With chewing gum and duct tape

bad address

chewing gum and duct tapeOne of the challenges of my wife working/teaching from home is that technology can be a PITA. This all happened on 5 May.

She had an appropriate story to share with one of her students from some website. So she set up a meeting with ME to make sure the technology worked. It did not. I could hear her, but not the item she wanted to share. The next day, the same problem; the YouTube video she selected her students could SEE but not HEAR.

Later that day, she found a bunch of links with worksheets she wanted me to print. But almost every link wanted her password; too onerous. I tried to print from her computer on the old printer I lugged into her office. The computer said it was compatible with the printer. Yet no paper products were expelled.

In the end, I copied the files from her computer to her thumb drive. Then I copied them from her thumb drive to an email “she” wrote to “me.” Then I printed the documents. My friend O. says that this chewing gum and duct tape method of doing things is how things work in her house.

Later, my wife talked to a tech support guy at work. He said that getting a YouTube video to show on these platforms is tricky because they weren’t designed for that secondary viewing.

I’ll pick that up

Because she’s doing her teaching at home, we’re getting a lot more phone calls. Most of them are from her classes or the parents of her younger students. When I first answered, the kids were stunned into silence, and would just hang up. But now that I recognize some of their phone numbers and they recognize my voice, it’s much easier.

At the beginning of March, if the landline rang, and I did not know who it was, I’d let it go to the answering machine. But it’s often school employees who have those unidentified numbers, and I’ve ended just picking up the phone. Rarely is it a spammy call, fortunately.

Feb. rambling: Love Me Again

A Touch of Glee

Rebecca Jade.Elton JohnUnaccountable Accounting in the Pentagon.

Facial Recognition Technology and AI Are Tainted With Racial Bias.

Jared’s Plan for Mideast Peace.

Homelessness Czar Seeks to Further Criminalize the Homeless.

Politifact has looked into 42 of Limbaugh’s controversial statements, and found zero of them to be entirely true. Thirty-five were rated Mostly False, False, or Pants on Fire.

BUT… Let’s Talk Each Other Down.

Sir Nicholas Winton, the hero who rescued 669 Jewish children on the eve of WWII.

Son rebukes his racist dad who asked immigrant, “Why didn’t you stay in Mexico?”

We can become more prosperous while taking better care of our planet.

Amy Biancolli on Daniel P. Richardson.

Lin-Manuel Miranda gives us a lesson in the slang of Broadway.

Science and technology

TED talk: “Bonk” author Mary Roach delves into obscure scientific research to make 10 surprising claims about sexual climax.

What it’s like to live without a sense of smell.

Concussion risk in youth football.

The color of your clothing can impact wildlife.

Key challenges, collective insights, and possible futures for the music industry.

Verizon’s latest dirty trick. Planned obsolescence.

Teevee

James Corden: The late-night TV host sees his job as a chance to spread joy and he “comes clean” on the subject of whether he drives the car in his “Carpool Karoke” segments.

John Oliver: asks questions and is interviewed by Ali Velshi and Push Notifications.

In response to a Facebook meme about putting up pictures of sci-fi shows, I posted one from The Wild, Wild West, which we decided was steampunk. Just a couple days later, Robert Conrad had died at 84.

RIP Gene Reynolds.

Pushing Daisies – the great show that never got a fair shake.

Cookie Monster crashes The Washington Post.

One Second from Every Muppet Show Episode.

Mark Twain Award: Jonathan Winters (1999) and Bob Newhart (2002) and David Letterman (2017).

Actor and game show panelist Orson Bean, born Dallas Frederick Burrows, has died. He was the correct response that I got on my first JEOPARDY! appearance. Later, one of the competitors I did not play was happy for that fact, because he had no idea who Orson Bean was.

Now I Know

The Anti-Labor Origins of the Oscars and Why Are There Random Colored Squares on My Box of Almond Milk? and A Creative Way to Pay the Czechs and A Frank-ly Kind Act and The Drones With Brains of Their Own.

MUSIC

Rebecca Jade.Oscars
Rebecca Jade, the niece: (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again – Elton John at the Oscars, 9 Feb 2020. In the video, Rebecca Jade is screen left, in the middle. Also, listen to Miss You.

Overture to Hector Berlioz’s Benvenuto Cellini.

Coverville: 1294: Covering the 2020 Inductees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and 1295: The 40th Anniversary Tribute to London Calling.

Hoopla: A Touch of Glee by George Walker.

Everybody Wants To Be Sondheim – Alan Chapman.

Non nobis domine by Patrick Doyle from Henry V.

Hooked on a Feeling– Swedish Royal Guards.

That time Johnny Rotten called me a “stupid, filthy sod.”

Top photo: copyright Rebecca Jade, 2020

Everything takes longer than I think

dancing snowman

snowmanExcept for the fortnightly link post, I’ve all but stopped blogging in the past couple weeks. There are several reasons for this:

UNO. I’ve started to do genealogical research. It’s very interesting, but it is a massive time suck. In addition to Ancestry.com, I’ve gotten my results from 23andMe. These have lead me onto some fascinating journeys. I’ve since gotten trials with Archives.com and Newspapers.com, and tripped over more things.

