He must have learned in the womb

I let Graham touch my laptop for a bit this evening, and he found every neat shortcut there is.  No kidding, this 15-month-old taught me the shortcut to turn on airplane mode, the shortcut for zooming in and out, and how to make the desktop show me all my open windows using a pinching motion on the screen.

He’s a natural.

You can’t make this up

Yesterday, I shipped my laptop off to the office for a stupid reason.  Truly, it is the dumbest reason a laptop has ever had to be shipped somewhere in the history of shipping laptops.

I have to ship my laptop back to the office so that IT can…..reset my network password.

Yes, my password, the one that I reset just a few weeks ago (DEFINITELY fewer than 90 days ago), no longer works when I try to log in to my laptop immediately after booting it up.  Why?  I don’t know.  No good reason, I’m sure, since it worked last week.  IT says try my previous password – it should work.  Well, that would be great, but since I haven’t used that password since I changed it WEEKS AGO and I don’t write down my passwords BECAUSE I BELIEVE IN PROTECTING MY PASSWORDS, I don’t have the faintest clue what it was.

Oh, IT can’t change my password remotely?  Of course they can’t.  It’s not like we have several people working remotely full-time now.  Sure, it makes perfect sense to set up a computer in such a way that it has to be on the network to change the password, but you can’t get to the part where you can change the password unless you’re on the network.

So off I went to ship my laptop back to the office.  To make it go a little quicker, they suggested I ship it to the Utah office instead of the VA office, since it ought to get there from Oregon faster.

You know what they’re going to do with my laptop once they get it?  They’re going to turn it on, log in, change my password, shut it down, and ship it back to me.  It’ll take 3 minutes, max.  For that, I’m without my work laptop for 4-5 days.

To top it off, I checked my tracking number this afternoon and found that my laptop is in Indianapolis.  Uh huh.  Apparently, the fastest way to Utah today is through Indiana.

Who knows when I’ll get it back…

Nearly time

I need a new laptop.  I’ve needed one for a while, but it’s not urgent.  There are other things to focus on.  But the time for a new laptop is creeping steadily closer.  I want a small one (11 inches?  13?  Definitely not 15, and I don’t want a netbook.), it has to have a camera, a full keyboard, and it has to be fast.  Not difficult, right?  It’d be nice if it had more than one USB port (my little work laptop only has one), but I can get around that.  There are lots of little USB hubs out there (like this one – it even comes in different colors!).  Oh, I have to not hate the touchpad.  I hate the touchpad on my work laptop so much I refuse to use it.  I take a mouse and mousepad everywhere I go with that laptop.  I like the touchpad on my personal laptop, so I know they exist.  Must find one.  I don’t think I’m asking much.  I just need to actually shop for it.  Which I’ll do someday.  My poor pretty pink laptop is slowing down.  I can’t even upgrade the version of Linux I’m running because my graphics card is out of date.  I think it’s only 6 years old, but apparently that’s just too much oldness.  Too much age.  I’ll have to put it out to pasture and replace it with a younger, faster model.  I’m sorry, pretty pink laptop.  I still love you.

Frequently? Or a person who has lost his parents?

Corrupt orphans screwed with my computer last night.  For reals.  They were obviously upset with Michigan State Senator Bruce Caswell, who recently proposed that money set aside for clothes for Michigan’s foster children should only be spent at thrift stores like Salvation Army and Goodwill.  (Story here, courtesy of (and with commentary by) Nancy Nall.)

I’m not kidding about the corrupt orphans, though.  I tried to boot up my computer this morning, and it got stuck.  I called my handy live-in IT guy to fix it.  He helped those poor orphans out.  Very competent, that guy.  I think I’ll keep him around.

You should be so proud of me.  I just got back from a long walk with dogs and started dinner.  Dinner will only take ten minutes,  but I’m hungry NOW and I want to munch.  To graze.  To eat food high in calories and not good for me.  Like those candy-coated chocolate eggs that are my favorite Easter candy ever.  Or chips.  (Not as exciting, but STILL.  Chips.)  I resisted the urge and reached instead for – wait for it (this is where you should be proud of me) – baby carrots.

