Posts Tagged ‘technology’

Surprise Or Not?

We didn’t have the technology when my kids were born but I still think that I would not have wanted to know the gender of my babies before they were born.

Doctors could sometimes tell the gender in an ultra sound but ultra sound was a fairly new technology then. I was told during my first pregnancy that the way they could tell I’m ultra sound was by the presence of absence of a uterus. Nowadays, the ultra sound is much more advanced.

My OB, at the time, had a reputation for “calling” the gender based on the baby’s heart beat during month 6 or 7. Of course, my babies heart rates were always right in the middle so no guess from my doctor.

I don’t think I would want to know, though. Nowadays, it seems everyone knows way before baby is born. I know it is economically good to know ahead of time and it helps in picking out names. But where’s the surprise?

Would you want to know? It still seems very strange to me.

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Audio books. Do you ever listen to them? By choice?

Years ago, well really decades ago, I used to drive from southern California to northern California by myself at least once a month and it was usually at night. The drive was a long one, about 6 hours. Just before one of those trips, a friend gave me a book on cassette that I could listen to on my trip. That was the start of a long relationship with audio books.

They relax me when I am driving. I can follow the plot as I concentrate on the drive. Nowadays, I listen to them on my phone through my Alexa app or my Audible app as I drive between my daughter’s house and my house. It’s only about a half hour each way but it does help pass the time and make me feel like I am not wasting the time. Sometimes I listen to a different book than the one I am reading but lately I have had my Alexa app read Kindle book that I am reading. I also listen to my books at night as I turn out the light and let Alexa read to me. Did you know that? You can have Alexa read your Kindle books! That’s kind of a bonus. I do that when I am really into a novel on Kindle but I need to be in the car or when my eyes get too tired to actually read.

It reminds me of my ex husband’s grandmother who was confined to bed and almost completely blind when I met her. At that time (the 70’s) we didn’t have all the modern technology so we used to borrow plays and musicals on records from the library. We would take them down to her and she would listen to them while in bed. She lived alone so the audio kept her company as she lay in bed, unable to read or move about the house.

Technology is sometimes a real pain but it serves so many purposes, many of which are unintended yet very practical and helpful to our every day lives.

Gotta run and listen to my book!

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The other day I mentioned that I don’t have internet and am using my phone as a hot spot to connect to the internet. Why? Because big corporations suck.

I’ve been with Comcast (Xfinity) since I moved to Oregon in 2008. They are the only internet company that services my area. Two blocks away I would have options but here, no! Last January they raised my rate to somewhere in the $50 range. Too much for me. For only internet. So I called them and talked to them for over two hours, different departments. In the end, they said I would be granted another two year contract at only $29 monthly. I agreed. Well, they never changed it. And because I was at my daughter’s house most of the time until the end of May, I didn’t realize that they had not lowered the price of my contract. After hours and hours of trying, I still could not get a real person on the phone. I managed to get a real person in a chat through Facebook book but they kept putting me on hold and an hour later some different person would come to the chat and I would have to repeat myself all over again. I kid you not, I followed the chat for THREE DAYS only to never get anything resolved. I was told through a number of organizations that I could get a senior rate. When I finally was able to talk to a real person in November, they told me they no longer had a senior rate. They extended my cutoff date until Christmas and put me into an escalated case file. They were supposed to contact me and straighten out the whole problem with charging me $65 a month instead of $30 and then put me on a reduced rate.

Well, they never adjusted my price. They said I did qualify for a low income rate of $10 per month. It would allow me a higher speed and a free router and modem. One problem. I cannot have been a Comcrap customer for three months. Isn’t that stupid? So now I am without internet for three months until I qualify as a new customer for the low income rate of $10. In the meantime, no internet.

