Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘computers’

1
Nov

Who Needs Punctuation??? (Yes–We Do!!!)

Punctuation is one of my most favorite topics.

I regularly yell at signs posted on businesses along the roadway who declare such comments as WE HAVE WATERMELON’S TODAY.  Or worse yet SUNDAY SERVICE’S, or even… 4 SAIL SHOE’S.

Yep, the culprit–misuse of apostrophe’s.  (Yes I spelled it on purpose…just sayin’.)

Wrongly spelled words bug me.  Especially when  posted on a SCHOOL sign!!!   Once I actually did a wheelie and turned around to go into a school and discuss their spelling… CORNGRADULATIONS!!!  OK, I didn’t even see the “corn” part of the word.    The school principal and a teacher happened to be in the office when I entered (yes, I really did!) and I explained the error on the sign.   They blithely explained that the sign was advertising a Fall wing-ding of some kind, and that the “CORN” was a pun.

So I explained…it is the GRAD part that is in error.   It was supposed to be “congraTulations.”

Blank looks… “oh,” said one of the educators… “I missed that.”    The luke-warm response only echoed their shocked expressions….ALSO–they did not seem to “get it” as when I passed later in the day the sign had not been corrected.

I love punctuation, especially elipses (the little line of three dots) and I try not to confuse them with dashes–,  or with parentheses.    English teachers and college professors are always so serious and narrow-minded about such things.

When I graded students’ papers I usually noted misplaced punctuation or corrected it…on the premise that since it was a History exam, dealing with something like the Sedition Act for example, it was over-kill to expect proper spelling and grammar.  Some of my fellow teaching assistants leaned heavily on bad commas or misspelled words… I just clearly wrote the word Sedition over their “Cedision” or other invented word.    One said he never counted or even marked bad spelling because he was not a very good speller himself, and usually didn’t notice.

I love exclamation points!!! and don’t ya love question marks ???  CAPITALS, italics, bold, color, ♥, or ℘ (which is the symbol for Weierstrass p (in case ya ever need it…one never knows!!!) NOTE: on the WordPress editing page the symbol to bring to your fingertips (I guess every one in the world?) is the  Ω .   It’s on the chart by the indent keys on the second line.   DISCLAIMER: I’m going to quit while I’m ahead there…it’s not at all confusing if one knows what they are looking for, but a little voice is whispering to me that I’m getting dangerously close to silly.  

Seriously, this is really a wonderful collection,  and one I would have welcomed when writing in Spanish.  There was a way to manually “build” a system of characters into a regular WordPerfect set-up, and I did so…and I could use the normal keys for adding accented vowels by using the CTRL key (or other)  and capital and lower case letters.   Also the ñ Ñ ¿ ¡ and
others.   This was very convenient when working with these characters.    The trick worked on the computer keyboard, and when I got a new computer I’d have to re-set my shortcut system.

Yes, this WAS before Word was even a twinkle in Microsoft’s eye.   WordPerfect was the industry standard, and the word processing system required by Cleveland State U, and which we were able to learn in the CSU computer lab free of charge.  Prior to WordPerfect I had used WordStar, which was an excellent system that came with early home computers.  I have written about that elsewhere, if anyone is interested.  https://mumbletymuse.wordpress.com/2015/01/26/rise-of-the-machine/

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/by-the-dots/”>By the Dots</a>

25
Oct

How Did We Live Without our Cell Phones?

I have five great-grandchildren, and they all have tablets and cell phones…albeit the cell phones are under supervision.  They range from 10 to 2 1/2, and the older four are proficient in computer skills (at least on a basic level, two of the kids are seven years old.)     The youngest, for obvious reasons does not have a tablet, or access to cell phone use.

Their parents are my grandchildren, all in their 30s.  I have a photo of the oldest, at five years, sitting at my good old KayPro II (my first computer) typing away.

No, this isn’t me bragging about my grandkids…it is a treatise on Children and Computers in general.   I’m not trying to say that ALL kids everywhere have their own tablets, or even access to them…not even at school.    The point I am trying to make is that although it is still the dawning (or maybe the sunrise) of the digital age– and certainly children in certain world societies and/or economic levels have greater exposure to technological break-throughs than others–kids do have access to computers and methods of learning and teaching have changed drastically since “WE” (whoever we are) were kids.

