February 21, 2013

Whew what a week

Not only did I get this year's cold which turned into an annoying "post viral" cough, I've been working like mad at work because we got a new internet line put in. This means lots of reconfiguration of various things and many late nights working on stuff so it doesn't cause problems during the day.   

There has been much hair tearing as I tried to figure out how to set up reverse DNS for this line (not sure why the provider isn't doing it, but so it is).  Finally got that one cracked after lots of reading along with trial and error (mostly error).  Once that was done, there were a number of other things that had to follow, but that was the prime stumbling block.  Glad it's figured out.

This means I haven't had time to take any pictures which is rather annoying.  But this weekend I hope to remedy the situation. 

It's time for the "Grand Midwest Tour".  Right now it looks as if the snow will be staying south (which works in my favor).  I will be headed to Chicago for a couple of nights to hang out with the kids.  Celebrating that my son got his official notice he graduated Summa Cum Laude, which is very cool. 

Then off to my friend Richmond's place for the Academy Awards party - always a fantastic time.

Then down to St. Louis for a couple of days to see my mom and sister before heading back home. 

It will be non-stop fun and games.  I'm just hoping the travel gods are in a good mood.  We'll see.

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February 16, 2013

And then there was Flickr

After writing the last post, I started poking around on my Flickr site.   I have been dual posting to Flickr from Posterous all along (it's that thing I have about  "backing up" stuff).

All of my Posterous photos have gone to Flickr too along with the captions which is a very nice thing.  Therefore, I've decided to switch to Flickr and use it as I was using Posterous.

The one drawback... I can't find a way to change the background color on the main photostream page.  I wish I could change it to a dark color since photos look much better on a dark background (for the most part).  But, that's a small thing. 

I have created a badge for my sidebar.  Clicking any of the photos takes you directly to that photo.  Clicking the name link above takes you to the photostream.  I think this works for now. 

I already have the iphone app so I can post photos using that.  If that doesn't work for me, I can try using email posting (another feature they allow).  It will be trial and error at first.  Should be fun.

Now all I need to do is take some photos to  test the upload options.

Posted by: Teresa in FUN at 01:53 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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A Sad Demise

It's been a long week. Lots of stuff going on and I haven't had time to post anything here. I still have some work to do this weekend, but at least things are mostly slowing down which is good.

The one thing I didn't need to hear at the end of the week...

Posterous Will Shut Down On April 30th, Co-Founder Garry Tan Launches Posthaven To Save Your Sites

Oh how jolly. I was afraid this would happen when Twitter bought Posterous last year. I guess it has survived longer than I expected.

The one thing I'm happy about is that I posted few if any photos directly from a Posterous link. I think I mostly said - just go see my Posterous site. So my archived posts here are probably okay... but if not, oh well.  I don't have time to go digging through back posts to see what I did.

I'll leave the link to my Posterous site until April 30. I'm still trying to decide what I want to do next. I may just stick with Instagram and leave it at that. I don't know. The reason I liked Posterous is that it was much nicer for looking at photos. Instagram shows a whole bunch at once and you have to click for a larger version. I do have most all the photos from Posterous on Instagram and Flickr though, so technically I haven't lost anything just a viewing platform I liked.

There is Tumblr, but I don't know if I want to go that route again. I figure if I start a Tumblr site, I'll end up having to pull it down after a year because it got bought and now they are closing it.

The guys who built Posterous are starting another site called Posthaven. It will be a pay for site. And they claim:

Our pledge to you...
  • We'll never be acquired.
  • We'll always keep your URLs online.
  • We'll always keep it the best place to post.

Now granted they never made any such promises with Posterous, but it rather annoys me that they built Posterous, sold it off and got lots of money and now they want me to move to their new site and pay them... I'm not so keen on such a move. 

I know, I know, I suppose they would never have survived if they tried to start up the original site and made it a pay-for site.  But still, I find it irritating for some reason.  Thus I'm not inclined to move to their new venture. 

So that's what I'll be thinking about this weekend.  I still haven't decided what I'll do. I am making a backup of the site there and I won't be posting anything more at Posterous. 

Online stuff - it's always there until it isn't.  Ha.

Posted by: Teresa in Ho-Hum at 11:31 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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February 11, 2013

UPnP a little too Universal

UPNP aka Universal Plug-n-Play  maybe you've heard of it, maybe you haven't.  It's been around for a long time and is supposed to make things easy when it comes to devices talking to each other on networks. 

