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Category Archives: computers

I Can’t Facebook It

I have been composing a Facebook status in my head that goes something like this:

Let’s see who reads my posts all the way through. Still reading? If so, that is where you and I differ, because I usually stop reading when thus challenged. This post should go on to be sentimental about friends, or self-righteous about some disease or judging others, or even silly about we just got arrested. Then it would get manipulative and sneer at uncaring people who “just keep scrolling.” For heavens’ sake, what’s wrong with scrolling? If we didn’t scroll, we couldn’t read very many posts now, could we? Anybody still reading? Or have you gone back to scrolling (like I would have). Of those still reading, I suppose some of you are huffing, “Well I DO care about Facebook friends and cancer patients and all those other issues, I am NOT self-righteous and I would NEVER manipulate anybody!”

That is pretty much as far as I’ve gotten. I can’t think of a zippy conclusion. In fact, I only really like the first three sentences.

Oh, let’s be honest, I’m not going to post anything like that on Facebook. I really just typed it in here, because I needed a post for Non-Sequitur Thursday. A Facebook post that I do not intend to put on Facebook is non-sequitur enough for me. Hope to see you on Lame Post Friday.

Come On, Friday!

What a terrible blogging day! And not just because of my writing tribulations. Technology has got me down!

I wrote something while at work today (I really feel I must say each time that it was on a break, although I don’t imagine any management types read this blog) (still, you never know) (six degrees of Cindy’s blog?).

Where was I? Ah yes, wrote something at work. It wasn’t very good. Still, it was words. I could have published it. That is, I could have published it if I could have gotten it typed in at my desk top. Unfortunately, my desk top decided to act up.

It has been doing that a lot lately. It gets rrrreeeeaaaallllyyyy ssslllloooooooowwwww. And then it stops. Yeah, kind of like my writing some days.

So I got quite frustrated and stopped trying. I came downstairs and got on our Netbook. That works a lot better. Unfortunately, it is not so good for typing. The keyboard is much smaller than I am used to. You are reading this (oh dear I HOPE somebody is still reading!) and it probably looks pretty OK. That is, if I have caught all the typos I have made with my FAT fingers.

And just now I hit SOMETHING that made this whole thing disappear. I luckily found it under Drafts. WordPress is really a very good site. Hmm, maybe some readers feel it is less than lucky that I found it.

Anyways, will all this trauma, I am not up to perking up the less than stellar stuff I wrote earlier. I can only try to come up with a somewhat catchy title and have another Non-Sequitur Thursday.

Oh well, maybe it’s not catchy. Maybe catching, like a virus. Oh dear.

Me and the Yellow Cable

I believe I’ve mentioned that I am not the most computer savvy blogger you may encounter. OK, I’m completely stupid about them, and I’m still dwelling in the twentieth century if not before. I was utilizing understatement. Sheesh!

Given my technological naivete, I was not clear on how to proceed when my sister gave me a tablet she no longer used. A friend told me I needed a wireless router. I did not know what that was. Several ladies at Curves tried to explain. I still didn’t quite get it, but thought I could go to Radio Shack and buy one and trust that things would eventually become clear.

Of course chain stores are not a favorite of Mohawk Valley Girl, but I must say Radio Shack in Herkimer, NY is a very good place to shop. The guys that work there are patient and helpful. I went home with a box and high hopes.

Did you know you no longer have to read instructions for things? You get a CD you put in your computer and it talks you through it with pictures! So simple, even a Cindy can operate it.

I still screwed it up.

Well, you see, there was this cable I was supposed to plug into the router and then the modem, but there seemed to be no place on the modem for it (I was happy enough I figured out which was the modem). I called Radio Shack (as they nicely told me I could do) and found out I could unplug the yellow cable. Excellent! Now a place for every wire.

Didn’t work.

This time the instructions on the computer offered me a link that promised to help. I re-plugged in the yellow cable and tried it.

