Category Archives: proud geek

Book Twenty in 2012 – “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) – Jenny Lawson

Some background on how I found the author of this book. Have I ever mentioned that I grew up a trekkie? I was too young to be a fan of the original Star Trek, but when it came to The Next Generation I was hooked. I don’t remember how old I was when I started watching but it must have been in my very early teens. I was in love with Wesley Crusher, played by Wil Wheaton. I don’t remember when I found out that he’s on Twitter but I “almost died” as the tweens are fond of saying when they have a fangirl attack.

I began following him and eventually his wife and eventually their friend The Bloggess.

The Bloggess cracked me up with her tweets. Oh, she has a name? Wait, she wrote a book? Sweet! It hasn’t been released yet? Bummer. She’s recording the audio book? Glad there’s an audio version but she narrated it, uh oh. Books narrated by the author are seldom read well. The book is out? Great! It’s on Audible? Fabulous! I’ll go preview it. hahahhahahaahahahaahhahahaahhah!!!!! Yes, all that laughing during like, a two minute preview. I know what I’m using my next credit on!

When it finally came time to get this book I couldn’t wait. When I started it that first night I laughed so hard I was afraid I’d pee the bed. B could hear me laughing from the other room, over his music, with my door shut. It was that funny!

She sings her chapter titles. Yep, sings them. Imagine a random chapter title sung in a high pitched, clear voice. Oh and there’s sound effects, but not the kind that drive me nuts in audio books, sound effects that totally make sense with the content.

This book is just fabulous. She tells her life story, growing up with a dad who stuffed dead animals. Yep. Squirrel in the cereal box. Hahahahahaha!!! Ok, cracking myself up remembering random parts.

I’m not gonna write anymore in case I end up blowing all the funny stuff. I will just add that most funny people I’ve ever known have suffered hardship and Jenny is no exception. I know I related to her and I think most women would. I’m sure guys would enjoy it, too.

Deer sweater. Hahhahahaha!!!!

2012 Audio Book List (all unabridged):

1. “IT” – Stephen King – Began end of 2011, finished 1/4/12

2. “The Concrete Blonde” – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/9/12

3. “Under the Dome” – Stephen King – Finished 1/22/12

4. “The Black Echo” (Bosch #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/24/12

5. “The Black Ice” (Harry Bosch #2) – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/27/12

6.* “The Concrete Blonde” (Harry Bosch #3) – Michael Connelly – Finished 2/2/12

7. “Stories I Only Tell My Friends” – Rob Lowe – Finished 2/6/12

8.** “So Yesterday” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 2/10/12

9.** “Peeps” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 2/15/12

10. “1Q84” – Haruki Murakami – Finished 3/12/12

11. “The Stand” – Stephen King – Finished 4/2/12

12.** “Uglies” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/9/12

13.** “Pretties” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/15/12

14. “The Last Coyote” (Harry Bosch #4) – Michael Connelly – Finished 4/20/12

15. “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” – Seth Grahame-Smith – Finished 4/25/12

16. “Zero Day” – David Baldacci – Finished 5/1/12

17** “Specials” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/7/12

18.** “Extras” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/13/12

19. “77 Shadow Street” – Dean Koontz – Finished 5/21/12

20. “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)” – Jenny Lawson – Finished 5/25/12


Filed under 2012 Book List, Audio books, proud geek, twitter me this

Using Twitter to understand where data goes when it’s deleted

The other day when I tried to move the audio book, “11-22-63” to my iPhone, there wasn’t enough space for it. As I went through deleting other books to make room, a nagging old question surfaced and wouldn’t go away. Where does data go when you delete it?

Knowing about the Law of Conservation of Energy, I couldn’t wrap my brain around digital storage. I’m a visual learner and since data can’t be seen, not in the physical sense like trash in a garbage can, I’ve always been confused by the sound of emptying my digital trash can.

Just now it hit me. The perfect way to see it all in my brain! I love those moments, when a concept just clicks.

If data is all ones and zeros combined in just the right way to make a sound file play, or a text document saved, then using Twitter to explain this makes perfect and complete sense.

Say my hard drive is a tweet. I have one hundred and forty characters to use to send a tweet. Therefore, one one one zero zero one zero one zero one one one zero zero one one one zero zero one one zero zero one zero one one zero zero zero zero fills up my character limit. Spaces count, and I know binary isn’t the numbers spelled out, but that would have been a lot of numbers to get my one hundred forty character limit.

one one one zero zero one zero one zero one one one zero zero one one one zero zero one one zero zero one zero one one zero zero zero zero fills the hard drive. one one one zero zero one zero one zero one one one zero zero one one one zero zero leaves me some space, some characters left in the tweet. How did I get that space? I deleted ones and zeros. Those ones and zeros are what made up the audio book I deleted from the iPhone. So nothing actually disappears, the code just does. It’s like when you’re four characters over so you go change the word “two” to the number 2 and use the & symbol for the word “and” to make room. It’s just deleted, like characters from a tweet. I totally get it now!

