I bought my first media streaming device — the Roku HD Streaming Player, aka Roku 1 in January 2013. It was easy to set up and worked perfectly. Never hiccupped. Always connected to the WiFi and never faltered. I liked it so much, I bought another one for the bedroom a couple of months later. I wrote about it in “Roku – The Little Streaming WiFi Unit That Can” on December 18, 2013. By which time I’d had it for almost a year.

The only problem was the remote. It is line-of-sight. This technology works best in an uncluttered home with fewer dogs. So the remote worked, but it was like target shooting from a long distance with an inaccurate weapon.

FTVstickThis doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it’s the sort of thing that gets on your nerves over time. I replaced the living room remote with an upgraded version. A nominal improvement.

When Amazon came out with their bargain basement Amazon Fire Stick, I said “Oh, what the hell. Maybe the remote will work better,” and it did. Unfortunately, the stick didn’t. In fact, the stick hardly worked at all. As one reviewer succinctly put it, “You deserve better. Don’t do it.” He was right.

I had read the reviews, but I didn’t read all of them. I missed the ones that said the stick would lose the WiFi and sometimes, would never get it back.

From the beginning, it either couldn’t find our WiFi, or couldn’t hang on to the signal.  Even when it was connected, it was like watching a series of stills with sound. Like one of the strip films we watched in elementary school … a slide show with sound. I am told it’s an antenna problem, but whatever the reason, it stunk.

Roku 1

Last week, I gave up and bought the Roku 3 with the “point anywhere” remote. Which also, I’m told, responds to voice commands. We installed it today and it works. No stuttering, no faltering, no loading problems. Smooth as silk and you can point the remote at your own forehead and it will still work.

So, here’s the cost breakdown.

Roku 3 cost $49.00. Plus $4.20 for an HDMI cable. We got two years of service out of it, so it doesn’t owe us anything. And it still works, just not on this television.

The Amazon Fire Stick was a bust. It cost $39.00, was unsatisfactory for all 90 days of its service. The new, improved, wonderful Roku 3 Streaming Media Player (4230R) with Voice Search (2015 model) cost $96.04 (and if I’d waited a few days, would have cost $20 less), but really when you include the cost of the Fire Stick, it’s more like $140.

It reminds me of how I always used to buy the cheaper, less comfortable shoes. Eventually, when I couldn’t walk in the shoes I had bought, I ended up buying the more expensive ones, too.

roku 3

In total, I spent more than $200 on a streaming devices. If I had bought the Roku 3 in the first place, I would have spent half that.

The motto of the story is worth remembering. You aren’t saving money by buying shoes that you can’t wear. If your feet hurt, the movie won’t load, the remote control drives you bonkers? You haven’t saved money if you will have to buy it again.

It’s not cheap if it doesn’t do the job.


This is from the script’s originator and contains everything for all the browsers that will work with the fix, for PC and Mac.

The Penguin has done a bang-up job. He explains everything clearly and anyone can follow the directions, even those of us who are somewhat technically challenged.

Click on this link, then follow the directions for whichever browser you use.

tPenguin has included workarounds for Safari (native to Mac) and Internet Explorer (native to PC), as well as all versions of Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.


If you are still battling to keep blogging despite the incomprehensible determination of WordPress to make it impossible, you need to use whichever of these scripts will fix your problem so you never need face “BEEP BEEP BOOP” again.

And ever would be far too soon for me.


May the Force be with you. And thank you again, Penguin. You have saved us from the WordPress soul and blog destroyer. We will be forever in your debt.


A few years ago when tablets were the next big thing, there were articles everywhere explaining why tablets would replace everything else. All the techno-pundits said no one would need a computer because everything would be done on a small, portable device.

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It didn’t happen. Everyone bought a tablet, but no one threw out their computer.

I don’t have anything against portable devices. I have a smart phone. Sometimes, I even use it. I have two tablets and had as many as four until I gave two away.

tablets kindle iPad

I have a terrific 14-inch laptop and a desktop with a big monitor. I rarely use the desktop, but I keep it because you never know. The big desktop monitor is actually a touch screen. It used to reconfigure itself when a fly or a mosquito walked across it. I turned the touch functionality off and use a mouse. If I hadn’t been able to get rid of the touch technology, I would have been forced to defenestrate it.

