Category Archives: Technology

Reboot

Our Microsoft Outlook went wonky last week, and wouldn’t send any emails, telling me that all our messages were rejected because of abusive behavior on our part.  This happened once before, and the tech guy who fixes our computer had to push some unknown button to correct the issue so that Outlook communicated with our internet provider.  When it happened again last week, I took a chance and just restarted the computer. It did a few upgrades and, voila, our emails were delivered.

I needed a reboot after a stressful late winter and early spring at work and with my regulatory board. Our travels kept me from rebooting in the way that is the best for me, which is pulling weeds and planting new plants and seeds. I finally got to do it last weekend, and, despite developing that weird eye virus, it greatly helped my spirit and made me very happy. It is hard for me to focus on work problems when I am weeding and laying down soaker hoses. It is good for me to worry about cut worms instead of paperwork deadlines. This year we only planted 21 perennials, a record low for us, but our garden beds are really shaping up. I can breathe deep and relax just looking out the windows.

How do you recharge and reboot? Any wonky computer issues vexing you?

Crunching the Numbers

Two years ago this month we hit 5,000 followers on the Trail. So I thought I do some stat updates:

Followers: 7,892
Total # of views: 858,848
Total # of comments: 146,681
Most active recent day: March 22, 2019 (That Ole Devil Moon – VS)
Most active day and time: Tuesday, 8 a.m.
Most viewed post:   R.I.P. Tom Keith – November 1, 2011
Most commented posts:
Chores & the Great Depression (182) – Jacque’s
Finding the Back Roads (180) – BiR’s
Banished Words (180) – also BiR’s
Top recent commenters: PJ, BiR, tim, Renee, VS, Linda, Steve
Today we have folks viewing from: US, India, Netherlands, UK, UAE, Canada, Kenya, Sweden and the Czech Republic.

Nothing earthshaking, I just thought this was all very interesting.

Anybody have a question to go with our stats?

Tired

The last time I took Brekke (my car) into the dealership for an oil change, the attendant came to me saying that I needed new tires. He mentioned that there was a sale on tires but that the coupon would run out in two days.  When I asked if the coupon could be extended (since I didn’t have time that night), he said yes it could and said I should call him the next day to set up the appointment.  After I got home I did some research of my own on average tire wear and tear.  Then the next day I did the penny test.  Abraham Lincoln showed me the tires were just fine.  I never called the dealership back.

So when the “change oil” indicator lit up on Tuesday, I was interested to see what would happen. When I took Brekke in, would they see a note from January about tires and remind me?  Would they use the tire rotation as a reason to suggest again that I needed new tires?

But nothing. They did the oil change and the annual inspection, including the tire rotation.  Not one single word about the tires.  Sigh.  Unfortunately I know that many service folks in big car dealerships get rewarded for upselling products and service.  Now I’m stuck knowing that my service guy in January was just trying to make a sale, thinking that an older single woman would easily be persuaded that she needed new tires, even if she didn’t.

I am used to being overlooked and not taken seriously when technology is concerned in the wide world, despite the fact that I am considered a guru at my job. Young sales people look at my graying hair and my admittedly frumpy weekend clothing and often make the assumption that I don’t have any knowledge or buying power and I get fairly poor service. It pisses me off but it’s never been quite as blatant as this.

So what do I do now? Should I call the dealership and complain?

If You’re Going to Blow it, Blow it BIG!

Photo Credit: Reserve Bank of Australia

As part of my job, I send out communications to travelers all the time. Most of our communications are proofed by four or five people, more if the client actually reads the copy.  Every now and then we find a typo after something has gone to print and we tend to say the same thing “How can so many people look at something and not see the error?”

Well now the Reserve Bank of Australia is asking this same thing. Their new £50 note with Edith Cohen (first woman member of the Australian parliament) has a typo.  In teeny tiny letters, as part of the background, the note says repeatedly “It is a great responsibilty to be the only woman here and I want to emphasize the necessity which exists for other women being here.”  Missing an “I” in the word responsibility.  46 MILLION of these notes are now in use around the country.  Wow – when I mess up, it usually only has an impact on 100 folks or so.

