Spot the problem and save a life.

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If you work in manufacturing, you will know that one of the most time saving and money saving things you can do is to look for problems.   First, build a quality system. Second, look for bottlenecks and mistakes.   For example, a faulty use-by date stamp may ruin a complete batch of otherwise perfectly good product.   A disgruntled employee may become a saboteur.  Looking at the glass half empty can save a lot of headaches. It has for me.

It was a fine but cloudy day during the late afternoon, back in October 2004. Ferntree Gully Road was smooth. On one side of the 6 lanes, a footpath fed the neat houses. On the other side, a gravel shoulder fronted an industrial area.
Thousands of cars busily travelled in both directions on this Sunday afternoon. In one of those cars, the radio blared. My daughter and I sang along.   Suddenly, the singing stopped. “That’s not right”, I yelled.   My daughter, like the thousands of other motorists, had not seen the obvious problem. I explained….

“Old people don’t push walking frames along the gravel in front of an industrial area. She is on the wrong side of the road!”

We stopped the car.  An exhausted elderly woman was pleased to see us.   We gave her a drink. She was heading home. However, for her, home was one hours DRIVE away!   “Can’t be possible”, I thought. A second problem now presented itself. She can’t be here, and live so far away.

We drove to the Knox police station. The police investigated the elderly lady’s background. My daughter and I kept the elderly lady company.

After nearly 8 hours, close to midnight, it was discovered that this elderly lady was missing from a local elderly person’s home. They hadn’t realised, until then, that she was missing!


For the elderly lady, her mind had stopped 5 years earlier. She had altzheimer’s. In her mind, she still lived an hour’s drive away. Her husband was still alive.

That day, I noticed a problem that thousands had missed.   Who’s glass was full and who’s was half empty?


Rodney Lovell

The Glass Is Half Something….

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Recently I had an interessting discussion with a gentleman who queried my observation that sometimes the glass IS half empty.  He lives his life, so he says, as a ‘glass half full person’.    So, let me quickly explain why that could be a problem…

Nature is cyclical, and sometimes half empty.

The trees are emptying and the mountains are full of color

The word, “negative”, has been given bad press.   As leaves fall from a tree each autumn, that is the ‘negative’ part of the life-cycle. Yet absolutely integral to the process of regrowth.   As the leaves progressively fall from the tree, they are emptying, not filling.   Yet, for anyone who has seen the miraculous fall festival across the New England region in the United States, the vista is ‘filled’ with color.   The trees are emptying, yet the mountains are full of colour.   It’s all in the context…
In ourselves, some people want to keep all their friends, belongings, values, attitudes and beliefs without ever shedding any that are outdated. This inhibits new growth.   It’s been said that nature abhors a vacuum. Continully, taking, gathering and hoarding is linear, not cyclical. Nature is cyclical. Even our lives, while choronilogically linear, are filled with cycles of growth, learning and development.   It’s all in the context…

What is the best way to learn?   Perfectionists may look for the one part of their work that is wrong, but focusing on the imperfection would make them imperfectionists, wouldn’t it?  Is that a positive or a negative?   Well, that depends on why they’re looking for the negative aspect of their work.   Often, the best way to learn is to make mistakes!   For many, surely, a mistake is a negative.   If so, embracing the negative reveals the pearl of wisdom that awaits, that is, the lesson from the mistake.  Becoming frustrated with a mistake is to ignore the pearl.

Having a perfect upbringing may sound wonderful, but what happens when you grow up and encounter a toxic boss, or a friendship turns sour, or you encounter severe conflict. MANY people fall apart, because they have minimal experience with conflict, therefore have low resilience skills and expectations of life that are shattered.   I’m certainly not promoting conflict, just demonstrating that everything has two sides.   One side is a postive and the other a negative.   And nature has decreed that lessons can be learned from both.

If you are simply a ‘glass half full’ person all the time, you are missing half of life’s opportunities.

Those in the world who are whingers, complainers, passive-aggressive or put themselves down are not ‘glass half empty’ people, they’re just people who whinge, complain, act passively aggressive, or put themselves down.   The world is full of them. Our job is to learn to live amongst them! The downside of being self-aware is to see all those that are not self-aware.

