Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Overthinking things

I mentioned that I've been really busy.

Really busy.

Lots of stuff going on at work. And some issues arising that have caused them to call me in at like 4:00 in the morning. But, hey, it comes with the territory.

And, there's a couple of projects I've been working on at home. One with another blog. Actually, a couple. One after another. And the other project is a family thing. And they've taken my time from this little blog.


Oh, and we've been switching computers around here at the house.

The Wife has a Dell desktop computer that she's been using. But, we took that down this week. Tonight, in fact.

She's now using the Dell notebook. It's newer than the desktop, and as powerful. Actually, a slightly more powerful machine. And, she likes that she can unplug it, put it on a tray, and sit in another chair or on the couch and do her computer work.

Not to mention that it takes up very little space on the desk. Her big CRT (that's a monitor, Big Sister; that's the TV-looking thing, Mean Sister) is no longer taking up all that space. And no big bunch of wires hanging down, running from the monitor, or from the keyboard, or from the speakers, over to the CPU.

Her desk almost looks clean. At least, you can now see the desk.

She's happy with the switch.

But the timing of it ... well, it's one of the things wearing me out.

Out with the Tiger, in with the Leopard

You see, Apple just released OS X 10.5 ... known as "Leopard" ... and I updated my MacBook.

I like Leopard. It actually allows me to use my old HP LaserJet 1100. You see, that old printer isn't compatible with a Mac. You must have a Windows computer to use it.

Well, you used to.

Leopard ... or OSX 10.5, as the PC Guy in me likes to call it ... has drivers for that printer. So, now, I finally have a laser printer on the Mac.

And the operating system upgrade ... even though it went very smooth ... has been another thing going on.

But, there's something else going on.

Running through the AirPort

Since we've been having problems with the old Motorola router, I got the new Apple AirPort Extreme.

This week.

Yesterday, in fact.

And it ran into an issue.

Well, I ran into an issue.

You see, it appears that when you change routers with BellSouth DSL and a Westell modem, you have to reset it. Twice.

At least, that's what the folks at BellSouth tech support had me do when I called them when I couldn't get online with the new router.

Anyway, once everything was working, I was very pleased that from anywhere in the house, we were getting a very strong signal and full speed. The old wireless router began to lose a little signal beyond the door to the bedroom.

So, it's a good thing.

It's just the timing of it all.

Network printing

One thing I overlooked, though, was the printer.

You see, the laser printer is in the office on the far side of the house. Where the DSL modem and the router is.

And the printer is hooked up to a D-Link printer server, that's hooked into the router.

So, tonight, I was going to print something. And that's when I realized I needed to hook the printer server up to the AirPort (the router).

So, I plugged it into a LAN connection, and went to check the configuration.

That's when I realized I didn't know how to do that.

So, looking up on the D-Link Web site, I found that my printer server works with Windows. But not with Mac OS X.

So, I began researching other printer servers, trying to find one that worked with Mac. I found a document that I downloaded to read up on it.

Then, it hit me.

I had never even tried to print.

I had already printed on the old network, just not on the new network.

So, with the document open, I clicked print.

And it printed.

I hadn't done the simplest thing: trying it.

And, when I did, it worked.

And that's how things have been with the MacBook. Everything I've wanted to do, I've been able to do with very little difficulty. And I've found it easy to do.

And almost every time I've had a problem, it's because I was in PC Guy mode. I assumed it didn't work until I configured things.

I've been overthinking things.

It's a habit that's been hard to break, after 25 years of using MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Cold Hard Facts of Life

Porter Wagoner died this weekend.

I missed that. Didn't find out until this afternoon. Been busy. Way busy. And still busy.

But, I just feel I need to talk for a minute about Porter Wagoner.

If you don't know who Porter Wagoner was, you missed a showman. You don't have to like country music ... heck, I don't ... to appreciate Porter.

He knew his audience, he loved his audience, and his audience loved him.

He had the rhinestone-studded outfit, the big country music hair.

Porter Wagoner looked the part. And he lived the part.

We used to watch Porter Wagoner back when he had his show on TV.

Now, you might be wondering why I'd watch The Porter Wagoner Show if I didn't like the music.

