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Why I walk….

September 1, 2012

People ask me why I walk, raise money, and am so involved with the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. To understand, watch the short video of photos I took at the Boston Closing Ceremony. You’ll see the youth crew members in their bright yellow sweatshirts. The tears they shed are for family members who have died from breast cancer. One of them commented that she wishes she could have a hug from her mother. Need I say more as to why I do this? Read more…


Knitting chart: Deer hat

November 1, 2014

I am taking a classIMG_20141101_182524 at the local yarn store to learn how to knit Fair Isle patterns. Turns out it’s not so difficult.  I already completed the class project Christmas stocking.

Searching on Ravelry for more Fair Isle charts, I came across a hilarious one with 2 deer. 

I created an XLS chart of the pattern (link below). As I am not a designer, I cannot guarantee that the chart is error free. The chart seemed to work fine as I knit the hat pictured.


This hat was a little more challenging than the 2 color stocking, in that I carried 3 strands of yarn, Red, Green, and White. By the time I finished the deer and trees, I had knit the hat twice. I made a number of errors reading the chart and had to frog back a number of times.

Windows 8: Back to square 1

July 14, 2013

IMG_20130713_123434_1Yesterday, I set up my new HP Pavilion computer with Windows 8.1.  Today, as they say, is another day.  I turned the machine on this morning and had no internet access.

Thought it would be an easy fix of just resetting the Wi-Fi connection. Nope.  The computer did not see any networks.  The Wi-Fi modem was working – I could use my iPad.

After running all the diagnostics I could think of, I ended up calling HP Support.  It appeared everything was in order, including the network adapters.  We even tried deleting and reinstalling the drivers, to no avail.  During the trouble shooting, the system froze 3 times.  Completely dead in the water – unable to Ctrl+Alt+Del, mouse unresponsive, nada.  Needed to do a hard boot each time.

After the HP tech associate suggested every possible fix, we decided that it might be a Windows 8.1 incompatibility issue.  So, I spent the next hour or so doing a factory reset.  The PC is now rolled back to Win8. Like I said in yesterday’s post, proceed at your own risk with Win 8.1.  It did not work on my computer, so I will wait until the official launch later this summer.

So it is back to square 1 to delete the bloatware, set up the external monitor, reload software, etc, etc, etc.

In the mean time, my friend Gabor sent me a link to an instructional video on how to use Windows 8.  The Missing Windows 8 Instructional Video. It’s a great 25 minute review of how to use the Start screen.

Windows 8: A user’s guide from Grandma Karen

July 13, 2013

IMG_20130713_211352_1It’s been a long time since I last posted a blog entry.  I thought for the next few posts I would share my experience with Windows 8.

I finally replaced my Compaq Presario laptop from 2005 with a HP Pavilion 23 Desktop.  The old laptop came loaded with Windows XP.  Last weekend,  I reformatted the hard drive and reinstalled the original operating system.  One of the bloatware apps was Netscape! Now that is a blast from the past!

But moving forward, I received my Pavilion on Friday and spent today setting it up.  It came preloaded with only a minor amount of bloatware – Norton Antivirus, Wildtangent games, and some quick links to eBay, Netflix, Snapfish and the like.  I was able to quickly uninstall all of this crapware.

As you can see from the photo, I use an extended desktop.  It looks a little bit like Mission Control 🙂 The Pavilion is on the left, and I have an Asus monitor on the right.  It is really amazing at how inexpensive these two items were.  The 21.5 inch monitor was only $135 on Amazon.  It wasn’t that long ago that small CRT monitors sold for a lot more than that.  You can also see that there are no tiles on either screen.  The desktop looks like your familiar Windows XP or 7 view. In subsequent posts, I’ll explain how to achieve this.

Microsoft recently released an update for Win 8.  It is labeled a “Preview” and they recommend that only experienced PC users download it. I went ahead and installed it.  You may find that some software and peripherals won’t work for it as drivers may not be available.  Download 8.1 at your own risk. Your mileage may vary.   Because I am using 8.1, some of the information I provide may not be available in Win 8.

After reading many articles and listening to podcasts about how terrible Windows 8 is, I was expecting a real disaster, along the lines of WindowsME.  Bottom line, I find Windows 8 to be Windows 7 with a splash screen.  Once you get over the newness of the splash screen, do some minor tweaks to the settings, you’re good to go.