I was speaking with a young lady. She had been told by her mother that she was “too emotional”. There are many in the world who attempt to suppress their emotion.   Yet that young lady uses the full range of emotions as a strength. For her work in Advertising, she is able to empathise with her client, feel their needs, put herself in the shoes of the consumer to check that the advertising message will be well received.   Embracing her negative –  “Too emotional” – she found a pearl.   Even better, she took her discovery and promoted it. Addressing an audience of disillusioned youth and said, “What is it that people keep putting you down for? Is their something that is a hidden strength in it?   Examine this so-called negative and you may well find a pearl”.    Even with somestreet kids, their resilience and skills at what they do are exceptional. They are climbing the ladder to success in their chosen field. The benefit to them appears not when they realise they are climbing a ladder, but when they realise they have it leaning on the wrong wall.   Transplant those skills into, say, outdoor education, relationship management, or marine biology, and you may just find an exceptionally talented worker.   It’s all in the context…

The young lady I mentioned likes to go to the movies.   She explains, “When I see a sad movie I like to be sad. When I see a horror movie I like to be scared. When I see a motivating movie, I like to feel motivated.   It’s all in the context.”   Having a full range of emotions, and using them, is a rare talent.   Likewise, it can be hard to find people who realise that sometimes the glass is half full and othertimes it’s half empty. It’s all in the context…

The gentleman I spoke with said he was a ‘glass half full’ sort of guy. Yet he had depression. If you truly want to Discover Peace of Mind, some outdated beliefs have to change.   What will they be for you……?

Rodney Lovell


Another month begins – What do you do?

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Happy new month! How’s all those resolutions going?   I once kept my new year’s resolution for 23 years. It was – “Don’t make resolutions”.   I was very proud of keeping that resolution, until I realised that not making resolutions meant the progress in my goals was minimal. Hmmm.

So here I am at the beginning of another new month, and I’m updating my resolutions. Some, I’ve found, have a use-by date, or don’t form part of my bigger goals. It’s good to have a clean out, and to confirm that other goals remain.  There is a lot of groaning, planning and thinking.  I’ve used a variety of methods to keep track of my goals and their progress.

Life is to be managed, not mastered.  How do you manage your goals each month?

I Was Inspired By Their Work Ethic

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Over Christmas I was fortunate enough to stay at the Quamby Estate near Launceston in Tasmania.  The Quamby Estate also houses the base of the Cradle Huts group, who arrange treks through the Cradle Mountain region. Part of the attraction is that the trek group stays in private huts with hot showers, private rooms, and prepared meals.   Cushy trekking!

The guides we had were brothers Linton Tuleja and Harley Tuleja.   Linton and Harley carried the biggest packs, supervised the group, shared information on flora and fauna, history and waterholes, encouraged the walkers, provided first aid, provided snacks, cooked the evening meal, baked bread, laid out breakfast, did the dishes, swept the floor, scrubbed the showers, cleaned the toilets, never once complained. Their work ethic was amazing and inspirational.

Over the years, I’ve worked for, with or managed hundreds of workers, many of them quite good.   Yet only a few really stand out in my memory as super-consistent in their demeanor AND their contribution, and how easy I found them to deal with during my time with them – Helen Pilati, Michael Butlin, Linda Tyler, Grant Palmer, Ian Johnstone, Robert Best, Javed.    Linton and Harley  just about topped everything I’ve seen.

When I get tired and want to put things off, I glance at a new note that I’ve made that simply says, “Work Ethic”.   Linton and Harley  – thank you.


Rodney Lovell

The Glass Is Half Empty, and that’s ok

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This week I decided to change the name of my blog.   I love the old name – “Thoughts are Things” – borrowed from Napoleon Hill’s classic text,Think and Grow Rich.   The idea that thoughts ARE things is something that is so profound. Sometimes a profound truth is found in a simple sentence.   Napoleon Hill espoused a postive mental attitude (PMA), which he meant to overcome fears and unhelpful thoughts and look for the helpful, positive side to situations. Great advice.

It seems to me, however, that the word “Negative” has been somewhat misconstrued over the years. For those that have attended my workshops you will know that I love to embrace the negative, for within its crusty shell lies a pearl waiting to be discovered.

