A New Computer


Well, it finally happened. After years of relatively good service, my computer refuses to boot up. No matter what I try, it just keeps doing the same old thing, nothing. That’s not entirely true as the screen does go through several iterations but keeps ending up at the same place. I bought this from a friend who knows a lot about computers. He had taken out the video drive and installed an SSD drive in its place. All in all, between us, it has been a very good computer.

I took the opportunity to go to Office Depot to take a look at the computers they had on display. A couple of them caught my eye so I had a few questions for the computer guy who was working at the store. He answered all of them and seemed quite knowledgeable. I thanked him making a mental note of the makes and models and drove over to the Best Buy store just across the street. I wandered around for a bit looking at what they had which was a lot and wondered how I was going to be able to choose between them. I am not a gamer so the very high end computers were quickly passed over. What I did want was something with an SSD drive plus a regular storage drive and it had to have a lot of memory plus a touch screen and I found the very thing in a top of the line Asus. While I was looking at this particular computer, a sales clerk whose name was Mauricio, wandered over and answered more of the questions that I had and convinced me to go ahead with the purchase. Actually, he didn’t have to work that hard as I had pretty much made up my mind.

I followed him back to the check out station and he went through the long process of the sales paperwork. Turns out that they did not have this computer in stock and it would take two days for it to be delivered to my door. I told him that was OK but he also checked the other stores and found one in a different store in South Austin. Before he had finished telling me about it, it disappeared off the screen as someone had purchased it. So, it was back to waiting two days for the new one to be delivered.

The next day, I got to thinking. I had already arranged for them to transfer as much off my old computer that they could to the new one. I will have to re-install my program files which will be interesting as so many of them are downloads and are not on disks. Oh well, face that battle when it comes but in the meantime, I wondered if they could resurrect the old computer. So, I loaded everything in the truck and drove back to the store and luckily for me, Mauricio was on duty behind the counter. He proved to be incredibly helpful and ran a couple of tests there and then and pretty much decided that one of the two hard drives had gone bad and unfortunately, it was the one that the computer boots off to start up. That pretty much decided the fate of that computer as I didn’t need to fix it, only get the info off the drives. I left that computer with them so they could start doing whatever magic they do and drove home.

True to their word, the new computer was delivered around 1:30 pm on the second day so I jumped in my truck and took it to the store where Mauricio asked a few more questions and then I drove home. With a couple of phone calls in between, two days later I got an email telling me that my computer was ready for pick up. Not wasting anymore time, I once more jumped in my truck and made the 10 minute drive to the BestBuy store and retrieved the new computer. This is not the first new computer that I have bought as I have had several and I already knew that it would not be set up as the old one nor would it have all of my programs on it. Most of my data was either in one of the Cloud storage units or on any one of several external hard drives that I had been using over the years.

Then followed several days of pretty intense work of recovering programs, those not on a disk but requiring downloading again. Locating the unlocking key’s was a bit tricky and I still have a couple to get but as I have nothing but time, presents yet another challenge.

So, there you have it. I now own a brand new laptop with 2 terrabytes of storage and a 256 SSD drive with 2 gigs of ram. Hopefully, this one will last me for the rest of my given days. If I should outlive it say in 10 years or so, I probably wont be needing a computer anyway and if I do, I will gladly buy a new top of the line model….

Written 10/14/2018

Time is Wearing Things Out…Part 3- New Printer

dsc_4354As I said in the last blog, these things always come in three’s. The third part of this story is related to my printer. I have had a Canon Pixma printer for about the last 8 years and it has always given me good service. It was a bit frustrating way back then as I tried to hook it up so that it could receive signals by Wireless. It involved using a cable first and then fiddling around a bit before removing the cable and hoping that the wireless signal would hook up.Things have changed a lot since then as I discovered with this new printer.

Apart from the initial setup, the old printer has always worked just fine until yesterday. I tried to print something and the printer displayed a message to the effect there was a problem and to contact the service center which I did but to no avail. They could not help me and suggested that I needed to return it to a repair facility.

I loaded the printer into my car and drove a couple of miles to the Best Buy store where they had repaired my computer when it crashed a couple of years ago. The gentleman behind the counter explained to me that if the printer was under a Best Buy extended warranty, they would replace it for a brand new one. I told him the age of the printer and we both knew it was not under any sort of warranty. He did mention that if I bought a new Epsom or HP, they would give me a further 15% off the price and they would re-cycle the old printer. Apparently, printers are so cheap, they are not worth repairing. I thanked him and returned the printer to my car and then decided that I should at least take a look at the new printers.

I wanted to get a new Canon as I print a lot of pictures and Canon does a good job on them. I saw plenty of Epsom’s and HP’s and had to ask the sales clerk where the Canon printers were. He directed me and they had several different ones all with the prices marked down by some considerable amount. They even had one that was as cheap as $54.00 but I was afraid that the print quality would not be very good. I settled for a Canon Pixma MG7720 for which I paid $120.00 down from $210.00 and added a two year warranty for good measure.