Well, you gotta remember ... this was back when folks had just one TV. Hooked up to an antenna. And when the knob fell off and was lost, you had to get a pair of pliers to change the channel.

Yeah, we're talking a while back.

And we ... my sisters and me ... didn't control the TV. The grown-ups did. And they watched Porter Wagoner.

I'd half-watch it. I'd pay attention when Speck Rhodes came on. He was the comedian, you see. And, well, comedians are funny. Or, they have to be if they last. And he lasted the entire run of the show. So, yeah, he was funny. And we'd watch.

Sort of like on the Jackie Gleason Show. I didn't pay much attention until Crazy Guggenheim came on.

Anyway, we'd watch Porter Wagoner.

My great-grandmother, "Ma," liked Porter and his singing partner, Norma Jean. She didn't know that Porter was cheating on his wife with Norma Jean. She knew that there was trouble around the same time that Norma Jean left the show and Dolly Parton showed up. And, I think that Ma suspected that Dolly was the problem.

Whether or not she thought Dolly was a home-wrecker, she always called her "a hussy."

Might have been the tight outfits that showed off Dolly's assets. Might have been thinking Dolly was screwing Porter (she wasn't). But Ma never did like Dolly.

I might have watched the show when Dolly came on. For a couple of reasons.

But, even with the others on the show -- Speck Rhodes, Norma Jean or Dolly Parton, the square dancers that always featured some little pre-teen girl out-dancing the grown folks, the musical guests -- Porter was always the star.

Last year, I saw Porter Wagoner hosting a segment of the Grand Ole Opry. And he was in charge.

He worked the audience and gave all the attention and applause to the guests. And running a live radio/TV show, he timed it perfectly. That impressed the heck out of me. Not bad for anyone, to say nothing about a man nearly 80 years old doing it.

Like I said, I was never a fan of country music.

But, Porter Wagoner was a star. Not just a country music star.

He was a star.

And I'll miss him.

Friday, October 19, 2007

BellSouth Tech Support

Switched from Windows to Mac ... for my computer at least ... back in August. Things have gone pretty well. Takes some getting used to, but it's not the drastic change I thought it would be.

That's not to say there haven't been issues.

For one thing, the hard drive crashed. Now, support was good. Took it to the shop on a Tuesday, and it went off to repair (in Memphis, I think) and was back in my hands 48 hours later. That's not bad turnaround.

But, this week, I had the pleasure of trying to get support from BellSouth regarding my MacBook.

"Why?" you might ask.

Go ahead and ask. I'll wait.

Well, since you asked, I'm not always at home. And this week, I had need to dial in to the Internet.

Using a telephone line.

You know. Hit "connect." It goes beep-bip-bip-beep-beep-bip-bip-bip-beep-beep. Then it squeals. First a medium, then quickly a low, then a high pitched squeal.

Then it stops squealing and the word "connected" comes on the screen.

Ah, dial-up. The good old days.

Yes, I know. Many people connect via dial-up today.

But I don't.

But I did. Had to. Yesterday.

Got to try out my fancy Apple modem. And it worked.

Only, it seems, I haven't set up a dial-up connection in a long, long time. And never on a Mac.

So, naturally, I messed up.

Did get a screen in my browser that told me I needed to reset my password.


Reset my password?

Okay, I thought. Somebody at BellSouth has gone security crazy. Not that anything's wrong with security. Security is a good thing.

If done right.

Anyway, it told me I needed to use Internet Explorer to do that.

And, in case you missed it, I have a Mac.

Okay, to tell the truth, I do have Internet Explorer on my Mac. I have a utility called "Parallels" on my Mac. It lets me run other operating systems inside a window on my Mac.

And I have Windows XP installed. And, of course, it comes with Internet Explorer.

So, yeah, I have IE.

Only, the thing is, Windows XP won't work with an Apple modem. Unless I download a driver. From the Internet. Which I can't connect to unless the modem works to reset my BellSouth dial-up password.

Need the modem to get the driver to be able to use the modem.

So, I called BellSouth tech support.

First guy I spoke to didn't accomplish a whole lot, other than help me reset the password on the account.

But it still wouldn't dial in.

So, he connected me to another group.

They were sales, or something.

They apologized and sent me back to tech support.

This new guy was much more helpful. By the time he was done, I was online, doing what I needed to do.

