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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Things I never thought I’d have to not know how I know


I read a little piece on Facebook today, 47 things you didn’t know that ruined your life. I only remember one, so I’ll save it for the end.

It reminded me of a township learning experience I survived, and can now apply to being a modern grandmother in charge of two of them. Several years ago the township put up a website. It wasn’t the format I wanted or by the webmaster I preferred, but it’s a nice little thing and I have grown fond of it.

We have most of the books of record of the township, back to its founding in 1811. The oldest books are entirely handwritten in bound volumes, and were professionally scanned to upload. In 1935 the township had a typewriter, and books of record of minutes became typewritten documents that I could access one at a time and scan to upload.

So began my self imposed project of scanning seventy odd years of minutes for our website. I did this back in 2010, and the scanner I had treated the documents as photos. I used another program to save them to a file and another program to convert them to pdf’s, to upload. Until some Word version came along and let me make pdf’s of Word files, all the uploaded minutes are watermarked “created by pdffactory,” a free program I was too cheap to purchase the real version of.

I finished the project and thought no more of it until one missing book of minutes turned up recently and needed scanned and uploaded. In the interim, all programs, processes and equipment I knew were swapped out several times over. Try as I might, I could not figure out how to turn several pages into a pdf document, short of buying (and learning!) the Adobe program.

One day I noticed that all email correspondence with attachments, from our attorney, were in pdf format. “How do you do that, Ed,” I immediately wanted to know. Damned if he knew; he put the document in the scanner to be scanned to email and it came out in pdf. Magic.

A very short period of trial and error and I could scan a document to an email I would never send; open the document from the email and save it to a file. Bonanza! I scanned and uploaded the old minute book, and to celebrate, saved township documents that seemed to be misplaced often to flash drives. I had a moment of small triumph when Cuyahoga Falls couldn’t find an original of the now twelve year old JEDD agreement and they needed to see how House Bill xyz will affect our tax agreement. “Let me send you that. What email address should I use?”

Now Emily has begun applying for scholarships, and we are in the murky place my dad bitterly called “looking down the length of my pocketbook.”  For the first application, due November 3rd, I had to provide my 2012 and 2013 1099 only and 2014 complete tax package.  Don’t tell the IRS, but I already sent my 2012 tax return to the great god of shredding, so I turned to my long suffering accountant, George. It all came back, lickity split.

I saved 2012 and 13 to a file, and stared at 2014 in dismay. Page after page, one at a time, exactly as George sent to the great cloud. I tried putting them in a folder and attaching that, electronically. Of course it doesn’t work that way. Eventually I printed all the pages for an attempt at pdf-ing them today on our home printer/scanner. Jan and I sat down to the job after lunch—the scanner answers to her computer and I have no idea where she stashes its programs.

The first attempt obviously failed; the scanner sent all the papers straight through in a very disgusted “get these things out of my tray” fashion. I gathered them up, thinking where I could go to email them to me. “Wait, wait,” Jan said. “I hit the cancel button on that job, not start.”

The second time the papers went through exactly as scanned documents do, and the email program fired up and there was my attached document, awaiting only my instructions on the recipient—me. I hit send and went down to my computer to open it up and save my final document. It wasn’t there. Back to the other computer. I had overlooked Outlook’s picky little moment of needing the send/receive command on its site, too. Damn programs.

I have attached and sent the last bit of info required of me for this scholarship. Emily is still working on her part. If all is not there by November 3rd, won’t be my fault.

So, the 47 things I didn’t know that ruined my life and I only recall one of: the number on the toaster dial is not the degree of goodness you’re toasting to, it’s the minutes—a mini timer.



27 comments:

  1. Yeah, computers are wonderful, until they don't work. Then they turn into metal divas with no hearts :)

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  2. It is amazing how dependent we have come on computers. :)

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  3. Ah yes, the joys of computers.

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  4. My computer drives me crazy but oh my how I would miss it if I did not have it. Those scholarship applications are so time consuming. I am so happy that is past me now.

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  5. PDF might be the best thing Adobe ever created. Now their flash technology has be trashed talked for a long time and seems to require a update download about once a month. You are very tech savvy.

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  6. after my computer loss I have nothing; but I am sure it's all there for those who know how to retrieve it. ha. To date = to day I have only what i have = which isn't much but somehow now feel it's better that way - we only have what we have = and what we are here and now.I am what I am and I am what I am here and now. - sorry but thats about what it's all; about - the here and now

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  7. I have no idea what you're talking about. It's okay. I don't mind.

    Love,
    Janie

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  8. Hubby's parents had every single tax return they filed since their marriage in 1947. What a shredding mess that was a few years back. I admire you for shredding 2012's (I shred everything before 2000 here a few years back and planning to shred more shortly).

    Seems like a nightmare with all the paperwork needed for scholarships, but hoping Emily gets what she needs for her college expenses.

    betty

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  9. Good luck. I am wrestling with a recalcitrant system here. It is not allowing any messages from the skinny one through. And I do want to know how (and where) he is. They are wonderful labour saving devices. When they work.

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  10. "needed scanned and uploaded" - shouldn't that be needed scannING and uploadING?
    or perhaps needed TO BE scanned and uploaded?

    The number on a toaster dial is a timer? Huh.

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  11. It's way beyond me ! I ask one of the kids to help & they roll their eyes x

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  12. Hari OM
    The one sure thing about computer systems is that no two are ever the same. In this they resemble their makers. ... it never occurred to me that the toaster button WASN't a timer... but am sure there are many other 'logics' which have passed me by... YAM xx

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  13. Bravo! You did it. It sure as hell isn't easy. Sometimes I think all this stuff is a mean-spirited intelligence test designed by 17 year olds to make us feel stupid.

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  14. Well, I hope that after all of this, your granddaughter gets that scholarship.

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  15. Joanne, I'm hopeless with computers. You will be amazed at all the scholarships out there. It is a lot of work. I think if you can qualify for the Pell Grant you can apply for most of them. We paid for our kids undergraduate degrees but they have to pay for grad school and get their own scholarships.

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  16. My husband did all the paperwork for our daughter's scholarships etc and it was the mid-80's, we had no computer, oh what fun. She was lucky that he did it all because I would have gone berserk.

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  17. I understand that frustration. Just when I get a handle on a computer issue, everything changes and that no longer works. Or I can't remember what I did, which is most likely the case.

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  18. I have a love hate relationship with my computer. I love it when I know what I'm doing and I hate it all the rest of the time. I did not know that about toasters. I am going to try mine out right now with a pumpkin spice bagel.

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  19. We have a new toaster oven, and I have burnt quite a few slices of bread because of that.

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  20. You are far more savvy than I; taking care of the paperwork for the kidling made me pull my hair out!

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  21. We should all worship you and your computer accomplishments. Wow.

    even tho I know the numbers on the toaster and such, the toast still gets burned.

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  22. Learning new things helps keep your brain young :-)

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  23. I don't have a printer or scanner only a memory and if forgotten stays forgotten, much easier that way.
    Merle.............

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  24. I don't use the scanner often enough to remember how it works. Every time I need to scan I have to learn all over again. I did learn how to zip a file last week. There's always something to learn!

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  25. I have a mac. converting documents to PDF is simple. control P for print, when the print window comes up there is a little button bottom left that says PDF, click that and a menu drops down, click save as PDF. viola, document converted and saved to wherever you select. I usually select the desktop.

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