Welcome to Ask Bloggy

Welcome to Ask Bloggy

Summary: Paul Murphy suggested y'all might like an advice column. I agreed.


Paul Murphy suggested y'all might like an advice column. I agreed.

We have different perspectives. He's technical and corporate. I'm not. But over the last several months the two viewpoints have proven valuable, a point-counterpoint for ZDNet readers.

The idea is based on the advice columns produced for nearly 50 years now by the Friedman sisters of Sioux City, Iowa. Never heard of the Friedman sisters, Pauline Esther and her twin Esther Pauline? Both born on the 4th of July in 1918? Of course you have. You just know them by their pen names, Abigail Van Buren and Ann Landers.

Jeanne Phillips, aka Dear AbbyThe two sisters were as different as different could be. Abby was straightforward and direct. Ann was more acerbic, given to puns. But they helped millions of people over many decades. Abby's column is now written by her daughter, Jeanne Phillips. (That's Jeanne to the right, from her syndicator's site  -- much prettier than either Paul or I ever dreamt of being.) Ann's column died with her, in 2002,  to be replaced by Annie's Mailbox, written by Kathy Mitchell and Margaret Sugar.

We don't dare hope for a fraction of the Friedmans' success. We'd settle for helping a few tens, or hundreds, maybe thousands of folks over the next few years, with your open source questions. As Paul explained on his own blog:

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.

I, on the other hand, can be reached as dana at a-clue.com.

Here's more advice, from Abby, uh, Paul:

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."

That's it for now from Ann, uh, Dana.

Topic: Apple

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  • That's a great idea

    Open source people are knowledgeable and smart. They come up with creative ideas and are always helpful. Thanks to Murphy and Dana.
  • I hope they have learnt a few things the past few months

    Paul and Dana were the most biased authors of articles at zdnet, to the extent of mis-leading and giving false information and having a know it all attitude. In reality their readers had to correct a bunch of their mistakes.
    Well, hopefully they give a fair assessment and not revert to their old antiques of being anit ___ and totally biased to _____.
  • Format

    The Ask Bloggy should work like this - First you solicit questions via email (or talkbacks). Next you post the question and the Talkbacks are EXCLUSIVELY ZDnet bloggers - Dana, George, Berlind, Caroll, Murphy. No need to open it up to all readers - lets keep this one a tad bit professional and not >300 talkbacks . . .
    Roger Ramjet
    • More format

      Maybe you could let the readers vote on which questions for Bloggy to answer.
      Roger Ramjet
  • OEM Software

    I keep getting email offers for cheap, I mean cheap software. It's always listed as OEM and if you did into the web sites, you find out that it's from some foreign country, usually Eastern Europe. Is this stuff legal?