Old Red Jacket Talker

Just an old RCMP dispatcher’s ramblings . . .

Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

Well not quite, but I must admit a new innovation in our library system has made me quite a bit happier. The library system has brought in Library 2 Go which allows you to sign out ebooks from the library to your ‘Supported Ebook Device’. This can be to a computer or to a mobile device such as iPad, Libre, Nook, Kobo, Sony or to many smartphones such as Android, BlackBerry, iPhone or a windows phone 7.

I use a BlackBerry Torch which is a touch screen but I have also set it up onto a BlackBerry Pearl Flip. The beauty of this is that you can download an ebook from the library onto your smartphone and read it whenever you want. Even if you are in an area where there is no mobile coverage you can still access your ebook as it is stored on your phone.

When you download the ebook you have it stored on your device for 14 days. At the end of 14 days the ebook is automatically returned to the library system. Of course if you finish the ebook prior to the 14 days you can ‘delete and return the book’ earlier. If you have not finished the book prior to your 14 days, then you may be out of luck, however, I have had success in returning the ebook and then resigning it out right away for another 14 days. This works as long as no one has put a ‘hold’ on the book you are viewing as you need to have the book available for downloading again.

Prior to downloading an ebook you do need a few things. One is you need Adobe Digital Edition Account. It is a free and only takes a minute or so to set up your account. You need the account to authorize your ebooks to be downloaded to your device. If you are using a smartphone like BlackBerry then you need to download a free app called ‘OverDrive Media Console’. Once you have the OverDrive Console you open it up on your smartphone and then ‘Add in a Library’. Of course you will need an actual library card number to access your individual library. You can search through and find your local library and then be able to search through the system once you have signed in with your access.

I find it is a bit easier to search for new books by using a computer as the screen is a little easier to use as it is larger than the smartphones and it is easier to use a full keyboard. Once I find a ebook I want to download, I then open up OverDrive on my smartphone and do a search through the smartphone and continue on downloading it that way. The downloads are fast as it normally only takes less than a minute using the 3G network. Using 1X is a little slower but not by much.

Once the ebook is downloaded you can start reading. Individual smartphones utilize different methods of changing pages. On my Torch I can just use my finger to touch the screen and go forward or backwards. On the Pearl Flip you can use the ‘space’ key to go forward or the ‘p’ key to go backwards. You can also use the trackball for this. Either way is fairly convenient.

In my younger days I always used to carry around a pocket novel in my back pocket so when I had a few minutes to spare I could haul out the book and read a bit. Now a days pocket books have gotten so large they just don’t fit in a pocket any longer. I normally have my cell phone with me at all times I’m away from home so it is very convenient say when in a doctor’s office waiting room to pull out the cell and in seconds be reading my ebook.

I’ve found the font on the smartphone are quite readable as well and you can actually increase the size of the font to your liking. Even reading in the dark is no problem as the smartphone has a backlight to highlight the screen. The text is only black and white, but it is sufficient and quite easy to read.

As stated, almost ‘Best Thing Since Sliced Bread’ but not quite . . .

August 27, 2011 Posted by | Computer Information, Computers | Leave a comment

Staying Busy

I have been quite busy lately with all the goings on with the Town and their website, the Seniors computers and the ‘This & That’ blog.  Of course I have also had a huge amount of computers coming in with the newest ‘problem’, the Antivirus Windows 7 (Vista)(XP) programs.

It is not enough that I get calls asking for help, but the other day I was walking down the street at about 9 p.m. (it is quiet out at that time of day in town).  I hear this yell that sort of sounded like my name, but not really.  It actually sounded like ‘DARRELL’ to me, so I continued to walk home.  Then I heard yelling again and turned around and saw a woman waving her arms at me and yelling for me to stop. 

The short story was they had some computer problem that just cropped up and wanted me to come and fix it.  I agreed and complied and got the computer all fixed.

Today I was filling up my gas can at the local gas station and this guy pulls in beside me and just sat there.  Didn’t say anything while I pumped the gas (the attendants were busy inside).  Finally I was done and just at that time an attendant came out.  The guy advised he didn’t need gas, but wanted to talk to me.  His computer needed some fixing as it was acting up.  Needless to say I advised him I’d be home in about 10 minutes and he could drop off his computer and I’d look at it.  At present I’m working on it . . .

