Connor’s Baby Shower

ShowerThe photos from Matt & Anna’s baby shower yesterday are now online!  Click here to view them.  Sorry for the missing “recent photos” block that is usually in the right sidebar… it had issues and stopped working, so I had to remove it.  I’m working on getting a new one to replace it, so it should be back soon.


Doggie_DenturesI had some dental work done this week, and I remembered Socks losing a tooth not too long ago, so I looked for the post. Sure enough, I found this.  After re-reading it, I just had to add a photo to accompany it.  I get a kick out of those weird facial-feature animal-swap photos all over the web. That makes his smile look much better than mine is now, that’s for sure!

The cesspool that is Facebook…”coming soon to Google+!?”

Yikes!  I just heard that Google is now going to start putting up ads using users’ names and photos to advertise products.  This is what Facebook has been doing, and it’s one of the frustrating problems Kevin has.  He once “liked” that “truthsaboutu” page on Facebook, and ever since then–and even though he UNliked that page long ago–I still see photos that say “Kevin Trottier likes this”, though he doesn’t.  Facebook is so riddled with ads and fake “apps” that get permission to post on your behalf, that I have no idea what’s a real post and what’s an ad any more!  And I’m guessing that’s exactly what they want.  It gives them more views.  So now it sounds like that’s coming to G+.  Nice.  Call me old-fashioned, or just a curmudgeon, but I’d rather be as little a part of it as I can.  I’m staying here.  I go over to Facebook to read my family’s and friends’ posts–and try to decipher what they actually posted, as opposed to what Facebook SAYS they posted–but for posting myself, I’ll be over here.  Just so ya know.   And once G+ starts getting bogged down with ads like that, the same goes there.  There are no ads here, and there never will be.

Unfortunately, sites like this are becoming quite rare on the Internet.  Ad-free sites still exist only because they are paid for only by the site’s author(s) and whatever donations the site might get.  It’s probably very tempting these days to add advertisements to a site, since it’s really very simple to do.  These days there’s no programming required–you just drop a block of code onto your page and it handles everything for you.  Soon the pennies start trickling in and adding up, if your site gets any traffic at all.  I’m out though, as much as I can be.  Let the rest of the web be riddled with banners, popups, and ads ads ads, constantly rotating and flashing, fighting for your attention.

Besides, my site’s not worthy.  I have maybe 5-10 visitors who stop by once in awhile to check up, and a little more whenever I posted a link on Facebook to a new article I posted on my website.  I’m going to stop doing that now too.  I think it makes me look like I endorse Facebook and approve of their practices if I regularly post there.  So here I am, this site’s not going to change much moving forward (unless I change the theme to play around with the look of it), it’ll just have my regular (or irregular, if I get busy) posts, rants, and whatnot from our daily doings, vacations, photos, etc..

And if you want to read another similar site (with no ads and whatever-comes-to-mind posts) — one in particular that I thoroughly enjoy is  Wil Wheaton is a great actor (“that kid from Star Trek The Next Generation”), an excellent writer, and even does an amazing job reading Audible books!  Check out his site and you’ll probably forget you ever read mine.  Dude’s got some skillz!

Jerry Smith’s Pumpkin Farm

Evil TyWell, Halloween is almost here already.  So Sunday we went to Jerry Smith’s Pumpkin Farm.  Wow, was it busy!  I really didn’t think that many people still went to pumpkin farms.  I guess because we always went during non-busy days and times before, we never ran into the crowds.  The prices were high for most things, as we figured–like $5.50 just for a decent caramel apple–so we skipped most everything and just looked around.  (Sandy later found a 3-pack of “Affy Tapples” for $2.39–less than a dollar a piece–at a grocery store, which were great!)

Ty said the last time he came to this pumpkin farm, a llama spit in his face!  So we looked around, found the llama, and tried to talk him into a repeat performance, but he wasn’t buying it.  He did check us out, as well as everyone else around us, but he kept his saliva to himself.  No chance of a viral You-Tube video on this visit I guess.

