From Wonderful Day to Bewildered Haze

i really wanted this post to be just about a wonderful mother’s day, because last sunday was just that: a wonderful mother’s day. we spent part of the day visiting c’s mom then c got all three of our kids and some (not all) of their significant others to come over for dinner.

every time our kids are together i just marvel at how smart and funny and caring and thoughtful and opinionated and interesting they are. and how much i learn from them. and mostly, just how much i enjoy spending time with them. it’s great to see them mature and settle into their lives. my thoughts and actions now is for c and i to take good care of ourselves so we can spend as much time as possible with them all.

and then… monday came and along with it another f*&%ing computer equipment failure. yeesh!

this time some idiot drove their car into a utility pole and took down the electricity for about 2,000 households and businesses in our area. when the power came back on, the spike fried two of our network switches and knocked out the programming to our modem and router. in short, no internet.

wow, have times changed. without internet at work we can… um… or maybe… er, well, maybe we could or… in short, we can make phone calls to people who ask us to send them an email and take notes by hand (horror!) and fax stuff. pretty much back to the stone age.

i was able to diagnose the problem and then flounder around to try to find a solution, which was to call in some networking professionals. i know enough to replace the blown hardware but to reconfigure a network? not a chance. after watching two networking professionals and all the intense detail it took to interface with verizon, configure network settings and solve issues, i’m more convinced that before that this area is completely out of my league.

now, it took these guys five hours to get us back up, but in fairness to the technicians, they would have been able to finish their work in about three hours if not for the sd effect.

there are four men in our office, all of whom are fairly technically illiterate, not to mention severely handy-man crippled. yet, and always, when there is a technician or workman here in the office they each have to saunter out of their offices and pretend that they know something and attempt to engage the workmen in endless irrelevant conversations, which pulls them away from working the problem at hand. i call this the swinging dick effect. frankly, it drives me nuts. it wastes time and amounts to nothing except to make these guys feel like they are not the soft boys they really are. but hey, if they want to run up the bill by running up the technicians clock…

in short, my wonderful sunday turned into another monday from hell (which extended into tuesday this time).

i wonder if i we could avoid yet another computer catastrophe if i stay home on monday. it’s worth a shot.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Here Comes Your 19th PC Breakdown…

<img src="broken computer photo: computer computeronfire.gif” alt=”” />

back when we were held hostage to comcast for our cable tv, the service when out pretty regularly and one of the explanations was that the outage was due to sun spots. no lie. sun spots. i have since read that sun spots actually can disrupt electrical fields and could pose a problem to our devices, which in no way absolves comcast and rather just proves that they will pluck any story out of the news to explain their shitty service. btw, we have long since moved to fios and our service almost never goes out and i’m pretty sure there are still sun spots.

i bring this us because i’m searching for an explanation as to why my laptop suddenly went berserk to the tune of a couple hundred bucks and about five other people had the same thing happen to them around the same time and finally because i walked into work on monday to find the blue screen of death on my work pc.

now nasa is saying that we’re actually in a period of time when there are fewer sunspots which would lead me to search for another explanation as to why it seems that many of the computers around me are suddenly attempting suicide, or in the case of my pc at work, actually succeeding at suicide.

i guess suicide is a dramatic term for my work pc since only the hard drive failed. given that i work for three independent businesses who are all in investment and insurance, and run the overall office for yet another insurance and investment business, having a dead computer means i can’t do a single thing. and other people cannot scan/email anything because my computer acted as the server.

it also means that i’m the tech department. i have a tech resource that i can call to do some things, but not purchase and install a new computer.

so off to microcenter to pick up a new computer. now, my tech friends are wondering why i don’t just pop in a new drive instead of buying a new computer and to them i say, “you could volunteer to come out an pop in a new drive for me” but i’m going to take advantage of the situation and buy myself a computer i really want to replace the five year old one i had.

i did not purchase the last computer and i would not have purchased it because it was not robust enough to be used in an office environment but the person who purchased it didn’t bother to ask me for my input. the person who bought my last computer is constantly crashing his by clicking on all kinds of links that install malware, etc. on his machine and also still doesn’t know how to attach a document to an email.
over the years i have purchased and installed a fair number of computers at various businesses, but these days the process involves nowhere near the kind of agony it used to. of course i say that because i use a cloud based backup service and enterprise software and connect to a server through microsoft exchange. the tricky part is networking to the shared copier/fax/scanner, which i didn’t even attempt and instead called the it dept. at the company from where we leased the machine. trust me, it’s a damn tricky process that involves an on-line interface for which i don’t even have a login.

i now believe in planned obsolescence of these devices. isn’t it interesting that just about the time that there’s a new operating system coming out you start to see all kinds of failures on machines? alright, so “about the time” is a relative term since we’re talking about windows 10 and no one knows when that’s really going to come out, but still. oh, and don’t send me any of your cult comments about the almighty apple because the fact is that those machines are waaaaay to expensive and don’t play nice with the software and enterprise systems necessary to conduct our business.

personally, it’s not too far-fetched to believe that a windows update did something to fry a bunch of machines and a welcome side effect of that was a spike in new purchases. so i got my new smokin’ fast computer at work and all updated software, which makes up for the small agony of installing a new machine.

now if i can just get through the next few months without the other three office computers failing. trust me, installing a new computer for the guys i work for – that is people who stand over your shoulder and second guess or try to control or change every step of the installation when they haven’t a clue as to how the damn thing works — is an agony not even comcast could match.