Australia says they won’t recall the notes but will correct the mistake when they print the next batch of £50 notes. This makes me wonder if folks will hang onto the notes as a curiosity that won’t be repeated, like that rare Beanie Baby or Geordi Laforge action figure without a visor.

Do you collect anything?

I Can Spell That Word in 3 Letters

“A synonym is a word you use when you can’t spell the other one.”
Baltasar Gracian

Baltasar Gracian was a Spanish Jesuit, writer and philosopher who lived in the first half of the 1600s. There are many wonderful quotes by him but when I stumbled across this one yesterday, it made me laugh.

I type A LOT for my job – letters, agendas, rosters, briefing notes, website information – in addition to the day by day routine of emails to suppliers, clients and internal teams.   Over the years I’ve had  trouble typing various words correctly.  Some of these problems with words resolve themselves after a few years but a few of them have been with me for as long as I’ve been doing this:

Deposit
Worldwide
Rolls
Accommodations
Hors d’oeuvres

Unfortunately there aren’t good synonyms for some of my words, at least not that are accepted throughout my industry. Hors d’oeuvres is a good example.  I can’t use “canapes” because that actually means something specific .  “Appetizers” is more work to type and I can’t really go with “morsel”, “tidbit”, “finger food” as these would throw my hotels and supplier for a loop.

That means I have to have work-arounds. For “hors d’oeuvres” I have an auto-fill set up – when I type “hors” and a space, then the computer fills in the rest, spelled correctly every time.  Typing in “accom” will get me to “accommodations”.  I also have an auto-correct so that any time I type “rools”, the computer changes it to “rolls”.  “Deposit” and “Worldwide” I just have to struggle with as they are too similar to other words, so the shortcuts are just as long as slowing down and typing more carefully.

Any words defy spelling for you?

 

My Groupie

When I was in the market for a new car four years ago, I delegated the research to YA. She recognizes car makes and models; she knows all our friends’ and neighbors’ cars.  She is definitely a car person.   I gave her my requirements (hybrid, 4-door, red) and off she went.  Her research came in the form of a chart with the five cars that she had identified as possibilities.  One was axed due to being the wrong color and two were eliminated by their price.

We went and test drove the Toyota Prius and the Honda Insight. I’d never heard of an Insight before but since I’m definitely NOT a car person, I didn’t think too much about.  I love my Insight but it became clear pretty quickly that I wasn’t the only one who had never heard of an Insight.  Nobody had ever heard of it.  In four years nobody has ever recognized my car, even car people.

So imagine my surprise today, when a guy coming out of the gym as I was getting out of my car, stopped and said “how do you like your Insight?” He had purchased his Insight in November.  We had a nice talk about the mileage (great), the cost of filling up (teeny) and the blue/green light that tells you whether you are using gas or electricity (mesmerizing).  As I went into the gym and he headed to his Insight I thought “this must be what it feels like to be a car person”?  Then when I came out of the gym I’d forgotten where I parked.  Oh well.

We all have our special areas of interest. Do you have comrades in arms?

The New Pot

Photo Credit: Krystal Kwok on Unsplash

I succumbed. You all probably knew it was inevitable.  I started seeing the new electric pressure cookers about 18 months back and have talked myself into and out of getting one repeatedly in that time.

Last week I got my monthly notice of how many award points I’ve earned at work. Award points can be used for the various merchandise that my company uses as incentives and rewards (we have a massive warehouse).  Except for State Fair tickets and Renaissance Fair passes, I haven’t spent award points on anything else for a couple of years so I have a big build up.  Any resolve I’ve had about not getting more kitchen toys dissolved pretty quickly.  The will-call ticket came to me on Thursday and I went over to the warehouse at noon to pick it up.

I spent an evening looking up cookbooks on the library website but to tide me over, I printed off a bunch of recipes off the internet. Six cookbooks now in transit.  And despite the fact that we didn’t really need a bunch of food prepared, I spent Saturday afternoon in the kitchen.

I did macaroni and cheese , a big pot of Spanish rice (and I mean a BIG pot) and then a really spicy black bean soup. It was easy and fun.  I figure I can probably get rid of my old pressure cooker that has sat unused in the basement for at least 10 years.

What was the last really unnecessary toy/gadget you’ve added to your world?