Computer techs have a term for people like me, people who have no business trying to do something on a computer when they don’t know what they’re doing and cannot see to do it.
The term is “PEBCAK” – problem exists between chair and keyboard.
I have a corollary: if you are trying to do something that makes you feel really good about yourself, the chance that Murphy’s Law will apply increases exponentially.
Chris and I woke early. I had coffee and fed him peaches and cream oatmeal. I then composed a letter to my U.S. representative, J. Gresham Barrett, which I thought I would fax with an “urgent” cover sheet.
When I had WindowsME, I sent a number of faxes successfully. WindowsXP is a different matter.
The urgency: my representative – a Republican – will vote today on a very important bill – “The American Clean Energy and Security Act” – which, if passed, will send a very strong message to the world that the United States is serious about the climate change issue. Its passage will carry a lot of weight as nations gather in Copenhagen in December to consider a climate change treaty.
I don’t anticipate Congressman Barrett taking my advice, but at least he will have, as he has often thanked me for, “the wisdom of my counsel.” Or, is that “the counsel of my wisdom”? I can never remember.
The new Fax Wizard on WindowsXP seemed simple enough. I entered the congressman’s Washington, D.C., fax number – 202-225-3216 – taken directly from his Web site and off the message went.
That’s when things got hairy. From my speaker came the voice of a sleepy-sounding woman, “Hello, hello, HELLO!”
Wrong number! But the number on the fax is the number on Barrett’s Web site. I have learned to triple-check such things.
Let me say at this point that Microsoft’s Fax Wizard is unrelenting. After three tries, with a very angry woman saying “hello” and hanging up, the Wizard began to report a busy signal.
Apparently the woman had taken her phone off the hook or had captured my number on her caller ID and was reporting me to the telephone company.
Here’s the rub. I had no idea how to cancel the fax. Chris stood behind me ready to spell out anything in blue font (not visible to me on my black background). “I’ve got your back!” he reassured me.
Nowhere could I find the magic “Cancel” button. Not in the Fax Wizard, not in the fax outbox, not in Control Panel. Microsoft’s ingenuous wizard had been set in motion. With robocall zeal, 22 attempts to send the fax were logged before my brain kicked in. I’m on a dial-up connection, and it dawned on me to go online, and the wizard would be unable to use my phone line!
Should you be caught in a similar situation, remember the most difficult problems often have the simplest solutions. Here’s what you do: in your fax outbox, right click on the recipient’s name, then click “delete.” That only took this wizard 45 minutes to figure out.
When the congressman’s Anderson office opens, I will call and demand an email address for him.
No more AT&T calls at 39 cents a minute!
Assuming the fax number doesn’t go directly into the good congressman’s Washington residence and the sleepy broad who answered wasn’t …
Wait a minute. I’ve been watching too much South Carolina news.