If I wipe the hard drive, I erase the tweet completely. Poof! Ah, thanks Twitter. Never knew I’d use Twitter to explain this forever nagging question!

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Filed under proud geek, random stuff, twitter me this

Doggy Diaries – Video/Audio: Jayden’s First Play Date with Rudy

Georgie moved into a new house a few months ago and got a puppy too! I’ve been dying to get over there and check out the house and meet Rudy, but we were waiting for him to get bigger before bringing Jayden over. Finally we made plans to get together for a play date yesterday and thanks to Carin, I brought my iPod and got several videos.

First I want to mention how excellent Jayden’s work was before we got around to the playing. Rudy was in his kennel when we arrived, but he was barking and Jayden lost his focus a little. A quick obedience session got him focused on me again so Georgie could give the tour of the huge house. Jayden did great, even remembering where the bathroom was when I needed it later haha!

We let the dogs sniff each other while Rudy was still in the kennel and Rudy was growling. I was a little freaked out by that, but Georgie said it just looked like he was anxious to play. She got him out and carried him outside as Jayden had to guide me in the back yard to take him where he could go relieve. He did fantastic on the rough terrain of the backyard, taking me over loose stones and showing me a pretty big step, even though he really had to pee and there was another dog there.

We let them sniff each other while still on their leashes and then brought them into the enclosed patio. I really like that feature of the house. The large patio is completely fenced in since they have a pool, so we were able to let the dogs free but they couldn’t get far. It’s the perfect dog run.

This was Jayden’s first play date since becoming a guide dog and I had no idea what to expect. At first he didn’t even seem interested in Rudy which surprised me until I thought about all the work we’ve done on dog distractions. I still need to blog about how well he’s done at Saavi with all the new guide dogs.

Anyway, eventually he figured out that he was allowed to play. I was giving Rudy some love while Jayden sniffed around the patio and Georgie went inside to get coffee. Rudy broke free of me and the dogs were off! Rudy started making this sound like he was hurt or scared and I freaked since Georgie was in the house and I called Jayden and couldn’t figure out what had happened and then Georgie came out and laughed. Rudy would entice Jayden but then run scared, making this whimper that wasn’t a painful whimper, just an oh crap I picked on the big dog and now I better un, noise.

Georgie had just set the coffee on the table between us when the dogs went on their second run. Bye bye coffee! Rudy realized he could fit under the table and Jayden couldn’t.

I finally remembered to get the camera out and I ended up with four videos. I think the audio is pretty good. You can tell which dog is which because Jayden’s panting is louder and Rudy’s footsteps are smaller. You can even tell them apart when they drink water. Eventually they shared the water dish together. It was so much fun!

Rudy is a lab/shepherd mix and is around six months old and about half the size of Jayden. Georgie says his lab looks really come out next to Jayden but he’s got shepherd coloring. He is such a sweet dog! And Georgie has a knack for training. She had him in a sit stay on the outdoor couch at one point when I took Jay into the yard to relieve and that six month old puppy obeyed. It’s cool for me to be around a puppy and think about how Jayden was at that age, eager to please but loves to play. He’s still that way. Ok, on to the videos, yeah?

Ok, this starts off with Rudy barking like mad, trying to get Jayden to play. They had already been on two runs at this point. The only barking you’ll hear in all these is Rudy. You hear Jayden growl in a later video, but Jayden never vocalizes at all except for that.

You hear me and my friend Georgie laughing and shrieking a lot hehe!

Direct link to Video One

In this second one, I was trying to get Jayden to sound vicious again, since I had never heard him sound that way. Georgie said his entire face changed when he was growling at Rudy, teeth bared and everything, snout all wrinkled up, wow! Georgie takes the boys into the yard and I end the video.

Direct link to video two

The third one is really short, but I think it has a good closeup of Jayden.

Direct link to video three

The fourth video is the longest. At one point Jayden chews on a mesquite pod and I’ve got my fingers in his mouth. At another point he’s making gagging sounds and you get an idea of how hovering I can be when Jayden is making odd sounds haha! Carol knows what a worrier I am. I don’t play with rope toys anymore because they always made Jayden gag. Rudy had one with a ball attached and Jayden destroyed the ball on it immediately. I think he was gagging because he had still been playing with the remainder of the rope toy. Unfortunately I wasn’t videoing later when they were playing tug with it.

We finally get Jayden sounding all vicious. I think it’s after one of the times Rudy entices him and then hides and Jayden’s like, come on dude! He didn’t do it as long as the first time though, bullocks.

Oh yeah, I had been paranoid the other videos didn’t record so I asked Georgie if this one is. The joys of blind videotaping haha!

Direct link to video four

Yesterday was the most fun we’ve had in awhile. We were there for a good three hours. A few times, Georgie took Rudy inside to give us all a break and so we could sit and talk and drink coffee. Jayden passed out and then Rudy would be back and they were off again. Rudy had only gotten to play with one other dog, but Georgie said he was much older and huge and didn’t really play, more just tolerated Rudy. It was a great match for the two dogs I think.

