Archive | August, 2012

Technology frustrations

29 Aug

Often, I find that things that stump and frustrate me can be really simple to fix.  I just have to research and learn or ask the right person-one who already knows.

Take this posting for example.  I am STILL learning the mechanics of this blog.  I had thought that what I type was saved automatically every several seconds as I type.  I know that I have seen that message run across the bottom of the screen.  So, when I was interrupted after starting this post, I didn’t even think about saving it.  I’ve only saved the draft a few times.  (Usually I finish a post in one setting.). Well, when I returned, after logging in again, I found the post was gone!  I certainly hadn’t expected that.  After reading and experimenting, I’ve found that the automatic saving only occurs after the draft has been saved.  So now I save whenever I leave the computer.  It an easy fix that only takes a second.

Another technological thing that has been frustrating me was the Maps on my iPad.  For several months, whenever I tried to get directions it would give me a message of ‘no transit directions’, even when I entered exact addresses.  I tried rebooting but it didn’t help.  I wondered about re installing app but was reluctant to do it since Maps was factory installed.  So I waited, using the internet and mapquest instead, still frustrated.  This went on for several months.  Then when I was at my son’s I mentioned it to my daughter-in-law.  She looked at it a few seconds, then told me I had it set for bus route.  She showed my the little icon (or are they called widgets now?) at the bottom.  I had never really noticed them before.  There is one for car, bus, and walking.  How simple!  I was so glad it was a quick fix and very happy to have Maps working again, though I did feel a bit silly.  Sure glad I waited on the re-install idea.  I wonder when/if I will ever learn to think about how might be the one causing the problem, instead of something or someone else?

Just now, in previewing this post I realized I need to learn what a widget really is.  My grandson was the one that told me about them, but he really didn’t know the ‘icon’ terminology so didn’t know if they were the same or not,  So back to researhing.  Not wanting to spend a lot of time, I just read a few sites explanations.  As I understand it, a widget is an app icon that can indicate whether the app is active or not.  They are on the widget dock of smart phones.  And that is all I really care to know about them.  Just enough so that I know what my grandson is talking about.

Back to the iPad, I just learned to type the word correctly.  I had been typing IPad and kept getting the red wavy line for a misspelled word.  If I had been using an old operating system I could understand it since the iPad is fairly new.  But I have Windows 7.  So I tried different ways and found that the capitalization is a bit weird.  Apple named it the iPad.

While traveling with one of my sons, I learned that Maps on my iPad is run off GPS.  Now I understand why, even though I don’t currently have a data plan, the map app still shows me where I am.  But maybe that is only the case when I have previously run a direction route while connected to WiFi.  I’ll have to check that out.

I also learned something very helpful to me about the iPad.  I really just stumbled on it.  One day I was typing and noticed a little round globe like symbol.  This was after the Maps episode.  I guess that caused me to be a little more observant of detail.  Anyway, imagine my surprise when I realized it can change the keyboard so I can type in letter accents!  That will be so helpful on my Spanish posts.

After reading my last technology post, my daughter commented that there is a built in tape recorder on smart phones.  I was going to have her show me when we got together, but nether one of us remembered.  I asked by daughter-in-law, but she didn’t know since she doesn’t use it.  So I researched.   I found my IPhone has a built in app for audio record.  I looked at my phone but didn’t see the icon.  I finally found it in the productivity folder.  (I like to create folders for my apps, so it doesn’t clutter my screen.)  I must have put it there when I first got the phone.  I plan to use it next time thoughts come to me when I’m driving.   My phone is a 3G and only has about a half hour of time, but it will still be handy.  The 4G have much more run time.

When publishing my blog,, one thing that I tend to overlook is the tags.  I am usually so interested in getting the post completed and published, that I forget about the tags.  But I have learned how to add them, using my laptop, after I’ve published the post.

Another thing I just learned which made me feel really silly since the fix was so simple.  I switch from my iPad to laptop a lot.  Sometimes I have my posts open on both.  I usually have other tabs open with other sites I’m looking at too.  One day when I was switched back to working on this post on the laptop,  I noticed that the left side of my screen, where the mechanics of the post are located, was larger and was overlapping the post.  I couldn’t understand what had happened.  I tried shrinking them, but couldn’t.  I tried closing down other posts on both iPad and laptop and logging in again.  It was still like that.  It wouldn’t have been so bad-even though it overlapped where I type-except I really don’t have much luck adding the tags with the iPad and typing is easier with the laptop.  So I have been switching back and forth.  Frustrating.  When typing today, I suddenly thought about the maximize/minimize on the laptop.  Often on sites with smaller print I maximize the screen.  So I tried maximizing the screen.  Sure enough, my screen was back to normal, except that the layout was crazy from where I had moved things around trying to correct the overlap,.  But after some time spent moving them around, I now have the mechanic tabs again on the left where they are more handy.  So even though I felt silly, I really learned two things–the minimize/maximize and how to move tabs around on my post screen.

Well this  is one post I certainly didn’t finish in one sitting, not even in a day.  It’s a good thing I’ve learned how to save.  Ive been working on it a couple of weeks!  When I  started this blog I really wanted to do a post a week. But as is often the case, life has a way of changing my plans sometimes.  So I’ve had to do this blog in bits.  Glad to have it completed now, and I’ve even added the tags!  Now I just have to publish this.  Oh, and post my new blog address to facebook.