I drove home with my new printer after asking the sales clerk who had carried the new one to my car if he wouldn’t mind taking the old one back in to be re-cycled. He willingly obliged and I drove home with my goodies.

Setting up the new printer still took a couple of hours. Transferring the contents of the supplied disk took 20 minutes alone. I worked through the process following the supplied instructions and the first problem I ran into was not getting the ink tanks to light up after they were installed. I eventually managed it but it took a while even over something as simple as that. The rest of the work was plain sailing, after the disk installed the drivers. The WiFi hooked up quickly and we were in business. As with all new things, the panel is different and of course, the ink tank numbers are also different so the 4 brand new tanks I have for the old printer wont fit. Maybe I can find someone on my Neighborhood watch who will take them.

The trouble with a printer is that it only gets used very occasionally but you can’t not have one for those times when you do have something to print or scan.

That makes the 3 incidents. Wonder if there is a 4th?

Happy New Year, for some…

Helping hand

Helping Hand

Another year is on us
and how will we treat it
do we continue in the same old way
or maybe a change or two
even a Resolution as a last resort
when all else has failed.

Will we be kind to others
much worse off than we
as they stand at the intersections
and show their signs
at us as we sit in our expensive cars
or will we turn the other way
and not look them in the eye.

Is it our fault that we have
while others have not
did we choose our path
or was it chosen for us
and what makes us any different
than those less fortunate.

Of one thing we can be sure
we would not change with them
even if we could.

Writing a note…

Quill pen and bookWhen it comes to computers, I’m pretty smart
and don’t do too bad for such an old fart
when the technology first came out
I embraced it without even a doubt
of disbelief with wonders so fine
of how I could type a printed line
with two fingers only I do fear
as typing was not a skill that was taught
as most people had to work hard to write
with a stubby pencil and then before long
the Biro was invented, an English term
for ball point pens as they were known then.

Before this wonder of the modern age
a pen and ink were always displayed
so prominently on every school desk
and penmanship was really a test
of patience and caring and taking time
to make your writing so very fine
and it was an art all by itself
to write letters in longhand
with words oh so neat
that those who received them
were in for a treat.

Nowadays written letters are rare
from someone close that really does care
and has taken the time to sit down and write
in longhand although it has to be said
that the writing itself just gets by
and is no longer an art as in yesterday
no pen and ink to put down words
instead a ball point pen of the modern kind
to scribble a note barely able to read
as writing is becoming a lost art
as everyone types, so much easier to do
and if you can’t spell don’t worry about it
the computer will check and corrections make
and your choice of fonts that you can even fake
the writing of old that was done with care
in days gone by when people had time
when they wanted to drop a line.

Old Fashioned Writing

Old Fashioned Writing

Do I miss the good old days
I guess I do in so many ways
when it comes to sending a note
my writing is not that good I’m afraid
for me the computer is a really good thing
as now, people can read what I write
and my words are not held up in the post
as instead they are sent as quick as a flash
by e-mail, the modern way to send notes
and although, no personal touches are there
the printed word is what we share.

As only old folks can remember when
we used to write with an old-fashioned pen
and that’s the way that it should be
as time marches forward to a modern age
and just as it quickly turns the page.
and old people like me have to scramble to learn
and to keep up with youth as its their turn
and life will never again be the same.
and I’m glad to be a part of that game.

Considering the alternatives…

Working in the yard or sweating in the gym

lifting weightsI went to work out in the yard
where I hadn’t done much in a while
I had stayed indoors because of the heat
and worked on pieces for the blog

Instead of starting in the morn
I waited until my work was done
so when I finally stepped outside
the sun was high and shining bright

I grabbed the rake to clean the paths
full of lot’s of good intent
but after raking a couple of them
my shirt was soaked and covered in sweat.

I thought, “To hell with this,
I do not need to be out here
and put up the rake and went indoors
and changed my sweaty clothes for shorts.

I jumped into the car as I grabbed my bag
making sure to have a water bottle or two
and went to the gym where I worked out
until I was sweating just like before.

The difference being gym sweat is good
as it means that I am working hard
as opposed to sweating out in the yard
just thinking of raking all those leaves.


Raking Leaves

Two hours later I was through
and drove back home and walked outside
and decided that I was way too tired
and the leaves could keep so I let them ride

I guess the moral of the story is
to pick and choose at what to work hard
and weigh the benefits  to the mind
and choose the most satisfying kind.

Piles of this and Stacks of that…

Untidy room

Untidy room

I wonder what it is about men
that makes us such an untidy bunch
is it that a little dust and dirt
adds character to the place we dwell
or are things like cleaning women’s work
and that is why we have to shirk
or are men like me so immune
that dust and dirt we cannot tell.

