Hosed

Jun. 17th, 2017 09:11 pm
warriorsavant: (Computer-steampunk)
Computer hosed again. Partly still under warranty. Third parry repair, which is good, bc Apple, being the swine they are, consider it a "legacy" computer (they are the masters of planned/forced obsolescence) and won't warranty repairs on it even if they would do them. Posting this and last couple from my phone, very slow, since my fingertips are larger than 3mm each. Grrr.
warriorsavant: (Renovations)
I mentioned my computer having died. Only took them 10 days (and several calls and visits from me) to diagnose, fix, and restore from backups. Grrr. I have over 130 emails waiting that have to be attended to. I did do a couple of posts typing from my phone, but that is too slow, so here is a quick summary of The State of the Warriorsavant:

1. On call )

2. Valentine's Day dinner. )

3. Books. )

4. Battle of the hair. )

5. Contracting out. )

6. Is real or is it a film? )

7. Big brother is watching. )

8. I'm here for the veterans. )

9. Better to curse the darkness? )

10. Renovations. )

11. Nostalgia already. )

That's all the news from warriorsavant, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all children are above average.
warriorsavant: (Computer-steampunk)
Ever since both my email server and my laptop "updated to serve me better," I've been having problems accessing my mail correctly. After over 3 hours of online "help" from the email server company, they told me problem was with my computer (a MacBook using Mail as email program). Got on the chatline to Apple, who said I needed to upgrade my operating system, which included upgrading Mail. I have been reluctant to upgrade the OS, even though it's free, because from all reports, the newer one doesn't do anything really different, and last time I upgraded, it totally screwed up my computer, and I had to take it down to the Apple Store to wipe it and re-install everything. (Fortunately, I keep backups.) Anyhow, they told me that upgrading the OS had to be done, and "it might take a few hours." Shoulda asked them to define "few." 18 hours later, was still downloading, and suddenly kicked out with an error message saying download had failed and try again. *&%$#!@. Not to mention: !*&4•º%$§#¢£!@¡
Have just restarted the download; at least it seems to be restarting just from where it kicked out before, but I really have better things to do with my time than nursemaid this nonsense.
warriorsavant: (Computer-steampunk)
Some thoughts triggered by [livejournal.com profile] captainsblog posting on bringing some old computers to the recycling dump. I do remember when IBM PC's first came out, and Apple hadn’t brought out the Macintosh yet. Really 512 Kb (not a typo, Kb, not Mb, Gb, or Tb) was more than enough memory for anything you could possibly do. *Retrospective chuckle* As each new thing came along, we thought those various changes we wondrous upgrades to the latest and greatest. They were, until something later and greater came along much faster than we expected. I'm now have a Mac, but am not an Apple True Believer™ (a.k.a. iSheep), I'm aware of the screwed up things that Apple does; they are just relatively less screwed up than what Microsoft does. I still have an old Windows machine in the closet. I'd taken it on my last deployment in 2011 (it was on its last legs then). Shortly after I returned, I switched to my current MacBook Pro, but kept the Windows machine for a few Army-specific programs that only ran on Windows. Nom had a Windows machine until recently, and every time I used it, I reminded myself why I switched over. Her computer recently died, and she too has switch to Mac.
warriorsavant: (Computer-steampunk)
Some years back our hospital decided to become more efficient and put records and everything else on computer. Just use the fingerprint scanner to log in, open Chartmaxx, and everything is there almost instantly. Unless the fingerprint scanner doesn’t work, which it usually doesn't. Unless something hasn't been scanned onto Chartmaxx yet. Or is in a different software package. Or it's all there, but the system is really slow. Or, like today, there's a power outage. Yup, we had a 5-10 minute blackout. I thought hospitals have emergency generators, but those are for vital functions only. I suppose for the administration, Dermatology, which generally sucks hind teat when it comes to respect from our colleagues, our clinic doesn't count as "vital." (That is, until they need us, then we're everyone's best friend.) I've been to hospitals where the Dermatology clinic was in a 40-year old "temporary" wooden building across the parking lot. Anyhow, we were sitting in the dark literally, and thanks to the dependence on IT metaphorically as well. Fortunately our most important tool, our brains, were still working, and "technology" came to our rescue to see patients, as everyone has an app on their smartphones that allow a several-hundred dollar device to act as a flashlight.
warriorsavant: (Computer-steampunk)
Found a program that removes metadata from jpg's on my Mac, called ImageOptim.