When we got home, we both crashed out on the couch Jayden told you about yesterday. I had gotten the videos off the iPod and was listening to them and at first Jayden didn’t seem to register Rudy’s barking, but he woke up eventually and acted as though Rudy were in the house hehe! We are going to have to do that more often. It’s the perfect safe location for my paranoia about Jayden’s safety and great company with Georgie. Best day in a long time!

Unrelated thoughts while uploading: Now that I’m hardwired, uploading to youtube is soooo much faster. I can’t believe I wasted so much time being wireless.

Today is Mom’s birthday. I miss you, Mom!

I wonder if I could blog every day until November? NaBloPoMo kickstarted the regular blogging again. I decided to do it every day in December. Maybe I’ll just take it one month at a time.


Filed under apple Inc, birthday, coffeeholic, Doggy Diaries, dogs, fellowship, gratitude, Jayden, misty eyes, mom, proud geek, video, working dog, youtube

If your wireless goes out during a storm, don’t do what I did

I’ve never experienced weather affecting my wireless before. Last night it started acting up but it was late so we didn’t mess with it. Upon awakening my first thought was, I bet the internet isn’t working.

Sure enough, no internet when I woke up. I didn’t know how to start my day without Twitter to go along with coffee. I immediately started troubleshooting. I even tried getting in to a neighbor’s wireless so I could Google, but everyone is smart and password protected.

We have a router through T-Mobile because we have one of their home phones. We had gotten it after I went blind because we had both gone over our cell minutes. I’m not sure why we bother to keep it now, but anyway. The phone worked, but not the internet. I know nothing about the interworkings of a router so I thought perhaps the wireless part of it was broken. I decided to troubleshoot using an old Lynksis router I had kept.

There I was, not fully caffeinated, switching out a router blind. There’s a first for everything.

My laptop recognized the network but naturally, I couldn’t remember my old password. I tried to get in to the modem settings page to change the password but I couldn’t without being connected to the internet so I moved the laptop on top of a tall cabinet near the router to hardwire in. For some reason though, I could not access the modem page even now being connected to the net. I was chatting with Erik, checking IP configurations, neither of us understanding why I couldn’t pull up the modem page. My IP showed that my laptop was talking directly to the modem even though it was connected to the router. I realized why much later while at Gamma’s.

B got up and I finally just walked him through accessing the modem page on his desktop but I had the incorrect login information. I’m still not sure why, since I’m pretty sure Carol and I set it up to match the wireless network, but perhaps since it was a different router, therein lay the problem. I still don’t know. By this point my body was screaming after standing at the tall cabinet to access my hardwired laptop for I don’t know how long.

I decided we’d just hardwire the laptops and figure it out later since I needed to get to Gamma’s. Months ago I had planned on buying a fifty foot ethernet cable when I was dropping baseball feeds, but after Carol fixed the wireless, I never ordered the cable.

The one I had was short but B could use it for his laptop. I sent him to Best Buy to pick me up a fifty footer and he called while I was eating at Gamma’s. They didn’t have a fifty footer, only a twenty-five and it was $140. Gag what??? I told him that was nuts. I had found a fifty footer on Amazon for seven bucks. Look around, ask an employee. Best Buy was swamped so he went next door to Office Max. An employee walked right up to him, listened to what we needed and found it for him. $42. Gulp, but I was desperate and that as better than 140.

I should back up and mention that just before going to Gamma’s, I called Carol to ask what to do in Vista to get B’s laptop to recognize the ethernet. She told me, but also suggested turning off the power strip. She’s had to do that before when there’s crazy weather, which we have right now. Power everything down so it all comes back at the same time.

We did that but there was still no wireless so we left and that’s when B got my ethernet cable.

Of course I kept thinking about it the whole time I was at Gamma’s and figured out the reason my laptop was showing connection to the modem and not the router. Initially I had plugged directly into the modem. I think that’s when the laptop got confused. I then plugged into the router to attempt to access the router password.

When B picked me up, he said that when he got home, the wireless worked fine. Everything was fine. Ugh. It must have just needed more time after the power down.

Now the wireless works fine and I have a $42 ethernet cable. I can’t decide if I should return it, or hang on to it, since I’ve wanted to hardwire anyway. I can get one cheaper on Amazon, but I like the security of having the ethernet cable in my closet.

Long story short? If there’s weather and your wireless is hinky, power down, power it all down and give it time after you give it all juice again. That way you might not waste three hours on a Sunday and end up exhausted because you didn’t have your morning ritual.

Hey, at least now I know it’ll be simple to hardwire and I can do it myself if I ever so desire. 😉

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Filed under coffeeholic, fellowship, Gamma, gratitude, proud geek, techie tips, twitter me this, weather

That time I had a cyst removed

If you have a weak stomach around medical stuff, don’t read past the asterisks. I tweeted something about my afternoon including paramedics, lidocaine, iodine and sutures but it wasn’t dramatic and I got some DMs asking if I was ok. I didn’t mean to alarm anyone. It was really nothing. I had a simple medical procedure done and it’s nothing serious, but I’m going to go into detail.


