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Testing technology (and my patient resolve)


*disclaimer* The following blog may sound a touch technical, it may also sound like I know what I’m talking about, however it isn’t and I don’t.

As some of you may know, I administrate a website about a musician and the work he has undertaken over the past years. I try and be diligent in my duties and keep things up-to-date for the fans and those who google interest. Over the past couple of years with a deterioration of my muscle strength and the complications surrounding using my desk for any extended periods of time, I have been lax in updating the photo section of the website. This has been weighing heavily on my mind and conscience, so I took the arrival of my new chair as impetus to get cracking and just do it. 

In order to put a photo gallery together I use an application on my Mac called iWeb, very much a user friendly drag and drop style of templates to create each album and contents, creating a cover, thumbnails, slideshows, and enlarged images. There are now some 18 to 21 albums each containing a couple of pages or more of images from various events, gigs, tours and with fans. Although I haven’t counted them individually there must be several hundred photos.  Now before any image can be dragged and dropped into the photo album it requires a little editing, usually it needs copying or resizing and all of them require the necessary copyright marking. Once added to a particular album I then add a caption detailing the event and that event date. Back up images and details are stored separately ‘just in case’ catastrophe occurs.  All very time consuming.  So for the last couple of months I have been slowly adding more photos to existing albums, amalgamating some albums, as well as adding new ones. Once I was satisfied everything was up to date I hit the ‘publish’ icon to save all the necessary files and folders to make this straightforward piece of the website work.

There was just one thing left to do, transfer all the files folders and contents onto the server for the website.

Historically I have used an FTP program called FileZila to act as intermediary between my computer and the host server so that the files and folders could be transferred over in the right order so everything was in its right place. When you are dealing with something that is so pedantic that a , instead of a . can send the web site into meltdown it is mentally exhausting on a good day. But FileZila is a very competent piece of kit, that when you have a folder containing files and folders, that contain files and folders, that contain files, it can’t be trusted to put the right thing in the right place in the right order.  There was just one slight, tincy, little, problem, the darn thing wouldn’t connect to the server and authenticate it self!  I could have cried.

Unfortunately the host server will only let me use FileZila as I use a Mac computer, however the host site has its own FTP client but it is notoriously slow, frequently crashes and cannot cope with transferring folders from the files and folders it needs it doing individually.  So for a number of hours I sat at my desk and diligently, slowly, transferred each file and folder double checking that they were in the correct order up to the host server.  Once all the files and folders were transferred, and I was satisfied everything was where it should be, I then opened my web browser and collect the link to view the photo gallery. Always a tense moment. Of course, it goes without saying, and is to be expected, but half of what I wanted to be there, wasn’t. Back to the individual files and folders checking the latest update date to make sure I hadn’t missed one (I had, just one) to then try again, and again, clear the cachet and web data, and try again again.

SUCCESS!!!

After the photo gallery was successfully updated, I then set about uploading the pages that have been updated to the main section of the website. These are created by handwritten HTML and not a template or wizard, and are far better behaved and easier to maintain, but photo albums are very technical to create from scratch.

The web to do list had been cut down to just a couple of items, and all the weighted updates were on screen for friends and search engine Google is defined which was a satisfactory failing.  But I’m not quite ready to tackle upgrading the video pages as if that is going to take some hours of diligent patience to make sure the videos comply on multi platforms.

In other news, I have finished two cat blankets and I am working on a third and have the pattern for the fourth one all mapped out. Spring has sprung, a new fresh dose of gumption has been grasped. 

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Posted by on April 17, 2018 in General, Projects, Tech, Website

 

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Rebellious technology


Life has a way of making you pay for time off.  I’m paying a price, in frustration!

Wednesday morning I sat and woke up my computer, it had had a holiday too. After dealing with a top priority necessity I clicked to install the update, during its restart process it got stuck, trying to locate my Bluetooth keyboard (I don’t have one). It couldn’t sense my plugged in one. Panic.  Grab the iPad and ask Google, the first two ‘try this’ options failed, one was to just turn off the Bluetooth which was incredibly unhelpful as I do have a wireless mouse. Panic rising, scan read a couple more articles and discovered that either plugging the keyboard into a USB extension or plugging a thumb drive into the USB ports on the keyboard can ‘wake things up’.  Thankfully the extension trick worked. Phew.

Most work days my BFF calls to chat during her walk home, I sat waiting for the phone to jingle into life and when it did I eagerly pressed the green button – to silence. At first I thought our phones had missed connecting, but I could hear the bedroom phone ringing, I looked at the screen and it was blank. Panic. I heard my answerphone click in and the phone screen came to life and I pressed the green button with authority to hear the dulcet tones of my BFF wondering what was going on. Phew.

