Thursday, December 28, 2006

From my button collection.

Yesterday the phone was dead. (It may have been out before yesterday, but we weren't here.) The DSL continued to work until yesterday afternoon, but then it went out too. I did everything possible in the house, disconnecting and reconnecting phones, and Bob checked the box outside, but we had no luck. So Verizon arrived today at 9 am and they restored the service at about 12:30. There was a problem in the wire a few streets away. After the phone was working, I had to spend another hour talking to a representative from Verizon DSL to get that running again, and then about another half hour on my own, getting the router figured out (although I didn't have to call Netgear). But now I am back in business.

What to do without the Internet? Yesterday I made a pot of homemade tomato sauce, and eggplant parmesan. I suppose I used to accomplish a lot more things like that in the pre-wired days. Speaking of wires, my nephew's roommate is throwing out a perfectly good computer - so my nephew has taken it for my mother. It will be a big improvement over what she has now, and I am hoping that it will help me to get the wireless working there. Goodbye Windows ME!

Christmas was good, if tiring. We went to Samsonville on Saturday, made a round trip to Long Island on Christmas Eve, got back just in time to go to midnight mass, had dinner at my sister's on Christmas, and came back to Castleton on Tuesday evening.

Anyway, the computer glitches prevented me from posting what I wanted yesterday; so they appear on the post above this one.
Thursday Threesome
::Happy New Year!::

Onesome: Happy--New Year to you and yours! ...any plans for this weekend? Dick Clark? Guy Lombardo? Early to bed?

Going to Samsonville Saturday/Sunday (more computer tinkering); then coming back to Castleton. New Year's Eve will be spent at my nephew's.

Twosome: New--year, old year. Is this the year you take up skiing? ...or knitting? ...or vacuuming every other day ? Do you have any major project you'd like to tackle? (Sure, 'resolutions' count...)

Hoeing out the third floor and working on my Mimmie book top the list. Maybe taking up the treadmill, again! We'll see how far I get.

Threesome: Year--end chores? Do the lights and decorations come down this weekend? ...or are you already "done with Christmas"?

What? No way. The tree goes up shortly before Christmas (much later than most people's), and stays up until it is just a stick with no needles.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Thursday Threesome
::Plenty of time::

Onesome: Plenty-- of time, take a deep breath. Overnight/Saturday delivery could work for you... So could a trip a few hundred miles away if you're into shopping on Sunday! How are you doing? Do you have it together?

As far as the holidays go, yes, I have it together. But my focus is really on 12/26 at 11:59 pm...that's the deadline for grades.

Twosome: of-- all the states, I'm hearing the worst reports from Ohio! It has no snow! No snow, no Christmas! What's to be done? Is it looking like the normal Christmas weather there for you?

It is colder than it was a few days ago, but it isn't normal Christmas weather. No snow (though what's normal is a real question; some years there is a lot, some a little, some none at all) and it is warmer than usual. I wish it would get cold! Not sub-zero, but colder than it is. Some snow would be nice too, but not on the days when I have to travel.

Threesome: Time--Time? Good grief, the 24th is days away, and most men haven't even awakened a sense of urgency as yet . Is anyone done, finished, wrapped and resting?

Done and finished: pretty much, but not completely. The joy of online shopping! I have to go to a little gift shop and pick up a few things on Friday or Saturday. Wrapped: no, aside from the things that were wrapped by the store employees. Resting: yeah, right! See the grading deadline. I have made good progress, and with five days to go that should be plenty of time, but since two of them are Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I am a little nervous. Then, there is the wireless dilemma competing for attention. Decorating is done in Castleton, and another waiting project in Samsonville. Baking is out of the question again this year. Now, remind me again why it is I like to live my life on the academic schedule?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Too tired on Friday, and we got back too late on Sunday, so we put up our tree in Castleton last night. It is quite big, too big for this tiny house really, but it is a nice tree. We didn't put up a tree in Samsonville over the weekend, so that is the plan for Friday or Saturday.

The reason we didn't put up a tree in Samsonville, and also why we got back to Castleton so late, was that I spent nearly all weekend working on the computer situation there. First, I had to get the cable modem working. I don't think the Time Warner technician had it hooked up right. So after wasting some time tinkering, I gave up and installed an ethernet card in the machine. The technician had it connected via USB, and that was no good. With ethernet, it worked fine right away.

Then, I hooked up the wireless router. That was a breeze. I took my laptop over the my parents' house to see if the signal went that far, but it didn't. So I threw in the towel, went back home, called Staples, said I wanted to return the wireless adapter and get an ethernet card for my mother's machine instead. Then I did some surfing, read on the Internet that wire only works for a maximum of 328 feet.

The next morning, I reconsidered, moved the router around, and while I was at church, Bob discovered that the wireless signal was within about 75 feet of my parents' house. So we went to Staples and bought a range extender, as well as two very long ethernet cables, so I could move the router to the end of our house that is closest to my parents' house.

When we got home, I moved the router and hooked up the signal extender. With those changes, my laptop could see the signal from my mother's computer room. However, something about the range extender isn't working right since I couldn't get on the Internet with my laptop. I installed the wireless adapter in my mother's machine anyway, thinking that maybe it would work better than the laptop (since the laptop is "G" and the router and adapter are "N"). But I ran into another snag, since her machine has Windows ME and it seems the adapter is for Windows XP and 2000.

I gave up at that point, because it was getting very late, my patience was thin, and we had to make the drive back to Castleton. Yesterday morning I called Staples, canceled the return on the adapter (but kept the ethernet card order just in case), and called Netgear to see whether the problems with the signal extender and adapter can be corrected, or if wire will be the better solution (though I am still concerned about the distance).