When I had my physical last year, I had my doctor look at a bump on my head. It had begun to freak me out because it felt sort of like how they describe a bad lump in the breast. It wasn’t pea shaped however, more of an oval shape. At first it was squishy but it began to harden. I told Georgie about it and she said she had had those before and they were benign cysts, but it would be good to have it checked. My doc confirmed that it was nothing to be concerned with but if it bothered me, she could remove it.

I went the last year without it changing much, but it began to feel like a dull toothache and I was wondering if it might even begin to be noticeable, so I decided to have it removed. Unfortunately she couldn’t do both the procedure and the physical on the same day, so I have to go back for my physical. It’s actually rather good timing since she can remove the sutures then.

B took the afternoon off work to drive me which was nice because the ride I had scheduled with paratransit would have made it an incredibly long experience. After we signed me in, I handed over six scrub tops I had found while cleaning and washed. When I schedule my appointments, I asked if any of the women in the office might be able to use them. It was a little misty eyes making when I folded them up after washing, remembering buying them with Gamma and thinking about the adventures I had when I worked in medicine, but I was glad they’ll go to someone who can use them.

As B and I were sitting, someone came out of the office and let us know the paramedics would be arriving shortly and would be backing up the doctors’ schedules.

I didn’t wait much longer than the norm and really, my doc’s office is rarely a nightmare. They called me back and I cracked up as Jayden took me straight to the scale. I also love their scale! It always has me about three pounds lighter than the gym. I’m thinking the doc’s scale is more accurate…haha!

I only waited in the exam room about ten minutes when my doc came in. I just love my doc. She’s like hanging out with a friend. We constantly joke around and tease each other which puts me at ease right away. She injected my head with some lidocaine and that was the only painful part of the whole thing.

It was totally bizarre feeling my head go numb. She had to snip some hair and I asked her if she expected a tip. There was a student observing, doing her medical assistant externship for the same school I got my phlebotomy certificate from.

I began asking my doc how she was going to get the cyst out and she explained it would be a small incision and then she’d use curved forceps to work the cyst out from under the skin. I asked her what causes them and she said basically it’s a sweat gland gone bad. Ew!

It was so weird to feel pressure on my head and feel her pulling and prodding, but not feeling any pain. We talked about those people who have that disease that kills their pain receptors and ow odd that would be, insurance issues for people who need this sort of thing. She had a patient with a cyst like mine that had gotten to be the size of a golf ball before she had insurance!

Eventually she exclaimed, “I got your cyst out and I got it all in one piece. That rarely happens!” I remember back when she took some moles off, she told me she enjoyed those procedures, so I knew she’d be enjoying digging into my head. The extern said she was glad she could watch and I said I wished I could watch and my doc said, “wanna feel it?”

Heck yeah I did! I held out my hand and she put the cyst in my palm. Ew!! Hahaha! It felt like one of those landscape pebbles you might have in your yard, but like it was covered in silicone or something. I marveled that that was under my scalp and then was like, ok take it hahaha! The extern gave me a paper towel. The cyst didn’t leave much residue and doc said it wasn’t bloody. The lidocaine she used was infused with an agent that decreases blood flow. I was curious if I’d bleed a lot since head wounds bleed like crazy.

She sewed three sutures in and I was done. It was slightly woozy making, so I sat there a minute to make sure I wouldn’t get faint. I said I’d see her soon for my physical. Remember that professional crush I mentioned? Yeah it’s applicable to women. I just love her!

Oh the extern had also asked me if I thought it was worse going blind later in life or being blind since birth and I told her I just didn’t know. I love the fact that I remember what my doc looks like and my doc was like, “yeah I’m forever young. You can’t see the grey I have now.” I also said I had been talking with a friend about Monet and I was grateful I had been able to see Monet. So, there’s no good answer to that question.

B and i left and were assaulted by freezing air. The temperature must have dropped twenty degrees while we were in the office. I stayed in the car while he ran into the store and it started pouring.

I started feeling incredibly loopy. I wondered if lidocaine could make you feel stoned? I called Carol when I got home and she reminded me that I haven’t had any mind altering drugs in how long? Yeah. I then remembered when I had a tooth extracted when I was about a year sober, I freaked out because I felt the lidocaine and had to call my sponsor.

This time it was just fun and I called it a freelapse. That is until my head started hurting and I felt a bit queezy. Food helped the queezy feeling, but my head is really starting to hurt. My hair is matted with iodine and I can feel the sutures. Weird! And it’s flat again! Whoa!

So that was my afternoon. I got to feel a foreign body after it had been extracted from my scalp. Guess you can’t really call it foreign since my body manufactured it, but it was cool nonetheless!

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Filed under doc, Jayden, proud geek, silly girl, sobriety

#NaBloPoMo – What’s in a crush?

