MACBOOK AIR IS ALMOST – Marilyn Armstrong

I hate setting up new computers. Regardless of what benefit I hope to get from it, the process is boring, annoying, and full of “What do you MEAN that’s not my email address? Of course it is. ”

Then, there are updates. You think only PCs have updates? Have you gotten a new Mac recently? Not only do they have updates, but they take a really long time to install.

Just like PC updates, the machine gets increasingly funky until you give in and do the updates. After which it purrs nicely.

Without getting too nerdy about it, the browser — Safari  — is primitive compared to Chrome. It’s annoying and slow.

Spring from the kitchen

Essentially, the Macbook Air 13 is a stripped down computer. It’s very light and has great batteries. It is so portable, I think the cover on my PC is heavier. It won’t get viruses. Well, really, Macs do get viruses (shh). Also, these lightweight portables do not have quality video cards or room to put one in. If that’s what you want, this is the wrong computer.

The Macbook Air also comes with a 512 GB SSD hard drive which is the top end of their hard drive scale. Kind of small.  Any graphics work will have to live on an external hard drive. Not my first choice, but manageable. Mainly, I hope it won’t crash and burn if I use Photoshop Elements with Topaz filters. That would upset me.

Forsythia

If you need to do serious graphic work on a Mac, you should get a desktop. A big one with a graphics card that understands hard work and how to do it. The irony is that Macs were designed for graphics work and are the primary choice for editing in television studios. The laptops are not the same machines.

The Air should be fine for writing and editing and light processing. After I download Apache OpenOffice, of course. It is a sweet machine for people who have a limited needs for graphics and want something that won’t wrench their shoulder out of its socket. Which my laptop does.

With each year I survive, my ability to haul heavy loads gets more limited.

Maple leaf buds

Now. About Safari.

Seriously? That’s the best Mac can do? I’m disappointed. But to be fair, it was designed to work very well on Mac’s laptops, use very little of the battery power — and keep the temperature down. Unlike Microsoft Edge, it does work. Not as well as Chrome, but it is a functional browser.

I have a hot date with the installation folks at Apple tomorrow. I hope for better answers and in particular, an optimistic response to the graphics manager I can use.

ODE TO FOUR SEASONS – BY ELLIN CURLEY

Winter generally sucks in New England. But for me, there is also a bright side.

I love wearing my favorite winter sweaters. I love boots and I feel very fashionable when I can wear high boots over my jeans. Another thing I look forward to in winter is coats and scarves. I have a terrific wardrobe of colorful, textured scarves, many purchased at craft shows over the years.

So I’ve established that I like the variety of clothes that seasons provide. I would get sick of wearing the same clothes all year. If I lived in Florida or California, in order to get variety, I’d probably spend a fortune each year buying clothes. Now I spend very little on clothes because the four seasons (really three – winter summer and in between) give me ample variety in my wardrobe.

Another reason I don’t mind winter – once I’ve put on my beautiful outerwear,it’s not all that cold outside. People talk about the horrors of winter as if you had to go outside everyday wearing nothing more than your pajamas!

Snow is wonderful if you’re dressed to play in it and enjoy its beauty.

I have to confess that I’m not a heat lover or a sun worshipper. In fact, I get physically ill in severe heat. For me, it’s worse when it’s very hot than when it’s very cold. I can’t protect myself from the heat outside by taking off more clothes. I can only go down to tee-shirt and shorts or a bathing suit without getting arrested for indecent exposure. If I’m still roasting in those outfits, I’m screwed. But in winter, you can always put on more sophisticated winter wear. For example, you can put on ski clothes and go out and ski down a mountain in the freezing cold.

So I hate heat and can dress appropriately to stay warm in cold weather. What else do I like about having seasons? The variety itself enhances my life. I appreciate spring and summer because I live through fall and winter. I don’t take green trees and flowers for granted because I live through colored leaves, bare trees and the winter wonderland of snow-covered landscapes. I wouldn’t want to live in winter 12 months of the year any more than I want to live in summer all year round.

