Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Trying to catch up

During the last few weeks I've been doing something called "23 Things" at work where I am learning about lots of Web 2.0 technologies. The result of this is that I have created another blog, another Facebook account, a Twitter account, and added lots and lots of RSS feeds to 2 of my Google accounts and to an account on Bloglines. I'm reading more now than ever before, and I can't possibly keep up! Of course I haven't picked up an adult book in ages. I still read a story or two to my daughter every night, but I haven't read any novels in quite a while. Crazy! I also notice I haven't posted here lately. There is just so much going on, everywhere, that I haven't had time to WRITE, or blog. I'm too busy reading about everyone else. I think there is an Al-anon lesson in there somewhere. I need to look it up. I wish I hadn't tossed out all my Al-anon materials so many years ago. I know there is something about minding my own business, but the culture of the internet invites us to go against that, and that is something to consider. Is all of this tech stuff healthy? Is it a good use of time? Or are we just sinking ourselves in some way?
I have 2 meetings this morning that overlap. I choose to ignore the first one, and only attend the second one. I didn't feel like attending 1/2 hour of each would be fair somehow. In the meantime, I am trying to catch up on blogs, news, and actually do some work. Lots to think about, lots to post about.... later.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

Abby, Abby, Abby....

Abby told several teachers at preschool that she is going to be a big sister. Um, no, not going to happen. I think I will be straightening this one out for several days.

She had a great time playing with her friends Sophia and Liam in Wendell on Saturday. Then we went to my uncle's house in Williamsburg and she met kids named Kyle and Deena (??). She had fun with them too. Other kids- Andrew and some other boys- were there too, but it was mostly those two who she played with. She liked her swimming lesson with me in the pool too.

By Sunday we were all pretty tired. Still had to do some shopping though. Lunch at McDonald's took forever, and we barely made it through the grocery store without destroying the place. At home Abby decided to destroy the yard instead. She was pretty unhappy that there was no one to play with. We tried to find the kids down the street, but they were having "family time" from what I could tell, and weren't available. Ended up having to bring Abby inside for supper because she was throwing sand all over the yard. Oh well.

I think we were all happy that today was Monday- a school day. I know she was looking forward to seeing her friends again.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Cross posting from my other blog- Technology

I thought this might be of interest to people other than my coworkers, so I'm cross-posting it here...

Technology has always interested me. In the early 1980s when personal computers were just coming out, I begged my father for months and months for a computer. I did tons of research, saved my money, and pleaded for a long time. I finally got a second-hand Apple ][e+. I kept it for years until the monitor didn't survive a move, and I couldn't afford to replace it. As a teenager I was online on "BBSes", before the Internet was accessible to most people. I took computer classes at G.C.C. during the summer, and I had boyfriends who were interested in electronics and were building their own computers and video games in their basement or their father's workshop.

When I first came to UMass as a freshman in 1989 I wanted to be a COINS major- I think that's what the computer science degree has morphed into. Unfortunately, I was lousy at Calculus, and not very good at Pascal- the computer language we needed to learn for one of my classes. I realized that I was not meant to be a computer programmer, even if I could write a video game in BASIC.

Years pass, and computers and technology still interest me. Privacy issues in the cyber world can get very political, and watching how the pendulum swings between people wanting easy access to things, and yet still wanting to be free of bureaucracy is interesting. National ID cards? No thanks! Too reminiscent of Germany during WW2 etc, and yet we seem to be gravitating towards that slowly. Sure I'd like to be able to copy whatever I see into my own blog or whatever, but on the other hand, I wouldn't be very happy if a photo of myself or my daughter showed up as an ad for a Czech grocery store-- http://www.neatorama.com/2009/06/11/missouri-family-christmas-photo-turns-up-in-czech-ad/ . There are lots of things to consider here, and the issue of privacy is a broad one, and very complex.

On a less complex scale, I do get emails from Slashdot which I generally archive to read later. Lots of tech related stuff is there, and I like to skim it all over, and have a general sense of what is going on, even if some of it is over my head.

I set up iGoogle for myself a long time ago, but I don't check it very often anymore. They have changed the formatting more than once, and I got tired of having to reset my RSS feeds for the news all the time etc. At one point I had several comic strips that I liked to follow, but I just don't have time anymore. I like Google though. I don't know if their applications are "2.0" or "1.0", but I find it to be user-friendly, and I have no difficulty using Google Maps, Google Documents, and other applications.

I especially like the Internet when I am traveling or planning a vacation. Trip Advisor can be very useful for finding hotels, or finding which hotels to stay away from. There are a couple of good road trip planners out there, and of course planning a Disney itinerary would have been impossible without access to all the Disney stuff out there. It's amazing at how much is available these days. Sometimes too much!

Library catalogs of course are online, and my local town library recently joined the CW MARS thing so I can renew my daughter's library books if we forget to bring them back on time. This is very convenient. I wish all small town libraries had this feature (Wendell doesn't) since their library hours can be somewhat limited. I also like being able to search for a title and then having it held for me either at UMass or my local library. Even my dad uses this feature. I don't consider my dad to be very tech-smart, but even he has figured this one out.

What does surprise me these days is how much is still NOT available. Every once in a while I'll look for something like the hours for a local business, or a good price on furniture, and I won't be able to find it. It seems a lot of places simply have not set up decent websites or don't want to list their prices online.

