Still running around like a crazy person. I haven't had a chance to decide what to do with this blog come May 1, which is the date blogger ftp ends. I'm probably going to go with a temporary solution and then tackle Wordpress at a later date. Watch this space for the new URL.
It may be time to retire this machine; it's too slow for even the job hunting websites. Which makes an already unfun process that much more so. I'm curiously attached to this computer though; we've been through a lot of words together, not to mention lots of job searching. Maybe a little bit more memory could do the trick...
Blogger will be cutting off FTP access to blogs not hosted on their custom domains or blogspot on May 1 (or thereabouts). I don't want to move to their custom domain because it would mean splitting up this website and that doesn't make any sense. I'm not planning to give up the blog because while I'm inconsistent and infrequent these days, I do still enjoy having this forum. So I'm looking for a new solution. WordPress is one I'm investigating but if anyone knows of an FTP access blogging software similar to Blogger, please let me know; I'd prefer to make the transition as painlessly as possible.
The extended cut pilot for "Caprica" is online at hulu.com. Apparently it's been online since April 14th. Haven't seen it yet -- maybe tomorrow -- but pretty excited as thought I'd have to wait until Jan. 22 to see what it was all about.
So I downloaded King's Quest 1 from yesterday's post, and have been playing for a while now. So far, I've obtained 89 out of 158 points, but have hit a dead end. The game is pretty true to the original and I think all of the riddles are the same as the original as well. Unfortunately my memory isn't as good as it used to be so I'm spending a lot of time just wandering around looking for clues. I've gotten now to the point where I'm slightly bit frustrated, especially when I was just reminded that there are two other King's Quest to go after this one. Ah well. The point of this post was to say that yes, I have tried the download from yesterday, it works, and the game is pretty true to the original. So all you adventurer, nostalgia type gamers, this might be a good one to try, especially if you're thinking about testing your patience.
People of a certain age will remember the King's Quest games from the mid to late 80s. I loved those games and thanks to google, I found free downloads here of all three games. I haven't tried them myself so I can't vouch for them. But when I get my new computer...
After a battle o' passwords with google, I'm back. I have this weird situation with my gmail account where someone is using the account and so I get all sorts of whacky work-related email, friend requests, plane tickets, law school missives, etc. It's annoying, to say the least. What's crazy is that this person doesn't seem to realize that they have appropriated my email. Incidentally, this person recently opened a Facebook account using my email address and I promptly cancelled it; hopefully they've figured out what's going on.
But just in case they haven't noticed the missing email or the cancellation of their Facebook account, I keep changing my email password to increasingly hard and incomprehensible nonsensical words. Which is fine except for the part where I forget what crazy jumble of letters made up the password and inadvertantly get locked out of this account. So I'm back now and hopefully won't forget my password again. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
FYI -- Yahoo! is shutting down its Geocities service on Oct. 26. Read more here. If you have files etc on a Geocities site, you may want to consider moving them. I started my online adventure on Geocities so I still have minimal files there, mostly of the non-fangirl nature. Feels like the end of an era. I wouldn't be surprised if other free hosting services started closing down as well.
Writers may appreciate this blog: Mighty Red Pen; I learned the difference between comprise and compose here. And a blog dedicated to instances of apostrophe abuse here; this last one is a much needed public service.
What I like about Facebook is that in certain applications, it bears no resemblance to real life. Everyone talks about the status updates and the whole reconnecting with people from high school and middle school, but WHAT ABOUT THE GAMES? Only on Facebook can I have a dog (I strongly dislike dogs), a farm (I like the concept of gardening, but dirt on my hands makes me a little crazy), a restaurant (just awesome), and I can also spend time as a fashionista (which I'm not in RL).
On Facebook, I also can own a house with a windmill in the front yard and I have a job in Yoville, but I'm not quite sure what it is I do there (I seem to dance and laugh and joke with various friends -- if only I could turn that into a paying gig in RL!). At various points, I get to travel abroad in something called Kidnapped! and there's also a Mafia War going on. For a while, I was deeply embroiled in a Parking War. I also have a kingdom of my own and apparently my vassals are restless for my return; I don't know what is they expect me to do.
