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Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

Technology can be such a pain, but then it can be amazing, too. I used to be pretty good at figuring things out on my own. When I got my first desktop computer in 1993, within just a very few hours, I had it all set up, working, and I was able to get around very comfortably and I had not ever used a computer before that day. I think it took me about three hours to set it up and get on it and feel rather comfortable. That was in the days of Windows 3! A very long time ago. I could also set up whatever electronics we had in the house and get them working just fine. I could figure it all out and make things do what I wanted them to do.

That was then. Now, well in the past ten years at least, I’m not very good at it. Or rather, I should say, I’m not wanting to figure things out on my own. I’m tired of it and it is getting to the point where it takes too long to figure out how things should work and how to get them to work that way. For example, the laptop I use now is running Windows 8. I never got around to upgrading it to 10 because I was using a Chrome Book at the time and because I really wasn’t feeling up to finding out how to do the upgrade and then do it. But now I can’t find the charger for the Chrome Book so I got out the older laptop. So I am thinking that Google, in all its wisdom, should figure out a way for us to make it look like we want it to look without needing a Ph.D in computers. I use the thumbnails on the home page to navigate to different sites. However, I accidentally deleted the one for Google search. Now I can’t get it back. You can’t add thumbnails because they are determined by how often you use a site. So Google search should be up there but I think that because I removed that thumbnail, it won’t create one for that site, even though I use it a gazillion times a day. Apparently, there is no easy way to do it. Some people on the public forums say you can deleted your browser history, restart the browser and then start from scratch. Do I want to do that? Does deleting my browser history mean that it deletes my passwords? Because if it does, that kinda screws me because I don’t remember my passwords. The browser does it for me. So Google needs to find a way for us to do that simple thing. Don’t you agree?

But then this morning I was reminded of one of the good things about technology. An old friend from high school (yeah, about three lifetimes ago) posted a question about one of the teachers at our high school. You know how something gets in your head and you can’t get it out of your mind until you figure it out? Well, he was trying to remember the first name of one of the English teachers at our high school. I knew it and posted it for him. So I think it’s pretty neat that he could go on and post his question at 9:43 and I could answer it when I went online at 10:02. It’s one of the things that makes the internet amazing. It lets me keep in touch with people from all over. If I can’t be in the same room talking to an old friend, I can still feel like we’re in touch and have a few laughs and share some memories. (Thank you, Al Gore! ūüôā¬† )

So I guess I won’t throw the laptop out the window. I’ll continue to be frustrated because I can’t get the thumbnails that I want back on my screen. I guess I could wait and see if my son can figure it out when I see him in a couple of weeks but then I would have to bring the laptop and I wasn’t going to take it on that trip. Hhm. I’ll figure it out, I guess.

 

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On top of being sick, I’ve also been tackling tech issues. This week’s challenge is that all the movies and music that I stored on a memory card in one of my Kindle Fire devices have disappeared from the memory card. No one removed it. No one reformatted it. No one did anything with it. New memory card, or at least only a month or so old. It’s the device I got just¬† to play movies on for the kids when we are out of the house. It had 19 movies on it and a couple of Raffi albums. I have the memory card in my desktop running a scan and fix procedure which is anything but fast to do. I don’t know if it will work or not but it’s worth a try.

In any case, while I was sitting at the desktop, I looked around at some of the files I have there and found no less than six folders with “things to write about.” I suppose when I have finished with the memory card issue I should consolidate and edit the topics and maybe move to my laptop as I do all of my writing and blogging on the laptop. However, one of the topics just said “fig tree” and it instantly brought back memories of the first house I remember growing up in. We had a really large back yard with a lot of fruit trees in it. One of those trees was a fig tree. We actually had two fig trees, one gave us white figs and that was a small tree. The other was huge and gave us black figs. I loved that tree. It gave a lot of shade in the hot summer months (in California so the hot days were quite numerous). Later, my dad got a hold of a playhouse for us that was as big as a bedroom. He put it under the big fig tree and we played out there for hours and hours. I will have to write more completely about the fig tree and the playhouse and maybe some of the other fruit tree memories but I thought I would just mention it here and now so you would get more than just a gripe about technology!

I’m still hoping to get caught up on reading your blogs. I can do only a few at a time these days. I’ll get there, though.

