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Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

This past decade has been filled with technological advances.  These have been both good and bad.  In my case, I think they’re good!

In January of 2002 I had a car accident which left me unable to go back to work.  That meant that I was pretty much stuck at home.  My son was in college hundreds of miles away and both of my girls were doing an independent study curriculum.  This meant that I didn’t leave the house except when I had to drive them to the learning center to meet with their supervising teachers once a week.

I had already been online for many years (since 1993 and the early days of CompuServe with the black DOS screens and long user IDs that were numbers, not names), however I needed the computer and the internet a lot more during that time period.  Without the internet, I was pretty much isolated and shut out of everything.  So I started to pay more attention to my blogs (I had several at the time) and joined some graphics groups.  Later, I also reconnected with lost friends and began emailing and chatting with them on a regular basis.  This kept me going during the solitary times.

Without the internet and blogging, I would not have met a lot of amazing people who, although most of us have never met, are friends just as many of you are friends with people at work or from school or your neighborhood.  I’ve also met many of my internet friends in person and they have proven to be just as genuine in person as they are online!

One day I came across a MyPoints.com recommendation to visit a new site called “Gather.com”.  I logged in and lurked in the background for a couple of months before jumping in and becoming a part of the Gather community.  I made a lot more friends there, too!  That lasted for a while and around 2008 my visits at Gather.com became less and less frequent and in fact, since April of this past year, I don’t think I’ve been there except to read maybe four or five articles.  However, I am grateful for having stumbled upon Gather.com as a lot of my friends and blog buddies are a result of Gather.com.

Then came Facebook.  I joined a long time ago (around 2005) but didn’t do much there until the past year when a lot  more of my friends became active in Facebook and I resurrected my presence there.  I’m now spending a lot of time at Facebook although since I stopped playing any of the games there, I don’t spend that much time there but I do visit it a couple of times a day.  Facebook also has the advantage of being a meeting place for a lot of my family members (nieces and nephews mostly) so that’s an added bonus!

In October of 2008 I discovered Twitter and what a discovery that was!  I originally joined in an effort to meet some of the local PDX twitter community as I was new to the area and knew only three people here and one of them was my daughter!  It was a lot of fun to follow the elections on twitter and to watch the Proposition 8 fiasco in California politics.  Twitter allows me to keep up with the local newspaper and broadcast news in some of the places I’ve lived so that I am still informed of what is happening there.  I don’t visit Twitter much because I didn’t really meet many people through it and although I have a lot of followers there, they really aren’t friends and most of them wouldn’t know my name if it was branded on my forehead.  Perhaps at some point Twitter will again play a larger role in my internet life but not at the moment.  There just doesn’t seem to be a friendly or welcoming presence there.

And my blog.  What would I do without my blog?  This blog?  I think I would be lost and would have no creative outlet.  Blogging here makes me feel like someone is listening and reading and cares about me and what I write, what I have experienced.  It has been a driving force.  Over the past two months, I have blogged every day in November and every day in December.  I’m going to try to continue as long as I can without a break but that is sometimes more and more difficult!

As you can see, technology has allowed me to make friends, reconnect with others, and keep in touch with my family and friends.  That’s pretty much a HUGE role in my life, especially as the years go on and I find myself living alone with no one to talk to, sometimes for days and days.  So I talk online.  I think I’d go crazy if I couldn’t do that.

In the coming decade, I’m sure I will still be actively dependent on technology.

So, in the coming ten years, I hope to see you all on the Internet(s)!

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A little break from all things Australian.

Last week I lost my cell phone.  I couldn’t find it when it was time to turn the alarm on at bedtime.  Finally, it occurred to me that I had it just before I turned on the washing machine.  Sure enough, it was in my pants pocket.  The pants were in the washing machine.  The washer tub was full of water and was ready to start up as soon as I shut the lid.  I fished out the phone and tried to take it apart right away.  That particular phone is really difficult to open.  I have never been able to do it.  I always end up having to take it to the AT&T store to have them do menial things like take out the SIM card.  All night I worried about my pretty pink Sony Ericsson walkman phone.