In fact, if I may state the obvious, there are areas in the world that still do not have running water, inside toilets, or electricity.  I won’t even go into the issues of politics, availability of education, nor launch into a discussion of poverty-vs-wealth.

There is much discussion about the extent to which children who are not exposed to technological gadgets are deprived.

I will be the first person to admit that the internet is…well, GREAT (to lack a more expansive superlative) and agree that everything anyone could ever possibly want to know is available online.   This is excellent.  Research possibilities for students of all ages are phenomenal…just enter a key word, and PRESTO! there is a wealth of information.  The downside to this is that although there are internet bibliographies, endless links to endless sites, one of the negative aspects is that there is no extraneous information to “discover” along the way of the search.

A good example is The Dictionary.  Remember the clunky old book we dragged around, and laboriously searched the pages for a certain vocabulary word.  Sure, the word was there (usually, if we had a clue about how to spell it,) but half the fun…or torture…of searching for our destination word, was the bonus appearance of other words popping up during the search.

Unfortunately, now that they have the internet dictionary…the paper dictionaries are becoming obsolete in some places.   Please excuse me for being an old-fashion English teacher–which I’m not, exactly….but I maintain that the old dictionaries, and other research tomes, and the endless reference books on the library shelves can’t be replaced with a quickie visit to a dictionary.com site.

But, having said that, I admit to being something of a luddite, (one of those guys that smashed up the new machines because they saw them as taking away jobs) and its quite possible that I don’t know everything about the subject. (Quite likely in fact.)

One more thing…sobering, and widely believed to be impossible, or at least improbable, is that an artificial storage method can fail…power sources can fail.  That’s a worst case scenario, of course, but we all know Murphy’s Law: that anything that can go wrong…will.   I think that it is risky to try to put all of human knowledge online, at the mercy of  cyberspace a la 2001 Space Odyssey.

At the risk of being annoying, I did not know how to spell Odyssey, and didn’t want to leave the post I’m writing and go to a dictionary site…so I used a Latin dictionary.   I’m not sure what the point of this paragraph is, except that it illustrates my insecurities about online-posting…it is too easy to lose a post when I leave to snoop around online.  That wouldn’t happen with a paper dictionary, except that I can’t find mine.

Sigh… the moral here is the old saw: “…don’t do as I do, do as I say.”

25
Oct

RE-BLOGGED: Should we try to Auto-Correct Humanity In This Strange And Lonely New World?

[This excellent post by Steve is so good, in my opinion, that I would like to take this opportunity to re-blog here on Sometimes, with an accompanying post of my own in a separate article, which will be published later today.]

19
Sep

What Do Readers Really Want?

So far I’ve published 105 posts, covering all kinds of subjects from poison ivy to politics.

Hmmm…do I see a pattern here?   Just kidding.  Poison Ivy is real and annoying, and Politics–surreal and ridiculous sometimes.

I’ve written about myself…mostly adventures and quirks.   Other posts featured butterflies, Cuba, TV shows, Will Smith, the Aztec Calendar, and the Word Police.   Even after studying the list of posts, I am still at a loss to say what my readers really want.  Articles that I personally like are almost never the ones that Readers like….or at least leave comments about.

Computers, specifically my personal love/hate relationship with  the “machines,” seems to be something a lot of readers relate to.  I think this is due to the us-against-them attitude most of us have.  Most readers, as most writers, use computers these days.   Few comments (or posts for that matter) are of the type of people that are embarrassed to say they love computers…or for that matter make the ridiculous claim — “I am not computer literate and proud of it!”   Or even more idiotic–“what would I do with a computer?  I have no use for one.”   This last comes regularly from acquaintances–and relatives or occasional friends–who actually in real life would get the MOST out of surfing the net and communicating with friends and family on email.

Well, ok—I should talk.   I resisted getting rid of my wringer-washing-machine, and had “no use” for a microwave oven.   That lasted for about two minutes each (20 years apart) before temporary sanity took over.