Right now the restaurant game is my favorite. It runs slowly and it's rather high maintenance (actually, all of the virtual life games are high maintenance); not quite feasible for someone who check the site every few days or so. It's like I go and plant crops on my farm, but by the time I return to harvest them, they're all dead. So the only solution is to keep coming back and that, my friends, is the ingenuity of Facebook. After all, you'd feel guilty too if your virtual dog was pawing at you for attention because you happened to have an attack of RL along the way. Now, if you'll excuse me, I think have a war or three to fight.
It's not so much that my computer is slow, but my ISP is super slow. So much for high speed internet. I tested my connection here. I had thought about dropping down to SBC's $15 plan at lower speeds, but kept the $25 because I thought it would be too slow to stream video etc. Well, apparently according to speedtest.net, a turtle could outrun my connection. My upload speed is 0.31 mb/s and my download speed is 0.94 mb/s. Average for my ISP is 3.25 mb/s and for my region, 5.73 mb/s. Still faster than dial-up, but what's the point of high speed if it's just a smidgen faster? I'd better compare those numbers to what SBC says I'm getting for the money.
Cable is not an option as my current location only provides for DSL. But I'll be moving in a few months, so perhaps there will be another option then.
Everything I own is old and is starting to show their age. My television, more than 12 years old, has been on the fritz for the last two weeks and now, I think it's gone. It served me well, has been through a lot (spent a summer in a storage unit without A/C, shipped across the country, numerous episodes of "The Girls Next Door", not to mention various incarnations of Trek). So it's sad and I'm going to miss having the ability to watch television when I want to, but eh. With the advent of Hulu, I don't see it being a huge deal.
My computer is from 2001 and also is starting to creak its way towards... well, I'm keeping my fingers crossed and my eyes on a mini notebook computer. My Corolla is 11 years old this year, and it's still plodding along (though yes, I did buy a new car last month, I still own the Corolla and plan to continue driving it in the near term).
My stereo is coming on 15 years of service; it has a dual tape deck, a single CD player and a digital tuner -- at the time it was state of the art. I still use it on and off, but the CD player has started to skip, and generally, I'm not into music as much as I used to be so I don't spend a lot of time thinking about replacement.
Other old things I own -- my VCR is circa 1999 and my DVD player is probably one of the newer items I own. It's probably from 2003 or 2004. I still use the VCR -- or did until this recent incident with the television. I actually use the VCR more than the DVD player, oddly enough. I guess I won't be using the DVD player anymore either.
I recently replaced my circa 1997 cell phone with a new version after I realized it was nothing short of madness to carry a cell phone that couldn't sustain a charge for more than 10 minutes. My circa 2000 digital camera was replaced last year after it fizzled on a trip to Europe.
Anyway, all my stuff is old and I've been fine with it all, but now I'm staring into a future nightmare -- where everything goes kaput all at once. I'm dreading that. For now, I'm thinking about not getting a new television and making do with hulu. Just with "impending doom" staring me down, I'm thinking a new computer is probably a wiser investment and more practical than a television anyway. We'll see how it goes. This is my first day without a television so I reserve the right to change my mind.
When I first joined Facebook, it was a novelty -- all these people I hadn't seen or talked or thought of in years were at my fingertips. I was going through lists of people thinking, "I know you, what have you been up to?" The emails started going fast and furious. It was amazing to find out that some people were married, had a baby or two or three, and then to find out where they live. I don't know what I was thinking -- that as my life progressed, was everyone else right where I left them? It's disconcerting to say the least.