Websites I love

8 Aug

When checking my email this morning I realized , again, how much I tend to go overboard.  Because I am interested in so many different things, I visit all kinds of websites.  And, often, I check the little box that puts me on their mailing list.  Such a little, seemingly innocent,  action sure can create a  deluge!  But if I unsubscribe I might miss out on something.  So I usually just browse thru, deleting as I go.  When I see something that looks interesting I may check it out.  Most often, tho, I leave it till later, which only makes the job take longer next time.  When I get more time I scan more closely, saving what I want.  My email folders grow larger.  To make matters worse, when I  visit the sites, many times I will create bookmarks, causing those folders to grow.  It can get a little overwhelming, at times, but at least I always have something to check out!

One site that has me on their email list is www.instructables.com.  You can find almost anything on this site!  Often, something quirky will catch my eye and I have to check it out.  I hardly ever really do any of the activities, but I love reading about them and looking at the pictures.  One that recently caught my eye was this  http://www.instructables.com/id/Magnetic-Sugru-Stix/  This is one of those things like I always wished I could get my kids to try, and now my grandkids.  I don’t know why I can’t seem to want to do it for myself.  I guess I would rather do it with someone.  The Instrucables site reminds me of the “Make” magazines that I get from my son once they are done with them.  After I check them out, wonder about the ideas, then finally realize they are just ideas–not something I really want to do–I pass them on to my grandson.  I don’t know if he ‘makes’ anything or not.  But at least we enjoy reading about the ideas.  We all seem to share the same spark.

Since I enjoy knitting I subscribe to some of those sites.  Purple Kitty Yarns www.purplekittyyarns.com offers some free patterns.  Creative Knitting  www.creativeknittingmagazine.com sends me helpful “how-to” info.  I get notices from two yarn companies, Knit Picks www.knitpicks.com and Loin yarn www.lionbrandyarn.com.  Both offer free patterns as well as other patterns, yarn and knitting supplies.  I purchased a set of interchangeable needles from Knit Picks.

Knitty, www.knitty.com is  another site that has me on their list.   I just love this site!  Unlike Instructables, I actually do things from this site.  I like looking at their knitting patterns–they have lots of free ones, and very helpfulf tutorials.  They are connected to Interweave, http://www.interweave.com which has magazines on crafts and art.   I get emails from two other Intervweave sites besides knitty.com:  http://www.artistdaily.com and www.sewdaily.com,  Interweave sends me offers of  free ebooks that I can download.  You are starting to see why my mailbox fills up so quickly.  But it doesn’t stop here.

I am also subscribed to www.flylady.net.  This is one I browse through.  I send the kids challenges to my young granddaughters.  I usually delete the testimonials cause I just don’t have the time or desire to read them.  I did at first.  I really think Flylady has a good thing going.  This site helps motivate me.  I don’t do ALL the challenges and my dishes aren’t always done, but I really like the looks of a clean, shiny sink!  Like I say, the site helps motivate me.  And I need that motivation.  I like the looks of a clean, well ordered home, but unfortunately I don’t love housework.  But, I think/hope that is improving.  I tend to go in spurts with housecleaning like I do with other stuff.  So any motivation I can get helps.

From the Flylady site I got hooked up with Big Tent  www.bigtent.com    I was subscribing to to some exercise emails, but discontinued them.  It was just too much.  I liked the exercise idea and I know I need to do it, but when  I went to the website I  hated the sound of the  coach’s voice!  I just knew I could never listen to that very long.  But, of course, that didn’t stop my from saving some of the emails.   (Wish I knew how to add a smiley face).

I also get two more emails from the Flylady link, www.savingdinner.com and www.missussmartypants.com.  At least the Miss Smarty Pants is a weekly, not daily one.  I have listened to her radio a few times, but find I would rather just read the emails–I do always read hers, and occasionally visit her site.  I feel they are both good sites, but I am considering removing myself from the Saving Dinner  email and just visit the site.

I recently joined  the National Gardening Club, www.gardenclub.org and get an email called “Extra Dirt” from them.  It features items that members have tested and approved.  I like to see what is on the market.  I wonder if any items I test will end up there?

National Wildlife Federation, www.nwf.org lets me know when the subscriptions for my grandchildren are due.  I like giving magazines to the kids as gifts.  Its something fun, educational and lasts all year, not just for the moment.  The older kids are getting too old for these magazines, but the younger ones still love them.  I haven’t found any magazines I want to subscribe to for the older ones yet.  I thought of  “Make”  for one of my grandsons, but it costs too much.    I can afford the NWF ones, it is a good value for my money.

Other places I get mail from are:

www.motherearthnews.com, lots of ideas from this one.  I used to get this magazine from friends when they were done, then passed it back.  This seems to be a magazine people want to hold onto.  You can now get back issues on DVD.  Some other magazines I used to get were “National Gardener”, “Homesteading”, and “Organic Gardening” (I used to have back copies of this one).  But, alas, every time I moved I had to get rid of more stuff, and now the magazines are gone.  But, thanks to technology, I can get the articles via web now.

www.amazon.com (you can get almost everything from this site),

www.tumbleweedhouses.com, The tiny house site is interesting, although I would never want to go as small as that.  And it seems to me their homes cost a lot for being so little.

www.30daygourmet.com,  This one is mostly just ideas and sometimes a recipe I like.  I really haven’t ever done the freezer cooking.  Sometimes I freeze leftover, but don’t plan it.  I don’t even plan menus or meals ahead.  I know all the ‘experts’ say we should.  But every time I try something comes up and I have to change it anyway, so I just don’t bother.

When I started this post I really didn’t expect it to be quite so long.   It’s just that I see something and get carried away on to another and then another thing.  Even though some times it can sometimes be a little overwhelming, at least I never get bored!

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