Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for April 2019

Computer Woes: Stuff I Learned While The Computer Was Down

with 10 comments

As the title says…here we go.

  1. I am very impatient. Waiting to get my computer fixed seemed like forever, rather than nearly eight days.
  2. I was more stuck in ruts than I’d previously thought.
  3. Trying to type on a phone — even on a smartphone — is much harder than I’d thought, and it’s not just because of my quasi-carpal tunnel syndrome.
  4. Following from #3, I figured out I owed a friend an apology from a while back. He and I got into it because I was being very chatty, and on a good day — and with a good computer, complete with a proper keyboard and my hands cooperating, I can type nearly 80 words per minute. He could not follow me on his phone, and said so. (He later admitted he wasn’t particularly nice about it and did apologize.) At the time, I didn’t understand this…but boy, do I ever, now.
  5. Following from #4…yes, I did apologize. Because it’s better to apologize late than never. And it’s a lot better to know, in and of yourself, that you tried to do the right thing, albeit late, and albeit when the other person may not even care anymore…because it was important once, and I muffed it. It’s a statement that I won’t do it wrong–at least not intentionally, anyway–again. (Of course, that leaves all the other stuff that I haven’t run across yet as potential things to do wrong. But I could do ’em right, too…moving on.)
  6. Tablets are damned hard to use.
  7. I don’t enjoy texting. Not on a flip phone, not on a smart phone, not at all. (“I do not like this, Sam I am.” — Dr. Seuss.)
  8. That said, texting my best friends when the computer is down beats staying out of contact all to Hell.
  9. And using a tablet is better than using a phone of any sort to stay in contact.
  10. Sometimes, life doesn’t go as planned, at all. And while I’ve known that for a damned long time, it bears repeating. (Like a clue-by-four upside the head.)
  11. I have a hard time reframing a bad situation, something I truly can’t stand, into anything remotely resembling a good one. I did try. I told myself over and over that I had more time to read. (I read all sorts of stuff, too. Found a couple of good new authors — new to me, anyway. One of ’em is Kate Stradling. Really am enjoying her work.) I told myself, over and over again, that I was still thinking about my stories — which I was — and that there have been times I’ve not been able to write for seven or eight days before, and I didn’t panic, so what’s the big deal?
  12. Enter panic. (Ding, ding, ding!)
  13. Getting my computer back was useful. I’m still not back up to speed. But I have friends to help. And I’m grateful for that.
  14. I have to believe, despite it all, that there are better days ahead. We all have trials and tribulations. That this affected my livelihood for a week-plus in addition to my communication and my mode of living wasn’t good. (To put it mildly, but I digress.) But several of my friends made a point of calling or texting daily. They were concerned. And they made absolutely sure I knew they were concerned. (Bless them forever for this.)
  15. My family was also very good through this crisis. (It wasn’t just this I was dealing with. This is just what I’m willing to talk about. Further writer sayeth not.)
  16. “Sufficient unto the day are the needs thereof.” (Intentional Biblical misquote by my husband, Michael.) I have to meditate more on this one, I guess.
  17. Buddhists point out that you don’t have to enjoy your circumstances. You just have to accept them.
  18. But yes, when you get an ounce of joy, wring it out to the fullest! (I intend to do so, just as soon as I get some sleep. I’m going to write, and edit, and write some more…)

What do you think of this stream-of-consciousness blog? And what have you, yourself, learned when you have not been able to be online for a significant amount of time due to a computer failure, power outage, or any other reason? Tell me about it in the comments!

Written by Barb Caffrey

April 25, 2019 at 12:53 am

Change and Pointlessness

with 12 comments

I’ve been thinking, for the last week or two, about change. Specifically, change for the sake of “keeping up with the Joneses.” Or, to put it another way, change to be more “technologically current.”

(I wish you could see the eye roll I just gave to that.)

Look, I get it. Technology, in the main, is a good thing. The internet has revolutionized life and communication, and has for the most part made it better. But that was a change to make something better. Not a change for the sake of change alone.

“So, if you’re not talking about the internet, Barb, what are you talking about?” you ask me in exasperation.

Mostly, I’m talking about the “upgrades” at Pogo.com. I have been a member for quite a number of years now. (Well over ten.) And because of the phase-out of some staples of gaming technology, including the impending retirement of Java and lessening of Flash, many games I’ve enjoyed playing over the years are being retired right along with them. These games include Crazy Cakes, Dice City Roller, Pogo Addiction Solitaire, Pinochle (yes, they aren’t “upgrading” it to HTML5 anytime soon, it appears)…and to say I’m not happy is the understatement of the year.

Now, the fun of most of these games was never in the graphics. They were instead in the strategy. How were you going to be able to serve the most customers and make the most money with the ingredients you had on hand (Crazy Cakes)? How were you going to be able to make the most points with the rolls you received, and did you want to do the Auction rooms (which would slow you down, but perhaps give you more time to get more points to win extra dice) in Dice City Roller? (And if you haven’t played Pinochle, it’s much like most card games; you need to learn your basic strategy, but once you get that, it’s a lot of fun.)

Still, Pogo.com has apparently figured out that graphics and high-tech things are the way of the future. Even games like Tri-Peaks Solitaire, which did get an upgrade to HTML5, got better graphics even though the game-play didn’t change. (Unfortunately, they also changed the music behind it. They did better with Aces Up!, where they kept the music after the conversion to HTML5.) And since none of these games needed those things, they’re on their way out.

I like better graphics as much as the next person. But I like strategy games far more than I like the best of graphics. And these games had that (still have it, until June of 2019, anyway) in spades…but that’s not good enough, not in a world where change for the sake of change is needed.

Or when the original Final Fantasy game couldn’t stand on its own, and we’re up to what, now, in the numbering? (How many more so-called final fantasies are out there to be mined, huh?)

I know life is like this. Nothing lasts forever. The original Star Trek lasted three years on TV. Star Trek: The Next Generation lasted seven. (I can list all the other Star Treks, but you get the point.) The recent reboot, One Day at a Time starring mostly Latino/Latina characters and featuring Rita Moreno, lasted three. (If you haven’t seen that show lately, find it on Netflix now. Even though it’s been cancelled, it’s still available and it is hilarious.)

And yes, you have to take your enjoyment where you find it, because you know it won’t last. It never does.

That said, I find the current “upgrades” at Pogo.com to be unnecessary. I am definitely going to be playing my favorite games until the bitter end, and do my best to enjoy them even as I know that “all good things” inevitably find their conclusion.

But that doesn’t mean I have to like it. (And I obviously don’t.)

What say you to change for the sake of change? Did this blog make any sense? What would you like to add? Comments? Brickbats? Sobriquets? The floor is open…

Written by Barb Caffrey

April 12, 2019 at 4:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized