Tag Archives: technology

A Funny Short Short – The Ultimate Consumer Complaint of the Future!

Good morning Everyone!

Today, I am sharing with you a short, short story that I wrote last year.  Enjoy!
Robot from Print Shop Professional 2.0
Customer Service
Interspace Robotic Corporation
800 New England Way
Venusian Colony #5 
Dear Sirs: 
Thank you for accepting the return of your Model 3300 Robotic Clone. I am writing to provide you, as you requested, a more specific description of the problems we encountered with the robot.
 As promised, the Model 3300, whom we named Gertrude, was a hard worker with detailed knowledge of nutrition, household chores, home repair, and yard work, looked human, and contained an additional logic booster chip which allowed her to make decisions in the best interest of our family without constantly being given specific orders. The problem was that Gertrude was incapable of understanding that, on occasion, the less logical choice was better.
For example, while Gertrude was correct that vacuuming at non-peak hours was good for the environment, placing less strain on the electrical grid, no-one in our family got any sleep on Tuesday and Friday nights during her 2:00 a.m. house-cleaning sessions. And while shaving the dogs certainly cut down on the amount of dog hair floating around various rooms, I am not sure the dogs have yet gotten over the trauma of being shaved bald in 2.0 seconds flat.
In addition, although I have often fantasized about placing my children under house arrest when they fail to clean their rooms and do their homework, and the electronic monitoring bracelets Gertrude designed were quite clever, we found that the Department of Human Resources, Child Welfare Division, had problems both with house arrest and the electric shock the bracelets delivered when one of the children would violate the terms of her confinement. 
As another example, the research on nutrition Gertrude performed, and her presentation to the family, was flawless, but after seven days of tofu, fruit and berries for meals, the entire family began to sneak out to stuff ourselves with cheese fries and chocolate sundaes, at least until the location bracelets were placed on the children.
My husband has been threatening for years to place Astroturf instead of grass on our yard, but the Covenant Enforcement Committee objected strongly both to it, and the plastic flowers and bushes in front of the house. The members also were singularly unimpressed with Gertrude’s dissertation on individual liberties under the United States Constitution when they came to discuss the issue. 
The final straw came the day we returned home from a week’s vacation to find that the wooden floors and carpet throughout the house had been replaced with industrial strength concrete and drains strategically located throughout the house so that the floors could simply be hosed down instead of vacuumed or mopped. The floor and carpet installers both admit that Gertrude did an excellent job, as did the locksmith we called in to bypass the lockout system she placed on our air conditioning system to prevent the thermostat from being set below 82 degrees, but we are not looking forward to the payments on the second mortgage we now need to fix everything back the way it should be. 
Accordingly, we returned Gertrude to you. 
Jane Smith
P.S. The Covenant Enforcement Committee has asked me to remind you that the restraining order will stay in effect for 10 years.
Have a great day, everyone!

Modern Inconveniences: Electronics Cords

Good morning everyone!

I intended to upload some pictures today and discuss the unusually early harbingers of spring that appeared the last week in January, but in the wild scramble to find the camera, along with the correct cord for downloading pictures to the computer, I got sidetracked.

Standard Electrical Outlet

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away…..  Sorry – wrong story.  Still, a long time ago, we had both electrical appliances/machines, and enough electrical outlets to match them.  Things that you plugged into the electrical outlets were fairly simple – in the bedroom, you plugged in the television, if you had one for it, and lights; in the den, you plugged in the television , possibly the radio/stereo and lights, and in the kitchen, without counting the major electrical appliances such as the refrigerator and the stove, you would plug in a toaster or a toaster oven.   Throughout the house, you needed enough strategically placed outlets in order to be able to run the vacuum cleaner.

And that was about it.  It was fairly simple to match the outlets to the required gizmos.

There are seven things in this picture that must be plugged in to an electrical outlet - Can you find them all?

But then, electrical equipment began to multiply.  Looking back, I think it was the television equipment that started everything.  Someone invented cable, and the cable box and about the same time, someone else invented the VCR.  Ergo, instantly, two more cords were needed.  One of the very earliest home computers was a Commodore 64.  The Commodore 64 worked by using the television as your monitor, so if you had a Commodore, you needed another plug for the Commodore unit.  Video games were born, such as Pong – a green screen, two white lines for paddles and a white dot that you and the other player (or you and the computer if you didn’t have anyone to play it with) hit back and forth across the screen – and another plug was required.  At first, most of us just plugged various articles in and out as needed – after all, there was no reason to leave the Commodore or the video game plugged in all of the time – but a few brave souls ventured out and discovered the power strip.

By the time the electrical equipment revolving around the television had a good running start, the electronics revolution had also started, and home computers and car phones arrived on the scene.  Home computers required at least three separate outlets – one for the monitor, one for the processing unit and one for the printer.  Because the computer industry did a good job of warning us about what would happen to the (then very expensive) computer equipment with one good lightning stroke in the area of your house, we all felt the need to buy surge protectors, which were conveniently designed with many additional plugs so that you could plug in as many as 16 separate items through one plug on a two plug wall outlet.

All of this was still manageable, however, because once things were set up, they rarely needed to be unplugged and moved around, unless you were rearranging furniture.  Some creative use of power strips and surge protectors might be required, but once you got everything plugged in, the power cord stayed right where you left.  Until…..

The Cell Phone

The mobile electronics revolution began.  Car phones started this round.  When Mark and I were first married, car phones were basically unheard of.  You called from a land line when you could, and otherwise you had to wait until you and whomever you wanted to speak to were in the same place.  The first car phone I can remember having was known as a “bag phone,” which was a handset about the same size as a regular phone contained in a bag about the size of a lunchbox.  It could be charged by plugging it into the wall, or, if you had the adapter, by plugging it into the cigarette lighter in your car.  It still wasn’t too hard to lose this cord, since everything coiled into the bag.

But with the advent of the car phone, the mobile electronics revolution accelerated, and now my life is saturated with electrical cords – cords for the laptop, cords for the digital cameras, cords for each cell phone, mine and Mark’s, cords for various PDA’s that we have used and discarded over time, cords for my Kindle (Mark had once of the first hand-held Hewlett-Packard computers back in the early 90’s, and I can remember using something called a Sony Clie once upon a time), cords for the laptop(s) and probably some I have forgotten somewhere.

Our Graveyard for Obsolete Electronics Cords

For the disorganized individual who loves electronics (and I just can’t be the only one out there) it is a disaster waiting to happen.  To go back to the search that started this post, I spent five minutes going through 10 different cords before I found the one that I needed.

A few things have helped.  I have discovered that the Amazon Kindle cord works well for recharging the cell phones Mark and I have, and one or two of our cameras, so when we’re traveling, as long as I remember to pack the Kindle cord (and since it involves reading, I probably will remember to pack the Kindle cord) we are covered for most of the electronic gizmos and gadgets we will have with us, except for the laptop cords.  Mark found  a charging station for the cell phones, also, that sits on the kitchen counter, so the cell phones recharge in a predictable place.  (Don’t, however, ask me to find the cord that is supposed to sync my phone to my computer; once I started getting error messages every time I tried, that cord faded into oblivion.  Some archeologist is going to find it two thousand years from now and conclude that our civilization practiced ritual strangulation with strong black cords with funny ends.)  Camera cords are a bit dicey, though, because cameras are portable and need to be recharged as well as access a computer for downloading photos, which gives me three different points at which I can lose the cords.  That’s too many for the organizationally challenged like me.

The power strip by my bedside table - the one empty slot is reserved for my laptop.

There really is no point to this lament – I’m going to continue to use, and lose, and find these cords no matter what difficulties are involved, because I am hopelessly addicted to anything that makes beeping sounds, gives me messages and has flashing blue lights anywhere on it as long as I don’t reach the blue or black screen of death – unless someone out there gets the bright idea from this post to design the universal cord – one cord that meets all your needs for any electronic gizmo no matter what it is or when it was made.  I’d have to have about fifty of them to be sure I had one available when I needed it, but I think it would be an improvement.  I think.

