Wednesday, October 19, 2011

But Soft! What Light Through Yonder Window Breaks?

It is the East, and Mango is the ... incredible new and massive software update for Windows Phone. 

[No, not Apple.  Seriously, why must we give our technology fruit names? Is it because we typically believe that it's "sweet" but, like food, it is already beginning to stale and decompose by the time we get it? Ooh, deep.]

At 7:55 p.m. on October 18, 2011, I began the now daily process of connecting my HTC Trophy to my netbook, clicking "Check for Updates," and crossing my fingers (and legs, and toes, and hair, all sorts of body parts).  At times, I would also attempt the "force" Mango trick I've seen both suggested in a comment here and elsewhere on the web.  Invariably, I would curse my apparent lack of timing skills for failing to "force" Mango.  Additional cursing would ensue and then chocolate would be required. 

Last night, however, oh, last night, I ended up staring dumbly at the screen for several seconds trying to process the "An Update is Available for Your Phone" message in front of me. 

Reeeeeeallly?  An update for me? 

I'll admit it - there was laughter, there was a jumping up and down, and ... an immediate nervousness.  I had read of several individuals with "brick" problems following step "8" in the update.  Being rather tech-challenged, I'm not familiar with this "brick" terminology but it evokes an image of throwing one's phone through a window like you, I mean, others .... other bad bad people ... would a brick. 

A phone rendered useless.  *shudder*

[That isn't to say that a brick is useless. Obviously, bricks are literally building blocks and were an important part of my childhood home but ... I digress.  You should be used to that by now.]

And so, I entered into the update process, eager but cautious.  Steps one through nine took only 20 minutes and I cheered (again, literally, and I'm sorry neighbors but, hey, when my night terror SCREAMS don't apparently bother you enough to check on my safety, I think you'll live through an occasional happy "Yay!"). 

Oh, wait, it wants me to look for updates again and ... oh, okay, another one is available?  Cool.  No problem.  [Actually, at this point I was uber nervous and worried about entering into some perpetual update cycle.]

Nine more steps.  Wow, this time is taking way longer than that first quickie (as so often is the case).  The download alone, oye, maybe 40 minutes or so?  The transfer and installation was also longer.  I lifted weights, checked the update, did some crunches, checked the update, did some push-ups, checked the update.  [In retrospect, an update a day would do my body good.] 

In total, it took just over 2 hours for the entire process.  Step 8 - restarting the phone - seemed to take forever but I think that was just me being paranoid. 

Whew ... she was up and running and Mango-ized.

I handled her gingerly (good phones, like good cars, are always female), and started the Mango discovery process.  The live tiles are even more alive and animated.  The People hub now includes groups so my family and close friends are just a touch away rather than several websites away.  My "Me" live tile allows me to post on social media, check in, set my chat status, see my social notifications and profile - all in one spot.  The camera has a quick fix for photos (although I still like the Photo Enhancer app), and sharing is easier.  And ringtones - OH JOY AND RAPTURE! - ringtones!!  I downloaded the 99 cent easyRing app, which allows you to search through a ton of free mp3 ringtones from and and am happily set. 

[In other words, I'll again recognize my Dad calling by hearing the theme to Smoky and the Bandit.] 

I'm still very much in the discovery process with Mango but I'm LOVING what I've seen so far. 

I'm am officially a Windows Phone 7.5. 

Yep, Mango is the Sun. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Life Is Good!

Long, long ago in an internet far far away …


Back before Facebook was both a noun and verb, before I had even heard the word Twitter, back over five years ago, I met a group of misfits on an American Idol public message board.

I had started watching the show and was searching for information online when I came across an MSN public message board dedicated to American Idol. It was season five – the year of Taylor Hicks, and the shocking upset when Chris Daughtry failed to make it to the final two. The year of Ace, Bucky, Katherine, Kellie, Mandisa, Elliott, Paris and Kevin. It remains the only year I religiously watched the show and the board was a huge part of the experience. The message board was hysterical, including people from all over the world in one spot sharing their views about the show and the contestants and, essentially, living out a true Peyton Place drama of their own. There were fights, love-fests, taunts, and attacks. Smaller groups of closer friends formed, flourished, fought, and failed.