I've stopped actively looking for people to friend on Facebook. Part of it is because I've found everyone that I do want to be in touch with. Some of them are people I'm regularly in touch already (Hi Liz!), but others we haven't had any contact -- not even a Christmas card -- in years. In two cases, I knew I knew the person, but couldn't remember from where: high school? college? camp? Somewhere else entirely? It was mystifying to me. It then occurred to me that I have three groups of friends on Facebook.
The first group are the people I actively keep in touch with and even see in person regularly. The second group are people I don't keep in as close of touch anymore, maybe a Christmas card here and there, or an IM chat/email exchange every now and then, but we haven't seen each other in years. However, with this second group, there's still an active fondness and a definite desire to hang out if ever we're in the same geographic region again. And finally, the third group - people I have met/spent time with during the high school/college years, but never developed close enough relationships with to keep in touch later. Most of the people in this group are from high school.
Then there's the fourth group: people on whom I once spent time with but don't have any desire to renew any kind of acquaintance with them for whatever reason. I always feel bad when I ignore those requests/emails, but my thoughts have been lately, "What happens if I renew my friendship/acquaintance with this person?" Would it add to my life? Would I be happy that this person is back? Clearly there was a reason why I made a choice to minimize contact, so why would I start up again, knowing that no good could come out of it?
To me, that's the ultimate dilemma. I like using Facebook to send quick messages to my RL friends and planning meet-ups etc., and I like looking at the pictures and news from people who are in the second group. The third group is moderately amusing and nostalgic. The fourth group just plain out stresses me out because my instinct to do right and be polite is mitigated by the fact that sometimes people are oil and water and no good can come out of an attempt to stir the pot and come up with something new and equally unappetizing. Or something.
Facebook for the word games is a whole lot less complicated and less fraught with emotional social issues.
I didn't want to enable comment moderation, but the first comment spam showed up in the previous post. I'm still not requiring login, but I am requiring the letter code picture thingy to deter further spammage. I apologize for the inconvenience. The offending comment has been removed from this blog.
So I'm working some freelance webdesigns and I can't believe, in nearly 12 to 13 years worth of doing this, I never figured this out -- have two index.html pages, one labeled index and the other index2, and work off the index2, and use that as the browser preview/experimental pages. See, in the past I've always just worked off the index page and then I'd find something nutty, would change it, save it in order to preview, and then realize, dang it, I can't undo. By doing it this way, I was actually able to preview, see if I liked it, and then if it worked, save it over the other index file, without losing hours worth of work.
I'm sure this has been obvious to everyone for years, but man...
My computer has been plodding along lately. It's probably tired -- it's about 7 1/2 years old, which is something like 100 years old in computer years. But it works fine for my limited usage -- mainly surfing the internet, writing the occasional story/letter, and playing word games. So it's in my best interests to keep it running and this week, I took a stab at trying to reduce the recent sluggishness. The good news is, as far as I can tell, no virus infection. I ran several different programs and I do have some difference in performance, so that's good. The best part is that all the programs I ran are free for home use. So here's a list of free software that can make your life (and that of your computer's) easier.
Lavasoft's Ad-Aware - this program is pretty darn good for searching out malware and again, it's free for home use. One word of caution -- I had a heck of a time with the Anniversary Edition of Ad-Aware; it installed but then wouldn't run. It turns out to be an issue with the registry. If you've had a previous installation of Ad-Aware, it leaves behind some "junk" that the AE edition can't handle. Which leads me to my next piece of recommended software.
CCleaner -- Jerie recommended this to me years ago, but I admit to not being great about using it. When I ran into the aforementioned problem with the Ad-Aware AE, I remembered this program. It's basically a registry-cleaner. It goes in and finds orphan commands, files, etc., and cleans them out for you. In my case, most of the issues had to do with remnants of programs I had previously installed/uninstalled, such as an earlier edition of Ad-Aware. It's worth running. It was amazing just how much "stuff" the uninstallers leave behind to clutter up your system.
