Come and listen to my story ’bout a BossLady,
Poor woman almost had a Master’s Degree,
Then one day she would place a classified,
And I was dead broke so I happily applied.
For the job, that is. Real estate. Property values.
Well, the first thing you know a hurricane blew through
BossLady said, “Let’s work from home! You too!”
Said, “You’ll be comfy in our dirty living room!”
So I gritted up my teeth and settled in with gloom.
For the job, that is. Too close for comfort.
A while back, I posted a story entitled Ignorance, Bliss in which BossLady tried to convince me that my “complicated” filenames made it difficult for clueless AOL users to retrieve files when we email them. She persisted with this theory in the tale entitled When The Assistant’s Away…, maintaining her erroneous belief that this is an ongoing and severe problem.
Meanwhile, all this time I have been blithely nodding and “Mmmmmm”ing along to these comments and continuing with my own filenaming system and my own method of dealing with AOL users: Including an HTML anchored link in the body of the email. As I mentioned in Ignorance, Bliss, I resolved not to bother mentioning this to BossLady as I’m far too busy during the day to explain basic HTML to her.
So nowadays, when we email .pdf files to people, there are really only three occasions when the recipient can’t access the documents:
- The person does not have Adobe Acrobat/Reader installed on their computer (and is too stupid to be walked through the process of installing it);
- I was out of the office, so BossLady attempted to send the email herself and screwed it up by sending an attachment, which a lot of these people can’t or won’t open; or
- I was out of the office, so BossLady attempted to send the email herself but didn’t include an anchored link because she doesn’t know how to do that, and the customer was too stupid to understand “copy and paste the link into your address bar.”
Unfortunately, this past week, the subject (“Lots and lots and lots of people can’t access the files we send and it’s because of the filenames”) came up yet again. See, we had a long holiday weekend, and I realize how much of a jerk I sound like here, but when I’m not there, things just don’t get done right. Electronic files don’t get saved; manila folders get filed in places they don’t belong, or worse, stashed in a pile on BossMan’s desk and buried under junk mail and newspapers; BossMan (only marginally tech-savvy himself) eschews the streamlined process of emailing documents altogether because I’m not there to handle it for him, so he sends faxes instead, which builds up mounds of unnecessary paper volume and makes all the documents impossible to read because they’ve been faxed back and forth repeatedly; and BossLady spends literally HOURS rearranging my carefully formulated systems FOR NO REASON other than the fact that she is an admitted control freak who can’t let go of things.
Another thing that happens when I’m not there is BossLady attempting to email people herself. And this past week she regaled me with yet another tale in which a poor clueless AOL user was unable to retrieve the document she tried to send, and couldn’t open the attachment either when she tried it that way, and the natural solution to this “ongoing problem” was obviously for me to just start using her filenaming system already. Because things like capital letters and underscores are confusing and blah blah blah blah SHUT UP, I screamed in my head.
I finally decided to bite the bullet and explain anchors to her at that point, knowing that it would waste a large chunk of time, but hoping that in the end she would just give it up already and stop harping on the filenames issue.
And I was right — it took me at least forty-five minutes to get through the whole spiel, because she constantly interrupts and starts down another path because she thinks she knows what you’re about to say, and then interrupts to interject comments of the “Oh, well, yeah, I knew that, I’m just a little out of practice” variety.
Come on now. Basic HTML. <B> is for bold, <P> starts a new paragraph, and <A HREF=> makes an anchor, or link. They teach you this right after “Hello, world!” for heaven’s sake.
So here’s BossLady: “You really need to stop putting underscores in the filenames and stop using capital letters because people can’t see the underscore and they try to type it in the address bar by hand and –”
Me: “Well actually, I’ve started adding an HTML anchored link to the files in the emails I’ve been sending out, because AOL parses the HTML in the body –”
BossLady, who “almost has a Master’s Degree in computer science,” who has dozens of domains registered, who allegedly worked as a tech contractor and a DBA for a famous hardware company: “Anchored…?”
Me, a person who has had almost no formal post-secondary education: “…You know, ‘A HREF,’ an HTML anchor?”
BossLady’s Brain: You’re trying to confuse me with technobabble to make me go away. I’ll call you on it.
BossLady: “What is an anchor?”
BossLady’s Brain: Ha HA! Check MATE, Audacious Assistant!
I really do feel, sometimes, like BossLady thinks she and I are engaged in a battle of wills in a technological Thunderdome, and the battle will be to the death (“Two techies enter. One techie leaves”).
After I showed her a printout of what an AOL user sees when I email them a link, she became enthralled with the concept and wrote down the syntax so she wouldn’t forget to use it herself in the future.
Again, this is basic HTML. <P>Hello, world! <FONT COLOR=”red”>This text is red!</FONT> <A HREF=”http://cnn.com”>This is a link</A> to my favorite site!
And the BossLady Priceless Comment of the Day, after I demonstrated that this method actually works for emailing AOL users: “Wow, you really did a lot of research on this!”