upshot

Oct. 30th, 2011 10:07 am
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I brought my new computer home and hooked it up to restore from the Time Machine backup. This took about seven hours, and when it was done, I had no software except what comes with the system. Seemed wrong, somehow. I quickly deduced that I had restored from a partial backup instead of the complete backup. I called Apple one more time, and Raymond told me how to start up so that the computer would look for something to restore from (command+r). Five or six hours later, the computer was functioning. To my surprise, it didn't even ask for the half dozen updates it usually wanted, which was fine by me. This morning, it wanted to update a couple of things, which didn't take long.

What have I learned from all this?

Well, the little twelve-pointed turbine that spins below the apple icon to mark time while the computer is booting up is called "the gear." If I'd thought earlier in the process to ask one of my long-distance tech friends about it, I wouldn't have had to keep making up names and descriptions for it.
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Yesterday, I had three freezes, so I called a nice tech person who talked me through some things I'd done before with other nice tech people, but it did seem to be working better.

Then it froze thirteen more times.

Today I talked to Ryan, and we tried a thing or two, which got the computer completely booted up long enough for me to grab another few files off of it. He offered to make me a 12:15 appointment at the local Genius Bar, which I declined. Then I drove there and did a drop-in drop-off. Mike (a genius) came and spotted me, remembering me from before. "At this point, we're looking at a couple things," he said. "We can try a new logic board (which Ryan had also mentioned, as had Thomas and perhaps Andrea as well), or give you a new computer." I allowed as how either would be okay with me. With the new drive and a logic board, I'd already have 2/3 of a new computer.

So we opted for "new computer."

I went outside to wait and called my seester to tell her about my great good fortune. Then I went in and got the computer, which has a hard drive 50% larger than my previous MacBook Pro — Mike said the new model has just come out — and other lovely features I can go online and look up after I've finished this post. I'm using my old 17" G4, which is now Sarah's, and she is quite generous in sharing it with me.

So, it may be six or seven hours before the Time Machine backup is in place. It started out saying five. I'm hoping it will get faster later in the process. Mike cautioned that if the freezes start again, then it's a software problem and I'll have to start moving programs around individually, but that I've lucked out, because the new computer is mine, mine, mine. Mine!

I observed that the trick-or-treaters wandering the mall would envy me if they knew what I'd gotten. Then I spent $60 for a protective slipcover. I invoiced for $425 yesterday, so I think it's covered. If not, I'll take it back in. My car can take me to the Apple Store without much help from me by now.

Hooray for Apple! Hooray for the Genius Bar! Hooray for Mike F.!
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My MacBook Pro chides me frequently for not putting a disk away properly before removing it. It does this when it comes back online from being put to sleep for the night. Consequently, I've taken to ejecting each disk (separately, because if I highlight and eject the four externals at the same time it crashes) before I put it down at the end of the day.

So this morning, after I did that the night before, it's chiding me for not putting a disk away properly (and also complaining multiple times about the printer not being found, which gives it worries six or eight times every day).

Hey, if it's going to do that regardless of what I do, I think I'll just take the easy way out and not bother ejecting everything before I turn in. Why bother?!
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I got to the YMCA for my appointment today to sign up for their FitLynx (sp?) program, which tracks my exercise. After a brief wait, I was assisted by one of the staff, who was somewhat new to the software. I'm not sure that was the real problem, though. It suffered from the same problem I see with vitamin and mineral supplements: the belief that anything worth taking (such as exercise) must be taken in prodigious quantities or not at all.

We tried to set up a program for me. For me, not for Arnold Schwarzenegger. It offered six sets of thirty-minute rounds on rather similar pieces of exercise equipment. We changed it to two sets of fifteen minutes. I wish to start off slowly. In my experience of twenty years ago, if I rush into the routine they give me, I'll be throwing up right after I climb off the exercise bike.

It wanted me to lift weights. I tried to uncheck the weights and got a message (is there a Mac hidden inside there?) that this could not be done. We returned to the previous screen and found the three hours of treadmill, cardio and bikes reinstated. Machine knows best.

So I clocked out, then did about a mile on the cardio machine and four on the stationary bike. I just gotta be me.
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kip_w: (sarah tongue)
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From this vantage point at the end of the week, I'd say there were some high points.

