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My Computers
Posted On 02/11/2019 17:06:09

My first foray into what would become my fascination with 'computers' was to get a Brother Word  Processor. It was one piece, with a 'flip up' cover that allowed me to carry it. But it was bulky and not easily carried.
One thing I really liked about word processors is that you could stick in 'stationery/paper' & actually type on stationery, if you wanted.   This is what it looked like:


Next, I found a two-piece word processor--also a Brother. It had a detached 'monitor'.  Like the first one, it had a floppy disk drive.  And I could still 'type' straight onto stationery if needed.  Plus, it had a 'wheel' disk, with each 'font' on a different 'wheel'.  At that time, you had  3 choices: Elite, 'regular' (which I can't remember the true name of!), & Script. Naturally, I really loved the Script font--and used it on all my letters, etc.   Another 'choice' was colors: I could buy different colored 'ribbons' for it--my favorites were green and blue. Other choices: brown and red.  My pen pals were surprised to see green script on the letters I sent them! 


In 1998, my husband and I were asked to be Managers of this mobile home park (96 homes). One of the 'jobs' was for me to keep a 'spreadsheet' of who owed what & how much they paid, etc.--which of course, I had no  idea how to do! They gave me a very simple 'computer' to use. And I do mean simple! I couldn't figure out spreadsheets, so I decided to just 'type' the information. It wasn't easy, but it did work.

Not long after that,  I happened to see a 'computer' at Sears one day. And I decided it was time for me to move up.  So I bought that and gave back the 'simple' computer to the owners.

It was an HP Pavilion (no laptops in those days).  I can't be sure, but I think I remember it had something like 6mb RAM. I've tried Googling it, but haven't come up with any info that would help me with the specs.  At that point, I saw no point in having Internet.  I mainly wanted it for my 'writing'.   I had put my novella onto a floppy disk, but wanted to put it onto a real computer.     Well, surprisingly, I found it fairly easy to figure out how to use that HP on my own--and I was totally in shock about how much more it could do than the 'loaned' one!    I learned how to do a real spreadsheet quickly.   It had Windows 98 on it.  It worked until 2006!
This is it:


My second computer was another HP Pavilion.  It had XP as the operating system.  Here's the info I found on it:



Sadly, it was a 'lemon'.  After a while, it started acting up; it kept coming up with "the blue screen of death", one after another--too many to count, even though I'd written down the 'numbers' of quite a few of them. I've told the story here before--17.5 hrs on the phone with 7 different HP techs (each one said he'd stick with me till it was 'fixed', lol); I finally asked for a replacement. Their reply: not until it had  3 'bench' repairs--but they wouldn't even agree to take it in once!   I finally paid a family friend $250 (special discount--he usually only worked on 'professional, business' machines) to work on it. He replaced Windows &  did 'who knows what' all to it.   I had previously bought an external DVD-RW drive when the one on this quit; but I put that away--for a while. (by the time I needed that again, the drivers were out of date & it couldn't be fixed)

 It worked a few more years, on/off. But in 2009, I decided it would probably totally quit again soon, so I decided to try a laptop. This time, I got a Compaq.  It came with Vista. 3 GB RAM, Dual CPU  2.0GHz. It has a 19 inch screen. Not very good for being 'portable', but a nice picture.    I've complained about it over the years, even though technically it's still working. To be honest, it's main "problems" are:  it only has 3GB RAM...so is very, very slow--and it overheats quickly. Yes, I bought a 'fan' thing to go under it...but that doesn't seem to help. It quickly reaches 125º & has to be turned off.  I still keep this for 'emergencies'. But it's slow as molasses--so it makes you want to tear your hair out trying to use it!  Oh, yes--it came with Vista; but over the years, I've upgraded it until it now has Windows 10. 


