Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Talking to Robots

We had a rather stormy weekend emotionally Chez Minnie but hopefully things are now sorted.  It was needed because it was something from over 30 years ago and some sort of resolution was needed.

And today I have been trying to trace a missing parcel containing a fringe twister.  It has taken ages to get here and was supposed to be delivered on 16th February.  When I went onto Australia Post's site to see if I could find out what had happened to it I found a notice telling me that I should phone AP's tracking site.

So this morning I phoned and was told that the site had experienced service difficulties  -  translated as "so many people are phoning to find where their missing mail is lurking that our lines are all choked up".

I waited a couple of hours and managed to get through to one of those dreadful "if you want to open an account press 1. etc"  That lead me to the robot who had not been programmed to do anything but collect my tracking number and direct me to the web page, which was already open on my computer screen, or to phone the number which I had dialled to reach her.

This afternoon, after my knitting group I decided to try again and hung on through the menu of options until I reached the "speak to one of our operators" option and finally got some real help.

She took my name and the tracking number, went off to investigate and came back to say that my apartment number was unreadable and the parcel was with the mail to be returned to sender but that it should be possible to rescue it.  Then she asked me what was in my parcel (a fringe twister) and agreed that that was what the parcel contained.  So hopefully I will receive it in a couple of days and then I can begin to repair the fringe on my beautiful Iranian hand block-printed table cloth with a fringe which was eaten by my boy cat when he was a kitten and ate anything cord-like.

It is a big tablecloth and he ate about two thirds of the fringe along with a silk tassel, half an apron string and a couple of nylon cat leads from when I was trying to train the kittens to walk on leads.  He needed abdominal ultrasounds for those but fortunately eventually vomited them up. 

And today's Sudoku:

Program aborting:
Close all that you have worked on.
You ask far too much.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

More on DNA - Well, not really.

My immediate family are horrified that I have decided to have my DNA read.  I am not sure what they think will happen or what dreadful secrets will be unearthed  -  and unearthed is about right  -  it is identifying long dead forebears.

If the family wants scandal and mayhem they only need to look to my mother’s family, starting at about my great grandmother’s generation.  As more and more newspapers are scanned and posted online I am finding more and more things which were never talked about; like a great uncle who divorced his wife for adultery (my maternal uncles were not very gentlemanly) and then continued to live with her until he re-married.  I am not sure what happened to my great Aunt Amelia after that and maybe one day I will follow it up.

Meanwhile, someone posted a studio portrait of my father-in-law on Ancestry.com so I have been spending some time going back in the Ds father’s line.  I have made contact with the person who posted it and it is very peripheral to her particular line of research but she sounds nice and I am hoping to keep in contact with her.

 Regarding my Slush Fund and the problems which I have been having with HTML in Windows 10, I dug out my old Windows 7 laptop (very slow) and found, to my joy, that the right click brings up “View Source” so I will probably use it to get on with recording the dirt on my mother’s family, balanced by my father’s family who were mostly clergymen and South Sea Island Missionaries.

 The man who was supposed to be observing me at COTA with the intention of joining our select little group of teachers was not there today, much to my joy.  He grabbed my second client for himself and treated me like an idiot but I was secretly pleased that he didn’t manage to sort out her problem.  As he had already ‘observed’ the other two teachers I did wonder why he needed to see what I did and it occurred to me that the two Johns had not given him a favourable report  - and I certainly didn’t.

... And today's Sudoku:
Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent and reboot.
Order shall return.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Minnie in Wonderland

Once upon a time I used HTML coding to product a large website,
and became very proficient at it.  However, it has been years since I attempted to do more than play around with it or have done more than dabble , starting an embryonic exposé of the things about my family which I was never told when I was a child, for reasons which my research has informed me, were that some of the exploits of my mother’s family were not fit for Childish ears. 

 A few days ago I decided to get back to writing up this alternative family history which I had started doing in HTML so that I could use links to navigate from one family member to another, the intention being to save it all to flash drives and distribute it to any members of my family who might, at some stage, be interested.