Have a great day and weekend!


A Highly Biased History of Bowling, Part II

Good morning everyone!

Today we are going to pick up the threads of the Ugg Clan’s history.  As you may, or may not, remember, in September we discussed Ugg the First’s invention of bowling.  (See, A Highly Biased History of Bowling.  For those of you who don’t remember the first appearance of Ugg and Uggette on this blog, please look at A Highly Biased History of Washing Machines.)

Alleytiri's Lost Bowling Set

We will pick up the threads of the story many generations down the road, with a member of the Ugg clan who had migrated to Egypt.  Ugghotep had a baby girl, Alleytiri, who was the apple of his eye.  (I should explain that the best historical records we can find indicate that early on, the Clan of Ugg was united by marriage with the Clan of Alley.)  As the oldest son in that generation of the Ugg clan, Ugghotep had inherited the original bowling stone Ugg had used, although by this time it was much smaller and smoother, having been worn down through the ages by so much use.  Since trying to bowl down Alleytiri was unthinkable, and with only one child would have been really boring anyhow, he invented a series of blocks that he and Alleytiri could bowl down together.  Unfortunately, as all children do from time to time, Alleytiri managed to lose the ball and pins, and they were found centuries later by archeologists.  This set of a round ball and pins is considered to be one of the oldest bowling type artifacts ever found.

King Edward III

We will lightly skip ahead in history to the mid-1300’s in England, when Sir Alley Ugg of  Diffing Green couldn’t help but notice that time was hanging too heavily on his archer’s hands, when arrows started appearing through the flags flying off the roof of the castle (not to mention the one that went through Lady Uggette’s of Diffing Green’s skirt on her way to church – it was shot by a particularly bad archer) and so introduced his family’s game to his archers.  The game quickly grew in popularity, and spread to other parts of the country, to the point where King Edward III banned bowling because his archers were spending too much time bowling and not enough time practicing archery.

King Henry VII on horseback, chasing after a stray ball rolled by one of his ladyfriends

A few hundred years later, though, it is reported that Lord Ugg Oop of Diffingshire (Diffingshire included the original lands of Diffing Green) introduced Henry VIII to the sport of bowling where it became very popular in King Henry’s court and thence throughout England.

Nine Pin Bowling Set

Eventually members of the Ugg-Oop clan emigrated to America, where unfortunately some of them slipped closer to the wrong side of the law.  Ugg Oopone, one of the seedier members of the family, saw a ….. ummmm… “business”  opportunity in the game of bowling, and set up a parlor in New York where people could bowl with nine-pins, and bet on the results.  This activity spread outward to places like Connecticut, which eventually banned nine-pin bowling because of the gambling problem.

A Modern Bowling Alley in Bowling Green, Ohio. Not owned by the Uggs of Bowling Green, Kentucky.

However, more reputable members of the family from Kentucky (where did you think Bowling Green got its name?) decided to use ten pins and reestablished the game as a more family friendly activity.

Pin Boys in Brooklyn

In the 1950’s, Oop Ugg Smith was working as a pin setter in his father’s bowling alley.  After a close call involving an airborne bowling ball and an argument between a husband and wife patron, his enthusiasm for the game dimmed.  Still, he didn’t want to leave his father in the lurch, so turning his very talented mechanical mind to the problem, he, along with his friend Gottfried Schmidt,  invented the pin-setter.  Gottfried, with Oop Ugg’s blessing, later patented the invention and sold the rights to the patent to the American Machine and Foundry Company (now AMF), which at that time was a maker of machinery for tobacco, apparel and bakery businesses.  Now, AMF Bowling Centers, Inc. is the world’s largest owner and operator of bowling centers.