We began only knowing each others' screen names. Looking back, that was when I became Justacogitating online. We began as anonymous strangers who slowly came to know more and more about each other and, even more slowly, came to trust each other. The show ended; however, the message board continued for a substantial amount of time. The same screen names kept popping up under new “threads” devoted to topics ranging from politics (always dangerous) to sports (equally so) to daily threads where now friends would stop by just to say hello.  As we grew closer, the level of anonymity lessened yet there is something about a group of people online, a step removed in one way from your daily life that allowed, at times, an even more open discussion of tough issues.  Honestly, there are things about me that only my “board” friends know even though they have never met me in person.

A few people eventually opened up private message boards and invited friends to join them in a bit less public setting and our friendships grew even deeper. The drama continued as well. Some private boards lasted only a few months while others, well, technically, others continue yet today.  I had no idea back in 2006 that I would still have daily contact with some of those “anonymous strangers” that I met on an American Idol message board – but they form an important and unique part of my circle of friends and family.

Why am I waxing poetic about an American Idol message board?

Yesterday, we lost one of our originals, if you will.

Even the online impression of Pam aka “Wink” was that of a mother hen – at least that was always my impression of her. I believe she was the same online as she ever was at home – an open and caring individual who only wanted the best for those around her. Pam emphasized her belief – her basic belief – that life is good. In fact, at one time, she hosted a board by the same name. She was always quick to encourage and difficult to anger. She strove for the resolution of conflicts between individuals; hence, my mother hen comparison. A beloved wife, mother, and friend, Pam touched many lives and will continue to do so.

Hearing of her death prompted me to reminisce about the wacky group of people I met so long ago. It’s odd … I know my original name and Pam’s but there are so many of those originals whose screen names I have forgotten. I remember Carolina_Girl (but it seems there was "sweet" in there somewhere at one time, right?), Acefan, Sha, BlueEyes, and a few others but it is frustrating not to remember more.

I guess it is the people I remember rather than their screen names and perhaps that is the way it should be.   

[That said, if you care to share some of the old names, I’d love to have my memory jogged some moreSeriously ... ]

Life is good!

A lady named Wink told me so.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Experiment (Yeah, That's It)

I've dived into that ever-entertaining world of ... again. 

How is Match comparing to that evil entity eHarmony I tried last year?

In the words of one of my uber-eligible suitors: It is what it is and it ain't what it ain't.

It is entertaining. It ain't necessarily fruitful.

[Side note: Please guys, please please ... avoid profile pictures in which you wear both cap and sunglasses. Not only does it make it impossible to actually see what you look like, it also whispers "serial killer".]

Now, before you decide to lecture me on my bad attitude about the whole process, rest assured that I am well aware that my lack of bubbly "life is glorious, I'm just missing you" optimism works against me, although I have serious doubts that I'd actually be attracted to the guy looking for the above.

Regardless, one of the many things I've noticed while searching for that pansy Prince Charming (other than my increasing - who knew that was possible - cynicsm) is that many of the men on seek ONLY those women younger than themselves.

Seriously.  Not even up to their own age.

Many a Mr. 45 seeks a Ms. 27-40.  A Master 55 seeks a Mistress 35-45.

Hmm.  Regardless of whether this need for youth stems from the middle-ager suddenly ready for a family or hoping for a trophy wife or both, I've decided that two can (potentially) play that game.
Therefore, gentlemen, the profile has been updated and the search criteria altered.  Let the games begin.

In short, the inner cougar needs a good ... stretch.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

On the Border of Hoarder

Most of us have, at one time or another, looked around and recognized that it was time for a good long purging of things, a cleaning out of the home; this traditionally coincides with spring, i.e., spring cleaning.  We've hibernated all winter long, snug in our warm homes, and when spring finally (always later than hoped for) shows up, we're ready to open up windows, air out the house, and begin tossing out the old and bringing in the new just as Mother Nature is doing the same.

Yeah, so it's October.  I'm a little behind.