I’ll wait for the cheers and applause to die down.

Thank you.

Yes, instead of pounding down delightfully tasty treats with no nutritional value, I’m chomping on crunchy orange CUTE little carrots, chock full of vitamins and other healthy things.  They only occasionally remind me of toddler fingers.  Or my own thumbs.  Not at all disturbing.

Possibly the last post about getting rid of cable. I promise. Maybe. Probably.

You know, the cable company sucks.  It doesn’t matter which cable company.  They all suck.  I really don’t get how they get away with being the only game in town.  How can there not be competing cable companies in every neighborhood?  How is this not a monopoly?  Anyway, I called to cancel our service today, all excited that our cable bill is about to drop by $120, only to find out that internet by itself costs more than internet with cable.  Why?  Because.  Sure, it’s only $15 more than I was expecting to be paying for internet only, and yeah, that’s hardly anything, and yes, we’ll still be saving $105 dollars a month (except it’s really $100 because the cable modem costs $5 a month to rent, and yes, I know, we could buy one), but come ON.  Why be a jerk about it, Comcast?  Why put your surliest guy on the phone to handle downgrades and service discontinuations?  Do you expect your customers to come back when that guy is the last experience we have with you?  Or do you just write us off and expect to drum up new customers every time somebody moves in?

Oh, that’s exactly what you do?  Right,  ’cause there’s no other cable company in town.  Right.

But, hey, you know, whatever.  I’ve got my internet and I can watch ALL my shows right there, whenever I want.  Take THAT.  (Where “THAT” equals the money I give you every month so I can keep my internet.  Maybe I should stop yelling at the cable company.)

Sunday nights suck

Sunday nights should be abolished.  Sunday night means you have to start thinking about work again, about getting to bed early enough to get a good night’s sleep, what are you going to wear tomorrow, what time do you have to get up in the morning.  When you’re traveling for work, it means making sure the laundry’s done and you’re all packed.  When you’re still in school, add did you do all your homework to that list of things to fret over.  You can have the most relaxing, most wonderful, most fun weekend EVER and still have it be ruined by Sunday night.

Maybe it’s Monday that should be outlawed.  Or work.  Or stress.

The computer-as-TV plan is working great, by the way.  I want a wireless keyboard, small enough to fit in one of the coffee table drawers (no more than 16″ wide), and a wireless presentation-type mouse (like this), so we can control the computer without a  mouse pad.  You know, like a remote.  I need to do a little shopping.

The windows are open, and I can hear the rain on the roof over the porch.  If this keeps up, it’s going to be really hard to get out of bed tomorrow.  Of course, if this keeps up, I won’t be running, and I’ll get an extra hour in bed anyway.  I know what I’m wishing for.

We’re THIS close…

…to cancelling our cable.  Like maybe on Monday.  Our computer arrived yesterday, in parts, and we put it together tonight.  Had to solve a few puzzles, but once we did, John hooked it up to the TV, turned it on, and we started seeing computer-type things on the screen!  Woohoo!  John will load Linux on it tomorrow (not sure yet which version), and we’ll be all set.  So totally awesome.  Now I just need to order a presentation-type mouse.  Those are cool.

Down with cable!  Except for internet.  I like our cable modem.  Down with cable TV!


Mom has laptop troubles.  Mom eventually has troubles with each laptop she gets, but this one is weird.  She was connected to the internet this morning, and when she came back, she wasn’t. John and I spent a couple of hours over the course of the evening on the phone with Dad, trying everything we could think of. We don’t have Vista running on any of the 5 dozen computers here (I may be exaggerating), so that made it a little harder, and we eventually (it didn’t take that long) resorted to Google. And that reminded me of this www.xkcd.com comic:

This isn’t exactly how it goes when our parents call us for technical help, but it’s close, and it makes me laugh every time.  Anyway, we weren’t able to get her connected again, but we’re pretty certain we could have if we were local.  I say we, but at this point in the process, it would really be John.  Funny flowcharts aside, we like being the go-to tech experts in the family.

Writer’s block?

