nlbarber: (Fish-Fred)
Super tech-support kudos to Readerware, whose book database I've been using for years to maintain a (mostly complete) catalog of my books. (Several metric Bryants, though still short of an Old English Bryant, for the Bujold listees out there....)

I had been holding at a late 2.x version until my recent update to OSX-beyond-Snow-Leopard, and finally installed 3.41 yesterday. It looked horrible. I use the "table view" 99.9% of the time, and the fonts had gone from a smooth, well-sized (but not adjustable), readable, font to something thin and smaller and pixelated. I found the new font prefs, but everything I tried still gave me pixelated fonts that were a pain to read.

So, I searched their online help. FAQs, and KnowledgeBase to no avail, then wrote to their support email at 6:30 yesterday evening (Saturday. The weekend between Christmas and New Years.) asking what the fonts were in v 2.x so I could replicate that setting. I thought I’d get a response sometime Monday. Nope, around 10 PM I got my answer, and also explaining that the Java version is different and that affects the font rendering, and offering other suggestions as well. Long story short: the back-and-forth about the font rendering uncovered a bug in all platforms in the table view. About 26 hours after I wrote that first email, there's a new version of Readerware available to correct the bug.

I've downloaded and installed it, and things are back to a clean font.
nlbarber: (Default)
I procrastinated. I'm not sure if I'm paying for that or if this was inevitable, but....

I read just about everything but email lists and the SFF.Net newsgroups in Google Reader, including all the LJ I still try to track. Facebook is also non-Reader except for the page for Lois where I'm an admin0, but that's one reason I don't keep up with FB much--I'm over in Google Reader. When the announcement came out about the impending death of GR, I did some research, then decided to wait for things to shake out a little.

Now, in a flash <g>, GR goes away next week. I whipped over to Feedly and signed in to have them grab my GR account directly, and quickly discovered that in their move to a cloud system and in the face of masses of people searching for GR replacements, they made the decision to drop 'history' from the list of things they will import. All my starred items, and more important for me, my read/unread flags, are not there, and Feedly declared everything 'read' at the switch-over. Apparently this is supposed to be something you view as a minor inconvenience....

Jumped to The Old Reader, who asked for the subscriptions.xml from Google Takeout to import my feeds. That went well....but they don't have the history, either (it's not in that xml file or elsewhere in Takeout AFAIK). The Old Reader declared everything 'unread' at the time of import.

Guess I could alternate between the two, marking blocks read in TOR and keeping up with the newest in Feedly, but I think I'll do some additional searching for a feed reader which can go to GR and get my feeds and the read/unread flags. Stars are less important, as I use them less and have an IFTTT action to move them to Instapaper, anyway.

Anyone got suggestions? Ideally a service which supports an iOS app in addition to a web page reader, but I'll be getting less choosy as the week goes on.
nlbarber: (Default)
The newest MacOS, Lion, won't run the last full-featured Mac version of Quicken. I'm not jumping to Lion soon (maybe not for a long time, with this), but I started to do some research on alternatives nonetheless.

My biggest Quicken 2007 use is for the trust that was set up after my mother's death in 1997, which primarily tracks investments plus some bank transactions. I had about decided that the best thing to do was to convert to Quicken for Windows (which I'm already using the bookkeeping for my father's estate) because it would give instant file-sharing with my brother, a Windows user. Then I found this lovely bit on Intuit's web page about the Quicken for Mac/Lion issue. They give 3 options: #1 is Quicken Essentials for Mac, which does no investment history, #2 is, which is some sort of real-time checkbook which does no history at all, apparently. Then #3:

Try Quicken for Windows
You can easily convert your Quicken Mac data with the exception of Investment transaction history. You will need to either re-download your investment transactions or manually enter them.
This option is ideal if you use Quicken to track investments.

Ideal? Manually enter all the investment transactions since 1997? I guess there are people out there who turn over their portfolio completely within the period that their broker maintains online transaction histories, but not me.

Looks like my broker has downloadable transactions for this account starting in November 2005....gee, all I'd have to manually enter is about 8 years of transactions. Right, that's ideal. For sure.
nlbarber: (Default)
I made it to Denver yesterday with the MacBook Pro, which is operational if not fully well. Friday (recall that I don't work on Fridays....) I was in the office until 8:30 pm, mostly spent wrestling with the computer.

