I think it started when the last upgrades (calling them upgrades is absurd since they have made a mess of all the computers in the house — Macs and PCs alike. Google, Microsoft, iPad, and MacBook Air have decided to link to each other and I can’t tell what’s going on with any machine.
They no longer remember whose password works with which account. This is not a problem if you are the only user in your house, but here, it’s getting absolutely tragic. It isn’t just a Windows. It’s just as bad on the Macs. Maybe worse because for reasons I don’t entirely understand, we seem to have more Mac-operated devices than PC devices — and I don’t actually like Macs. I just own them.
The only electronics that still know what’s going on are the Kindles and they are Android. Everything else is a mess.
Oh, I almost forgot. Garry has a Chromebook. Since it’s a Google machine, it’s a mess, too.
All the endless “alterations” made to WordPress have slowed it down so half the time, it doesn’t even remember your name or password from one use to the next. How many times do you try to answer a comment on your own site only to be told that you have to “sign-in”?
Since you are signed in, it gets interesting.
Meanwhile, when they ask for passwords, they don’t specify what password they want. Is that the WordPress password or the Google password? One of each? Maybe looking for the computer’s key number? Plus the password? Which password? The one you had to add today or the one they made you add yesterday and the day before?
Each and every one of your passwords is supposed to be unique and not like any of the other passwords you use. Right. That’s what everyone does. Except I can’t remember any of my passwords anyway.
Seriously, can anyone remember that many passwords? Even if you write them down, the one you last wrote down may not be the one they are looking for. It might be the one before that or the one you were using a month ago. Only a hacker can figure it out and he/she is the one person you don’t want to figure it out.
I used to have my own inbox and Garry had his. Our tools and internet links were linked to our email passwords. NOW you need a password for Google, for your inbox, and sometimes, they don’t seem to know what they want the password for. Meanwhile, the password manager stopped working, too.
They tell you your password doesn’t work, but it’s the same one you used yesterday and last night and finally, it starts to work again … and this is after you’ve been battling with it for an hour to accept a new password only to ultimately be told you can’t get a new password because you have an old password, so now you need a new email account — but I don’t have another mail account — and when I’m about ready to give up and throw everything out the window — which is when everything starts to work again. More or less.
I have NO idea what’s going on. I sign in with my email account, but only Garry’s header shows up. Or Garry signs in with his password and MY headers show up. I don’t know what they think they are doing, but it’s a godawful mess. I’m pretty sure the last set of upgrades totally screwed the pooch.
Garry has an upgrade waiting on his iPad and he’s afraid to let it run. I don’t blame him. My last upgrade on the PC and the Mac were BOTH disasters. How are your machines running?
All my computers are a mess — and I haven’t done anything to them. This is the stuff they are doing.
I don’t know what they are trying to achieve, but it’s not working. I wish they would stop. If you think I’m confused, just imagine how GARRY feels.
I just got a new download for Windows 10 — which was a followup to the new download I got for my Mac laptop and the one I got for my Kindle and whatever happened to make my mini iPod completely unusable. I didn’t use it anyhow, but having paid for it, it irks me that they’ve downloaded a “new version” of whatever was supposed to make it useful and now, NOTHING works. Among other things, they wiped out my password.
I am too incurious to ask someone how to fix it, even though it’s insured and I could probably just get a new one … which will also sit unused. I must remind myself that unless I actually have a valid use for a gadget, DON’T BUY IT. Even if it is on sale.
Now, about drivers.
There are, unlike you and me behind the wheel of a vehicle, programs that tell other things how to do whatever they do. They link an application to the operating system and if it doesn’t work, nothing works. A driver is often linked to more than one thing on your computer. Many drivers are part of your operating system. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Apple, PC, or Android. Everything needs a driver.
I have a lot of high-end stuff on this monster and every time I see the question “Would you like to download the new driver for … (fill in the blank) …?” I go into a panic. The most panic-producing issue is the driver that links my graphics super NVIDIA stuff which handles both what I see and what I hear to everything else on the unit. NVIDIA is not part of Microsoft, but Microsoft — and every other computer company — use their products. They constantly introduce new drivers, many of which are designed for whatever the latest video game is. Because this is a gaming computer, even though I don’t game. I would, but I don’t have time.