The good news is that the Netgear technician gave me a link to software to download so that the adapter will work with ME, and said that he can walk me though configuring the signal extender. And Staples said that they will take everything back if necessary, even though I have opened all the boxes. So on Friday and Saturday, in addition to putting up the tree there, I will be back at the computers.

This week's regular (and priority) focus is end of semester grading, and it is going OK.

Friday, December 15, 2006

I spent a few minutes and figured out what was wrong with the archives. I was forced to change the template (something I haven't done since establishing a blog). I didn't want to do it, but gave in. I have no time to tinker at the moment, and I'm not crazy about this template...but it will have to do for now.
Thursday Threesome
::Holly Jolly Christmas::

Onesome: Holly-- Hmmm... Do you have holly where you are? Is it used for decorating? ...and if not, what types of greenery are used to show off the season? Inquiring minds and all that...

Yes, it grows here and I have a holly bush in my yard. I don't use it for decorating, though. Evergreen is the most common greenery used. I think we will put up our tree here in Castleton tonight, and one in Samsonville this weekend. Both will be real. We already have wreaths on the doors of both houses.

Twosome: Jolly-- Jolly Elf or The Grinch? How is your Christmas experience going so far?

It's OK. The end of semester complicates things. But I have the majority of shopping done, the Internet is a lifesaver. I even sent five Christmas cards out today. That is a real accomplishment for me - for the past couple of years I just haven't had time to send any. I would love to decorate and bake more, but the grading deadline is looming.

Threesome: Christmas-- Hey, I miss ol' Burl Ives singing the song in this header: who does your favorite Christmas song? ...and which song is that? Yes, yes, you're allowed more than one ...

I like Christmas music. I have quite a few CDs by various artists. My favorites are Bare Naked Ladies and Willie Nelson. I also love the religious music that we sing in church. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer always makes me smile, and remember the past.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Today is my last day on campus until January 18. Fall grades have to be done by 11:59 pm on December 26. Naturally I will be working nonstop until then to make the deadline. Oh, I guess I will have to take a break of a couple of days to celebrate Christmas, but otherwise...

I have several changes in mind for next semester. I have to cut down my end of semester workload to a more reasonable level. And, I am getting tired of the assignments. I am going to make students write a lesson plan and present it to class with their groups, instead of just writing a book review individually. Change is good.

I don't like having to sign into google to use blogger. That's my only criticism so far, and it is fairly minor, but when I wrote a comment and used my blogger sign-in, it vanished. How irritating. Oh, I forgot. I do have one other concern. My archives aren't appearing, and I don't see where to re-publish them. I'm sure it is somewhere, but I haven't spent the time looking.

We didn't go to Samsonville this weekend (Bob was working on a group project that wasn't going well - although it turned out OK) so I will have to wait until Saturday to see if I can get the wireless running. Now there's another day that I won't be working on grades. So I better not procrastinate otherwise!

Friday, December 08, 2006

I'm psyched; today I switched my wired router for a wireless one, and got wireless DSL up and running on my new laptop. Tomorrow's project involves getting it to work with the new cable modem in Samsonville. I hope it goes as smoothly. I just upgraded blogger - not sure what I think of that yet. Tonight we are going to see The Producers at Proctor's.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Time Warner came and we are hooked up! My mother reports that the technician said the machine is old and so the broadband is slower than it could be. I knew that. I may upgrade there eventually, but first I have to get wireless up and running in both houses. I ordered all the necessary components from Staples and this weekend I'll give it a try in Samsonville. I will probably do Castleton on Friday, if I have time.

Last week I was (attempting) to show a DVD to class. There were numerous technical snafus and so I had to call AV Services. While the technician was working on the problem, he said that they often find that people change the settings on the TVs, VCRs and DVD players and screw them up. Last year, I heard the same thing about the smart rooms - that people unplug the computers and projection equipment so they can't be used easily by the next instructor. The AV guy speculated that it is Luddite instructors (he didn't use the word Luddite though) although I think it could also be disgruntled students looking to waste time and get out of class (though not for the smart rooms, since students can't access the cables). Anyway, after the AV guy left, one of the students said, "I think it is the ghost. Did you know there is a ghost in the education building?" I said I didn't, and she proceeded to tell me the story, which I later located on the Internet here. See "Albany - Education Building."

I was thinking of this today as I was coming back from the cafeteria. This building connects to the campus center at the basement level, and I take the elevator up from there. Seems I always work somewhere where there are reputed to be ghosts! (When I worked downtown at the former D&H building there were so many stories, although none are listed on the website with the School of Education ghost.) I always think, maybe I can put them to work? How do you think Jason is at grading end of semester essays?
It snowed! Only enough to coat the ground, but still it looked pretty this morning with the flurries coming down. The air is cold and crisp and wintery. Yay! I am completely sick of the strangely unseasonable weather. Goodbye fleas and ticks!!

It did make me a little sad, though. It reminded me of Rudy. He would dash out the door every time it snowed, delighted. Even with a mere dusting like today's, as the first snow of the season, he would do his best to roll in it.

Monday, December 04, 2006

I found out today that Time Warner is coming tomorrow afternoon to install Road Runner! Hopefully it will go without a snag this time. They are charging me $20 less for installation because of the screw up.

I am all set for the end of the semester. Today I finally finished grading everything I had from earlier in the semester! The back of my head is a little numb but overall I am happy. Tomorrow the final papers start to come in so the respite will be brief.

Friday, December 01, 2006

I guess the 21st Century is on hold. When the installer came on Tuesday, he discovered that the cable still needs to be connected at the pole on the road. So far, my calls to Time Warner have gone unanswered. Oh well. At least the CD Rom drive is up and running.

End of semester work has arrived. Classes end December 12, and then I have until December 26 to get the grades submitted.