Thursday, October 26, 2006

Halloween Potpourri

I don’t know about the rest of you, but dealing with software issues is scary for me.  With that being said, here is my scary Halloween story.


I have been having software issues for a couple of weeks now.  I really enjoy getting my AOL for free these days, but I would almost be willing to pay three or four dollars a month to have that “Live Support” option returned.  I’m sure a few of you have felt the same since the “big change.”


My troubles seem to have started small with little annoying things happening like not being able to turn the computer off in the normal way.  Later, they escalated and when I got Emails with those cute video presentations, the presentations would never load and play. 


I cannot tell you how many times I clicked on the button that said click here to download the Adobe Flash Player 7 in order to see the video.  Every time I did this, nothing happened.  Well, actually the screen said that the download was successful, but I would click on the play video button in the Email again and got the same message as before.  Each time I would fiddle with my Internet Explorer settings and try again.  I would save the Email as new for days and try, try, try to get the #### video to play, but to no avail.


I got a notice on the screen this past week that one of my security software packages was about to expire and I needed to go to the link and pay more than I would at the local store to “renew” my security subscription.   Hmmm, I thought, in view of my other problems, perhaps it was time to review my entire security strategy.


I decided that I would no longer piece together a mish mash of different software for anti-spy, anti-virus, firewall, and so forth.  I would buy a total package from one of the major players and cover everything under one umbrella that would all expire on the same date next year.  The price of getting it all bundled together would be less than half of what it would have cost to buy each package separately.  Off to the store I went this weekend and was extremely pleased at the price I ended up paying for this total security package.


I spent my free time Monday uninstalling software and installing the new security package.  Everything went well enough and my computer now shuts down in the normal way and in a very timely fashion again.  What was the problem?  Well, it turns out that AOL does not support this manufacturer’s software so the security screen on AOL tells me that the firewall and antivirus software is not detected.  This was the point where I wanted to chat live online with an AOLtechnician or call them on the phone. 


I kept with it, though and got a screen up finally that told me that AOL does indeed detect that I have this security loaded and running, but since AOL does not support this manufacturer’s software anymore, it did not know the status of these programs.  At one time AOL offered security protection from this same company, then one day AOL said they no longer had an agreement with that company and that they were going with a different company for their free online security.  I guess the falling out between the two companies was not a nice one, LOL.


I finally found a way to verify that my computer was being protected even while using AOL and breathed a sigh of relief.  The next day AOL would not work right.  I could not access other journals and it took forever for AOL to recognize my password and sign me on.  Now, instead of doing the smart thing and asking other journal writers if they were having the same problems that day, I over reacted and uninstalled all of my AOL software.


I must have at least ten AOL software CD’s that I’ve received in the mail in the past couple of years.  I grabbed one and loaded it up.  Turns out it was a pretty old version compared to what I was running before I wiped AOL off the computer.  I was able to sign on quickly,but had other problems and AOL was continually sending me downloads trying to update this version for me.  I located a more recent AOL CD and removed the old program and installed the new one. 


Things are working pretty well again with all the features I’ve become accustomed to however, AOL is still taking a long time to recognize my password at sign on.  I’ll live with it!  Another day spent in front of the computer uninstalling and installing software.  Another day off burned up faster than one can say Dock Master.  At least I made it to my yearly physical in time Tuesday morning before starting the final round of software battles.


The good news is that I am the picture of health!  My cholesterol numbers were some of the lowest the doctor had seen and my PSA reading was right on target.  I have to lose some weight, but other than that I am good to go!  Whew!  I was so happy I even let them give me a flu shot while I was there.


The point of this post is to share this experience with others so they may better choose how to react if the same things start happening to them.  Had I asked some of the other journal writers about my AOL problems, I would have found out that AOL in general was having problems that day.  The problem with downloading the Flash Player 7 software was caused by some free software I had downloaded called Download Manager.  The very first time I downloaded the Flash Player, it was successful, it just would not install because of where the Download Manager program had store the installation file.  I was able to ferret it out with my file search tools and got it to install properly, but only after I got rid of the Download Manager program.


