Category Archives: Technology

PC to Mac Panic Attack

Innocently Waiting

Innocently Waiting

Today was all set to be the “big day” when the Commander and I were going to forego our date night and tackle my new MacBook Air and get it set up.  Hopefully we’d get my email working on it, transfer over my contacts, get my favorite Web browser set up and migrate all of my bookmarks over to it and get the Mac plugged into our home wireless network.  So even before he’d headed out the door this morning, I thought I’d be brave and use it to just quickly check on an order up on Amazon.

What's that dern password?

What’s that dern password?

I woke it up and went to enter my computer password.  Oh, no!  It wouldn’t accept it.  Well…I had changed the initial password to a much simpler one and thought it had taken and stupidly erased the old password without making a note of it, just in case.  I couldn’t remember the old one for the life of me because it was one of those random ones that a password manager assigns.  Yikes!  Oh, just great!  I hadn’t even used my new Mac a half hour and already I was “persona non gratis.”

I grabbed my Samsung Chromebook and went to Google “what to do when you can’t remember your MacBook Air password.”  Oh, no!  My Chromebook battery had run down and it needed to be charged up.  It was dead in the water.  My HP computer hadn’t been logged into yet and that thing takes forever so I eventually just grabbed the trusty iPad and used Safari to find some aid.  Sure enough, I found what seemed to be some simple steps to follow.

The Commander headed for work and I cracked my knuckles and sat down in front of the Mac to give it a go.  I made it to Step 3 and then I froze.  The picture on my screen wasn’t matching the picture on the iPad.  I was so panicked that I’d break the darn thing that I decided to put in a service call to Apple and have someone walk me through it over the phone.

Thankfully, I got a very nice young lady who had switched from Windows to Apple herself several years ago so she understood my angst completely.  She soon had me up and running (well, limping cautiously).

What the heck?

What the heck?

 

In the meantime, I was waiting on a Windows computer which was on the truck and out for delivery today.  Yeah, I know.  It’s probably a little excessive, even for me but you see, I do a LOT of digital scrapbooking and the program that I use exclusively is a Windows-only

Always Something New

bloggerImage by altelaumbanua via Flickr

“My son once told me, “Mom, you love change.”  He was so right.  If I find myself locked into a situation or place or routine, I’ll often create chaos just to force change.  It’s how I’m wired. For example —

This morning, I was reading through one of my magazines and was intriqued by an article on a plug-in for bloggers called Zemanta.  It is available as a free download from their website or you can choose it as a gadget for Blogger, in my case, since this blog uses the Blogger host.  I’m sure it is available through WordPress, as well.  Now with Blogger, apparently gadgets are going to be discontinued when Blogger goes to a new format but Zemanta has already come up with a work-around for that.  You can install Zemanta as a browser extension and continue to use its features that way.

So what ARE its features?   Well, as you start writing your blog posts, Zemanta starts suggesting pictures that might go along with what you are writing.  You’ll see those pictures on the right in your “Zemanta Assistant” box.  You can hover over each one with your mouse and it will tell you the source and any copyright restrictions attached to it.  If you find one you want to use, just drag and drop it into your post.  I have to laugh, though.  Since Zemanta is scanning your writing and keying in on certain words, it can come up with some funny choices.  For example, since I wrote about liking “change,” this is one of the pics, it suggested.

Radical cheerleaders at a climate-change action.Image via Wikipedia
Radical Cheerleaders at a Climate Change Conference”

Yup, that would be me….dancing around as a “radical cheerleader” for change.  But wait, there’s more…..  Zemanta also suggests related articles that you might want to include at the end of your posts.  You can hover over them and see a short excerpt from each one with a “read more” link to click on if you want to go check it out before including the link in your post.  I’d highly recommend this.  Some of the blogs I visited were barely literate.  Others were quite helpful.

Zemanta also provides in-text links that you can pick and choose from.  How nifty is that?  I’ll be exploring more things that you can do with Zemanta in the future and will report back to you as I find new things it can do.  Stay tuned!

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© copyright 2012 – All rights reserved

Hot Flashed Funk

Curious As a Cat Monday

I stumbled across a nice little blog “meme” today that is called “Curious as a Cat” and features three different questions that you can choose from to answer in a blog post OR one picture that you can “show and tell” about, either saying what you think it is or what memory it brings to mind.  Well, I’m a sucker for fun activities and this one looked like fun.