I don’t mind at all.  If I didn’t want to work on them I could always advise the person that I was just too busy.  It is always nice to help out and get the individuals computer back up and running as the owner wants.

My only beef right now is our weather in that it has been darn wet the last while.  It sure makes for a muddy walk in the morning and of course extra work in the Hall and the Bank with the muddy floors.  The forecast says it is supposed to warm up by the end of the week so I have my fingers crossed.

Of course you can’t do a damn thing about the weather so you might as well as ‘just go with the flow’ and move onto something else until you get the type of weather you like…

May 11, 2010 Posted by | Computers, Hanley | Leave a comment

What a Bad Blogger I Am :(

I have had so much on my plate of late, I just haven’t been able to get my fingers around the keyboard to put up much on this blog. . .

I got involved with the beta of the new Windows 7 and have it installed on one of my computers. Then I decided to pick up a new computer (8 GB RAM, 1 GB video card, etc), so then I had to try and transfer all my files etc to the new computer and get Sam set up on my old one (the one with Windows 7 on it). There was a learning curve for Sam as she had recently been using the XP system. So she missed Vista and the new 7 is very much based on a Vista computer. Actually if I read correctly, anyone upgrading to the new Windows 7 and using XP, will have to format and do an install. There is no upgrade available from XP to 7. If you are using Vista, then you can upgrade to 7 though. Now I’m not certain of the XP thing, but that is what I have read a few times. Anyhow, computers have been taking up a bit of my time of late.

Then because my days are not busy enough as it is I was convinced to take on a new task of creating a website for the Town of Hanley. The Town wanted to get their presence out on the Web. I did some work on the site and now the powers to be have to decide if they want to go ahead with the site or just what.

I also created and run another blog for the Hanley Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion and it decided to get corrupted the other day. So I have been frantically trying to get it back up and running. I tried and tried, however, I couldn’t retrieve previous posts so I just started over. The feeling is that I’d rather get the blog up and running and I can always try to recover previous posts later on.

Add to the above, I have been very busy with computer repairs of late. Lot’s of new customers which is nice.

Of course I’m also into curling at this time of the year. Predominately I enrolled in the Senior curling for Monday’s. But then I was used as a spare on Tuesday evening and on Thursday evening on a fairly regular basis. So lots of time has been spent at the curling rink.

My Tuesday mornings have been taken up with the Seniors Center and playing pool. There is about 7-8 fellows who go down and shoot 3-4 games every Tuesday morning. I missed as I was so tired after papers I went back to bed. They called me and insisted I come down for a few games. So if I’m home I try and get down for 9:00 a.m. and keep my shooting skills up.

Of course I’m still delivering the Saskatoon Star Phoenix every morning. Thankfully that usually only takes an hour or so. The bad part is that the papers are supposed to be deliver prior to 7:00 a.m. Monday to Saturday. I usually get up between 5:30 a.m. and 5:45 a.m. and get them done. The cool weather has not been nice lately, but at least I do see a warm up in the weather forecasts to come.

Then just because; I also was convinced to take on the caretaker position of the Centennial Hall effective today. The person currently in the position wanted to move on as they had held the position for quite awhile and their life was getting so busy. The feeling is that it should only take me 15-20 hours a week out of my time. Of course that is once I get used to doing what I have to do on a daily basis. Then when there is something going on for the weekend (ie curling spiel, etc) I’ll have a few more hours. I’m not really sure of the time commitment, but I’ll definitely give it a go and see what I can do.

So all in all, I just haven’t had a lot of spare time to actually sit down and compose something for the blog. Lot’s of thoughts, but just not the time to get it submitted. Hopefully my time will start to slow down just a bit as it seems like I’m running out of steam just about every day.

That is not what retirement is supposed to be like, is it? Hope not anyway . . .