However, what was easy in Windows 7 is not so in Windows 10.  There is no longer an option to right click on a web page and be given the option to ‘view source’ which made editing the text very simple.  I spent a whole afternoon trying to work out how to edit HTML in Windows 10, even going to a Microsoft help line where the participants were as confused as I was.

Finally, desperate, I gave one last shot at right clicking and realised that I was given, among other options, the ability to ‘open with’ and one of those options is Notepad which is the HTML facilitator which I have always used to build my web pages.  Still not all that easy since to begin with the two pages are not side by side although that happens eventually.

 So there I was at 3.00am this morning and feeling like the White Queen trying to do Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast,  my sticking point now being how to remember negotiating files within files.  I will get there  -  it just takes time and in the meantime I am gradually remembering how to create links.  I confess that I have been cheating a bit by looking at the coding on my website but it is still a bit of a learning curve since Windows 10 is not as friendly as Windows 7 was,

 Sorry  -  this is all a bit boring but I needed to get it off my chest so that I can sleep tonight.

 And now for your haiku error message for today:-

The web site you seek
Cannot be located, but
Countless more exist.

Sorry  -  the computer is not behaving well this evening and the font size is erratic and refuses to normalise itself.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

DNA and that Pesky Blood Group

This was given to me yesterday and I thought that I would share it post by post:-

"In Japan, they have replaced the impersonal and unhelpful Microsoft Error messages with Haiku poetry messages.  Haiku poetry has strict construction rules.  Each poem has only three lines, 17 syllables:  five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, five in the third.

Haikus are used to communicate a timeless message, often achieving a wistful, yearning and powerful insight through extreme brevity  -  the essence of Zen . . . "

Your file was so big.
It might be very useful.
But now it is gone.

I have just posted off a sample for DNA testing to see if it can shed some light on the origin of my B blood group.  It will  take a couple of months to get back to me so I will forget it for the next few weeks. I had to spit into a little tube and it is astonishing how hard it is even with the aid of a lemon but I think that I managed in the end.  The instructions told me to fill the tube up to the line, excluding the bubbles.  Hmmmm . . .

To add to my computer woes, now my printer has been refusing to behave itself, telling me that it was low on toner but then printing for me albeit reluctantly.  Since I had just replaced the toner I was inclined to ignore its instructions  but last night I gave in and replaced the toner which seemed to satisfy its yearning and it is now printing on request without moaning about being empty.

And to make matters more frustrating it is refusing to scan so I spent some time last night trying to fix the problem.  Pressing the two buttons simultaneously as per the online instructions did nothing so I went to Control panel/Devices and printers and right-clicked on the printer icon.  That gave me a whole list of options, one of which was 'scan'  -  and it scanned for me.  My old printer never put me through that sort of hassle but technology seems to be getting harder the more Microsoft shrinks the screen contents to dots and lines with hidden menus which only the computer savvy ever find.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Back to my Slush Fund

A few years ago, after the revelations about some of the things which my mother's family got up to and which were never spoken of  (great great uncle Charles was the black sheep of the family but nobody knew why  -  What???) I decided to record some of the truth about the family, not the fairy stories which I grew up with.

This was triggered by online access to archived newspapers which reported not only births, marriages and deaths  -  but the Court Reports where I discovered the family divorces, litigation, arrests and trials and the fact (not the newspapers but from my forebears' Wills) that my grandfather and his twin brother were "cuckoo babies".  So I am not actually the person I was brought up to believe I was and as the twins were born within a marriage they were legally legitimate and therefore their uncertain status was probably never ever talked about.

So I began to write a truthful family history which I named "Slush Fund".  I started doing it in html format so that it could be stored on a flash drive and sent to any family members who were interested.  The HTML format was so that I could incorporate links to allow easy navigation although I have never had any intention of posting it online even though most of what is written there is in the public domain.

For some reason I stopped creating this masterpiece, probably because I moved into my apartment about that time after selling my house and my life was severely disrupted for a while and I never got back to it.

Now I am back to it again and am faced with HTML and Windows 10 which came as a bit of a shock to me as I discovered that I could no longer edit easily the way I used to.  So I went online and found that most of the HTML users who had upgraded to Windows 10 were having the same problem: no longer could we right click on a web page and "view source"  which was the way to edit web pages created in Notepad which is an HTML facilitator.