Pinsetter patent excerpt

Although Oop Ugg Smith never came back to the game after his narrow escape, his children learned to love the game from their grandfather, and one of Oop Ugg Smith’s grandchildren, Alley Uggette Smith, loved the game like none of the Ugg clan had ever loved it before.  There was only one problem – Alley Uggette simply could not bowl.  No matter how hard she tried, her balls continually veered right or left in time to reach the gutter.  However, being as mechanically minded as her storied grandfather, Alley Uggette studied the problem carefully and came up with what I consider to be the greatest of all bowling inventions (because without it, I too would bowl only gutter balls), the GUTTER GUARD!!!!!  After that, Alley Uggette could bowl with the best of them; in fact, she became the expert on using a ricochet off the gutter guard at high-speed in order to conquer that most awkward of all bowling set-ups, the split.

Bowling Lane with Gutter Guards Up

And with the gutter guard, and the split, we have come full circle in the history of bowling.  You may not remember from the first post, but the first turn in bowling history by Ugg the First resulted in a split, with the smaller children scattering to avoid the ball, but the oldest two standing tall and firm.

Until the next time  we have a chance to explore the history of the Ugg clan, or until I think of something else to write about, have a great day everyone!


A Kindle for Kayla?

Good morning everyone!

Kayla has announced to Mark and I that for her birthday she would like either a Kindle, or a Nook, or a MySIMS Racing Game.  We haven’t really decided whether we are going to get any of the three, but Her Majesty the sleuth has decided that I have already purchased a Kindle and have it hiding in the house.

From Print Shop Professional 2.0

She made this deduction based upon the fact that when we came home yesterday from work and school, a box from Amazon.com was sitting on the porch, and I had Mark pick it up for me, since my hands were full, and asked him to put it in the bedroom.  She told Mark I then told her that she wasn’t allowed to be in the craft room anymore, so that must mean that the box held a Kindle and I was hiding it from her.  Neither is true.  The box held two books from my childhood, The Lark in the Morn and The Lark on the Wing for which I have been searching for a long time (someone just reissued them in paperback which is why I finally had luck in finding them) and a pad of water color paper.  I have no idea where she got the idea that she wasn’t allowed in the craft room anymore; she has been told that she is not allowed to mess with any of my craft supplies in the craft room, but that is very different (and an instruction she pretty much ignores at will anyhow.)  Mark tried to explain to her that it probably wasn’t a Kindle, because the two of us usually discuss what we are going to get her, and he and I hadn’t done that yet, but I don’t think she believed him.  I will take my turn at disillusioning her when I get home today.

I would really value the advice of all you out there who have Kindles or Nooks – would you, or would you not, buy your 10-year-old child one?  (She will be 10 on her next birthday, which is a few weeks away.)  If so, which would you choose?  If you have gotten your child one, what safeguards do you have in it so that you can screen the books that they see on it? 

I look forward to hearing your answers!  I can use all the advice I can get.

Have a great day everyone!


Inventions I Eagerly Await (Or Not) – Update

Good morning everyone!

At the risk of being labeled a hopeless nerd (I can’t, unfortunately, qualify for geek because my technological level of expertise falls terribly short), I will confess that one of the magazines that I get on my Kindle is Technology Review, which is published by MIT every other month.  It covers technology breakthroughs, and by technology they are not limiting themselves to computers and cell phones, but include breakthroughs in medicine, energy, genetics, automobiles, physics, chemistry and anything else you can think of.  They also manage to present material in a way that a layperson can, for the most part, understand.  One section deals with new inventions, which may not be ready for mass production yet, but at least are up and running with prototypes.

Gadgets Galore!

In steadily working my way through June’s publication, I came across two inventions, one bewildering, one encouraging.

The Withings WIFI scale

We will start with bewildering first.  A company called Withings, whose website is located at www.withings.com, has invented a scale with WiFi capability.  That’s right, this scale will kindly, if you tell it to, post your weight, fat mass and body mass index on your Twitter or Facebook account for you.  To be quite frank, the very last place I wish to share that kind of information about me is on Twitter or Facebook!   Why you would even think that someone would want to do so is beyond me.

