April 29, 2013

And another Google Reader Alternative

In the comments to an earlier post, VW points out that Newsblur is no longer free.  I had started to check it out back when Google made their fateful announcement about closing down Reader.  

Never got much farther with it because I don't use a feed reader any more.  Too many other things going on which means I never check it.  

However, if you are still looking for an  alternative, try Feedly. They have a Firefox plug in, also an idevice app and an android app.  So far as I can tell, it's free.  Of course this means it may just go away in the future, but it is available now.  

Check it out and see what you think. 

Happy reading! 

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 08:29 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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April 23, 2013

Forget the music

It's "the day the water heater died".  No one gives two hoots about music if you can't have hot water.  Seriously. 

This morning I made my usual trip to the basement office. I had planned to check the mail, do a couple of quick little things, and go get coffee.  

Best laid plans and all that...

Got to the bottom of the stairs, stepped on the carpet and it went : SQUISH.

Hmmmm... not supposed to do that. Panic moment ensues.  Last time this happened, the sewer line had collapsed and water was backing up through the drains.  So not good. 

A quick check of the bathroom showed there was no water backing up and no sign that water had been there.  The only other place water can come from is the hot water heater.  

Oh yeah.  Open the door to the utility room and there is a small lake. 

In all honesty I wanted to close the door, go get coffee and THEN think about it. But, it wasn't going to get fixed by itself and no one else (aka my husband) knew about this.  Therefore no one else (aka my husband) could call someone to come fix it. 

So, I called the oil company (it's an oil burning water heater). Then called my husband.  Bless the oil company - they sent someone right out.  He took one look and said, "New tank needed."  In the meantime my husband took off from work and came home to help me sop up water. 

About 2 hours later they were back with the new heater and ready to install.  Since the room with the water heater is in about the worst possible place, they had to drag the new one through 2 rooms  and over carpets and drag the old one out the same way.  

It took about an hour and a half, but they got the new one in and we were set.  The carpet was a mess. There are now a couple of places were the wood work got knicked.  But we have hot water.  

I'll take it. 

Tonight we have scrubbed carpets and fans running to dry things out.  I wish it was warm enough to have windows open, because I still smell oil.  I'll open them tomorrow even if it's snowing so I can get fresh air in this place. 

In the meantime I'll read a book, sleep a while, and then get up to take a shower. 

That works.  Life is good. 

Posted by: Teresa in Ho-Hum at 09:50 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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April 22, 2013

Calling all Security Nerds

Verizon just published their annual Data Breach Investigation Report. This is the report computer security geeks wait for every year. Verizon creates it and then posts it for all the world. That earns them huge kudos in the pay it forward realm.

Dark Reading has a quick overview of what can be found in the report itself.

The actual report can be found here. It's a pdf. And the numbers are fascinating.... things like

"97% of breaches were avoidable through simple or intermediate controls."

That's an astounding statistic! Well, except for the fact that most everyone thinks they are immune to data breaches. The "it will never happen to me" seems to be ingrained in people, until it does happen to them.

I would say, at least read through the stats at the beginning. Stats are not my strong suit but these are presented well. If you are the owner of a company and think you are immune, I hope this will convince you to take further precautions. If you are an employee of a company, perhaps you will cut your computer security people some slack. They have a very tough job and no one likes helping them at all.

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 07:28 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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Debugging the iPhone

Ah me.  Over the last weekend my phone decided to have some issues.  It is irritating enough that I have gone into full debug mode to pinpoint problem, if I can.  

At home I use wifi for my internet  connection, no point using the data plan when I don't need to. I have a mini-tower for the cell connection because we are in a sucky cell reception area.  Since I don't receive many calls and only a limited number of text messages, I'm not exactly sure when the cell data cuts out on me... before or after I leave the house.  

At some point in time,  I completely lose cell data connection.  No calls, no data until I reboot.  When I have a wifi connection I don't know there is a problem because the apps all work that connect to the internet (app.net, twitter, fb, safari) . It isn't until I leave the house and get the dreaded "no network connection" errors when the problem becomes apparent. 