I guess I’m not being really explanatory about what I did. More computer savvy readers are either laughing their heads off at me or saying, “What the blankety-blank did she do?” Less computer savvy readers are perhaps more sympathetic as they, too, did not know what to do with the yellow cable.

Be all that as it may, at last my computer told me I was successfully set up to be wireless. I happily turned on the tablet. I clicked here, I clicked there, ooh, there was the name of the router. I typed in the password.

Only to read that the device is not set up for wireless internet.

Huh?

I should mention that I had done all this without benefit of supper. I ate something, I made my blog post, I went downstairs and watched television. I will work on this wireless stuff another day.

Author of My Own Disaster

So there I was, writing a blog post about me getting organized. I was getting all self-deprecating about how unorganized I am and hoping people would identify with my tribulations — after all, nobody’s perfect — when my computer froze. Oh well, I was sure it would unfreeze soon, at least to the extent that I could re-start it. I grabbed a pen and notebook and started handwriting while I waited.

And waited. And waited. I don’t know if it was a product of my frustration or an honest reaction, but I soon realized that what I was writing was dreadfully boring and going to run into an awfully hefty word count. A lame post is one thing (although I try to reserve those for Friday). A lame, long post is a terrible thing (I just know there’s some snide reader out there saying, “But nothing new.” Where do I get all these snide readers? Oh yeah, inside my head).

Where was I? Ah yes, shutting down my computer in hopes it will help. I managed to do at least that much, and brought the boring handwritten post downstairs to ponder over a cup of tea. Being prone to catastrophize, I worried that my computer has finally given up the ghost and my future as a blogger is in jeopardy. Why, oh why did I not do this earlier, when I could have run to the library and made my post? Once again, I am the author of my own disaster (ooh, how’s that for a high-flown phrase? Perhaps I’ll use it for the title) (if I ever get this typed into a computer).

I guess today’s post (again, if I ever get it typed in and published) (which, apparently I did, if you are reading this) (ooh, I just flashed on Bill and Ted, jumping back and forth in time in their first Excellent Adventure) is another version of the dog ate my homework (my dog would NEVER do such a thing). I may yet write about my adventures in organization. I will try to make it not boring, even to hypothetical snide readers in my head.

This, Too, Shall Pass

I would like to just say a word about passwords. Only I don’t like to use those words in my blog.

You need passwords everywhere these days, at work, at home, on your computer, on your cell phone. There’s the PIN for your bank card, and if you only have one of those, congratulations. I HATE PASSWORDS!

You must not use the same password for different places. You must not use the same password you had used before. You must have a secure password: caps and not, numbers and symbols. Don’t use your pet’s name or your spouse’s name or your anniversary date or your birthday. How can I remember all these “strong” passwords at all, let along remembering which password goes to which place?

The answer, and this is what makes it a Monday Middle-aged Musing, is: I CAN’T! My middle-aged brain is not that supple. So I make up these super strong, secure passwords, and write them down on a piece of paper next to my computer, in a most unsecure fashion (the computer is underlining “unsecure.” I KNOW the word is “insecure,” but my insecurities could fill a whole other blog post).

I know, somebody else would do something clever like write down the password but leave off one letter. Or mix up where the capital letters go. Or maybe even write it in Arabic (I know the Arabic alphabet, but that, again, is a whole other blog post).

I offer this rant as my Monday post, because, as you may have guessed, I did not write a post while at work today. I trusted to my brain (why in the world I even thought I still had one remains a mystery) to come up with something. First I checked my email. I currently have two emails, since I am in the process of switching from Hotmail to gmail (I could give you a whole other rant about Outlook, but I don’t really want to get the computer honchos mad at me). I just barely remembered the respective passwords and in doing so realized I did NOT remember my WordPress password. I’ll tell you what: I was not in too bad a mood to start with but it just about became Wrist to Forehead Monday!

Be all that as it may, I see that my word count is over 300. Quite enough from someone who is only here to kvetch (then again, I always say, go with your strengths). I must go now to seek out a Mohawk Valley adventure to write about tomorrow.