When I was just a youngin, I crushed on boys a lot. I can still remember the little purple diary with white hearts and the proclamations of, “I have a boyfriend. His name is Joseph”. I was in first grade. Like much of the crushes I had later in life, Joseph never knew I existed. At least then, I had the fact that he probably wasn’t in to girls yet going for me.

For some reason this morning I was reflecting on the word “crush” as it relates to an almost three-three year old woman in a committed relationship. Do I have crushes now?

This train of thought led me to another consideration. I’ve been in my relationship since before I went blind. I’ve experienced being attracted to men based on attributes besides their looks. Just because you are married or committed doesn’t mean you don’t still window shop. It’s human nature. For me, only if there is intent behind an attraction, is is dangerous.

Evan Longoria is a good sample to showcase my uncanny ability to pick out attractive men even when I can’t see them. Evan could be a cheat though, a cheat for me I mean, since he’s an athlete. I’m not saying all athletes are attractive. Cough CC Sabathia cough. However something about Evan attracted me before I ever heard him speak or received a description of him. Here is where I think for me, the word crush is, in most cases, admiration. Longoria was the rookie of the year in 2008 when I fell in love with him and consequently the Tampa Bay Rays. His and the Rays story hooked me emotionally. The young athlete who wasn’t even thought of as the big thing until he was, the struggling baseball team who changed their name and went to the World Series. It was emotion and a desire to clutch on to something great in my time of literal darkness that galvanized the feelings of attraction for Evan. It just so happened that he was also gorgeous. I got lucky.

However I’ve lost track of times I’ve been out with the girls, hear a man speak and whisper, “he’s cute, isn’t he?” I’ve never been wrong. At least the girls have never said otherwise and I don’t think they’d lie.

Those instances were purely based on voice after an “excuse me” at the store or a quick conversation at the register. I call that talent, but that is more the superficial attraction I notice now as a woman without sight.

The question about crush versus admiration came out today based on “getting to know” someone based on their online persona. Twitter and blogs and youtube channels are a great way to peer into a person’s soul, if they’re the type to share their personality online. Of course you will never get the entire picture of someone until you’ve been with them in person and often times not even then, but you get a pretty darn good sample.

Several women, myself included, talk about their Twitter crush. Is this a phenomenon? Do men do it too? I liken it to that crush in high school. Will I see him in the hall today after fourth period? Will he tweet in the next hour? The butterflies are similar. Only it’s not the first comes love variety for me. Which is why I think it’s more of an admiration. Admiration crush?

I had a professional crush on the doctor I worked for before I went blind. There was never any intent behind it, I was never tempted to go outside my relationship and come on to him in his office, but there was definitely a crush type feeling at times. I remember marveling on it then, how when we discussed a patient’s mystery ailment and the doctor figured it out, I found myself aroused, but not in a let’s get a hotel room way. I love medicine, I love medical mysteries and there I was, side by side with a man with MD behind his name as the light went on in his head after I showed him some lab results. I grinned as he thumped the patient’s chart with his thumb and made the aha sound. It was an amazing experience for me. I dubbed it the professional crush.

So perhaps the Twitter crush for a woman my age is simply an admiration crush. The ones who give me butterflies are ones who share similar interests like baseball or writing or forensics. I had the thought though, I’ve never had an admiration crush on a woman on Twitter so perhaps it is based on sexual orientation, which would make it a step above admiration? I suppose you also have to factor in life circumstances. Maybe it’s just fun to feel fourteen again. I could go on and on, but I won’t. Something to ponder.

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Filed under Adjustment to blindness, baseball, evan longoria, humor as coping skill, NaBloPoMo 2011, proud geek, random stuff, twitter me this

A post with stuff in it

I have no idea what I’m about to write about. My two best friends are out of town and have been for quite some time. While I rarely hang out with them, we talk on the phone. A lot. Which is odd because I hate the phone. Georgie and I talk every morning for at least an hour during the week, and Carol and I talk usually about every other day or so. For hours. When I was with T-Mobile, it worked great because so is she, so our calls were free. She has a spoon thief illness too, so we’ve really bonded over the years. Its rare that we both have energy on the same day to hang out, so we do it on the phone from the comfort of our own homes.

I forgot that she told me to blog more while she’s out of town since we can’t talk nearly as often. Oops…

So I’m blogging now. carol, it’s hot. What more is there to say? I’ve definitely got the summer blues since the heat makes me hibernate. It doesn’t help that you and Georgie planned your out of town ventures at the same time. You two must have better planning next year, ok? This will be something only you will understand. I needed Chapter 8 last night. It helped a lot.

In other news, the beeping cat collar broke. I’ve ordered another one. In the meantime, Timmy isn’t as easy to find, so that’s been a pain.

Jayden is doing well, though he’s not enjoying the weather either. I walked him all over Saavi on Monday while we waited for our ride, since walking outside is impossible now. Back to finding creative ways to work and exercise the boy. How quickly this time has snuck up on me.