Embrace the negative for within its crusty shell lies a pearl waiting to be discovered

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said way back in 1841 in his essay titled Compensation, nature has polarity in everything. You can’t have one end without the other.   Nature has seasons, cycles, north/south. Remember, a battery requires both positive and negative to harness energy.   Having both positive and negative, as appropriate, is part of a positive mental attitude.

Recently, I had a visitor to my house. In our yard is a large pot that my wife has made into a fish pond.   Sometimes the pond’s little fountain directs a trickle of water over the edge, slowly and discreetly draining the pond. Our visitior saw the pond and said, “What a lovely idea, half filling a pot and making it into a fish pond”. I looked at it and said, “The pond is half empty”.   It’s all a matter of perspective, and, if I didn’t stop the water draining, the pond would have been totally empty!   I often see problems, things that are wrong, out of place. Does that mean I’m negative? “Hey Rod, you always seem to spot what’s wrong. Why can’t you see what’s right?” I do see what’s right, it’s the part that’s not wrong!   And usually, what’s right doesn’t need fixing!

Fortunately, I was able to see what was wrong with being ‘treated’ for depression.   Depression is not an illness, it’s a symptom. Once I saw what was wrong, I was able to work on fixing it. And here I am now helping others. What a positive.

Over the years I’ve grown sick and tired of hearing people say, “Are you a glass half full person or a glass half empty person” in a lame attempt to coerce others to their way of thinking.   Usually, these people don’t even come close to meeting their own lofty standards.   Happy to demand others live a particular way whilst not having their own life in order. When I encounter them, my bullshit meter goes off the scale!   Trying to “be positive” all the time defies nature’s polarity!

The phrase, “The Glass is Half Empty” has been stolen and misrepresented. I’m stealing it back. There is nothing wrong with identifying when the glass is half empty.   And I’ve found that there is much to be learnt in embracing the negative.  Of course, sometimes the glass is half full.   You just have to know which is which.

What in your life has been stolen that you’d like back? A great holiday spot, stolen by a bad experience?   A nice tasting meal, that was once made by an ex-spouse?   A song? Whatever it is, steal it back and Discover Peace of Mind.

Now, I’ve got to work out how & when to change the heading of my blog. My diary is half full, or is it half empty?

Rodney Lovell



What would you do?

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Recently, I had an conversation with a client whose ex-wife has moved in with a ‘working man’ who enjoys watching and simulating sexual violence.The problem for my client is that both his daughters are living in the same house and he doesn’t want this man’s influence, innuendo or state of mind to affect his daughters.

It’s an interesting point because women who become victim to abuse, either verbal or physical ALWAYS later say, “How did I get into that situation?”   The easiest answer is “INCREMENTALLY”.

These men don’t have a plan because they operate at a sub-conscious, immediate gratification level.   In practical terms, they simply test your limits. A comment here, an inappropriate touch there, and it is the woman who suddenly finds herself in the awkward position of trying to say NO. Each time you don’t say NO, allows them to try something a little riskier next time.   Suddenly, you’re fighting them off in the broom closet and saying, “How did I get into this situation?”

Often, the man will pose the comment or act as a joke. If you say NO, their response is, “Can’t you take a joke”, which belittles you and keeps them safe.

Therefore, my clients concerns about his daughters are valid. Although the ‘working man’ may not physically touch them, he is incrementally belittling them and adding innuendo to conversations, so smut becomes the norm. If they speak up, they are shouted down, and incrementally they become politely submissive. This can have a dramatic effect on other relationships the daughters may have in their future.

Unfortunately for my client, his ex-wife has not yet reached the stage of “How did I get into this situation?”, and so she indirectly & unknowingly supports the negative influence on her children. Nor does she realise the slow drain on her own self-respect. Inevitably, her family and other outsiders will see what is developing but they will not say anything. It’s been proven that in awkward situations, rather than tell the truth,  people often tell you what they think you want to hear! So, you can’t rely on family and friends to save your bacon when it’s clear to everyone but you that you’re making the wrong decisions!

Without ‘insider’ support my client is practically powerless to alter the situation his ex-wife has imposed on their daughters. What would you do?

Is this a good influence?

Live outside the Matrix

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Have you seen the movie, The Matrix?  If you haven’t,  I urge you to do so. I’m not a big sci-fi fan, but I loved this movie.  