Now and then I post a politically-oriented comment.   I admit to having strong opinions, and like my Grandma Myrtle,”– always have something to say.”   OK.  I admit it.  I am as Abe Lincoln would say “four score and one years old.”   (I don’t want that silly “young” applied.)    I am an Historian, specifically Latin America, and United States History.   My degrees and advanced study qualify me to comment on historical matters, in my humble opinion.

I have had very few, if any, comments to my political posts.  Other current events are also things I post about now and then.   But these are usually not the posts my readers comment about.

I love to write about and post photos about lighter issues–like my garden, and my great-grand-kids.   Flowers are especially popular–and I do understand why.  My own favorite blogs and posts from the people that I follow, are travelogues, adventures in wild places that I can no longer hope to visit, and the flowers, birds, trees, sunsets, miscellaneous subjects.

Raising children….I no longer have any young children that I am personally responsible for.  My grandkids have kids, and they do a fine job of raising them.  But I LOVE the mom’s who write about daily adventures raising their children.  These blogs have stories and issues that I can personally relate to–even back in the day.   Being a Mother is not easy, and part of raising future generations is a great job.   I know…from experience.  Many of the worst problems of the world could be, or can be, solved by the Moms’ addressing of such things as male dominance, and general respect for women as equals.

I like to read about other bloggers adventures in Blogging, too.    There is a lot of camaraderie among bloggers, facing the same triumphs and tribulations.

In other words–I am personally and as a blogger interested in just about everything…and my own Blogging reflects that general interest.

4
Aug

It’s Here! It’s Here! It’s Here !

I’m still not breathing at 100%, but so far, so good.

WHAT is here?

I have been as anxious as a kid on Christmas morning, waiting patiently for it to arrive.

The song going through my head:   “I’m so Excited!  I just can’t hide it–I’m about to lose control, and I  think I like it!”

Yep, Windows10, the fabled new “best Windows ever!” version.

I’m cautiously optimistic.  So far I like Windows10 a lot, and they keep sending me little notes saying things like:  “How do you like it  so far?”   “Would you recommend 10 to your friends?”   “Do you like our adorable commercial featuring the adorable toddlers from all over the world who will ‘grow up with Windows10’ ?”

They needn’t think that I’m going to fall for that sweet-talk.   I’m going to wait until I have a chance to look it over.  They know how much I HATED Windows 8.1.   Everyone I know knows how much I detested it.   I don’t speak for everyone else in the world, but I don’t care if they “like” or “don’t mind” 8.1   But that’s just me.

Windows95, Windows98, Vista, XP, I liked Windows7…in fact 7 is the version was on my laptop (which I am writing this article on as we speak.  It was infinitely superior to Windows8, which came with my new “mainframe” computer (as I like to call it) last year…being the ONLY choice available on the very day I bought the PC.  It came equipped with Windows8, then immediately (like the next day) 8.1 hit cyberspace in an effort to compensate for the shortcomings of 8.

Oh–woe!   My experiences with photos came to a screeching halt…and my eBay and other images suffered.  I discovered by searching online that Windows8.1 had a “known issue” with Photo Gallery, and I had a heck of a time with trying to get the my pictures from my camera onto my published work.

Let me hasten to say that I am not a newbie computer person…I had my first computer in 1983, practically the dawn of everyday-people-with-computers.  I was the first kid on my block to have one.   It was a Kaypro2 (that’s a Roman numeral Two () II but it appears as two “Ls” and I certainly don’t want anyone to think it was called a Kayproll.  Good grief.

For those who are interested, my WordPress blog post entitled Rise of the Machines, published this spring, details my adventures in setting up and teaching myself to operate the computer. http://mumbletymuse.com/2015/01/26/rise-of-the-machine/

So I’m giving Windows10 the old college try.     It’s fast,  looks good, and seems to have banished the evil gremlins  to Computer-Hell.

9
May

Passwords and User Name Woes

(original title:

RISE OF THE MACHINES–EMAIL WOE EDITION.

Every one of the accounts I have…personal, business, creditors…requires a password.  I have three Yahoo accounts that I use frequently, and each has a separate password.  Today I changed the password on one of the account’s three times.  I didn’t write it down, forgot it, it just plain slipped right out of brain.

