From 1955 to 2002 most major newspapers in both the United States and Canada carried a syndicated personal advice column produced by Esther Lederer under the name Ann Landers. So pervasive was her work that she became an American cultural icon and the pattern "Signed: Lonely in Idaho" came to signify both a particular kind of letter and her particular kind of answer.
Dana Blankenhorn and I have been wondering whether something vaguely similar might not be fun for us to do, and interesting for you to read or participate in. As an experiment, therefore, we're going to do three or four weekly "Ask Bloggy" columns to see what kind of response we get.
We'd like to provide real answers while disclaiming all legal liability for anything and everything -and that means we need some real questions. The talkback section is a good place for that - or you can contact contact us directly - I'm murph at winface.com.
The questions should relate to people or technology but not be simple how-tos. For example, talkback contributor Howard2nd recently sketched this situation:
SPARC or MAC or SGI or Whomever
I run a small network at a state agency with perpetually limited funding. My bosses want 'bang for the buck!". Every year I get to upgrade about 20% of the systems. If I went SPARC or Mac I could only do 10%. We all use Microsoft Office, because it is what we know and the staff with real jobs are NOT going to spend weeks or months of reduced productivity to learn alternative software.
If he'd get in touch and give permission, we'd be pleased to share our, ahem, wisdom, on changing his signature to "Happy, in Agency."