The AZ wildfires are getting under control now that the wind has died down, thank God. I forget what day it was, Sunday maybe? B said he could see the smoke outside. The winds had shifted and blown it our way. I went outside and could smell it. There’s no rain in the foreseeable future, but today the humidity is up as well as the dew point, so maybe? Maybe? After a monsoon passes, there’s a decent window to get outside for a walk. I can’t wait for that. Though last year the storms seemed to come more at night, so who knows.

That’s really all there is, Carol, at least all that can be shared in public. Haha!

Of course there’s baseball, that’s a no brainer. The Rays are off today though. I hate off days. Nothing to look forward to.

I somehow managed to discover that Wil Wheaton is on Twitter. That led me to his blog which led me to his podcast. He still talks about Star Trek, but holy crap, Wesley Crusher is grown up. He swears. He wrote a book going over each episode from the first season of TNG, so in the podcast, he goes over each episode. Hilarious! I was so in love with Wil Wheaton when I was an early teen and now I think I love him even more. He’s a geek in real life!

Oh and Carol, I finally started following Ice T since a Twitter friend mentioned that she does so it finally reminded me to.

I’ve got another awesome Twitter friend. She’s sending me an ‘I (heart symbol) Longo’ t-shirt. It was a giveaway at the Trop last year and she got an extra one. How cool is that? She also tweeted all the Rays on Twitter and told them to read my last post, the one about the Rays being more than just a baseball team. Emeel Salem tweeted back that he enjoyed it. I need to have a way to compose blogs when I’m in bed because I had the post in my head the night before and in my original idea, I was going to mention that along with all the Twitter friends I’ve found because of the Rays, I also found Emeel Salem, who’s music has brought me such joy and who’s fundraising efforsts for tornado victims have been inspiring and fun to participate in. But I had a brain lapse and left it out of the post and he read it. Bullocks.

Something else cool might happen but I can’t write it, so you’ll have to call me when you get a chance. I think that’s about it. Summer sucks, baseball rocks and Jayden is a goof. Oh yeah, and my Twitter friends have been a giant help in filling the void you and Georgie have left in my life, darn you girls. 😉

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Filed under desert life, emeel salem, fellowship, humor as coping skill, Jayden, monsoons, proud geek, random stuff, spoons, Timmy, twitter me this, weather, where is everyone?

Safari extension allows control of Flash using Voiceover

*This post is assuming you have the latest Safari.

I’ve been using my Macbook and Voiceover for about two and a half years now. I love youtube because videos load automatically and until today, I couldn’t control embedded videos using Voiceover.

Complain about tech on Twitter and ye shall receive a solution.

A fellow VO user told me to try the Click to Flash Safari extension. Extension? Didn’t know about extensions. All this time and I never knew just how customizable Safari can be.

The following will be especially helpful for Windows converts using VO since I know Firefox is highly customizable and Jaws users can actually control Flash video.

If there are any other VO users out there who don’t know about extensions, then I’ll know I’m not the only one who kept myself in the dark forever. Silly me. Anyway, let’s get to it.

To get the click to Flash extension from Apple, click here. Navigate by heading down a ways until you hear it. The install link is the one above the Click to Flash heading. I clicked the one below it and installed another extension. Oops.

It installs automatically and quickly. I’m going to embed a video here for you to see how it works after you’ve installed it.

Before you instal the extension, you won’t even know there is an embedded video here. After you install the extension, you will now have a frame here.

VO shift down arrow to interact with the frame. Click the link right before you hear “flash”. This brings up the video element controller toolbar. VO shift down arrow to interact with it and you can now control your video. The only thing missing is volume, which is a bummer in case the video is so loud you can’t hear your screen reader.

That’s it, that’s all you do. I’ve tested a few videos and some still play automatically and some don’t. Odd. But I’ll take it.

To disable the extension in case you want a bunch of videos to automatically play, open Safari preferences (command comma) and select the extensions tab. Interact with the list. You can disable or delete.

I’m thrilled. I have missed out on countless videos because websites and blogs embed the videos. Now I can control them. Yay!

PS – If you’re new to VO and need help with some of the more basic commands to do this, let me know in comments. I didn’t want to describe every key stroke unless someone needs it.

Just discovered that it’s not perfect. I’m still not able to play videos on one of my favorite Rays sites. A page like this doesn’t work. Bullocks.


Filed under apple Inc, cool product, proud geek, techie tips, twitter me this, Voiceover, youtube

No sight an advantage with the iPhone? And some more thoughts.

I was talking to Carol earlier and I mentioned that I think I have an advantage when it comes to typing on the iPhone. Thought I’d explain why I think that.

I remember the only time I looked at an iPhone when I could see. My friend had gotten one and I tried typing on it. It was really difficult to get my finger on the right place and it was really easy to tap the ‘e’ key when I wanted the ‘r’ key, for example.

With Voiceover, I trail over the letters with my left thumb and tap once with my right when I hear the key I want. It just seems to make the typing more accurate since I don’t have to tap in exactly the right location.