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As some of you may remember, I am currently house sitting for my son and daughter-in-law. I was determined to keep blogging and keep up with my social media stuff so I packed my laptop. Well, when I arrived and unpacked, I realized that in my haste to get on the road on time, I had forgotten the charger for my laptop. Sigh. My son got out my daughter-in-law’s laptop which she rarely uses and set it up to charge. Yay! Or so I thought. First, there was a password which we finally figured out over a number of text messages. Yay! I was able to use it on Wednesday night for checking email and Facebook. I put it away for the night and didn’t open it again until early evening on Thursday. I wrote my blog post on it and read a few emails and checked Facebook. About twenty minutes into using it, I got the Blue Screen Of Death, along with a message saying “Critical Process Died” and a reassurance that it would start up again as soon as they finished collecting info. It finally restarted but I had decided to watch a movie so I put it away, connecting it to the charger so I could take it into the bedroom at bedtime to watch a movie on it. ¬†Well, when it was time to go to bed, I pushed the power button and nothing happened. I pushed it again. Nothing. No power to it at all. I kept trying. Nothing. Nada. Rien. Zilch. I’ve been trying off and on since 1 am. It’s now 10 am. No luck. So I guess I killed my daughter-in-law’s computer and I feel so bad about it.

Yup, sometimes life is like that. Now I’m trying to keep up with things on my tablen, with a bluetooth keyboard. Sigh. I don’t care so much about that. I just want that laptop to come back to life again so I don’t have to face Sarah with a dead laptop. ūüė¶

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In 2009 I found the perfect laptop. ¬†It was small, about the size of a sheet of notebook paper, and weighed next to nothing. I had been carrying around a full size laptop that weighed about 9 pounds with the battery in it (like I’m going to use it without the battery, right?). ¬†It was huge and when carried in a case on my shoulder, it was way too heavy. ¬†With my back issues, I really needed something more portable. It didn’t matter that my new lightweight HP had no optical drive because I rarely use one and when I do, I have a desktop top with an optical drive or I can put files onto a flash drive that I can put in my laptop.

Then it died. ¬†Well, not technically. ¬†However, it takes about 6 minutes to boot up. ¬†It plays sound when it wants to. ¬†It is super slow, even though I have had it looked at and optimized and updated drivers, etc., which meant that sometimes I would have to wait over a minute for a page to load, lots longer if it required Shockwave or Flash. ¬†I had to face it…I had to get a new one.

Last week I found a new one. ¬†Small, 11.2 inches. ¬†Lightweight, 2.8 pounds. ¬†Very portable, can use (touch)screen as tablet. ¬† Large hard drive, 500 GB. ¬†And it was at an unbeatable price, under $270. ¬†I really like it and the frustration level when using my laptop now, is way, way, lower. ¬†It speeds everything up, including blogging. ¬†However, with a new device comes a lot of setting up and “getting used to”. ¬†Here’s my top ten that I dislike:

1. Registering everything before you can even get to a start screen.  This includes setting up passwords which I will probably forget.

2. Having to learn a new operating system.  My old one had Windows Vista.  This one has Windows 8.1 and I am told that I will get a free upgrade to Windows 10 when it releases (in a month or two?).

3. Setting up a browser to work the way you want it to with your chosen plugins and add-ons.  And in my case this meant going from Firefox on the old laptop to Chrome on the new one.  Might as well make the change now!

4. Having to remember passwords for sites that I use everyday but don’t know the passwords because they were remembered by my old browser.

5. ¬†My mind doesn’t remember all the passwords so for many sites I had to choose the “Forgot my password” option and then wait for a link to set up a new password. ¬†Sometimes that didn’t work and I would have to guess at the screen name I might have used to register for that site.

6. ¬†Getting a new case for the laptop. ¬†I didn’t use one with the laptop I replaced but I want to protect this one as I carry it around a lot more and often while also carrying a 2 year old with me! ¬†So time to protect this one.

7.  Deciding which files I want to move from the old laptop to the new laptop.  This means hours of going through pictures, documents, downloads, videos, etc.

8.  Moving those files which involves a lot of time and patience.

9.  Figuring out which programs I have to move from one laptop to another, like my photo editing software and my writing software, etc. and copying the files to a flash drive and moving them to the new one (neither of the laptops has an optical drive so I have to use a flash drive to transfer and install.)