Getting There is Half the Battle

On re-reading this post (before I hit Publish), I realize the lead isn’t really about what the post is about. I mean, I don’t exactly write in the inverted pyramid of newspapers, but still, I also don’t want to have any false advertising. This is actually the first part of a two part post about a community event I attended Sunday.

Every year the Herkimer Crusaders put on a wine-tasting event that is a lot of fun. Area wine makers — amateurs and professionals — get together and have their wine judged by professionals and amateurs. At least, lots of people come in, drink the wine and vote for the one they like best. That’s the category I fall into.

I saw an article in the paper about the event a couple of weeks ago. I made a mental note of the date but neglected to cut the article out (which I often do for blog planning purposes). Last week when a few of us were making plans to go, I thought I’d better double check the time.

Do you think I could find anything on the internet?

Other people seem to find whatever they might be looking for and not even on a real computer. They whip out their smart phones (or whatever device they happen to have; I can just hear somebody saying in that smarty-pants tone of voice, “It’s not a smart phone, it’s an Android.” Or an iphone. Or a blackberry. Or that new thing they’re lining up in front of the Apple store for) (it really does seem sometimes that I live in a cave) and in a short time, give you the answer (usually in the above-mentioned smarty-pants tone of voice). Sometimes they go on to read several paragraphs of what the internet had to say about the subject. I try to avoid those people.

Where was I?

Oh yes, looking for information. It seems all I could find was information on past Crusaders Wine Tasting events. What’s that all about, internet? I even went to the web pages of the two local newspapers and searched their calendars. Nada. (I shan’t mention the names of the papers, since that was not exactly a plug.)

Finally, in desperation, I went to the cardboard box on my living room floor, where we pile the newspapers destined for the One-and-Done recycle can. And found a little blurb printed in one of the local papers earlier in the week. Phew!

Information in hand, I continued to plan my outing. Which I will talk about tomorrow, because I see that I am over 300 words and once again this week, I must try to keep it short.

Thank You, Beasley’s

I spent the latter part of last week lamenting my computer woes and feeling grateful to Herkimer’s Basloe Library for filling in the gap (who says I can’t multi-task?). Monday, Steven and I managed to do something about it, thanks to Beasley’s Electronics.

We were pretty sure our problem was the monitor and that we would have to replace it. Still, we didn’t want to just buy a new monitor, hook it up and find out that wasn’t the problem. we thought a good repair place could advise us. Besides, what do we know? Maybe the monitor could easily be fixed (yeah, right after we win the lottery and I change into that acid-wash denim mini-skirt with the 26-inch waist).

We used to notice Beasley’s a few years ago, when we had dinner at Cherry’s, a restaurant across the street, now sadly closed. In those days we had nothing that needed repair, but one remembers some things.

First we went to… a certain big box store that does not need a plug from Mohawk Valley Girl. I had unfortunate visions of road trips to New Hartford and other big box stores (I know, it’s not that far; I just didn’t want to mess with it). But no, monitors are obtainable in Herkimer. We drove down Mohawk Street to Beasleys.

When we walked in we discovered that there was very little room to walk. the place was packed with televisions, computers, etc, in various stages of repair or waiting to be recycled. I also admired a couple of antique radios. I don’t know if they were there to be fixed or just to look cool, but they certainly did look cool.

After speaking with Greg Beasley, we went and got our monitor, which I had foresightedly unhooked from the tower the previous night. He said he would take a look and call us later in the afternoon. As we predicted, he did not hold out much hope of a repair but said he might have a new or used monitor he could sell us.

When we returned to Beasley’s, a man with two adorable young boys was purchasing a used wide screen TV. When the boys stepped outside for a minute (I forget why), Steven and I moved into the space where they had been standing, so as to be out of the way when they moved the TV.

“Hey, you took our spot,” the younger boy accused when they returned.

“We did,” I admitted. “Shift your feet, lose your seat.” It was not technically a seat, but you know how I like to rhyme. I think the older boy was amused.