Nicer weather came. Snow melted. On Thursday I went out and kicked the snow piles down and scattered the white stuff around, and by the end of the day Friday, the last of the large plowed-up snow was pretty much gone. I also got a stick and putted the dog waste out of the yard. A thoughtful dog owner had left it in the gutter out front, and a helpful snow plow had deposited it (along with a certain quantity of snow) in our yard, where it was revealed by the melting.

Earlier in the week, I purchased a length of rope (two, actually -- one is for a jump rope for me) at Home Depot and took it out to the tree in front along with a ladder. I tied it around the large vertical branch that has been sitting loose up there for the last four months or so, got a good distance away, and pulled. I was able to make it swing back and forth, but it had a hold on something up there. I tried changing the angle, tying the rope to it in different places, and combinations of the two. Finally I extended the ladder to its fullest and took it to the other side of the tree, clutched the trunk with one arm and reached as high as I could to reach the parts of the branch that were hooked over another branch. After I broke those off, I went back down and pulled the rope again, this time wrapping it around another piece of broken off branch, and I got the whole mess down. Later on I'll clean it up again. This, incidentally, is where I got the putter for the first paragraph.

Between the warm weather and the rain, just about all the old snow was gone from the front, and most all from the back. Today it snowed again, but that melted off as well, leaving only a couple of snow clods where the biggest of the plowed piles was.

I've been scanning old negatives, mostly from November 1979. That's when I walked all over Fort Collins, taking black and white photos of stuff I liked, most of which seems to be gone now (but not all). A lot of these photos had never even been printed, as I was mostly getting contact sheets back then to save money. I'll be sharing some of these with Lost Fort Collins, a web site that seems to have been made just for me. Or at least it might as well have. The Northern Hotel??? Wow! I lived there!

I've also been converting some of my LPs to mp3 format for iPod listening. One difficulty with this has been that I use the PC for that, so I can employ SoundForge for the recording and cleaning up, but the PC has its problems. It wants only to shut itself down. Since the day I took the case off, things were better, and I came within about a week of having my first Mozy backup completed, but this week I hit another wall, unable to find a save point in Norton GoBack that would let it come up. [Tedious detail ahead.] With experimentation, I found that I could interrupt the startup with the space bar as if I was going to GoBack, then cancel out of that and have the option of picking much farther save points than GB was giving me. January 2 has become my standard fallback, and with its judicious use, I've been booting successfully with only the occasional lost day when it decides to update Windows while I'm asleep. I'm somewhere between 6 days, 5 hours and 1 week 1 day from finishing the first Mozy backup.

Also I have to keep a close watch on the power supply fan, which doesn't always start up with the computer. I've found that I can start it up by poking it just so with the skinny straw from the compressed air I use to keep it dusted (thanks, Shelly!). When the whole thing is backed up to my satisfaction, we might see about getting it fixed. I think I'd rather keep this one working than buy a new one. I like its audio-visual features. I can turn video output into files, and I can use SoundForge with it.

I haven't been swimming at all this week, because I banged up my right knee last week (my left knee, which I hurt slipping on ice in the driveway, was just about finished with the pain cycle) trying to show Sarah something interesting at the YMCA Adventure Center. So I've been taking her to Adventure Center to play instead of swimming with her. We had a very active time of it this evening. I chased her around, then we threw soft blocks to each other for a while, and finally played on the slide until closing time. She went right to sleep tonight.

I keep trying to find time to play the piano more, and have done so here and there. Last week we went to Borders because I had a 40% off coupon for one item. I bought the one-volume BONE collection, as I have been thinking for many years I should read that. 40% off is what it took. The only copy they had was flawed, so they worked it out that I'd buy it and it would come to me from another branch. It came in the mail a couple of days ago, and I've been enmeshed in it. I'm around page 900 now, and will finish tonight or tomorrow. I'm just as glad I could go through it all in one shot, as each chapter is a quick read. Gotta go. Bone calls me.
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There's been a race going on, between me trying to back up my hard drive to Mozy (online storage), and the computer, trying to perish first. The computer gets closer whenever it needs to be rebooted: Will Norton GoBack find a bootup that works? Helping it in its efforts to reboot a lot are all sorts of updates that find their way on and, invariably, require a reboot for proper installation. If I don't reboot them, they reboot themselves.