In 2012, the desktop was 'toast' and I was tired of messing with the laptop. I looked around & found what I thought--hoped--would be my final computer. It was an ASUS dektop, which had 12GB RAM, i5 processor, 10 USB ports, etc.  My perfect computer!  I planned on just 'upgrading' it when needed.   However, in late 2015, that desktop started having problems.   It would suddenly start/stop on its own. I finally figured out it would 'stay' okay if I left it "on" 24/7.  It apparently was mainly a 'cold start' problem.  But it still kept going 'off' at times.  Then, I did a System Recovery (or?). That worked for a while, then it started acting up again. Well...I started another System Recovery--and it quit  right in the middle of that! So it no longer had Windows on it. And I couldn't figure out how to fix it.   I decided I had to give up on it & look for a new computer.  I took out the hard drive, then gave it away; I found a guy from the nearby Air Force Base who works on computers, via Facebook--I figured he might get it going, eventually.   Needless to say, I was disgusted that it had only lasted a few years! I was afraid it would cost way too much to take it to Office Max/Depot, etc.  (and my 'friend' in the computer business wasn't around any longer)


Well, I now think I made a mistake. Instead of buying a new computer, I should have taken that money & tried getting the desktop fixed!  But...hindsight, as they say. What I did do was buy an ASUS laptop. It had Windows 10, 6GB RAM, an i7 processor, & 2.4 GHz.   Sadly, within a few months, the WiFi went out; they offered to fix it under warranty--but I didn't want to send it off and not have it for a week (or more). So,I just hooked up my Ethernet plug & have been using it that way, since it never leaves my desk anyway.    That wasn't really a problem. However, last year I noticed the DVD drive suddenly stopped working; it wouldn't even 'read'/play DVD's much less 'write' them.  It still plays CD's; however, I somehow doubt it would record them (I don't have any blank ones to 'try' & don't see the point in spending the money on buying any at this point).    So I bought an inexpensive external DVD-RW drive. But guess what??  It doesn't work on this laptop! However, it does work--or did--on the old Compaq laptop!  So...it's apparently an 'inboard' problem with this Asus. Sigh.  Luckily, I don't really need a dvd writer; I can save things to my big external drive or to flash drives. 


By the way--I said "or did" because just this past week, my old Compaq has started acting up. Now, almost every time I turn it on, it says it's encountered a problem and needs to restart. Sigh. So...it may be headed for the scrap heap shortly!     Needless to say...this is not a good time to even think about a new computer!  So...until this one totally quits...it'll have to do.   And then...I just might try to get by using the iPad that a friend gave me last year, in place of a computer. That's NOT my idea of 'fun'...but...we'll see.

My Current Pet PeevePS
Posted On 07/04/2018 19:22:51

Do you ever get a 'song' stuck in your brain?  That's called an Earworm. 

I guess I've always had this problem; but what's really annoying is that now, it seems to be 'jingles' from tv commercials.  NOT ones I 'like', mind you. And what's even more annoying is that I don't know more than a piece of it.  Imagine trying to sing a song and you don't know more than a few words! 

Right now, it's Mambo Italiano; and I don't even remember what the commercial was! 

I've seen that commercial twice today: it's for Cici's Italian Restaurant.

Which way?
Posted On 05/04/2018 11:45:08

I'm sure you've all heard the argument over 'which' way the toilet paper should go on the holder. Well, I think Charmin has answered the question of "over or under": I recently noticed they are now printing the name Charmin on the roll--and in order  for it to be 'upright', the roll must be placed so that the paper is reached 'over'.   My husband hasn't noticed this yet  .  

Obsolete? --PS
Posted On 03/12/2018 19:36:18

We get 'used' to our computers becoming obsolete. But I had no idea that just upgrading to a newer version of the same 'print shop' program would make so many of my 'projects' obsolete.  My previous program was Print Shop Deluxe, version 22; my current one is Print Shop 3.5 Deluxe. I know--that doesn't make much sense. However, it's just the way Broderbund 'labels' things.

