Posted in A Bit of This, A Bit of That, Computers, Teaching


It’s been a hell of a few weeks, with the start of a series of classes I’m teaching at our local Community Education center. I love helping people who aren’t web-savvy, so focus on ease of use and good design for any tool I teach. Last week I had a run-in with the school’s computers, which caused not a little frustration. Turns out the school upgraded its servers but didn’t get around to the community education accounts. Yikes! We muddled through anyway, and I even got a few kudos for good teaching. I was pretty surprised, given the problems, but quite happy nonetheless.

I’m also swapping around migraine and sleep medication. I’m not sure we’re quite there yet, at least with the sleep meds. My doctor gave me a completely new prescription for my migraines, a drug I’m taking on a daily basis (atenolol) rather than the as-needed fiorinal I was using before. The fiorinal was causing rebound headaches and I was a walking ball of misery after a while. So far, so good. I haven’t had anything worse than a mild headache since switching the medications.

Not quite there with the sleep medications. I need to talk to my doctor again and, to tell you the truth, I’m getting tired of schlepping back and forth to my doctors’s offices every couple days or week. Enough already.

I’m teaching again tonight, class number two of my four week series on easy websites. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping the computers cooperate this time. They really do have a mind of their own! For all that, though, I really love teaching. I’ve definitely found a comfy niche!


Posted in A Bit of This, A Bit of That, Business, Computers, Insomnia, Sleep

Enter the Teacher

I’ve just added a new job description to my roster of internet and website services – classroom teacher. I taught my first class under the auspices of the Arlington Center for Adult Education. The course, Build A Website Without Knowing HTML or CSS, met for the first time last night (Wednesday). I’ve given plenty of presentations and know how to do it, but the added classroom thing was both disorienting but very satisfying at the same time. Disorienting, I think, because it was the first time through and I had to get used to the way the computers in the classrooms worked. Then I had to contend with latecomers drifting in as I was starting up.

But, I really liked it despite its moments of confusion and technical buginess. Some of my students are really excited about being able to build their own website and I’m enjoying learning how to teach them. This is just so cool!

I was both wired as well as exhausted by the time I got home last night. I’m a chronic insomniac at the best of times. I never thought I’d get to sleep, with all that was running around inside of my head! Then, for some bizarre reason, I woke up at 7:30 this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep no matter what I did. I typically wake in the late double-digits of the morning and have only a passing acquaintance with 7:30 am. And, at 7:16 pm, I’m still not tired.

I have a feeling I’ll eventually crash, hopefully without a headache to top things off.


Posted in A Bit of This, A Bit of That, Animation, Art, Music, Oddities

Rock’em Sock’em Circuits

This video is a personal favorite of mine. I repost it every few years, so everybody gets a chance to see or to remember. It’s the perfect intersection of art and science. It’s fun. It’s creative. And there’s no way I could ever figure out how to do that on my computer.

The music and the visuals are computer generated. The video was produced by AniMusic and was published in 2001. They have a few other videos, and a few CDs for sale (if they’re still in business).

Posted in Uncategorized

Wintah in Ahlinton

Woke up this morning to snow, snow and more snow. It just now stopped coming down (say, around 3:00 pm-ish). Aram went to play with his parents' snow blower. Actually, he and his brother have conspired to make it an appliance their father will absolutely want to use. He's in his late 70s and still goes out to shovel, bad back and all. Not good but, like my husband, he's stubborn and resistant to change.

Scnowing through the screenSnowing on my front porchSnowing on the bushesSnowing the house downWhere's the car

I'll let my husband fight that battle, though. For now, I've got an afternoon to putter and decided to finally bring my laptop computer to my office upstairs. That means considerable moving and vacuuming, but that's been long overdue. I'm happily sitting in my new location with printer and scanner actually attached to the laptop – first time ever! No more running up and downstairs from one computer to the other to get something scanned or printed. And, if/when I need to, I can disconnect all the cords from the laptop and take it on the road.

It's still a tangle of wires, but at least there's less dust. I'm trying to figure out how to handle all the cords, or at least figure out which one is which once I pull out the lot to take the laptop on the road. Hmmm. maasking tape and a felt-tip pen?

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Computers: can't live with them, can't live without them. I can't complain that much about my trusty Dell laptop, but I've been hearing the blues again from my friend Rosie, who can't seem to get a computer that works as it should. Now, you have to realize that I have a personal stake in this. Last fall I flew down to Baltimore (over Rosie's objections, at least at first) to get her a computer. She'd gone through a Dell and then an HP and had nothing but grief to show for it. I said, the hell with it, we're going to get a custom-made one for you. And that's what we did, driving an hour each way to get to a Micro Center near DC and then picking the parts with a sales rep there. I'm not that advanced a techie that I know all that much about computer guts, but I assumed the guys at Micro Center did – and I still assume that.

That trip to Baltimore was a haze of driving, making telephone calls, waiting for assembly and then putting the new box together and configuring it for her. By the time that happened it was the night before I was set to leave for Boston. It was exhausting, but I was happy to do it for Rosie. She's a dear, dear friend and my philosophy has always been: what comes around, goes around.

So, after shelling out bucks for a plane fare, taking time off from work, schlepping from here to the wild blue yonder to get a computer and then hunching over for hours to set it up and configure it, I figured she was okay. She had Windows XP, not Vista, and a computer that should have performed at or above par.

Well, now the damn box keeps cutting out. That is, it shuts itself off automatically. It's been doing it off and on for a while, but lately (coinciding with the latest Windows update) it's been doing it all the time.

I'm pissed as hell. All that time, that work, that money, and she's still got a bad box? I'm going to press the "kill" switch if this goes on much longer. Is it the operating system? Is there an electrical failure? This computer is less than a year old and was custom built for her. This should NOT be happening. I'm seeing a Linux operating system in her future.

This girl (i.e., me) is NOT happy. Rosie needs a reliable computer, one that just works when you switch it on. She's almost completely blind and that box is one of her lines to the outside world. She's a regular, avid, blogger and regularly burns your ears off with her rather spunky emails. She deserves better than this.

Of course, I'm feeling responsible for all this too. It was my idea to get her a custom made computer which, logically, I thought would be the best course of action. Now tech types are saying that computer diagnosis and repair can take at least three months if not more. I can tell you right now that Rosie is not going to last three months without a computer.

So, we're playing it by ear for now. I'd hate to see Rosie stuck with yet another mega computer repair bill, or be stranded without one less than a year after she she got the first one.

Oh God, I'm ready to kill somebody.

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My new BlackBerry came in the mail a day or two ago and I've been having fun with it. It's the perfect time-sink tool for a person like me. I manage a number of businesses via websites and blogs and need to be in touch with them throughout the day. At the same time I work as a technical contractor and am usually warming a chair other than mine during that same time.

So, now with this magical little device I can read email from up to 10 different accounts, browse the web, keep a calendar, note pad, to do list, etc. I also can sync it up to my Yahoo account and get all my email addresses from there. It has a nice camera and a GPS as well. They also have some kind of mobile access for Facebook, which I don't really use. Nice idea, though. I can also get a bunch of other applications for it, like an RSS reader, etc.

The best thing? I can use the BlackBerry as a modem for my laptop if I'm not near a wireless signal. I just connect the BlackBerry and it connects me to the internet, no matter where I am!

Fun, though!

Ahem, very productive. Excellent device for the working woman, uh, er…

Oh heck. I'm still in the "Oh, wow!" stage. Don't worry. The novelty will wear off soon enough!

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