Is it really writer’s block if you’re so drained you can’t come up with any thoughts?  Probably not.  I’m sure I could think of something if I’d taken a nap today or something.  Seriously, thinking is hard.

I’m several days late posting pictures from the 10-miler, and I’m almost too lazy to get the camera off the island and plug it in.  Wait – I am exactly that amount of lazy.  I remembered I’m running linux, not windows, and I haven’t tried to connect my camera since that change.  Now don’t get the wrong impression – I’m not afraid of troubleshooting any technical problems that might come along (where troubleshooting = appealing to Google for help and then asking for John’s help if I’m still stumped), but I don’t have the energy to face those as-yet-hypothetical problems.  Have I mentioned I’m worn out?  On the plus side, my new shoes are working out.  The balls of my feet feel a little sore at the end of the day, but it’s the kind of sore that will go away as I get used to the shoes.  No pain in my poor pinched toes like with the last pair.

I’m bad at endings.

(See what I did there?)

Cleaning up

So now the bathrooms are clean, the guest room beds are made, and upstairs is vacuumed.  I still need to clean the windows and dust.  At work (need I say it was another long day?), I basically cleaned out my entire desk.  I threw out what I could, but everything worth keeping is important enough to actually have with me in the training classroom.  So it all came home with me today.

I’m meeting Jess and Chuck around noon tomorrow in Chantilly, but there’s stuff I need to do first.  Sounds like I need a list.

  1. Lord & Taylor is having a shoe sale.  I could go on Sunday, though.
  2. Buy a laptop bag (for work) at Staples.  I’ve found the one I want.  That can wait until Sunday, too.
  3. Get my car washed, inside and out.  I think the place I go is closed on Sunday, so I have to do it tomorrow.  I’ll be carpooling next week, so my car should be in good shape.
  4. Dust.
  5. Clean the windows.
  6. Go to the grocery store.  I don’t even know what I need to get yet, but I won’t be able to feed Jess and Chuck if I don’t go.

At least I’m not traveling yet.  If this were the last weekend before all the travel, I’d be way more anxious and making many more lists.

My computer, thanks to John, is now running perfectly with its new hard drive and shiny new Fedora operating system.  And I get to use my pretty pink laptop with the nice keyboard.  (It’s really a pleasure to type on this keyboard.)

I think the condition of the house has been holding me back.  A half-clean house, so close to being mostly clean, makes me feel like I’m more in control of how and when I exercise, what I eat, and how I feel about myself.  You know?  If the house is clean, then I’m successful, and I have more energy and more enthusiasm for exercise.  But we still have too much clutter.  How do we get rid of all this crap?

I must be crazy

Am I an optimist or an idiot?  I know which one I felt like this evening.  I had two days’ worth of evidence that going to work early was not going to mean I could leave early, but I decided to give it another try.  I was at work by 8am today.  Again.  It was almost 6pm before I left, and I worked through lunch.  (Like I usually do.)  So I’ve officially given up.  Or, according to Einstein, I’m insane. Of course, my schedule changes completely starting on Monday, so it hardly matters.

Man, that was negative.

My hard drive arrived yesterday (yay!), so I installed it when I got home.  That part was ridiculously easy.  It shouldn’t even be called an installation.  I unscrewed the old one and screwed the new one in.  Done.  Of course, I was still missing an operating system, but John downloaded Ubuntu for me last night and burned it to CD, so I popped it into the CD drive .  And ran into errors.  Pages and pages and constant scrolling of errors.  John came home, burned me a new CD, ran into more trouble, and has spent much of the evening trying to figure out why I can’t install Ubuntu on my laptop.  Eventually, he gave up.  I just watched him install Fedora instead.  I’m installing Linux; I really don’t care which version.

Heh.  John just named my computer Flyza Minnelli.  (Do you watch Modern Family?  You should.)

Allergies suck. And blow.

Who likes to get to work early and then work late?  I do!  (Brown noser.)  And my throat hurts.  I’m pretty certain I can blame this on allergies and the change in the weather.  But it SUCKS.  So much.  And even when the ibuprofen is working and my throat only hurts a tiny bit, it hurts a lot when I sneeze.