I ran the disk defragmenter program after all of this was done and my computer is running as fast as it ever has, I now have complete security across the board under one manufacturer with a common installation date, and my computer turns itself off like it is supposed to when I tell it to.  The exercise was not a loss at all.


Before I forget, I must tell you that the effort that Paulette and I put into her resume last week paid off.  In just one week’s time she has two interviews lined up both as a result of sending that resume out.  Way to go Paulette, knock ‘em dead and get that job!  I would just love to be a kept man.  Well, one can dream, can’t they?  LOL!


I had some pictures I wanted to share and tell you about.  I’ve taken up so much space just writing this time I think I’ll leave you with this pretty shot of one branch of the marina and post the rest the next time.  Happy Halloween everyone and don’t forget to set your clocks and watches back for the time change Saturday night at 2 am.








Trick or Treat through J-Land

Want to play? Title an entry "Trick or Treat Through J-Land", then copy & paste these instuctions so others can play.

Visit as many journals as you can that have a
"Trick or Treat" entry & leave comments with your links.


(My thanks to Donna at D'sDesigns for the graphic I used above.)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Flowing With The Tide

I like to do my posts every Monday or Tuesday.  Here it is again, though, another Wednesday and I’m just getting this down.  Oh well, at least I’m sitting here doing it and not letting it slide this week. 

I have an excuse this time.  I was helping Paulette on the computer.  I’d better word the rest of this entry very carefully or I might end up sleeping on the couch tonight, but here’s what happened.

Paulette wanted to update her resume on the computer and did not know how to access the program or programs that we use to do our resumes with.  More than that, she wanted me to instruct her on how to use the program herself so that I would not have to help her each time.  Sounds easy and a win – win situation, right?  Well, you forgot I used the word, “instruct.”  There was trouble brewing and I was going to be right smack in the middle of it!

There is one thing you may not know about me.  I was a part-time college instructor for a two year period earlier in life.  I taught broadcast communications at a small college in Florida in the mid 1980’s.  I was working as a producer/director at one of the local television stations at the time and taught to supplement my income.  Armed with these credentials, the task at hand should be easy.  Instructor… communications… okay, should be a snap, right?  Let me just warn you right now:  I am a trained professional, DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!

Picture this:  Paulette sitting at the keyboard with me hovering over her shoulder.  I say put the cursor over the start button, she does and I hear “click, click!”  I say, “Why did you double click on that?  It takes a single click only.”    The gauntlet is laid!

Paulette is smart and she is fast on the keyboard, much faster than I am.  She held her ground with me getting louder with each exclamation and she getting madder.  It was a fierce battle with both sides making thrusts and parries, the ultimate objective finally being met.  I don’t know how, but we ended up with a new resume and kept our marriage intact.  It took most of the day!

With all the weird weather across the country these days, I was intrigued when I saw a weather front push through our area the other day.  I had my camera handy and snapped this shot of the leading edge of the weather system.

I mentioned in a previous post about our spring tides here in Georgia.  The reference was made in regards to the marsh grass that the spring tides wash into the marina.  We have been having much higher spring tides than normal and I snapped a few pictures to show you what a difference there is here between high tide and low tide.

When I lived in Florida, I got used to tides and tidal movement.  The tides in the Tampa Bay area averaged about two and a half feet to three feet high.   Here in Savannah, Georgia, our tides average seven and a half feet to eight feet.  Recently the spring tides have been running over nine feet and it makes for some dramatic pictures.  This first picture show the ramp from our sea wall to the floating docks going upward instead of the usual downward slope we are used to seeing.

In this next set of two pictures, I stood on the sea wall and shot the ramp first at high tide and six hours later from the same spot, I snapped one at low tide.  Look at the difference!


This next shot was taken from the floating dock shooting back at the shore line.  Notice we are shooting at a downward angle towards the shore… it makes for a very strange sensation.