Warning: You cannot edit a photograph — or really, anything — using a touchscreen.

my office and desktop computer

I’m sure those who extol mini devices as a total computer solution have never designed a book, made a movie, edited a photograph, used Photoshop (or any Adobe product), converted a book to a PDF or edited a manuscript. I know this because it’s impossible. All other problems aside, little devices are too small. You can’t edit a big thing on an itty-bitty screen.

This is not my opinion. It’s a fact. Operating system is irrelevant. Mac, PC, Android or Linux, size matters. You can argue this until you’re blue in the face. It won’t change anything.


I read an article that explained how you can type just fine on a virtual keyboard. No, you can’t.


If I’ve got room in my house for every kind of device, surely there’s ample room in our world for everything. Personally, I like choice. I like using different devices for different tasks. You can’t replace everything with one thing  and there’s no reason you should.

An office

One size never fits all. Diversity makes life interesting. Let’s celebrate our differences. We don’t have to go to the same church, read the same books, believe the same stuff … or use the same computer

If everybody would quit trying to force their opinions on others, life would be better. For everyone. So live. Enjoy. Let everyone else do the same.


Marilyn Armstrong:

If you are struggling with the horrible new interface WordPress is forcing on you, here’s a workaround. This is a reblog. Actually, it’s a reblog of my original reblog published in March, but apparently many people missed it.

Share it with your beleaguered WordPress friends!

Update: I heard from the script author and this is what he says:

Hi Marilyn, I’m the author of that script that you use. I’m glad you’re finding the script useful, and thanks also goes to Dennis for spreading the word.

I noticed you said in a forum post that “This redirect does NOT work on Mac, sorry”. Could you please elaborate on that? It might be more difficult to get working on Safari, but it works just fine if you use Firefox or Chrome, both of which are available for Mac.

Originally posted on Diary of Dennis:

classic editor wordpress

The Solution To Use The Classic Editor

If you are blogger at, this post here will help you to solve a big problem. As you have noticed, the decision makers at WordPress want to force you to use the recent new editor interface that is purely designed for mobile devices and for users who only create short-form content. This is of course a pain if you are desktop user and if you like to create long-form content as well. In this post you will learn how to get back to the classic editor permanently.

In the new editor form, we had a link back to the classic editor but that link is now gone too. WordPress does not have the intention to give us the link back as you can read here in the forums. If you go through this huge forum thread, you will find out…

View original 717 more words


Four hours after I finished installing Windows 10, I restored Windows 7 Professional. Why, you ask? How fair an assessment of the operating system could I make in only four hours?


Well, for a start, the boot time on Windows 10 is a return to the bad old days. Remember when you could turn on the computer, make dinner, eat dinner, wash the dishes… and when you got back, maybe your system would be ready to go? It’s that bad.

I’m not talking about a little bit slower. I mean a solid five-minute plus boot time.


There are lots of bells and whistles on Windows 10. I deleted as many of them as I could, but I couldn’t get rid of nearly enough. This is supposed to be a professional system, yet its loaded down with music, movies, TV, games, more games, travel sites. Everything is entertainment-oriented. Nothing useful for work. Nothing.

We all use our systems differently, but there’s a reason I have had the professional versions of Windows.

Microsoft still hasn’t recovered from their belief that every computer should contain a party that never ends. Assuming a party is what I want, I’m entirely capable of finding it. I hate bloatware and Windows 10 it full of it.

The one thing in the package of ‘goodies’ I liked was the Solitaire Pack. I miss solitaire, but I can live without it. All the other crap? The addition of Xbox does not compensate for the loss of “preview” in the right-click pictures context menu. I don’t need special tiles for television, movie, news, maps, weather and the Microsoft store. I can easily make my own links to those sites in whatever browser I use.

Maybe all this crap is why the system is so abominably slow to boot?

As usual, they’ve scrambled the menus. Typical of software designers, if they can’t make something better, they can at least make stuff you need hard to find. I had to go hunting for the power controls (Restart, Shut Down, Hibernate, Sleep, etc.) and the Control Panel. They moved the Startup controller to the Task Manager which was merely annoying. What was wrong with where it had been for the past 20 years?

The Windows 10 audio controls are even less intuitive than they are in Windows 7. Some of them are — far as I can tell — missing. Maybe they’ve moved them elsewhere too.

Good things? Yes, a few. It’s a huge improvement over Windows 8. If I had Win 8 on my computer, I’d be thrilled with Windows 10.

