Category Archives: Technology

The Beginning of (Computer) Time

Today’s post comes to us from Barbara in Rivertown!

This morning, we had a young man named Paul come to help us with our computer – just a few little things that we might have been able to learn for ourselves with some internet searches, help links, etc. but WHO HAS THE PATIENCE FOR THAT? He was probably here a half hour, and I handed him a twenty… he thought it was a bit much, but it’s the best $20 I’ve spent in a while.

I was remembering back to the beginning of my computer use, in (I guess) the mid-nineties. The internet still didn’t really have ads (!), at least nothing I can remember. About all I did was to use an online encyclopedia, look at the library catalog, and email. There were a couple of amazing things about emailing with aol.com – which ‘most everyone had at the time. If memory serves: 

1) If you caught it in maybe half an hour, you could “delete” – remove – an email you’d just sent to another aol.com subscriber. I didn’t use this a lot, but came in handy when I’d caught a major error.

2) I hadn’t yet needed to keep any emails, and certainly not sort them into folders. Whatever emails were there in your inbox, AOL would delete after two weeks – kept you on your toes! [Who knows when I started doing folders? Now there are folders with hundreds of old emails that I should go through and delete.]

So, a couple of questions:   Am I dreaming – was aol.com really like that?

What do you remember about your very early computer days?

Sunken Treasure

In the news this week, underwater treasure hunters brought up close to 1,000 bottles of a rare cognac and other liqueurs. In 1917, the Kyros was sunk by a German U-boat on its voyage from France to St. Petersburg.  The crew all survived the sinking but the liquid gold went to the bottom. The wreck was discovered in 1999 but wasn’t accessible until now.

The treasure hunters, Ocean X Team and iXplorer spent over a week with submersibles and robots to salvage the bottles, 600 De Haartman cognac and 300 Benedictine liqueur, which have been sitting for the last 102 years beneath 250 feet of cold Baltic Sea water. The Benedictine liqueur brand now belongs to Bacardi and the explorers are working with them and researching the possible worth of their find.  They say most of the bottles appear to be intact.

Would you be Long John Silver or Jim Hawkins?

Brrrrr…..

There have certainly been better weeks than this. Boiler went out on Wednesday.  After two days of nagging the gas company (and running the little space heaters pretty much 24/7), the service guy finally showed up and fixed the boiler.  Then he said that he couldn’t leave the boiler or the water heater turned on since the “chimney liner isn’t venting properly.”  I didn’t even know what a chimney liner was.  Of course, the repair company protocol is not to recommend anybody.  At all.  This meant a few hours trying to figure out WHO to call and then trying to find someone who actually has availability.  Finally got somebody who will come out first thing this morning.  Hopefully this means we’ll have heat and hot water tomorrow.

Tell me a funny story – I need the laughs!

The Cosmic Kitty

You probably never thought that you wake up to Verily Sherrilee recommending a car shop. Well, I guess recommend is a strong word.  Here’s the deal.

Last month my BFF and I went to a concert downtown (same night as *45s rally but luckily no consequences from that). As we were parking the car in the underground ramp, I saw this crazy decorated car.  It looked like one of those “art cars” that you see at the state fair.   I know I wouldn’t want to drive this around all the time (heck, I can’t even bring myself to put a bumper sticker on my car) but I thought it might be fun for a bit so I took a couple of quick pictures.

As we were heading back to the car after the concert, there was a woman unlocking it so I stopped to talk. I told her that I loved the car and hoped she didn’t mind if I had taken a couple of photos.  She said not a problem because it wasn’t her car.  It was a loaner car from the garage where her car was getting repaired.

Turbo Tim’s Anything Automotive was easy to find online and they are different than most other garages. They have photos of all their employees (mostly younger than you would expect) online, have a nice-looking garage cat, are involved in a lot of giving back to the community and then there are the art cars.  Looks like there are at least two: Cosmic Kitty and another sedan with oceanscape scenery.

They look intriguing to me so in the future, I might have to schlep farther north for car repair to see if I can get the Cosmic Kitty on loan!

Who do you trust to fix YOUR stuff?

Despite My Better Judgment?

Photo credit:  Marko Pekić

Running with the pack has always been problematic for me. I’m not sure why, but even at a fairly young age, if everybody else was climbing on a particular band wagon, I shied away.  I remember that Elvis hit the scene in a big way when I was in 3rd grade.  I had never heard of Elvis, but because all my classmates were going on and on about him, I stated to all that I didn’t care for him.  I didn’t even know who he was! There are many examples of this in my life and it continues to this day as something I have to be aware of, so I don’t act on knee-jerk reactions.

It won’t surprise any of you then that I have never longed for an iPhone. From the beginning of my phone ownership, I have opted for androids, despite Child/Teenager/YA always clamoring for the latest iPhone iteration for herself.  No good reason – just a feeling that I could get along very well with a non-Apple product, thank you very much.  YA has tried to get me onto the Apple platform for years now.

Our two-year cell phone contract was up the beginning of October, so there have been LOTS of conversations about plans and phones at our house the last four weeks. We went to the kiosk last week and there was a new android that has a lot of motion-sensor technology so you don’t have to push as many buttons.  Playing with it, I felt like Tony Stark, but ultimately I probably wouldn’t use any of those functions.  I’m guessing that I only use about 25% of my phone capabilities – no need to purchase something that might just make me feel inadequate.

YA, in a moment of clarity over the weekend, made the most cogent argument yet. “When you have questions about your Android, I can never answer them because what I know is the iPhone.  If you had an iPhone, I could be more helpful.”  Ding, ding, ding.  As of yesterday afternoon, I am now the owner of a red iPhone (with a clear case so the red shows through, of course).  I told YA that she’d better not renege on the “helpful” promise.  So far, so good.

Have you ever cut off your nose to spite your face?

Surprise!

Husband and I are now safely ensconced at the downtown Minneapolis Marriot. We  arrived at the hotel at about 5:00 PM on Tuesday. I was so surprised that the traffic going into downtown was negligible. The traffic going the other way was horrible. We were grateful.

Last week I was very surprised to learn that the grandmother of one of my fellow Lutheran Church choir members worked for a decade or more as both the Headless Girl and  the Three Legged Woman in the circus. It isn’t often that young woman from Harvey, ND makes the big time like that. You also don’t hear of many Lutherans in the circus. At one time there were 9 headless girls touring the US in circuses. It was all done with mirrors. Look up Olga the Headless Girl.  You will be surprised and amazed.

What has surprised you lately?  Do you have any friends with surprises?

Better Living Through Electricity

I notice that today marks the anniversary of the introduction of the electric blanket in 1946. It sold for $39.50.  I suppose that was quite a bit of money for that time. My parents talked about the wonders of rural electrification in the 30’s and 40’s, and how that was such a help for them and their families. I remember that my mother bought an electric blanket in the 1960’s, and what a weird thing it was, with this plastic polyester fabric that had these hard tube-like things inserted in it, and a thermostat that hung out of the edge of it.  I suppose it made sense if the gas you paid to fire your furnace cost more than the electricity that came our of your outlets.

We rely heavily on our weird Swedish mixer for kneading our bread, our Breville food processor for chopping everything imaginable, and our Chinese grinder for coffee and spices.  I suppose that electric blankets were ousted by down comforters for economy and convenience.  We use our down comforter all year.

We are expecting a major winter storm in the next day or two, and I have made sure the remote starter for our gas stove in the basement is operational in case we lose power and I need to heat the house.

What electric appliances do you rely on? How do you keep warm?