There is a hole bored through the sea wall near the very top of it to allow fuel lines and power lines to feed through out to the dock.  This same hole allows the salt water to pour onto shore during the extreme high tide.

This next shot shows you the ramp as seen from the water side looking down the ramp back towards shore and then there are two shots side by side showing the angle of incline as seen from the side view.


These rare and extreme high tides draw a lot of attention locally and, as I said earlier, it is a very strange sensation looking up at docks you always look down at.  Just another peek into my little corner of the world, I hope you enjoyed it.  As the sun sets in this final picture, I post this entry and wish you all the very best until next time we meet.




Wednesday, October 4, 2006

The Great Safari of '06

I can’t begin to tell you how much fun I have been having with the tripod I recently acquired, and my camera, now that I have learned how to shoot in the macro mode.  The camera tripod was an early birthday present I purchased a couple of weeks ago.


Yes, I said the “B” word.  I turned 55 since my last post.  I am now officially in the prime of my life.  I’m way over the hill.  I hit the ‘ole double nickel.  Yes, that’s my age, not the speed limit.  And the clich├ęs and the adages go one, LOL.  Honestly, I don’t feel any older but I guess I am.

It’s a beautiful day at the marina and I finished my daily check list very early in order to go on a little photo safari around the property.  This shot above was taken not ten minutes ago just to give you a peek at how nice it is.  The temperatures are hitting the low to mid eighties for a high today and it will get down into the fifties tonight.  Here in southern Georgia, that’s a beautiful fall day.


I armed my self with camera and tripod and hopped into my golf cart to seek out the beauty hidden amidst the mundane.  I only had to travel about twenty feet from my dock shack to find my first target of opportunity.  It seemed hardly worth the use of the golf cart.

What you are looking at in this wide shot is an electric transformer, actually two of them, that supplies electricity to half of the marina.  Management decided to hide them behind these bushes which flower nicely and grow quickly.  Macro Man zeros in on his target!



Demonstrating his adept placement of tripod and the fact that he actually CAN center a subject in the frame, he goes in for the extreme close ups he has been stalking.



I got really carried away, so there are going to be quite a few of these in this post.  Sorry, but I threw in the very first shot above for those who stopped by just to see some boats and the water, LOL.



Here is a close up of the two blossoms.  For the next shot, I moved the tripod over and captured a vertical grouping of some of these flowers.



This next close up of the single blossom is one of my very favorite shots I’ve taken to date.



I took a few more shots for good measure and loaded my tripod and camera back into the golf cart and traveled to another far reach of the property.  Here, by a corner of a fence, is a grouping of orchid type lilies that caught my eye.  First the wide shot so you can see what I first saw before I once again became Macro Man.



Here are some close ups taken from the blossoms in this patch of flowers.






I decided to do some experimenting.  In this next shot, the flower is too high and I have to shoot up at it.  There is a bright background and because of this the blossom appears to be a little dark.  I turned on the flash option and pressed the shutter once more.  Here is the before and after.




I wanted to find a bit of autumn colors on the property, if I could.  I went to the other end of the main building at the marina and looked up to see that some leaves had changed colors in one of the trees.  I took a shot so you could get an idea of what the tree looked like, then, I zoomed in a bit.  Next, I went around the corner of the building and shot back at the tree with a different lighting situation and that produced quite a different shot, I think.





The last shot I will leave you with is one that I am really proud of.  I have admired the Spanish moss hanging from this one oak tree on the property for ages.  I’ve tried to shoot it a few times before and never felt I did justice to the subject.  I turned around after the last show of the changing leaves and realized I had never tried shooting the moss from this angle and snapped a shot that I think really captured the feeling of the old south.



The birthday celebrations were good. We had gone out to dinner for our recent anniversary, then a few weeks later for Sandy’s birthday.  I decided I wanted to stay home and order pizza, which we do not do very often anymore.  So, I had pizza, cheesecake and great company.  Now, somebody roll me over to the exercise equipment.  I have got to start working all of this off again!