The saga: after the overnight effort, I had a disk image of the hard disk with the problem...and with all my data and applications. I did a system re-install but that didn't fix the problem--the startup process hung before getting to the login screen. I'd had consultations and hand-holding via IM with [ profile] kd5mdk (thanks again!), but he was away at this point. I called the Apple enterprise support folks again and was told that the next thing to try was to erase the hard disk, then install a clean system. After that I could move stuff (i thought this guy told me both data and applications) from the disk image, and see what I had.

So, I erased the disk and installed a new system, then contemplated my situation. It was mid-afternoon, I had to leave for Denver Saturday, and I really needed the computer with some fairly complicated software pieces, not all of which I had to hand for new installations. I decided I really wanted to try to use Migration Assistant to move substantial parts of my old account over, and I made one more call to Apple and got a different support guy who felt I could only move documents from the damaged disk image--MA would be right out. [ profile] kd5mdk (consulted for a third opinion) agreed that was the best procedure, but that if I wanted to try using Migration Assistant it *might* work, or I might go a step too far and have to repeat the disk erase and re-install.

I took a deep breath and did it--used MA to move Documents and Applications from my old account, and crossed my fingers as I re-started the computer. And it booted! Rather slowly, and shut downs are slow, so I desperately need to do a new set up properly when I'm home--clean install again, then do the software installs one at a time and discard the accumulated detritus from years of using the Powerbook G4. I still had to work on the VPN installation, and had to re-install AFS from scratch, but the rest of my critical applications are running.

I must mention the yeoman job the iPad did as my chat platform with [ profile] kd5mdk. Office nannyware blocks all Web chats, the old IM installation I used to have on my Windows box got cleaned off a while back (and I wasn't using it anyway), and if there's a way to make Lotus Sametime talk to other chat systems through our firewalls I don't know about it. The iPad G3 connection avoids the nannyware nicely.
nlbarber: (Default)
I'm in a real crunch these days, crunched between too much work for the time available, stuff to deal with for my father's estate, time lost to doctor's appointments for the continuing ankle problems, and some efforts to keep the house and yard from total entropy. This week is worse than ever, with the Monday holiday, and the need to complete stuff before I leave for Denver Saturday for the next database test.

Harried.... )

....and then the disaster. I didn't think Macs crashed this hard any more... )
All that wiped out my planned afternoon of work on files I desperately need to hand off to a co-worker before I go to Denver, so I'll go in tomorrow on my day off and try to both fix the laptop and get my spreadsheets together for S. I suspect it won't be possible to get it all done...
nlbarber: (Default)
iMac: has arrived at the FedEx sorting center in Atlanta after its cross-country drive from California. Delivery is on for tomorrow.
iPad: order status shows "Prepared for shipment". According to the rumors, that means it will also be delivered tomorrow. Sometime tonight (they say) the status will go to shipped, with overnight delivery. [fingers crossed]
[added at 9:15 pm] I have a shipping notice! "Estimated delivery Apr 30, 2010 by 3:00 PM"
nlbarber: (Default)
The new toys have been ordered. The iPad, the work laptop, and a 27" iMac are all in process, along with a few related toys. Pent-up demand, me? The last serious electronic toy was the iPod Touch, now about a year and a half old. My iMac G4 (the lamp model) dates from 2002, an eternity in computer years. The work PowerBook G4 is newer--made in 2005, might have been purchased in 2006.

Now, the waiting. The work laptop, as previously reported, was ordered, returned, and a newer model ordered. I have no tracking info on this process, all handled by our computer section. Probably just as well, lest my head explode.

I ordered the new iMac last Thursday with extra memory, which delays the shipping. It left California Monday and should be delivered Friday. The all-in-one printer and an Airport Extreme were delivered yesterday, but I've left them boxed up while trying to clear part of my desk and plan the re-arrangement of cords. Oh, and I got a *real* UPS locally, long a deficiency of my home setup.

The iPad was ordered after Tax Day stress, but is the model promised to ship at "the end of April". MacRumors reports that orders placed before April 18 will be delivered Friday, so I should get mine then. I'd like to get it set up and take it on my trip to Columbus, OH the first part of next week.