I have this machine so I can process pictures. Still photographs. Also, it has — if you can figure out how to tune it properly — a really good set of speakers in it. But it has two full sets of graphics in the machine. A generic set from that another company (a Microsoft product?) plus the NVIDIA set up.
I feel like the robot in Douglas Adams’ “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”
“DON’T TALK TO ME ABOUT DRIVERS.”
I managed to get through the last collections of updates apparently undamaged. So far. I haven’t, I admit, gone in to check the setting, so the next time I try to listen to an audiobook, I’m sure it’ll sound all weird and I’ll have to reconfigure the entire thing. Again.
I do not need a caretaker, though lord knows I would certainly like someone to clean my house and also, please, cook dinner!
I need someone to guide me through what I need to do each day. Remind me what day it is. If I have an appointment. Where the appointment is. Make sure I remember to take the GPS or printed directions — or both. The GPS is a fine idea, but around these exurban spaces, it gets wonky. It sends us on bizarre excursions down woodland trails that haven’t been used since pre-Colonial days. I don’t know where it gets its mapping information.
All the GPS’s seem to be made in Germany, so maybe that’s the problem.
I need someone to remind me whether or not I took my medication today. Or was that yesterday?
I used to have a memory that took care of all this. When that began to get overloaded, I got a PDA — a cell phone without the phone or internet. It was essentially an electronic datebook. I used mine all the time for keeping my schedule and reminding me what else needed doing. When I was working, there were a lot of things on my agenda.
One day, my PDA batteries died and the entire memory left with it. Because it was my single source for everything, I developed a certain bitter feeling towards depending entirely on electronic connections.
Still, Garry and I were the first cell phone users I know. Garry was always somewhere in the middle of who-knows-where doing a story about something or other and I worked miles away, often in another state.
One of my first gifts to him was a giant brick telephone. They must have had one hell of a signal because Garry could call me from anywhere and ALWAYS get me. That battery lasted three or four days before needing to recharge.
It weighed about 5-pounds. When the Blackberry came out, we switched to them. Even Garry loved that Blackberry. It had a little keyboard and he wrote all his email on it. It had a good, clear sound for telephone calls and it worked. It was stable, strong and did exactly what it promised.
Somehow, we got snookered out of the Blackberries. They were going out of business and there wasn’t a choice, but neither of us loved a cell phone after that.
I’m okay when I have to use the Samsung we’ve got, but it’s just an emergency phone. I will never pick it up voluntarily. It has mediocre sound and I make phone calls.
I don’t text. My thumbs are the wrong shape.
I don’t write lists on it, either. We write lists on pieces of paper. With pens. Even in the grocery store where there’s barely a signal, that piece of paper works fantastically well. I should point out that we live in a river valley and our reception is pretty pathetic. Usually, now that the cell connects to WiFi, we can call out, but it’s pretty hard for anyone to call in. Especially other people who also live in a river valley — which is actually almost everyone I know.
On the other hand, if I had a guide, I wouldn’t have any excuse for forgetting everything for an entire week, then having to call everyone whose appointment I missed and remake the appointment.
I often wonder if my forgetting nearly everything isn’t my way of coping with a world that’s spinning out of control. The weather, the climate, the politics. Even this blog is crazy-time.
And then, there’s email. I clear out all the email I haven’t managed to get to on the day it arrives, usually about 250 items (depending on the volume of political and news mailings) and when I get up the next morning, there are another few hundred.
Do you prefer Apple (‘I’ products) or Android for your technology ‘fix’?
I work primarily on a PC. I like the organization and I also appreciate the huge amounts of functional software I can get for it. I have an android (Samsung) phone which I use when I need it (not often) and three Kindles (probably more like five — a think a couple are just buried somewhere) which I use to read and listen to audio books and sometimes, to watch a movie. Mostly to read or listen.
I also have an “air” Mac. I bought it so I’d have something a bit less weighty to haul with me when I travel. I don’t do much with it, at least in part because finding decent graphics applications has turned out to be much harder than it should be. I won’t “rent” Photoshop and my disks won’t run on a Mac. I got a program for it, but haven’t gotten around to installing it and I’m sure I’ll be sorry about that in due course.
