Learning Curve.

Friday, July 19, 1996

We all resist change, even when it's for the better. This time I battled Netscape Email and lost.
I've had an InterNet connection only since November,1995, and have used the standard Eudora Email (Lite) feature since day one. So it's no real wonder that when the time finally came around
to switch to the Integrated Email System that Netscape Navigator v2+ has onboard, I resisted and kept using Eudora. Right now, I have Navigator v2.02 and it works just fine.
But when I found out about the really cool features of the new mail system, I had to make the switch. No problem, or so I thought. Well, Murphy stopped by last Saturday at about the same time that Hurricane Bertha paid the east coast a visit. The two of them were a handful. I actually thought it would be quiet in the retail sales areas because of the storm, but I was very wrong.
There were people from Wyoming, Illinois, California, New Jersey, Virginia and Maryland here, in addition to the hundreds of others from the surrounding areas. They'd seen the Website and were in or near the area and decided to see the complex for themselves. Anyone who would come here during a Hurricane is most worthy of any attention that they require. It was Showtime all over again! Almost every piece of container (potted) nursery stock I have was blown down from Bertha's winds. I finally got it straightened up on Sunday morning before the crowds arrived to shop.
Why is new software so intimidating at first? Loss of comfort with the old software? Is it the unfamiliarity and required adaption to instant change? Probably both of those and some other good reasons too.
The old email system let you install nicknames easily, make a signature for the end of mail, view an entire page, has a melodic chime that told you mail had arrived (though that was getting annoying), had easy-to-understand assons and a few more things that were idiot proof. The
new, integrated email system makes you work to understand it, does not allow for easy changeover of addresses, makes you deal with frames, requires a separate signature file be made externally, has a small question mark that turns into an exclamation point in the lower right of the screen when mail arrives, and a few more quirky features. But the benefits of such a slick system are impressive. One of the really cool things is that any URL you type is actually an active link (hyperlink) that you can click on and go to the listed Website. Wow. It was impressive to see my signature file as an active link. I hope more people use this system, as it will facilitate InterNet travel considerably.
I couldn't get anything to work right for the first two hours. I switched back-and-forth between the two email programs. I lost the InterNet connection in the Hurricane's fury. I couldn't concentrate on getting it all put together, due to phone calls and customers, even in the storm. Finally, the day ended and I had most of the pieces back together. I came in early on Sunday morning as usual, and finished the transition and cleanup.


I'm beginning to hum right along with Adobe Photoshop v3.0 and have put Illustrator aside for now. I can get around in Photoshop now, and it's not totally overwhelming to me anymore. Besides making transparent gif backgrounds, headers for these Journal entries, I've loaded in some stock photography and will mess around with special effects. Adobe's Gallery Effects Vols 1-2-3 are also now installed and I'll see where that takes me.
I made this and several other background gifs as an experiment. What do you think? Okay, okay none of the top design firms has anything to fear from these meager efforts of mine.


Lately, HTML has gotten more difficult. And it's all Netscape's Tables fault.
This Journal entry is written in a simple Table format and I guess I should just leave it at that. But I wanted to do multiple columns of type, a side navigation bar with hypertext links, well, all
sorts of graphic thingys. So I found some good Page examples and viewed their sourcecode. Wow, what a headache and confusing mess that was! I think tables might be worse on your general health than frames.
Allright, so I'm a tables dummy in addition to being a frames dummy. That's why I don't do Websites for a living. There are people out there who live and breathe frames and tables. I can barely get my own stuff done.
Eventually, I will figure it out. Being self-taught is fine in some ways, very frustrating in others. There's no one who's proficient in these things here to ask for help; I have to look around the Web for places that have tutorials on tables. The people that I do know who are good at this stuff are busy making a living doing it for others.
I'd like to find someone who'd be willing to trade-out some whacker landscaping for tables, frames and design work. Any takers out there? Uhhh, fairly nearby this area?
Whoooops, my crayon box is empty. I'll have to get another pencil. Be right back.

Botanic Names.

In the horticulture industry, everything is categorized by botanic names, created by a French Monk named Lineaus in the 1300s. He did this to bring order to a kingdom of plant material that was in disarray for many centuries. Explorers had been bringing back material from The New Worlds, which were rapidly being discovered. And a system was needed to identify and classify this plethora of new entries, as well as organize the existing plants. This system is the basis for everything we know about the plant kingdom today.
In its hierarchy, there are many rungs into which all plants fit; categories and sub-categories that show relationships among and differences between all plants. The Latin botanic names are very precise and exact in their description of each Family, Genus, Species, Cultivar and Variety.
Unfortunately, the public and most nursery people don't use the botanic names to identify and specify plants. They use common names, passed along through the generations of people, so there is great confusion as to which plant is actually being specified or described. The confusion can be comical or unfortunate, depending on what the intended use is. Most often, the common name applies to several plants and creates situations which leads to a great misunderstanding and frustration on everyone's part. I insist on using the botanic name to identify and specify plants.
I was fortunate, sort of. I had taken 8 years of Latin in both high school and college in preparation for becoming either a doctor or lawyer or something, I forget which. I also had a year of Classical Greek, which qualifies me to order dinner in a Greek restaurant. After winding up in the world of advertising, the discipline of Latin paid off handsomely. I became an award-winning copywriter and worked on some legendary advertising campaigns, some of which are still running.
Taxonomy is the science of classification of living things in accordance with their relationships. Without getting into a long dissertation here on taxonomic and hierarchal relationships, it simply means bringing order to chaos. When you want the correct plant material, be sure to use the Latin names to identify and specify. You don't need eight years of study to use the correct nomenclature; it's included (don't buy the plant if it isn't) on each plant's identification tag or label. It's your assurance of getting what you pay for.

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