As you might guess, I'm not leaving the house Friday until FedEx gets here!
nlbarber: (Default)
1. My iPad fever has been growing with the constant reviews, comments, and links I get in a newsfeed from TUAW. I knew I was going to get one, and realistically I wasn't going to wait for a second generation of hardware...though I am holding out for 3G.

Came in from the tax-mailing excursion, opened the mail, and found the Apple gift cards from the broker's promotion. That did it. My 64 GB iPad 3G is ordered, so I should get one in the first round of 3Gs at the end of the month.

2. My work laptop (a PowerBook G4, not with an Intel chip) was due for replacement, and I kept delaying in hopes Apple would announce a refresh of the MacBook Pro line. Finally gave up in the face of severely tightening budgets at work, and ordered one lest I get nothing. It arrived Monday, and Tuesday Apple announced the MBP updates. But the laptop was still in its shipping box in the computer section chief's office, so I got her to check if it could be returned. Yep! We pay the shipping, but I'll get one of the new models...cheaper than the other model even considering the return shipping.

3. Next up will be an iMac to replace my old home desktop--a "lamp" iMac. Must finalize what I want and all the peripherals: a new Airport Extreme, a network printer, maybe a network drive to share the music and photos between devices. It's the peripherals that need the research...I'm mostly set on the iMac itself.


Apr. 8th, 2010 11:28 pm
nlbarber: (Default)
Good timing, for once.

My discount broker, TD Ameritrade, has periodic offers for people who add new assets either to their existing account or to a new one. Most of these promotions are not all that attractive to me, and I'm not often going to be moving money or stock around, anyway. Then came an email in February: move in assets, and get Apple or iTunes gift cards (three different levels, depending on the size of your deposit) or an iMac or Mac Book Pro if you move even more. *Apple fangirl squee* And the other bit of timing? We're moving money around as we work on settling my father's estate.

So: younger brother and I each qualified for the maximum amount of gift cards (I'm thinking iPad for mine), and the estate account got a free computer.

The Apple promotion ended March 31, and Tuesday I got an email for their new offer: golf clubs. I'm sure they are very nice golf clubs, but I haven't played golf since summer camp, ca. 1967.
nlbarber: (Default)
The ag. show is over, after a last day that unusually stayed busy through most of the afternoon. I didn't start packing up stuff until after 3, when the official close is at 4. Some years, I've started packing before 2 because no one was stopping at the booth. Good week overall, but I'm glad it's done.

exhibit teardown, dinner, and tales of woe on electronics )

I'll drive back to Atlanta tomorrow morning after Daddy and I tackle another one or two of the items on his to-do list. I'm hoping for a smooth trip with no mechanical breakdowns. I think I'm due...
nlbarber: (Default)
This morning was my twice-a-year visit to my internist for blood work--check the cholesterol, the thyroid (both being treated with medication), and liver function (because of the cholesterol medicine). I also mentioned again that the tailbone pain from last August (that started sometime in February 2007, but I didn't get in to the doctor until August) was still present. Better, perhaps, after taking extra aspirin for inflammation and sitting on pillows to keep pressure off it, but still there. He's referred me to a non-surgeon orthopedist, perhaps headed for a cortisone injection to see if that helps. Yikes! Googled the orthopedist, and find that he is actually a Physiatrist--new term for me. Double yikes! His practice has a YouTube video of their doctors and staff. [shakes head] What's the world coming to?

But that wasn't really the interesting part of the visit. Since my last visit, this clinic has made big strides in converting to electronic medical records. More on the system... ) I suggested that the next wave of doctors wouldn't make any notes with pen and paper, but he's skeptical...but then, he graduated from medical school in 1965. His habits are pretty well set. <g>
nlbarber: (Default)
Every year, every Federal employee has to take an "information systems security awareness" training class. DOI does this with online courses, which is great--take it when you want, self paced, pass the little 'mastery tests', and print the certificate when you're done as proof.

Except: they keep changing the system, and therefore things never go smoothly. Last year we had "DOI University" as the training system. This year, it's "DOI Learn", with a new login, new listings, new interface, etc.

