James Fisher is a Microsoft MVP in the Windows Desktop Experience category. James is a member of Windows Forums and runs his own site, which is named Windows Talk.
In this interview, we get to know a little about James and his website. James is exemplary of what a true community contributor can bring to help others.
James, what do you do for a living?
I am a medical radiation technologist (or, X-Ray Tech). I perform general radiography, bone mineral density tests, and I have just started the course for MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging).
What hobbies do you have? How do you make time for them?
My hobbies are more like ‘pastimes’: reading (especially history), listening to music, watching football, maintaining my blog. I try to do some reading everyday, even if it is only for 30 minutes before bed. Reading is my greatest joy.
What’s your favorite thing that begins with the letter S?
Whom do you look up to and why?
No one person, other than Jesus. Typically, I like those that lead by example. Deeds, not words, so to speak.
If there was one place you could travel to, right now, where would it be and why?
Hawaii. My wife & I celebrated 20 years of marriage there a couple of years ago and it was a wonderful time; a different vista at every turn in the road, on every inter-island flight.
You’ve been a Microsoft MVP since 2003, what motivates you to help others?
It is what gives me my greatest sense of accomplishment; helping others to understand and use their PCs, overcome any glitches and get them up and running again. Sometimes the simplest thing (like a keyboard shortcut, for example) gives others the greatest joy. I once installed a small weather-watching program on an elderly lady’s PC and she thought it was amazing! (The program, not me!)
Please describe your site, Windows Talk, in 10 words or less.
for the average Windows user, non-technical, interesting and easy to understand.
What inspired you to start Windows Talk?
Actually, it was Windows Service Pack 2 for XP started it all. SP2 was such an important SP because it was more of a Operating System ‘refresh’ than a regular service pack, (which is more or less an accumulation of past updates & fixes). I wanted to keep all the Microsoft Knowledge Base (KB) articles and SP2 links in one place, so I thought of a webpage where I could just point folks on the forums to. Then, I gradually added pages for my favourite programs, security links, my own articles and reviews of software programs and more. It just grew, but it took a lot of my personal time. I would not asttempt it again on such a large scale. I started the blog just last year (I have never been on the leading edge of technology!), more out of curiosity as well as a quicker way to get information out to users. Web sites require special software (unless you know HTML, which I don’t), blogs on the other hand can be updated from any computer with a ‘Net connection. I am slowly transitioning some of the more relevant info from my old site to the blog.
What separates your site from all the other good Windows-oriented websites out there?
All the other good ones have a zillion hits more than mine! Seriously though, I try to keep my focus on what would appeal to the new to intermediate computer user. I try to keep away from anything too technical, as well as some of the deeper security issues. There are many excellent sites that have a better understanding of these topics than I.
In five years, CBC write an article on Windows Talk. What’s the headline?
“New Brunswick man still relying on Google AdSense Revenue to Support eBay Habit”
What has been your biggest challenge, with regard to your site, thus far?
the biggest challenge is to keep it ‘fresh’ and interesting. I often feel overwhelmed by the computing world; that I can never possibly keep up with all the changes, so I just step away for a few hours or a day, pick up a book and get my perspective back on track. Then, I search for interesting news items and post about them.
What plans do you have for your site this year?
with Windows 7 about to be released, I want to help new users of it to see how it is better than Vista, what they need to know about upgrading, etc. I also would like to update some of the articles from my old site so they are more relevant, since I wrote most of them while using XP.
What is your number one Windows tip?
Backup! reinstalling Windows is not difficult, but you can never get back photographs, emails and documents if you don’t have them saved somewhere other than your PC.
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions James. Readers, please see more of James’ work here.