Patty Goes Geeky

A techno odyssey

Archive for December 2009

Feeling both a chimp and a chump

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It just took me an hour to order prints online from Bartell’s. It is not Bartell’s fault. It is mine. I am so technologically unintuitive that I fear I may never become a geek.

I selected the photos I wanted and collated them into a Picasa album but then couldn’t figure out how to send to Bartell’s from Picasa (Picasa’s site actually listed Walgreen’s as an option which probably would have saved me a lot more time even if it meant driving the longer distance to that store) so I e-mailed the selected photos to my Gmail account and then tried to copy them to a folder on my desktop for uploading but I had to grope to retrieve the folder from the Bartell’s photo process and when I finally did the photos were zipped and apparently not good enough quality so I got an error message that the resolution wouldn’t work and trashed them and started over uploading each virgin photo again to the Bartell’s system but kept getting informed that I had no photos in my album and it turns out it was idiot operator error because I thought I was selecting the photos I wanted by getting a blue border around each but instead I should have been checking the box in the upper lefthand corner of each photo which I didn’t find out until I read the help file and then somehow duplicated the quantity and had to edit my cart but finally successfully placed my order.

I am going to give myself a couple of points for persistence but otherwise I pretty much flunked the test.

Advice from Chimpanzeepatty: Read Bartell’s help directions all the way through before you start. When you know just enough to assume you know what you’re doing, you’ll miss helpful tips such as:

“If an image has been emailed, chances are good the email application compressed the image prior to sending it. This means the image will not turn out well if printed.”

Written by geekypatty

December 28, 2009 at 4:19 pm

Posted in Photo

Speaking of calendar malfunctions….

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… while researching (see below) I noticed some chatter about Google calendar dropping appointments into a black hole. I had lost two important ones (causing me to miss a former coworker’s retirement party, and losing a hard-to-retrieve phone number I’d entered into a “you absolutely must remember to call this person” follow-up). Originally, I’d thought it was operator error. Did I enter it into the wrong month? Wrong year? I’ve done that, so it’s not entirely a ludicrous supposition.

But no, this was Google error. My two important entries simply disappeared, along with I’m-afraid-to-wonder- what-else. Geekypatty was betrayed by technology.

And I simply can’t have it. In the absence of a memory, I depend on a calendar. I’m going to have to double-enter essential calendar items into my Children’s Hospital wall calendar by hand.

Written by geekypatty

December 27, 2009 at 10:55 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Finally, I am genuine

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First, I have to say that Microsoft treated me well and I have to give it an A in customer service. Second, I have to admit that I should have caveat-emptored my purchase of Office software. Third, borrowing the immortal words of my I.T. guy, I have to reiterate that SAM’s Storefront and Amazon both blow goats.

All that is preparatory to this: After I reported my counterfeit software to Microsoft and shipped off my disks and packaging, within about a week give or take, the company had shipped me a legitimate copy of Office at no further cost (they’ll do that for those who unknowingly purchased non-Genuine software and cooperate in their validation process). Tonight, following directions, I uninstalled my bogus copy from SAM’s Storefront via Amazon (both of whom refused to make good on the purchase because I hadn’t discovered they had sold me non-genuine product until past their deadlines for returns). I then installed the genuine software that Microsoft provided. I had to do a full shutdown-and-start because I was still getting the “non-genuine” tag after only a restart. But finally, eureka! Microsoft no longer labels me a liar, a slut and a thief. Microsoft forgives me, and has dubbed me genuine.

I think I’m going to cry.

In the spirit of Christmas, I am trying to practice my personal mantras of “grace” and “joy.” That is why I will not take this opportunity to hope that Microsoft’s legal department uses the information I’ve provided to make the lives of SAM’s Storefront and Amazon a living hell. That would be petty.

Instead, I will acknowledge my own fallibility, the learning opportunity created by the many hours I have devoted to trying to become a genuine user and the high road taken by Microsoft in this entire process. If it somehow turns out, however, that Microsoft’s legal department makes life a living hell for SAM’s Storefront and Amazon, well, I could be OK with that.

Grace and joy.