Sometimes it freezes up. Sometimes it chokes and falls over. A day or so ago, the error messages were coming fast and furious. I still need two weeks or more to finish the backups, and if the computer won't stay up for five minutes, two weeks is a long way away.

There was a lot of fan noise one time. Another time, I got a message about the power supply fan. That's when I had at least 2/3 of an idea. I took the cover off the computer so it maybe wouldn't get so hot.

It's been at least a whole day since the last problem. It hums along merrily, backing up as it goes forward.
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InDecision

Nov. 8th, 2008 08:15 pm
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InDesign help needed! If that line means anything to you, please read on.

I'm putting a book cover together in InDesign. When I am set to finalize it, I need to know what size the art is being shrunk to in the program so that I can carefully shrink the original photos down to that size for optimum printing. Letting a computer, especially someone else's, choose how a picture gets shrunk is another way of saying, "Please turn my photos to mush for me. Thanks!"

Unfortunately, I can't find any palette, menu, window, widget, or anything that tells me what size a picture has been reduced to in the entire InDesign program. It is as if it assumes nobody would ever want to have any control over such a thing.

Can someone out there tell me how to determine what a photo has been resized to? Can someone point me to a person who might know, or a resource that might be able to tell me?

Thanks in advance.
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kip_w: (sarah tongue)
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Dreamed I was walking around in my nightshirt, carrying a couple of small items I'd forgotten to pay for. I saw [livejournal.com profile] geckoman and said "hi" and waved. Then I remembered I hadn't paid for the book -- a volume of The Science Fiction Hall of Fame that I'd never seen before -- so I turned around. I was now behind [livejournal.com profile] geckoman. He did some stretching sort of thing, twiddling his fingers by his sides, and all the bystanders on the path did the same thing, with much merriment. He turned, and they all stopped a split second before he could see them. He turned away again, and they went back to aping his movements gleefully. Soon after that I woke up.

Sarah was upset driving home from the pool early in the week, because it was getting dark. When we got home she was still upset, so I suggested a flashlight for her in the car. Next day was a half day for her, so we shopped for flashlights at Target, along with other necessities for the upcoming snowy season. I settled on the lowest-price generator lights. She reminded me we have two cars, so we got two.

Raking continues. As I was corralling leaves, I noticed several sticks under the tree out front. Looking up, I saw that the big limb up high that was holding on by an inch of bark was now several feet lower and, presumably, is now being held up by force up habit plus a network of smaller branches. Don't anybody walk under my tree.

I'm no longer "blind" on LJ. I never managed to install Flash 9, but something -- perhaps activating components of my Adobe CS2 Suite -- seems to have done it for me. Relief.

Meanwhile, I can't find the install disks for Quark, so even though I found all my application backups, I can't make Quark save. It will print, including making PDFs, but it brands them with an obnoxious message. I can take it out in Illustrator, letter by letter (if I take it out in Acrobat, removing the last letter reflows the rest of the text in an intolerable way). This is tedious. So to hell with Quark. I'm now struggling to learn InDesign, whose guiding principle was to do everything differently from Quark. My sister recommended a book that puts the two programs side by side and explains how to make the transition, so Cathy ordered a copy and paid $7 more so I could read it online. I've been reading it online, but because the Amazon reader only shows single pages, I can't compare the features the way the book was intended to do. I could print the book -- one page at a time -- but the resulting printed pages show small print as illegible hieroglyphs. Needless to say, I can't save the file, either.

We went out for sushi last night at Shiki, confirming that it's the best I've found around here so far, albeit pricey. On the way home, Sarah was upset about it getting dark, even with the flashlight. I expect she really is upset, though this would also fit in neatly with her ongoing campaign against going anywhere in the car. We've had at least one cat that was better about riding in the car.

Speaking of cats, we'll be taking care of a cat from down the street for about a week in a couple of days. Sarah keeps dropping hints (apparently unaware that she has more or less flat-out told me already) what she and Cathy are getting for my birthday (hint: cat). The strain is close to the surface. She talks about it on a daily basis. There is still a month and a half to go.