As for music? I have a CD/radio player because we have quite a few CDs. We also have a lot of DVDs and we watch them, too. I’m not a wild fan of “the cloud.” I can’t tell you how many times having something downloaded has made it possible to listen or watch or read — without cable being involved. It’s very freeing.
I like having parts of my life NOT connected to wi-fi. I’ve worked with computers enough to know what they are good for … and what they are not good for and I certainly don’t want one running my entire life!
What’s something on your personal bucket list?
Don’t have a bucket list.
What would you name your boat if you had one? The Unsinkable 3? The Please Don’t Sink? Your choice! Also, what would it look like? Do you want a motor yacht, a sailboat, or perhaps a dinghy?
I had a boat. A 16-foot centerboard sailboat built originally to race but used by us mostly to drift through channels on Long Island’s south shore.
We named it “Gwaihir,” the Wind Lord (eagle) from Lord of the Rings. Kind of a big name for such a small boat 😀
Which fictional character would be the most boring to meet in real life?
Anyone from a Jane Austen novel. I am not a fan.
What brought gratitude, a smile or laughter to your life this week?
Getting out to take photographs on the only sunny day of the week AND discovering that Garry can hear!
Just as I was thinking I finally had it all more or less under control, Garry’s iPad decided to NOT work this morning. This is probably because they put a new operating system on it last night. I know this because I went to use my mini and it was getting a new operating system, so I assumed Garry’s was getting one too if not at that precise moment, then sometime really soon
So, when Garry went to use it this morning, nothing worked. It refused his password, didn’t recognize his email. Basically, it was gone. Garry has zero patience with all things mechanical or electronic. The only reason he no longer kills every vacuum cleaner instantly is because I threatened him with permanent injury if he broke another one.
I don’t care how he feels about dirt. You have to empty it even if it is inconvenient and will make the process take an extra five minutes.
Computers? Oh, that is so much worse. I do not believe he is nearly as technologically inept as he seems. He doesn’t like technology, doesn’t want to deal with it, and has no patience with it. He wants to turn it on and after that, it’s supposed to work. Without any problems, ever.
He handed me his iPad. “I don’t have time for this,” he said. We had no plans for the day. It’s just he wanted to take a shower and watch some baseball. What he meant was “You always have time for this, so fix it. I’ll be back later.”
If there was one thing I didn’t want to do, it was call Apple customer service. My eyes rolled back in my head. I pretended I was dead. That didn’t work, so I looked up the number and called Apple. After bypassing the robot (why do I even try to talk to them?), I got a Person.
I told him that I was not in a good mood, that my recent encounters with his colleagues had not been positive, and I wanted this to get fixed really fast or I was going to stuff it back in the box and send it back and then they could figure out what to do with it. I’d had enough.
It didn’t take the 15 minutes I hoped for, but eventually, with repetitions of doing the same things we’d done before (and before and before), eventually, we got it to work. Without a password and no credit card. Loaded with Chrome. Garry’s iCloud email was deleted and if not deleted, no one will ever use it because the only people who know it exists are me and Garry and we aren’t talking.
Meanwhile, Microsoft tried to insert the broken download again. It failed. I ignored it. When they get it to work, I’m sure someone will let me know. Or it would install. I should mention that that’s the last time I let Microsoft mess with my computer. I had to completely revise my sound and they left all kinds of little applications laying around my desktop. If you’re going to borrow my computer for your research, clean up your junk when you’re done.
The Apple guy on the phone this morning was very nice. It was just that he was maybe the fifth or sixth Apple tech in a couple of days — and I’ve had it. NO tolerance left with anyone saying “I know it’s awkward, but that’s how Apple does it” after which he admitted that personally, he uses a PC and finds Macs annoying. Too many fiddly security things.
I said: “Thank you. So far, nothing I’ve done on a Mac has been easier than it was on the PC and as for photography, it’s at least 50% more difficult to do the simplest stuff. I understand about security, but at some point, most of us will ease up on security with the aim of just sending the email without having to enter one more (“Please make it something you will easily remember”) password.
This was also before I discovered my own little mini 4 was going to need to be fixed, too … but by then I was pretty good at it. I’ve had quite a lot of lessons in Mac management the past week.