To be fair to Withings, the scale will, if you choose, discreetly post such information to more private places, like your smart phone or computer, where only you can see it; I can see some value in that.  Even better, if my doctor’s office would purchase such a scale and link it to my records electronically, I could go to the doctor without ever having to see what my weight is!  (I mean, face it folks, most of us know whether we need to lose weight or not; do we really wish to be constantly reminded every time we need to see the doctor for something like strep throat?)

One of Google's seven self-driving cars

The more encouraging invention is Google’s fleet of seven cars that it has equipped to be able to drive themselves.  It consists of six Toyota Prius’s and one Audi TT.  Some of you may recall that the self driving car is one of the inventions I am eagerly awaiting. ( See, Inventions I Eagerly Await.)  Google has at least managed to create prototypes, although currently they are nowhere near ready for mass production and still require a driver to be able to override the computer system in case it gets confused.  Still, Google has come a long way with these cars.  They have equipped them with video cameras, radar, laser sensors (and of course, Google’s navigation system) so that the computer guiding the car will have a 360 degree view of the road, and be able to orient itself to the direction it is traveling and figure out where it wants to go.  In over 140,000 miles of trials (I think – it may be more now), the cars have had only one accident – and that was when one of them was rear-ended by another car.  In those 140,000 miles, they did require minimum driver intervention once or twice, but at least we are getting closer.  I will watch the evolution of this invention closely so that as soon as they are available and affordable, I can own one.

There is, alas, no word out there regarding the driving vacuum cleaner.  See, Differences Between Men and Women.


Have a great day everyone!


Building a Web Site – It Ain’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be

Good Morning Everyone!

Picture by Torsten Bolten, on Wikimedia Commons.

As you may recall from last week, I am starting a weekly post on basic football rules – the posts publish on Friday.  My ultimate goal is to have this weekly post on its own blog, and in a fit of overconfidence, I decided I would try to build the web page myself through WordPress.org.  I have not gotten very far along with the experience, but I have learned two things:

1) My excellent vocabulary does me no good when it comes to the terms necessary to build a blog site.

2) I have no clue what I am doing.

From Print Shop Professional 2.0

The first step seemed easy enough – I had to pick a web host for my blog.  I went to WordPress.org, they had several listed and I picked the first one.  The registration process went smoothly, my new domain name (www.nflnovice.com) was registered, my account was verified and then I started trying to download the WordPress.org software.

From Print Shop Professional 2.0

That’s when everything came to a screeching halt.  There is a very annoying thing called a FTP.  After several tries to guess what that meant (Failure to Prepare, Files to Press, Fast Top Press), I finally googled the term to find out that it means “File Transfer Protocol.”  I gained a vague understanding that this has something to do with transferring information from one location to another, but that is about all I have learned.  To install the WordPress software onto the website I want to use, I have to tell it something about my FTP, and I apparently am not giving it the answer it is looking for.  When I go to the place where I am supposed to be able to find the answer it is looking for, it gives me the information I am placing into the WordPress software already!  If you think arguing with one computer is hard, trying arguing with three!  I have censored several swear words throughout this process.

From Print Shop Professional 2.0

Then two days ago it occurred to me that the National Football League might object to the title “The NFL Novice” under some kind of trademark law.  I have spent some more time reading through the trademark papers, and even sending an e-mail to the licensing people at the NFL to try to find an answer, but no luck.  Of the many uses the acronym “NFL” is trademarked for, almost none of them fit the category of what I want to do, except for this one phrase about electronic dissemination of information to third persons for some purpose ( I can’t remember the exact phrasing; it is the purpose that is iffy – I may or may not be trying to do that, if I could ever figure out exactly what they mean.)  In the course of wading through that issue, I decided to be safe and picked out another name for my new blog “The Football Novice”, with locations at www.footballnovice.com and www.thefootballnovice.com.  (Don’t bother to check the links; there’s nothing exciting there yet.)