Enough of that.  I spent about half of today reminding myself that it wasn’t Friday.  I thought yesterday was Thursday, too.  But tomorrow really IS Friday, and that’s nothing but good.  John is running the error checking/scanning thing I couldn’t find the other day on my poor broken laptop, but it looks like it froze in the middle of it.  So much for that.

(My throat hurts when I yawn.  What’s up with that?)

I have nothing internet-y to share with you today.  I’m sorry.  What with getting to work early and then staying late (and actually working the whole time) and then making dinner and spending some quality TV time with John, I haven’t had time to play on the good old interwebs today.  My plan for the next 12 hours is to take my medicine, go to bed with water and ibuprofen nearby, prop myself up on several pillows, and hopefully wake up tomorrow morning with a relatively clear head and non-scratchy throat so I can run.  It’s been several days.  Oh, the humidifier.  Can’t forget to set up the humidifier.

Good news!  Tomorrow’s pollen forecast is low.  Hope it stays that way.  I don’t want to have another of those springs.

Computer hell

Okay, that’s an exaggeration.  It’s not THAT bad.  I have several computer options besides my own laptop.  Could be worse.  Anyway, as I think I mentioned yesterday, my computer crashed on me twice last night.  It did it again this morning, and then one more time when I booted using Ubuntu to see if it was a Windows problem.  Clearly not.  And Ubuntu gave me a message that said my hard drive is failing and it has bad sectors.  That’s what I remember, anyway.  I can’t say for sure because it crashed.

I tried to run a scandisk thing John told me about, but I couldn’t find it, so I called Dell Technical Support.  It took me a while to get through to a person, but once I did, she was very nice.  She told me that I’d already done most of the troubleshooting she was going to suggest (I told John.  He said, “You’re welcome.”), so the next thing to do is run Dell’s built-in diagnostic tool.  She told me how to do that, told me that it might take a while, and suggested I call back once it’s done and I can see what errors are found.  If no errors appear, I need to look at the operating system again.

I hung up the phone and ran the test.  I got an error almost immediately about not being able to detect the microphone board, but I’m pretty sure that’s not my problem.  The next error came under the “Hard Drives” heading.  It said,

Msg: Error Code 2000-0146

Msg: Unit 1: DST Log contains previous error(s).

My first thought was “HOLY SHIT!  Daylight Saving Time is screwing with my hard drive!”  And just this afternoon I was gushing about how much I love Daylight Saving Time and all that lovely warm sunlight in the early evenings.  Traitor.

I called Dell Technical Support back and read the message to a new very nice woman.  She told me I need to replace my hard drive.  Yeah, I get that, but what does it mean? I repeated my Daylight Saving Time theory to her.  She laughed.  Then she apologized for laughing.  (I forgave her.  I laughed, too.)  And then she told me that it means one of the disks on the drive is damaged.  It either can’t read or can’t write.  (Poor illiterate disk.)

Since then, I’ve googled the error message and found out that while I can probably manage to use this hard drive for a little while (I can try to make it stop using the bad sectors), it’s on its way to total failure, so I might as well replace it.  It’s not that expensive.  And DST stands for Drive Shelf Test.  Whatever that is.

So I need a new hard drive.  In the meantime, I have options.  But I’ll miss my pretty pink laptop.

ETA: This mustard is awesome!

My computer hates me

Today was very frustrating.  We were both working from home (and the working part provided half the frustration, but that’s all I’m going to say about that), and when I booted my laptop this morning (my personal laptop, not my work laptop), I discovered a virus.  And not just any virus.  This was a monster virus that hijacked every program I tried to run.  I couldn’t open a browser, I couldn’t run any .exe files, I couldn’t do anything.  With John’s help (and the help of the internet via my work laptop and John’s computer), we were able to use the system restore feature to go back to last night, before the virus, and then get rid of it.  But it took HOURS.  John took the opportunity to blame Windows for this security failure and has me seriously considering installing the easiest version of Linux.  As long as I can open most documents and get to the internet, I don’t really care what operating system I use, so I’ll probably at least try it.  If I actually make it to the office tomorrow and the next day, though, it’ll have to wait for the weekend.