I think we got it done. But that’s it. I can’t take any more. I’m finished. Not merely is dealing with these people infuriating, but it is incredibly boring. I may not do much with my days, but sitting on the phone arguing with people who know less than I do about computers is not on my list of choices.
You could drive a gal to suicide this way, you know that? I’d rather get my teeth drilled before I deal with customer service again.
I was trying to figure out if I was writing about idiot teenagers eating Tide pods, or the endless tides of the ocean, or how one day is total insanity and by the next, everything has completely calmed down. In tide, out tide.
Whoever said that getting a Mac was the easiest thing in the world meant well and probably, that was their experience. But life is what it is and it can be very easy or ridiculously — and needlessly — complicated.
I was supposed to get a call from Mac to help me set up my Mac. I had a few questions I needed answered because it has been a long time since I used a Mac … 25 years, maybe more. The machines have undergone substantial changes during that period. One of the things with any new computer that runs on a different system is “what do you call that thing that does that other thing?”
Mostly, I needed to set up preferences and for some reason, my preference file wouldn’t open. It would bounce like it should, but no menu. Just the empty bar and “customize” as the single drop-down option.
I wanted to change the security settings so I would not be limited to ONLY buying things from the Apple App store. It’s a big wide world and I do not like being told what to do by a computer. Any computer. Especially not MY computer.
I wanted to get rid of the password. I need these machines to be something Garry can access in case I’m not sitting next to him to help. There’s information on here he might need and even though he has my password, probably stored in many places, he is unlikely to find the most recent one anyway. Passwords, like the tide, keep changing. Sometimes they really want that underscore or hyphen … and sometimes, only the birth caul, blood of a newborn plus a full enchantment might do the job.
“But make sure it’s something you will find easy to remember.”
Right. And if we insist you change it, don’t use the one before the last. You need a spanking brand new one which can’t be your birthday. Oh, and don’t use a repeated number. Today, a hyphen is a no-no, but for that one, you need a capital letter. But NOT as the first letter of the sequence. Also, the numbers can’t be your birthday.
Do make sure you can easily remember it. Otherwise, all those sticky notes with your passwords scrawled on them is insecure.
Also, I wanted to install Chrome because it has everything in it — contacts and saved emails and all that. Not to mention my calendar and bookmarks. Apple does not approve of Chrome, but it actually isn’t because Chrome is a battery hog (it is and we all know it), but because Apple and Google had a decade long court battle over something nerdy and no one actually remembers what it was, but they spent a gazillion dollars fighting over it and to punish users since they can’t do squat to Google, they make it hard for us to use it.
In the newest version of the Macbook Air (and probably all the other Macbooks), anything that doesn’t come from their App store or have their Official Seal of Approval gets rejected out of hand. No matter HOW many times you say “No, really, I want this application,” each time you try to open it, there’s an exhausting list of requirements just to write yourself a note.
The worst installation was Apache OpenOffice (it’s Microsoft Office via open source software). It does everything MS Office does — better — and it has everything you could possibly want. But it’s not on Apple’s approved list and it doesn’t even have a manufacturer’s name on it because — IT’S OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE.
Apple isn’t really “into” open source. They like getting paid and are paranoid about anything you got free from the Internet.
Normally, I can set this stuff up using whatever widget manages preferences. I’ve done this on at least half a dozen different systems. It’s one of the few things that’s usually the same from computer to computer. The icon might change, but basically, the contents are similar enough to figure it out.
I couldn’t get it to open. At all.
They didn’t call me at four and by 4:30, I figured out that they weren’t going to call, so I rebooked for 7:30 and they didn’t call then, either. So finally, I called them. Of course, she had no record of any of my earlier correspondence which was part of setting up the interviews that never happened.
It doesn’t matter who you talk to or whether or not they record it: they never have ANY notes or for that matter, any record that you exist.
I got a lovely woman who after trying 25 different versions of “start-up,” decided I needed a new operating system. Three hours later, I had a newer new operating system, but sadly, no preference file. At which point she moved me to level 2 help.
The guy came on, he said “Hi.”
I said “Hi.”
He asked me to see what happened if I double-clicked the “customize” icon. Lo and behold, a screen opened and each item on it had a click box. And empty click box. He said “Damn, never seen that screen before. Must be new. Hm. Try clicking all the boxes, then click DONE.”
