Friday, May 1, 1998

Voice dictation saves the day


By David Gewirtz

Its amazing how your perspective can change in just a few, short hours. The date was Thursday April 9th. Managing Editor Denise Amrich and I were going to a local restaurant for lunch. To actually reach the restaurant area proper, you have to travel through a darkened bar. It was nothing sinister, just a small bar and a bunch of regulars in the middle of the day.

Unfortunately, the floor was uneven (and not marked as such). I lost my balance, fell, and in the process broke the main bone in my upper left arm. It wasn't the pain that caused these perspective changes. It wasn't the four hours in the emergency room, it wasn't the concerned expressions of caring friends, it was the temporary loss of things I had taken so for granted that I practically never noticed them.

Now, you need to understand that an ungainly cast worn for eight weeks may suck, but that's about as bad as it gets -- medically, at least. Okay, so it hurts. And we had to kit-bash some clothes together to make them fit over the cast.

In some ways the changes of perspective I mentioned are about freedom. In other ways, they're about simple awareness. You need to understand what I do for living to completely "get it".

Loyal readers of PalmPower know that I'm the Editor-in-Chief of this publication. But, in point of fact, that doesn't really describe what I do. You see, I'm the founder of a small company. Component Enterprises, the company that publishes PalmPower, is my baby. There are only four of us here and that means we all get to do many jobs. This may come as a surprise to some of our readers who seem to think we're a huge organization somehow part of the company that builds PalmPilots. We're not. It's just four of us, a bunch of computers, and an amazingly cute and highly anti-social cat named Samantha. So while I'm the Editor-in-Chief of PalmPower, I'm also the company's only programmer.

And programming is still a big part of what makes PalmPower tick. Our Journal Production System was a major programming project. Development, frankly, is still underway. This program is also makes PalmPower happen. Without the use of both hands for the next six to eight weeks, programming and improving the Journal Production System becomes pretty tough.

Perspective change: I'm always bitching about the programming I have to do. I never really appreciated the fact that I was able to do it. Thankfully, in six or eight weeks, I'll probably be bitching again.

Perspective change: Until the doctor says so, I can't drive. Because I might get my cast wet, I can't take normal showers. And on and on and on. There are a lot of little things, nothing critical, and nothing truly life-threatening, but all amazingly inconvenient. I broke my arm and I've had to rearrange my life.