Avast -- I replaced McAfee with this free anti-virus software and I'm much, much happier with it than McAfee. I guess I believe its real-time protection more than I did with McAfee because Avast is pretty shrill when something happens -- either online or downloading email -- that it doesn't approve of. Its GUI is pretty easy to deal with and did I mention it was free? Note, you still have to register the software with Avast within 60 days of installing it on your computer.
I'm also running ZoneAlarm firewall on my computer instead of the built-in Windows firewall, however, I find ZoneAlarm to be kind of a pain. It is constantly nagging at me to update software (no more than 15 days apart each time) and with every update, you have to "retrain" the software to remember all the programs permitted to access the Internet. I guess this is how ZoneLabs gets people to upgrade to the paid version of their software. For free software, it's not bad if you're looking for a firewall. Just be ready to need to update every two weeks or so.
And then back to Ad-Aware. I ended up uninstalling Ad-Aware AE and re-gressing back to an earlier version of Ad-Aware (I still happened to have the *.exe file). That worked just fine. If I'm feeling really bold this weekend, I might try again with the Ad-Aware AE. Right now, due to the issues I had with the installation of Ad-Aware AE, I can't recommend it and would suggest, if possible, to keep your current, working version of the software, or find a *clean* site that will allow you to download an earlier version.
So I'm liking hulu.com more and more. I've watched several different shows, including Morgan Spurlock's "30 Days", which I've always been interested in, and Battlestar Galactica. I also found episodes of "Remington Steele" and "The Facts of Life" on there, but haven't had a chance to watch them.
You do have to register to use Hulu, but it's free, and it's actually got a neat perk -- you can "subscribe" to shows and they automatically load into your account when the latest episode becomes available. Of course, I logged in today for the first time in more than a week and was just overwhelmed by how many episodes were in the account (anything more than 2 shows seems like a lot to me; I'm kind of one show/one night kind of gal. Actually, more of a 1 1/2 show, if you count the first 12 or so minutes of the Daily Show).
They have movies on there as well, most of them fairly old, and lots of documentaries. But what I like is that I have access for the first time to some shows on cable that I'd heard about but was never able to see. Now if I could just get "What Not To Wear" online*, then that would be just awesome and I'd have everything I'd ever want in my couch potato life.
I've replaced the YACCS commenting functionality with blogger's commenting system. It should work the same as YACCS, although the template isn't as pretty as the one I used for YACCS. It will ask you for a login -- you can sign in with a google account, Open ID, or anonymously. For now, I've turned off word verification because I find that highly annoying but if spamming becomes a problem on this blog, I will enable it. Let me know if you have any problems using the new commenting system. Note -- If you sign in anonymously, please sign your name. Thanks!
It looks like my longtime comments provider, YACCS, isn't around. I'll wait a couple more days to see what the situation is before I go in and tinker/tamper with the commenting function on the template. ETA: Looks like after seven years of service, YACCS discontinued its commenting service on Dec. 23, 2008. Wah! It was fun while it lasted. I will see about adding blogger's commenting function here.
The problem with having a computer circa 2001 is that it doesn't play well with newer technology. So this whole thing about uploading pictures from my India trip is taking way longer than it should, and then in the middle of the whole thing, my computer got tired, and rebooted itself. Everytime I plug in my digital camera, Windows gives me the helpful hint that upgrading my USB ports will allow the camera (and my iPod) to work faster. It's tempting, but it's also tempting to buy a new computer.
Here's the thing though -- other than the USB applications (ie camera and iPod), my computer works great for my daily activities which are nothing more complicated than email and writing and web surfing. Every now and then I'll use PhotoShop or Dreamweaver to update a page on my site, but MS Word is about as complicated as I get on a regular basis. This is why it doesn't make sense to buy a new computer and I'm not sure whether buying a new computer will make uploading pictures that much easier; I suspect part of the problem can be chalked up to "user error."