So then, I went back to WordPress to try to get it installed on one of the three blogs, and went to the “How To” page, which told me that before I did anything, I needed something called a “Text Editor.”  At that point, last night, I decided to call it a day.  They had several listed on the page,but I hadn’t heard of any of them.

Please Help!

For now, I think I am going to go back to my trusty Kindle, where, gathering electronic dust for a couple of months now, resides “The Idiots Guide to Building A Blog.”  I think my efforts have now qualified me to start reading!

So, for at least the next couple of weeks, bear with the Football Friday posts here.  I will figure out how to do this, and have the new blog up and running some day!

Have a great day everyone!


Acronyms and Adobe

Good evening everyone! 

I’ve just been through one of those few times when my day job takes over my entire life for a short period of time.  Mark and Kayla are always wonderful in their support for me when I have to do that; the dogs are okay with it as long as they get fed every morning.  However,  now that it’s all over and I have taken a deep breath, everything shimmers back to normal. 


Still, even in high pressure situations, there is humor to be found.

In Alabama and most federal courts, e-filing is now required; this lets you file briefs and exhibits electronically and gives you until 11:59 the day something is due for it to be timely filed, but, as one district court clerk’s office has politely explained  in their e-filing rules, “While a filing is timely as long as it is filed prior to 11:59 a.m. the day it is due, the clerk’s office strongly recommends that attorneys e-file during working hours, when someone will be able to help them if a problem should arise.”  Unfortunately, I was not able to heed their advice this time, but it all came out right in the end.

The briefs I were working on were in an area of the law that uses a lot of acronyms.  Because it is easier to refer to NHTSA rather than the National Highway Safety Transportation Agency, and to the FHSA rather than the Federal Highway Safety Act, and the  STATSER rather than the Smith-Thomas Act To Support Edamame Research  (all right, I made that one up), in certain areas of the law you just have to resign yourself to the acronyms and try to keep up with the scorecard as best you can.  So Monday night, while I was studying  notes someone had made for me to help with these responses, I came across the following phrase:   “since then a LOT has been done to change the design.”  I spent five minutes trying to figure what on earth LOT stood for, only to realize that LOT stood for, strangely enough, the word “lot”, with emphasis.  Things started to fall into place then.

For technical reasons I have tried to understand, but decided that it is simply better to accept, the documents that we file, as well as the exhibits, need to be filed in .pdf format, the kind of file that you use Adobe Acrobat to read.  When we need to refer to deposition testimony [FN]  in a response, we have to find the deposition, print out the pertinent pages, then scan them in to convert the group of pages  into a single file in .pdf format.  (Most courts do not permit you to file the entire deposition; only the pages you are referring to.  A few courts are different.)  Many of the court reporting services now automatically send you depositions in electronic format, which makes this process a lot easier. 

I had called the Birmingham office yesterday afternoon to check that all the depositions were available electronically.  (The original office, where I work, is about 65 miles away from the Birmingham office.)  After I was assured that they were, and got a mobile phone number from Christine in the Birmingham office staff in case there was a hiccup, I turned back to proof-reading and finishing my writing. 

 Fast forward three hours, to when I was finally ready to start putting the exhibits together for filing.  I opened my Adobe Acrobat Reader and plunged into the correct file on the server – only to discover that nary a deposition was to be found!  After a heart attack and a round of adrenaline that didn’t go amiss anyhow since I needed a pick-me-up, I started looking around a little bit to  figure out what was going on so I wouldn’t have to call Christine at 8:00 p.m. and have her return to the office.  After another five minutes, I realized what the problem was.  I had the Adobe Reader program set to where it would only show me Adobe files in the file directories.  Once I changed that setting to “all files,” the depositions I needed magically appeared.  I gave a sigh of relief, and the gathering of exhibits could continue.


Technology:  can’t live with it, but sure can’t live without it!

Have a great evening everyone!


FN.  For those who don’t know, a deposition is an out of court questioning session where the questionee is under oath.

Where are They? Inventions I Eagerly Await

Good morning Everyone!

