Patty Goes Geeky

A techno odyssey

Archive for November 2009

I owe an apology to The Nagging Entity

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It turns out I am, if not a liar, a thief and a slut, at least the owner of undoumented software. Let me let Misfit tell it:

“Unfortunately, the product key you provided is not a genuine Office product key. Note that the report says you have an invalid VLK, which means that your computer has a Volume Licensing edition of Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007 installed. An “invalid” VLK is one that was not issued by Microsoft, rather software pirates use a program that reverse engineers the Product Key algorithm and then uses it to generate new “keygen” product Keys that will install the product but will not pass activation and/or validation, sicne they are not Microsoft-generated Product Keys.

“As an individual consumer you should never have been sold Volume Licensing materials such as a VL CD, and you certainly should not have received an invaid Product Key.

“Your first course of action is to confront your seller with this information and demand either a full refund or to receive the genuine software you paid for.

“If the seller refuses to help, please file a piracy report at Also, depending upon whether you received “high quality” counterfeit maerials, you may qualify for the Office Complimentary Offer. Please see the FAQ here:”

As directed, I have e-mailed the seller via Amazon’s site. However, in doing so, I noticed the person has apparently not been active on Amazon since last March. Oh-oh.


Written by geekypatty

November 24, 2009 at 3:42 pm

Posted in Software

He was right about the goats

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I scanned my BMP-style unsatisfactory documents as PDFs and this time they turned out excellently. Makes sense for something named “portable document format,” in retrospect. I’m glad I didn’t spend more time than I did on BMP.

I’m getting faster at figuring out how I want to stash the docs, but I’m stumped again on how to do the photos most efficiently, so I’m back to John with more questions. My fear is that there is no way to do the photos efficiently. AND THERE ARE SO MANY OF THEM.

I heard from MSFT again. Turns out I’d given them a number that was not the product key, but rather just a number off the barcode label. The product key was instead on a label stuck to the inside of the carton, and I hadn’t seen it the first times I looked for it. The Times I.T. Department would not have been surprised that I committed Operator Error.

I noticed that the new error message from The Nagging Entity apologizes for the interruption before calling me a liar, a thief and a slut. I’m not sure that’s an improvement.

Written by geekypatty

November 20, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Posted in Photo, Software

When you don’t know what you’re doing, everything takes so much time

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Gordon gave me a bunch of family documents, which I wanted to scan. I fired up the scanner, opened my downloaded CanoScan Toolbox, got a settings message and started guessing at the right options. BMP was the default on “Save as Type:” so I went with it for 7 or 8 documents, instead of TIFF, my other option. I was scanning along pretty cock-a-hoop until the writing on my birth certificate came up too light to read. On an office copy machine, you just adjust the darkness so I figured there must be a way to do that either on the scanner (apparently nope) or on the computer. All I could find to change was the DPI so I played with that to not much avail, and I started to wonder whether ramping up the DPI a lot would also eat up a lot of storage. And I remembered from my previous life at The Times that photos were JPEGs and people talked about TIFFs, so I started to wonder whether I should be using those if my goal was to have shareable material.

My fast Internet research was not conclusive, and I was impatient, so I figured screw it, I’ll ask my I.T. guy (in this case, John). Here’s his response:

“JPEG almost always. Tiff is okay in a pinch.

“BMP blows goats.

“The BIG problem with Jpeg, every time you edit and save, the picture loses some detail, and gets blotchier. So… don’t edit and save the original, duh. Every time you edit a jpeg, save it AS… something else.jpeg. Problem solved.

“As a matter of course, every time I’m editing any photo, Jpeg, Raw, Tiff, whatever, the first thing I ALWAYS do is save it under a new name.”

A very helpful answer. (I believe “blows goats” must be a technical term for “overall, does not produce satisfactory results.”)

I’ll delete and rescan my documents as the new type so everything will be consistent.

Scanning looks like it will be very time-consuming, indeed, even once I get through this slow learning curve. I think I will do it while watching TV, or knitting, or something else productive. Given that Gordon also passed along ANOTHER batch of photos, I still may be scanning family photos well into my dotage.

p.s. No, I did not defeat Misfit. The error message is back, Misfit’s tech-support person e-mailed more instructions which I followed and am now awaiting a reply, and I got an enormous batch of new updates that probably added even more things that need to be uninstalled. Two of the updates maybe related to what I’m doing with The Nagging Entity’s OGA instructions and were marked “failed.” What I don’t know is whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I may still be trying to solve Misfit’s problems well into my dotage, too.

Written by geekypatty

November 18, 2009 at 11:43 am

Posted in Misc Tech

Yes! I may have out-teched The Nagging Entity!!

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I trashed the OGA folder I found, restarted the computer and Got No Effin Error Message. Could it be? Could I — a puny tech-know-nothing — have defeated the leviathan MSFT?

It opened clean this time. Stay tuned for updates.


Written by geekypatty

November 15, 2009 at 2:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Drove me nuts so I had to fix it

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It’s a rainy day, good for starting my Picasa project. Figuring I’d do a little research on how to organize photos, I can across the Technophilia site, which looks like it might come in handy. It has understandable how-to directions on a variety of tech subjects, including how to organize photos.

However, it did not stop my head from exploding on Picasa. Turns out Picasa makes order out of the chaos of the folders on one’s hard drive, but does not change the fact that there’s chaos on your computer. I couldn’t stand it. I had to organize the photos on my hard drive. A couple of hours later, everything is in folders. Perhaps not neatly (somehow a photo of Gordon ended up in “Dogs” — sorry, Gordon) but lots better than it was.

I have no more brain cells today for photos, so once again Picasa has been postponed. But at least now, when I do wade in, I’ll be starting from a place the logic of which I understand.

In the process, I came across a nasty little OGA (Office Genuine Advantage) folder dated about the time I starting getting “you’re a lying, thieving slut” error messages. I asked Tech Services if I could safely delete it and he said yes. Let’s see if that does anything.

Written by geekypatty

November 15, 2009 at 2:05 pm

Posted in Misc Tech, Photo, Software

Out of fairness, I must note

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My contact at The Nagging Entity e-mailed me politely saying she was still waiting for me to respond. I don’t know why the two e-mails I had sent her didn’t get through, but probably it had something to do with the fact that I had gmail and not Office e-mail open when I clicked the link in her note to create a reply. But I was impressed that she followed up.

I told her that things had gotten better with her suggested fixes but had gotten worse again after receiving my 14 security/system updates from MSFT yesterday morning. So now it’s back to her. I was polite, too, except for perhaps a hint of crankiness when I asked whether we’d be corresponding every time Misfit sent me updates.

Written by geekypatty

November 13, 2009 at 6:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Yes, I scan!

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I’m not exactly sure how I did it, but I’ve scanned my first photo and deposited it in the unorganized mess that is my Picasa hoard.

I did have to find an online owner’s manual for the Canon 9950F, however, because it made a distressingly godawful sound when I turned it on, like it wanted to scan but couldn’t. Turns out, it was just that simple. There’s a lock on the bottom of the scanner that must be engaged when the device is moved, but obviously must be disengaged before it can do its work.

Followed some more directions from the owner’s manual to select Canon and Picasa from programs under my computer’s Start, pressed the scan button, groped my way through a few screen prompts and success!

Now all I have to do is scan several thousand photos and figure out how to organize them.

Written by geekypatty

November 13, 2009 at 6:14 pm

Posted in Photo