Yeah, no longer have a record of what camera I took it with, but who cares. More importantly, do NOT have a record of where it was taken, who emailed it to me, and other things that are no one else's business. In addition, stripping out the metadata cuts the file size 5-20%.
warriorsavant: (Computer-steampunk)
Some time ago switched to a Mac, because from what I remembered, the interface was simpler than Windows, and they were reportedly more stable (e.g. crashed or hung up less often). The latter is false, they crash and hang up just as often as Windows machines. The former is seemed to be less and less true; Mac has increasingly gone down the path of "it's simple to do xxx, just right click here, select from the menu, then left click there, then select the tab and the top, then click on the button at the bottom, then select..." It wasn't quite as bad as Windows, but getting closer.

Have been trying to set up a new Windows-based machine. We are creating a database for our Cutaneous Lymphoma patients, and got a dedicated computer for that. The first annoyance is that they try to force you to work through Sky Drive, their Cloud. Everyone thinks that by getting you to put everything on their Cloud, they will make more money. Possibly, but possibly not. Regardless, considering recent hacking attacks, I feel data is more secure not on someone else's Cloud that has a big "please hack me" sign on it in cyberspace. Once past that, I'm trying to understand their new interface. The one thing of the Classical Windows interface initially drew the most contempt was the one item that turned out to make the most sense: the Start button.

Seemed silly and a bit cutesy initially, but if you were accidentally using your computer for serious work, it made everything easier: just click there, and everything popped up in a logical place: all your applications, all your data, all your internet bookmarks, the control panel, etc. After that, you sometimes got reduced to "...just right click here, then..." but for most things, everything was right there.

So this simple, most effect, easiest part of their interface, was one of the things they've done away with. Now there's a "start screen," with "tiles," and a taskbar that may or may not be findable. Oh yes, and apparently they've added "charms," which, no doubt, is useful in case in the middle of doing serious work, I decide to take time out to play Dungeons and Dragons. I'll figure it out eventually, but it reinforces my belief in never allowing technically-adept people to design an interface, they just get carried away with their own cleverness, and make it needlessly stupid.
warriorsavant: (Computer-steampunk)
On the ‘computers suck,’ list, especially Apple, just found out I lost my VPN access to McGill Library. (See below.) I know all Apple owners are supposed to be blindly loyal, but frankly, if I wanted a new religion, I would become a Buddhist (available in a household near me...) I think I mentioned somewhere my tales of woe of making the mistake of updating the operating system to OS X 10.9.something “Mavericks,” thereby crashing my computer, almost losing all my data (fortunately I’m good with backups), and spending hours of time restoring everything. The new operating system doesn’t even play nice with Apple programs, much less others. Have finally gotten most things working right.

A VPN is a ‘Virtual Private Network,’ which means that, from home, I can log onto the McGill system, and it treats me as if I’m actually at McGill. It’s a huge perk of being faculty. The great benefit is that I can access the library, and from there access on-line subscriptions to major journals (especially medical) everywhere. In ‘ye olde days,’ if I wanted to read an article in a medical journal I’d have to hie myself to the McGill Medical Library, search through the stacks, and read it there. (Have some stories about how that can be enjoyable.) Now I can just tap in from home and read on my own computer. Sometimes modern tech is indeed wonderful. Except thanks to Apple’s upgrade, the VPN disappeared off my computer. I spent half-hour on the phone w/ McGill IT Tech Support, who were quite helpful. I have reloaded the VPN, can click on the icon, it says it’s working, but it doesn’t. The tech said something about Mavericks having this problem from some computers but not others. Have managed a work-around of going directly to the website and logging in there, without the benefit of the VPN, but I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop.
warriorsavant: (Computer-steampunk)
Made the mistake of upgrading my operating system to OS X 10.9.whatever, a.k.a. Mavericks. Reviews said that it added a few decent features, nothing earth-shaking, but since it was free, and it was an upgrade, go ahead and do it.
Silly me, I did it.
My computer slowed down drastically. My Internet connection slowed down even more. Entire folders of mail were lost.
I checked on line, and yup, lots of people reporting these problems (but you have to know to check for the specific problem, which you won't know to do until you have the problem). The “expert reviewers” didn’t/couldn’t have managed to notice these issues. Spent hours trying to correct it myself. Finally went to the Apple Store Genius Bar and they spent over an hour determining that somehow the operating system upgrade flim-flam-wibbledy-wham and they would have to reload it from their pristine and blameless copy, then reload all my documents etc from my backup. They reloaded the operating system, then I went home and finished reloading stuff from my backup. All except the lost emails which I can at least see, but somehow not transfer to MacMail. Then I reloaded programs from disk and on-line (well, still doing that a day later). Then downloaded all the updates from the programs. Then tried to reset everything to the way I had it and liked it. So all is working now. Well mostly kinda sorta. Except certain things can't be reloaded from the backup, because it's not the right yaddita yaddita blah blah blah, and you can only do that if you work through the Apple True Special and Unique Way of yak yak yak. After hours of wasted time, I have managed to get most things working almost as well as it did before I started this foolishness.

