Tag Archives: computers

Technology: it means I don't miss…

InformationTechnologyJaquandor waxes philosophic:

Lots of folks often wax poetic about things we’ve lost in our more technological age, like record stores and big, high-service department stores that take up entire city blocks, but what’s something that we’ve ditched in our techno-era that makes you think, “Yeah, I’m glad we don’t do THAT anymore”?

It occurred to me that I’ve seldom described what it was that I have been doing for a living for the past 22 years. The methodology has changed tremendously, and it’s all about the technology.

The New York Small Business Development Center, started in 1984, now has 24 centers across the state. The business counselors offer free and confidential one-on-one advisement to budding entrepreneurs and established small businesses alike. Since many of the counselors have been entrepreneurs or have worked in banks or other lending institutions, they know a lot of stuff about the business process.

For the things they DON’T know, the counselors contact the Research Network library, which has librarians with access to databases, and even – dare I say it? – books.

In the early days, we’d print out the research from the databases on something called paper. Continue reading Technology: it means I don't miss…

The newish computer

The Dell laptop that the Wife had purchased a few years back was dying. Even after buying a replacement battery, it wouldn’t operate without being constantly plugged in, and took FOREVER to start if we turned it off, loading several options very slowly, or often not at all. This meant that one could, say, download a picture to the computer, but not upload it to the blog. One could write a document, but could not save it.

Also, keys started falling off. One was the quote key. Continue reading The newish computer

P@SSW0RDz

There’s this story about guy who spent $30 on gasoline yet was charged over $84,000 on his credit card. And there are conflicting stories from the gas station and the credit card company as to whether the gas station was paid; the credit card company says yes, and that they need to return the money; the gas station says no, it wasn’t. It’s unclear how this debacle began. Regardless, this guy is majorly jammed up. His paycheck gets deposited automatically into his bank, but he can’t access the money, because the amount was applied towards the $84,000 he “owes.”

This reminds me why sometimes I feel like putting my money under my mattress. Instead, I have a number of bills automatically withdrawn from my checking account, optimally correctly. It seems to me that when something as much of an outlier as a high five-digit purchase that is not the norm would have generated a call to the cardholder. I have in fact gotten such calls; sometimes, it is a legitimate purchase I made while out of time, but occasionally, it was a fraudulent transaction.

Speaking of fraud, I got no fewer than three notices Friday, the 13th, plus another the next day, from Amazon, Twitter, and Yahoo1, and LinkedIn. The Amazon e-mail is fairly representative:
“At Amazon we take your security and privacy very seriously. As part of our routine monitoring, we discovered a list of email address and password sets posted online. While the list was not Amazon-related, we know that many customers reuse their passwords on several websites. We believe your email address and password set was on that list. So we have taken the precaution of resetting your Amazon.com password. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused but felt that it was necessary to help protect you and your Amazon account.”

What a pain. I have had trouble with keeping track of passwords since forever. At work, I have to change my password every seven weeks. Obviously, I know all the “do nots” of password use. But apparently, some folks in an organization I’m affiliated with do not, because I got this e-mail, coincidentally also last Friday:

“There seems to be some confusion about the reason for password protection on a computer.

“I understand a password to secure the computer from unauthorized use. This would include, for example, unauthorized access to our database. Such access could be t make changes, or gather personal information about our members.

“Thus, writing the password on a piece of paper and displaying it clearly near the keyboard, even if under another piece of paper, would seem to be contrary to the reason for a password.”

Of course, the letter writer is correct. But I have no fewer than two dozen user/password combinations, and I’ve been locked out of databases for excessive tries. So using the same combo or writing the combos down seem, in the moment, to be attractive options. At least until something goes wrong.

O is for Old, Out-of-date, Obsolete?

“Technology is so much fun but we can drown in our technology. The fog of information can drive out knowledge.” – Daniel J. Boorstin, Librarian of Congress (1973-85) on the computerization of libraries, 1983.

One of the things I learned in my first year in library school was that information disappears over time for a number of reasons, but that three are foremost: war, when the other side wins; commerce, when there is not enough of a perceived market for the cost; and technology, when the newer methodology renders a previous iteration obsolete.

I remember seeing pictures of these massive computers back in the 1960s, storing all sorts of seemingly important information. Unless ALL of it got transferred to a later technology, and then the one after that, one must assume that some of that data are lost and irretrievable. How many of you had files on 5 1/4″ floppy discs, or even 3 1/2″ discs, but your current computer has no place for them? Continue reading O is for Old, Out-of-date, Obsolete?

Costello Calls to Buy a Computer from Abbott

Only because I was feeling a bit under the weather Sunday, I had the unusual chance to watch both football and baseball on TV, which always reminds me of the George Carlin bit on the two sports, a version of which you can watch HERE. Here are some baseball blooopers, only some of which are as funny as promised.

There’s a famous comedy routine about baseball by the classic duo of Abbott & Costello called Who’s on First? You can read it here and watch an iteration of it HERE.

My sister sent me this variation on this about computers, the humor of which is lost unless you’re familiar with A&C’s bit. So in honor of the World Series starting today – I’m rooting for the St. Louis Cardinals against the Texas Rangers – and the fact that Major League Baseball did not have a work stoppage this year Continue reading Costello Calls to Buy a Computer from Abbott

Random Post-Funeral Thoughts

TIMING

My father died on a Thursday; we had the funeral on a Sunday, and he was buried on a Monday. My mother died on a Tuesday, and our first inclination was to have the funeral on the following Saturday. But, instead of working on the obituary or the program on that day, we sat around telling Trudy stories. I think, in some way, we died my father’s death the way he would have wanted his death to be handled, quickly and efficiently; it also helped that we knew my father wad going to die at least the day beforehand. Whereas mom’s death took us, and indeeed her long-time doctor, by surprise; her heart was still strong, even after the stroke, and we were having conversations about placing her in some medical facility after she got out of the hospital the very morning she died.

Once Saturday was off the table, we considered Sunday, but it was Super Bowl Sunday, on which my mother’s mother died; I remember getting the call during the 3rd quarter of the game in 1983. Besides, it was just different. My dad was the hare, my mother, the tortoise, and we all know that slow and steady win the race.

So, it was a Tuesday funeral Continue reading Random Post-Funeral Thoughts

Cranky

I see that Arthur is cranky; maybe it’s the summertime blues for him.

I’m cranky too, and it’s not just the cold and snow.

*The shooting of nearly two dozen people, including a Congresswoman, with six deaths, including a guy who shielded his wife from gunfire, and the nine-year-old granddaughter of a former MLB pitcher who was the only girl on her Little League team, made me more than just cranky; I found it emotionally devastating.

What made me extremely cranky, though, is the attempt by that so-called church from Kansas to picket the girl’s funeral today.

Earlier, I was also appaled by the insistence of several news organizations to pronounce the Congresswoman dead, when, in fact, she was not. Somehow, in the throes of the chaotic situation, the need to be first trumped the need to be accurate. It’s an error for which “oops” just doesn’t cut it.

I wrote a little something for our local newspaper’s blog, more as a way for me to cope than anything else. I used the now-infamous graphic targeting members of Congress, including Gabrielle Giffords, but the text, I thought, was rather restrained. In any case, all I needed to do was post and (mostly) get out of the way. Continue reading Cranky