Friday, July 24, 2009

Getting online in Vegas

Usually when we go to Las Vegas, we don't even think about getting online. Besides, the Hotel/Casinos on the Strip don't want you to be getting online. They want you out of the room, spending money. That goes for "on the Strip." If you stay at a smaller hotel like Hampton Inn, you get free internet the same way you would get it anywhere else in the country.

Tinker used to go to Vegas at least three times every year, and after we got married, we continued that for a while, then it was down to one or two times a year. We didn't go last year at all. The last time we went, we took the laptop with us, and the hotel charged $12.99 per day for internet access. That's shameful.

This time, I'm taking the mini with us (I have a couple of Facebook Scrabble games still active). I found out our hotel is charging $14.99 per day for ethernet...and an additional charge for use of a cable if you don't have one. I'm taking one with us, but I also did a little research on free wifi in Las Vegas. The Venetian (on the strip) has free wifi in the food court and in the lobby. Then there are places where they expect you to buy something to get "free wifi." That includes Starbucks. There's a list of really free hot-spots here: (click on "The_List" button on the left)

We'll probably visit the library on our early morning walk. And there's always the airport when we're on our way home.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Weekend in New Jersey

What a weekend! New Jersey is a long way from North Carolina for just a weekend. I would only consider it to visit with some special friends, my classmates from the class of 1967, Drew University. So it all started in New Jersey.

We had our first mini-reunion three years ago when Karen invited us to her house in Charlotte, NC for the weekend. I live the closest, so it was an easy trip for me. This time she invited us to her summer cottage in South Seaville, NJ. For years I had heard her tell of summer in South Seaville, at the Camp Meeting. Karen's late father was a Methodist Minister, so it was easy to imagine summer revivals at a place on the coast. I thought "Camp Meeting" was an event. It turns out that "Camp Meeting" is also a place. It dates back to the 1800's when people came together on this camp site and pitched tents and had a revival. The tents evolved into cottages, and the revival tent is now an open-air Tabernacle.

We stayed at Karen's cottage, that was built by her father when she was a little girl. Her parents retired there. Only a few of the cottages are approved for year-round occupancy, so the tradition of a summer place continues through the generations. It's like a little village that surrounds the Tabernacle. Children play in and around the cottages that resemble a miniature Martha's Vineyard. Everybody knows everybody else, and we were welcomed as Karen's friends.

One of the requirements of ownership in the Camp Meeting, is membership in a Methodist Church. Methodism is strong in that part of New Jersey, as well as in Delaware across the bay from Cape May. Many of the Camp Meeting people have a connection to Drew University as well, since Drew is associated with the Methodist church, and has a Methodist Theological school. We did some Drew reminiscing with the new people we met.

We didn't stay through Sunday, so we missed the Camp Meeting in the Tabernacle Sunday night. But it was a full weekend all the same. We laughed a lot, played 60's music, and ate too much. It was a bit chilly at 75 degrees to go into the ocean but we did go to Boardwalk at Ocean City nearby.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

What's bugging your printer?

In a former life I managed 3rd level tech support for a State Government organization. Level one was the help desk that handled the most frequently occurring stuff like resetting passwords. The next most frequently occurring problem was printers. Such a simple piece of hardware can cause so many headaches. When you want to print something NOW, and you can't, somebody had better have a solution.

Sweetie gave me an HP psc 2410 Color Ink-jet - Fax / copier / printer / scanner for Christmas several years ago. It has been a reliable, fast printer. In addition to the 4-in-1 stuff, it also has slots for the top four popular digital memory cards. No headaches EVER until a couple of weeks ago.

Number 1 son came by and wanted to use it to FAX a job application. I usually use the desktop function in the HP Director to do Faxes, since it allows me to customize a cover sheet. That HP Director icon has worked forever, but that day, I got an hourglass for a couple of seconds and then nothing happened. So I had to do the Fax straight from the 4-in-1, didn't need a cover sheet anyway.

But that was bugging me. Without that HP Director, I couldn't scan. Also when the printer tells me to replace a cartridge, the HP DIrector shows me the ink levels. I never replace cartridges until my printed pages start fading anyway...about 2 months after I get a warning.

But that thing was still bugging me. I had not changed anything!!! (Right!?!) So I figured the printer driver had somehow gotten corrupted. GROAN!!! Dig out the original installation CD...(LAWD, where is it?) Do I really want to start this...probably take an hour. So I put it off until I was bored one night.

The installation CD had me to uninstall the old software and install again. OOOPS...after several "NEXT"s, I get an error.

So I use Add/delete software to uninstall. Then install the thing again. By then it was up to an hour. And the HP Director still didn't work. Printer was still printing, FAX was still FAXing, Digital slots still worked.

So I left it alone another week, and it was still bugging me. Saturday night I was waiting for Sunday's chicken to finish cooking, so I had some time on my hands. I went to the HP site to find a fix. Searched for "HP Director doesn't start." I got lots of drivers for "HP Director doesn't install." I downloaded one big one. It took 20 minutes to download. While it was doing that, I was still browsing and stumbled upon "HP Director Window Does Not Open after installing Internet Explorer 7". ARGGHH!! I don't even use IE. But the week before my trouble started, I did the weekly Microsoft update, and it forced that IE 7 on me.

SO I found my fix. It was a patch that took a few seconds to download, a few seconds to install. Now my HP Director works like it always did. Never believe a client who says she didn't change a thing.