March 1, 2009 Posted by | Computers, Curling, Hanley, Legion | Leave a comment

Time Just Flying

It appeared that I just got over the Remembrance Day ceremonies and then I was getting prepared for the Legion bonspiel on January 2nd, 3rd & 4th. Trying to get bartenders lined up (impossible task), ordering the liquor & beer, picking up the orders, purchasing items at the store, etc. etc.

Before I knew it, Friday the 2nd was here. I started going just after lunch and picked up all my orders and got them delivered to the Hall. The fridge stocked up and got everything ready to go for 5:00 p.m. This year I really didn’t want to curl as I just run out of time as it is. Having to curl at least 3 games only impacts the time shortage more. But, because of the weather for the weekend, I did indeed end up curling. We had hoped for 32 rinks, but had to settle for 24 (ours included). This is still a respectable number of rinks though. I did hear that a town east of Regina also had a bonspiel scheduled for the same weekend as Hanley. They could only muster 7 rinks. It certainly is hard to run any kind of a bonspiel with that few rinks.

Back to our spiel though. At 5:00 p.m. we got the bar open and everyone was getting ready to curl. Our team had to hit the ice at 7:00 p.m. so I got a couple guys to man the bar and out I went. Of course we got our butts kicked, but we scared the other team for the first couple ends when we scored. After that we just were not strong enough to keep up. Go figure 🙂

Then it was back to helping out in the bar area, picking up more beer, etc. All in all I got home at 3:45 a.m. Saturday morning. My head hit the pillow at 4:00 a.m. and I tried to get some rest. At 5:45 a.m. my alarm went off and I was up and at em to do my papers. Of course it had snowed and blew overnight and the temperature was sitting near -55 C when I headed out. Slogging through the snow just about did me in. Within 3 blocks my legs felt like they had lead weights on them.

However, I did manage to get the papers delivered. Got home and took a few hours of rest and hit the hall again near 11:00 a.m. We curled once again and of course got severely beaten. That meant we had to curl again at 9:00 p.m. Saturday night. We were able to get in a great roast beef supper though. This was in between watching the bar and sitting at the door selling tickets. But the supper was delicious.

The team headed out for our 9 p.m. appointment and immediately felt we were in away over our heads. Chalk up another loss. That’s three strikes (games) and your out. So it was back to the hall and watched/listened to RJ & the Boys. We got to close the place up earlier than Friday though and we were home by 3:30 a.m. The nice part was no papers on Sunday so I got to snooze a bit longer. Even so, we were back at the hall shortly after 11:00 a.m.

Throughout the whole weekend, the cold was just brutal. I really appreciated all the people that came out and curled, watched, or just visited. Without them, the bonspiel would not have been a success at all. Sandra and I made it home right around 9:00 p.m. A whole lot tired, but not overly so. As I said earlier, it had blew and snowed all weekend and of course I did not find the time to shovel or snow blow the driveway out. I was dreading trying to plow through the drifts when we got home. To my surprise, one of my great neighbours had snow-blowed the sidewalk and the driveway, so it was clean driving into the garage. You just have to love super neighbours like that!

Monday morning of course is the senior’s curling, so I was up early doing the papers, then down to the rink and some more curling. At least I ended up on a winning rink for a change. Prior to heading off for curling I had already received 8 computer repair calls though. After lunch I returned my supplies to the various stores and fixed up two computers. Then I got to rest at home for a bit. Of course I had laundry to do, but heck that is just loading up the washer and then folding after drying. Nothing too tasking other than time.

Onto Tuesday and off we went to the city so Sam could get her INR checked. I also had a computer to look at in the city and a new HD TV to hookup for a fellow. Got that all done and home by supper time. Success both with the TV and with the computer.

Wednesday I got a couple more computers done and not much else. Thursday the same.

Then the weekend hit and I could hardly believe it that here I sit typing and it is already January 11th. Half the darn month is just about gone.

Seeing as today was a nice quiet day I got back to doing my normal laundry today, and decided to clean the oven. It had gotten a bit dirty from cooking over the holidays. Of course yesterday I finally got around to taking down the Christmas tree and putting the decorations away. As I was pulling down the tree, I must of turned the wrong way or something as I must of stretched something in my back. It hurts like all get out. Every time I rolled over last night in bed I woke up from the pain. It almost seems like a ‘stitch’, so I’m hoping I can work it out. And actually after reaching in and doing the oven it does feel a bit better. Hopefully that is a good sign.

