Category Archives: Computers

Ello

“Michelle Sperupabter is now following you on Ello!” the email said.

My first reaction, of course, was astonishment. Ello is still in existence? You’re kidding!

My second reaction, of course, was bewilderment. I have an Ello account? When was I drunk enough to do that?

My third reaction, of course, was to ignore it.

Then I got another notice that someone else was following me on Ello. Then another. And another. And today, another.

I know what my first guess is, but let’s test the theory. One by one, click on the links.

“This doesn’t happen often, but it looks like something is broken…”

And again. And again. And again.

As I suspected.

So the only clue I have are the emails with those little tiny icons of my new-found followers and admirers. You can’t see much, they’re small, but…

Those young ladies are going to catch pneumonia wearing that little. That one is obviously a gymnast…

As I suspected.

Congratulations, Ello, you’re now a real social media site! You’ve been invaded by pornbots!

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Filed under Computers, Paul

Time To Invest In A UPS

Some days…

After I got home tonight I came into my office to do a “five minute job” (before going back to watch the ballgame while playing the most boring video game in the universe). Five hours later…

Seems there was a four or five minute long blackout this afternoon. Probably has something to do with the 108° temperatures again today.

Whatever the cause, my computer system did not enjoy it. Started running repairs, scans, diagnostics. Finally got to the point where the Dell software reallly, REALLY wanted to update the BIOS and firmware.

Having a recent backup set will embolden one, I guess. However, I have to wonder if the dozen or more little fits, starts, boots, reboots, almost-there-nope-not-quite-let’s-start-over-again reboots were part of the process or just a way to make me insane.

A decent UPS (not the shipping company, an Uninterrupted Power System) can’t cost THAT much, can it?

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Filed under Castle Willett, Computers

The Most Boring Video Game In The Universe

There are projects and deadlines afoot. One of the larger ones involves my CAF gig as Finance Officer for the Southern California Wing and a conversion of our accounting records from Quicken to QuickBooks Online (QBO).

The nicest thing I have to say about QBO is that is probably is no longer in the top three worst programs I’ve ever used in my life. It easily was when I first looked at it about two years ago. Now, it’s probably just in the top ten worst programs I’ve ever used. When you’re stuck with the hand I’ve been handed on this one, you look for “good” wherever you can find it.

As an example of the difficulties involved, consider that  when our old file was converted to their new format and uploaded two years ago, there were thousands of “recurring transactions” created, every single one of which was wrong. Flat out wrong. Garbage. Useless.

Worse than useless in fact, since the “recurring transactions” function is one which I’ll need to rely on heavily. But I can’t use it because of all of the garbage that’s already in there. So I went in to delete the old stuff, the garbage.

3,153 useless, problem, garbage entries.

Where’s the delete button?

Well, I finally found it. On each item listed (slowly, because QBO has to refresh the screen via its Internet connection after every change, so you had damn well better have a good one) there’s a tiny icon that will let you edit, duplicate, or delete that entry. Hit “delete.” Now, of course, you’re asked to confirm that you want to delete the entry. Hit “yes.” Wait for the screen to refresh. Repeat.

Cool – so how do I delete all of them? (If you see this coming, don’t spoil it for those who haven’t been exposed to QBO yet.)

I searched and searched for something that would let me block a whole bunch of entries and once and delete them en masse. Can I do a “page” of 50 or 150 or 300 at a time? Nope. Can I go down the list and highlight or tag a whole bunch of them one at a time and then delete them, like I would spam emails? Nope.

So I went to the “help” function, which actually isn’t really any help from QBO at all, but a portal into a user community. The people who wrote the program don’t seem to be able to take the time to answer questions, but I can throw myself on the mercy of those who also have to use it and pray for guidance.

Guidance was swift and brutal. There is no way to delete those 3,153 entries other than to do it One. Entry. At. A. Time.

Click the icon, click “delete,” click “yes,” wait for the screen to refresh, repeat until the heat death of the universe.

Mind you, this needs to be done in addition to the thousands of records of data that need to be entered and reconciled and verified from the old program file. This is just one tiny little aspect of the bigger problem.