And that was all well and good. Until I got home.

Was tired, and didn't write anything up after I got home.

Until this morning.

And I couldn't get online.

Instead, I got the "BellSouth password reset" screen.

Well, called them tonight. And, as it turned out, I needed to reset the password on the router.

Of course, it took them a bit to understand that I had a Mac, not a Windows machine.

Okay, yes, I could have gone over to the Wife's Dell. But I didn't feel like it.

Anyway, finally got the DSL modem reset. And the password on the router set. The little girl did good, once she understood the situation.

And now I'm back online.

Lucky you.

Football IV. For my Big Sister. Who's 5'4''

Because my Big Sister (who's 5'4'') wanted me to, I'm writing about football.

She likes football. Or thinks she does. I'm not sure.

Anyway, we talked about starting the game. And we got as far as putting the ball in play.


The most common football play is the run.

The quarterback, who stands behind the center, receives the snap and the play starts.

On a run, he'll usually give the ball to a runner. Often called a running back.

The "back" part is because he's behind (or back of) the line of scrimmage.

Traditionally, their are four backs, though that's not quite as common these days ... or for the last 40 years.

The back that's back the most is the fullback. The one (or two) that are not as far back are the halfbacks. And the back that's closest to the center is the quarterback. And any could take the snap from center.

Or it used to be.

Nowdays, the quarterback is just the guy that takes the snap. Often, there's no "fullback" in the traditional sense. When there is, he's often called the tailback.

But they are all (except the quarterback) called running backs, because the original meanings don't usually apply anymore.

Anyway, the quarterback takes the ball and will usually hand it off to a running back. He can run with it himself, if he wants to, but often, he's some high-paid prima donna who doesn't want to break a nail.

So, the running back takes the handoff (or a lateral or backwards toss from the quarterback) and runs with it.

Other player can block for the runner. They can't grab a defender (that's called "holding" and is a 10-15 yard penalty, depending on where it occurs). They can't block the defender from behind (that's called "clipping" and is a 15-yard penalty). They have to face them man-to-man.

The defender tries to knock the runner down, or out of bounds.

If the runner falls on his own in high school ball, he's down and the play is over. But in the college and pro game, he can get back up and run some more, if he's not down because of a defender's actions.

The runner is down if any part of his body other than hands or feet touch the ground.

Then, the play is over, and they huddle up and do another play.

The pass

It's legal to throw the ball downfield. But there are restrictions.

We talked earlier about ineligible receivers. They can't be downfield when the ball is thrown forward.

Oh, by the way, note that I said "thrown forward." That's a forward pass. When someone says "pass," they usually mean "forward pass."

A backward or lateral pass is not a forward pass, and can occur any time the ball is in play.

A forward pass can only occur if the passer (often the quarterback, but it really can be any player) has not advanced past the line of scrimmage ... and if a forward pass has not already been thrown.

Only one forward pass can occur on a single play.

Only eligible receivers can touch a thrown ball (unless and until a defender touches the ball while it's in the air).

If a pass is dropped without the receiver having obtained full possession of the ball, it's an incomplete pass and the play is over.

If a defender catches a pass, it's an interception, and they become the offense at the conclusion of the play.

Oh, no player (offense or defense) can interfere with another player (offense or defense) trying to catch a pass. Interference can be hitting the man before the ball reaches him. Or it can be waving arms in his face.

The key thing, though, is that both offense and defense are allowed to catch the pass. Hitting a player while you are in the act of catching a pass is not interference. Hitting a player while you are getting ready to catch a pass is.


We said that a pass caught by the defense is an interception.

Well, if a runner (or receiver who has caught a pass) drops the ball, it's a fumble. Either team can recover a fumble.

If the defense recovers the fumble, play continues until the player with possession of the ball is down, then they become the offense.

If the offense recovers the fumble, play continues as normal.


Each team gets four tries to move the ball 10 yards. In the U.S., at least. In Canada, they get three tries.

Each try is a "down." When a team gets possession of the ball, their first play is "first down." And if they get 10 yards, the count of downs starts over.

For example, it's 1st and 10. (First down, with 10 yards to go for another first down.)

The team throws a pass, and it's incomplete.