So I spent all of yesterday evening trying to solve the issue and finally succeeded.  It is not as easy as it once was since I have yet to find out how to view both the web page and the coded page simultaneously so that it was possible to correct and save and instantly see the correction.  Maybe one day ...

In gratitude to FTM and Ancestry.com.au for making re-downloading FTM and syncing it to Ancestry.com.au so easy  I have sent off for a DNA kit, something I have been thinking about for some time as I would like to know why I have a B blood group.  It is coming next week.  I'll keep you posted. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

And then this happened.

Yesterday I clicked on a link on Facebook and was faced with blaring horns and a voice from Hell telling me that I had a dangerous virus from a porn site which would hack into all my financial files and drain them.  As usual when this happens I turned off the computer at the switch to give my modem a breather and turned it on again with its new IP Number only to be told that, yes, I had caught a very dangerous virus but that the scanner had quarantined it and would delete it in due course.

That got me thinking  -  why not just delete it?  Perhaps my computer thought that I just might be interested in an infected porn site. It is nice to know that my virus scanner is efficient and quick on the draw and since I am very careful to keep my finances to myself, not to mention that my hard drive was only a couple of days old, I am not so very worried.

FTM seems to be back to its old self and to reward it I have sent off for the Ancestry DNA test which I have been considering for some time.  My blood group which I inherited from my father is B+ which is an eastern Mediterranean/Asian blood group and I can't imagine where, on my father's side, it could have come from (from my mother's side nothing would surprise me) because as far as I know that branch is pure English with a drop of Irish since everybody has at least a drop of Irish blood.  I will post the results when they arrive.

The other fun thing which I have been doing is tangling with the Central Animal Register which wanted me to verify the data which they had about my two cats.  The problem is that they both had faulty microchips installed when they were babies so last February the vet installed new ones.  I registered the new Chip numbers with my local council but obviously they did not pass the information on to CAR.  When I phoned them to enable me to go  into their site to update the information I was told very firmly that "microchip numbers do not change".  Eventually on my second phone call I was helped by a very sensible woman who said that I would have to talk to my vet and get her to sign something to say that my chip numbers had changed.  The cats are due for their booster vaccinations in about three weeks so I figure that this particular hassle can wait for a couple of weeks; the cats aren't going anywhere any time soon.

Monday, January 22, 2018

My Personal Blue Tsunami

I have my computer back and it is working

Techie brought it back two days ago after it underwent a heart transplant.  He was able to move almost everything to the new hard drive but the tiles were not working as they should.  I was unable to create tiles by pinning to start and was unable to delete tiles.

I figured that it was Microsoft’s new order of things and worked around it by pinning frequently visited sites to the Task Bar.  However  -  when I booted it up yesterday all my tiles were lined up and ready to go, prepared to be deleted and to be created and re-sized.  So, obviously all it needed was to be rebooted to get things up and running.

My next move had to be reloading Family Tree maker, a thing which I was not looking forward to.  I have a backup version of FTM-14 on CD but I had progressed to FTM-17 via download and free because I was prepared to try the Beta version.  I searched the FTM site for someway to reload FTM17 and eventually contacted the Support Line which sent me a link (not actually a link, just a URL) which I didn’t recognise as the way to go the first time they sent it to me.  However, they re-sent it and I was able to download FTM17.

The next problem was re-syncing FTM to Ancestry.com, something which I had been dreading having to do since is was difficult last time I had to do it after the BSOD 16 months ago.

BUT . . . after the download   -  and FTM recognised me  -  it asked if I wanted to sync with Ancestry and provided a link.  Presto  -  my Family Tree was back in FTM.  Yeah!!  I have over 1600 names and it would have been a very long job to even get the names back into FTM, let alone the sources so it was a huge relief and after sweating on it for days it turned out to be almost simple.

This morning I posted off the descendant line related to my father’s family to a first cousin once removed who doesn’t have a computer but is interested in family history.  The descendant chart has been sitting on my hall table for a couple of weeks so finally all appears to be well family and computer wise.

With luck there will be no more Blue Screens and all seems to be right with the world.