The only good news is that this particular useless task can be done on my iPad. That means that if I need to take a break and sit and watch a ballgame or just plotz for an hour or so, I can mindlessly work through another few hundred entries. At lunch time, every single day this month so far, you’ll see me sitting out on the plaza, stuffing my face with one hand and Icon-Delete-Yes-Waiting with the other.

It was while doing this today that someone saw me and came over to chat. “I see you here every day on that thing. What are you playing?”

Yes, yes, please tell me, you look so engrossed! Minecraft? Some new MMORPG? Pokemon Go? How can I get in on some of this?

“The most boring video game in the universe.”

“So…why are you playing it?”

Nothing gets past some folks.

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Filed under CAF, Computers

Who’s The Idiot Who…

Somewhere there’s a Microsoft designer from way, WAY back in the Windows 2 days that’s getting a chuckle and a warm tingly feeling every time someone accidentally closes a web browser with fifty tabs open instead of minimizing it.

Who’s the idiot that put the “hang-on-a-second-I’ve-got-to-do-something-else” button right next to the “die!-die!-die!-go-away-and-don’t-save-any-of-these-dozens-and-dozens-of-tabs” button?

But that’s not bad enough.

I swear, when you hit that “X” icon with more than two or three tabs open, there’s a longer and longer pause before the window closes the more tabs are open and the more critical the tabs are. Not that you can stop the process, mind you! Not that your bellowed cry of “oh, shit, noooooooo!” will result in a less disastrous outcome. But the more critical the failure, the more time you have to realize what you’ve done and be completely unable to correct the problem.

That’s some nasty karma building up for someone there, let me tell you.

Pardon me, I have to go hunting for a hundred or so tabs…

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Filed under Computers

How Steven King Novels Start

It’s just a tiny little gap in the database. Yeah, that’s it! Nothing to worry about. I’ll just go that way and see where it goes, because that’s where the GPS is telling me to go. No worries.

But if I’m never heard from again…

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Filed under Computers, Death Of Common Sense

No Context For You – March 28th

Not fuzzy and out of focus, but I have no clue how this got taken today.


That’s my desk and my keyboard and my CAF SoCal spotter mugs full of paper clips and binder clips (if you like them, I know where you can get one), but I didn’t know I was taking any pictures.

And I need to clean my keyboard.

Okay, so I guess that was context. Sorry, my bad!

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Filed under Computers, Photography

Home Alone

We’ve lived in this house for over twenty-six years. There have always been kids, wives (not multiple ones at the same time, smartass!), dogs, cats, etc.

Tonight I’m home alone for what I think is only the third or fourth day in that entire span. It’s a little odd.

For one thing it’s quiet. Like, really quiet. While I’ve been watching the World Baseball Classic on television (let’s hear it for the USA!!) I’ve found it easier to watch with the sound off. Fewer annoying ads that way, and no need to keep turning the sound off and on as the ads come and go.

Then the noises started.

Okay, so I’m not entirely alone. It sounds like Rocky and/or Raquel and the brood are up on the roof. I’m used to that, although it’s surprisingly loud when I’m not hearing it over music or the television.

Once they left, I started hearing a chirping every minute or so. Today, of all days, a smoke alarm started getting low on its battery.

Once I killed that, I was startled by some fairly loud gurgling and watery sounds. I honestly didn’t know what it was and was starting to fear the worst when I got up to investigate. It turns out my short-term memory also sucks – the sounds came from the dish washer I had started a while ago.

(Which is also weird. I’m proud of my “dish washer Tetris” skills but had to start it when it was less than half full. With just me and my visiting son here for a few days, we used paper plates but ran out of silverware. I thought it better to run a half-empty dishwasher rather than going out and buying more silverware.)

Then the music started. I was in the living room but I could hear music from my office. I came in here to find some great tunes playing from my usual Sirius-XM station. The only thing is that there’s apparently no browser open, and it’s not playing a recording from an earlier broadcast, so I have no clue why it started suddenly or how it’s playing.

At least my poltergeists share my taste in music! (Or they can’t change the channel.)

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Filed under Castle Willett, Computers, Critters, Family, Music