10. ¬†Then the icing on the cake…you wipe the old laptop to see if it can be fixed or optimized so I can give it to someone that has nothing better then you realize that you forgot to transfer some files and they’ve been trashed so you can’t get them anymore. ¬†In my case, this meant a few photos and a folder of old writing. ¬†Now I’ll have to go through tons of CDs on the desk top to see if I can recover some of those files! ¬†More time. ¬†More patience. ¬†More frustration.

Ahhh!  The joys of new technology!

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I recently agreed to be pen pals with a fellow blogger. I got my first letter from her over the weekend and I’m ready to write my letter back to her but I wanted to write it on pretty paper. I haven’t written letters in so, so long that I don’t have pretty stationery anymore. After dropping Anderson at pre school, I went to four different stores looking for stationery, even ugly stationery, as long as it had matching envelopes and paper. No luck. I guess that’s one of the things that is difficult to find now in the age of email and text messages and skype and all the different ways people find to keep in touch in a less personal way than through letter writing.

I want to write her this letter so she doesn’t have to wait much longer. She’s in Australia and it takes a couple of weeks for the letter to get there so I don’t want to put it off. I do have a few rubber stamps left from my former extensive collection so maybe I’ll just decorate the paper myself. After I get this letter off, I will get busy and look some more for pretty paper and matching envelopes and maybe I’ll find some in the next month before I need to write another letter!

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My less than two year old top of the line android has been on the blink for some time.¬† It shuts itself off.¬† The ringer works when it chooses to.¬† Text messages sometimes take two or three DAYS to come through.¬† Phone calls sometimes don’t go through yet there is a voice mail message from that missed call (which doesn’t show up in my call log at all).¬† I do not want to pay $600 for a new phone.¬† I don’t really want to sign another two year contract either (not to mention that I’m not eligible for the upgrade til May).¬† Then I found the phone I want, brand new, from Amazon…and unlocked!¬† Only $100.¬† So I ordered it and figured it would take care of all the problems.

However, there is one thing I really dislike doing…setting up a new phone.¬† I read on the amazon site how to do it but the app I needed would not load on to my Galaxy so I couldn’t do it.¬† Then AT&T said take it in to get the new nano SIM card and they would back everything up from the old card to the new one.¬† So I did that, even though I don’t go to malls and AT&T just moved into the mall, closing the location I used to use.¬† And today is the two year anniversary of a shooting at that same mall and I didn’t want to go but I did.¬† So the guy I got after waiting for 25 minutes gave me the new SIM card but did not back up my old data onto the new one, saying he “wasn’t an expert” at that.¬† What a jerk!!!

So now I have the next four or five hours ahead of me booked for merging contacts and all that stuff.  Then I have to download my apps.  And learn a new phone.  Then maybe I can test it to see if I like it.  I have 30 days to decide.

And you better believe I am going to let AT&T know what poor service I got tonight!

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This past year has been enlightening in terms of all things related to babies.¬† With my daughter’s pregnancy and the birth of the baby, I’ve gotten to see how so much has changed since I was pregnant and had my children.¬† It seems everything has changed.¬† No dairy til the age of one; the pediatrician put my kids on milk by the time they were six months old.¬† No meat until one; I think it was about the age of eight months when my kids were little.¬† The list goes on and on.

Today though, while looking online for ideas for a Christmas gift for the baby, who is now nine months old, I came across something I didn’t really expect.¬† There are so many electronic, computerized, super-duper toys on the market.¬† This I knew.¬† My daughter has already purchased a number of electronic activity toys for Anderson.¬† But what I noticed was that a lot of the toys my kids played with and enjoyed endlessly when they were the same age are still around!¬† They are simple, non-electronic, non-computerized, and not high tech at all.¬† They are baby driven exploratory toys!¬† And I also noticed that some of the toys available today are the same that were available when I was growing up.¬† One in particular is the Fisher Price Chatter Phone.¬† I didn’t have one but my youngest sister did.¬† I think it was in the very early 60’s.¬† It’s still around and as popular as it ever was.¬† Sure, there are digital toy phones and electronic toy cell phones available today but one of the top sellers continues to be the Chatter Phone.¬† Another is the Playskool Busy Poppin’ Pals, which my kids loved to play with.¬† It has basic knobs and buttons and switches to push, pull and press, each causing a different Poppin Pal to pop up.

It was reassuring to see that a lot of the same things kids have thrived on for generations are still around today.

Not sure what Anderson will get for Christmas but I know he’ll love all the hugs and kisses his grandma will shower him with.¬† You can’t get any more basic or genuine than that!

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