Going through some DVDs I have here, I found a couple of dvds I made in 2007.  Actually, I was surprised they weren't made much earlier than that, because the disks are HP Lightscribe--and I even used Lightscribe to put 'pictures'/labels on them. At closer look, I did put '2006' on the disk, originally; I guess it was the next year that I added some things to it and used a 'marker' to add that date.    I was frustrated that I coudn't open many of the items on there: the ones with '.sig' an '.lbl' as signifying what they were.   I have made everything from address labels to 'poster' style photo montages in that print shop program.

However, I was lucky.  I realized that I still have Print Shop 22 on my old laptop, even though I had upgraded it to Windows 10.   It surprised me cause I had thought maybe it was Win 10 causing the problem.  Anyway, today I turned on the old laptop, and let it 'update' and then I put one of the disks into the drive. It worked! And it actually let me open those files with Print Shop 22.  So...I did a few screenshots of family photos, just to be sure I've "got" them.

However, I wasn't able to save the files in a different form. So, apparently, the only way I can view them is to use that laptop. On the other hand---I wonder if I could put Print Shop 22 back on my good laptop? If so, then maybe I could access the files on here.  But...I don't want to lose my 'best' print shop program--so do I want to try it or not?   That's the question. (And yes:  this has a pic of the computer I had when I first made this disk!)


PS--since it's mainly letters that are 'irreplaceable', from my Print Shop projects--I decided to do screenshots of them to save. That way, if I end up 'upgrading' again, I'll still have the letters I made using my current Print Shop version.  I can always make new labels & greeting cards.   Like most of us, I don't write many snail mail letters nowadays, so I'd rather have a way to 'save' them like I do email.

V -- VCR
Posted On 03/09/2018 11:53:27

VCR--  A device which records/plays video cassette tapes.

We used our VCRs frequently.  I put two movies on each tape--and by taking out commercials, I could get up to 6 tv shows on one tape.   

I taped/saved all my favorite tv series--and yes, I re-watched them later. I had all of Star Trek: Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space 9, Star Trek: Voyager as well as all of Babylon 5 & many episodes of Dr. Who--and probably others that I don't remember right now. 

Then, I saved 'special' episodes of other tv series: all of the Christmas episodes of Highway to Heaven, favorite episodes of Quantum Leap, Designing Women (only 1), Sabrina, Ghost Whisperer, Medium, Home Improvement (1 or 2), and even one Reba episode I thought was particularly funny--and probably a number of others I don't remember.

When VCR was on it's way out, I started going through all my tapes--I had one large shelf unit full of tapes by that time, probably 200+ videotapes.  I copied my favorite movies from vcr to dvd. Then I started going through my 'saved' tv series.   Obviously, I didn't keep all that I had on tape.  But, I still ended up with quite a few dvd's.  Actually, that's how I 'remembered' the names of some that I had saved on tape: because I now have them on dvd.

As new 'favorite' tv shows came on, I still saved favorite episodes--and a few series as well. I now have at least the last 4 Doctors (Dr. Who), a number of Chuck episodes, many Warehouse13 shows, most of Stargate: SG1 & Stargate: Atlantis, etc. 

Yes: I'm a couch potato!   And now that I have DVR, I've 'learned' sometimes it's best to dvr the show & watch it later when I can fast forward through the commercials! That's especially nice when you're watching a 'drama'. 

And yes--I've frequently gone back & re-watched a series from start to finish, especially during 'dry' times when most series are in hiatus.  But the last couple of years, I've gotten a lot more 'selective' in what I 'save' in either dvr or dvd.  Right now I have the Directv drv about 40% full--I'm still getting around to watching some Christmas movie, which I delete as soon as I've watched them.  Right now,  I don't have many things on my 'personal' dvr--which I had before we got the Directv dvr; I've been using it as a 'buffer', before I decide what, if any, of the new shows to save onto dvd. But since it actually holds more than the Directv dvr, I am keeping a few good movies on it, rather than moving them to dvd.  I may or may not change that later.  