There are quite a few things that give me an advantage since I’m blind, now that I think of it. I’ll have to do a whole post on that someday. 🙂

There’s actually a few more things I should get down, since Steve had asked me about call quality and such. I didn’t have much time with it to really have an opinion, but I was on the phone with Carol for a bit today and I have to say the sound was much, much better.

I like to use my Bluetooth when I’m on a long call so I paired my old headset to the iPhone today. The pairing was easy as pie and it sounds a lot better than it did with the Dash.

With the Dash, I would constantly have a clicking noise. I wear the Bluetooth in my right ear and my left ear would have the strangest feeling when I was on a call. I got used to it eventually and can’t even describe the sensation and the noise, but that’s completely gone now with the iPhone.

Carol sounded better and she said I sounded better.

I have yet to drop a call and I actually made quite a few calls today. Everything sounds better and happens faster with the iPhone. I’m sure I’ll have more to report on as I go along.

Georgie has an iPhone with AT & T and her calls constantly drop, so I really think it’s going to come down to carrier and not necessarily the iPhone. Since we’ve only seen the iPhone with AT & T for so long now, it’ll be interesting to see if there are less complaints. Although I know other Carriers in Canada have the iPhone, so I wonder if there have been complaints about call quality there.

I got my ESPN text alerts straightened out. They weren’t coming through and I tried re-entering my phone number on the site, but the confirmation text didn’t come through. I called and they switched my carrier and now I’m getting baseball texts again. All is right with the world. 😉


Filed under apple Inc, iPhone, proud geek, Voiceover

First day with the iPhone and Voiceover

I’m very lucky to have gotten help from family for that ridiculous deposit I had to pay to start a contract with Verizon. The nice thing is that after a year of on time payments, we’ll get that back with interest, so I’m just gonna set up automatic payments. Now that that ugliness has passed, I can get to the awesomeness that is iPhone.

My other phone was completely on it’s last legs, dying constantly and making it so I was uncomfortable going out. For those interested, I had the T-Mobile Dash, basically a Blackberry, with Mobile Speak installed. Sure, tactile buttons were nice, but the screen reader was quite garbled, and unless you were on a home key or the D key with the dot, you had to really be certain which button you were hitting. I basically kept one button poised on delete since I didn’t know what button I was pressing for sure, until I selected it.

I called Verizon Tuesday morning and got my iPhone via FedEx yesterday. I was surprised when the driver showed up at 10:30. Yay for not waiting all day! On a side note, she asked me a very odd question. After she helped me sign that tablet thing she asked,” so do you just stay home all day?”

I had been giving myself pep talks about the iPhone. I knew there was going to be a learning curve so I just kept telling myself to take it slow, be patient, don’t throw it.

I set the box gingerly on the coffee table and opened it up. When I took out the slim, sleek, square device, I was surprised at how sturdy it felt. It’s also got a heft to it I wasn’t expecting.

I had been talking to Georgie that morning and she said there were two volume buttons on the upper left side as well as a switch to turn off volume. She described the home button on the bottom middle of the phone and also a slider on the touch screen near that button that you have to slide to unlock the phone. I was glad she told me about these things.

I found the USB cable and plugged the iPhone into the Macbook. iTunes had been open, waiting.

The sales associate told me I would just plug in the phone and iTunes would finish the deal. Sure enough, there was a message from Verizon that popped up on iTunes solidifying the contract and such. After all that I was able to go into the iPhone through iTunes and turn on Voiceover by selecting the general tab and scrolling down to Universal Access, I believe it’s called.

As soon as the checkbox was checked I heard a female voice come from the phone, saying voiceover was on. I was ready to go. Incredible.

I left it plugged in to the computer since the battery hadn’t come fully charged. I began dragging my finger around the screen, listening as the voice told me what I encountered. At the top left is my signal strength and then as I moved right I heard the time and charge level. As I moved down there were icons like mail, messages, phone, Safari, iTunes, iPod, etc etc.

You activate nothing while you’re doing this. If you stop after you hear messages, the voice says, “messages. Double tap to open.”

Oh and that slider Georgie told me about? The voice says “slide or double tap to unlock.” Very easy.

Initially I was amazed as I dragged around exploring. Once you select something like messages, basically all that means is you stop dragging when you hear what you want, the focus stays there. You double tap anywhere on the screen to open. You don’t have to double tap on the icon itself, which is nice. Can you imagine trying to aim a double tap when you can’t see?

All my contacts were synced from the address book in the Macbook, so everyone was already there. I was able to open up a contact by double tapping anywhere on the screen when I heard their name.

Unfortunately there was one step the sales rep hadn’t mentioned. The phone was on and stuff, but not hooked into Verizon’s network. I tried calling it from the home phone and got a recording that the number had been disconnected. So they cancelled the T-Mobile account and imported my number, but the iPhone wasn’t talking to the network.

