Not really, but I suppose it might look a little bit Chinese to anyone watching the Olympics and seeing all those names beginning with X. Like the city of Xian, where the terracotta army was discovered. I visited there in 2001 on my first trip to China and remember the explanation then, that X is pronounced between an SH and an S. Chinese pronunciation is more nuanced than that, but it’s a good place to start. I enjoy knowing this word starting with X: xiao. It means small, and is a common part of Chinese personal names. The equivalent, I suppose, of our diminutive name endings, -ie and -y. Studying Chinese has made me much more interested in linguistics, just as work on the Encyclopedia of China is giving me a chance to learn about what’s going on in renewable energy, natural resource management, and Internet technologies, as well as Chinese history. The trouble is that I’m too busy with all this new publishing to read further! But that’s one of the great things about a good encyclopedia: it gives one a place to start, some foundation, and a sense of the territory to be explored.
But back to Xobni. I have written here about software and services I don’t like (with almost instantaneous response from the companies concerned), and wonder what will happen when I tell you frankly that I love this Outlook add-in. Trevor Young, our IT guy, suggested it, knowing the ridiculous size of my e-mail folder. I was skeptical at first, thinking that my extensive folder system was managing things just fine. But I was wrong: Xobni has made it possible for me to find files and trace communications in a way that I couldn’t have managed before. Unlike most new software, it has truly saved me time!