Leave a comment

Filed under Business, computers, work

Where There is Love


the news has been filled with a lot of tough stories, what with all the strife abroad, the protests here at home and the natural disasters around the globe. but in the middle of all of that, we got a huge dose of “awwwwww…”

our daughter e and her boyfriend became engaged to be married. we knew that her boyfriend was going to propose to her because we spoke to him, like with did with our other daughter’s boyfriend, and told them they needed to come and speak to us before proposing. considering that both couples were already living together before they got engaged, asking for the boyfriend to come and speak to us was clearly an antiquated ritual. still, we clung to it because it gives us a chance to have a special moment with their boyfriend and officially welcome him into our family. we also get the fun of being in on a big secret and who doesn’t enjoy that?

e’s group of friends have this established ritual of throwing a surprise engagement party right after the engagement, so they were all poised for the big night last saturday. unfortunately, the party got a little too big to hold where it was originally scheduled, so it was moved to our house. it was a little hectic, but e’s friends brought food and drink and smiles.

what a happy, exciting night!

so now e and h begin the first tough test of their relationship: planning a wedding. so far they’re a good team, but we wouldn’t have expected anything less. it’s already interesting to see their ideas come together and in the end to see how they present themselves as a couple.

love is a beautiful thing. and when people you love express their love, well, life is more wonderful than usual.

sometimes a dose of love is all you need to put life in perspective.

1 Comment

Filed under family, Love, manners, marriage, Parent

Cyclical Failure

did you hear about the guy that shot up his computer? he had just had enough, took it outside and shot it full of bullet holes. reminds me of that scene from the movie office space where they take the printer out into a field and bust it up. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlk-3hps12q

though we’re not getting out the shotgun anytime soon, c and i are in a cycle of appliance deaths these days.

that’s the cycle where you bought new appliances around the same time the last time you bought them and now they’re all going bad around the same time… the choice is always whether to repair or replace, but it’s a guessing game as to how much the repair will cost and what percentage of a new purchase you’re willing to part with to repair of an old product.

the first one to go in our recent cycle was the clothes dryer. well, it was pretty much a no brainer that we would replace since we’d had the same dryer since 1986. we did have it repaired once in all those years and i remember that it was about 20 years ago and cost about $100. i would say that makes for an excellent track record. the popular meme is that new stuff is just not made like the old stuff. well, maybe not, but the new stuff certainly has a lot of new technology that makes it a whole lot better than a lot of the old stuff. our new dryer is nowhere near as hard on our clothes or our energy bill and it even has a steam feature that you can use to wipe out the wrinkles in the load you forgot and left in there for days. and as an extra bonus, having to make way for a new dryer forced us to have to completely clean up the entire area surrounding the dryer and toss out a lot of old stuff (like a pair of crutches or some calendars from 2000).

then my computer went berserk and you know the rest of that story. in that case the repair seemed like a better choice.

last night it was our range. c and i had been suspicious for a while that the oven was not working properly since there were times when it never came up to the programmed temperature or it seemed to take an unreasonable amount of time to get to temperature. last night it didn’t want to heat to more than 100 degrees and so we began the debate as to whether to repair or replace. you should know that c and i are both good cooks and bakers and people who strain the limits of a kitchen appliance. that said, we have also spent years dreaming of a larger high end range. problem is, that high end range will not fit in the space we currently have. it would be fairly easy to enlarge the space but then we would have to install a larger range hood to vent the range which would involve even more renovation and then… you know where this is all going.

in the end, we bought a new, higher end range with a lot more features than our old one. even in the 12 years since we bought the last range there have been enormous changes and upgrades that make cooking a lot easier.

i’m taking mental inventory and keeping an eye out for what might go next but so far the appliances that are left are either newer or not going to be replaced at all once they self-destruct.

and damn glad i don’t have a pacemaker.