Now, it's 2nd and 10. (Incomplete pass costs a down, but no gain or loss of yardage.)

They run the ball, picking up 7 yards.

Now, it's 3rd and 3. (They have 3 more yards to go for another first down.)

A pass is complete for 12 yards.

Well, since they got more than 10 yards net yardage on that series of downs, it's 1st and 10 again.

Now, let's say the next play is a run, but the runner is tackled 6 yards behind the line.

It's now 2nd and 16. (They need 16 yards to net 10 total yards, since they stand at -6.)

A pass is complete for 20 yards.

It's 1st and 10.

It keeps going this way until they turn the score or turn the ball over.

Let's say it's now 4th and 4. And they gain 3 yards. Well, they used all 4 downs and didn't gain a net of 10 yards.

The other team takes over possession.

This doesn't happen often, though.

Want to know why?

That's the next post.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Football III. For my Big Sister. Who's 5'4''

My great-grandparents lived in a log cabin. Ma and Pa, we called them. That's what their children (my maternal grandmother and her sisters) called them. And that's what their children (my maternal grandmother's children, and all their cousins) called them.

And, that's what the great-grandchildren (me, my sisters, and all our first, second, third, and so on cousins on that side of the family) called them.

Well, when Pa died, in 1967, Ma had to give up the house. The log cabin.

She went to live with her daughters. They all lived in three separate counties in southeast Georgia, usually with one for two weeks, then the next, then the next, and so on.

When Ma came to visit, she had her chair in front of the TV.

She'd sit there with her sewing or knitting ... and her snuff can. And she'd watch TV.

Wrestling, usually. Or "rasslin'" as it was often called. Georgia Championship Wrestling, hosted by Gordon Solie. If you never heard a wrestling match called by Gordon Solie, you missed a truly great experience. He was the best.

But I digress. We're talking about Ma watching TV. Actually, we're supposed to be talking about football. But we're almost there.

Ma would watch whatever was on TV. And, sometimes, on Saturdays or Sundays, there'd be football.

One day, Ma was watching the game, then suddenly called my name.

"What do them fellow do when they squat down there and look at each other?" *

Well, here's what they do.


Following a kickoff, the teams line up to put the ball in play.

One team has possession of the ball. That's the offense.

The other team is defending a goal. That's the defense.

The offense puts the ball in play by lining up, and one man, the center, moves the ball to another player behind him, and play begins.

The offense must have at least seven men on the line of scrimmage.

The line of scrimmage is an imaginary line that runs through the football, from one sideline to another.

Seven (or more) offensive players must be lined up in a row on the line of scrimmage. Any less, and it's an illegal formation. More is okay, but there are impacts of that.

For example, the offense must move the ball downfield by running, or by successfully throwing the ball.

Anyone can run with the ball. Only certain people can catch the ball.

To catch the ball legally -- that is, to be an eligible receiver -- you must line up behind the line of scrimmage, or be one of the players lined up on the end of the line of scrimmage.

The center, the man who puts the ball into play (by "hiking" it), must, of course, be on the line. He can be on the end, but that's very uncommon.

A normal formation has the center, then a "guard" on each side, then, outside each guard, is a "tackle." Normal formations have additional players on either side of the tackles, called "ends."

Ends are eligible. Players behind the line are eligible, with one exception we'll talk about later.

Any player who lines up on the end -- even if he is the center, guard, or tackle -- is eligible. It's practically unheard of for a center to be an end. Likewise, for a guard. But it's more common, though rare, for a tackle to be an end.

When a tackle is an end ... called a "tackle eligible" play ... there must still be six other men on the line of scrimmage. And that means another player who would often be eligible is, for that play, an "exterior lineman," and ineligible.

Also, in pro ball, quarterbacks who line up immediately behind the center are ineligible. If he lines up farther back ... often called a "shotgun" formation ... he is eligible. In high school and college, a quarterback is always eligible.

Ineligible receivers may not run downfield if the ball is thrown forward (a "forward pass"). If the ball isn't thrown, they can run downfield.

And, under no circumstances can an ineligible receiver catch a forward pass. They can legally catch a pass deflected by a defender, but not directly from the passer.


Before putting the ball in play, each side gets together, often in a "huddle," to receive the play. Depending on the particular play, everyone has a different role to play and action to perform.