I know many people have been complaining that there is no start menu on Windows 8.  From what I can figure out, the splash screen is the start menu, just set out in tiles instead of a list. It is possible to add and remove tiles to this screen. I’ll go into this in a subsequent post.  It would be nice if clicking on the large “Start” on the top left of the screen would open up the list menu (Hint, hint, MSFT).  If you are comfortable using a Smartphone or Tablet, the Win8 Start screen shouldn’t be to different.

Let me know in the comments what Win 8 topics you’d like me to review.

2012 in review

December 30, 2012

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 14,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 3 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Facebook Fixes: Who can send you messages

December 23, 2012

photoFacebook is busy pushing lots of new code this weekend. Saw this pop-up this morning when I went to send a message to a friend.

It looks to be part of the latest iteration of messages which Facebook is piloting – Allowing someone who is not a friend to send you a message if they pay $1.

In the past, you were able to set your visibility for messages to Friends only. The new choices do not allow you to “hide” from the world.  Instead, you have the option to send the mail to one of two boxes “Inbox” and “Other”.  I foresee a lot of spam similar to what I get in my regular email box. You know those urgent emails from Nigeria saying you won $1,000,000,000,000 in the lotto and all you need to do is send a small amount of money to get it. Or the 80% off Canadian Viagra.

I like the button at the end of the message from Facebook: “Okay, I understand”.  It would be better if it said: “I understand and I do not want this.”

You’ll be given the option of selecting the level of filtering of messages based on the sender:

Basic Filtering
If you select Basic Filtering, you’ll see mostly messages from friends and people you may know (for example, friends of friends) in your Inbox. People who had the previous setting set to “friends of friends” or “everyone” will have Basic Filtering on.

Strict Filtering
If you select Strict Filtering, you’ll see mostly messages from friends in your Inbox. People who had the previous setting set to “friends” will have “Strict Filtering” on.

You can read more here on Facebook:

Facebook fixes: Drag and drop photos into Status box

December 21, 2012

Saw this new feature this evening.  Facebook now provides the ability to drag-and-drop photos from your desktop to your Status.


It’s a nice feature. No more browsing to find the photo file you want to upload.

Simply drag your photo into your Status box and it will appear there.

Another new feature is the ability to add more than one photo at a time.  You can drag multiple photos into your Status box.

Once you have added your photos, write something and then click the Post button. photos-posting2

One other thing I noticed this evening,  Facebook seems to want a more personal relationship with me.   The Status box is pre-populated with the inquiry of “How’s it going, Karen”.  A friend reported that Facebook is asking her how she is feeling.

Not sure how I feel about this new Nosey Nellie Facebook.

Facebook Fixes: Message about who can see your stuff

December 21, 2012

When you log in to Facebook, you may be presented with a new message at the top of your Newsfeed.  It isn’t spam, but rather an announcement from Facebook.fb-privacy-msg

They have added a new icon on the top menu bar (see the little lock that is circled in red).  Clicking this icon will open up a new menu where you can easily check your privacy settings.

From this list, you will be able to see who can see your information, a link to view all the posts you have made, and check out how your lists work (assuming you have set up lists).  In addition, you can change who can contact you and block someone.


Who can see my stuff:

Who can see my future posts?  This allows you to select a group from a drop down list of Public, Friends, Friends except Acquaintances, Only Me and Custom.  There is also the ability to select from a list you created.  This change will only affect future posts. Any posts you have already made keep their current privacy setting.

Where can I review all my posts and things I’m tagged in?  The link here will take you to your activity log.  A long laundry list of everything you have done on Facebook.  You have the opportunity there to manage your posts, including delete them.

What do other people see on my timeline?  This link lets you view your Timeline as others set it. If your Timeline is set to Public, then you won’t see any difference.  If you use lists, and filter who can see certain things, you will be able to enter someone’s name to see if they are able to see the post or not.

Who can contact me?  This drop down menu lets you select which group can send you a message – Choices are: Everyone, Friends of Friends, and Friends.

Who can send me a friend request? Again, another drop down menu to control who can sent you a request. Choices are: Everyone or Friends of Friends.

And finally, How do I stop someone from bothering me?  Have a stalker who you want to block? Type in their name or email address and viola, stalker be gone.