The woeful misuse of the apostrophe drives me absolutely bonkers. It's nails on a chalkboard to me to see someone write you're when they really mean your or vice versa. Who's versus whose is another good one, but I cut people some slack on that one because it's way more confusing than the previous example. More recently, I don't like the practice of adding an apostrophe to make dates plural such 1960's; I always think that something ought to belong to 1960 when I see that. Also, abbreviations with random apostrophes -- such as SAT's instead of SATs. Since so many people do these things with apostrophes, I decided to do a bit of research and find out what the actual rules are.
Turns out, I'm mostly right. The apostrophe for dates and plural abbreviations can be accepted in some places by some people, but the more proper way is to omit the apostrophe in cases of plural abbreviations and dates unless there's the potential to cause some confusion such as multiple A's -- so it's A's, not As or if there is punctuation (ex: periods) within the abbreviation. A good write-up on the rules are here. Here's another post on the same subject. And there's apparently an Apostrophe Protection Society, complete with examples of apostrophe abuse.
I've been aggravated with SeaMonkey ever since I upgraded from the last legit version of Mozilla. First, there was the minor issue of it erasing/losing all of my email (5-6 years worth!) and since then, it's been slow as rocks and just not as stable a client as Mozilla. I miss Mozilla :-(.
My latest problem concerns email -- namely email sent via SMTP. The email downloads from my web server just fine, but when I respond and go to click "send", I get two error messages. Eventually I'm able to send the email by jumping through a couple of hoops, namely going back into account settings, switching between "Default" and "AT&T" SMTP servers (which is stupid, because in this case, they are one and the same) and then making sure no other email window is open. Once this is done, I can sometimes hit send and actually have the email go.
I've been checking all of my settings and passwords and ports, and I still haven't figured out what the issue is. I don't know whether the culprit is AT&T -- though they eventually let me send the email -- or SeaMonkey, or some combination of both. I'd like to like the blame for the whole mess on SeaMonkey's doorstep though. The fact if I shut down all email except the one I want to send tells me that it is most probably a software issue rather than AT&T being difficult. I'm trying to test another SMTP server, but that's causing me another load of problems.
I'm loading up my brand new iPod with music, mostly songs from my own CD collection. This is exciting because it means I can actually listen to more than 80 minutes of music at a time without having to change a CD. I still remember how exciting it was to discover the world of 90-minute cassette tapes and how revolutionary that seemed compared to the 60-minute tapes. It's amazing to me just how much more the iPod holds yet it's a fraction of the size of my Walkman. Apple says I should be able to get about 240 songs on the thing, and it can play for 12 hours straight. Plus, it's a shuffle, so it means I'll rarely ever know which song is coming up next. Sometimes knowing what song is coming next is awfully boring. Anyway, I'm excited. By tomorrow I should have about 70 songs on my iPod, and that's nearly 4 hours of enjoyment. Priceless.
I finally got around to upgrading my browser so I'm now blogging at you from SeaMonkey. But I also am so out of practice that I forgot to back-up my files. Okay, maybe not so much 'forgot' as relied on Mozilla's past track record of not writing over my files. Well, note to the wise: BACK UP YOUR FILES. I have lost every email sent to the Top Sekrit address since 2001 ::sniff:: including email addresses. Which means, if you've emailed me very recently and I didn't email you back, well, chances are you won't be seeing a response to that email. I'm actually more concerned about the email addresses since there are some people whose email I don't know by heart and not sure how I'm going to deal with those.
On the plug side, as related to last night's blog entry, I did lose some of those emails that I wanted desperately to delete and forget about, but couldn't, and now as fate has it...
If anyone has any idea of where my email might have disappeared to during the installation process, I'd love your input.
I'm blogging at you from IE because Mozilla crashed this evening and while I was trying to resurrect the browser made out of awesome, I was stunned to learn that the Mozilla suite's last release was in 2006 and ::sniff:: has now been entirely replaced by Thunderbird and Firefox. It's sad because I've been Mozilla-ing forever and I'm wary of these new!improved animals. Maybe in a couple of weeks, I'll switch over. It's not good to run around with old software...