On the offense, some will run with the ball. Others will run downfield to attempt to catch a pass. Others will stay back and block for others who have the ball.

On the defense, some will "rush" the quarterback. Others will follow a receiver or guard a particular area or "zone" of the field from a pass (called a "zone defense"). And, sometimes, lots of players rush the quarterback. That's called a "blitz."'

In high school, the offense has 30 seconds to put the ball in play. In college, 25 seconds. And 45 in the NFL.

But all that happens after the teams line up. And squat down and look at each other.

And there's more that happens when the ball is put into play. More on that later.

Football II. For my Big Sister. Who's 5'4''

Because my Big Sister (who's 5'4'') wants to know about football, we're talking about football.

We covered the coin flip earlier. Which determines who kicks off.

The kickoff

Used to be, everybody kicked off from the 40 yard line. High school, college, and pro. Then, in 1974, this thing called the World Football League showed up. The WFL, though an unsuccessful league, had an impact.

The WFL kicked off from the 30. The NFL moved kickoffs to the 35, then, years later, the 30. College moved kickoffs back, too. High schools still kick from the 40.

The teams line up for the kick. The kicking team cannot have anyone past the football before the kick. And the receiving team cannot have anyone closer than 10 yards from the ball before it's kicked.

Once kicked, the ball must go 10 yards. Once it travels 10 yards, or if the receiving team touches the ball regardless of distance traveled, it's a "live" ball. That means either team, kicking or receiving, can gain possession of the ball.

If the kick goes out of bounds (or doesn't travel 10 yards) without being touched, it's a penalty. The ball can be moved back and kicked again, or the receiving team can take possession of the ball. Their choice.

Onside kick

This bit about 10 yards comes into play most often with a play called an "onside kick."

Usually, this happens when a team is behind, scores to close the score, but needs the ball again and there's not a lot of time left on the clock.

When that happens, teams will often try an onside kick.

The kicking team will kick the ball in such a way that it doesn't travel very far, and is hard to handle. The idea is to try to recover the ball and try to score again.

Most of the time, though, the team kicks the ball as far as they can, hoping to prevent a return.

If the kickoff crosses the goal line and either goes out of bounds or the receiving team gets the ball behind their goal line and chooses to not run the ball back, it's a touchback, and the ball is put into play on their 20 yard line.

If the receiving team catches ... or picks up ... the kickoff, they get to return the ball. They can run as far as they can, before the runner is tackled or forced out of bounds.

If they run it all the way back and cross the other team's goal line, it's a touchdown, and they score 6 points.

Usually, though, after the return, the receiving team will line up on offense at the point of the end of the return (tackle or out of bounds), or at the 20 in the event of a touchback, and they begin a series of downs.

We'll cover regular play, a team taking a series of downs, later.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Football. For my Big Sister. Who's 5'4''

