Monday, August 10, 2009

Problem Solving

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I've been problem solving today. The problems being the blocks to the various kinds of copying necessary to a variety of my WIP and other projects:

1. Copying from books and notes and drafts onto computer via keyboard.
2. Copying from books and notes and drafts onto computer via new HP printer/scanner.
3. Printing hard copy of files with new HP printer/scanner.

I was going to take pictures to illustrate this post but didn't so I resorted to the LOL above which is sorta on theme and features a cat that could be my Merlin's brother. (I did not caption this one, just to be clear.)

I thought I had solved all three of these before but my solutions have not led to productivity. The solution to 2 would also be the solution to 3 and that is, for starters, to be more diligent about keeping clutter off the surface of the printer and from blocking the paper port in the front. That clutter tends to be sewing projects and clean laundry not put away in a timely fashion. But the more serious problem is the difficulty I have getting to the printer when necessary.

OK I rifled through my camera dump files and found some shots I took in the weeks right after I got back from my six months stay at my Mom's. I was documenting the unpacking and organizing of my workspace.

This one gives an idea of the location and the space limitations. My seat is the edge of the bed. That's the closet behind my desk. That area to the left between my desk and the green bookshelves is way different now with a stack of two milk crate shelves and a small plastic three-drawer chest for pencils and paperclips and such having replaced that jerry-rigged stack of cardboard boxes.

My desk is a foldable TV tray its surface area barely accommodates both laptop and mousepad. Its legs are L shaped and slide under the bed when I pull the desk over my lap. When I am sitting at it they don't need to go under but a couple inches. But in order to get to the closet I need to slide the legs all the way under until the back verticle sections are flush with the edge of the boxsprings. And that only works if I've put my shoes away properly. Which is hard to do with the desk there. This makes putting clean laundry away more difficult--hense the temptation of the top surface of the printer--as well as making access to the printer a challenge.

This is the closet behind my desk showing the top two drawers of the three-drawer plastic chest containing some of my sewing and craft materials. The printer sets on top of that.

That middle drawer containing my crochet thread is almost always open like that and has been serving as a shelf to set which ever sewing project is current that day. Lately it has been the 20 inch tall dolphin counted-cross stitch. Which blocks the paper port.

The picture was taken as I sat at my desk. So you can see that the printer is more than arm's length away unless I stand and push the desk forward the available four inches or so. Then I can place and remove paper from the port. But I can't reach the on/off switch. Nor can I use the scanner.

This shot shows how much space there is when the desk is pushed against the closed drawers of the crafts chest. It is possible to stand there and reach over the open laptop to deal with the paper port or turn the printer on or off. But if I need to see what I'm doing that isn't sufficient.

That is the amount of space I have for getting in and out from behind my desk or getting in and out of bed. It is just a bit bigger than my thighs. (I'm not saying. But that's a size 8 women's shoe box in the lower left corner.)

Ummm. There's not usually garbage on the floor under my desk. Thank Merlin for that yoghurt container. He drug it there from the place by his food dish where I gave it to him to lick after I finished with it, or possibly retrieved it from the waste basket.

As for problem number 1. Copying via keyboard from various hard copy materials. That entails two issues: a way of propping or placing the book or paper at the right angle and distance from my defective eyes; and the necessary light at the neessary angle. I thought I had this problem solved several times but all of the solutions worked best if at all only when Ed wasn't in the room and since my most productive work hours are when he is sleeping... Well its no wonder I have been doing more sewing, DVD and podcast watching and reading, than writing, research or book reviews. I needed a solution that wouldn't involve use of his space on the bed or having light in his eyes when he faced my way.

In the last couple of days I jerry-rigged a couple of things that seem to be working for copying from books. It involves use of that book easel that I bought on my trip to Powell's Books last April and moving my lamp which meant rearranging a few things. I didn't get pictures before Ed had to turn in. I'll try to get them tomorrow.

Right now, I'm off to give it a second test drive.

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