So the battery and SIM card stayed in the wet phone overnight.  The next day I went to breakfast with my daughter and she took it apart for me.  I put the SIM card into an old, old, old Motorola Razr which I never liked and only works sometimes. We waited to see if the phone would dry out and start working.  It didn’t.  So I remembered that I actually had insurance on that phone.  I called them up and sure enough, they cover water damage.  They sent me out a new phone.  It arrived on Monday.  The bad thing about having the insurance is that you have to take whatever they send you as a replacement.  You have no choice.  So what I got was an LG Xenon, in red.  It was very pretty and it had a Qwerty keyboard which makes it very easy for an old half blind lady like me to text message.  I tried to work it.  I tried to customize it.  I made my own ringtones for it.   Then in the end,  I realized I was only getting about ten percent of my phone calls.  The rest were not coming through.  The reception inside my house and in this area was horrible.

Yesterday I took the phone in to the AT&T store to see if they could help me out.  I knew it was a long shot because the phone was issued from their insurance which is administered by a company not owned by AT&T.  I was afraid I would have to pay another deductible which would end up not being a good deal at all  (the deductible is $50).  The manager was great.  He said he would call the insurance and deal with them for me and see if he could get them to send me a new phone.  He warned that they might not want to talk to him but if they would talk to him he was pretty sure that he could sweet talk them into sending out another one.

He was right.  They refused to talk to him and had him hand the phone over to me.  I explained the problem with one little twist.  Craig, the store manager had told me he was going to tell them that I had zero reception in my area and no other phone line.  So when I talked to the representative, I took my cue from Craig and told them the same thing and crossed my fingers.  They said yes.  They would send me out a different phone.  They didn’t say what I would get but they said they would try to send me out another Sony Ericsson or a Samsung.  They said I would get it next Tuesday.

Late last night, the same day I called it in, I got an email with tracking information for the replacement phone.  It was to be delivered today.  And it was.  I had a bright new red Sony Ericsson in my hand before 11 this morning!  The advantages to this brand of phone is that I already have all the accessories so I don’t have to get anything new, except maybe a memory card to load music and audio books onto.  And the big plus is that I already know how to work with the OS of the Ericsson, which is very intuitive and easy to deal with.

So now I have to customize it with my ringtones and pictures.  I usually have distinct tones for each of my kids and some other people I hear from often and contact pictures for my kids so that’ s the next thing I have to do.  And the biggie is my own main ringtone.  I am hard of hearing and have trouble distinguishing sounds when there is other noise in the background.  This means that my phone can be on the loudest ring setting and be two feet from me and I won’t hear it if the TV is on or if I am at a restaurant or out shopping.  So what I do to get around this is that I have a ringtone I made for myself with the old song Corina Corina (the Ray Peterson version).  That way, when I hear my name, I know I need to answer my phone.  This helps me to not miss calls.  So now I have to find the song, download it, and make my ringtone.

It looks like I will have a slow, yet busy weekend.  But in the end, all will be right once again.

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Oy vey!

I love technology and learning about all things new, yet sometimes I wish things would stay the same.  Recently, the laptop that I thought I would make do with for another year or so, gave out.  I had to get a new one.  I shopped.  I took my son shopping with me (well, because he looks at some things that I don’t and because he knows some things that I don’t).  We found one two weeks ago and I bought it.  For the past two weeks, I have been getting my Vista OS working the way I want it to work and getting my software patched/fixed for this operating system.  Then about five days ago it started to overheat and shut itself off.  Oops!  I thought it was a fluke until it did it again.  And again.  And again.  Yesterday, my son was here and I showed him.  We went to Best Buy so he could spend his gift cards from Easter and while we were there, we looked to see what they had in the same price range.  I had given up on the Gateway.  Luckily, they had a Dell and I was within the 14 day return period.  Last night, after my son went home, I backed up my stuff and deleted things and my passwords from the browser on the Gateway and off I went to exchange it.

