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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 25, 2008 / 20 Nissan 5768

Getting bit literate

By Mark Kellner

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Mark Hurst wouldn't like my e-mail inbox, particularly the one for my Google "Gmail" account. We've never met in person, but I know Mr. Hurst is a fanatic about what an e-mail inbox should and should not contain, as I've just finished "Bit Literacy," his book on "productivity in the age of information and e-mail overload." (The book is published by Good Experience Press, www.goodexperiencepress.com, at a list price of $22.99.)


The main thesis is that while computers have connected us to a world of information, that world is overwhelming us. Having tons of items staring us in the face — as is the case with a bulging e-mail inbox — will cause, not alleviate, stress. Ditto, he contends, for the hodgepodge of digital photos, music files, and documents that are resident on many of our computers.


Mr. Hurst, as his book reveals, believes that e-mail inbox should be empty, or at least as empty as possible, in that incoming messages shouldn't linger. That I have approximately 35,000 messages in my Gmail inbox would likely vex Mr. Hurst to no end.


His point is that an inbox should be no more than a digital way-station: e-mails are either task related, such as a note from your boss asking you to do something; or personal messages from a friend, relative or from your bank; or the junk e-mail commonly known as "spam."


If your boss wants you to file that report, that's a "to do" item, or "todo" (no space) in Mr. Hurst's world. Should your banker want to speak with you, that's another todo . An e-mail from aunt Mary may be delightful, but it should be printed out or deleted. And those notes about enlarging this or that, well, trashing these is the very least you can do.


"Bit Literacy," which in my view begins more strongly than it finishes, makes a very good case for "letting the bits go," or dispatching our digital data to a specific place and for a specific purpose. Catch-basins such as e-mail inboxes, un-filed photos and vague document file names such as "agenda.doc," which after all could refer to a meeting this week or one five years ago, aren't likely to contribute to real efficiency. The goal, Mr. Hurst maintains, is to get through the day's e-mail and other items so you can get to "real work."


Such dogmatism goes beyond e-mail in Mr. Hurst's case. He's death on fancy word processors, specifically Microsoft Word, because their file sizes are generally way too large for the basic information being conveyed such as the aforementioned agenda. Better to type the agenda in a simple e-mail than create a Word document which must be opened, he says, and in this case he's right.


He is more correct in advocating for to-do lists that make sense: these should also clear out daily or roll over to the next day. There should be enough information with each item to make it clear, and the list for today should only contain today's tasks. Mr. Hurst sells an online to-do service, www.gootodo.com, that embodies his principles; 30-day trials are free.


I'd dissent from the author's dissing of Microsoft Word. Mr. Hurst rightly suggests brief items such as a meeting agenda, should be in the body of an e-mail and not a much-larger Word document attached to a message. But Word, and similar programs, offer much capability to many users, and I wouldn't go with a wholesale trashing. I'm also not sold on his advocacy of the Dvorak keyboard layout over the industry-standard QWERTY, but I'm willing to experiment.


Overall, "Bit Literacy" is a bracing, hopeful read to those seeking to cope with too much digital stuff. It's worth reading, especially in Washington, where e-mails seemingly explode exponentially.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.

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