Tomorrow, we have curling in the morning and then as expected we have to head back to the city for Sam’s INR. With last weekend being so screwed up, her levels are out of wack, so we have to go in and get it checked again. Hopefully they are back in sync once again after a more normal week.

I normally don’t make any New Year’s resolutions as you just never seem to keep them up, however, I do want to try and hit the blog a bit more often this year. I have been trying to set up a new blog for the Legion (which seems to be working fine) and a web page for the town. The town still hasn’t decided whether they want to go with what I set up or not. If not, then maybe we can get something else set up for them. I told them I was no pro, but I would do what I could for them. We’ll see.

Even with the month tearing by, I do seem to be finding a bit more free time. Heck, I actually sat back and read a book for a couple hours the other day. That doesn’t happen too often as I just don’t seem to get the time. So maybe we are on a roll and I’ll find a bit more free time to spend on the blog.

Hope so 🙂

January 11, 2009 Posted by | Computers, Curling, Hanley, Legion | Leave a comment

I Thought I Forgot :(

As I was walking along this morning at about 5:30 a.m. delivering my papers I got to thinking of this and that.

This morning I was thinking about how much I had forgotten about my previous occupation after just about 4 years of no contact.

As we all think our brains can only hold so much information and then we have to get rid of some of the garbage so to speak to make room for new information. I figured after almost 4 years I should have made a bit of room with deleting a few unimportant items from my former career. So I figured I’d give myself a run down of former Detachments in the former NB S/Div.

As expected I remembered all the Detachment names which is not a bad thing considering I used them every day for over 21 years. Then I decided to try and remember ORIs for the Detachments thinking that no way I could remember such a minor thing after this length of time and absolutely no contact with the former profession.

So I listed in my mind:

Battleford = 20030 (Defunct now)
Battlefords = 20035
Cut Knife = 10025
Glaslyn = 10035 (Probably defunct now)
Green Lake 10032 (Probably defunct now)

Goodsoil 10038 (Defunct now)
Hafford 10040 (Probably defunct now)
Lloydminster 20016
Loon Lake 10060
Maidstone 10062 (Probably defunct now)
Meadow Lake 10065
North Battleford 10076 (Defunct now)
Onion Lake 10078
Pierceland 10081
Radisson 10086 (Probably defunct now)
St Walburg 10092 (Probably defunct now)
Spiritwood 10097
Turtleford 10104
Unity 10105
Wilkie 10114 (Probably defunct now)

As I listed them off in my mind I figured I’m was probably about 95-98% correct (which means I might have 1 or possibly 2 wrong but I didn’t think so). Of course this was just the former NB S/Div. My mind also flooded in with previous ORIs that were common in Saskatchewan at the time; ie 10125 10126 10127 10128 10129 10130, 10057 10061, etc etc etc. These were just Saskatchewan ones, I also recalled a few Alberta ones (ie 10102, 10120, 10115, 30009, etc);  Manitoba ones (ie 100700; Ontario ones (ie 10000, 10078); New Brunswick ones (ie 10045)l and a few others throughout the country.

This told me that I hadn’t really dropped off this lot of useless information in my mind so I moved on to plan “B”.

I thought I’d try phone numbers… Ah success… I could only remember 1 or 2 (or maybe 3 or 4) from the previous years. But then I remembered that these numbers had not stayed the same throughout the years. They had changed 2 or 3 times in the 30 years. But at least I had forgotten a few of earlier numbers. . .

Zenith 50,000, 445-9441, 445-9461 of course are burnt into my mind and I’ll probably never erase them. But there are some that are just gone. Thank goodness.

I thought I might be filling up the old hard drive too much 🙂 Now I know I have a bit of extra room to add more useless information in the future!

I wonder what kind of information will be stored away in the next 10 or 20 or 30 years ??