The curse when you find one piece of information is that it’s difficult to decide which one to pursue next. Something about high, low road, and Scotland. Do you go for depth or breadth in a certain area?

I wrote a blog post about my findings. I’m going to have to rewrite that one and create another one, or two.

DOS. I had end of the year financial insurance stuff to do. It’s stuff where frankly, MEGO. This, in particular, is the source of the title Everything takes longer than I think.

TRES. I’ve had technological problems. It generated a “well, stuff happens” post. But then one of them became a major snafu. One element is that I’m unable to print from my copier, which has made the first two items on this list incrementally more difficult. So I need to rewrite TWO more posts.

CUATRO. The holidays. It’s hard for me to write when there are people I love in the house. Blogging is a solitary task, and I don’t want to be up in the office when the family is up and about.

This post, BTW, I wrote after I woke up at 3 a.m. Thank goodness for my vaunted writing ahead. About a month ago, I had 55 completed posts. Now I have, ostensibly, 42, and probably fewer since I’ll have to recreate a few. This is not a complaint, just a fact.

A legitimate use of Q-Tips

So expect a lot of movies reviews in the beginning of 2020, four movies I saw in December I haven’t even had time to evaluate.

Lest this entirely become navel-gazing, I want to point out Arthur’s solution to a corrosive problem: “I worked out that one of the batteries had leaked, and, I thought, that was that: I’d have to replace the unit.

“But then I decided to Google it to see if there was a way to clean the contacts, and there is: White vinegar or lemon juice removes the battery gunge from the contact—or so the Internet told me. And, it actually did. I put the batteries in again, and the unit worked perfectly.”

I did exactly the same thing with my daughter’s dancing snowman that she loved as a child. Fortunately, she didn’t play 14 times in a row, the way she used to.

Technology does not like me – really, it doesn’t

The techie guy pointed out that my computer repeatedly needed replacement far earlier than anyone else’s

i-love-technology-but-technology-hates-meI believe i may have misrepresented myself in this blog. It is not that I dislike technology. Rather, it’s that technology does not like me.

Two or three work techies ago, the guy pointed out that my computer repeatedly needed replacement far earlier than anyone else’s. He told me that some folks just have “ions” or whatever that irritate machines. I’m not sure I believe that, but it WOULD explain things.

I have a printer on my desk, which worked for a short time, then inexplicably stopped. That was no big deal. i could print to one of the printers on the Local Area Network. Eventually, though, they too ceased working for me, but not for anyone else.

It’s now the folks who are at SUNY Central who tend to our machines. I called the help desk, who generally are very good at what they do. The techie took over my machine remotely.

In the beginning, no luck. Then a sample page was published, followed by 691 sheets of paper with merely one or two lines of gibberish. Finally, after 111 minutes, my local printer, and at least one of the LAN ones were working for me.

Other people don’t understand. When I’m walking back and forth to the various LAN printers, someone said, “Well, I’M not having any problems.” Diagnostically, that was actually useful information, but emotionally, not so much. Nearly two hours wasted – grrrr.

The good news is that because I know that technology does not like me, I’ve developed coping skills. For instance, there are two elevators in our building. We were told NOT to use the left elevator, with paper messages on each of the four floors. But it took them two days to TURN THE ELEVATOR OFF.

When one summons a lift, the left one would inevitably arrive first. This was actually frustrating to some people, but not to me. I’d get on the left elevator just enough to send it from the 1st to the 4th floor, then get out. THEN I’d summon the elevator again, and get on the right one.

Technology and I are still dating. I’m definitely not married to it.

For ABC Wednesday

Self-monitoring toilets and other modern conveniences

I think of HAL in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, or the characters in the movie Westworld.

There is this article that Dan Lewis of Now I Know pointed to: Why Nothing Works Anymore, with the subtitle “Technology has its own purposes.”

“The contemporary public restroom offers an example. Infrared-sensor flush toilets, fixtures, and towel dispensers are sometimes endorsed on ecological grounds—they are said to save resources by regulating them. But thanks to their overzealous sensors, these toilets increase water or paper consumption substantially. Toilets flush three times instead of one. Faucets open at full-blast. Towel dispensers mete out papers so miserly that people take more than they need.

“Instead of saving resources, these apparatuses mostly save labor and management costs. When a toilet flushes incessantly, or when a faucet shuts off on its own, or when a towel dispenser discharges only six inches of paper when a hand waves under it, it reduces the need for human workers to oversee, clean, and supply the restroom.”

Surely I have experienced this. In the previous building I worked in, the toilet flushed an average of 2.5 times every time. Not only would the faucets only turn on with proper distance wave, they would often fail to turn off even ten minutes later. And there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.

I’m not the handiest person in the world, but I have opened the back of a standard toilet to get it to work again. I think this is the same frustration car owners have with everything so calibrated that they can’t fix what’s under the hood. It gives me an uneasy feeling.

I went to this home show maybe decade or so ago, and we marveled how wonderful a “smart” house would be, knowing how efficient it would be. Likewise the driverless car. These would be particular wonders to the elderly and the disabled. But can they be hacked?

Or go rogue? I think of HAL in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, or the characters in the movie Westworld. I don’t think I’m just being a Luddite when I get wary that technology will always make our lives easier. Maybe paranoid, though.