Saturday, June 7, 2008

Applied Technology

What a beautiful day! Hot, dry, breezy, a perfect day to use the solar clothes drier.

It is a very handy device, quick and quiet. I can load it down with two washer loads of clothes and they dry in no time. If I'd been in a laundry I'd have to pay a buck a load. So I saved three bucks already this afternoon. I may be able to save more money yet today.

It's hard to believe that this incredible invention is illegal in parts of the country. Yep, try to use one in a sub-division and see what happens. You'll have the owners association breathing down your neck the minute you try to use it.

People just don't understand technology. The simplest devices are scorned, then made illegal to own or operate. Granted, setting one up can take some time and ingenuity and quality replacement parts can be tricky to find. But the money I save justifies the initial investment.

The technology isn't perfect. It's OLD, but it's not perfect.

If it ever breaks down, I'll have to spend some time finding what I need to fix it. Getting the smaller replacement parts has been a real pain.

They just don't make good clothespins any more.


Did you think I was talking about some high tech appliance?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My Wireless Router, a Love/Hate Relationship

The thought of drinking my morning coffee, writing and researching on the front porch, has haunted me for years. One glorious fall weekend years ago, in a cabin by the Nolin River I was able to realize my dream.

It was raining. The porch was covered and screened from bugs. I sat cross-legged in a rocking chair and typed away for hours. Paradise found, I thought, this is the way it “Should be.”

Last year we put a roof over our deck, turning it into a comfortable front porch. This winter I resurrected a dead laptop, installed wireless router, and bought a wireless card; all in pursuit of the Dream. I got it all set up, working with wires, and then unplugged the laptop. While I sat at the office table, I had internet. So I carried the laptop into the den. I was able to get new web-pages sitting on the couch in front of the fireplace.

That night, I carried the laptop into the living room, plopped down beside my husband, fired up the laptop, waited for the popup to announce that I had a wireless connection. Nothing! The laptop bogged down so badly I couldn’t get Word to come up. I rebooted the laptop, the popup popped, it said I was connected, but I couldn’t get any pages. Argg!

Being a tech savvy person with a degree in IT, I knew that the problem wasn’t my trusty DSL connection. It hadn’t wavered in three years, bless its little gizmo heart. I went to the source of the problem: the router. I pulled the plug from the back, counted to ten, plugged the router back in, and then went back to the living room. The wireless network came back up, behaving itself the rest of the evening. I had conquered!

Unfortunately this was the opening shot in my ongoing war with my router.

My wireless network, like most of the rotten little gizmos, is finicky about connecting. My house is 70 feet long, hardly a McMansion, but there are three walls between my office and the living room. A network connection in the living room is a crapshoot at best. If I carry my laptop to the next room, my bedroom, I can’t get Internet at all.

In fact, if I want to use the laptop at all in the bedroom, I’d better disable the wireless card or the laptop will use all its memory to connect to the network. Under those conditions I can’t use Word at all, it freezes solid.

What to do?

Routers like my Linksys are stupid little boxes. They run on firmware, software by any other name still has bugs galore! I knew from my IT job that updating firmware fixed a lot of router problems. So I went to the Linksys website, checked the FAQ page for directions, then downloaded the packets to fix my beastly gizmo. Everything went fine. There was only one thing to do, test it.

That first night, I had Internet in the bedroom.

I don’t know why it worked that one night, but it hasn’t worked since. Rats, foiled again! But now I can get internet in the living room, as long as the TV isn’t on.

Go Figure!

Technology is only fun when it works. The rest of the time, it sucks!

Monday, June 2, 2008

A Beginning - The Story of Jordan's Croft

The Story of Jordan's Croft.

If this house was a person, it would have put an EOP against me.

I stalked this place like a pop-star.

We came here when it first came on the market. I fell in love. There were 5 acres on a main road. Not far from town, but out where it was quiet. They wanted too much money for it. So much, in fact that the realestate agent wouldn't take our offer to the owner's.

So the house sat empty.

Whenever my husband would take me for a bike ride, I would ask him to bring me to see the house. I would sit on the back of the motorcycle and sigh. I wanted this house, so very badly.

The property went into foreclosure, then it went to the courthouse. Meanwhile, I kept trying to find out who had it. Finally I got in touch with the original listing agent. She sent me to the bank who financed it, the woman there sent me to the VA.

Then the vandals came in and stole everything that wasn't red hot or nailed down. Appliances, light fixtures, counter tops, some of the doors off the cabinets.

So many people have come here since, said that they looked at it, liked it, but weren't willing to put in the work to make it livable once again. We were lucky. I had the time and my parents had some energy. Bob and I had a strict budget.

We lost the first bid. The property came up for sale again. And thanks to a dynamite Realestate agent, we got the property. It was a last minute deal that nearly fell through, but Providence was watching over us.

There were problems with the deal, problems with the titles. I kept praying. We had a key and started working. Everything was ready, all the measurements made. The deal dragged on to the very last day. We signed papers for the property the end of January, 2005. We took the next two weeks to get everything completed, ready to move in.

We moved in on Valentine's Day. It was the happiest day of my life.

I have detailed this elsewhere, on our home page, we had a heck of a time getting things set up. But the basics are in place, the shed, the barn, the rock garden, the front porch.

Some day I will post the before and after pictures. Until then you will have to take my word for it. We've taken this place from nothing, and made something of it.

Our home.