The Road to Farley

The Road to Farley

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Geek at 50?

I have to take a minute to brag about myself, even at the risk of jinxing myself in my future PC troubleshooting endeavors. Over the course of the last four weeks, I have had to perform a series of tune-ups on my laptop for a variety of reasons. I am pretty darn proud to report that I managed to handle these on my own and (knock on wood) everything still seems to be working fine.

First issue was that I was lounging on the couch one night in my typical TV watching fashion with my laptop on my lap (duh). My Internet connection blanked out. This has periodically occurred before. My usual fix, go unplug the modem and wireless router and let it reset. I did that numerous times to no avail. Then I booted up my work laptop just to see if it was something specific to my laptop. Nope, it didn't connect either. My first troubleshooting effort was to unplug the wireless router and plug the modem directly into the laptop. Yes...that works, so obviously my router has crapped out. (Wow, so spoiled now. It really sucks having to be confined to one room with an Ethernet cable connecting you to your modem.) Off to Best Buy I go, where some helpful child (OK, young man -- but seriously he looked to be about 12) asked me a couple of questions and sold me a new router that I successfully installed and secured with only one slight glitch (that was really a result of some bad technical writing in the instructions and no issues on my part or the part of the hardware).

The next problem that cropped up was when I was trying to prepare my 50th birthday party playlist and wanted to get some new music from iTunes. I hadn't logged in to iTunes for months, so of course the first thing it told me was there was a new version of iTunes available to download. Did that, but then I couldn't actually get into the iTunes store. Grrrrr...totally annoying. After about an hour of googling this issue, I came across a YouTube video (again from someone who looked like a child) that explained how to downgrade to a prior version of iTunes. I successfully restored my previous version of iTunes thinking that would solve the problem. No! Dammit. I then determined it was my virus software preventing me from getting to iTunes. I was using the free software provided by the cable company. I guess you get what you pay for. I could see that it was blocking my outbound attempt but could not figure out how to override that. I bit the bullet and purchased some new virus software. When I first downloaded and installed it, however, for a brief moment of panic I thought I really effed things up because EVERYTHING disappeared from my desktop and I couldn't even get to the start button to reboot. Whew, after doing a hard shut-down, everything was restored.

Next issue occurred when I plugged my new Kindle into the laptop using a USB cable to charge it. The very next time I tried to go online, my laptop would lose Internet connectivity every five minutes. I couldn't even see the list of available networks. Again, I booted up my work laptop and that worked just fine. The laptop would "troubleshoot" and each time it would give the same message:

Specifically, it kept telling me that the Microsoft Virtual WiFi Mini Network Adapter was having driver problems. So annoying...having to reboot every five minutes. I kept going back to the fact that this happened after I had plugged the Kindle in. I spent the next week searching the web every night to figure out how to resolve the problem. Last night, I finally happened on a forum where someone described the same issue I was having. The person who posted the comment said that the Microsoft WiFi Network Adapter was designed to create a virtual network off your own laptop if you wanted to allow others to access the Internet through your device. Hmmmm, OK, the wifi feature was turned on when I plugged the Kindle in. The blogger noted that there was no way to remove the Microsoft WiFi Network, but he gave two commands to turn the thing off using Command Prompt. I followed those two lines of instructions to the letter and "voila" problem solved.

While doing all the research to resolve that annoying problem, I saw a fix for a long-standing problem I had with my Dell printer being incompatible with my HP laptop. Now that problem is also fixed!

Who needs Geek squad? The key to success is A LOT of patience and persistence. The answers are usually all out there. Of course, I'd much rather that everything just work perfectly without any human intervention on my part.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Road to 50 is Well Traveled

I had a great birthday. I didn't think I could top my 40th birthday celebration in Jamaica. I mean, who wouldn't love 85 degrees, white sand beaches, clear blue sky, warm azure waters, fantastic sunsets, and all the Red Stripe you could want delivered right to your lounge chair on the beach in the first week of January. It was all for the pleasure of my mind.

As I approached my 50th birthday, I toyed with the idea of again jetting off to a Caribbean island and basking in the warm sunshine (with my SPF 30 of course) for a few days. It is clearly a sign of aging when what you really want to do on your birthday is be around family and friends.  

Turks & Caicos will have to wait for another day. I spent my actual birthday in Indiana, where we did a little gambling, had some cocktails, and enjoyed some wonderful meals. Note to all the smokers out there, you can still smoke in a bar or restaurant in Indiana.

My official birthday soiree was at the Black Horse Inn at the Sherrill Mount House. It is a gorgeous old inn from 1856 that has been painstakingly renovated into a lovely bed and breakfast with five guest rooms. The night started out pretty well. We were all proper having wine and appetizers.

We had a lovely dinner.

I got presents.

We played Catch Phrase.

My Carter was there. (Yes, he *is* wearing a Burberry sweater. He's stylish that way at age 4.)

We stayed respectable until the parents left.

Then...things might have started to go downhill; or, maybe uphill depending on your perspective. We made a trip to the local night club, "The Barn." Lots of cocktails, a few shots, and much dancing. There might even have been tears of joy! Suffice it to say, we were the life of the party in Sherrill that night.

Safely back at the Black Horse Inn, the die hard partiers kept it going a while longer.

Ummmm, yeah....I think that picture pretty much says it all. Time check....

Yep, that's 4:10 a.m. That was way, way, way past my normal bed time. There you have it, the perfect 50th birthday celebration. It would have been made only more perfect if all my family members could have been there. Of course, I cannot say that the day after the blowout was perfect. I was tres fatigue (two of the few French words I remember from Madame Hornsby's class my freshman year of college).  

40  -- 50 --  I'm already thinking of how I can top them at 60.

Shout out to my family and friends who made the night a great one. Love you all!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

Go shawty, it's your birthday
We gonna party like it's your birthday
(Fifty cent)

And I'm sure you will agree
It couldn't fit more perfectly
Than to have a world party on the day you came to be

Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday
(Stevie Wonder)

Yes, people, I am now officially 50 years old. Technically it happened at 7:46 this morning, even though I started celebrating at 12:07 a.m.

I don't feel any different. Of course, it's 9:35 a.m., and I am still in bed. So, that seems to be helping A LOT! Maybe I should start every day like this....oh, plus the three pudding shots I just did by myself. Why not pudding shots for breakfast on your birthday.