I have this natural ability
of leaving things in piles around
stacked on tables and on chairs
placed without a single care
but to be fair I have this rule
that if any stack has not been moved
or has not been touched in any way
and its been a year since the day
I placed the stuff where it sits
then I can safely throw it  away
as in that time I had no use
and all it is doing is taking up space.

I do mop the floors after the dogs
have finished messing up the place
and if the dirt gets to the point
that I trip and fall in my haste
then I will sweep the stuff into the pan
and deposit it in a different place
either out the door into the yard
or in the trash bin if it’s close at hand.

My Mother was the same as me
when she was getting on in years
and when I used to visit her
I had to clear a spot to sit
as she had every available space
taken with stacks of books and such
and I used to say, “What’s with this stuff,
why don’t you get rid of it”?
and she would smile and say to me
“Hey, you never know,
it might come in handy one day”.

I guess that is why I follow along
and stack the stuff in just the same way
and when people sometimes say to me
exactly the same as I said to my Mum
I smile and say the same to them
as my Mother used to say to me.

In the course of my career
Remodeling other people’s homes
one thing I noticed as I visited them
especially when dealing with men
that they all were afflicted in the very same way
and had piles of books and papers and such
all carefully stacked on tables and chairs
which they generally had to clear
so we could sit and pass the day.

I have this theory that in truth
by hanging on to all of this stuff
life will not so quickly slip by
as it does in the blink of an eye
and by hanging on to the past
the years will not fly by so fast
and we’ll get to spend a little more time
making piles of this and stacks of that.
and when the time has come
to move the stacks from the house
then I will do the right thing
and send it all to re-cycling.

My 47th Anniversary…March 13, 1967.

Queen Mary

Queen Mary

Well, would you believe that on this day, forty-seven years ago, my family and I landed at New York Harbor on the magnificent Queen Mary. We were met by my mother and one of her friends who drove us back to the little village of Fort Plain in the Mohawk Valley in Upper New York State. Much has happened since that eventful day…

This blog is not a reflection of all that has happened since then as I have already covered that part of my life in previous blogs. No, I am writing this more as a summary and that today for me, is a day worth celebrating. Even though life has had its ups and downs in the past forty-seven years, the majority of it has been very good as I hope it has been for those that landed with me on that day.

Taken on the whole, the American people are a very nice and sociable lot with strong family ties. They have very firm beliefs in family values and in some cases, almost to a fault. The extent that some families will go to “protect” their kids from the normality of life is frightening as I see modern-day kids as mostly a bunch of super intelligent, spoilt and protected to the degree that they never have to face any hardship as they grow up. Part of that is the school system that extends every school day into a school evening in order for the kids to succeed. There is something wrong with a system that expects the kids to work every evening after spending all day at school. When do they have time to be kids?

Everything has to be organized. If is not, the parents won’t allow the kids to participate. City kids, even small cities, have to be taught about Nature. They don’t spend time in the woods among the trees with the birds and animals or smelling the flowers as we did when we were growing up. Granted, they were vastly different times and we didn’t have anything even closely resembling any of the electronic devices that we have to today to provide the entertainment. Don’t get me wrong, I am just as fascinated with these modern wonders as the next person and for an old guy, know my way around them very well. The trouble is they have taken over our lives and the simple things no longer have the same interest.

Funny the direction this blog is heading. I meant to write about my feelings after being in this magnificent country for nearly fifty years but instead it has turned into a rant of how I see problems ahead for the wonderful people who live here, people who I live next door to or greet in the store as we pass, or those that work out at the same gym as I do. It may not be in their lifetime but it won’t be long before modern kids as they grow up, will not know how to cook a meal as they never learned it from their parents.

Enough of all of this complaining. Think of the good things that have happened over the past forty-seven years. Things like becoming an American citizen back in 1976 or having the ability to buy a house  and many, many cars, or moving out of New York State to escape the brutal winters to enjoy the great state of Texas, thirty-seven years ago. Thank you Dominic Fazzone for giving me the opportunity. I think of all of the people I have met and the friends I have made in both States and there is nothing that I cannot do if I so choose. Regardless of the things I see that bother me, this is a great country and it has treated me well and for that, I am very grateful.

Do I regret emigrating from England to the USA? In some ways, of course I do. I miss the English people with their weird sense of humor and the simpler life style at least when I lived there. I miss going to watch the Professional football matches of the English Premier League and have to make do watching them on television. I miss roast beef and Yorkshire pudding and fish and chips eaten out of a newspaper and a pint of English beer. I regret that I was not able to make any of my marriages work and that I lost touch with some of the people who I knew over the years. I regret that I was not able to grow up with my two sons and that I only know them from a distance. The one thing I don’t miss is the incessant rain which was the reason we moved in the first place. Living here in Texas, I could sure use some of it now…

For me, my race is nearly run. I do not have time for regrets as I want to make the most of whatever years I have left and which I will spend in this great country. When I die, my ashes will be spread over this land and I will become a part of its history.

Rule Britannia and God Bless America…