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Barry Schrader


I have been writing a column for the Chronicle most of the time since December 2007, with two breaks, one in 2016 and the other in 2017 when my wife Kay suffered a stroke. They are all archived here.


If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates to catch up.

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World peace, old emails and flossing

By Barry Schrader Senior Columnist....................................Jan 17, 2020

After a lifetime of making bucket lists, new years’ resolutions and trying to floss, I have finally relegated them the trash heap. I didn’t tell anyone as I was ashamed to be giving up on achieving world peace, deleting some 1,400 (round number) old emails, plus identifying and organizing 15,368 photos (stored on my desktop computer) and learning to use dental floss.

But I am still trying to keep a promise to my family to clean out the basement and prepare for the inevitable (the only sure things in life are death and taxes).

Suffering from a bad cold for 10 days now, I had plenty of down time to examine my computer files, emails and photos. I am still pondering what to do with all the excess and how far back to delete my

After emptying his medicine cabinet searching for a cure to the common cold, the columnist had little time to spare getting something written for this week. (Schrader photo for ShawMedia)
messages, photos, and file folders online. Of course I could send them up to iCloud (whatever that does) and clean up my bulging computer memory.

Maybe when I am feeling better I can make some decisions. I really should, because I can’t imagine my family going to my computer(s) after my demise and saying “Lets go through all his files, photos and emails to see which ones should be saved for posterity.” Then there is the matter of passwords and how to access accounts that may be automatically withdrawing money from my checking account each month for subscriptions, dues, ongoing services, insurance, medications, and who knows what else.

I have learned to click on UNSUBSCRIBE/SPAM for a lot of unwanted messages from places I purchased something as well as newsletters I never have time to open. My Facebook account has been hacked so many times I have run out of space in my password book under the letter “F” to add a new one. Spam is a part of daily life now as I go through the ritual each morning of sorting through fake email messages that want you to open them and share your most private information like bank account numbers and your mother’s maiden name.

I wish there was a law or way to get even with these scammers and charlatans so they would end up in jail or have their computers confiscated. Isn’t there a software program I could install to identify the source of this spam and disable their computers? Send me the contact information if you know of one.

When I complained about my predicament(s) to an old friend, she said she has a solution: Only use the computer for internal work like writing a letter or column and then go online for a few minutes to send something of importance (like my column to the Daily Chronicle). Better yet, a friend Sally has the perfect solution: Don’t even own a computer. Use the phone and US mail to communicate with others. Now that would be the ultimate in snubbing the digital world!

I almost forgot to mention flossing. I gave up that resolution years ago. Instead, I am waiting for a retired dental hygienist who will make house calls.

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Barry Schrader
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115