I didn’t know how long that switch took so I kept playing. I decided to see if I could dial into voicemail and when I tried, it asked me to enter the phone number. Haha! I thought, it’s gonna take me five minutes to find the keypad so I started saying to Silicone Sally that I needed customer service. That Sally isn’t as smart as T-Mobile’s Sally, but she finally got what my frantic words meant and I got a representative.

Turns out I had to activate the phone. She gave me instructions and I wrote them in a text document on the laptop and began. I double tapped the phone icon which brings up your keypad. It tells you you’re in edit mode so you know you have a keypad or keyboard.

I had to enter star and then three numbers. It was tedious and new, but fairly simple. I managed to hit send. Then I had to press one. Aaah ok drag around, hear one, double tap. Then it had me enter the mobile number. I wasn’t fast enough. Sally kept saying invalid invalid and hung up.

deep breath. You can do this. I must mention it’s harder to work a touch screen for the first time in your life when your hands are shaking because you’re feeling rushed.

I got it on the third time, even when she asked for the last four of my social. Finally it was done and I could now make and receive calls and text messages.

I managed to send B a text that read, “iPhone text”. That took about five minutes hahaha!

I practiced answering a call by calling the iPhone from the home phone. The answer button is on the bottom of the screen and while the call is coming in, you can still drag and wait to hear “send”, then double tap. The phone announces who is calling.

Gamma called shortly thereafter and I was able to answer the call.

I somehow managed to call B when I was trying to reply to his text message and it took me awhile to figure out how to end the call. That was a long voice message haha!

There was never a moment of oh my God I can’t do this, no moments of sheer frustration and panic, nothing. I just played and explored.

I opened up youtube and managed to do a search. You just drag until you find the search field and then double tap. The phone tells you you’re in edit mode and you find your keyboard. I’m a fast typer on the laptop so I know the layout of a keyboard. This helps as you’re dragging to find keys. I would find the key and double tap. It was tedious. I managed to search for Emeel Salem and clicked the Rays Talent Show link that popped up. I played the video. It was awesome! Oh, and you can actually control youtube videos on the iPhone, unlike with the Macbook where I can’t pause or anything. You can on the iPhone. Sweet!

I spent the afternoon just playing. Of course I had to do the most important thing of all – assign ringtones. I can even give people custom text tones. Now I won’t ignore B when I’ve got baseball texts coming in.

I was able to answer the call when B called and end it this time. Hahaha!

Pretty much all I knew about how to work the iPhone was from this page. I had checked it out briefly a few times but didn’t want to lust after the iPhone too much until I was in a position to have one.

A few hours after I had it, I listened to the video there. It showed me a much better way to type. Using both hands, drag a thumb around until you hear the key you want. Leave your thumb there and tap anywhere with the other thumb. Sooooo much faster.

The voice says the letter with a higher pitch so you know you’ve selected it. When entering secure text in a password field, it won’t repeat the letter, playing a sound instead, and only enters bullets. Someone could still hear what you’re entering unless you’re really fast, so if you’re in public, use your headphones if you’re worried.

The phone came with earbuds that are also a headset so you can talk into them on a call. They feel kinda flimsy. I hate ear buds because they tangle so I’ll probably sync my Bluetooth at some point for calls.

I have yet to put music on the phone but that’ll be soon.

Oh one thing I really like is the fact that the screen locks pretty quick after it’s idle. I thought that would drive me crazy having to unlock it but it’s fast and when it’s locked, nothing is going to happen when you pick up the phone. Also, when it’s locked and you hit the home key, she says the time. Nice and easy way to check the time in the mornings.

I haven’t figured out how to adjust volume and rate of Voiceover, but it’s actually good where it is. The voice is much easier to understand than Mobile Speak was.

Since I’m already familiar with iTunes and how to control iPods through it and such, it’s nice and easy for me to do anything to the iPhone like adding apps and stuff. For someone completely new to all of it, it might be a little challenging, but there’s always help online.

Especially with Twitter. You get answers fast. Amanda helped me find the Twitter app she likes and another friend helped me figure out the three fingered swipe to page down in my contacts list or on the ringtone page and such.

There’s a lot more left to learn, but I had the basics down by the end of the day.

I love it so much. If it asked me to marry it, I would!

I had seen an iPhone for like five minutes back when I could see. I knew nothing about it really until I had it in my hands. Remembering where things are is key and once you’ve got that down, you’re gold. You can also move icons on your home screen so things are positioned where you like them. That’s fun, to be able to drag and drop again.

Ok I think that’s it for things to touch on. If you have any questions, feel free to drop a comment. Also, if you know of any good resources for really getting in depth with the iPhone and Voiceover, let me know. I learn best when I have a web page or a blog with hints and such. Apple’s site is great, but I’d like some more in depth stuff.

Oh wait, the compass. Have to mention the compass briefly. It’s already on the phone and it’s amazing! I use a braille compass for orientation so I really like this feature. Ok, that’s it. REally.


Filed under apple Inc, assistive technologies, cool product, emeel salem, Gamma, iPhone, iTunes, proud geek, screen reader, Silicone Sally, twitter me this, Voiceover, wow, youtube