My wizzy super new desk chair requires recharging from time to time. On Wednesday I dug out the charger and plugged it into the socket and plugging the chair into the charger, the indicator light looked dead (yes, I had switched it on). Hmm, maybe it goes green once its charged. After a couple of hours still no light, I’ll plug it in again Thursday to charge some more, but still the light remained dead. Panic.  Now where exactly is that ‘safe place’ you put the instructions?   Apparently the light ‘should’ be yellow while charging and green once charged.  So, is the charger not charging or has the light gone do-wacky….either way as its only been three months, I need to contact the peeps and get another charger, hope there’s enough charge in the battery. Slight panic.

At least the microwave hasn’t melted, no light bulbs have plunged me into darkness or kettle fizzled ….. although the WordPress app has crashed a few times while typing this.

 
12 Comments

Posted by on April 6, 2018 in General, Life, Tech

 

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And She Shall Rise …. (Hopefully)

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Well that is the plan …. maybe.  As many regular readers may remember I have a muscle wasting disease called fascia-humeral-humeral Muscular Dystrophy, it’s slowly getting worse rendering me weaker so simple tasks become a complete nightmare, some impossible. Skills and abilities, hopes and dreams have been taken away bit by bit.

Last year I began experiencing serious issues getting stood up from my desk. Now my desk is important to me. It is my link to outside life, other than the practical chores like paying bills or shopping for groceries or gifts or writing letters and emails, it is also my coffee shop where I interact with the world through social media, forums and such. It is where I create, code, make web updates, edit photos, write book reviews and blog posts and where I listen to music as I work.  My mornings are usually spent at the desk dealing with business after that first cup of coffee.  That was the issue that made the problem, a problem, because I’d need a wee.  My ‘alternate’ route was to shuffle onto the dining chair, then scooch (technical term) across to the sofa, shift to the sofa, get up stood and trot off to the bathroom, sounds a palavar, it is when you are bursting!  So I stopped being at my desk as much or for as long, which stopped me listening to music, which stopped me spending as much time creating, which stopped me writing letters and emails to family and friends, which had me putting off jobs! projects! research etc.  I have my iPad but it’s not the same, there are things I need to do on my Mac at my desk.

It took a while to admit defeat, it took longer to try and seek an answer. I’m tired of investing hope to be disappointed, or struggling constantly for no reward.  Anyway, I sourced a company who sent their physiotherapist to come visit me and evaluate my situation.  Several hours later, after numerous getting ups to show my technique and what I hoped to achieve, he left and the next day sent me details and costs of a wizzy chair and desk.  I was hopefully, but also realistic that even when it all arrived it would take several attempts, many many failed attempts, to get stood up from my desk in a reasonably straightforward consistent manner, like I do from the bed, the loo and the sofa (the only other spots I can get up from). 

On Wednesday last week the desk, which can rise from knee height to standing working height and has preset buttons to automatically adjust to a height set to a particular millimetre, was built and installed with the new three draw unit beside it, the wizzy chair which rises up and down via a button touch, has wheelers that can be breaked, with arms that drop to be level with the seat, has a lockable swivel, as well as adjustable tilt, back rest, head rest, was wheeled in. I took a seat proudly……got comfy…..and then couldn’t get up. Okay, no prob, just need to get the feel, learn where the chair needs to be, learn and set the desk at just the right height and if not on the first go by the third it will be set. Erm, no. It ain’t happening, I ain’t progressing ….. it is annoying because I cannot sense what is going wrong, what needs to change to achieve the goal. Is it mental me expecting too much giving in too soon, menopause me with all sorts out of sorts, or MD me weakening have I left it too late.

*sigh*

Today I had my lunch at my desk, a list of got to get done jobs, played some favoured tunes to motivate and after a couple of hours tried getting up, couldn’t, so carried on getting more done, enjoying the fun of being at my desk. Then shuffled across to the sofa.

Maybe another day will work, who knows *shrug*

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2018 in General, Life, Tech

 

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Cluttered Sofa


I’m sure some of you are from the ancient era where the sofa in the living room tended to always be empty except for an additional cushion or two.  As I approach my golden age I remember the sofas of my childhood home being clear unless the newspaper had been left on the arm; when a certain demanding four-pawed visitor marched into my lounge this week a number of items had to be moved to make room for Senior Fluffball. 

As I sit here now I glance beside me at the accumulated detritus of modern living stacked high…..

  • The iPad
  • Mobile phone
  • Landline phone
  • TV remote
  • Set-top box remote
  • TV listings magazine
  • Crochet project

Sometimes these are joined by the sandwich tray and coffee mug, or my dinner plate, sometimes my book or kindle, sometimes the snack cheese and crackers or salsa and crisps.

Yes, there is a table beside the sofa but well, that has the iPad charger on it, the mug containing the other remotes (old set top box with stuff recorded on it, the old video recorder), nail file, hand sanitizer, candle lighter and pen, my tigger cup and a bottle of juice.

Yes, I do have a knitting box beside the table beside the sofa, that’s holding the other crochet project, the pencil case of crochet tools and case of hooks, the clip box of cross stitch tools, my slipper socks (when not on my feet) and my cardigan.