Becasue my Big Sister (who's 5'4'') wanted me to ... and because I'm the perfect little brother ... here's a little bit about football. Football isn't football Now, when I say "football," I mean American football. Not soccer. Or association football. Which the rest of the world calls "football." Well, not all the rest of the world. The U.S. and Canada call American football by the name "football." And Canadian football is a little different than American football. But, essentially, it's the same game. Field a little different, teams line up different, minor rules differences, but still, pretty much the same game. And, in the U.S., there are three big types of football. High school, college, and professional. War First, football is war. A contained war, but a war nonetheless. And that's part of the attraction of football. There are two types of football fans. One who likes the old, traditional, "three yards and a cloud of dust" kind of football. Then, there's the football fan who wants to see a bunch of passing and a lot of scoring. Like baseball. There are the fans that love a 1-0 pitcher's duel. Others wants a 12-11 slugfest. In football, some like the 6-3 game. Others wants a 49-48 game. I'm the former. In both baseball and football. I want my football games to be old fashioned, hard-hitting, blood on your face, dirt on your uniform, football. I think that if you want to see a 49-48 game, you need to go find you an arena football team and leave the gridiron to my kind of football. Now, having said all that ... and pissing off half the folks who watch what passes for football today ... here's a little bit about football. So my Big Sister ... who's 5'4'' ... can enjoy the game. Or at least understand what she hates. Starting the game Football is played by two teams. Each time can put 11 players on the field at one time. One team has possession of the ball and tries to move downfield and score. They are the offense. The other team doesn't have possession of the ball. Instead, they are trying to stop the other team from driving downfield and scoring. That's the defense. The two teams take turns being offense and defense. And they decide who goes first by a coin flip. The team that wins the coin flip gets to choose. Used to be, they had two options. Nowdays, they've added a third option. At least in the pro and college game. The winner of the coin flip can:
  • Choose to kick-off or receive the kick-off
  • Choose which goal to defend
  • Let the other team decide one of the above
Often, the winner of the flip defers. That's because whoever chooses to start the game, has to let the other team choose when the second half starts. Most teams, when having to choose, usually choose to receive the kickoff. Not always, but usually. The team that doesn't choose between kicking or receiving chooses which goal to defend. That's important when wind and weather can be a factor. But not often. "We'll kick to the clock" Back in the early days of the AFL (an old professional league that operated from 1960-1969 before being absorbed into the NFL), the AFL championship game in 1962 was tied after the end of regulation. Used to be, tie games were allowed. Unless it was a playoff game. (There's an interesting instance when playoff games can end tied. More later.) Anyway, in pro football, when a playoff game is tied, they start the "third half." That is, they have a coin flip, and start playing, just like at the start of the game. So, after the Dallas Texans (later, they moved and became the Kansas City Chiefs) and the Houston Oilers (who later became the Tennessee Titans) were tied at 17 when the fourth quarter ended, they had to play overtime. In the pro game, overtime starts just like a new game, but with 1 critical difference. As soon as someone scores, the game is over. Sudden death overtime, it's called. So, tied at 17, the Texans and the Oilers were headed for overtime. The wind at the stadium in Houston was a factor in the game, and Dallas coach Hank Stram told his team captain Abner Haynes, to elect to defend the goal facing the clock if they had to kick off. That would give them the winds at their backs, and a possible edge. So, when Dallas won the toss, Haynes was briefly flustered and told the referree "We'll kick to the clock." According to one report of the game, the referee, Harold Bourne, told Haynes, "You made the choice and said you'll kick." Then Houston chose the wind. Fortunately for Dallas, they held Houston from scoring, then after the fifth quarter ended, the teams swapped ends of the field, and Dallas has the wind to their backs. That's when Tommy Brooker kicked a 25-yard field goal to give the Texans their first AFL title, and save Haynes from being goat of the game for screwing up the coin flip. Review Football stars with a coin flip. The team that wins the flip gets to make decisions about who goes first and who defends what goal. Next time, we'll cover the actual kickoff, and what happens from there. Okay, Big Sister?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The New BCS

I said so last year. I actually have said so for over 20 years.

Major college football needs a playoff system.

Now, the NCAA, the politically-correct, financially-corrupt organization that oversees college football in the U.S., won't come up with a playoff system for the "big schools" like Ohio State, LSU, Florida, Texas, and the like.

They have playoffs for Division III. In fact, the championship playoffs begin with 16 games (32 teams) on November 17, and conclude with the championship game, the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, in Salem, Virginia, on December 15.

Division II has playoffs starting with a field of 24, with the first 8 games on November 17th. The playoffs end with the championship on December 15th in Florence, Alabama.

And Division I has a playoffs, too. Used to be called Division I-AA, but now it's the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). Same thing, different name. Anyway, the field of 16 starts playing on November 24, and the title game will be December 14 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

But Division I-A, now called the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS)? They still use the half-assed BCS.

And though the process is half-assed, those running it are full asses.

There's no reason, other than the fact that the money greases the right pockets, for Division I-A (or FBS) to not have a playoff for the championship.

But they could.

And here's how.

Friends Of Cathy

Cathy Forsythe, sister of Chris Muir, who writes Day By Day, died Friday.

Cathy had battled cancer for some years. And bloggers helped promote her battle against cancer. Cathy had her own blog, in fact.

Many of us have been touched by cancer. Whether it's a friend or a family member who suffered, or whether some of us have battled the disease ourselves, most of us have been touched in some way.

But many of us have been touched in a different way.

Many of us have known survivors. And cancer survivors are some of the strongest, most inspiring people you could ever meet.