Pug, my little Himalayan cat who has since passed over the Rainbow Bridge, seemed like a good pic to illustrate this  writing exercise so there he is, on the left.    In the meantime, I’ve just endured 2 hours of Fresca, the Wonder Dog growling and barking in my computer room as the air conditioning technician did a tune-up on our air conditioning for the season so I’m ready for some peace and quiet.  I also have the Commander at home today, first for the A/C guy’s visit and then later for a doctor’s appointment that he has and frankly, he’s driving me nuts.  He keeps on poking his head in the computer room.  I’m not used to having someone at home during a weekday.  It feels intrusive.  I like my privacy.  Goodness, whatever will I do when he retires?   But on to our “Show and Tell” photo:

When I first looked at this picture, I thought of chicken cages.  But after I looked at it for a few minutes, it reminded me of a World War II Army barracks filled with beds and THAT brought back a pretty vivid memory of my Army accommodations at my first Service School attended after my initial Basic Training.

It was back in the early 1970’s in Ft. Polk, LA and I’d been sent there for Clerk-Typist school, which violated the agreement of my contract for Air Traffic Controller School which is how I ended up at Ft. Benjamin Harrison in the Defense Information School for Broadcasting, but that’s a story for another day.  Back to Ft. Polk…..

It was mid-winter and I was assigned to an old wooden WWII barracks with an open sleeping bay filled with beds.  There was a meningitis outbreak going on while I was there so because our beds were in long rows and close together, we had to take certain precautions.  Every person alternated the direction that they slept.  In other words, if I slept with my head on the headboard end of the bed then the next girl had to sleep with her head at the footboard end of the bed and on it went down the line.  In addition, we had to rig up sneeze guards.  We did this by taking our sleeping bag covers and tying them from the top of the bedpost where our head was located and then angling them down to the bottom of the bedpost where our feet were (at mattress level) and tying them off there.  That way, if I should happen to sneeze while lying on my side, presumably any germs would go into the sneeze guard and not into the face (or feet) of the person in the bed next to me.  It was quite a sight to see.

The other memory of that barracks that I have is that it was incredibly cold.  The barracks were supposed to have been torn down but they were still being used and they were very drafty.  I don’t think the heat was turned on although it was January.  If it WAS turned on, it wasn’t working very well.  I would go to sleep at night fully dressed and wearing my fatigue jacket.  Some nights, I’d even have my gloves and a watch cap on, I’d be so cold.  I was never so glad to get out of a place, even if it meant heading to Indiana in winter.  At least I had heat at my next barracks.

If you’d like to participate in the Curious as a Cat meme, head over here and read all about it.

© copyright 2012 – All rights reserved

Hot Flashed Funk

Moody Monday: Nostalgic

Yearning to ditch the housework, the schedules, the worries.  Wishing it was as simple as grabbing my favorite toy and running outdoors to play.  Visit Moody Monday to see other bloggers’ interpretation of the week’s theme of Nostalgic through a photograph.

© copyright 2012 – All rights reserved

Hot Flashed Funk

I’m Back!

Just a quick word of explanation this morning.  You might be wondering if you’ve stumbled into a time warp.  My posts have jumped from 2008 to 2010.  And who is that baby I’m holding?  Well, if you’ve been a reader of my blog for awhile, you’ll know that at the end of 2008, I switched my active blog over to WordPress where it can be found here

I’ve enjoyed my time at WordPress but the creative side of me has been champing at the bit because my technical know-how just didn’t give me the expertise to do the creative things I wanted to do with my blog’s appearance.  Let’s face it.  Unless you know some programming and/or pay someone to do it for you, you have WordPress.com host your blog which means you are stuck with one of their templates which are pretty boring.   Every time I’d see a really neat-looking blog, it always seemed to be a blogger blog.

Which brings me back full-circle.  I’m slowly updating my blogger blog and will be posting from here now.  I doubt that I’ll figure out how to migrate all of my posts from WordPress back over to here so I’ll just make sure that there is a note back at the old address directing readers over here and vice versa.    Just hang in there as I “play” a little, getting things set up.  Oh, and that little munchkin in the photo?  That’s my first grandbaby…..Mikayla Joy, who was born this past December.   Doesn’t she look like a future knitter, for sure?