Billions of people roaming through life as best they know it. For Mr Anderson, aka Neo, life is missing something. Without  fulfilment, acceptance, control and energy,  Neo delves into his one passion,  which links him to new acquaintances.   For so much of the story, Neo is looking for answers.

During his journey Neo begins to recognise his inherent talent. He has hope, which quickly fades as his questions are unanswered. His belief begins to waver.  At the point where Neo is most in need of his amazing talent, he is ambushed and is suddenly shot. This analogy is so similar to the spirit of people who suffer from depression. Glimpses of hope. Recognition of talent and passion. Looking for answers. Often their spirit is ambushed….and in its weakened state spirit is easy to kill off.   A man with no spirit is quickly fading, not vitally thriving. All that survives is a faint glimmer of hope.

At his moment of ultimate darkness, Neo returns to life. The most infinitesimal illumination is brightest in a dark room. Having hit rock bottom, he can drop no further. His resurrection is wonderfully sudden. As quickly as he was shot down, he is able to rise….but with the benefit of his journey, he now sees the answer.  He could not have arrived at this point without his failures to learn from.  Nature is an amazing thing. Mistakes and challenges lead to advancement, fulfillment, control, acceptance and safety. Experience leads to growth….sudden growth.

A question can be answered in a few seconds. If that answer resonates with you, your change can be that sudden…a few seconds.    Just look how quickly your mood can change when somebody dangerously cuts you off on the freeway, or, when you get promoted.   It’s the same to escape  depression.    The moment of change can be sudden.    Your career may take some years, but the promotion is simply a moment in time. Your drive may be just a few kilometres, but being cut off takes just a moment.    Your life has taken many years to reach its current point and along the way, there has been many ‘moments’.  You will be reading this for a reason, so you will be looking for your moment, your answer.

For me, I escaped depression in under one hour. Firstly, one simple phrase was the answer I was looking for. Secondly, a trip to the library to research my new understanding was enough to lift weights from my shoulders that I’d been carrying for years. I saw the world in a whole new way, recognising systems, signs, and symptoms.

But knowing the answer is not enough for lasting fulfillment. Neo, and I, had to apply these new insights. Knowing the answer can help you escape from depression.  It is the application of knowledge that is the ultimate transformation.    

 I see people time and time again who say to me, ‘Yes, I know that’. They know it intellectually, but they certainly do not apply what they know.   The word “but” is used a lot. ‘ I know it, but…’   The answer must be lived, not filed.   You can be a beacon of inspiration by doing no more than your daily routine, and yes, it must be a different routine than what you have now.

Neo coupled his new knowledge with application and conquered The Matrix.   His results were astonishing….like yours will be.  

If you think you’re stuck with depression, think again. Discover Peace of Mind.

Happy new year,

Rodney Lovell

White Ribbon Day – November 25th 2010

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Simply put, White Ribbon Day, focuses on eliminating violence against women and girls by men or boys.   It’s a pretty simple concept that I agree with. I became a White Ribbon Ambassador, and, made a committment at    Check out the website and make a committment too.

But it’s not just committing to not being violent against women, it is that you will SPEAK UP if necessary.

I’ve shared my values with a few of my mates. Basically, I don’t want them to put me in a position of having to ‘protect’ them. Some guys think they can do anything and then I, and others, shouldn’t say anything – but then the onus has been transferred to me!   I say the them, “Don’t you put me in this position”. It isn’t dobbing. If they can’t toe the line, I’m not their bail ticket.     

An old  mate who I’d known for over 25 years, Alan, had been verbally abusive to his wife of just 8 months or so, and her daughter, during my visits.    At the time, I was too stupid to say anything.   In hindsight I should’ve simply said, “Alan, ease up, that’s not right”. It wasn’t my problem to solve,  but it was my responsibility to speak up if she was being abused.  And it’s not just relating to violence against women.

I once had a friend at work who would nick off early. But as his manager I had to haul him over the coals for it. He said to me, “I thought you were my friend”. My reply was simple. “I thought you were my friend, and if you were, you wouldn’t have put me in this situation.”