You may think I've wandered off topic; but, you see, my 'saving' movies and tv shows started with the VCR. And I admit: I was very upset when I heard that vcrs were on their way 'out'.   Now, I've gotten used to the dvd--and at this stage, I sure hope the industry doesn't dump that.  I doubt I could handle 'upgrading' to anything else at this point!     

U -- Unusual
Posted On 02/09/2018 18:27:12

Well, it's been hard to find a "U" item for my blog. But...here's an 'unusual' one:   

U--Unusual.   I think I'm unusual. Maybe not. But, here's why I think so.   I refuse to "act my age". I 'feel' young, so why not act it?  I've always believed if you keep your brain active, you'll be fine. So, I try to do that with my different hobbies. I like to keep learning. That's another key to 'staying young'.

As most of you know, one of my favorite hobbies is playing with graphics & using my graphics to design my pages here at NOTH.  If you've checked out my Group, Playing With Graphics, you'll see some of my 'efforts'.  I'm always looking for new ways to spice up plain graphics.

Another way I feel I'm unusual: I'm a 'homebody'. I'm quite happy spending the day playing around on the computer, either reading, writing, or making graphics.  I don't need to be constantly "on the go". I think that's why 'going out' is more special to me.  I'm very happy to go out to eat, or walk around the mall--occasionally.   I know people who simply can't stand "staying home" all day.  That's not me. 

And I'm happy with my 'own company'.  I don't need to be around a lot of people all the time. Yes, I do enjoy doing things with friends and just visiting with friends.  But I don't need that daily. My husband is a very outgoing person; he likes going to a friend's house to watch ballgames on Sunday; so, I enjoy having Sunday afternoons to myself. I can do whatever I want: catch up on chores, or just sit down and read.  He also likes sitting outside whenever the weather allows--and chatting with all the different neighbors who pass by.  I prefer being 'inside', where it's 'cozy', lol. If a neighbor wants to stop by and visit me, they are welcome to come inside. 

Well, naturally, in 'good weather' (not too hot or too cold) I will also sit ouside and visit.  However, I get bored just sitting and "watching traffic" (as I often say to him). I 'usually' end up coming inside after a while--unless we've got company.  So, you might say I'm an introvert (I plead guilty)--or unsociable (not!). It's just that I can usually find something to do on my own, if no one is around.   So...am I unusual?  Who knows?  (or cares, lol)         

Christmas with Family
Posted On 12/08/2017 12:45:45

With our daughter & her family living 200 miles away and our son having 'alternate' weekends & holidays with his kids, we usually plan a 'family day' on a weekend before--or after--Christmas.  Last year, our daughter, her husband, and 'adult' son came in for the entire weekend; so we had plenty of time to prepare a big meal.  My daughter brought turkey and an extra crockpot; we had a 'white' turkey breast in one crockpot and 'dark turkey' meat in the other crockpot.  So everyone  got what they liked! Sadly, our son had to work that day, but he got off early & was here by 2pm, I believe.  

This year, it looks like they may only be here one day; so I think we're going to have a different family favorite: spaghetti with homemade sauce and garlic bread. My husband told me: make a double batch!  Needless to say...he just loves this homemade spaghetti sauce!  That's one thing he loves eating 'leftover'.

As for gifts...well, with two grandsons over the age of 21--and both of them 'out on their own', we just give them cash, which they can always use.  Emma, the only granddaughter, is 10 yrs old now; I am  going to take her shopping this weekend for some clothes.  And since Mike has her this weekend, he'll have her the weekend before Christmas as well--so that means we'll have our 'family Christmas' that weekend.   

Nothing is definite yet--but it looks like it'll be at least 7 of us here for 'dinner'; and maybe 9 with grandson Clay and his girlfriend who we hope will be here.  It should be a  fantastic day!   

R - Recipes
Posted On 11/27/2017 15:23:26

Recipes.  I started collecting recipes many years ago--in the 1970's, I think.  Now, I've never been a "great cook". But I did enjoy baking.  Most of those recipes I collected were for desserts, my favorite thing to cook! I hand-wrote them and put them in a box. Now, this was long before I had a computer, of course.

