Wednesday, July 11, 2018

69,000 and Counting

Computers are awesome. Not so much to younger generations; kids nowadays use devices almost from infancy, and as part of their environment do not consider electronic gadgets extraordinary. Older folks were introduced to computers when returning to school as adults, or at work, or eventually at home.

And so it is with Mom, 93-years-young and a laptop user. When troubled by a computer issue she calls my sister the computer geek, or hub, almost a computer geek, or when desperate me. Or more wisely her go-to computer nerd who makes house calls. He, however, charges $.
Mom’s latest computer issue involves emails.

Hub and I visited Mom a couple of weeks ago. Mom mentioned emails were slow to load on her computer. A quick review of her AOL account discovered the problem.

Mom rarely deletes emails. She assumes that someday she will have the time to carefully review messages she does not have time to read when initially viewed. Mom receives lots of emails. Over the years she got on multitudes of lists, and as a result receives all sorts of solicitations and ads daily. And there are ‘real’ emails from friends and family, volunteer organizations, temple...

Mom had over SIXTY NINE THOUSAND - 69,000 - emails in her inbox.  

That must be some kind of record.

I had no idea how far back the emails dated because all of them would not download at once. Emails needed to be deleted before older ones appeared onscreen.

So we started deleting. However Mom wanted to review almost every email before removing. No mass deletions allowed. One by one we deleted...After working for hours exhaustion forced a halt to the process. The project was going to take days. Maybe weeks. At what point would Mom allow anyone to delete all old emails? Perhaps never. I surrendered and went to bed, bleary-eyed from staring at the screen. 

The following week my sister continued the ordeal and began making progress. Emails surfaced from April 2017. How far back would emails go?

Checking and then deleting emails in a separate saved folder (Mom had no idea how they landed in a different folder) the answer emerged: 2009. Store ads and coupons dating back years would no longer be useable. Stores went out of business. Coupons long past expiration dates would not be accepted. But I am sure political organizations would appreciate her donation. Retrieving messages from now-departed individuals was unexpected and sad. 

The task continues. I doubt Mom’s inbox will ever read less than 1,000. Maybe she can slash the quantity to under 10,000. But I don’t believe she is spending much time on the project.

Meanwhile her computer nerd stopped by – on a Sunday! – and improved the efficiency of her machine. 

I have a feeling her inbox is once again growing exponentially. 

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