We ended up buying a new monitor for a very similar price to what we would have paid at the big box store (I say similar because it was a different brand and I don’t remember the exact numbers).

“And now you have someplace to take it if it gives you any problems,” Greg said. That was a big selling point for me.

We got our new monitor home and hooked up with very little problem. I am once again typing my blog posts at my leisure, in my house. Love that Basloe Library, but I prefer to go there for books.

Beasley’s Electronics is located at 313 Mohawk St., Herkimer, NY 13350, phone 315-866-0866. You can visit their website at http://beasleyselectronics.com/.

Lame Computers, Anyways!

Yesterday I began my post with a lament about what a lousy blogging week it has been. Little did I know, it was about to get worse.

Um, I mean, I began the post I was handwriting in my notebook while on a break at work. I don’t remember how I began the post that got published and, quite frankly, I do not want to go back and look. The computer told me I have 55 minutes of time and I may need all of it to move forward.

So yesterday, blog post that never saw the ether of the internet (as opposed to the light of day) in my spiral notebook (to differentiate it from a computer called a notebook, which I do not have), I called my husband Steven during the nine o’clock break, and he informed me that the computer was down. It is not a new computer. It was graciously given us by my sister whose daughter had no use for it. It has served us well (thanks, Vicki!) (oh, and thanks, Diane, the sister who gave us our previous computer; not good to go online with, but excellent for word processing purposes).

Lately our monitor has been going black for no apparent reason. This is NOT due to a mis-set sleep mode. It goes black when you are in the middle of doing something. If you turn the monitor off then on, it comes back on for periods lasting from one second to the rest of the session. Usually one second. If you re-start or turn off the computer then turn it back on later (an excercise in patience using bursts of one-second screen time) (but I don’t repine over that; I need to build up my capacity for patience), sometimes it is fine.

Until Thursday.

When I got home Thursday (Steven was at work by that time) (and don’t you just hate the way that works out sometimes!), I expermimentally turned on the comptuer. One second screen time, utilizing the off/on method. It was showing a message, however, which was difficult to read in one-second spurts. Something about a corrupt file in disc drive C, I think.

Well, I have a disc in that computer that I have never taken out. I save everything on it that I want saved. I thought, I’ll take that disc out and see what happens. Do you think that disc drive would open. No!!!

At one point, I realized it was almost 4:30, and I remembered the library closes at five on Thursdays. I sprang into action. I showered, threw on clothes (not neglecting earrings) and got to the library by twenty to five. I can make a blog post in twenty minutes! I’ve done it before!

There was a computer free. Yes! Unfortunately, library computers (quite sensibly, I admit) close down before the library. When I logged on, the computer told me I had seven minutes. It could still work!

I wrote a foolish sentence or two. Wanted to write more, as is often the case with me once I get going. Refrained. I even managed to log onto my email. Didn’t look at everything, but saw what was there (nothing earth-shattering, as they say) (that’s one of those hyperbolic expressions many poepl love to use; there’s a good topic for a future Lame Post Friday). I even had a few minutes of the seven left, because when I hit “exit,” the computer asked me was I sure I wanted to end my session early.

I went home, feeling a little inclined to burst into tears, although I know that as disasters go, this one was minor. I turned the computer back on and finally got the disc drive to open. There was nothing there. WHAT? What have I been saving to all this time?

I was by now out of ideas.

And now I have written a lengthy piece telling the whole sordid sotry, and I’m betting that when I get to the library after work, I will not have time to type it all in. Only, as you see, I did. HA! But what about tomorrow? Could be a problem.

Well, what does my blog do, really, but entertain a few people, most notably myself. The world will keep turning if I miss a few days. Literature and the blogosphere will survive. I suppose I will, too.

Registration Rigamarole

Having started running again (see previous posts), I thought I’d better register for the Boilermaker before it fills up. The cap is 14,000 runners, and they are more than halfway there. Yikes!