Sometimes, people survive for a while before finally succumbing. Others beat the disease and it never returns.

But, quite often, those that have fought cancer manage to be a source of strength for others.

Cathy is one of those who battled the disease and managed to use the Internet, radio, newspapers, and other media to bring attention to the fight.

In that way, Cathy fought not just for herself, but for others.

Cathy's fight is over.

But the battle continues.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Mac is Back

My MacBook crashed recently. Lost the hard drive.

And that's not a good thing.

Anyway, Tuesday, took it to the local Apple Authorized place. They sent it off to Apple. And Apple fixed it -- replaced the hard drive, actually -- and sent it back.

Picked it up this afternoon. And have spent most of the evening getting it back running like it should.

Updates and such. Installed latest version of iLife and iWork suites I have.

And, the good news is that it was able to recover my bookmarks and email settings from iDisk. The iTunes stuff, though, I haven't tried. Don't look promising, though.

Anyway, got my toy back. And I can't complain about the service I got from Apple regarding the MacBook. Other than needing the service in the first place.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

"You think you'd want to drive a hybrid?"

Watching some movie that TiVo recorded today. Just the Wife and me.

First commercial break happens, and there's a commercial for a Honda Civic. At least, I think that's what it was for.

Had the "Odd Couple" music paying. One guy was driving around in his Civic, picking up trash that another driver was tossing out. And, at the end, he returned all the trash he had collected. And that's when we realized it was a car commercial.

For a hybrid car. The Civic.

The Wife turned to me and said, "You think you'd want to drive one of those? A hybrid?"

I looked slowly over at her.

She added, "For the gas mileage?"

And I asked her, "You're asking me that? And you drive what?"

Now, just so you know, I drive a Chevrolet. An older car. A '99 Lumina. They don't make those anymore. But I like it. Have put nearly 160,000 miles on it. And, of course, it's paid for. Been so for a while.

And it gets between 25-30 miles per gallon, depending on how much highway driving I do.

The Wife? She drives some big-ass Ford truck. An F-150. About 4 years old. And it'll be paid for in two months.

And she gets about 10-12 miles per gallon, depending on how much highway driving she does.

And she wants to know if I want to drive a hybrid.

She stuttered and stammered for a bit when I asked her, "You're asking me that? And you drive what?"

Now, this isn't to say that I won't get a hybrid.

It's just that I'm not sure about when she's going to get that mote out of her eye.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

MacBook down

I've really enjoyed my new MacBook.

Until it broke.

Seems something caused it to not recognize the hard drive.

And, with no hard drive, the computer won't do much.

So, at lunch (I'm eating a sandwich now), I took the MacBook by the Apple Authorized Repair Center in Columbus. And they are shipping it off to the MacBook hospital.

Not sure if it's getting a face-lift, a transplant, or what. But it should be back by the end of the week.

So, for now, I am operating on my old Dell notebook.

I miss my MacBook already. But this old Dell ... well, it's dependable. And I don't know of a better testimonial to give about any computer.

Monday, October 8, 2007

The White Screen Of Death

Windows users know all about the Blue Screen Of Death. It's abbreviated BSOD. It's that blue screen that happens when something very, very bad goes wrong with your computer.

Even Microsoft acknowledges it as the BSOD, though unofficially.

Well, I got a Mac back in August. A MacBook, actually. And I knew that I would get no more Blue Screens Of Death.

Didn't know about the White Screen Of Death.


I know about it now.

The little icon flashes at about 1 second intervals. And it means something is very, very wrong with your MacBook.

And, after running all kinds of diagnostics with the guy from Apple support, it seems it doesn't think there's a hard drive.

Well now, I mused, that can't be good.

He concurred.

So, my Apple Care Protection Plan kicks in. I have to take it to an Apple place. There are a couple of Authorized Representatives in Columbus. The nearest full-fledged Apple Store is in Atlanta. That's an hour and a half to two hours away.

Unless there's road construction.

And there is road construction.

So, off to see the Apple Authorized Representatives tomorrow.

And this, on top of another issue that arose that I really needed my computer for.

So, I'm without my new toy.

However, my old toy, this Dell notebook I'm currently on, is working.