Lessons learned:
1. Always make backups. Fortunately, I’m good at that. Between my Army training and a few bitter lessons about computers, I have backups and backups to my backups. (And sometimes make backups to those.)
2. Never “upgrade” anything until you have to. The system is working, everything is working together, changing one thing is like deciding you want larger wheels on your car. All fine and well, then you realize that they don’t fit into the wheel wells, so you have to change the fenders, then you realize the suspension has to be retuned, and then… If it ain’t broke, don’t “fix” it.
warriorsavant: (Sword & Microscope 1)
Have her 6-hour old picture as wallpaper on my (computer) desktop*, and her live at 4-day old on my (real) desktop. One could also describe both as a Baby Monitor.

She's on a padded surface on top of my desk while I'm working. The ultimate in multi-tasking.

More philosophical posts soon.


*Yeah, I'm all sappy. What of it?
warriorsavant: (Computer-steampunk)
Having some back spasm (not looking for sympathy here) and find it hard to sit. Kneeling is okay. Am kneeling on a cushion as I type this. Kneeling in front of the computer. Computers having become the new deities to many people. Ironic.
warriorsavant: (Computer-steampunk)

Everyone knows that if you want to be more efficient and save money, you computerized. Yeah, right. Very few (if any) studies have been done looking at the full costs in time and money of adding in a computer system. The equipment (hardware and software) has to be purchased. People have to be trained at great expense (not to mention time away from their jobs). Info has to be entered into the system, which is slower than pencil and paper. Everytime theres an upgrade (few of which actually do anything useful), the costs for equipment and training and time lost recur. Add in IT support and maintanence contracts. (Remember, its IT who told you to get this system in the first place. They have created an eternal job for themselves, since nothing works as planned and no one can use the mess without help.) Finally, remember that maintenance and support contracts are to any industrial system (electronic or mechanical) what outfits are to Barbie Dolls - the nickel-and-dime long-term/recurring expenses that in the end cost way more than the initial acquisition.

warriorsavant: (Default)
Had a very busy day. Lot's of meetings, most of which were actually productive (well, except for the one where I had to explain to IT what I wanted, which was exactly the same thing I told them 2 weeks ago, and 2 weeks before that), but mostly the had good time with patients and the academia.

In order of appearance:
- Formal teaching session. "Book Club" which means the Residents go through the textbook systematically throughout the year, and we have a session on each chapter or group of chapters. I try to make them more as seminars and stimulate discussion. Often more ends up as my quizzing them, but manage to get some discussion going.
- Clinic. Lot's of weird cases. See below.
- Secretary & other administrative for Cutaneous Lymphoma Clinic. As clinic only meets once/month, we only need a secretary very part time, but we seem to have found someone good, and have/am ironing out the details of how/when/where/what. Should all be easy, but this is a secondary/tertiary job for all of us involved in this clinic, so it's going slowly. However, we are gradually building up resources and expertise.
- Rheumatology. Met with one of the Rheumatology staff about a patient I'm writing up with one of my Residents. Interesting exchange of ideas.
- Less interesting meetings.
- Massage (not part of meetings or academia, but great part of the day).