My Adobe applications open and load faster in Windows 10, and the WiFi connection seems more stable. The task bar icons are nice and streamlined. I don’t know that they’re better, but they are different.

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Windows 10

I started installing Windows 10 at 10:30 am. I finished at 3:10 pm. Just short of five hours including errors, restarts, and many reboots. Although 99 % of the installation is automatic, the other 1% is critical. Had I not been there, the installation would have crashed and burned, likely leaving me without a working operating system.

It took just 15 minutes to restore Windows 7 Professional. No one can say I didn’t give it a try.


Windows 7 Professional

The deal-breaker was the extremely slow boot time. It was this slow with an empty startup file and after deleting as much bloatware as I could. If they had less junk on the system, it would probably move faster. It couldn’t move much slower.

I am pretty sure it would have run well enough after booting, but I do not like the hybrid “Start Menu.” It has pieces of the classic Start Menu, plus those hateful tiles they couldn’t give away in Windows 8. What makes Microsoft think something I hated in Windows 8 would be more lovable in Windows 10?

Although the version of Windows 10 I installed was officially the professional version, my best guess is that it’s identical to the “Home” edition.


Will I try it again? Not soon. Maybe if they assure me they’ve dealt with the problems by first acknowledging there are problems. I’m sure there’s an up side to Windows 10 (especially if you are coming from Windows 8), but for me, it doesn’t outweigh the bloatware and slow boot time.


I won’t be dropping by to read your posts today and for this, I apologize. But I’ve got a great excuse.

It is the first day of November and autumn is fading into winter. Taking courage in hand … setting aside a whole bundle of concerns about how this upgrade would affect this computer … I upgraded my laptop for which I still owe a ton of money … to Windows 10.


To say this wasn’t an action taken lightly would be a massive understatement. I waited until I could get testimony from people I know and trust that they had done it. That their computers were still working weeks or months after installation. That they hadn’t lost their applications or data. And most of all, that they were pleased with how it worked compared to Windows 7.

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It turned out to be as scary as I expected. It errored out during the download. Eventually, I deduced the problem was I had to set “Windows Updates” to allow automatic installation. I changed the setting, after which the download picked up where it had left off.

A bigger scare occurred during the actual install. It stopped, announced a fatal error because it had encountered my video board. This was one of the things I was most afraid would happen. I have some highly specialized hardware and associated software in this machine. But, surprise! It rebooted, apparently found whatever it needed, then continued.

72-Alien Computer_04

All of this took considerable time, but I knew this was going to be a lost day anyhow.

Finally, when it had downloaded and completed it’s “preparation,” it got lost, couldn’t find the computer’s identifier. I think it was actually having trouble connecting with the router.

Finding the connection has — especially recently — been a frequent problem. Charter Communication’s WiFi is unstable. Not to mention the company is doing a lot of work on the poles and wires all along our road, from here into Rhode Island.

Then, after it rebooted a couple of times, but couldn’t get itself organized, I turned it off and rebooted it cold. After that, it found the WiFi and successfully identified the machine.

So far as I can tell — about 10 minutes after completing the installation — it looks okay. All my applications seem to be where they ought to be, though I have not checked to see if they are actually working.

I started this installation this morning at around 10:30. It finished at 3 in the afternoon. Four and a half hours. I had to be here to monitor it and make sure I didn’t need to answer a question — there were four or five questions to be answered along the way. It’s almost entirely automatic … but not quite.

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Questions pop up and if there are any problems — as there were with mine — you need to be there to tell the computer to try again, to reboot, or whatever. Otherwise, I think you might wind up with some serious problems of incomplete or corrupted installation of the operating system.


How is it going to work? I don’t really know yet. Will I like it? I guess I’ll find out. Am I glad I did it? I don’t know that yet either. I’m glad I’m done sitting here and monitoring the process. Talk about watching paint dry.

You will please forgive me if I don’t go and read everyone’s blogs today. It’s late, I’m tired. Tomorrow is another day. I’ve got my fingers crossed that when I got to turn this machine on tomorrow, it is still alive and kicking!


We aren’t big on phones around here. We have a VOIP “landline” and a cell phone which I usually forget to turn on. But computers? We got them. And cameras. Lots of cameras.


Kindle and iPad

plugs roku and headphones


alienware side view computer


Most real communication is done via email. Electronic, non-voice. Oh, and Garry has a special caption phone, but since he hates telephones on principle, it doesn’t get much use.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Phones and Computers