I’m using my phone as a hot spot but I have to watch that I don’t go over the 6 GB limit. I also realized that if I download shows over my daughter’s wifi when I am there, I can come home and watch them here. So that’s what’s in store. As to accessing the blog and Facebook and anything else, I’ll have to use my phone’s data and my phone’s hot spot capabilities. I have unlimited data on my phone so that’s good but only 6 GB to use as a hot spot. So if I am able to manage it okay, I’ll survive until April when I can get the cheap low income rate. Of course, that leaves me without Alexa. I’ve come to rely on her. I have an Echo dot in almost every room. Because I fall so often, I have it set up so I can have Alexa call my daughter or the neighbor or 911. So hopefully, I won’t fall in the next three months.

Sometimes technology rocks. Sometimes it sucks.

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I´ve been off of there for so long. I´ve done no writing. And now I have a new Chromebook. So I have to learn the new Chromebook which is different from the old one and I have to learn the WordPress interface all over again. While I don´t look forward to it, I´m determined to do it because I have to get back to writing, for my sanity and health.

So I guess this is sort of a test. I started it an hour ago but I keep losing it and I cannot find my WP Dashboard to check for drafts! I think I´ll be trying to get this one post done for awhile. Then hopefully I can get back to writing new stuff in the next day or so. I´m a little reluctant because there will be some painful things to write. Those of you that are Facebook friends with me may know that my mom passed in late August and I have not been able to digest it or write anything about it. I need to. 

Until we meet again, or until I type again…

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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! 🙂  )

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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Whine: I got a new phone last week and spent hours finally getting it all set up on Monday then on Monday I tried to use the camera and it wouldn’t work. It took the picture but when I went to the gallery to view, there was nothing there but a grey frame. No picture. So off I went to the T-Mobile store where they couldn’t figure it out either. They did a factory reset for me and it started taking pictures fine. Whew! But then on Tuesday and Wednesday, it kept doing the same grey frame again so I spent three hours at the T-Mobile store on Wednesday afternoon getting a new phone. First they tried to do a warranty return but the phone is so new and selling like hotcakes so didn’t have any to to send to me from the factory and I was not willing to wait two weeks so they got creative and I finally walked out of the store with a new phone and the old/glitchy one wrapped up and ready to go to the UPS store to ship back to them. Yay. So last night I spent hours again setting up the new one. But that’s okay because this one is working fine and I love my new phone! Yay again.

Wine: Well, after spending all that time setting up the latest new phone last night, I was ready for some wine but it was about three this morning and I was not going to drink wine at that time so no wine. Maybe another night. No rush.

More: Well, there’s lots more but I will be brief. First, a note about April. I will once again be participating in the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. For those not familiar with it, bloggers set out to write a blog post for every letter of the alphabet during the month of April, posting each day Monday through Saturday with a day off on Sunday. This year April first is one Sunday so we will be posting on Sunday of the first week only. My them this year is What’s In A Name? I will try to write about a different character (fictional) each day. The posts will be in order with the name of the character beginning with A on the first and ending with Z on the thirtieth. Wish me luck! I think it’s going to be more of a challenge than I expect. So you might see some badges or headers with A to Z on them if I can figure out how to add them to the blog before the end of April! Ha!

And hurray for baseball! Today is opening day and I am looking forward to watching the game. I think I might be able to. I signed up for a free season of MLB TV through my phone carrier who offered it as a perk this week so if i can figure out how to log in, I will be watching the Dodgers play the Giants. That will be interesting because I grew up in San Jose which is major Giants territory but I root for the Dodgers because I lived in Los Angeles from 1978 to 2004 so I bleed Dodger blue! Let’s hear it for the Dodgers! Go team go!


And even more: After asking her several times, my primary care physician finally referred me to an endocrinologist for my diabetes. I saw him this week. I really liked him and he listened to me. I walked out of there with very thorough instructions on how to use the insulin as I had never been told how to use it. I was just told to use it and given a range of 10 to 17 cc with no word on when to take the 10 and when to take more. He ironed all of that out for me and told me how many cc to take for each gram of carb and also how to adjust the insulin if my blood sugar is high before I eat. Yay! It has only been one day but I am very happy with how it all worked out yesterday. He also doubled the amount of one of the medications I was taking and added another which is a once a week injection. So far I am beyond happy with this doctor. And the bonus: he wore a yellow shirt when I met him on Tuesday! (Yellow is my favorite color.)