I do a lot of online shopping, especially for the library. I prefer vendors that list their inventory online. That way I know they have it in stock and can provide it. When I have to send a "paper order" off to someone I am always wondering whether the vendor will be able to fill it or not. Phone calls can work too, but sometimes the person on the other end of the phone forgets to input the order. At least online or with an email I have proof of what I ordered and when.

Security and privacy are potential issues when shopping online. For work related purposes I want the vendor to keep records of what I bought and when, but for personal shopping I'd probably prefer that they didn't. Of course in either case, I don't want that information to be given or sold to other marketers.

Okay, this is far too long now, and I've covered a lot of territory. I know that's not good blog-etiquette. Technology is a very broad subject though, and there are a lot of different directions you can go with this assignment. I'm looking forward to hearing what everyone else has to say.

Monday, July 6, 2009

4th of July weekend

Had a great 3-day weekend with Abby. DH was in/out with us too. The weather held out, and aside from some thunder and a few sprinkles on Friday afternoon, it was really nice outside. Water at the lake was cold, but hey, at least we made it to the beaches.

Abby's preschool was closed Friday, so DH and I took that as our holiday (we could have taken today instead). Friday morning I dropped DH off at a place with internet, and then Abby and I went to see my mom's new apartment. We brought some gifts- new coffeemaker, etc, and my mom gave Abby a couple of dresses. The cool part was Abby gave my mom some bubbles, and my mom gave Abby some bubbles too. I guess my mom and I think alike! Anyway, Abby and I stayed for an hour or so. Abby was pretty nervous about my mom's cat, but just sat next to me, and let my mom talk. Very polite. Then we picked up DH (without my mom) and went out for lunch and some shopping. We let Abby get something at Target (she choose plastic cups) and went home. DH saw some benches on sale at Target to put in the yard, but they wouldn't fit in the car with the car seat in place, so we came home and DH went back out. The neighbors had friends over, and the friends had a toddler son (18 months) so we invited them over to play in our yard (since we have kid-stuff and our neighbors don't). Abby and the little boy played for at least an hour, until the mom finally said they needed to get back to the other side of the fence. Then Abby and I decided to go to the "little beach". Along the way we saw some summer residents who have kids. Haven't seen them since last year, and the dd is Abby's age. So we told them to come on down, and they did. Abby and Alex (dd) had a great time playing. Abby wasn't interested in playing with the ds who was a little older, but the moms kept him busy in the water, while Abby and Alex played in the sand. When DH came home, he joined us at the beach for a little while until it was suppertime. Then we headed back. Abby went to bed early because she didn't nap, and I got to watch a few fireworks from our deck etc.

Saturday we did our normal shopping, out to lunch stuff. Abby surprised me by falling asleep in the car on the way home, so yay! We played outside in the yard, but the neighbors weren't around. DH went out Saturday night, so Abby and I went down the street to the Association party. We split a bbq chicken meal- she ate the chicken and cake, and I got the salad and potato. She played with the little boy again, but we didn't see the other kids around. So we went home after supper, and then went for a walk looking for Alex. Saw Alex and invited her and family to come over to play, and they did. Again, Abby wasn't interested in Alex's big brother, but we juggled. 3 kids is tough though, especially when one is older. The other family was going back to the bbq for dancing, so Abby and I decided to go too. Abby's face lit up as soon as we got inside! She LOVED dancing with a live band, and the loudness of it didn't bother her at all. She and Alex, and some other girls had a blast dancing and dancing! We stayed until 9pm!! Then the other family decided to head out, and we followed. There were some fireworks going off around the lake, so I got flashlights and a teddy bear, and Abby and I went down to the beach to check them out. I expected more parties and stuff, but I guess most people had their BIG night on Friday instead. We sat on the beach together, just the two of us, watching the fireworks around the lake for a while. Then came home about 9:30pm. It was 10:30pm by the time she was sound asleep! LATE night!

Sunday my mom called in the morning and said she was heading to the State beach/big beach. I told her we'd go after lunch. Couldn't get dd to eat lunch though, so finally just decided to go. This time I made DH go because he had promised Abby a swimming lesson. Loaded up the wagon with all our gear, and met my mom around 1pm. DH took Abby into the water, and it was COLD! So they went back and forth a lot. Then he took her to the concession stand and got her to eat a hamburger before he bought her a popsicle. I hung out with my mom on the beach. It was packed, but we didn't see anyone we knew. I think everyone local stayed away or went to the smaller beaches. When Abby came back with her popsicle, my mom decided to get some french fries with cheese sauce and ketchup. Abby always says she doesn't like cheese, but she helped my mom eat these! It was nice to see my mom and Abby share food, and have fun together. After that mess was over, I took Abby for a walk to see some of the sand castles that the other kids were building, and to see if we would recognize anyone, and then she went for one last swim with DH before we headed home. 2 hours was enough. DH cooked on the grill, another of Abby's favorite things, and we ate supper outside. Had a hard time getting Abby to come in because she was having so much fun, but since she didn't nap, I knew it would be another early night. Got her to bed a little after 8pm or so. DH went out. When he came home, after 11pm, I was still up, so we stayed up and talked for an hour or two in the living room about family, religion, and life, etc. We don't talk much these days, so that was good too.

Back to work, and reality. DH is working overtime this week, and my work is really slow because of what he is doing. So haven't done much today, but I do have a lot to get done. Just haven't motivated myself yet.