While I have my issues with technology (see, Please stop Improving my Life I and II), there are certain inventions I eagerly await. 

I already mentioned, in an earlier post, the riding vacuum cleaner (Differences Between Men and Women)but there are a few more I think the inventors of this world should be working on.

1)  A car that drives itself where I want it to go.  In the last two days, I have driven about five hours total.  How nice it would be to have a car that just took care of all the driving, and let me use that time productively for things like napping, cross-stitch or playing computer games.  However, this is merely a short-term solution to commuting problems, as I believe the second invention is the long-term answer.


2) The transporter from Star Trek.  It is hard to believe that something envisioned in the 1960’s has yet to be invented.  Of course, I realize there are some fundamental rules of physics that have to be gotten around, re-explained, or discovered, but still!  Instant transportation from one place to another is worth it.  Just think how much more time we could spend doing important things like tail-gating at football games, standing in line at Disneyworld (rather than spending time driving to Disneyworld) or shopping for the latest gizmos instead of the time we spend commuting. 

Climate Control Device!

3)  A personal climate control machine no bigger than a pedometer.  At this time of the year, those of us in the Southeast spend a great deal of time calculating our routes so that we end up spending as little time as possible out-of-doors (unless the beach or lake is involved) to allow us to remain in air-conditioned comfort.  I don’t know this for certain, but I expect those of you who encounter extremely cold weather during the year do the same with heat.  Imagine if you could clip something about the size of the pedometer on your waist, set the temperature, and enjoy that temperature all day long, no matter where you are.  I think that would be really cool (no pun intended!)

Country Cooler Drive Thru Convenience Store, Hollister Florida

4)   The drive-through grocery store window.  (Apparently, this concept is in the testing phase; an internet search revealed that an increasing number of convenience stores, especially in Florida, are trying this out.)  Every parent who has ever traveled to or through the grocery store with young (or even not so young) children can understand the appeal of being able to call the grocery store in advance, tell the clerk exactly what you want, pull up to a window, receive your items and pay for them, all without having to do the “No” song through the aisles.  No, you can’t have Oreos; No, you can’t have Cocoa Puffs; No, you can’t have rutabagas (you don’t even know what they are); No, you can’t have that cheap $5 toy that will fall apart as soon as we get it home; No, you can’t have your fifth package of mints this week (that’s for my daughter).

It also is helpful for those who, like me, enter the grocery store for milk and lettuce, fall into a strange trance, and emerge on the other side with two carts full of groceries and no idea what they are or how they got there!

5) An integrated clothes cleaning system that will sort the clothes, wash the clothes, dry the clothes  and fold the clothes or iron them as needed.   My current system, my 9 year old, leaves something to be desired.  (Just kidding – we don’t let her iron – yet.)  I am willing to continue to put them away however.  

6)  A computer that will allow me to win an argument with it.  Currently, once it starts beeping and sending me error messages, the computer wins. 

7)   Failing that, a computer that will do what I want it to do, not necessarily what I tell it do. 

8)   A money tree.  If it was prolific enough, I would be willing to share! 

Any inventions you might like to see?  Future inventors of America, take note!

Have a great day everyone!


Blogging Lessons I Have Learned

Good morning Everyone!

This post today will be my 108th post.  I have been blogging since February 22, and this is as good a time as any to take stock of what I have learned since then.

1)   It is wonderful to be able to write something someone else reads and have them say, “I like that!” 

2) I have written approximately 54,000 words in 108 posts which have included 516 images.  Each post has taken (on average, unless lots of pictures are involved) 45 minutes or less to write.  That is equivalent at least to a novella! 

3) I can sit down every day and write.  In fact, I enjoy doing it.

4) SEO does not involve a corporation’s management structure, bounce rate is not a basketball statistic and “keyword” and “password” are not equivalent terms.

5) The “site stats” page on WordPress is addictive.