Back then, the big thing was 'punch' cakes. You baked a vanilla cake in a 'sheet pan', 9 x13 inches. Then, you punched holes in the top, usually with a fork. Then you poured in a mixture of 7-Up, jello, and/or pudding.   Then you would 'top' it with a mixture of jello & whipped cream.  I collected a large number of those recipes, with different ingredients and cake flavors.   

But of course, I also clipped and saved many other recipes from our local newspaper.  However, I didn't actually 'use' many of those, since my husband is your typical "meat & potatoes" kind of guy--and not at all interested in 'experimenting' with different food! The cakes and cookies were about the only things I did make from those recipes.

Many years later, I  sifted through those and saved only the ones I 'thought' I might use; later, I used my printer to scan those into the computer. And by then, I was saving recipes from online.  I now have several large Folders titled Recipes! I even put many of those onto CD's/dvd's.

I have my favorite folder, of course: with Grandma's Chicken Casserole recipe, the family 'special' spaghetti sauce made from scratch, the three or four cookie recipes I use, and my favorite cake recipes, which include The Milky Way Cake. Those are pretty much the only recipes I use lately.

  But...yes, I still catch myself saving online recipes--just in case.

P: Pets, Pecans, & Persimmon Pudding
Posted On 10/18/2017 19:39:04


PETS: I’m sure most of you know I had ‘announced’ we wouldn’t be getting any more pets, when we lost both Sammi and Max in May; they were 19.5 and 15 yr old cats. Well, my husband has been ‘helping’ a friend who recently bought a farm. Every night after he’d been there, he’d asked if I wanted a kitten--there were friendly feral cats on the property and the new owner’s wife doesn’t like cats & wanted them ‘gone’. They were very friendly, even though they were living in the barn. No; I didn’t want to start over with a kitten, even if I had even thought about getting another cat. So that wasn’t too hard.

But then my daughter ‘shared’ photos from their local Humane Society. There were so many cute kittens and cats! There was a sandy kitten that grabbed my heart instantly; however, I reminded myself we definitely didn’t want to start over with a kitten. But naturally, that got me to thinking about cats again. So I checked out our local Humane Society’s Facebook page & found several older cats. One looked really adorable: yes, it was Missy (Samantha at that time). I decided it wouldn’t hurt just to go look, so we headed to the Humane Society. Terry instantly gravitated toward Missy. There was one more cat that was a ‘possible’; so we played with both of them--and decided on Missy/Samantha. We’ve now had her about a month, and she’s doing great! So I’m really glad we decided to at least ‘look’. 

Pecans: We both like pecans, but Terry is wild about them! The same neighbor with the farm has a number of pecan trees on his land. Well, Terry was thrilled to be asked to ‘help’ pick up pecans once they were ripe. He’s brought home 2 large bags so far!

The funny part is that my late father-in-law had a couple of pecan trees in his yard; he also gave us some pecans each year. He always said, “Now Dianne can bake something with pecans”. The reason it’s funny is that I never did get any to bake with; Terry would eat them up! To be honest, there weren’t many--probably about a quart, at most. And I would never have thought about actually making a pecan pie. 

Now, however, I’m going to try to set aside at least a dozen to use in cooking. I recently discovered that I really love pecan pancakes (I get them at Denny’s). So I’d like to try making some here at home--if I can ‘steal’ some! 

Persimmon Pudding: Grandma used to make persimmon pudding when I was little. I always said I really loved it! I even did research over the years to see if I could find a good recipe for it. I never did ‘find’ persimmons to buy, so I never did even try to make it. However, I think I’ve about come to the conclusion it was really the ‘sauce’ that I loved! I guess if I ever saw persimmon pudding when I was out somewhere, I’d probably try it; but I somehow doubt I’ll ever get around to making it myself.       

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