The clinic. Had a number of unusual cases. Normally happy if there is one unusal case to stimulate discussion and thinking. We had 6. I fully realize these are live human beings with medical problems who need compassion and care, and I do that. However, I need intellectual stimulation (yeah, I'm a big nerd). Would you really want your doctor to be a drone?
- Sweet's Syndrome in response to a medication, but only in a photo-exposed area.
- Possible B-Cell Lymphoma (if so, will route to the Cutaneous Lymphoma Clinic).
- Possibly Sweet's or possibly Lymphoma or possibly GOK (God Only Knows). Hey, if I knew the answers to everything right up front, where would the challenge be.
- Discoid Lupus (or rather discoid lesions in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), but might be Lichen Planus or Lichen Planus-Lupus overlap.
- Ashy Dermatosis (of Ramirez) in a patient immigrated from S. America.
- Carotenoderma. Yes, if you eat too many carrots, your skin turns orangy. Really.
warriorsavant: (Time)
1. My friend's cat is dying, seemed to be moribund. She called me for advice and morale support. Went over there to meet with vet who recommended euthanasia, as cat hadn't moved or eaten in 2 days. Neither my friend nor the cat were ready for that. After the vet left, the cat, contrary animal that they are, got up, walked to her food bowl and ate. Good to see that, but I had said my goodbyes to the cat; she was a sweet animal.
2. Just put away my old laptop, probably for the last time. I bought it for my deployment in 2002-3. Mostly used it just when deployed. Since I got the Mac, have been using it only for some left-over Army stuff. It has a card-reader and certain programs that won't run on a Mac. My old ID card finally expired, so can't even use it for that. In a certain way, that too was saying goodbye to and old friend. No, more than that, it was again saying goodbye to my Army career.

warriorsavant: (Default)

As we all know, size matters.  Calm down gents, this is a technology post.  We like to improve on stuff.  Doesn’t matter if it is hardware, software, vehicles, laws, whatever; we have to keep tinkering with it.  This mostly takes the form of someone foolishly listening to the Good Idea Fairy who says: “Hey, wouldn’t this be even better if we added xxxx.”  Each “advancement” is good, but the item gets more and more complicated to the point where it’s either way too expensive or way too complicated to use.  At that point someone develops a simpler or less expensive version to fill the now-vacant niche of “simple and easy to use.”

The first portable computers were really more “luggable” than “portable.”  They were about the size of a portable sewing machine (everyone except [livejournal.com profile] purpura now go and ask an adult what a "sewing machine" is).  Eventually they got small enough to actually fit on your lap, and became known as – brilliant bit of terminology here – laptop computers.  Actually, the early hard drives were kinda tetchy, so it really wasn’t a good idea to hold them on your lap, but it was possible.  With time they got better and better, but also bigger and bigger.  I saw one at an airport some months ago that was really back to the “luggable” category.  Not sure whose lap it allegedly fit on, but not that of any one person I know.  Maybe it was a new category I was not aware of, the “togetherness laptop,” snuggle up to the one you love with a single computer across both laps.  To fill the niche now left by laptops having gotten so big, they invented netbooks and tablet computers.  I have a laptop (on which I am writing this), but it mostly functions as my desktop computer.  Earlier today I took it into the living room so I could look up random stuff and check email while studying (see recent post about random look-ups).  The studying was from a thing called a book – some of you will have to ask an adult about that too.  Realized my so-called laptop did not conveniently fit on my lap, or even on the couch next to me, so put it back on my desk and used my tablet for the random look-ups.

warriorsavant: (Computer-steampunk)
Wikipedia and Google and their kin are like the Hitchhikers Guide - may not be accurate, but cheap and always there (now if only they could open with "DON'T PANIC"). The negative about being able to instantly look up anything on-line or on your iPad is that it's too easy to stop using your brain. The positive is that when you have that "what does that mean again?" moment, you can immediately look it up. Sometimes it is a word you have always known, then realize you actually don't know the proper definition. Other times it is just that you just haven't used that one in a while. Other times you really never had any reason to know something and suddenly you do.
"What does 'escheat' mean?"
"What is the contrapositive again?"
"Where in Senegal is Thies?"
warriorsavant: (Computer-steampunk)
Was sitting in a waiting room (doing what? you ask? Well waiting, duh.) playing games on my iPad. Looked around, and at least 3 people were doing the same, plus several playing games on their iPhones or other smart phones. As a society, I don't know if this means we all have short attention spans or low threshold for boredom.