1 Comment

Filed under advice, computers, technology

Longing for BC

sometimes i’d like to go back to a time bc. nope, not a time of dinosaurs or tribal rule or the beginnings of pottery or farming, hunting and gathering. some days i’d like to go back to pre-computer days – especially when my computer takes a dive.

remember when you didn’t have to think about protecting a piece of equipment from malicious intruders? remember when you didn’t have to download updates, recharge batteries, unplug in thunderstorms, backup drives, add memory, delete old files, etc., etc., etc.… on top of all the other life stuff you had to think about?

if you’re as old as me, you do. most of the time i think very little about my home computer, mostly because i use my ipad at home (unfortunately i am the tech person at work so i spend my days dealing with computer issues).

for no particular reason, my laptop decided to brick itself. it turned on and booted up but refused to do anything more than just that. i wasn’t too worried because i don’t use that computer for a whole lot and everything on it is backed up via a cloud based backup service and the files are also backed up on flash drives. still, the taxes were done and sitting on that computer waiting for me to file. i figured i was willing to pay about $200 to fix the issue and if that wouldn’t fix it, i’d just download the tax software again on another computer and pull in the file from the cloud backup then shop for a new laptop.

so, off to the computer repair place around the corner late saturday afternoon. after hearing my description of the issue, the guy assures me that they can clean up the problem and it will be ready by monday. he also gives me a price of $150 – $180. i tell him fine.

monday comes and goes and no phone call from the computer place. most of tuesday comes and goes and no phone call from the computer place. i call them. good news: there was nothing malicious in the system, just an issue with some corruption in the windows 7 operating system. they’ll wipe the drive and reinstall the operating system and i’ll be good to go by wednesday morning. but they’re only open from 9 – 5 so i can’t pick it up until late friday or saturday.

turns out c is leaving work early on thursday so he’ll pick up the computer on the way home. i call the computer place and let them know that he’s coming to pick up the computer and to please allow him to take it (because i think maybe they would be concerned about security and liability and all that). they’re not terrible concerned.

then they tell me the price for the work is $489. um, what?! no, no, no. we talked about $150 – $180. computer guy starts to argue with me and i argue back. he says he’ll call me back. when he calls back he tries to tell me that he talked to c about the price and i tell him that he’s full of shit since the only phone number they had is my cell phone #, which is with me all day.

half hour later, a different computer guy calls me back and he’s got a head of steam on him. he launches into recounting the conversation we had and how i talked about all the extra work i wanted done and how i gave him the go ahead and… i stop the guy and repeat that we never had a conversation because if we had, i would have told him that i would never have paid $489 for repair work and instead gone out and bought a new laptop.

a series of phone calls and conversations later, it turns out that the computer boys were talking to another woman with my same first name, my same laptop with the same windows 7 operating system issue plus plenty more issues. and she needed them to do a whole lot more set-up work than i needed. she was going to pay $489. or, she would have paid $489 but she had taken her laptop to a different computer place altogether on the same street (there are 3). yep. so they did more work on my laptop than authorized or necessary based on someone else’s say so.

they apologized profusely but then danced around telling me how they did all this work on my computer and it was a lot of time and… basically, they kind of wanted me to pay a higher price. you can imagine how that went over.

after some negotiating, we struck a deal that i would pay a little bit more for a small amount of extra work and they would stay open late for c to pick up the laptop.

computer guy said he had never had anything like that happen in the 20 years he’d been in business. i recommended that he institute some kind of receipt of ticket system rather than his current system of only taking down a name and phone number. funny thing to have to recommend to a guy who’s in the information technology business.

still, i’m thinking about sending the bill to microsoft for payment since i’m pretty sure that their operating system update caused the problem to begin with. i’ve even got evidence of another hp laptop with windows 7 that experienced the same problem at the same time. .. if only i could track down that other marge with the hp laptop.

4 Comments

Filed under advice, communication, computers

Pysankas and more

mslavin424:

Since it’s that time of year again, I thought I would repost this. The eggs are out and about in the house again, though I still haven’t solved the question of the best way to display them.

Originally posted on read. see. think.:

When I was little my mom started a collection of eggs for me. Unfortunately, I don’t exactly know why and I never asked, but I suppose it was just something for us to share. The first eggs were little Limoges porcelain eggs from France that a neighbor brought home after a trip to France. Then I got it in my head to collect an egg from countries around the world. I have quite a few but I haven’t added to the collection in many years and I struggle with where to put all the ones I have. I displayed some of them for awhile, but honestly, it just feels too fussy to have around, not to mentioned that it’s a pain in the neck to dust.

Still, this time of year I can’t resist taking the pieces out and enjoying their beauty and the memories associated with them. I share…

View original 435 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Spring


[in Just-]
by E. E. Cummings

in Just-

spring when the world is mud-

luscious the little

lame balloonman

whistles far and wee

and eddieandbill come

running from marbles and

piracies and it’s

spring

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer

old balloonman whistles

far and wee

and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and

it’s

spring

and

the

goat-footed

balloonMan whistles

far

and

wee

Leave a comment

Filed under gardening, seasons, spring