jeudi, octobre 20, 2005


Our Internet Service Provider (NOOS!) has finally recoverd, and we are back online. It only took two days, which is a hell of a lot quicker recovery than either Dear Wife or I have been able to effect for ourselves (yes, we still malinger). Yesterday was sad, both of us wandering around the apartment, not knowing what to do without our online world. "What the hell are these things for?" we wondered, looking at our offline orphans. My computer suddenly seems such a useless device without the internet, and doesn't that show you how much things have changed...I remember when everyone was being hooked up for "The Web" at my old employer BlueSky Software, and I resisted. A waste of time, I said. I have work to do, I said. How prescient.

So I celebrated our return to webdom with a shopping trip. I walked down the Blvd. St. Germy to the FNAC, which is a sort of electronics boutique, a nice one, without that Circuit City/Good Guys wholesale mayhem. Three floors of computers, printers, games (lots of games--I think my next pronouncement after, "Why the hell would people want to spend time on a 'web'?" was: "And who the hell's gonna wanna keep playing all our dumb video games?"

French people?

Funny to see games that friends have worked on lining the shelves over here--I think this was more exciting than seeing my own games oh-so-many years ago loading the walls at "Electronic Boutique" (or was it "ElectronicS Boutique"?). We hope they are earning lots of Euro royalties.

[I miss the ITALIC function on this Blogger text interface--my kingdom for a well placed slanting comment! (imagine that word "slanting" was italicized--see? It's much funnier that way!)]

I spent more than an hour investigating printers. For some reason I thought Dear Wife wanted a wireless setup, one where we could place the printer somewhere out of our way (say, the balcony--or the landing outside the door) and then without any worry over cord connections we could just press a button and voilá! Out pops my receipt for another online purchase! But WiFi [remember, pronounced "wee-fee" over here (oh does that cry out for italics!)] is so much more expensive, and the printer/scanner/faxes that are thusly enabled looked so ungainly. I dithered. [Which is what I spent a lot of time doing back in 1994--Oh! the tales I could tell of the vertical dither(italics)! What an axiom-smasher THAT was for the video game world!]

Instead I bought a dual layer DVD burner, an external hard drive (advertised as 200GB, but you spin that thing up and first thing it does is meekly announce "189GB real capacity"--what happened to the other 11?? The damn thing's blank! Does 11 GB now qualify as slough, as chaf? There are still lotsa folks who don't even have 11 gig hard drives in their computer!); also bought some dual layer DVDs to go with the burner (of course! Never mind that five of these babies cost 59 EURO's, which is like $13 or $14 bucks each(italics-a-go-go!)--clearly the first effective step ever taken toward combating piracy), and the coup de grace (remember it is pronounced "coo dA grawS," grace like "loss"--not "coo duh graw", which means "blow of fat" or "fat blow" versus "finishing blow"--though "fat blow" is kinda catchy...I offer this up not as the fruit of any expertise in FRENCH (esp. not any newly gained expertise--perrish the thought!), but because I was so effectively and punctiliouslly corrected on the pronounciation years ago by a student of mine that I can't resist playing the pedagogue on this one little phrase! I enjoy emulating her authority); the coup de grace was a wireless keyboard for my lappy. An Apple product. And the last thing I install, at around 10:30 PM.

The keyboard software goes in fine, I put the batteries into the keyboard and switch it on, the computer finds the keyboard's BlueTooth (where did they come up with that one?) and begins pulling on it. I see that we're in business, so I start writing an email to my mother (dear old Mom) (this is true!). I type what I believe to be, "Dear Mom," (I'm sort of formal as a correspondent), but onscreen what I've typed appears as, "Deqr :o;.".


Now those of you that are scolding me because you know Euro keyboards are laid out differently than US keyboards, well, I realized that too when I pulled this baby out of the box, (it all came rushing back to me, our first days here, visiting the Cyber Cafe on Rue des Boulangers, keyboard confusion...). And I typed accordingly, looking at the keys (I always have to do that!), finding the "D", the "e" the "a", etc. But they came out wrong! I keep trying to type, keep getting letters coming up that do not correspond with the buttons I am pushing...hey, this is f'ed up!

It's after 11PM now, a no hoper for tech support back home, but wait! With our Vonage phone number (760 area code), I can call Apple Support in the States and it's only 5PM Eastern time.

A three minute wait: (reasonable in my book, esp. for the level of service they provide--lordy has that $300 bucks for Apple Care been worth it) a kindly technician: (not overseas--you can just tell--tho' I get lots of Canadians on Apple Support--does that count as outsourcing?) some fuddling around, and then, violá (second time used in this post). Turns out the computer was pretending the keyboard was really American, and just ignored all the little foreign signals it was trying to send. If I hit the top left hand letter key, which is labeled "A" on my euro-scheme key, my manly American Mac mainframe believed it should be "Q", dammit, just as Mom (dear Mom), God and George Washington intended. Doesn't matter if some snivelling French keyboard wants to "Wee-Fee" it some other way!

It all came down to clicking some other button. Somewhere. International preferences? Now I have a choice about what colors I fly: the little Stars and Stripes flying on my desktop masthead can be swapped pour Le Tricolour in an instant, and then my WeeFee can run rampant and free, with all its attendant accents aigu, EURO symbols and circumflexes.

I will be returning the keyboard tomorrow.
And my WiFi aspirations will have to wait until I can get a friend to bring me an American keyboard.
I'm too old to learn to type again...esp. never having learned in the first place.


At vendredi, novembre 11, 2005, Blogger peter said...

Yo, you can totally use italics, you just have to use html tags. Put <i> before the thing you wanna italicize and </i> after it. Voila!


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