networksThough I have long been working by myself in a home office, I have not been working in isolation.
Here are some of the most continuous megalithic influences in my life as a self-employed indexer, aside from clients.
MacrexSince the days I had to give up alphabetizing with my multi-colored index cards inside a variety of boxes that I collected, I began my computer use with Macrex indexing software on an AT&T desktop with a blinky yellow green text on black screen, no graphics capacity, and 35 MB of disk space.
Though at first I resisted giving up the serenity of my desk to the humming and beeping of a computer, I no longer sigh nostalgically for the days before I had to use a computer.
Thirty years later, I am still using Macrex, full of color, along with many GB of disk space in my computers, far beyond what Macrex needs, but now I use computers for far more than just Macrex.
Macrex alphabetizes, formats, stores a variety of formats for different presses, and prints to word processors or printers, to mention only the simplest of its services. And that's not counting the biggest service of all: the legendary Gale Rhoades as U.S. technical support person for Macrex and for computer tweaking in general.
Gale also runs lively and informative workshops and weekly online "office hours" through chat media, as well as being available by phone at short notice. She frequently reminds Macrex users of the 5 Minute Rule: "If you can't solve the problem in 5 minutes, get help." And that means, call Gale.
email discussion groupsI have learned so much from the many indexers who subscribe to a growing collection of indexers' email discussion groups, starting with Index-L, which gushes so voluminously, I was inspired to establish separate addresses for group email discussions, which eventually included groups such as the Indexer's Discussion Group (IDG), scholarly indexing groups, Macrex lists, and the FREELANCE listserv.
When I first subscribed to these, I felt I had to read everything, but by now I've learned to use the delete button and select just the topics that grab my attention.
I can't begin to describe the unbelievable amount of information I've absorbed from these online groups, not just about indexing but also about subjects such as other computer programs indexers use, computer and other communications hardware, ergonomic office furniture, Internet services, taxes, and how to clean pet hair out of every conceivable place.