6) So is getting Freshly Pressed.  It happened to me once, (Rules I Never Thought I’d Need) and I still harbor a faint hope with every post I make that another one will get Freshly Pressed some day…

7)  There are lots of extremely interesting people from all over the world who read this blog.  I have had the chance to get to know some of them.

8)  My family and friends read this blog almost every day –  devotion above and beyond the call of duty.  Some people who didn’t know me originally read this blog almost every day, too, which is really amazing!

9) My daughter is an exceptionally good sport to let me write about her.  The dogs don’t really care what I write about them.  Mandy is much better at finishing her food now that I write beside her while she eats.  (Dog Rules)

10) Toasted bagels with peanut butter and typing on a keyboard are a messy combination. 

11) Someone out there keeps searching “husky-basset hound mixes.”  Whoever you are, I would be really interested to know why.  I thought we had the only husky-basset hound mix in the world. 

Mandy, Our Husky-Basset Hound Mix

12) No matter how many cameras you have, (I’m at 3 right now), you still can manage to forget to bring one when you need it.

13) Even the most mundane things are funny, if you look at them the right way.  (Light Switches.) 

Hall Light Switch

14) I love to hear from you, and am very grateful to every reader who has taken the time to comment on a blog. 

15) Pens continue to disappear at an alarming rate at my house.  (Of Waves and Pens.)

16) Life is beautiful and it is fun to share!

Have a great day everyone!


Keeper of the Passwords

Hi Everyone!

When I became a mom, I knew that the role would call for many things.  However, this morning my daughter attempted to assign a role to me that I simply cannot and will not do:  Keeper of the Computer Passwords.  I can’t keep up with my own; let alone anybody else’s!

Those of us who have seen the computer revolution blossom in front of our eyes (you know who you are –  you took classes on Basic in college; you remember when the Internet did not exist, or at least was not as ubiquitous in the American household as, say, the refrigerator is; you can remember playing games on a Commodore 64 computer that plugged into your TV to use as a monitor; and you remember when 1/2 megabyte of RAM was a lot of memory for a PC and we stored extra files on 5 1/4″ floppy discs), can remember a time when – hang on for this younger generation – you could get through life without any passwords at all!  Yes, you heard me correctly – you could go from the cradle to the grave without having to enter a password into anything more complicated than the combination lock to your bike – and you wrote that combination on your book bag so you wouldn’t forget it.  Those from a slightly later generation can remember when you could use things that were easy to remember, like your children’s name or your birthdate, for passwords or PIN numbers.  Heck, only about four or five years ago, most of us did not need to know what the words “case-sensitive” meant.

 However, somewhere as the years went on, the simplicity of the password has completely faded into oblivion.  Each organization  has its own requirements in terms of the amount of letters and/or numbers to be used in a password.  Some sites are even getting hyper-technical on me and requiring not only letters and numbers, but characters too!  People, if I can’t remember whether my original password was adam12 (or maybe that was Adam12 or ADAM12) I don’t have a hope of remembering whether I used a !, a%,  a # or (for when I lose my temper) &^%$##$%&&%%##**$ to go with it.  

I have had web sites grade me on the strength of the password I am selecting; that gives me an inferiority complex.  I never felt happy with a grade unless it was an A, and I have yet to get an A grade on any password I selected.  (If I did get an A grade, I probably wouldn’t be able to remember the password.)

I have other sites that require me to change my password periodically whether I want to or not; that’s really disturbing, because how do I know I can come up with a password that is as good as the one they are making me get rid of?  I also have to perform a series of mental gymnastics to keep track of which password to use this week. 

The logical thing to do, of course, is to find a place to store all the passwords for all of the sites in one place so you can look one up when you need it, but apparently we are not allowed to keep such a list any place where it can be easily found, which means that the odds are good that I won’t be able to remember where I put the list by the time I need it! 

So, to my daughter who won’t read this anyhow because she doesn’t have the password to our home computer (how else could I get away with writing the stories I write about us?), I must regretfully decline your offer to become Keeper of the Passwords, at least until I am able to successfully keep my own!

Have a great weekend everybody!