Maybe I just have too much stuff.

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2017 in General, Life

 

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Frustrated Technically

 

The question seemed simple “Can I send a PDF file to my Kindle?” Of course my first course of action was to ask the great oracle that is Google. The first page of potential answers contained those comforting words “easy” and “simple”, that should have sent the klaxons of doom going off at ear splitting decibels.

Apparently it’s just three manageable steps. 1 make sure your email is added to the accepted list  in ‘manage devices & settings’ [done]   2 find your kindle’s email [done].  3 send email with attachment from your accepted email to your kindle email [done] …… Aaaaand ta-da, all done.

But it didn’t.

Of course, it didn’t, any “easy and simple” instructions aren’t.

Back to Google, read through another dozen articles all giving the same three instructions. Try them again, still no document appearing on kindle screen.  Scroll through the archive list on Amazon (all two hundred and twenty titles) incase it gets put there [nope].  Read through another few articles, consider an online chat to find out the all important vital fourth step that’s missing.  Turn over and sleep on it.

Next day, look for answers on Google again, find a little added extra some add to step 3 put ‘convert’ into email subject line.  Step 4 Check ‘Doc’s’ on archive lists on Amazon ‘Manage devices & settings”. Step 5 send from archive to required device.

Guess what………………………..It worked!!!

It’s not just me, Is its? Not because I’m getting older and technology is getting younger? 

 
5 Comments

Posted by on October 12, 2017 in General, Grumble, Tech

 

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Wind Changed


Just a sec, I’m adjusting my draws ….. Not those draws *rolleyes* get your minds out of my Bridget Jones’s, I am referring to my bedroom draws (this sounds worse), the clothing draws, time to put the summer attire towards the back and bring the jumpers to the front. It seems to have come about all of a sudden, to think that on the 1st of the month I woke up in an unheated room, under just a sheet and the window was open – okay so this was in London but still. Last night I was under my 13.5 tog duvet and brushed cotton sheets, my arms encased in my thermal sleeves as I read my kindle.  For some reason I am coldest in the afternoon, right now (1pm) I have my cardigan on over my jumper and will shortly turn on my craft lamp but my hands are still freezing blocks.

So, what’s been occurring ……. Not much really. I have a to-do list for the weekend centred around the website, mostly picture editing and new album uploading, as well as a couple of page edits.  Trying to get my head into Christmas shopping, the mini-monsters are sort of sorted, it is the adults that are drawing a blank. I have one thing on my own list and that was a struggle.

My old HP printer decided it no longer wanted to oblige, so I spent days sourcing a new printer. Would never have believed it would be so complicated. Amazon in window one, my ink cartridge site in another window so I could check refills costs, then in the third window the user manual so I could see if it had basic functions to comply with my needs, such as print various paper sizes and was it a front loader or rear loaded for paper. Really the single photo showing an a4 sized printed photo in the tray tells you nothing. Settled on a cannon, so far so good, although I am yet to print a photo.

The year seems to be hurtling to a close, I am sure time has gone metric, 5 day weeks and 2week months, yesterday was just August, wasn’t it?  

It can be quite difficult coming up with creative, entertaining blogs when your general day to day is incredibly mundane and solitary, I sort of understand why some blog about their pet lives.

Decimate is on, time to tax the little grey cells, and warm my hands on the iPad (by holding it), lol it’s a glamorous life!

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2016 in General, Grumble, Life, Projects, Tech, Website

 

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OpenReach? More like ClosedFist!

pc-hammered

I am stuck in the middle of a futile tug of war.  I am a Sky customer, OpenReach say I have an ‘unstable’ phone line which means from time to time it will exhibit a confusing range of symptoms.  The internet will drop off and takes ages to reconnect, it may remain connected for micro seconds or day long hours.  The phone might crackle, it might not, it might at the beginning of a call or during the call, it might kick the internet off. There is no consistency.

Reporting it to Sky is a tedious faff, because you cannot report it online, you have to telephone them [on the dodgy phone line], then you go through a series of unplug this plug it back, unplug this plug it back scenario – each one meaning terminating the call and waiting for them to call back. This results in a report Sky send to OpenReach, which they take their sweet sweet time doing anything about and never ever call me back to say its been done [probably because I might blast them a new one!].  Seemingly my system behaves and a month later we start the merry-go-round again.

*sigh*

All I can do is keep reporting the fault to Sky, all they can do is report it to OpenReach and all OpenReach do is change the bit of sticky tape and not truly ‘fix’ the issue.  No point switching providers as whomever I am with still relies on the same infrastructure, which results in reporting things for OpenReach to botch.

In the grand scheme of things it is trivial, but like a hangnail or a lash in you eye, it irritates, it rankles, it is unnecessary if only it was fixed right the first time.

Off to call them yet again …….

 
3 Comments

Posted by on September 20, 2016 in Grumble, Tech

 

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