What could cause this?  Here is a minor and incomplete list: 
- bad cell phone radio
- current cell phone 4G radio doesn't like to play nice with mini-tower radio which is 3G
- icloud (something I would not have thought of prior to listening to this podcast from Mac Geek Gab (MGG 445))
- iOS updates (unlikely since I haven't done one lately)  
- an app that is causing a conflict with the cell/data stream (unlikely but possible) 
- an app update conflicting with iOS - (not likely but certainly possible)
- the bluetooth radio not playing nice with the cell radio.  (I use bluetooth but turn it on and off as needed to save battery)

Today I did a complete restore of the phone.  With the restore done, I will be running on the cell data network with wifi off to see if I lose connection at home.   Next up I'll turn off icloud and see if that changes anything. Then anything else I can scrounge up by reading online. My last resort I'll be taking it to the Verizon store to see what they might be able to do for me.  

It will be interesting to see what happens. At the moment I suspect the problem occurs when I leave the house and the mini-tower connection. It appears as if the LTE connection does not pick up like it should. I get bars, I even get the LTE letters, but there is no data.  Turning "airplane mode" on and off does nothing.  A reboot of the device is necessary to restore the connection.  Yeah, annoying.    

Stay tuned if you are interested.  If I figure it out I will post results. 

Posted by: Teresa in Ho-Hum at 12:18 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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April 18, 2013

When the crowd sings

Probably the best rendition of the National Anthem ever. Boston's TD Garden for the Bruin's game. Rene Rancourt, who is generally a bit too over the top for me, does the most incredible thing. He starts the anthem and then lets the 17,000+ crowd finish it. Not a dry eye in the house.

I tried to embed the video, but it doesn't like my blog platform apparently. So hit the link above to go see it.
This is the best of the videos out there as it is from the beginning and shows the Fire Department Color Guard walking out.

Also touching was seeing Bruin's Defensive man, Shawn Thornton, a Canadian, singing along.

Posted by: Teresa in FUN at 10:39 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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April 16, 2013

And back to tech...

There was a major java patch released today.  If you have java on your computer, do go get it patched up.  

Thank you! 

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 08:30 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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April 15, 2013

A Heartbreaking Day

A marathon, many people out enjoying the day. Then bombs. It doesn't get much worse. Too many injured and certainly too many dead. (even one death is too many).

My prayers go out to the families and friends of those who were injured and to those who rushed in to help. All will be effected forever by this day.

I will be staying off the internet and social media like twitter because of the incredible amount of crazy stuff that starts spewing forth. Even those supposedly with editors and that all important vaunted "control over content" the news media insists is good... Here's a perfect example. I posted this on facebook earlier:

Why I don't pay much attention to the news of a disaster the first day... or maybe even the second day. 

Headline tonight from the WSJ at 8:38pm:

Five More Explosive Devices Found in Boston, Counterterrorism Officials Say

Then at 9:40pm also from the WSJ:

Law-Enforcement Official Says Suspect Devices May Not Be Bombs

Alrighty then. That certainly settles things doesn't it. Sheesh. I hate news people in a frenzy. And no, I deliberately did not link either story since I see no point... it will all change again in an hour or so.

Posted by: Teresa in Current Affairs at 10:16 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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April 11, 2013

The Sad Saga of the Computer

After having a work network meltdown happen at the same time my work computer decided to develop a fatal flaw in the hard drive and completely crash, I finally managed to dig out from under all the mess. Things are back up and running again. Whew.

Being as I am conscientious, I had 2 sets of backup disks for my work computer... for all the good it did me. 

Microsoft can suck it. I tried to restore Windows 7 from my backup disks to a new SSD (that is a Solid State Drive). I wasn't able to clone the old hard drive because of the humongous flaw. I was getting "broken pipe" messages every time I tried. 

How stupid of me to want to get a smaller, significantly faster, hard drive. What was I thinking! Windows believes I should stick with huge, slow hard drives, even if I don't need them. 


Windows won't restore my valid paid for OS to the new drive because it's smaller than the original drive.

Therefore, I installed Ubuntu. I won't go with Windows again unless pushed to it. Ubuntu is working beautifully. 

However, I am still pissed off that I couldn't restore the basic OS to the new drive.  I paid for it!

The bastards.

Posted by: Teresa in FUN at 08:57 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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April 09, 2013

Patchy Patchy

It's Patch Tuesday people... Windows patches released today along with Adobe Flash and Shockwave patches. If you run a Windows machine, get 'em while they're hot.

I'd be patching but my Windows are broken. I have an OEM on order, but it's not here yet. More on that when I have the time to rant.

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 03:53 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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April 08, 2013


Last night I heard frogs croaking for the first time this season.  Maybe Spring really is here.  We'll see.  There is still snow in my front yard.  Not much but some. 

I'm ready for warm weather.

Posted by: Teresa in FUN at 09:59 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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