But for the three months winter lasts, I can appreciate what it has to offer. For example, we often have a fire going on winter nights. I love that. My husband and I enjoy our Jacuzzi more in winter. Friends seem to have more time to come over and hang out with us in the winter. I think it’s because they’re not outside doing whatever they do in summer (play golf, swim, take long walks, go on hikes, work in their gardens, etc.)

I’m lucky that I really love where I live and don’t dream of moving elsewhere. If I did move, it would probably be to another place that has seasons. I just can’t imagine a life without watching the leaves turn red, yellow and orange.

I can’t imagine a life without getting to watch grass grow, flowers bloom and leaves suddenly come out on trees, every single year. I can’t imagine everything in my environment staying the same, stagnant, year in and year out. Maybe it’s a lack of imagination on my part, but I’m happy dealing with a world that changes four times a year.

FREEDOM – Marilyn Armstrong

OBSERVE AND REMAIN MINDFUL OF FREEDOM

I want everything to last forever.

When I buy a television, I don’t expect to ever buy another one. I will keep using the old one until it simply won’t work anymore … or someone gently tells me that I really need a new one.

“Oh,” I say, “But I just bought this one.”

“You bought it 14 years ago. I can’t even connect most things to it. It doesn’t have the right connections.”

“Is it really that long ago? It seems like yesterday.”

It does seem like yesterday because I can remember buying it. I remember deciding which TV would give us the best pictures, be reliable. Which is how come it lasted 14 years. Actually, it still works. It’s just too old to be of much value — and too huge to get rid of, so I guess it will live in the basement forever.

The only things I buy more or less on schedule are computers because operating systems change and software won’t run on old systems. I don’t want to get new computers. In fact, I hate new computers. Setting them up is a total pain in the butt. But I cope — because I know I need them.

On the other hand, things like refrigerators, washing machines, ovens? The roof, the water heater, the floor, the sinks and toilets — aren’t they forever? Don’t you buy them once and then you never have to worry about them again?

I’m on my third water heater and beginning to worry about the roof. I’m discovering that the vinyl siding wasn’t as permanent an investment as I thought it was … and the ants keep coming back.

Just to remind me how impermanent the world truly is, the rights we fought so hard to create, the young are fighting for them. Again.

Early 1900’s protests against the czar in Russia

How can that be? How can we have made so much progress and find ourselves back — not only where we were, but back to where my parents were. I feel like we haven’t regressed to the 1950s, but more like the 1930s.

The changes we make, the changes we paid for, fought for, battled for … they are supposed to be forever or at least for our lifetime. The roof should never need to be replaced. The heating system should be a lifetime investment.

Freedom should be given — and once achieved, you should always be free. We should never need to battle again for the right to live our lives as we please. Personally, I don’t think we should have to fight for it in the first place. We should be born free and take on obligation only by choice.

Freedom has come and gone many times throughout human history. Rome was free until it wasn’t. Greece was free … until it wasn’t. Many countries were briefly free, until swallowed up or conquered by others. I guess it’s our turn, my turn, to realize that the freedom I thought we’d won was merely a respite from the despotism of the world.

I’m not sure why it’s like this. Why is it freedom for which we need to fight? Why doesn’t tyranny require a battle? Why do the bad guys always seem tp have the upper hand?

I think it’s because we let them. We say “Oh, a few huge corporations won’t really matter” and then we look around and the entire world is made up of huge corporations and we don’t matter. We give up our freedom incrementally.

We surrender it for higher wages, cheaper toys, nicer cars. We give it up because it sounded like fun and we don’t see the down side. We elect the wrong people because they sound good. We fail to examine if they are really who they say or are capable of being who we need.

We do it. Ourselves. We give up our freedom in tiny pieces until we have nothing left to lose.

Freedom is a costly gift which does not come to us without commitment and a battle. I didn’t imagine I would live long enough to need to fight for it twice. Is that some kind of bizarre payback for living  a longer life?