It’s not easy to come up with these passwords.  They…you know, “They,” warn of dire consequences for using the same password in ALL accounts…they send little messages with snide remarks such as “Sorry, you have used that password before,”  “you may NOT use certain characters but there must be at least one number, one apostrophe, one hash mark, one capital letter, and an original unique character,” … and my personal favorite:  “that is the most used password on the internet.”

OK, so they usually don’t add “Dummy!” to their warnings….but it is strongly implied.

Yes, I do write down new passwords as I create them.  The issue with me is always WHERE I wrote it.  Sometimes in my password notebook, which is almost indecipherable by now–and thus perfectly safe from any snooping eyes.  But its the passwords scribbled on envelopes, the phone book, calendars, mail, or slips of paper with cryptic notes that may or may not be a password.

While I’m on the subject–I hate creating email addresses and User Names.

Creating a new user name is always a challenge.  One can always use their own name…. say Agnes.   On comes the snarky note: “Agnes is taken.   You can use Agnes389, or Agnes.389 (that’s a DOT,)  or Agnes_389…  (that’s an underscore, but no one who ever learned typing ever heard of an underscore, it’s just a classy name for underline….I hate that, too for what it’s worth.)   That system depends on all the other Agnes’s remembering their own numbers…I have often wondered if numbers used that way are really a viable system, whereby theoretically there is an Agnes_388.  If indeed there is, couldn’t that lead to confusion?

And no matter how obscure my choice for a user name name happens to be–there is always someone with the same name.  Really.

Another thing, once an address is created for an account it appears to remain forever, and requests to have it deleted defy solution.  I had a great email name once, about ten years ago, that I thought was ingeniously clever in its simple beauty.  Somehow, some dastardly evil tekkie, with too much time on their  hands, allowed the account to start sending out spam to all my friends, relatives, acquaintances, and utility bills, and credit cards.    So I called the ISP and although the support person was at least nominally sympathetic, they assured me that my problem was completly unique…had never happened before in the history of the internet.

I get that a lot.   🙂

2
Apr

OK, OK, where’s the darn space button?

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “It’s a Text, Text, Text, Text World.”

This prompt is especially appropriate, as my friend in Virginia and I are exchanging cell numbers after at least 15 years of being email BFFs.   Yesterday in fact when a strange text came across I suspiciously replied to her question asking if I had received the text.   Fearing a dreaded bill collector or some other suspicious sender, I managed to spell out “Who?”

Being as how I don’t text much, having sent illiterate comments in reply to birthday greetings or such from the kids.   I was embarrassed to tap out something like: whoisthisandwhatdoyouwant… which actually isn’t too bad, the letters are all run together but easy to read, thanks to having managed to hit the right keys…so a simple word WHO conveyed my message.

After a few minutes trying to find the <space> button, my friend figured out that I had gotten the message, which was her purpose in sending the text in the first place.

But seriously, my daughters and nieces manage to plan very complicated holiday get togethers and birthday bashes, rock concerts, picnics, and roll-calls for attendance….all with text messages.  They can tell within a few minutes (providing all are available of course) who will be there, the nature of the occasion, and who will bring the deviled eggs.  Plus assorted other pertinent details.

Yes, I have a phone with a slide out section, and I do know where the space key is on there.  However, I rarely use the keyboard there, although it is a QWERTY keyboard that I have used for 70 years and know and love.

I can’t seem to get over the tiny keyboard, and have never typed with my thumbs.

So up until now I have only used my text capability to get number codes from tech support, and for forgotten passwords.

In my defense, I will point out that I had my first computer in 1983, and taught myself everything I knew up to Windows 8.1–which is impossible.

I have blogged about my history with computers in a post called Rise of the Machine, which in case anyone is interested, can be found at http://mumbletymuse.com/2015/01/26/rise-of-the-machine/

So OK, I will learn to text.  But the thought of typing with my thumbs just strikes me as weird.  🙂

28
Feb

“Me Time?” Why it’s not my ideal Saturday morning? It never is…

What’s your ideal Saturday morning? Are you doing those things this morning? Why not?