I got a user ID and password, work through the course (I actually read it! I promise! Most people jump straight to the tests and do just fine), and pass all the tests with flying colors. About 45 minutes elapsed time, I think. But when I try to click on the "Quit" button to exit the class and get to the certificate part, it gives an error. Repeatedly.

Turns out that Javascript or VM must be running for this last step to work. Our PCs are configured by the computer section who apparently aren't consistent about Javascript, so some people can get this to work and others can't. I ended up moving to my Mac, going through the tests again, and getting my course credit.

The security awareness training material, of course, warns you not to run Javascript.
nlbarber: (Default)
Yesterday I tried a search on the Quicken support pages, and got an error: "This service is temporarily unavailable. We are working to restore service as soon as possible and apologize for any inconvenience." Twice, several hours apart. Then while doing some poking around in the FAQs (which, of course, did not answer my question) I got a request to login. I did so, got told that they thought I owned Quicken 2003 for the Mac which was not supported, and went through the registration process to show that I, in fact, have Quicken 2005. Ooo la la, the search function no longer gave me the error message!

So today I needed to do another search, and I got the same message. Found a login prompt and logged in, and was told they thought I owned Quicken 2001 for the Mac, and was that right? I first changed my email from an old Mediaone account (dead several years, at least), then re-registered. Tried logging in again, and the Mediaoone address was still there. Tried browsing around some, got bounced to the Intuit site (Not The Same), and there had to pick between the new email address I'd given them and a different old one--Intuit only wants you to have one. Quicken's Web site doesn't seem to care...or perhaps can't tell.

Golly gee, all this and I still haven't gotten an answer to my question...but at least the search function is working again.
nlbarber: (Default)
I set out to buy TurboTax 2005 today, in the hopes that I would at least start my taxes as I got ready to pay my 4th quarter estimated tax. In the ideal world, I'd get far enough along with the return to see if I really need to make that 4th quarter payment.

Found the TurboTax display at Office Depot, noted that the Mac and PC products are now packaged together on a hybrid CD, and took a quick look at the package. And found the big problem, from my viewpoint: TurboTax has dropped their rebate for online filing. Later research found the ostensible reason on their Web site: people don't send in for the rebate, so they dropped it. (But didn't lower the price of the product, IIRC.) Having gone through their rebate procedure many times, I certainly can understand why people don't do it...

I will strongly consider reverting to paper filing because of this change--I've always felt that the IRS should be subsidizing online filing because of the savings it gives them, and my expression of protest is to refuse to pay the third-party filing fees. I don't see why I should pay extra to save the IRS money, and as I don't generally get a refund, there's no incentive there either.

TurboTax is the only game in town for the Mac this year. TaxCut has dropped their Mac version, and recommends that Mac users go to their Web version--not an option for my fairly complicated taxes. Boo on Intuit!


Jun. 22nd, 2005 10:26 pm
nlbarber: (Default)
The new laptop is working well--the migration tool seems to have successfully moved almost everything, though I'm still figuring out a few places where I have to say "it's OK to use those old keychain items" so that the stored passwords and such get used.

It looks very little different from my old one--metallic-look keys instead of black, case is a little more rounded, and all the ports moved from the back under a little flip-down cover to the two sides with no covers. It does look a little messier to have the USB, Ethernet, and power cables sticking out the sides, but so far it's not a problem.

Anyway, I was really impressed with the migration tool. It moved user accounts, files, software, and all and with very few glitches (at least, very few that have shown up as yet). Even moved the "government warning" message on the login screen. Now if OpenAFS will just come out with a version for Tiger, the old laptop can be honorably decommissioned.

New laptop

Jun. 21st, 2005 09:01 pm
nlbarber: (Default)
The new laptop is here! Last night FedEx still showed the last scan of the package as Shanghai, but when I got to the office it was waiting.

backups and moving files ) When I left at 5, the two laptops were communing over Firewire. In the morning I'll start to see how the migration worked out.

Meanwhile, I'm stuck with Web mail ('cause I didnt' think to sync my Eudora files with the iMac last night) and severely out-of-date newsgroup settings. Must start regular sync of that sort of stuff at home, once I get the office backups going.
nlbarber: (Default)
The Apple rep did call back, and placed the order for me. Supposedly the new amount will get charged and then a refund of the difference will be processed. And the laptop should ship in 1-3 days, which is good, because the current one has a dark band across part of the screen tonight.

