Tuesday, August 03, 2010

setting up a new computer is hell

My laptop, less than three years old, bit the dust. The monitor puked pixels and zapped out. So Stanley hooked another monitor, which worked for a couple days before it, too, crapped out. Or rather, whatever controls the monitor crapped out. Pffffft—gone. The flowchart we found for diagnosing and hopefully fixing Toshiba laptop woes said “Shoot it and put it out of its misery.”

Fortunately, the first day of pixel death I headed to Toshiba to order a new one. Hmm, good deals, should cost me less than a grand these days. Hah. Not if you need it to do anything. Still, it ended up about $300 less than the one I bought less than three years ago, with twice as much hard drive and RAM and speed. And if I ordered via the chatline, I would get it within two or three days (off the shelf is what I ordered). Perfect. Thank goodness. Else I’d still be waiting for it.

I think setting up a new computer is like moving—it’s never gonna be as comfortable as you’ve gotten used to, tweaking stuff over the past less than three years. But I think I’m getting there, save some truly annoying quirks. I managed to find my very old version of WeatherBug, which I love (I hate the newer versions, too much crap and way, way too ugly). I found TClockEx, which makes the date thingie in the lower left corner display what I want it to. After several attempts, I managed to get rid of the godawful cartoon interface bubble bullshit that is the standard stuff for XP and Windows 7. You know, the twee look and feel inflicted upon us initially by Apple.

Most of the programs I need are installed—just a few more to go. I badly need to update Dreamweaver and PhotoShop, but can’t afford to yet. I still can’t get QuickBooks 2010 to send email properly—something about my profile that just isn’t taking in the Windows interface. Frekking annoying. And I think it’s AVG 9 that’s putting stupid green check marks on documents—gotta figure out if I can get rid of that nonsense. And Mozy backup is not working well at all—opened a case with them to figure out what needs tweaking to get it to work properly.

But I’ve got Pandora set up and managed to retrieve all my Firefox settings, apps, and bookmarks, so it’s starting to get more comfortable. I think I’ll be able to get some real work done Tuesday.

Aside from my computer woes, I discovered something wonderful tonight: Blue Moon Pear Ginger Sorbet. Intense pear flavor, a hint of ginger, so good. It cost $5 for a pint—a shocking price, but there are four servings in it ... (she rationalized). Ingredients: pear, water, pure cane sugar, ginger puree, lemon juice. That’s it. One hundred calories per serving (which is half a cup). I’d be hard pressed to choose between the pear ginger sorbet and a Butterfinger Blizzard. Now I want to try the other flavors, like Lemon Zest and Peach Melba.

Until we head to Oscoda. July was godawful, hot enough to kill brain cells, computer broke, lost a contract, got really sick. August is starting out better, weather has improved some, new computer arrived, work is still on the busy side, and I feel better.

But we really, really need a break and we miss Dad and the Michigan division of the family.

Our motel room is already booked for the trip out there, my new suitcase arrived a couple of days ago (I won’t get into why I needed a new one except to mention that cats can be evil creatures), and we ordered an audiobook to listen to on the trip out (Star Island by Carl Hiaasen) We’re ready already.

posted by lee on 08/03/10 at 03:36 AM
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Friday, August 06, 2010

mid-century views

Stanley sent me a link to an interesting page on the Denver Post photo blog. The exhibit, Captured: America in Color from 1939-1943, is a collection of color photos developed from slides and is a fascinating collection. The are images by photographers from the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information. Below are two of the many interesting shots from that collection, the first by Jack Delano:

Switchman, c. 1943, Jack Delano
Switchman throwing a switch at Chicago and Northwest Railway Company’s Proviso yard. Chicago, Illinois, April 1943. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Jack Delano. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress [click to enlarge]

And this one, by Arthur S. Siegel:

Hanna Furnaces, Detroit c 1942, Arthur S. Siegel
Hanna furnaces of the Great Lakes Steel Corporation, stock pile of coal and iron ore. Detroit, Michigan, November 1942. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Arthur Siegel. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. [click to enlarge]

Rummaging around, I saw another interesting collection: From the Archive: American Cities Pre-1950. It doesn’t have as much information about the photos as other sets do, and the digitized photos are, in many cases, badly digitized, but most of the images are striking, such as this one:

Five steam locomotives, side by side, outbound from Chicago at dusk, ca. 1940
Five steam locomotives, side by side, outbound from Chicago at dusk, ca. 1940. (Courtesy of the National Archives). [click to enlarge]

Every once in a while I dive into the digital collections at the Library of Congress, getting so lost, sometimes, I forget what I started out looking for. GREAT way to lose a few hours!

posted by lee on 08/06/10 at 11:12 PM
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