The problem is, easy is usually the same as leaving the front door wide open for anyone to stroll in and take your stuff.

When I buy a router for my house, one of the first things I do when I set it up is to turn off UPnP.   I am not a gamer and I have no reason for it to be running in my little world.  If I help anyone set up a router, I walk them through turning it off.  It's just better that way.  Far fewer problems when you turn stuff off you never use.

Last week while I was buried under a work firewall spring cleaning and a little bit of snow, Rapid 7 (a computer security company) released a paper saying there were even more severe flaws in UPnP than we have seen to date.  There was a buzz about this in headlines, but I didn't have time to look at it. 

After much shoutiness, the UPnP forum responded along the lines of:  well, it's old stuff and not being used as intended. 

I would say there is much in the world of computers that is not being used as intended.  Either because people don't know how to use it or they do know and they want things to work their way.  That's the world. 

So what does this mean to you? The answer is, It depends.  Are you a gamer? You may be well informed on UPnP and how to use it properly. Do you have no idea what this is? Your system may have UPnP active without your knowledge. 

No matter where you fall on the scale,  there are a few things you might want to consider doing. 

1. Nothing. This is always an option. It leaves you no better or worse than before.

2. Log into your router and check to be sure UPnP is disabled if you don't use it.

3. Along these same lines, if you log into your router, check for any firmware updates and apply them.  Almost no one does this because almost no one knows you should do this.  I have a calendar reminder once a month to log into my router and check for updates.  Most of the time there are none.

4. Head over to grc.com, scroll down the home page, and (at the moment) the second item is the new Shield's Up! test for UPnP.  It will tell you very quickly if you have a problem or if you're okay. From there, if you have a problem, you will need to figure out how to fix it on your router. 

5. GRC's port scanner is easy to use and is on the same page as the UPnP test. I don't go all out for everything on the site, but this one thing is very convenient and can give you a heads up if there is something you should be aware of.

It's worth a few minutes to make sure you aren't doing any unintended broadcasting to the internet.  So check out your router.

Happy browsing.

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 12:01 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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February 09, 2013

Snowpocalyps is in the books

For pics head over to my Posterous site since I'm too lazy to repost here.

We didn't lose power, got about 2ft of snow which has drifted like mad so it's almost 4 ft in some places. My husband has been out plowing our driveway. It will be upward of 2 hours for him to finish it. 

I found via my twitter feed that we are under a driving ban until 4pm today. I knew it started yesterday but didn't realize it went so late.  I'm just hoping our driveway is clear by 4pm... wasn't even thinking of going anywhere. 

We still have coffee, wine, and food, so all is good.

Posted by: Teresa in FUN at 03:12 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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February 08, 2013

Not much

So far not much snow... about 5 inches maybe (the pic was from earlier and it's still snowing).

NECN weather says just wait... later tonight when things will really pick up. We'll see. They still put us in the 2ft + area. Hmmm...

Mind you I would be quite happy if they were wrong. Just sayin'...

Posted by: Teresa in FUN at 06:44 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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February 06, 2013

The Weather Geeks are in Heaven

If you haven't heard, there is apparently a big snowstorm headed this way.  Below the fold is the text from the NWS.  They have gotten very verbose with this one.  You might even say animated. 


Posted by: Teresa in FUN at 11:16 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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February 04, 2013

Talking over typing

One of the reasons I wanted to upgrade to the iphone 5 was for the voice to text options.  Well and Siri...

There are 2 types of voice recognition on my iphone 5.  With Siri you either press and hold the main button or you can set it so you raise to talk.  Then you can do many things using Siri.

To make lists or use some other apps that allow typing, there is a microphone appearing next to the space bar - click on that and it allows dictation. 

Both of these features assume you have an internet connection. 

I'm not sure if this is an iOS6 thing, since I paid about zero attention, but I don't remember seeing the little microphone on the keyboard next to the spacebar when I had my iphone 4.  It does take up a little bit of space and I keep worrying I'll hit it while typing.  So I think I would have seen it on my other phone, but you never know, I miss many things. 

Being rather slow and dense when it comes to these dead simple things, it took me a little bit of time to figure out how the "voice to text" thing worked.  Prior to this, I had only used the Dragon dictate app (which I really didn't use much  since it was a separate app and I'm too lazy to copy/paste).  With that one, the words are typed out as you speak. 