Forgot the mention the wireless fun. Wireless is verboten--don't know if this is government wide, or just the Dept. of the Interior, but it's regarded as a security risk and therefore we aren't supposed to have it. But these days, most laptops come with wireless, and the PowerBook is no exception. So, it seems it's OK to get it, we're just not supposed to use it. But if you have a wireless network at home, it's sort of "don't ask, don't tell". Using a wireless connection in a hotel is probably out.
nlbarber: (Default)
My work laptop has been showing signs of impending failure, but I've been procrastinating about requesting a new one. Last week in Denver it gave me yet another scare, so I talked to my supervisor and got permission to go ahead. However, Government Purchasing Is Not A Simple Process in any case, and here is complicated by the fact that I want a Mac (replacing the current one), not the "corporate solution" IBM with Windows XP. what I want, Apple price changes, more fun with gov't purchasing )

So I wait. It will take at least 24 hours to get an answer from Finance at Apple, so I'll hold off on my order until I hear back. Meanwhile, I get a message that OpenAFS is not yet compatible with Tiger, so the old laptop will need to hang on for my Web work at least until that gets fixed--the new laptop will ship with Tiger, of course.
nlbarber: (Default)
At midnight, I had gone through all the Federal and state bits once in TurboTax, which had told me I owed lots of money to each, plus a $76 penalty to the Feds and $48 to the state for underpayment. At that point, $76 sounded pretty cheap to be done, though the extra $48 made me waver. Anyway, I quit for the night.

This morning, it really seemed like a couple of hours would let me check over everything, do the annualized income bit for form 2210 that often gets me out of the penalty, and then I'd be done. And I'd taken the precaution of telling my supervisor that I might not make it in today, and I brought home the info I needed for a conference call this afternoon.

The Federal part didn't really take too much longer than my estimate, not counting the time it took to put TurboTax on the laptop because the iMac, which hasn't been upgraded to Panther yet, can no longer see the printer that's hooked to the laptop. And I reduced the penalty to $36, which doesn't cover my salary for the 2 hours, but it's the principle of the thing that counts. But I then spent more than 4 hours wrestling with the Georgia underpayment form which is mostly not automated in TurboTax. I calculated one set of number for one possible penalty exemption, only to discover I'd done it wrong. Went to the Web and downloaded the full instructions, recalculated, and was told the penalty had jumped from $48 to $87. I took a quick look at the other penalty exemption, decided it was going to take even more time, deleted all the numbers from the form, and took the default penalty. Grrr.

Well, the envelopes have been delivered to the Post Office and hand-canceled, and I'll wait to see if the e-filing comes back with any problems before filling out the forms to get all the rebates back from Intuit. So, I'm done, kind of, unless something bounces, or the IRS finds the 3 numbers (totalling $4) that I omitted to avoid filling out 4 or more additional forms, or.... Double grrr.


Feb. 14th, 2004 08:14 pm
nlbarber: (Default)

On the iMac, a group of pifflers are chatting in AIM, in a window on top of the game of Snood that got interrupted when I got the chat invitation. Very multi-national--an Australian member was there for a while before leaving for Sunday brunch, a Brit appeared after getting home from the pub, and the U.S. and Canadians are variously coming and going to and from dinner. Discussion, as usual, is on food, with the added bits on diets, as several of us are on one.

Over on the laptop, I've got my livejournal client up (obviously), and just figured out how to upload a picture. It's the current cats: Fish and Agatha. This is on top of the Quicken accounts that I was reconciling this afternoon and need to finish, and the backlog of email. I did get caught up on Lois-Bujold, though. Not much happening on the newsgroups tonight--maybe Valentine's Day is slowing the traffic.

Tomorrow is the three-hour JazzerThon to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. I'm car-pooling with some other from my center, and that means leaving at 11:30 for an event that doesn't start until 2. (Well, the doors open at 1, but the Jazzercising doesn't start until 2.) Must plan what to do about eating, so as not to wreck the diet and yet stay fueled for the afternoon.


nlbarber: (Default)

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