October 30, 2008 Posted by | Computers, RCMP | Leave a comment

Free File Hosting Service

I just received an email regarding a ‘File Hosting’ service that is just starting up. This new service is called “File Savr” and can be located at:

File Savr

If you create an account prior to September 15th, 2008 you will receive a ‘Free’ account for life. This allows you to upload and store 250 gigs for free for life.

This is sort of neat if you ever want to save a file and then download it from another computer (music, docs, pics, etc). The sign up is as easy as creating a ‘user name’, a password and an email address (a GMail or Hotmail works just fine). You never know when this might come in handy…. But hurry as the freeby is only until the 15th.

The price is sure right 🙂

September 13, 2008 Posted by | Computers | Leave a comment

Busy Time

Something tells me that the summer is coming to a close and the restart of school is right aroung the corner.

It seems every day I’m getting a call or two about fixing up a slow computer. When I ask a few questions as to what the computer is doing, how long, etc; I’m invariably told ‘oh it has been like this all summer’ and ‘just too busy to look at it’, etc.

My favourite is ‘well the kids are going back to school so I thought I should put an antivirus program on the computer’. I ask, “what have you been doing since you last had an antivirus program”. ‘Oh nothing, we figured it was the summer time and we wouldn’t have to worry about a virus showing up’.

OK, I’m with you on that one all right 🙂

Needless to say my first job is to install and update an antivirus program for them. Then run a ‘full scan’. Invariably there are some trojans and other great stuff sitting in their computer. After getting the little mess cleaned up, I can then go in and attempt to clean up the slowness, etc.

Fun, fun, fun.

August 9, 2008 Posted by | Computers | Leave a comment

Staying Busy

Sheesh it has been a fairly long time since I’ve sat behind the keyboard of late. There are actually a few reasons for this, one being the amount of travelling I’ve been doing (going to and from the city). The main reason for the travelling is that I’ve run into a sore shoulder in the rotator area. So when I was in at my annual medical I mentioned it to my doctor who decided I should see a physiotherapist. On my first appointment for the physio the guy wasn’t too hard on the shoulder. He sent me home with some exercises to do to help with the rotator muscles.

Of course once you get into to see a therapist, they want you back fairly often so they can work on you and judge if you are gaining or loosing. That has meant 2 trips a week to the city for the therapy. Of course at home I’m doing the required exercises to help strengthen up the muscle and get the blood flowing in the area. The therapist feels I probably have a small tear (or more than one) in the rotator area and that I may need surgery. Still he wants to see if the physio will help prior to surgery. For the surgery you need to visit an orthopedic surgeon and they have a fairly long waiting list.

Some days the shoulder is fine and others it hurts like the daylights. Even on the fine days if I happen to stretch or reach the wrong way, the shoulder gives me quite a jolt of pain. I try and remember not to reach or stretch that way again as it hurts, but of course you forget in a day or so and you do it again.

I have another 2 appointments this week with the physio and then the therapist will decide if it warrants continued sessions or not. I do think it has helped to a certain degree, but it is a small degree in my view.

The other thing that has kept me going is working on a bunch of computers. Fall is coming and folks are wanting to get their computers tuned up for the upcoming winter months. Of course the computer needed help all summer long, but you never want to get work done before you actually need the computer. However, for the most part, I have had no problem keeping up with the demand. What is a little maddening is when I get the computer fined tuned and it is working top notch and then get it back to the customer and they do something and it crashes the whole thing again. Trying to figure out what happened and how to rectify it so that it doesn’t happen again is a guessing game at times. One such computer is one that I’m working on from a person in the city. I got it all set up and it was purring. Got it back to the customer and she found a trouble spot so the next trip into the city I fixed that up. Now it seems her younger son felt the computer was locked up or something so he powered it off and now it won’t restart. So tomorrow on my trip to the city, I’ll be stopping by and see if it is a quick fix or a ‘bring it home’ job. Hopefully it is just glitch that I can fix up on site.

No one likes to be without their computers now a days…

September 17, 2007 Posted by | Computers, Family | Leave a comment

Lots of Driving Lately

For the last week and a half I have been putting on more than normal amount of kilometers on the truck. This all started when Sam’s warfarin levels decided to go wacky so we have had to make a trip into the city every couple days to get her levels checked.

