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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Chuffed, I Felt, Really Chuffed!

One of the problems with getting older is that many people treat me as if I'm past being able to keep up with the modern world. So when the opportunity to show what I know and get it right comes along it's a great feeling of still being part of the world as we know it!

Like many of my contemporaries, I am very interested in the offerings of the Internet and the possibilities it offers for our lives -- socially and practically. I am a keen holder of a smart phone and a tablet, as well as a laptop computer. My bank accounts are accessible online, I do a lot of shopping as well, and also belong to facebook, which I quite like, and twitter, which doesn't 'float my boat!

My affiliation with the Internet didn't start until we returned from our 5 year hiatus living near Munich. That is where I first heard about 'e-mailing' and learned how to use 'Word for Windows'! I even managed to save 2,000 Deutschmarks to use for buying a new computer when we returned to England. When I think back to that first computer, which we had made to order, and how expensive it was it's amazing to consider how things have changed since 1996! For example, when considering how much space there would be on our hard drive, we were assured that 2 Gigabytes was more than we would ever ever need!!!

In 2000 I had my own business as a 'virtual assistant'. The business was not a tremendous success, but I did learn a lot about software, and email accounts and so on. I even built my own website. My website building skills are now way out of date, but I did learn how to write html code and that still comes in handy from time to time. Often when using blogger! It also means that I have over the years learned how to work with techies when I need to call places like Internet Servers.

My rather long-winded point is that it was a great joy to me to be able last week to solve an e-mail problem being suffered by a friend of mine -- to the point that she was about ready to quite her job! I had been telling her for weeks that I thought I could fix the problem. It entailed enabling Gmail to be downloaded into her Microsoft Outlook program.

It was one of those problems that until I actually looked at her computer I didn't know from her description for certain what was going on. All I knew was was that this person and that person had not been able to fix things the way she wanted them fixed. For example, when I asked her whether she had Outlook as her email program she looked at me blankly, like I was speaking Greek. Anyway, arrangements were made and we got together and I looked at her computer. Sure enough she wanted Gmail downloaded into Outlook. This is quite straightforward -- all things being equal.

But all things were not equal. First, I needed her username and password for Gmail. I got a blank look in return for that question. But after a brief pause she reached forward and took down a note and there it was: "Password for Gmail". But to no avail. Nothing -- nada. Finally, a few discouraging hours later I went home. Feeling like a dunce, I might add. Once back home I checked my settings and thought I saw my mistake. I texted my friend that I wanted to try again. I think she was really feeling desperate because she texted back to say she could pick me up at noon the next day!

So back I went. I tried again, using the exact same settings in her Gmail and Outlook that I had on my computer.  I asked her if she was sure about her password. She was. I then had an idea! I would see if I could set up her Gmail account on my phone -- she has the same phone as I. She plugged in her details. I clicked on 'done' and the response was 'wrong username or password'!!!

"The password is not right." I declared calmly.

She looked again among her notes and found another little piece of paper with the magic words: Gmail password! I plugged the new information in the Outlook wizard and Bingo, 330 emails from Gmail were downloaded to her Outlook Inbox! Seconds that took! Not only that, but the emails are still accessible from her husband's phone and her phone, too.

The next day I received an email from her husband. " Thank you, Broad! You saved me from putting an axe through the computer -- or my wife's head!"

And last night I even fixed an error in my tablet's outgoing email settings...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Another Year, Tick-Tock

Happy New Year and all that stuff! I think I've been hibernating -- lazy more like! Every day I think today I will get back to blogging. And then I consider what I have to say and a big 'nothing to write' figures heavily on my psyche.

But it's more a case of being unable to get away from what has really been on my mind, which is 'worry'. It seems that a lot of the bloggers I've been reading have also had the same sorts of thoughts -- all to do with aging, with energy levels, with matters of health and well-being. It's all well and good right now. No major health issues that haven't been more or less sorted so that I'm on an  even keel. But the over-riding sense of the clock ticking is with me all the time. The days seem to rush by and at the end of them there is a sameness that is as gloomy as the weather has been.

I expect it started when visiting my mother last November. We had a lovely visit and we were both very happy to be together again -- but underlying the visit was the fact that my mother is waiting for death. Part of the problem is that most of her life revolved around being a wife and mother. Now the children are gone their own ways and my father died in 2005. She never learned to drive, which was a great disadvantage for her living in the country and so dependent on my father to get her to and fro. Fortunately, by the time he died they had both been living in the retirement home and had got used to being without a car. However, it also meant that she was not used to living her own life. Many lessons to be learned -- at least for me.

In the past few months two couples that I am very fond of have been facing similar problems. In both cases the women do not drive and have relied on their husbands. Now both husbands have had serious health issues and their wives are very distressed about the practicalities of how they could possible manage without their husbands. One actually bullied her husband into getting fit enough to drive because she is very lame and 'taxis cost the earth'!

Ho-hum! Tick-tock, tick-tock...