If a guy wants to play up on his wife – someone I know, don’t expect me to ‘keep it quiet’ from her. If I’m going to be looking her in the eye, mate,  don’t put me in the awkward position.   And it happened to me too. The abusive Alan mentiioned above, began an affair with my wife.   Later when I found out, he was puzzled why I wouldn’t ‘get over it’. He tried to make it my fault that our friendship fractured.   “If you were my friend, Alan, you wouldn’t have put my in this situation.”

The funny thing is, I heard Alan tell my wife he loved her, on the night he proposed to his wife! I simply dismissed it as ‘beer talk’, but I should have said something there and then. I didn’t want to spoil their night in front of 100 people. I was his best friend at that night. Yet, he shouldn’t have put me in that position. If the night turned sour, it was his fault not mine.

Over many years, I’ve not spoken up about lot’s of things, things that I should have.   “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Martin Luther King

There are all sorts of reasons why we should speak up. White Ribbon Day is just one.

Rodney Lovell

Frustration – Or How to Permanently Relabel USB Drives!

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All sorts of things get us frustrated. Often it is because we want to do something and don’t know how to do it.

Take learning for example. There are degrees of confusion, frustration, and clarity as you step along the path to learning whatever you set out to learn.

Computers are one of the great sources of modern frustration. I’m in the middle of reloading a computer for the fourth time in eight months. It’s not just loading program that’s frustrating; it’s the sequencing of loading programs.    When my computer was returned from repair this time, all my programs had been wiped and I needed to reload them all…again….arrrgghhh!   The Vista Home Premium operating system remained. (By the way, I like Vista.)

I decided to update to Windows 7 to keep up to date with technology….well at least a little bit.   However, I couldn’t update until I’d loaded the Home Premium Service Packs, both 1 & 2.   I couldn’t check my email until I’d reset my network and wireless connection to get on line. I couldn’t open my files until I’d reloaded my Microsoft Office.   The sequencing is so important but it can be so frustrating. This time though, I’ve written myself a help sheet, so if I need to reload another computer I will have the quickest and easiest sequencing steps at hand.   

I have a lot of information on portable hard drives yet one thing that has frustrated me has been that whenever I plug in the portable hard drives, my computer always allocates different drive letters.   It simply depends on what I plug in and in what sequence I plug in. What was the letter “J” last time, may be the letter “G” this time. It mucks up all sorts of connections and links. I simply want to permanently relabel USB drives.

I sought help from people who were supposed to be cutting edge computer gurus. Yet, all I found was temporary solutions, incorrect information and partial information. It reminded me of looking for help to overcome depression….temporary solutions, incorrect and incomplete information.   Sometimes the information was out of sequence.   “How can I do ‘abc’, before ‘def’…it’s just not possible. Arrrgghhh!”

However, I persisted and slowly learnt a little more about this aspect of computers. That is, how to permanently relabel the identifying letter for an external hard drive.  I actually entered a world I didn’t know existed.   “Wow, I didn’t know this screen was here.”   Bit by bit, I obtained little pieces of information, and, by tossing out bits that were obsolete, and re-sorting some information, I was able to eliminate frustration, discover peace of mind and achieve my objective…..relabelling external hard drive letters.

All systems need to be in sequence…computers or they get bugs, and ours, or we are at risk of depression.

And for those who want to know how to relabel the letters on external hard drives. Here is the solution for Windows 7. I’m not sure if there is an easier way, but easiest is not always best.

Push the Windows key with the letter R (or go to Start, then Run)

Type mmc then click OK (continue through whatever message may appear)

In the new Microsoft Management Console window, click File, then New

Click File, then Add/Remove Snap-in

Click Disk Management, then Add

Click OK, then select This Computer, then click Finish and click OK

Click on Disk Management in the menu on the left hand side

Wait for a few seconds and your various drives will appear on the right hand side

Right click the USB drive you want change the identifying letter, and then click “Change Drive Letter and Paths

Click on Change, then select a letter from the drop down list. It’s best not to use letters A to E.

Click OK, acknowledge any warnings, then select File, then Save. The computer will save these new settings in a default directory.

Check to see if it worked for you. Change ports, turn drives and computers off and on. Whatever you like….and see how the new information in your computer system makes things change just how you’d want them to be.   Now, where did that frustration go?

Sounds like a good time to pop on over to and grab a fantastic world-famous gift to celebrate!   