Previously, I went to the Distance Runners Hall of Fame, filled out an application and wrote a check. The hardest part was navigating the one-way streets in downtown Utica (that would have made an awesome blog post; I love that section of Utica). I knew I could register online, but I prefer in person adventures. The Hall of Fame website did not even list their hours (that I could find; we all know I’m not very bright about the internet), but they had a place where you could submit a question, so I did.

I was pleased to receive an email the next day, disappointed to learn that I had to register online, and a little embarrassed for the emailer, because she spelled “through” “threw” (just goes to show, spell check does not solve all problems). (But that was not as bad as a boss I heard of who sent an email about somebody being out with “ammonia” and, when called on the error, bristled, “I used spell check!”)

With a resigned sigh, because I am not internetly adept, I typed in boilermaker.com. It seems they have contracted with the Active Network Inc. (active.com) for registration. A paragraph bragged about how this company utilizes firewalls and encryption to make sure our information and credit card numbers are safe.

I clicked on it, clicked that I was a New York State resident, then settled down to read the lo-o-o-ong waiver I had to sign off on. I almost didn’t read it, because I knew I was going to sign it, because I wanted to run. Only, they rather sternly (or do I read too much into a typeface?) stated that by signing I guaranteed that I read and understood it. I don’t like to be too much of a liar (although when I do it, it’s called fiction). I guess I was partially truthful, because I skimmed it and understood part of it. Basically, I think I promised not to sue, even if they did something wrong. Well, that made sense. 14,000 runners, the Boilermaker people don’t want folks suing them for medical bills over turned ankles because they didn’t clear away the discarded paper cups (although I’m sure they meet the reasonable man standard on that one. Hello! 14,000 runners!). But do they need to go on and on about it? I suppose they do.

The waiver went on for even longer when they started talking about the things I wasn’t going to sue active.com for. After the earlier boasts about how secure they were! Oh, I know, CYA (Cover Your Ass; who says you don’t learn anything in college?). Then they went on at some length about California jurisdiction, where the company is based.

So. Our proud, grand, LOCAL tradition has contracted with a California company for its registration. I understand Active is a huge, reputable company; that they register many races; and with 14,000 runners the Boilermaker perhaps needs the expertise. Still, I am Mohawk Valley Girl, and I wish it were being done by somebody local (is there anybody local? Come on, Utica! Start a company!).

Be that as it may, I signed the waiver and drove on.

They wanted to know my last Boilermaker time. There was no space to put, “Oh, just send me a grey number; I run with the masses.” I guess with 14,000 runners, they don’t have time for everybody to be a wise ass. Luckily, Steven had written down my last year’s time on a poster my niece had drawn for me on the occasion.

I had to check twice that I did not want a training t-shirt. That made for some amusement when I went to “review registration.” I saw “I am not purchasing a training t-shirt,” then two lines later, “I AM NOT PURCHASING A TRAINING T-SHIRT.” Just like that, upper/lower then all caps. As in, “I SAID, I’M NOT PURCHASING…” etc. I know, it takes so little to please some people.

Active.com offered me three months of magazines for free. That was tempting, but as I read on I saw that if I did NOT call and cancel they would automatically charge the subscription price to my credit card every year till I did. If I subscribe to a magazine, I want them to ASK me IF I want to renew. I don’t like this automatic stuff; Homey don’t play dat.

Still later I was offered a trial membership to active.com. It was the same deal: free for three months, then automatically charged to my card. I said it before and I’ll say it again (because I like saying it), Homey don’t play dat.

At last I got the registration completed. Oh, how I missed driving somewhere and doing it in person! Some love to do everything on line, but I prefer people (I know, that is so 20th century). I’m sure the Boilermaker people had very good reasons for doing registration this way, probably having to do with those 14,000 runners I find so intimidating.

The important thing is I am registered for the Boilermaker (got my email confirmation today). I seem to remember last July getting three posts out of not running. Already I’ve gotten over 800 words out of registering. The sky’s the limit!