was a “how-to” on the internet that showed me where to put the two long screws back in my MacBook Pro when I replaced the hard drive. Spoiler – the placement made no sense to me.
  • Have you hugged your bus driver lately? This one definitely goes over the top for literacy.
  • A portal of educational activity for kids from TVOntario. This is really well done and could be a one-stop place to get activities.
  • One of the things that I did when President of ECOO was introduce Slack as a workplace organizer and conversation piece. So, ECOO is 9 of the 10 million users.
  • Will Internet Explorer finally go away? OMG. What about those school districts that refuse to remove it from their image or to update utilities that will only work with it? Look for the panic when Edge uses the Chromium resource…
  • This is a heart-warming story involving Jane Goodall. Everyone should read it.
  • Another article explaining why building your school networks on the cheap and then wondering why it doesn’t work for long.
  • Until this article, I had never heard of a white hole.
  • I won’t use this NewsGuard feature but it might be helpful for some.
  • The “Man in the Middle” has always worried me. Firefox plans to let us know about that person but is there anything that can be done about it? That’s the bigger question. Will other browsers follow?

Blog Posts on doug … off the record

My daily contributions to this blog.


Here’s who I tagged as “Active” last Friday morning.

voicEd Radio

My on demand radio page can be found here.  

Opening song this week:

The latest #TWIOE show features blog posts from:

There was no show this week due to Stephen being unavailable. But, if there had been, there would have been a discussion about posts from these folks.

Technology Troubleshooting 

So, Gutenberg is now the default editor with WordPress. It took a bit lot to getting used to and, sadly, it’s not without its issues for me. If you have a solution for me, I’d love it hear it.

  1. With the old editor, there was an option to make a clone of an existing post. It’s not something that I used a great deal but it was handy for this type of recurring post. I’ve meddled around with a style/format to get something that worked for me. But, I can’t find the ability to do that anymore. I may have to bite the bullet and create a template or something. For now, it’s a matter of scrolling back to last Sunday and doing a copy/paste in the editor. It works but not as elegant as I’d like.
  2. This one is really annoying and I’ve got to believe that it’s a bug. With big posts like this one, I seldom finish them in one writing. So, I got in the habit of scheduling it ahead and then returning to finishing it off. It works most of the time but … periodically, while I can get back in the editor to finish things off or, gasp, do some proofreading, I can’t get to the Publish/Schedule button to safe any updates. That is throw the computer through a window worthy.

Video of the Week

Could there be a geekier scene in television? Can you handle a computer with this sort of skill?

My Favourite Photo of the Week

I don’t have a pet groundhog but I do have a dog and Jaimie didn’t see his shadow yesterday.

Thanks for reading.


This blog post was originally posted at:

If you find it anywhere else, it’s not original.


Whatever happened to …

… mail merge?

Last week’s post had me thinking a great deal about Filemaker Pro and the uses that I had for it.

I’ll attribute this to my background as a Business education teacher where the topic is certainly on the curriculum.

But there was one use that I think worked out so well. Don’t hate me but it goes back to the days when I would send a lot of paper out to schools and to the Computer Contacts therein. Everyone pays just a little more attention when a covering letter comes personalized to them as opposed to the “Dear Occupant” ones.

In our department, there were four secretaries shared among the group of thirteen consultants. Doing personalized letters was a big deal and I recall one day when the four of them were off to learn about “advanced word processing” skills. Three of the four were new to the world of Windows and so working with Microsoft Office was a big challenge. Up until this time, they had been using typewriters and ClarisWorks to get the job done!

One of the “advanced” topics was about how to do a mail merge where one letter could be personalized, at least in the salutation, to make things look good. As I recall, the instructor wasn’t an educator (go educators) and so the “training” was all about do this, then do that, then do this, and voila. Of course, the concept never stuck.

Now, being on my own for that day, there was a mailing that I needed to get out and I wanted it personalized. I already had mailing labels created in Filemaker Pro and so doing the cover letter was a piece of cake – create a new document and bring in the desired fields. Then, send all 70 or so of them to a printer and that was it.

The next day, my secretary returned and was into my office to complain about the training and I still had the letters sitting on my printer. It caught her attention…

How’d you do that?

So, I showed her. She had a wonderfully analytic mind and noted that it was so much more convenient and made so much more sense than the hoops that they had gone through at their “training”. She went back to her desk and the rest is history; she became the district master of Filemaker Pro. Remember the old adage “When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like nails?”. She came up with solutions in Filemaker Pro to problems that people never knew they had!

These days, of course, the only mass mailing letters that we get seem to be those in the mail soliciting money. The rest of the mailings come electronic. People have turned to services like MailChimp or any of the functionality that exists online with email clients.

So, for a Sunday, your thoughts please…

  • Have you ever done a mail merge? If so, with what tool?
  • Before computers, how did mass mailings happen?
  • Have you ever used a system like MailChimp to do personalize mass mailings? Which ones? Any successes / failures to report?
  • Do you use the mail merging feature in your GSuite or Office 365 instance?
  • Let’s get a bit philosophical here – is mail merging a wordprocessing or a database function?
  • Our English language has expanded with the technology – open rate, bounce rate, mail receipts, … Do you use these terms regularly? Any others?

I’d be most interested in your thoughts.

This is part of a regular Sunday feature here at doug — off the record. You can read all the past issues here.

This post originally appeared on:

If you read it anywhere else, it’s not original.

OTR Links 02/03/2019

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.