I did it. And voilà. Everything appeared. It took about 30 seconds. Getting rid of my password took another minute. Settling OpenOffice so it would work took another two, maybe three minutes. He said: “I love OpenOffice. It’s great to have a product that lets you do what you want to do.” As opposed to Microsoft which is always sure they know what you want to do before you do it.
He apologized for the entirely unnecessary hours of reinstalling the operating system and I said “Shit happens.”
He said: “Well, you obviously know your way around a computer, so now that you’ve got preferences, I think you’re good to go,” and I was.
The motto of the story is that if you don’t have an answer, there’s no reason to exhaust two people proving that you don’t know the answer. Get someone who does have the answer. I waste almost an entire day and most of an evening on something I could have dealt with in a few minutes.
It wasn’t that it was hard to set up. It was that the person I talked to — and let’s not get into the people who never bothered to call me after sending me copious offers to “help get me set up” — didn’t understand the problem or where to look for the solution.
Meanwhile, I was sure it was something I was doing wrong because I can usually take pretty much any computer and make it work reasonably well in about 15 minutes. I just didn’t find the screen.
Of course, there were no instructions. I’m pretty sure Apple invented the directionless computer. It’s their way of telling you no help will be required. Thanks guys!
So, that was the Apple/Mac part of the story.
There was nothing wrong with the computer. There was nothing wrong with me. There was something wrong with Apple’s communications … and after a brief, yet somehow intense struggle, I got Chrome to run and all is well on the Apple. Or will be soon enough.
Sheesh. What a long, long, long day!
But today was a completely different, yet oddly similar day. In the middle of yesterday’s Apple experience, I got an update from Microsoft that failed. When I ran through the process, they told me I “had to detach my hybrid laptop from its connection to the monitor.”
So I called them which apparently everyone with a hybrid computer has been doing as this is not personal — it just FEELS personal — but is actually a problem relating to all hybrid dual hard drive laptops. They couldn’t fix it and the people to whom I was speaking weren’t willing to even give it a try. Danger lurks in the dark chambers where the wires and the boards all live … They said they would call me today around 12:30.
By 2:30, I had given up and I wasn’t calling them again. This was their problem, not mine. I went back to writing this post.
I went to take a few pictures of my new computer to add to this post. I processed a few of them and was about to install them in this file when — the phone rang.
Microsoft calling. I had moved all the way up to tech support 3. Whoa! Serious!
They said they might need a while — like maybe half an hour (hah!) — so could they call me back when they finished whatever they were going to do to my computer? I said oh sure, I have another computer.
And – I do. The very same little Mac from which I cannot process photographs. Perhaps this wasn’t the best possible day for me to try to work this out. Possibly, I’m a bit distracted.
Everything about this Mac is, by the way, at least twice as complicated as doing the same thing on a PC. Especially graphics. At least they let me download my Topaz filters — and I only had to do it three times before it “stuck.” Yay me. At the same time, Microsoft is DOING THINGS to my expensive computer including (futilely) reinstalling Windows 10. Again.
Trying to convince Microsoft Edge to work and good luck with that
All I’m trying to do is fix a couple of photographs and export them to Serendipity. On the Mac. Which is not cooperating.
So, while Microsoft was busy installing another new operating system on my PC, I was on the Mac trying to extract one picture without a battle to end time.
It was about three hours before the tester called me back to say the problem was NOTsolved, but they are working on it. It might be a few weeks and in the meantime, just ignore everything.
Everything. Does that include supper?
Yesterday was quite a day and today has been a about the same, thanks. At least Microsoft just did the work and I didn’t have to do anything but try to ignore what was happening “over there” on the big computer. A good day for chomping down Tide pods, don’t you think?
A couple of weeks ago I bought myself an iPad Mini. It was $100 less on Walmart because it had iOS 9 on it rather than the current iOS 11. Anyone who knows anything about Apple knows it doesn’t matter what iOS is on it.
The moment you turn it on, it will instantly update to the new iOS — even if you would prefer it not do that.
I bought it. Less than $300 with 128 GB innards. Nice cream color. Brand new and their 4-year support was only $40 instead of the $69 Apple charges. Moreover, it’s local. Our nearest Apple outlet is a long drive from here and has been one of the reasons I’ve been loathe to get involved with Apple.
