Kaspersky Beats McAfee

Back in December Staples had a deal where you could get McAfee Total Protection anti-virus suite for free after mail-in rebates. Susan and I each got a copy and Susan also wound up getting a copy for her mom. I told my mom about the deal and she bought a copy as well. Mom uninstalled hers within a couple of days because it was slowing her computer down so much. I hung on for a few months until I had trouble with iTunes being blocked. Then a few weeks ago I was at Susan’s and her computer was so slow you couldn’t even have a menu drop down in Internet Explorer. I uninstalled McAfee and it was off to the races again.

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Balloon Flower

I planted some balloon flowers several years ago. Though they don’t always come back, in general they will in Atlanta at least. Mom has some by her mailbox that have done great and Susan planted some at her house that have come back strong this year. Unfortunately I had some mums and lamb’s ear that overtook where I planted my balloon flowers, so they have gone away for the most part. But I got a couple of stalks that came up this year (the mum having obligingly died, and therefore no longer in the way) and I noticed they were a perfect example of why they are called balloon flowers. On the left is one that is puffed up and the other has already burst open. They are also called by their scientific name platycodon (or platycodon grandiflorus) and Chinese bellflower (on wikipedia).

Google in a Groove

I recently got another payment from Google (my seventh). They pay after the end of the month once you surpass $100 in earnings. This payment was my fifth quarterly payment in a row. While earnings have been down a little lately, taking 3 months to earn a payment seems pretty consistent.

Grant’s New Computer

Last Thursday Grant sent me an e-mail and said he would like some help in buying a new desktop computer that he could use for e-mail, internet, and QuickBooks. I asked him if he wanted a monitor and he said it should include that. So I went to Dell and priced out a pretty decent system. I had to add a couple of small extras to get it over $600 and get free shipping.

It arrived earlier this week. It still needed a few things. One was some way of getting on Grant’s wireless network. His router is tucked away and he didn’t want to run a cable to the new computer (I don’t blame him). Dell doesn’t seem to offer internal wireless cards for desktop computers. Fortunately Mom had given me her wireless USB thumb drive when Fry’s replaced her laptop with one that already had wireless installed. Also I told Grant I could give him some speakers which saved a few dollars.

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Fixing the Movies

I’ve spent a chunk of the last two weekends going through all of my movie reviews and fixing them up. A lot of times when I write a review, I might reference another movie I’ve reviewed and I’m too lazy at the time to put in a hyperlink reference. Also, because I usually write these on AMUG and then just copy them into a separate file for my web page, I don’t italicize movie titles like I’m supposed to. So I went through all of my reviews (I’m up to 238 movies reviewed over the last 10 years) and fixed them up. It took a lot of time, but at least this weekend I was doing it while I was encoding new episodes from Seinfeld Seasons 3 and 7 DVD’s (which I got a good deal on at Fry’s yesterday; now I have everything through Season 7 and will wait to buy the just-released Season 8 when the price comes down).

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Bathroom: Day 14

The bathrooms are essentially done now. I still need to paint the trim and ceiling, put in towel bars, a mirror in the main bathroom, a shower curtain, etc. But the big stuff is done. Stanley installed the baseboards using pre-primed wood, so in these pictures they look good, but actually still need a final coat of paint. Also I swapped out the old ivory switches and outlets with white ones, which makes them match better. I like the color and the contrast between the white trim, blue walls, and dark brown floor. The hall sink is much higher than a normal sink which is kind of nice.

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Bathroom: Day 13

It’s always a big day when the hardware gets installed. Today the hall bath got shower fixtures, the toilet, and pedestal sink. Stanley worked on touching up some other items and should install the baseboard trim tomorrow. Then it will be up to me to paint the trim and ceiling. The old trim won’t be a picnic. Originally Stanley was going to replace the door, but modern doors have three hinges and old doors like mine only have two, so I think he decided it was more trouble than it was worth to do the door, but that I could pursue replacing all the doors at some point in the future. The problem with the old doors, old trim, and old cabinets is that I just don’t see how they can ever be fixed up to look very good with all the damage and layers of paint they have on them.

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Tile in the Den

The back room with the awful pink carpet used to be a porch and was enclosed at some point early on at my house. Since it has a concrete slab underneath, I thought tile might make a good replacement for the carpet (I wasn’t the first to think this: when I pulled up the carpet there was tile like they use in schools already under there). With the dogs coming in and out of the backyard through that room, it picks up a lot of dirt and even hardwood floors would probably get scratched up from the grit.

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Microsoft Help

Our office upgraded to Microsoft Office 2007 this week. Mom upgraded several weeks ago. So today Mom said that the place she takes her newletter to for printing couldn’t read the file she had made in Publisher 2007. I said can’t you just save it as an earlier version. She eventually found a place where she could save it as a Publisher 2000 file (why not 2003, the next most recent version?). I went to Microsoft for help. I tried Help that was installed with Office first. Whoops. I don’t guess Help was installed with Office (I have no idea why this would even be an option). So I switched to online help and the internet.

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