I have so much to write that I haven’t been able to get to because there is always someone else needing my attention and/or I am not near my laptop. I have too much trouble typing on my phone to do an entire blog post beyond a picture post or just a paragraph or two so I don’t usually post by phone. Hopefully I will be able to put up a couple more posts before the April madness begins. Believe me, it will be tough!

So go out and enjoy baseball. Root for your team but don’t forget mine!


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I’ve had a couple of emotional days this week. It was the anniversary of my dad’s death, first one. And the day after it was my brother’s birthday which is always tougher for me than the anniversary of his death. So lots of emotions all bundled up with Mother’s Day.

You might recall that my cell phone died back in February and I resuscitated a very old Samsung Galaxy (3). That’s what I’ve been using. We finally figured out what we were doing carrier-wise so my daughter signed us up for new service and phones. I picked the cheapest phone, which after rebate, would be an out and out purchase price of $42. Not bad. But today I have been trying to set it up and it has been very frustrating because, although it’s nice, half of the storage space on the device is taken up by system files and carrier bloatware. So with only a fraction of my apps loaded on it, I only had less than a GB left, even after moving everything possible to the memory card. So that is not going to work, especially since this phone has to last me as long as maybe five years! So Thursday I have to go back in with my daughter to get it switched for the phone I really wanted but can’t afford. My daughter offered to get it for me! It’s a lot for her to pay so I will try to pay her at least for some of it but I am really excited about it! Yay. Let’s see if it happens, you know how things always get in the way of what you want. We’ll see. New toy! New toy!

Anderson and I are breezing through home schooling. This week I had him come to my house and we brought all his books. So with no interruptions, we are getting through four hours of course work in about an hour and a half to two hours…with a lengthy break included. Today we finished the last Math lesson for the year so I am going to have him play some logic games and do some computation sheets and money. I think Monday we will finish the P.E. course and the Science. Yay. That leaves some enrichment time and maybe some subject appropriate field trips. The end is in sight. Next year we are doing a different online academy that is run by a local school so it looks like it’s better. More contact with the academy staff and more personalized material and lessons.   Yay! Yay!

I think that’s about it here. At least for now.


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Today I am dealing with tech issues again as my phone died yesterday so today I have to update and set up an old phone so I can use that until I decide what I am doing with my cell service as I am changing providers within the next couple of months. So this is a good post to revisit for Throwback Thursday Link Party. I originally published it 8 moths ago!

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!


Visit the Throwback Thursday Link Party at Part Time Monster!

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I was going to blog about the Challenger explosion on its anniversary but instead, I will blog about something positive.

I came across a news story today. I don’t usually watch TV news because I don’t subscribe to cable or satellite. Instead, I bought one of those “military grade” antennas that is supposed to catch the digital signal and allow you to watch TV. I don’t life near enough to the TV stations telecast stations so I don’t usually get a good signal so I’ve pretty much given up on it. Lately, though, I found that if I tune it in early, I can catch the 4 pm news broadcast before I lose the signal. So when I think of it, I do that.

Today, I watched a story about a high school student who has recently gone through a bone marrow transplant and cannot physically attend school. She was adamant that she was going to graduate on time and keep in touch with her friends. She did not want to miss a moment of school. Her counselor approached the school district with Jaden’s story. The school district responded by investing in a Double Robotics system. This system is a Segway paired with an iPad. Jaden controls it from home, like one would control a video game. It allows her to move from class to class with her school mates, participate in class lessons and discussions, and even have lunch with her friends. It’s an amazing story. The unit cost the school district $3000 which is really an investment as it can be used by another student or even by a staff member, who cannot physically be in attendance. It can be used over and over again by multiple students and staff.

The story brought tears to my eyes. I encourage you to watch the news report that I watched to get a fuller sense of what an amazing piece of technology this is. I think every school district should have this as an option. For the relatively low price, it would bring such happiness and sense of accomplishment to so many. I really think all school districts should have at least one unit available. By the way, this story is so local that it happens to be the same school district that my grandson attends.


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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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