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Written by Don Reid. Posted in General

Having been in the entertainment business for forty (40) years, there are little tricks and treats of the trade that you tend to make good use of for the betterment of your business.  And any entrepreneur will tell you the most important part of their business, besides their product, is their name.  A good name must be nurtured and protected above all else and at all times.  There used to be services out there that would track your name daily for a fee and each week send you a listing of all the papers and magazines in which it appeared throughout the world.  This way you could not only account for how many mentions you may have gotten that week but also you could monitor how it was being used and what was being said about you. This was very useful when a new album was released or a new tour embarked upon.  To many of you I’m sure this sounds very archaic and cumbersome, but trust me, many national companies and entertainers used this service to track and protect their good name for many years.

But then comes the Internet!  And like the Dunder-Mifflin Paper Company, Blockbuster and telephone booths, this little service quickly becomes an antique.  An antique no longer needed and no longer able to be found.  And why should anyone even miss it when you can replace it and all it did with the double click of a mouse or the striking of a key?  Enter my son, Langdon, again.

Langdon, always looking out for his old man and thinking I should have the benefit of whatever new is being offered in the gadget world, emailed me not long ago and said, “Dad, you need to check out Google Alert.”

Thinking this might be a new contestant on “American Idol” or a Lady Gaga rip off, I asked for more info and was supplied with the web address that instructed me in how to use it.  Sure enough, it was just a cyber-version of the old newspaper/magazine service I was familiar with from long ago.  I was told to just sign up, click ‘ok’ and then ‘enter’, and my name would be tracked with no further input from me whatsoever.  The results were immediate.

Within the hour I was inundated with coverage from all over the United States.  Don Reid mentions were dinging my email bell all through the night and into the next morning.  Don Reid did this and he did that and they just wouldn’t stop.  What a magic and wondrous accommodation this was.  And so immediate and responsive and detailed.

The only problem was….none of the stacks of emails had anything to do with me.

There was a Don Reid who writes for a newspaper in the Midwest.  I got everyone of his stories that he got a byline on and he must write a dozen a day.  There’s a photographer out there in the near west also, who publishes family pictures and a lot of them.  A Don Reid Ford dealership in Florida – and do you have any idea how many ads he buys in the newspaper in a week’s time?  And as if this wasn’t enough, I started getting all of Senator Harry Reid’s mentions. The last one I just got informed me he had fallen and dislocated his shoulder. (So sorry, Harry.)  And I don’t know what to do with all this useless information that keeps crowding my inbox.  I’m just thankful that Don Reid, the basketball player for Detroit, Washington, and Orlando retired the same year I did or I guess I’d be getting a ding every time he dunked a ball or missed a shot.  And there’s even an actor out there sharing my moniker who has made three or four movies.  But I guess what finalized my decision to terminate my Google access, was when I started getting Tara Reid’s clippings.  The pictures were something to behold but I didn’t know what to do with them.

So I have double clicked on the unsubscribe button and no longer receive random notices of every one in the country named Reid. I am content with not knowing what is being said about me in that loftier space called the Internet.  So if you come across a besmirching statement or even an occasional praise, don’t bother to send it.  It probably ain’t me anyway.    

                              —–Wednesday, May 4, 2011     6:35pm




Written by Don Reid. Posted in General

So let me tell you what I’ve been up to this weekend.

My computer guy had told me the grinding in the tower of my 2002 Dell (it was a retirement gift to myself from myself back then) was comparable to the grindings one tends to hear in knees and other joints when you get to a certain age.  He also suggested to me the remedy was the same.  Get some new joints and the crackling and popping would go away immediately.  Everything would run faster, smoother and quieter.  At this point I had to be reassured he was still talking about the computer.  He was and said he could sell me one, order it, install it, set it up and have it operating within two hours after its arrival. 

On the advice of my son, Langdon, who knows more about most things than I do, I agreed to all the above provisions and the order was placed and anxiously awaited.

It arrived yesterday morning.  An early phone call assured me he could come to my home at 3pm, tear down the old one and have the new one running in two (2) hours.  Having not arrived in the big city on the last turnip truck available, I was dubious of his promise but could see no other alternative but to allow him the opportunity to make good his offer.

Three o’clock came and the mission began.  Four- thirty arrived and I found myself pacing and watching the clock, ready to pounce on the that  new, shiny 24 inch screen machine and begin whatever new learning curve it required.  By five-thirty dinnertime was beginning to pass and there was still much knocking and beeping coming from my upstairs office.  By six-thirty Debbie was asking if we should offer the man something to eat.  I said, “No.  It’ll just take up more time.  Maybe if he’s hungry he’ll speed up a little bit.”

The two-hour promise was well out the door and so was my trusty and loyal tech guy at eight-thirty.  After four and one-half hours I was now alone at my slick, spanking new keyboard. I hit all the right buttons and clicked on all the right icons and suddenly realized that nothing, and I mean nothing, was in the right place.  Every screen that came up was a stranger to me.  It was like eating soup off a plate.  Like walking into someone else’s family reunion.  Like kissing a princess and she turns into a frogess.

I couldn’t send email; couldn’t receive any.  Couldn’t find my pictures.  Couldn’t find the volume button or the spellcheck.  Didn’t know how to re-set the margins.  The fonts were different and things kept flying across the screen and I had no idea where they came from or where they were going to land.  I didn’t have the heart to call the hardworking tech guy so late on a Friday night, so I left it and read a book in hopes that by morning it may have healed itself.  Of course, it didn’t and Langdon came to the rescue and spent another two hours on the phone with him Saturday morning.  But I’m happy and tired to say all is well now.

 I have a new, quiet, wide-screen monster setting on the desk where the old fellow sat.  He’s newer and glossier and knows more tricks and runs much faster, just as promised.  I’m getting to know him slowly and, I’m sure, will get to like him just as much.  I haven’t learned to relax around him yet and still don’t feel completely comfortable in his presence, but I think in time we’ll get to be friends.  We’ve made up a little here this evening- came to an understanding you might say.  He’s promised not to show me too many new things he can do too quickly and I’ve promised not to throw him out of a second-story window.

I think it’s the beginning of a beautiful friendship.


                      Saturday, March 26, 2011 – 8:15pm