I took the trampoline apart and stacked the pieces in the sunroom. This had the instant effect that Sarah now goes to Mike's house instead of vice versa. I got the nets and rails and pad and springs done last weekend, leaving only a circular frame I called "Trampolinehenge." That part is now stacked as well. I might see how much of it I can stow in the big box it all came in. I might get 75% or more of it back in there and out of the way.

Last night I tried what the plumber told me about the heat regulator in my shower. I wanted to be able to take a hot shower -- lukewarm doesn't do it for me. I finally figured out how to get to the piece that stops the knob from going into hot territory. Some time later, I figured out how to make it go back in. Tomorrow I'll probably call the plumber and have him come out and make it stop incontinently dripping.

That's about it. I'm sure I'm forgetting something. Let's see -- bought a can of popcorn from some Boy Scouts. We went trick-or-treating. Oh yeah, we did that. It was fun; walked about a mile with Mikey and some other kids. We saw people Sarah knows from school. I'll probably remember more later. Sarah and I might go bowling today.
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My eyes!

I'm effectively blind over about half the net all of a sudden, because I don't have Flash 9. So I pressed the button for the "without any hassle" upgrade, and after a long bout of grinding, I was told that I only have to upgrade my system to 10.4, which costs, oh, so very, very little.

Perhaps when we buy a new drive for the PowerBook, we can put a new system on it and have the joy of finding out how many of our most vital programs don't work with 10.4. How jolly that will be! What a vast improvement the new system will bring. It'll be the Vista of Macintosh!

I got tired of looking at the icon for my old drive on the desktop just sitting there with no name on it. Even though I'm not putting any files on it (they're all on the 500GB drive with the backups). Still, without a name, it was like a missing tooth or something.

I thought about it. The drive is apparently old and unreliable. It forgets things. It's on its way out and will soon be nothing but an irksome memory. So I named it MacCain.

Thanks, and don't forget to tip your waitress.
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kip_w: (sarah tongue)
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The meltdown of the PowerBook was exciting. As I may have said, I backed up all the data files and the applications, and tried to find which folders contained settings for them, so I'd keep things like bookmarks and saved mail. When the hard drive quit again and apparently couldn't be fixed another time, I decided I might as well erase it all and start over. With some trepidation, I pushed the button. A second later, it was all over and I had no contents on the drive. I looked for the applications to start transferring them back over. Only I couldn't seem to find any. Well, that was just grand.

I searched in the box where we always put program disks, and of course we hadn't. I started going through other boxes and found the Adobe Creative Suite, which meant I'd have Photoshop and Acrobat (and others, but those are the really important ones -- if Quark didn't work for me again, the InDesign would become important as well). I couldn't find the Quark disk, or various other vital disks. Then, somehow, it turned out that I had backed up the applications after all. Good news.

Only Quark insists that there's something wrong with it, probably because it doesn't have the file that tells it not to say there's something wrong with it. It wants me to reinstall, which I'd happily do if the disk turned up and if Quark doesn't refuse to let me activate it. In the meantime, it seems to function. At first there were some fonts missing, but I think I got them working again too.

Somebody called yesterday about a job. He was supposed to call back today and tell me if I got it -- it would be worth about a grand to me. I haven't heard from him, so I suspect the worst, for values of "worst" that equal "didn't get job."

The PTSA (the parent-teacher organization for Sarah's school) held a massive household sale at the high school. We took one of Sarah's little bikes in, and her little wading pool (we got three years of good use from that!), and her little red car which is now too small for her, and the Barbie scooter, and the old microwave, and some clothes, and an ironing board, and one of the boom boxes. Yesterday Cathy and I went over there and bought more stuff to take its place. The car was sitting there, waiting for a buyer, and I took a couple pictures of it with my cell phone out of sentiment. I got some decent shirts. Cathy bought two sweaters. Sarah got a new bike, which was waiting in the garage to surprise her when she got home from school.

She was very pleased with it. It's bigger than her other bike, and it has five speeds, two hand brakes, front shock absorbers, and a mount for a water bottle if we can find one that fits it. I showed her how to shift gears, and she's faster than ever. It was a bargain for five dollars.