Also, have a case for my iPad, with a keyboard, so really don't need my laptop on the road (almost not sure why I bought one, although am typing on it right now, Gentle Reader). It's convenient, but loses some of the slim, light, cool look.
warriorsavant: (Meh)
For entertainment value for your dollar, iPad games are the best. (Well, that assumes you have already splurged and bought at iPad.) For somewhere between free and $5, you get days and days for fun. Compare this to the price of a movie (especially including parking and popcorn) with is only a couple of hours. If you leave your comfy home to go to a movie, and pay all that money, at it stinks, you're rightly annoyed. If an iPad game stinks, you aren't out that much money. In fact, many of them let you play a certain amount free, and only have to buy it if you like it.

That having been said, some have what are essentially cheat modes. You can do more things, or do them better or faster, if you use additional real-world money to buy in-game money (gold, points, whatever). I've staunchly resisted that. Up 'till last night. I'm rather hooked on Gardens of Time. For the low price of $5 real-world money, I bought enough fake/game gold bars to finish building something much, much faster (like "instantly" versus "possibly never"). I have sinned. I am unclean. I fell for it. *Sigh* At least I got double entertainment value: (a) getting something really cool in the game, and (b) watching Evil Secretary spit out her coffee laughing when I told her. It's okay. I'll never do that again. It was just that one time. Really. (Excuse me, have to go commit penance now.)
warriorsavant: (Computer-steampunk)
Have been getting used to my new Mac. It has it's little quirks, and many things are less straight-forward than they could be. Part of the beauty of the Mac is supposed to be the simplicity of use - everything done the same way in 1-2 mouse clicks, rather than an arcane mix of 5-8 left clicks, right clicks, buttons, tabs, etc, etc as on a PC. Uh, not quite that good. Just as I was beginning to doubt the wisdom of the decision to change, I had occasion to need to do something on my old PC. It functioned with all the speed of a thundering herd of turtles and hung up twice in a short time. Oh yeah, that's why I switched.
warriorsavant: (Computer-steampunk)
It looks rather like the one in the icon. Well, not really. It looks rather like a MacBook Pro, because it is. Have been threatening to update for quite a while, and to switch over to Mac ditto. I'm not a "true believer" (as so many of the Mac community seem to be). It is faster and more stable (my PC tended to hang-up/crash a lot) and much cooler. On the other hand, it has its quirks, and its learning  curve, and its limitations too. It took a while to find one that physically fit my space and desk and body. Started with an iMac (entire computer is integrated into the screen), but although great screen and really cool, the screen height is not adjustable, and was getting a crick in my neck trying to use it. MacBook working well and comfortably, but might have to get a separate keyboard for when working at my desk. Transferring files was kind of annoying, but mostly done and verified. At the same time, did the end-of-year going through files and deleting/combining/archiving old ones. Moved most of my Army stuff to an archives folder (many pangs about that). Went through a lot of folders using the same approach one should use on clothing in the closet - if you haven't used it in xxx period of time, there's a reason, and likely best to get rid of it. (As noted, some computer files get archived, not deleted.) I've also tried to flatten the file structure, in that once you have something in a sub-sub-sub-sub-folder, you will never find it. I try to keep no more than 2 levels of folders for active files. Oh yes, also found cute icons for my folders. Very important. One thing I'm indignant about is that I can't rename this machine. Once I've put my name into the system, it assign's a name to the computer. It is part of what is annoying about Apple products - they have decided how they will work, and you are expected to accept that. Reminds me of when adjustable steering wheels were first invented. Initially only on Cadillacs. Someone told some Mercedes Benz engineers about this clever new idea, and they were incensed: "we spent 10 years finding the best angle for steering wheel, we are not going to let the mere driver of the car change it." Sometimes you can find work-arounds on on-line forums, but here too you run into the Apple True Believers. No matter what someone asks, there is always some ATB who whines "wadda ya wanna do that for, that's not how Apple designed it." Anyhow, still great machine. Have just rigged up both this and my iPad to wireless print (using an on-line work-around). 

Happy New Year to all. May 2012 be better than last year.

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