As usual, there were plenty of pumpkin displays as well as some neat shed displays, setup somewhat like a peep show, side-by-side.  Some were so dark, I kept taking photos just to use the flash to see what was in them.  You can take a look at the photos in the Halloween 2013 set if you’d like.  Ty (IGN: TrotsLikeHorse), shown in the thumbnail above, nearly got ill trying to walk through a dark tunnel that was lit only by a spinning black tube of orange glowing lights which surrounded it, making it feel like you were walking through a rotating tunnel.  It was pretty weird, and with his recent head injuries, he didn’t last long in there.  That photo was taken when he was in there, and right before he ran back out again.  After Jerry Smith’s we stopped at Culver’s and picked up a great lunch to complete the outing, then it was back to GTA5 for the kids, and back to the TV for us.  Sheesh, are we getting old, or what?!

Windows 8

Recently I’ve been playing with Windows 8. I received a new PC recently–completely FREE, actually–as a result of a class action suit against eMachines. I had one–and had a lot of problems with it–so I was included in the suit. It took several years, but finally everyone included in the suit was offered a $365 credit toward a replacement PC. I even thought it was some sort of scam at first–just too good to be true–but after a little research I found out that it was real. I actually STILL didn’t fully believe it, even after I received my claim #, so I made sure I ordered a replacement PC (you had to order from a specific website, using your claim code) that would result in my paying nothing out-of-pocket. So, basically, a PC costing less than $365.

It turned out to be fairly easy, actually. The site offered many refurbished PCs and a few brand new ones, but that only sounded like more trouble, so I decided against that and went with a new one. It’s not quite as powerful as some of the others that were refurbished, but the 1-year manufacturer warranty game me more comfort at this point. There wasn’t much of a brand selection–only Gateway and Acer models–so I went with a Gateway with an AMD processor. Not my top choice–I would have preferred an Intel-based i5 or i7–but those were beyond my $365 limit. I could have paid the difference myself, but still having a little doubt about this being legitimate, I decided against giving them my credit card imformation. I settled on a $329 Gateway PC with Windows 8. AMD Quad-core 2.2GHz processor, 6GB RAM, and a 500GB Hard Drive. With expedited 2-day shipping, my total came to just over $362, so it worked out perfectly. I just wish I could remember the specs and price I paid for my original eMachines PC–it’d be great to compare value versus price from then to now. I really can’t recall any details about it as all, other than the power supply and floppy drive issues I ran into with it.

So now I’m playing with Windows 8, and I think I found the key to surviving it comfortably. The first thing I did, based on several recommendations, was purchase and install “Start8”. This little lightweight app adds the Start menu back to Windows 8, making it “look and feel” just like Windows 7–at least when you start it up and need to find something the “old school” way, like I do. Right now I’m finding all of differences between Windows 8 and 7, and I must say, so far I’m impressed. I don’t think it’s as bad as everyone makes it out to be, and it’s actually quite smooth and easy to use. The whole “Metro Tiles” thing seems kinda silly right now though. But that might be mostly because I’m on a standard monitor without a touchscreen.

I’ll stick with a standard monitor for now, and just see how this plays out. One other thing I’m still trying to get a handle on is multi-tasking. Using the desktop “corners” for specific features feels odd, especially for switching between apps and searching for things without using the Start button. I can understand not wanting to waste a single pixel of screen real estate though, so maybe I’ll warm up to it. For now, again probably because I’m not using a touchscreen, the good ole ALT-TAB works just fine like it always did for switching between apps and windows.

My primary complaint at this point is only with closing apps. It’s really a pain to close apps in Windows 8! WHY!?!?!? It’s something that should be as simple at pressing a big “X” icon, even with the new Metro crap. Why waste all the memory on leaving something running that you’re not going to use?? I know, I know, apps will close eventually on their own if not used, but aren’t they still consuming a little energy and CPU? Why not be as “green” as possible and allow users to easily close them out??