Luckily, everything went smoothly and I was in and out of there withing 20 minutes.  It was closing time so they were pretty efficient so they could get out of there!  I brought the Dell home and plugged it in.  I turned it on.  It powered up but the monitor didn’t come on at all.  I was baffled.  I thought there must be some setting I was missing.  Of course, I couldn’t call Best Buy because they had closed about five minutes after I walked out of there.  My daughter arrived home just then and I showed her.  She tried it.  Nothing.  We figured the monitor was dead.  So I put everything back in the boxes and brooded.  I had been offline for a couple of days and I still had not caught up on all the time I was either without a laptop or without my functionality on the new OS.  I was upset.  I couldn’t sleep all night.

This morning, we took it back.  Luckily, the technician looked at it and said, “Oh, Dell’s do that.  You have to “power cycle” it.  So he took out the battery and put it back in again and my monitor worked!  Yay!  I brought it home after my daughter’s part of the trip (breakfast and Target).  I am finally setting it up!  I think this one is a winner.  I like it.

However, in the process, I’ve lost all my bookmarks and all the blogs I read.  So I have to go through and search and get those back.  It will take some time.  So if I am not reading your blog and I normally do, I’ll get to it.  Or you can leave me a comment here and I will be able to follow your comment to your blog and bookmark it.  That would actually be faster!

By the way, I am setting up a Firefox extension called Foxmarks.  It allows you to synchronize your bookmarks so you can access them from any computer.  When you add bookmarks, you synchronize and keep it up to date.  If I have to switch out a computer or am using someone else’s computer, I can still log in to foxmarks and get my bookmarks.  Pretty nifty, huh?  Too bad I didn’t find it last night before taking the Gateway back!

Okay, I’m off to see if I can load some of my software and the patches for it.  Wish me luck!

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Technology

Technology. Sometimes we can’t live without it and at other times, we can’t live with it.

I love my computer. I have a desktop and a laptop. Recently, due to health reasons, I have been using mostly my laptop, mostly in bed. I began to write my NaNoWriMo novel on the laptop. It has seen better days. It’s not new. It’s almost three years old. But I love it. It’s small and light and full of neat features. However, after the past almost three years, it has gotten very slow and I have put a lot of programs on it that I end up not using. I also download a lot so I end up with a lot of adware and spyware. Recently, my browser was hijacked and even though I cleared it of all the adware and spyware and it checked out as not having any viruses or worms, I could not use Firefox. I would uninstall it, reinstall it, but it would not load. Not at all. I hate IE. I can’t browse without my Firefox. I tried. I tried for two weeks.

Finally I ended up reformatting my laptop. I backed everything up. Then I began the process. No biggie. That is, until I tried to reinstall my programs. Even some of the ones that came pre-installed were asking me for product keys and serial numbers that I didn’t have. It has taken me four days to find everything and get it near the way I like it. It is definitely working much better than it was before the reformat but it’s a little strange to have to type in my passwords on every site I use. I have had to have my passwords reset and emailed to me and in some cases I got away with just answering the security question. (more…)

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Controls

I have been dutifully enjoying reading blogs and commenting on them for the past hour.  I became so engrossed in the task at hand that it was nine minutes into the most horrible  and degrading TV show around (The Bachelor) before I realized that it was even on and then it took me another six minutes to find the remote to change the channel.  I know, you’re thinking “forget the remote and get off your butt and change the channel, or better yet turn it off” but I have one of those “new style” TVs that you cannot change the channel on except with the remote control.  And to shut if off without the remote, I have to turn the TV around on its swivel base and reach behind it to the Power Off switch.  I hate when they do that … the manufacturers, that is.  I recently had to replace a DVD player that was perfectly fine but the remote control went out and there is no way to do anything on the DVD player except power it on and off, which is okay for the DVDs that just start playing on their own but most of them have a Menu that you have to navigate through before you can start the movie (sometimes it only says “Play Movie” but won’t start until you hit Enter or Play) and with no remote, you can’t do it!  I actually looked into getting a replacement remote control for it instead of buying a new DVD player.  I could get one if I send them $20 for the remote, $10 for shipping, and a required $3 for insuring the package, then I have to wait eight to twelve weeks to get it.  The DVD player only cost me $30 on Overstock. com.   So I got a new one.  This one has buttons that I can actually push to do stuff without the remote!  Yay!  I learned my lesson.  Now to do something about that TV with no buttons!

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