© copyright 2012 – All rights reserved

Hot Flashed Funk

Watch Me Text, Ma! No Hands!

I adore my iPhone.  I think I’ve mentioned that before.  And I’m always on the lookout for cool apps to put on it.  My latest discovery that I stumbled upon is a voice-to-text application called Dragon Dictation and even better, it is free.  Now I’ve never been a particularly fast typist on the iPhone.  I miss the correct letters more often than not and usually have to go back and correct my mistakes.  On the other hand, the Commander can text/type with ease, his substantially bigger thumbs flying over that little keyboard.  I don’t understand how he does it.  So when I saw that this program was free and read the reviews on it up in the iTunes store, I decided to give it a try.

Wow, it is pretty amazing.  I didn’t have to do any of the “training” that you sometimes have to do with other “voice-to-text” programs.  Right from the first try, it was uncanny how it got most of what I said right.  We did have a good laugh over the first text message I dictated, however.  What I said was “Hi, Rose.  Thank you for the gift.  I appreciate it.  Call me. Love, Dee”  Well, what the Dragon program “thought” I said was …….”Hi, Rose.  Thank you for the gas.  I appreciate it.  Call me.  Love, Dee.”   I guess that is something you wouldn’t want to text to your sister-in-law if you’d just come back from a dinner at her house.

My next attempt was much better.  I dictated an email to my brother and then one to my son.  You can see the one to my son on the right.  Except for the absence of some punctuation marks, it did great.  I wouldn’t hesitate to send that off to him……and that’s just what I did.

There isn’t really a learning curve to the application.  You punch it up on your iPhone and you see a little red dot on your screen which represents your microphone.  It tells you to “Tap here and dictate.”  When you do that, you are in the recording mode and you just talk until you are done and then you press “Done.”  It takes you to the next screen where it shows you what it thinks you said.  At that point you can either tap the icon on the left which brings up a keyboard for you to correct a particular word or you can tap the middle icon to record more, or you can click on the right icon to send it off.  You’ll have the option of sending it to email, to a text message, or to your clipboard at that point.  You can also cancel and just back out of the whole program.

I’m thinking that this is an app that I’ll be using quite a bit.  Oh, I should mention that when you first open it up and read the standard licensing agreement, it asks you if it can upload the names in your Contacts list.  You can opt-out at this point or let it do so.  The rationale for letting the names be uploaded is that you are most apt to be emailing or texting folks in your contacts and this way the program will have a better chance of recognizing and spelling the names you say.  It doesn’t upload any other information for any of your contacts other than their names.  If you are very concerned with doing this, just opt-out.

More iPhone Goodies

iPhone LifeI don’t know about you, but I’m always on the lookout for neat iPhone applications that I can put on my iPhone.  I found two applications that I’ll tell you about today thanks to the folks at iPhone Life.  If you haven’t checked out their website yet, you can get to it here.   These are the folks who are responsible for the great magazine iPhone Life.  By the way, if you have an iPhone and like to stay on the cutting edge of what’s new with your phone, you should check out their magazine.  I used to get my copy at our local big-name bookstore until I decided to take the plunge and subscribe.

But back to this website…..The iPhone Life website offers blog links devoted to all things iPhone, application reviews, breaking news about iPhone developments, tips, and the requisite advertising (but not the annoying pop-up stuff).  One feature you might want to take advantage of is their weekly email newsletter.  You can sign-up for it here.  I was reading the newsletter today and that’s how I learned about the two apps that are on my iPhone now.

AppClassicsOne of the newsletter articles talked about a site called App Classics.  I’m telling you, this site is great.  You can visit it here.  It shows you the most popular apps on the iPhone and ranks them.    You can click on an app’s icon and it takes you to a screen that describes the application. On that same screen there is a short video clip that shows the app in use.  That alone is a neat feature.  I will say that there is a disclaimer above each of the video clips that says basically that now and then the wrong video might load.  It happened once to me when I clicked on the video that was supposed to be showing the app If Found.  Instead I got some video where a fellow is showing folks how to upgrade their iPhone to a new network, or something like that.  Not a big deal.  I just went over to the iTunes store and found the app and read the reviews over there to make up my mind about purchasing it.