I looked around this week and began to calculate how long certain items had been occupying the same space in my home; hence the name of this post.  According to the Mayo Clinic, a true hoarder would have the following symptoms:

  • Cluttered living spaces [Well, now, who doesn't from time to time.]
  • Inability to discard items [No problem there ... eventually.]
  • Keeping stacks of newspapers, magazines or junk mail [Wow, it's really time to take that stack of newspapers to the zoo for poo patrol.]
  • Moving items from one pile to another, without discarding anything [Isn't this called sorting?]
  • Acquiring unneeded or seemingly useless items, including trash or napkins from a restaurant [Now, come on, why would I toss a perfectly good napkin?]
  • Difficulty managing daily activities, including procrastination and trouble making decisions [Oh, shit.]
  • Difficulty organizing items [Again, I do this ... eventually.]
  • Shame or embarrassment [Of course, no one is allowed here until this mess is cleaned up.]
  • Excessive attachment to possessions, including discomfort letting others touch or borrow possessions [Hey, I only had a minimal reaction to seeing my old stuffed animals in a garage sale. Yay!]
  • Limited or no social interactions [Oh, shit.]
Now, before I offend anyone (or probably after), I do not consider myself an actual hoarder and, however popular, the show "Hoarders" disturbs me. If someone you know truly fits within the symptoms above, they need help before they endanger themselves or others. 

I'm more in line with the general population who procrastinate unpleasant tasks.

Yep, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

My present mess stems in part from the switching of vehicles (explained here) and the accompanying, frantic emptying of old Red.  I'd like to say that I took the time to carefully sort through the items that have lived in my car for some time now but ... well ...

... it just seemed easier at the time to grab some bags and dump everything into them.  So that was September 28th - about a week and a half ago. 

Of course, this picture was taken about 30 minutes ago.  Oops.

I've also been working a lot, gone a bit, and just generally busy.  The other picture taken 30 minutes ago was of my bed, shared only because it has never ever ... ever ... been in such a state:


I know, I know.  I'll start there. 

Ooh, but there is that movie I want to see at Celebration Cinema

Oh ...  it doesn't start for another two hours. 


Time to fire up the washer/dryer.  And shredder.

You know ... now that I've procrastinated even longer by writing this post.

Nipping the hoarderesque tendencies in the mess. 

Yep.  That's what I'm doing today.

Right ...


Thursday, October 6, 2011

O Mango, Mango, Wherefore Art Thou Mango?

I am a proud owner of an HTC Trophy Windows Phone 7. Yes, I am. 

The Trophy is the only Windows Phone currently in the Verizon lineup and when I walked into a local Verizon store in August and noted that I was interested in getting one, the Verizon employee responded, "Why?"

Really, Verizon?  Why?

Because my Droid Eris after less than two years was needing a factory reset in order to stop crying "LOW MEMORY" every few minutes. Seriously Eris, haven't you heard of the boy who cried wolf, otherwise known as Taylor Lautner?

[Yep, I did that JUST to lure in a few Twihards to this posting, I'm not proud.]

Because live tiles are just ... cool.  Because Skydrive access and Microsoft editing rocks.  Because my People Hub has all of my contacts from everywhere in one place, complete with FaceBook updates.  Because I loved that Netflix was preloaded.  Because I liked the format, the speed, and the memory.  Because it was over $100 less than any of the new Droids or iPhones.

Because that Mango update is going to blow things up (not in a terrorist way).

Yep, that Mango update is going to add even more features and fix old annoyances.  That Mango update, man, whoa, just wait until you see it.

Just wait.

And ... wait.

I bought my phone in August as news was circulating that the Mango update would be forthcoming in the next month or two.  Other Trophy owners have been waiting since the spring.  And finally, our Mango is in sight.

Verizon began rolling out the Mango update to Trophy owners on September 27th.  Now, the update will be sent out to existing customers in waves, beginning slowly in case there are unexpected issues.

So, here I stand in the quiet cellular ocean waiting for the tide to come in ... the Mango tide ... hit me with a wave, Verizon.  I dare ya ... I double dog dare ya.  I'm ready to get w.......okay so I should dump that metaphor. 

The point is that I'm waiting, Verizon. 

My phone is waiting. 

My Zune software is waiting.

Waiting for that *ding* and accompanying "Update available" message.