Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

Monday Mumblings Crawls out of Tech Hell and Goes to the Airport

Fresh when it gets here from Julie Barrett
Monday, May 24, 2010

I spent much of last week mired in Tech Hell. The good news is that the new appliances were the least of our worries.

Tuesday morning I discovered that I couldn't send email out through Outlook via my barrettmanor.com account. A Gmail account tied to an organization I do some work with was working perfectly. Paul couldn't send e-mail either, but Chris could. I spent the day working on that on and off, comparing our settings to his. No difference that we could see. Firewall on and off, AV on and off - shoot, we even tried a new version of the AV software and a different client. No dice.

I spent the day sending out email through a badly-configured (which I didn't realize at the time) web interface which led to a terrible misunderstanding with someone who thought I was someone else. Eeek! We got that straightened out and all is well on that front.

Then I  discovered I could send from my phone, which was fine as long as I didn't have to attach a file from my desktop computer.

Wednesday afternoon I finally discovered that our ISP changed the outgoing SMTP port. Why didn't I think of that before? Because Chris was still sending out email using the supposedly blocked port! And why hadn't we been notified? A search through my mail folders showed me we had - but the incoming mail server had identified it as a phising message and wrapped it up with all sorts of dire warnings.

Does anyone else see the irony in an ISP sending out a message regarding changes to combat spam misformatted to the point where most spam filters reject it? Oh, it burns.

Thursday was battery day. Chris woke up to a dead rechargeable battery on his mouse. The battery on the phone in the office died, and, in an amazing bit of coincidence, the batteries died in BOTH my outdoor temperature sensor and the display unit in my office. So, it was off to Fry's. I came home and swapped out the phone batteries and put the handset on the charger. In the meantime, I brought in a unit from another room so I could allow this one to charge.

Friday morning I heard the phone ringing, but it wasn't ringing here in the office. I'd either knocked the phone partway out of the charger, or didn't get it seated in the first place. Friday held some other surprises that I'm still trying to straighten out.

Had meetings all day Saturday, then spent yesterday doing laundry so Chris could get out of town. As I type he's (presumably) airborne on the way to Knoxville, for the Destination Imagination Global Finals. I think their university is sending three teams - and paying for the trip. They earn their trips by running workshops for younger students and helping run the regional and state competitions. He got everything packed into a bag that (we hope) the airline would accept as a carry-on bag. I didn't get an angry text stating he had to pay $25 to check his bag, so I guess they took it.

We got up at 6:00 this morning to leave the house at 7:00. The trip out was fairly uneventful, except I noticed I would have to get gas after I left the airport. (Should have had that breakfast burrito.) I pulled off at a major exit - restaurants, but no gas station. So I took off down a major street in the direction of a bunch of apartments. No gas station. Not even a convenience store. Yet, across from the apartments (which seemed to be rather high class) was an expensive prep school, complete with city police directing traffic. I crossed the bridge past a polo club and golf course (no gas station) into the neighboring suburb where the apartments were definitely not where the rich folks hung out. A couple of guys (apparently retired) sat at a traffic light waiting for the end of their crossing guard shift, chatting away mirthfully. Two blocks ahead was another freeway, where gas was at a 15-cent premium. But I was on fumes, so I had no choice. I probably drove five miles out of my way to find a gas station.

Now I am back home and catching up on some things so I can gt to work. Maybe I won't be so remiss in blogging this week.

Tags: Life

Filed under: Monday Mumblings   Life         


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