The dentist called this morning and reminded me of my appointment, so I went in and let them drill away on the back tooth that's been wincingly sensitive since the dentist back in Massachusetts put a temporary cap on it after it broke on a piece of sushi just before we moved. We're going to try a temporary crown to see if that makes it good enough to chew food with. I'll go back for that in two weeks. Until then, I have a generic piece of metal over it to hold the place for the temp crown. Hence the title of this post. Thanks, I'll be here all week.
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My trip to the Apple Genius Bar leaves me with a working computer that still makes that noise from time to time. They tried installing Leopard on it (which would have been a nice upgrade), but it wouldn't take. They reinstalled 10.3.9 and rebuilt the directory, which they said might have been the problem. What about the noise? They do that sometimes.

So I've started trying to back stuff onto the old iPod. I wanted to sync the iPhoto library to it, but every time I start, it grinds for a few hours and then declares that there just wasn't enough room on the hard drive to put every single preview before putting them on the iPod. There doesn't seem to be a place where I can click the option to do them a few at a time instead of like an idiot. I mean, an iDiot. Also one time it failed for some other nebulous reason I can't even remember now.

So I'm bodily loading a bunch of things to the drive. This works somewhat, but about 50 items in the Applications folder have forward slashes in the name, and the iPod drive just won't take those, having been brought up on Windows. Naturally, it can't skip those and go on, but must abort the entire operation. I'm reluctant to change them all, as it might leave me with nonworking programs. Stymied there.

Some progress, though, I guess.
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Something I forgot to mention yesterday is that partway through the morning, the computer I generally use, the Powerbook, had a message that it needed to be rebooted. That's a new one. I rebooted it, but it wouldn't go beyond a gray screen. I zapped the PRAM, and that got it up to a static gray apple screen. A search through boxes turned up the system disks, so I booted from an install disk and used Disk Tools to verify permissions, repair permissions, verify the hard drive, and repair the hard drive. After that, it let me boot. Oh yeah, the hard drive made noises like it had sand in it, or like a cocktail shaker with some rocks inside. Anyway, not nice noises. They settled down, and I got my 8GB thumb drive out and backed everything I could think of onto it.

Once in a while, I heard the noises again. At the end of the day it was becoming quite voluble, so I shut it down. This morning, it gives me the static gray screen.

I'm wondering. If I get one of those portable hard drives and manage to get everything onto that, could I run the computer from it and leave the internal drive out of things altogether? I kind of suspect this would cost less than fixing the thing just now. That's if and if, of course.

Now I wait for the phone repair to come within 24 hours of my call.
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I learned stuff.

At [livejournal.com profile] fishbliss's suggestion, I tried updating the firmware in the router. I ended up with the PC still getting internet, but only through a direct ethernet connection. All the times I've had this problem before, I got it worked out in a day or two, usually by cycling (first the cable modem, then the router, then, sometimes, the computer) and messing with the preferences and such. No dice this time. Then the PC (aka the Vaio) became intermittent, and then it stopped working as well.

I got out the phone book. The cable company wasn't in it. I guess it's because they're in Rochester, and we're only next door to Rochester. They're in my phone book now, because I put them in after I called Information.

I talked to Time Warner customer service and managed to get to where the Vaio had internet when connected directly to the cable modem output. Then I talked to Netgear until they figured out that I bought the unit two years ago, after which they said I could still get their email help, which beats "no help."

Cathy, meanwhile, wasn't getting any internet on her laptop in the family room, so I had an inspiration and switched out two ethernet cables. Result: no internet on the Vaio, either. I became agitated, again.

I messed around, doing the same things that didn't work over and over. I had learned two new tricks from tech reps (God bless India!), and while trying to remember what flag she'd had me try on the "ipconfig" command from the Vaio's C prompt, I found ipconfig/?, which told me that it was probably /all. I noticed that it said I had no connection, and no DHCP. I tried /? and saw a possibility in there, tried /registerdns, and that worked.

Buoyed by this success, and having a working internet again, I tried some more word combinations in google and found someone with the same problem who had been advised to use apple's disk utility to repair permissions. I started it doing this and put Sarah to bed. When I came back, permissions were repaired. I monkeyed just a little bit more with the networking control panel, and now I have internet on the PowerBook as well.

Special bonus: Cathy has internet on her laptop in the other room as well.

I just adore success.
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