But it turns out, getting customer service is hopeless anyway. Whether it’s local or in some foreign country, service will be awful. Given the awfulness, you might as well pay less.
So now I have this iPad Mini which I got the next day. Cute little thing. We were on our way to visit Tom and Ellen, so instead of unpacking it, I stowed it in my computer bag and took it with me. Tom set it up in a few minutes and voilà. A functional iPad Mini 4.
I looked at it. “So what’s next?”
I have no idea what to do with it. I read and listen to Audiobooks on my Kindle. So what do I do with this? My theory had been that I wanted something small and light that would get me into my email and let me correct typos on my blog without hauling 9 pounds of Dell wherever I go. I love my computer, but it weighs like two cinder blocks.
Tom has an iPad (regular size) and he uses it for almost everything. Almost. He also has a keyboard that also works as a case and a stand.
“Should I get the ridiculously expensive Apple keypad for this?” I ask him.
“God no,” he says. I look at his. It was a Logitech. No problem. I’m good with Logitech.
I go home and look it up on Amazon. Instead of $159, it’s $69.95. Except if I don’t mind getting it in purple, it’s $42.50. Purple is good. Goes well with the lovely cream. I order it. This is my “less than $300 solution to the $2000 problem.” What I really need is a lightweight but powerful computer, but that’s big money and we have home repairs lurking.
It arrived today. In a nicely padded envelope. I open it. Take out the box. Eventually figure out how to open the box (I hate packaging) and remove the item. I’ve read a lot of angry reviews on how easily it breaks. I look at it. Yeah, I can see if you mistreat it, it would break. But in my entire life, I’ve never broken a computer or a cell phone. I take care of my equipment. If it breaks, it’s something internal, not because I dropped it or stepped on it or abused it.
I did notice a couple of people who suggested if everyone would treat their equipment gently, it would last longer. My sentiments exactly.
On the back of the box, it tells me what’s inside — including documentation, the keyboard case and a charging cord.
The documentation is missing the one thing that means documentation to me. No words. It’s a piece of cardboard with small, incomprehensible pictures. Which I follow until I get to a point where all I can say is “WHAT????” I know they want me to do something, but I have no idea what.
I have no idea how to get it to pair with the iPad. It’s a Bluetooth device and I’ve got other Bluetooth stuff. It’s usually pretty easy, but I’m baffled because nothing is happening.
Finally, I say “Screw it.” I open my computer and look for installation instructions for the keyboard. Online. At Logitech.com.
Before you connect your iPad mini to the Focus keyboard case, make sure it’s inserted correctly into the case:
1 – Place your iPad mini so the camera lines up with the camera lens cutout on the Focus case. 2 – Snap the corners of the iPad into the holder to secure it.
To connect for the first time
1 – The Focus case doesn’t have an On/Off switch. To turn on your keyboard case, open it and rest the iPad mini on the strip directly above the keyboard. The status indicator on the top right of the keyboard will glow green. 2 – On first connection, your keyboard enters Bluetooth discovery mode and the status indicator will blink blue rapidly. 3 – Go to the Bluetooth settings on your iPad and select Focus Keyboard Case in the Devices list. 4 – If your iPad mini requests a PIN, enter it using the keyboard (not on your iPad mini).
Once the connection is made, the status indicator will turn solid blue. Your keyboard is ready to use.
There were no illustrations. They didn’t need any.
There were other instructions in case you want to connect the same device to a different iPad, but I only have one. It took me about 3 seconds to connect it once I had WORDS as instructions. Two paragraphs of WORDS.
No tiny pictures. One picture in the original “document” which had words in it, but no amount of squinting and changing angles enabled me to read those teeny tiny 4 point letters.
Now I have a lovely purple keyboard case that types. It’s a bit small, but so is the iPad. If I can figure out what to do with the iPad, that will make me happier.
I could use it to play games, but I can play games on my Kindle and my computer. I could watch Netflix, but … why? This is basically the problem I have always had with iPads — not having any idea why I need one and what it can do for me that isn’t already being done by something else.
Tom says I need to mess around with it and find cool stuff for it to do. Okay. I’ll do that. Whatever cool stuff is. It is possible I’m not really cool enough for devices.
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