Patty Goes Geeky

A techno odyssey

Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

What, me bitter?

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I was featured today in a Seattle Times article on Zoe Krumm, a business-intelligence manager on Microsoft‘s anti-piracy team. More precisely, maybe Krumm included my case (see blog entries below, below, below….) among Washington state contacts in her efforts to track down people who sell counterfeit software. Janet Tu writes:

“Since 2005, Microsoft has received nearly 400,000 leads from customers around the world, 2,850 alone from Washington state.

“The typical submission comes from someone who bought counterfeit software off an online marketplace or downloaded it from a fake Microsoft site.

“Microsoft replaces those products free, in exchange for information about where the fake product was purchased and for giving the product itself to Microsoft.”

That describes me, and apparently 2,849 other Washingtonians.

I wonder how many of them took unseemly satisfaction from last week’s Times four-parter on Amazon’s business practices. My personal boycott of this “online marketplace” continues. And that includes not linking to Amazon in my blog that no one reads.

Ha, and yes, I know how to carry a grudge.


Written by geekypatty

April 9, 2012 at 8:18 am

Posted in Blog, Misc Tech, Software

Wonderful how-to site for labeling photos

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OMG, if you’re a newbie at managing family photos generally and labeling digital photos specifically, have I got a site for you: Digital Cameras and Genealogy.

Chimpanzeepatty has been (mostly) diligent about captioning photos as I’ve been scanning. But as Ken Watson notes, if your goal is preserving and sharing these ephemeral documents widely and for the long haul, you are wise to embed the I.D.s into the photo in a non-proprietary format that’s likely to be around decades from now. So Geekypatty gave it a try.

Fortunately, my free picture software in Windows and in Picasa both allow me to do this. Watson tells how. In Windows, for instance, the IPTC/XMP open standard data can be entered by right-clicking on the photo, opening “Properties,” opening “Details,” and entering the I.D. under “Title.” To make sure it’s there, open the photo in your viewer, “save as” a new file name and then open to confirm the name is embedded. Like this, when you mouse over the image:

Oops, I just discovered that my version of Picasa probably needs to be upgraded to make this work properly. But, scarred as I am from my technological adventures, I first did a paranoid Google search about upgrading to 3.8 and the effect on photos currently stored in version 3 and discovered, sure enough, there is a risk of compromisng what you’ve got and having to revert to a backup.

Uh, cancel. Back away from that upgrade.

I solved the problem for this purpose by specifying that the blog photo open in Windows sted Picasa. But now — sigh — my to-do list includes researching how to upgrade Picasa safely.

Written by geekypatty

January 19, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Posted in Blog, Photo, Resources, Software

The book — Margaret’s book — is done

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There are probably dozens of pent-up tech posts related to this project, most of which I’ve forgotten over the months. I learned so much, much of it self-taught and the rest due to the kindness, or at least tolerance, of the cadre of tech-sperts I call on when I’m stuck. One of them, John the Metro bus driver, wishes I would quit describing my relief that if I get hit by a bus, at least this book is done. Isn’t there some other way I could phrase my demise, my offended driver-brother wonders. But as usual, I digress. I must credit my sister, Becky, with the lioness’ share of getting our mother’s memoir out of the computer and into print.

I have broken a cardinal rule of blogging, which is to keep putting up fresh posts. I have a lot of items to catch up on, and plan to. “Much Abides” was more important. If I get hit by a … Segway, I doubt my last thought would be, “Damn, I hadn’t posted on Patty Goes Geeky recently.”

So, let’s get started. Most fresh in my mind is a recommendation of Sir Speedy as the printer. I wanted perfect-bound (like paperback books) rather than the cheaper-looking coil or tape binding I could get at FedEx, formerly known as Kinko’s. Steve Michael at the Georgetown Sir Speedy was very patient with an amateur placing an order for 35 copies, when by the looks of things Sir Speedy is much more oriented to business publications. He explained that I wanted my photo scans at 600 dpi (dots per inch) for best reproduction (an item is coming about that), that I should upload the book in three segments so the photos would fall in the middle (which I couldn’t do because I could not figure out how to break Word’s automatic page-numbering function — another item) so they did it by hand, how to design the front and back covers to allow for binding, etc. The print quality was first-rate and the delivery was timely. I have a newly reinforced respect for the designers who were my colleagues at The Times. I never heard any of them swear as much as I did over layout (several more items coming on that).

The cost was about $14 per book, just a few dollars more than the cheaper binding. Worth it.

There is something about holding Margaret’s printed book in my hands that seems immensely more right than posting the text online, even though that might happen at some point. She was a remarkable woman. And now it’s been documented.

Written by geekypatty

December 31, 2010 at 11:58 am

Posted in Blog, Resources

Hello? Hello?

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Not that anybody would notice, but I quit blogging for a while. There were two major reasons, I reckon: One was that spring gardening called, and its siren song is more alluring than typing. Two is that after a couple of hours of self-education and trial-and-error on loading my hand-me-down iPod, I succeeded only in zapping my iPod and zapping my iTunes library and was just done trying to be humorous about technology. I was pissed and I was frustrated and I was in no mood to try, try again. Screw it and screw blogging about it. The barren device sat accusingly on my desk for weeks and I glared daggers at it in return.

The problem, as with some other of my problems, is that I inherited a lesser iPod from Will when he got a better one (see the golf-club story, below) and had no clue how to use it. On the one hand, yippee, a free iPod. On the other, even something so supposedly user-friendly was terra incognita to me. Will had kindly loaded a bunch of tunes from Mike’s computer on it and I had stuck the iPod in my car. Jenna put a copy of the library on my computer.

While my husband and I love a lot of the same tunes, there are some genres where our tastes diverge. I would find myself hating whole segments of the music on my iPod, which sort of defeats the purpose. Geekypatty assigned herself the learning challenge of editing her borrowed library on the computer and syncing it to the iPod. The result, you already know. Dis-effing-aster.

But Will yesterday gave me a late-night tutorial on the final night of his quick Seattle visit, and got the process set up. I was able to finish the project this afternoon.

Driving with sunglasses on, the windows down and great music playing is how to celebrate a gorgeous sunny day in Seattle. Today, I was there. I loved each song on my iPod. I sang along. Technology is grand.

Written by geekypatty

May 14, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Posted in Blog, 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 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 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

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

Random updates

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I won’t be going to Rome. So that removes the deadline pressure to become technologically ept, but I’m still committed to the process.

And what’s with The Nagging Entity? I filed an online “why do you think my copy isn’t genuine?” report along with the product key (after first ending up in Indeeya when I tried to handle this by phone) (and if they printed the product key any smaller an ant couldn’t read it) and after getting an immediate pro forma e-mail that they’d be back to me within 24 hours, haven’t heard a word. I even e-mailed them again to ask wazzup. And no, there is not a message from them in my spam folder, although searching for it was a delightful trip through “meaty lever” subject lines.

I think I will start sending them daily error messages with a “remind me later” button and they can see how they like it.

Oh, and I just figured out why my posts were not time-stamped correctly. The template is set to UTC — Coordinated Universal Time, which I always called GMT — and Seattle is -8 hours. So Settings now reflects the correct time, and I discovered a place to enter a subhead for my blog.

Written by geekypatty

November 8, 2009 at 1:27 am

Posted in Blog, Software