Category Archives: computers

fun with, umm, taxidermy

OK, let me start by saying that I love cute, cuddly little animals as much as — perhaps more than — the next person, and am free and easy with my utterances of “oooohhhhhh!!” when I see a puppy, a kitten, or any other fuzzy, adorable life form.

I must also be perfectly clear and acknowledge that I used to own a python, and we fed said python live mice and rats. I could never in the world kill an animal myself, but I willingly pitched rodents into the tank for the snake to dispatch in a relatively humane manner — until I reached a point where I just didn’t feel right doing it anymore.

I now follow these two somewhat incongruous statements with a warning that there’s a photo after the break showing a gadget that manages to elicit my strongest “oooohhhh, cute!” response while at the same time arousing the discomfort that caused me to find our python a new home.

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happy Mother’s Day! very special welcome to my mother, whose surprise Mother’s Day gift is a new Toshiba Satellite laptop. She’s been online for years, using WebTV. But that system has a tiny capacity when it comes to loading web pages, so she hasn’t been able to read my blog (and a log of other interesting online stuff).

Plus, WebTV uses the phone line, so whenever she’s online, we can’t get her on the phone. (OK, she lives next door, so it isn’t that huge a deal, but still.) We’ve hooked up a high-powered router to our computer, so she can benefit from our broadband wireless while kicking back on her bed (a bonus of her being so close).

To her, I say, enjoy your first computer. Have fun getting sucked into the black time-hole that is YouTube (and the rest of the Web). We’ll always know where to find you. 🙂

I love you!!

one froggy evening’m delighted to announce that we’ve solved the Case of the Phantom Frog.

First, you need to know the following bits of background:

  • My husband is president of the teacher’s assocation, as well as a teacher, and he does his association work on a laptop. Said laptop sits on a drafting table next to the kitchen. (Yes, the table’s top is laid flat, not tilted as it would be for an architect.)
  • The association uses an AOL account for email.
  • We have a home wireless network, so often the AOL account is sitting open even when my husband isn’t using the laptop.
  • My kids’ first-grade teacher collects frogs. (Not live ones, but, you know, frog stuff. In a very serious way. Her classroom overflows with froggy items.)

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cat on the keys local public radio station just mentioned some nifty software called PawSense, which can tell when a cat is on your computer keyboard. The company’s website explains how it works:

PawSense analyzes keypress timings and combinations to distinguish cat typing from human typing. PawSense normally recognizes a cat on the keyboard within one or two pawsteps.

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teaching a new PC old tricks

The new computer: an eMachine T5212. (The company is owned by Gateway.) Got it at BestBuy after significant hours spent researching prices. We didn’t need a monitor, so this was the best way to go, with a much faster processor and hugely larger hard drive than our old PC.

Thanks to my friend’s loan of an external 40GB hard drive, I was able to back up everything (I thought) that I needed before we left town for Thanksgiving. When we got home, the old PC started up only after multiple attempts and a variety of ugly grindy noises; it reminded me of trying to start an antique car by cranking it. My husband spent half of Saturday setting up and configuring the new PC — and a good thing, too, because the old one officially died and Refused to Start Regardless of All Efforts at Resuscitation. (We think it may be something relatively fixable, like the power supply; if a local shop can get it running for not much money, we’ll set it up for the kids — in a public, viewable area, of course.)

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