With "voice to text", you activate the microphone, say what you want to say, click "done" THEN it appears.  D'oh!!!  I kept waiting for words to show up... when they didn't I was a bit stumped.  I was trying to use the feature to create my grocery list on Sunday morning.

Of course it was Sunday morning and I hadn't had coffee yet... I figure that is a good enough excuse.

Eventually I did hit the "done" button and, in this particular case, the words: chicken chicken chicken, appeared because I said it 3 times trying to get it to work. 

OTOH, once I figured it out, it took me about 5 minutes to create an entire grocery list.  That is just awesome! 


My other D'oh!!!  moment was when I tried to give Siri a reminder having to do with Starbucks.  Just to see if it would work. 

Siri kept telling me she didn't understand which was very perplexing.  Passport knows the address of my local Starbucks shouldn't Siri???  Turns out, Passport got it from the Starbucks app. I had added the address there ages ago.   I didn't have the address in my Contacts list, so Siri didn't know what I was talking about. 

Now my contacts list has the grocery store, Starbucks, Walgreens, Target, and the Pilates studio.  All are places I go and all are places I can now use in relation to reminders to do things.


Oh and Siri is really awesome at doing timers!  Now when I need a timer for food, I tell Siri, "set a timer for XX number of minutes".  So much more fun than punching it into the microwave timer.  (the timer thing on the stove really sucks and I don't want to use one of the old crank up white timers)

All in all I am very happy with the voice recognition and Siri.  I need to do more reading to see what else I can get this phone to do.

Posted by: Teresa in FUN at 09:12 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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February 03, 2013

New, shiny, broken

Last Monday was the big day... the day I was eligible to get a new, shiny iphone 5.  The problem was, I didn't have time to get to the store on Monday.  That means Tuesday was new iphone day!  Yay!!!!  The crowd roars!!!

Well, kinda.

I did get a new iphone.  It was all very exciting.  Then I got it home... 

Immediately the little niggling problems started.  They weren't bad enough to make it a complete #fail, but they were bad enough to absorb a major portion of my attention for the entire week.

It was a problem of connection.  I'm pretty sure it was a bad cell radio in the phone.  It worked, after a fashion... somewhat... maybe.

I use a minitower at my house for cell coverage.  Every time I left the house or came home, I had to restart the phone in order for it to connect properly.  I mean a full shut down and restart.  I tried doing "airplane" mode to see if that would work, it didn't. 

Phone calls, voicemail, text messages, app notifications were all about a 50-50 shot as to whether I would get them or not. 

I kept testing and rebooting and testing and rebooting... maybe this time it will work... and once in a while it did. 

Therein lies the problem. 

An outright failure is easy.  It's dead, it doesn't work.  Simple.  A flaky "in and out" connection... not so easy.  I'm sure I rebooted that phone more often in one week than I did in an entire year with my iphone 4.  Sheesh.

I finally took it back to the Verizon store on Saturday.  They gave me a new sim card in hopes that this would solve it.  Apparently there are flaky sim cards that will cause these issues. I was really hoping that would work because it would be so easy. 

Right - like easy ever happens.  Ha.

Went out to dinner on Saturday night... had 4 bars of connection... but had to reboot the damned thing to get it to connect to the internet.  I call that a huge #fail.  Also no app notifications.  *sigh*

Today I took the phone back again and they exchanged it.  The new phone works.  It does everything it's supposed to do without needing extra care and feeding and it doesn't lose internet connectivity.  It texts, sends voicemails, all of it, no complaints (or silence as the case may be)

After a week with a flaky phone, I have one that works. 

It will take me a couple of days to get everything set up again.  I do have most of it logged back in, but I know I've forgotten a few things. 

In the meantime, I'm very happy to have a phone that does what it's supposed to do.  Maybe this week I can concentrate on other stuff.  Whew.

Posted by: Teresa in Ho-Hum at 11:50 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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February 02, 2013

Twittery Thing...

If you have a twitter account, listen up!

Hackers apparently gained some access to the twitter database.  Twitter says it contacted about 250,000 users and told them their passwords needed to be changed. 

I figure if you use the service, this would be the time to change your own password, just to be on the safe side.

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 09:54 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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