IMG_4720App Classics doesn’t show just the most popular apps.  It also lets you search by category and then has apps in each category.  Thanks to this site, I happened upon a nice little game called Blocked which they rank at #32.  It costs .99 which is more than worth it for this addicting little game.  I like my games simple but with opportunities to increase in difficulty levels, which this has.  You are basically trying to move the colored block over to one side of the screen, where it disappears and you get a whole new screen with another colored block and other blocks to maneuver around.

iPhone Background CategoriesThe other application that I decided to get for my phone was one called Backgrounds.  I took the time to watch the little video where an earnest young man did a fine job of demonstrating how it worked.  Looked simple enough with lots of choices available.  Backgrounds is a free app available at the iTunes store.  It features lots of high quality images that you can get for your wallpaper.  You can browse through the images by categories like “Popular” or “Recent” or other categories like those seen on the right.  Once you find one you like, it is super easy to select it, go to your Settings and set it as your wallpaper.

iPhone WallpaperI picked some nice Greek scenery for my current wallpaper since I’m rather partial to Greece.  After all, I met my hubby, “The Commander” in Greece and we were married in Greece.  Our marriage license is even in Greek.  Ah, fond memories.  So now, whenever I wake up my phone, I can relive those sunny days all over again with just a glance at my wallpaper……at least until I decide to change it to another pic.

I hope I’ve given you some leads in your search for iPhone applications, if you hadn’t heard of these sites before.  Guess I should say here that I’m not affiliated with any of the sites, companies, or applications in any way.  I’m just a girl who loves her iPhone.  Talk to you later!

Discovering New Firefox Add-ons

ScribeFire Blog Editor :: Add-ons for Firefox I was perusing the latest issue of Laptop Magazine (July 2009) and there was an excellent article in it on “10 Indispensable Firefox Add-Ons” by Kenneth Butler.  Since I use Mozilla Firefox as my browser of choice, I was quite interested to see what the article’s author would recommend.  ScribeFire is one add-on that is touted as helpful to the blogger.  It sits as an icon on your taskbar and then, as you are surfing the Web and you find interesting things that you want to blog about, you can bring up ScribeFire and be writing a post about what you are viewing and then you can post it to your blog without leaving the website.  It would appear that you can add pictures and do all of the normal editing that you would be able to do in Dashboard mode within WordPress (just as an example, since I use WordPress for my blogging).  I know that there are plenty of times when I am surfing the Web and come across things that I think might be of interest to my blog readers and this seems like it will be a good tool to use to fire off a quick blog post as I’m doing my surfing.

Read It Later: Save Your One Read Wonders The other tool that I decided to add to Firefox was Read It Later.  This handy little app gives you the ability to simply click on a little check mark on your address bar when you find something that looks interesting but you don’t have the time to really look it over right then.  The add-on saves the link for you and later, when you have more time, you can click on an arrow beside a little “book” icon and a drop-down list will appear with all the links that you have saved.  As you read them, you can mark them “read” and then have the option of saving them to various places like Delicious.  You can add tags to your saved links, making searching for a particular topic easier.  You can also access your unread pages across different computers or devices, such as the iPhone.  Another neat feature is that you can arrange to read your saved pages “offline”, a nice touch if you know that you will be offline for awhile.

If these sound interesting to you, you can click on the links I’ve provided and read more about them

Some New iPhone Faves

Jason and Laura wallpaperMan, I am still loving my iPhone.  Even my husband, one of the last of the holdouts for smartphones, is now a convert.  He has tackled the iPhone with the same fervor that he tackles new computer languages and has had more fun perusing the iTunes App store, looking for neat applications that will make his life easier.

iTV logoOne of the latest apps that he brought to my attention is a nifty program called i.TV.  This app has several versions but we are using the free version.  You enter your zip code and then pick the cable company system that you are using in your area.  From that, i.TV builds your TV viewing schedule so you can peruse what is available to watch each day on the different channels.  If something looks interesting, you can select the listing and then read a synopsis of the episode, see a listing of the credits, and read or write a review of the episode.  There even is a gallery of pictures offered for the different shows.  Sometimes there are bonus clips, previews, and different episodes available to watch on your iPhone.

