Monday, April 30, 2018

give me a ring

Last December was so cold my wedding ring fell off and I lost it. A week long search came to nada.

By April, it was time to replace the missing bit of jewellery. How times have changed in half a century! Most rings today look down right ugly to me.

Modern day stores view 10k as sturdy and 14k as a softer alternative.  The Birks clerk said they sell only 18k, with a sniff and a toss of the head. We thought the larger stores and the larger malls would have a wider choice. Not so. The larger chain jewellery shops did offer more, but had to send to a warehouse to get the correct size - about a month or so. The few chain department stores around had little choice and indifferent staff. One clerk at a large jewellery store suggested a small private shop with its own craftsman would custom make a ring.

Great idea as it turned out. We saw the man at our favourite small shop and sealed the deal. He would make a ring similar to the lost one and at a reasonable price.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Don has a gas attack

The other day my neighbour dropped by to see how much our last gas bill was as we had the same house design as him. Our bill turned out to be nearly a third the cost of his bill. I suggested to Don that that much gas over a month would have had his home boiling hot!

I suggested there was a meter issue and to check his meter first. He did. His meter reading was far less than it was a week earlier according to his invoice! Problem solved. The meter reader or someone along the line had mis-read the numbers and seriously over stated his usage.

A call to the gas company and the issue was resolved. Don was asked to pay about what we paid
 (we both have high efficiency furnaces). Makes you wonder since the gas company can accurately estimate usage and such a spike in "actual" use should have raised alarms.

a tale of two computers

Carol's Macbook Pro prompted a bag of complaints from her recently. It finally quit abruptly while updating the FireFox browser. I spent a few days attempting to download a new OS X for her. No luck. The Macintosh HD kept showing as all okay in Disk Utility but refused to mount. I could boot from the backup drive I made for my iMac (very slow) but the internal Macintosh HD still refused to mount and be visible!

On the other hand my old 24 inch iMac made a year or two earlier did let me purge it and reformat and reinstall the OS X Mavericks. It worked like a charm and Carol spent Sunday afternoon cleaning the keyboard,  magic pad, and screen with alcohol and invisiglass using a pin and a dental scraper on the keys as they had a decade plus of grime and dirt on them.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

let there be light (finally)

And on June 20th, 2017 we were finally connected to Fibe TV via fibre cable.

To my surprise, the contracted technician (Bell long ago shed most outside and other none-core personnel) had to run a very long drop from the aerial terminal at the north west corner of our lot to the north east corner pole, strapped to the overhead cable, and then into the furnace room on the east side of my house.

While manuals have not yet appeared (last checked late 2017) the numerous electronic boxes had been consolidated to one plus a backup power cube. The telephone (land line) now goes over the fibre cable with the router converting the signal so installed in-house telephone cabling can be used as it is. The set top boxes (STBs) and internet are all connected via wifi emanating from the furnace room mounted router eliminating any need for data cables. Each TV has a wifi enabled set top box with a built-in hard drive for recording TV shows (my computers, printer, and iPod Touch all have wifi too).

During a power outage, the backup battery, can keep the telephone and internet connections going for up to four hours. Only the IPTV signal is lost. Upstairs the STB is 4K (our TV is HD just now) and downstairs it is HD. The TV signal - voice and video - still freeze at times for a second or two but the loss of signal as the trees begin adding leaves no longer happens (our old dish PVR was in bad shape with only a few receivers working at all to receive signals from space. And the resolution is so much better too if we watch HD channel signals.

coming to a home near you

After years of disappointment, Bell was in the neighbourhood (mid Etobicoke) installing fibre optic cable to the home ( FTTH) and in later February of 2017 the contracted company began to install here.

A team dug up our north east garden and proceeded to add the bright orange conduit tubing that would carry the fibre cable from an aerial  terminal in the north west of our yard to the nearby central office by a convoluted route that made a distinct u-turn and connected to another fibre cable in a manhole near-by.  Great, I thought, we can finally switch over from Satellite. "No", said one supervisor, "it will take a few months to connect you to the fibre". And sure enough, it took another FOUR months to connect us!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

painless extraction or resize

The main reason I bought Affinity Photo was to resize images and extract an image from a pdf file. Both are easypeasy ... For the second one, drop the pdf file on top of the Affinity Photo icon. This will open Affinity Photo and display the pdf. If the pdf is multi page, it will offer the option to select one page or all pages. Choose the Move (v) tool which is the arrow on the tool bar below the hand. Click on the image to be extracted. It will be outlined with eight circles and a ninth circle and short line at the top.

Use the usual Cmd-Opt-Shft-S keys to display the save panel. Choose Jpeg and change the dimensions as needed. Be sure to tab so the change takes. Then choose selection with background and set the quality.

Just do the second paragraph above to resize an image. Double check that the saved image is the desired size. Easypeasy!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Affinity Photo by Serif

Last summer, when I upgraded to a new 27 inch iMac, my CS5 Adobe programs were not happy.  Neither was I! After CS6, Adobe switched to a monthly fee model and was too costly for my infrequent uses. Even Photoshop plus Lightroom was $10US plus HST each month or about $165CDN annually after HST and conversion.

Initially I was running macOS Sierra and more recently I changed to High Sierra. InDesign was a headache. Downloading the old version of Java helped as InDesign uses dozens of modules all linked by Java. It was still a bit flaky as I systematically tried various modules.

Another victim was Photoshop. The crop tool refused to work. And my LittleSnapper was no longer supported. Its crop option stayed too dark. A new free program called Snappy solved that. I learned that Affinity Photo was a cheaper option for Photoshop and had a 10 day trial for free. I liked it and paid the few $$ (about $80 total with HST and conversion). Upgrades are free at present. While Acrobat works, Preview can open pdfs and Affinity Photo can extract images from pdfs (another problem with Photoshop CS5).

Fortunately Lightroom still works so I use it regularly. The makers of Affinity Photo plan to offer an option for Lightroom in another year or two. Apple Photos is nice too, but refuses to use Lightroom's library so I would have to reenter 70,000 plus key words and notes. No thanks.