Rodney Lovell

Fixing Computer Bugs

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Computer problems! Arrrgghhh!    Recently, I’ve encountered two persistent problems that have stopped me in my tracks….but wow, what a feeling when I finally managed to solve them.   To me, it felt like the feeling I had when I knew I had overcome depression to discover peace of mind.   It’s great to confront a challenge and prevail.

Computer bugs really bug me, yet computer bugs became a fantastic analogy for me to use when talking about depression.  I have worked with a number of computer systems in the business world. It quickly became apparent to me that one bug caused many others. One bug was the root cause while others were the symptoms.   What surprised me was how many colleagues didn’t recognise the pattern. People would often complain about the symptoms and not hone in on the root problem.

It’s the same with life.   I recently saw a current affairs article where a student had been expelled from school four weeks out from final exams, all because she wore the wrong colored stockings.   Her mother and others complained bitterly. They can argue all they like about the validity or reasoning of the rule. However, to finish the year, all the student had to do was wear the correct stockings.   The expulsion was the symptom.    The cause was the student deciding to constantly wear the wrong stockings. Bloody hell! Wear the right stockings – finish your exams. Easy!

With depression, many people treat the symptoms.   The lethargy is treated with a need for exercise. The chemical imbalance with drugs.   The disinterest in life is countered by doing something you love.   And though those options may treat the symptom well, they do not remove or remedy the underlying root cause. I know. I tried them all.

When I had depression, I often searched the internet, as it evolved, for new information about depression cures.  There is a lot of symptom treatment but nothing focussing on a root cause. Adding to the mix was that there is differing opinions amongst researchers as to what causes depression.   I had a similar  experience when I began to research the first of my computer problems this week. Microsoft Outlook would not fully open. As the ‘waiting’ icon went around and around for hours on end, a small word appeared in the bottom left hand corner: “Databinding”.

Obviously, the word ‘Databinding’ combined with Outlook not responding simply were a symptom of a computer bug.   I researched the internet and found that the common suggestion was that Outlook had corrupted ‘pst files’ and that I needed to run a program called scanpst.exe.   The instructions that people offered caused me no end of confusion and I could not find one person who verified that the recommended and common solution actually worked.   Where was a practical step by step solution?

The solution was unlikely and came from an unlikely source. I stumbled upon a forum post by a man named Andrew Wallace. Andrew is a “Junior Member” of  the forum with only a few posts to his name. Andrew had stumbled across the solution himself whilst applying a fix for a different problem.

In contrast to the complexity of other solutions, the simple solution that this junior member was able to post was stunning and simple. It also highlighted, once again, about life being a paradox. The solution is often found where you least expect it.

The solution to the ‘Databinding’ and ‘not responding’ error in Microsoft Outlook is: Open Internet Explorer (an apparently unrelated program), go to Tools / Internet Options / General Tab / Browsing History and delete all history for all options.   That’s it.   Outlook then worked perfectly. There were no corrupt pst files. I didn’t need to run complex programs like the consensus was saying.

Now where else have I heard this type of thing? That’s right…depression cures. Depression is not an illness, it’s a symptom. Commonly misunderstood but entrenched by consensus.   But I digress.

The second computer problem I had was with my Skype connection. I have a Skype number and can dial landline phones from my computer. It is very handy when I’m travelling. However the sound became garbled and conversations were impossible. Skype had no answer to this problem.

Again, searching the net offered more ‘expert opinion’ rather than usable solutions.   There was talk about changing programs, buying compatible equipment, and running support programs, however, one post had a passing reference to a file named index.bat becoming ‘bloated’ with use.   This file can be deleted but reappears. However it reappears without being  bloated.   Now I don’t need to know how a common file named index.bat links with Skype, all I need to know is how to delete it.   For that, a nice simple little program named Crap Cleaner did the job. I’ve used this program for quite a while now and found it to be practical.   That’s what I like.   I simply selected every ‘delete’ option and it quickly cleared index.bat, as well as a stack of unnecessary other, um, crap!   Skype was now connecting me loud and clear.

Two computer symptoms cleared by totally ‘unrelated’ bugs.   Imagine how quickly you could clear depression if you knew where the root cause lay.   Look at depression as a symptom, not as a disease.

If you think you’re stuck with depression, think again. 2010 is the year to Discover Peace of Mind.

Rodney Lovell