iTV My Favorites ScreenAs you are looking through the different shows (there is a nice “Search” feature, too), you have the option of picking it as a Favorite by “thumbs-upping” it.  You can do the same for channels, as well.  This creates a customized My Media section where you have Shows, Channels, Actors, Movies, and even local theaters stored.  My husband was playing around with i.TV on his phone and he said it looked like you could even purchase movie tickets to local movie theaters from the app.  I haven’t tried it so can’t confirm this.  Another totally cool feature is that you can link to your Netflix account and check out your queue.

iTV Torchwood ScreenOf course, I’ve had Torchwood as one of my faved shows and I am totally on Cloud Nine that it is coming back on this week for a five-episode mini series.  Doing a quick check of “My Media” on i.TV I discovered that there is a “pre-show” starting at 8 p.m. on our cable network to discuss the making of the mini series.  I’m sure glad that I have this info because I’m going to be out for a meeting that lasts until 8 tonight and my hubby was planning on Torchwood starting at 9 p.m. tonight.  I would have been sick if I’d gotten home and discovered that I’d missed most of the preliminary show.  Now I can email him this afternoon and tell him to be sure to fire up the DVD-R so I can watch it as soon as I come home.

I found another iPhone fave this morning.  We all probably use our own photos for wallpaper on the iPhone or some iPhone New Wallpaper Screenare probably still using the wallpaper choices that came with the iPhone.  Here is a website that has some very cool free wallpaper for the iPhone.    Go over to PSD Fan and check out the 25 beautiful wallpapers offered there.  Here is one of my favorites.

Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda!

Handspun Yarn 007I returned from Texas on Saturday armed with a fresh appreciation of those cooler Northeastern temperatures and bearing a fresh batch of baby shower pictures on my digital camera.  It was wonderful spending time with my daughter-in-law and her family but it was also good to be back home.

On Sunday afternoon, I hunkered down at the computer to do some photo editing.  I don’t know about you, but I can get lost for hours working on my digital photos in the scrapbooking software that I use.  There were some great shots, too, of Laura at her baby shower.

I took a little break mid-afternoon and was reading in the living room when I heard a loud buzzing coming from the back of the house.  I followed the sound back to my computer/craft room.  It was coming from my external hard drive.  Hmmm!  I thought maybe it was just vibrating and wondered if it wasn’t sitting entirely flat on my desk.  No!  All seemed to be in order.  I tried putting the laptop to sleep.  Didn’t make any difference.  So I yelled for my hubby, the computer guru and went back to my book.  However, he was in there for quite a long time…..not a good sign.  In fact, he made several trips up and down to HIS computer room which also didn’t bode well.  Finally he announced that my hard drive had crashed.  Crashed?  As in, kaput?  Yup!

I’ve never been sucker-punched but I kind of think I know how it must feel.  Friends, all of my photos were stored on that hard drive.  When I had made the switch to a laptop, I had decided not to clutter it up with memory-hogging photo files and had purchased a high-capacity external drive to hold my photos.  My photo scrapbooking software has a “Memory Vault” which we had mapped to the external hard drive.  It also had built-in reminders to back up my photos.  We did back them all up when we first set up my laptop and it took most of the day.  Subsequently, I had been lax about backing up more recent photos and the last message I had ignored had said something about “3800 photos needing to be backed up.”  Yikes!

Yesterday we took the hard drive to the Geek Squad at Best Buy to see if they could recover the data.  Nada!  So we agreed to have them send it off to their lab to see if the lab would have any better luck.  Just in case you’ve never gone through any of this, the cost for data recovery is incredibly high.  Think “I could buy another computer for the cost of this” high.  So we’ve only authorized them to try data recovery at the first (cheapest) tier.  It will be about a week before I’ll know if they are able to retrieve my photos.  When we came home, we checked the laptop and found that all of the digital scrapbook pages that I had been working on had, by some lucky fluke, been saved to my laptop so I was able to back those up to DVDs.  I also have some of the more recent photos saved to my picture folders on my laptop but they are lower pixel quality since I sent them there in anticipation of posting them to Flickr or Facebook and didn’t send them in their highest quality format.

Lesson learned?  Back up everything frequently.  My brother goes so far as to back up files and photos to an external hard drive which he then unplugs and keeps in a fireproof safe.  If his house burned down, theoretically he’d still have his data.  In this Digital Age, it is wise to have duplicate copies of everything.

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