One of the things that people tends to think about scientists is that we are all machine-like robots who are technically advanced, but without an ounce (or gram) of creativeness.
I’m planning in this brief blog to dispel this criticism with a few choice counterpoints, followed by “the mother-of-all-examples” from my own work. Yes, I am bragging, and you’ll see my creativeness if you bear with me.
But first, OT and it’s bloggers and followers are a prime example of creativeness. Each blog is uniquely creative, thoughtful, didactic, scholarly, humbling and humorous. Or any combination of the above. And we are all scientists! There are authors, chess-players, film makers, photographers and artists among us. But if these examples still don’t convince you, how about this:
I’ve been suffering for a long time from a really awful e-mail system that our university is finally about to discard–known as “Lotus Notes.” It’s particularly poorly adapted for those of us who use Macintosh computers, although it’s not exactly a treat for PC users either. In any case, we are finally migrating in a few weeks to a new system called Microsoft Entourage, which is supposed to interface well for Macs. Whatever the case, it certainly can’t be worse than the current situation.
Allow me to explain how lousy this “Notes” system really is: At home, outside of my “Client” or office computer, access is of course through the internet. In logging in to “Lotus Notes” I find that my inbox shows roughly the last 20 e-mails that have come in. Not unusual. But what if I want to retrieve and reply to an e-mail I received this morning, about 27 e-mails ago? Simple, silly. Just scroll down.
What?! Or eh?! (for you Brtis and Canucks) How does one scroll down? Simple, just use the arrows or the mouse. Uhhh, but that doesn’t work. It doesn’t? Oh, well, go into the “Lite Mode” instead of the “Full Mode.”
Problem solved! No! “Full Mode” doesn’t help one iota. Now let’s get creative! So my first creative solution was to click “command -” (apple minus) to decrease the font size. Hurray! Now I can get more e-mails on the page. But what if I need to go back 45 e-mails to reply to one? Make it smaller again. And again. See this period? (.) Well, it could be an entire letter–I can’t read it either. This method means you need a microscope to read your e-mails. perhaps a confocal, or electron microscope… Won’t do.
Be creative! How can a scientist solve the problem?
Here’s what I do: I find the e-mail (45 e-mails ago) on my BlackBerry, and forward it to myself. Now it appears at the very top of my “Lotus Notes” e-mail inbox. Brilliant, eh? Great use of my time. Lovely.
So while I am excited about perhaps no longer having to depend on my own creative solutions to function from home and outside my work office, there is a catch: the new system will not work well with BlackBerry. That scares me for obvious reasons. However, it is supposed to be well coordinated with Iphones. So I may have to switch loyalties–never tried one of those new-fangled gizmos.
Any comments or suggestions for a potential new Iphone buyer/user?