Friday, January 06, 2006

High Tech in the Real Key West

Wierd stuff happens with computers sometimes. You know what I;m talking aboutÇ Like now, as I type I;m noticing that my keyboard is typing punctuation characters that are wrong, not what I intended. I pressed the right key, but the apostrophe is being printed as a semi-colon. Periods and commas are OK, but the semi-colon key produces this - ñ, the question mark key gives this - Ç

I;m pretty sure I can get it fixed, probably with only a restart. But I may never know WHY it happened. That bugs me.

I;m thinking about this because I spent the morning at Ri and Sandy;s new quarters, looking at why the wireless router he bought at Radio Shack wasn;t working. I spent three hours there, and had to resort to calling LinkSys; help line. WIth :Roger;s: help, I was able to get it all working, so now Sandy has wireless access from her laptop and Ri is hard-wired from his desktop system, both sharing the BellSOuth DSL connection to the internet.

Despite everything that I did, re-installing an ethernet driver, re-installing the DSL modem software, reinstalling the wireless router, and working my way through a rats nest of control panels, it took Roger dropping me down into DOS to do some arcane IP configuration to get the connections to work. If you don;t know what DOS is, thank your lucky stars. At the end of it all, I wouldn;t be able to do the same thing over again without calling support again.

I enjoy doing computer trouble-shooting, although I enjoy doing it much less on a Windows computer than on a Mac. When Sandy;s laptop finally connected to the ;net, Microsoft immediately offered to install its security patch for the latest critical flaw in Windows, the latest one to allow strangers to install rogue software to your machine over the internet. . She uses Windows XP. It;s better than any of the previous version of Windows, but nowhere near as simple and secure as Mac OS X, the Mac operating system. I take on computer support jobs occasionally, not so much for the money I can earn doing it, but in order to help someone out of a jam. I can;t charge friends at all, though Ri insisted that I accept at least a tab at the Coffee Plantation. I succumbed and accepted.

Computers are ubiquitous here as they are everywhere today. :What;s your e-mail addressÇ: has been added to :what;s your phone numberÇ: when you need to link up with someone. I prefer to use e-mail when it;s possible to do that, especially when the message is lengthy. We try to keep our cell phone usage under three hundred minutes a month because that;s the amount we are allowed on our monthly plan. Free minutes are from 7 P.M. until 6 A.M., and from 6 P.M. Friday until 6 A.M. Monday. We try to make all of our lengthier family calls during those hours.

Tony got an iPod Nano for Christmas. His Windows computers are screwed up too and he get get his regular computer guy to even answer his calls, so I;m going to go there on Monday to see what I can do. Tony was eager to try out his iPod, so I hooked him up to my iTunes Library and :loaned: him about 500 songs to listen to until he can get his own library set up. Once he does that, the songs I loaded will disappear from the iPod to be replaced by his own. As they should be. The Nano is pretty slick, about the size of a credit card, and as thick as two cards together. He;s impressed. He might go on my hit list for conversion to Mac. I already have Ri convinced. His next computer will be a Mac.

I don;t need an iPod. On the rare occasions when I might want to wear a headset, say if I was out walking, I;d just as soon listen to the radio, to NPR, as listen to music. I had a nice AMçFM radio headset that once belonged to Janet, but it fell apart and I never bothered to replace it. I do listen to music on my computer, as well as to Podcasts, and watch some internet TV once in a while too. Janet and I watched with fascinated horror yesterday as CSPAN re-ran video of John McCain and Byron Dorgan interrogating a slimy lobbyist named Italia Federici, President of something called ¿i? Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy¿çi?. She was a major recipient of money from Indian tribes involved in gaming, funneled to her from Jack Abramhoff. The video runs an hour-and-a-half, but you can go to the one hour, ten minute mark and see slimy for yourself.

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