Written by geekypatty

December 26, 2009 at 7:58 pm

Posted in Software

A cookie issue I could fix but can’t explain

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After switching to Firefox, I was unable to get to my Google calendar from my G-mail e-mail account. The error message said something to the effect that the transfer wasn’t working and would never work, and I got it repeatedly. After Googling the problem, I found that others were experiencing the Firefox/Google calendar issue. The solution was to delete the Google cookie (open Firefox and then Tools, Options, Privacy, Cookies, Remove Cookie). I was going to just let it go, and then figured since I’d learned a technobit, I should include it in my blog in case my many (OK, four) readers would find it useful. Perhaps, as I did, you’d find some background on cookies useful. My rudimentary understanding is that it’s information stored on my computer that tracks where I’ve browsed, sort of like Hansel and Gretel’s crumb trail. I do not know why they’re called cookies instead of crumbs. More to the point, I still don’t know why deleting the cookie fixed the problem. And while some of me really, really wants to know a clear explanation, the majority of me doesn’t care enough to spend any more time on it.

Written by geekypatty

December 26, 2009 at 1:53 pm

Posted in Misc Tech

You never know where you’ll learn interesting tips

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I was in the tub, soaking in therapeutic bath salts (thanks, Jen) and reading the latest Oprah magazine. In my defense, I only got O mag because it was a cheap introductory subscription, I am still not quite finished recuperating from the flu and it took all the mid-afternoon energy I could muster to drag myself and an (I’m sorry, Oprah) easy-read magazine that far.

But faster than a half-dozen annoying card inserts can fall out of Oprah’s magazine, Flu-ypatty became Geekypatty. Farah Miller’s Hi, Tech! column told me at least a half-dozen things I’d been doing wrong or could do better in my blog. For instance, “link to well-established sites.” (Done. You don’t get much more established than oprah.com). And don’t just create a link under the word “here.” Farah writes, “Click here means nothing to a search engine, but Find a childcare provider says a lot.”

These are good tips for search-engine optimization. But that presumes a) I want people to find my blog and make fun of my ignorance and b) that moving my blog up from about the 20-millionith return to the 19,999,948th return is much of an achievement. Farah also suggests I should purchase my own URL for a buck 99 at godaddy.com. Now THAT I might do. Anybody who suckers for an $18 Oprah magazine offer may not be able to turn down a cheap domain name.

Ah, it turns out that the offer was too good to be true. You have to buy something to get the $1.99 rate. But maybe someday I’ll spring for the $10.69 (for the first year) rate. I’ll add “figure out if I need a domain name” to the ever-growing Geekypatty to-do list.

Written by geekypatty

December 18, 2009 at 5:38 pm

Posted in Blog

They call me Flipper

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Apparently, I’ll do anything to keep from scanning more family photos. Even though I wasn’t quite ready to start video, I decided to poke around a bit on it. I’d recorded a bunch of videos on the Flip camera, and knew there was a USB connector (is that the right term?) that pops out. I plugged it into my computer, but got an error message that it wasn’t connected. So, off I went on Internet searches. Turns out I needed to download a program first, but then I was able to dump my video from camera to computer. When  I went looking for free video-editing software, a site said that Windows Movie Maker was probably my best bet. I figured, rightly as it turns out, that I might already have it loaded. (It didn’t come up initially on my programs menu, or at least I didn’t see it, but when I searched for it by name, up it popped.)

I am not patient enough to learn this methodically, so I just started editing by trial-and-error, interrupting myself for quick Internet searches for how-to information when I got stumped.

I muddlingly edited  some film into a brief storyboard. Needs work, but I get the general idea and I’m pleased the Flip isn’t going to be a flop. But I can tell this is going to be (another) time-consuming process. Fortunately, I have time. Also fortunately, I have a deadline.

Written by geekypatty

December 8, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Posted in Video

Meet my I.T. staff

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In one of my earliest posts, I described a day when I’d be able to find photos buried on my computer without asking one of my kids for help. So, to break up the boredom of scanning, I decided to see if today was the day. Here are some of the old photos I’ve unearthed. Let’s see if I can publish them to the blog:

I.T. Person John

I.T. Person Jenna

I.T. Person Will (note left hand)


Hmmm, sort of. It took me two tries to get  the caption in the right place, and my crops didn’t transfer. I’ll need to work on that. But all in all, I’ve made progress.


Written by geekypatty

December 8, 2009 at 1:46 pm

Posted in Blog, Photo