Finally today we got word that the levels seem to be settled back down and we can go back to our previous routine of getting her checked once a month. I do believe the problem was some older meds (ie warfarin). When the doc was on holiday her replacement decided to drop the daily rate from 3 mg to 2.5 mg. Now it is darn difficult to cut up a 3 mg tab so I used a 1 mg tab and cut in half a 4 mg tab. After looking at the bottle closer, it could be that the 4 mg tabs were a bit old so they may not have had their full potency.

Then on the long weekend we decided to travel to Christopher and close up shop for another year. We have had a few nights where the temperatures have dropped fairly close to zero, so we decided it would be best if we drained the water lines etc at the cabin. It is a lot easier to drain the lines than trying to fix burst ones. As it had been a bit cool of late, we didn’t know what we would face when we got up north so we weren’t sure if we were going for the weekend or just a day or what.

Last Sunday we headed out in early in the morning and followed Craig back into the city. Sandra and I then continued on north. As we got closer to Christopher you could see where there had been a fair amount of rain of late. On arrival at the cabin the ground was still moist but of course this is forest country so it wasn’t muddy or anything like that. When I opened up the door to the cabin I sure could feel the cool air rushing out. I then opened up the windows and within an hour or so it was fairly nice inside for Sam. I commenced to take down the lights, and started stowing away everything for the winter hibernation.

At noon I took a break and cooked us up some dinner. As we were sitting down eating, we were looking out the window and it sure was nice and peaceful. No wind at all and of course the leaves starting to change colour and fall to the ground. We were tempted to stay the night, but after a bit we decided that we should probably just close up shop and head south again.

After we washed up the dishes and got the fridge cleaned out, I headed outside and started on the water lines. Of course I had to empty the storage tank of water which I did with the pump. While the water was pouring out I was shaking my head on the wasted effort I had done to get the tank filled earlier in the summer. A lot of useless extra effort, but if I hadn’t filled the tank we would have run short. So better to be prepared than having to play catch up.

Once the tank was empty I got the pump disconnected and serviced and commenced to blow out the lines. After that it was just a matter of cleaning up and loading the truck and we were heading southwards once again. We did have one stop in the city on our way through as I had to pick up a hard drive for a computer I was working on. I made it to Office Depot with about 5 minutes to spare before their closing, picked up the drive and we headed for the home stretch. We pulled into the garage just prior to 6 pm. Both of us had sore butts from so much sitting, but at least we had the comfort to know the cabin was ready to face another Saskatchewan winter.

Next came more driving to the city as I had to go visit a physiotherapist for my shoulder that has been bothering me of late. I had the shoulder xrayed during my annual medical and there was no sign of arthritis, so the doc wanted to see what a therapist could do for it. So into the city again we went and the therapist pulled and pushed the shoulder until it really hurt. He gave me some exercises to do for the next while and told me to come back next Tuesday and Thursday for followups. So that means two more trips to the city next week.

On our initial trip to the therapist I also took in the computer I was working on. Once I was done with my pain class I headed over and setup the computer for the customer. I had to do an install on the printer, and a final virus scan, and then I was done. This trip only took about 45 minutes or so and then we headed for home once again.

I think all told in the last week and half I put on about 2,000 kms or so. Hopefully that is not going to be my future mileage counts. Let alone getting ‘TB’ out of the sitting, the cost of gas is certainly not going down any.

September 7, 2007 Posted by | Computers, Lake | Leave a comment

Too Hot Outside Seeing as it is just a way too w…

Too Hot Outside

Seeing as it is just a way too warm outside, I’ve been couped up in the house all day. When that happens, my fingers always want to play on the keyboard. Some days are good and then some days are not so good.

As you can tell already, I’ve been playing with the templates on the Blogger Blog. The old template just wasn’t doing it for me of late, so I figured I’d try something new. Now whether I’ll keep the current template or move to something else, I’m just not sure.

Depends on how warm it gets outside in the next day or so as to whether I get to play on the keys 🙂

July 28, 2007 Posted by | Computers | Leave a comment