 

Why not?  Well, let’s see…the answer to that involves a ride in a tow truck.   Not that there is anything wrong with wreckers–in fact it’s sort of fun when the ride is on the turnpike when the truck can go really fast and the driver likes to lean on the horn.  Scares the bejeebers off of me if I’m the motorist riding along minding my business, but sitting there riding shotgun in the tow truck cab is…..well, empowering. 

It had warmed up to about nine degrees with the sun streaming down on the tundra.  The van had stopped in the middle of the driveway, facing the road, a bonus for the tow truck driver.    The two rear tires were beyond flat, they were flapping off the rims as they  dragged up onto the flatbed.

Thank golly for the AAA club membership that includes towing costs, or I would be lamenting with comments involving dollar signs $$$.   As long as I’m on the subject, the club only pays for the towing. not the tires…which set me back a few bucks.

To get to the actual WordPress Daily Prompt question about “Me Time”…

My ideal Saturday morning would be to get up at 8:00 a.m., make coffee, feed the inside cats, feed and water the outside cats without having to retrieve the one who got inside when the door was open. Then toast a couple of strawberry PopTarts without burning them.

Then sitting down at the computer, and settling down to work.  Ideally, there would be a wireless signal, and yahoo has my email ready. So far so good, but if the Windows decides to update, that is an issue.  The myriad computer connection issues will not be present this morning.  Ah…at last, fingers on the keyboard, web site working well, its time to get to work.

Then, keys clicking away, a feeling of contentment arrives.  The computer and printer and all other things that could possibly go wrong take a day off, and cooperate happily.  The telephone does not ring.  No one rings the doorbell.  Peace and quiet reign.

OK, that’s the ideal Saturday morning for me.

Then the interruptions begin.   A tentative voice whispers “Mom…”  Followed by any combination of sentences beginning with
“I need, We are Out of, The ___ won’t work.  The cat threw up…, Will you take me to ____.   I need twenty dollars–.”

The tow truck not withstanding, any number of Murphy’s Laws are applicable to cut into Me Time.

Read more »

26
Jan

Rise of the Machine

Back in 1983 my life changed when a shiny, very high-tekky, computer showed up on my doorstep. Well, I admit someone must have put it there, but for me… sigh… love at first sight!

It was a KayproII, a one-piece wonder that had its keyboard tucked up and buckled in against the monitor. There were two 5 1/4″ floppy disk drives: A and B. The A drive held the operating system, mysteriously known as CP/M, which took up part of the disk which also held what we would now call “content”; the B drive was for disk files. There were several manuals, mostly written in some completely foreign dialect resembling English but with words I had never seen before. To be fair, there were a few sections of one of the manuals that hinted at how to operate the computer. Very few. There was also a collection of programs, (soft wear) including a word-processing program called WordStar.

Speaking of word processing… every time one system becomes familiar, they change it. WordStar was quickly nudged out by WordPerfect, as that became the “industry standard” for huge businesses. For me WordPerfect 4.5 was my first, back in the day when WP was the standard before Microsoft introduced Word. Which of course as everyone knows, became THE word processing system, quickly insinuating itself (ok, pushing itself) into every office in the world. My Luddite heart remained true to WordPerfect all the way up to version 11, when we had to part ways because my computer operating system moved on.

The point of all this is to alibi the reason why my posting to blogging101 has been so spotty. I was going to complain about my printer, but it isn’t really that…it’s more to do with the operating system, i.e. Windows8.1. Yikes! It so happened that the last computer I bought was on the very day that the new Windows 8 had come out. Really…the very day! Amd Windows 8 was the first new system to be completely alien to the previous version…Windows 7, and (sob) the revered WindowsXP.

Well yes, I admit that it would have been better had I let the Geek Squad set up the new computer for me, but I–always in a hurry–insisted on setting it up myself, installing everything. Since that has always been the way I did it, why think this time would be any different? Well, I found out why, apparently I did something wrong. To be fair, no one else that I know has had problems with the new operating system…so maybe its me. Huh!

Oh…now they are saying that Microsoft is going to provide their NEW system, Windows 9, free for us hysterical souls who need it. I can hardly wait, although by then I will have probably figured out what the problem is and have to start all over.