Friday, June 25, 2010

Saturday Morning Thoughts....

O.K. - the next time you feel like complaining about your commute to work...please think of these poor fellows.  On the road to Gachibowli, on Wednesday about 10:00 A.M. - probably the busiest part of the day to be on the road!  There had to be 100 men packed onto this truck...and I mean packed like sardines!  The guy in the red pants was hanging on tight in traffic, let me tell you!

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Like most of us, I imagine, I am 100% self-taught when it comes to computers.  From the very first computer I owned (4 MB of RAM, "BAUD RATE" of 1200 bps.), it has been "trial and error" - mostly error!  This morning, after we dropped Suzanne off at the office, my project was to print out about 70 photos that she took over the last few days...of all of the Indian employees in her unit. We are using the pics like "flash cards" so she can learn all of the tough-to-pronounce Indian names.  I got off to a fast start using the photo-downloader that comes with Windows Vista (one of the few things I actually LIKE about Vista!) - - I was adjusting the brightness where the photos were too dark, cropping them when there was too much dead background in the shot.  The prints were coming out clear and colorful, due to our new HP C4688 Photosmart printer.  I'm plugging along, and I'd say I was about halfway through, when the power went off.

Now, as happens most times when the power goes off (usually due to some main circuit problem due to overuse in one neighborhood or another) the big gas-powered generator kicks in, and power comes back on within about 30 seconds.  Until I discovered that our radio-alarm clock took batteries and would back-up the power in case of failure, I probably re-set the clock portion a dozen times!!  Like I said...I'm self-taught when it comes to anything more technological than a three-iron!

This time, the typical pattern held and we got power back right away.  The computer went to "battery" mode immediately, but the printer went all the way off and then re-booted itself.  I got back to printing right where I left off.  Except THIS time, the pictures would not print.  I tried every which way I could...I tried printing directly from the camera's memory card (put directly into the slot on the printer!) - I tried downloading the photos to a half-dozen different photo programs I have on this laptop and printing them from those luck.  I even used the photo-download program that came with the Panasonic camera (a program I frankly despise!) - and - began to print the photos one-by-one from there.  The photos took forever to print...PLUS I had no way to adjust the contrast or do any cropping...they were a mess!!

I clicked on a little "printer icon" at the bottom of the Desktop...and - lo-and-behold - it said I had NINE photo files in the "printing queue"!  But I couldn't figure out how to get the printer to actually print them.  Now I was really frustrated.  It had been over an hour since the power went out (we've had 4-5 similar outages in the last few hours, as well!) - and the only thing I had to show for that wasted hour were a bunch of smeared, still damp and unusable photos.

Deciding to re-trace my steps...I started the whole process from scratch.  First, I deleted the files on the computer...and re-uploaded all of the original photos from the camera, re-naming them so they wouldn't get lost (now that would have caused me to throw the whole mess out of our third-story bedroom window!!)  Then - I tried again to print them using the good Windows program.  When the print-window popped up, I noticed that I had no "good/better/best" quality options...and my cropping feature wouldn't save my changes. I decided to click on "printer info" - and it said the on-line printer was "HP Office Jet 6500".  Check.

Hey.  Wait a second.  I checked again.  OUR printer is an "HP Photosmart C4688"!!!  The Office Jet 6500 was our OLD printer - the one we gave to Joe and Kathy Constantino when we left...because U.S. printers tend to choke on the electricity here in Hyderabad!

You see....the hour and a half of pulling out what little hair I have left was coming to a close!!  Finally!!  It turns out that when I installed the new printer software - I never made the Photosmart our default printer.  When the power went off - the computer and the printer stopped talking to each other - - and the computer reset the on-line printer as the "Office Jet".  Clicking the box that put the correct printer on-line...I proceeded to print the nine files from the queue and finished up in about one more hour.

One more computer lesson learned.  Two more handfuls of hair down the drain.

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On Thursday, I got invited to the ex-pats TEA luncheon.  It was being held at the brand new upscale coffee shop in Jubilee Hills, Beyond Coffee - which is sort of half coffee-house and half art gallery.  It was really quite nice.  The food was good and the lattes hot.  In addition to the normal crew (my friend David and I are usually the only two men at these lunches!) - I met a very nice lady from Deloitte named Jennifer (she's also in Tax - and her husband is part owner of Beyond Coffee.)  Also - I met another lady who I hope will become a friend, as seems that she and her husband are Christian missionaries from Sydney Australia...they are planting a new church in Hyderabad, they are affiliated with the City Christian Church in Sydney and are meeting now "just for Bible Study" in their home.  N.B. Since I still have not heard from the Bishop Ordinary from the Hyderabad-area Diocese of Nandyal - I may have to go Pentecostal while I'm here!!  I may try to check out the home Bible Study some Sunday after Mass.  We exchanged phone numbers, so I hope to hear from her and I truly hope to see her again.

My friend David and his driver were going to pick me up.  His wife, Carol, works for Deloitte as well, and he is sort of in the same situation I am in...except he and his wife have kids.  David does ministry with various children's relief groups in Southern India, so he will be a good person to know, in addition to being a nice fellow - who golfs!!  David and his wife took the long weekend off to fly to Singapore, where they are now.  Instead of trying to give his driver exact directions on how to get to the house (which I am not sure I could do, yet!) - I suggested that them pick me up in front of the "Q-Mart" near our home.

One problem.  I was afraid to cross the street!!!  (see video link, below)

To our friend Annette - I'm sorry.  I know what you said about crossing the roads here being like crossing a river...and the traffic, like "water"... just sort of "flows around you" and you need to trust that you will not get hit...  Well, easier said than done.  THIS water is filled with speeding motorcycles, big trucks and buses, and bumper-to-bumper autos!  I just couldn't do it!

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