It's taking a little getting used to, with the keys and functions all a little different. Sure, I use a Windows machine at work all day. But I don't have my blog up there. Having the blog up puts me in blogging mode. And blogging mode now means MacBook mode.

Only not right now.

Oh, well. After spending all day Saturday working on my daughter's computers (a Dell desktop and a Dell notebook), I get to experience my own computer issues.

Seems she gets it honest.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Fixin' computers

The Little Princess called earlier this week. She was having problems with her computer.

Well, sort of.

She was having trouble getting on the Internet using her computer's wireless connection.

Now, when she got her computer recently -- it was a replacement Dell sent for one that went bad -- she sat on the couch at the house and got on the Internet. So, I figured the wireless connection worked. But she said it didn't work for her at her apartment, in downtown Athens, or on campus (UGA).

So, Saturday morning, I got up and drove to Athens.

And, sure enough, her wireless wouldn't work. That is, it didn't show a usable signal. It showed some stuff ... likely open networks that others were running ... but not the connection she was expecting.

Here's the thing. I broke out my MacBook ... and it showed the expected connection. Then, I broke out MY Dell laptop -- yes, I took both the MacBook and my Dell laptop with me -- and it showed the expected connection.

We then piled into the car and went downtown. Stopped at a hippie joint called "The Hot Spot" and got on their hot spot.

The Hot Spot -- for hippiesHow did I know it was a hippie joint? Well, the "anti-war" rally sign about the meeting at that place was the first hint.

The other was that it was crawling with hippies. And they sold Coca-Cola in a 12 oz. can for $1.25 plus tax.

I was, by far, the oldest person in the place. And likely the only one who ever had a real job.

Well, there was the girl running the register and playing on the computer that was also the register. Only I'm not sure she's had a real job, either. I mean, if you sell Cokes for $1.25, that's not a job. It's robbery.

Anyway, the MacBook and my Dell notebook was able to get on the wireless network there. But the Little Princess' Dell notebook wasn't picking up the Hot Spot's hot spot signal. While we were sitting in the place.

So, I decided to contact Dell. I went to on my MacBook and found their support site. They wanted the "Service Tag" of her notebook. Which I didn't have.

Then, on the wall, there was suddenly a network jack.

Okay, it was there the whole time, but I didn't notice it.

So, I plugged her notebook in, and it was suddenly online. But not via the wireless.

But, I was able to log on to on her computer and have it scan for the Service Tag.

And now, here's the thing. After the scan, her wireless setup found the Hot Spot!

Which, as best as I can figure, means that an online scan of the computer fixed the thing that was keeping it from finding a connection to go online.

Which you have to think about for a minute.

Yeah, it made my brain hurt.

But, her computer started working like it should.

We finished up there -- got all her latest downloads, updates, and such -- then went on campus.

Sure enough, she had no trouble getting online via the wireless.

Then, back to the apartment.

And there was the problem. Sort of.

Sometimes she was able to get the signal, and sometimes not. Although the MacBook ... and my Dell ... had no problems.

But, it eventually picked up the signal, so all was well.

Got her Windows One Care -- Microsoft's new security suite that integrates with Windows XP and Vista -- to replace her separate apps. Ease of use is the goal.

Took all day for things to happen. Partly because we didn't rush anything. And partly because we made a couple of trips to the store ... and to eat. More about the restaurant later.

A good visit with mission accomplished: fixed her computer. Or at least, let it fix itself.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Busy, busy, busy

This week has been one heckuva week.

Work has been busy. And not just busy, but busy, busy, busy.

We've got a major project rolling out soon, and it's taken a lot of my time. Working on weekends sometimes. Working late sometimes. Not taking lunch sometimes.

I don't mind being busy, but being overwhelmed ... that's something else.

And, to top it off, the Wife suggested a trip over towards Montgomery tonight. Normally, I'd jump at the chance to get out of the house and have some fun, but I'm tired.

Okay, sure, I'm sitting at the computer. Blogging. But that's easy. I just have to sit on my butt and hit some keys. Don't even have to use the brain much. As you can tell, I'm sure.

Oh, and the Little Princess is having a problem with her computer. Check that; her computers. All three of them.

So, I'm heading to Athens in the morning to figure all that out. Or try to, anyway.

Which means that the long week continues through the weekend.

Then Monday hits again.

Ain't life grand!