Tuesday, February 28, 2012


***Losing A File In Android - Boy oh boy! What an arduous task! Not a physical one but a mental task. I was typing a draft for a blog in my Android tablet and I knew I was saving the file every few sentence, however when I was looked for it later at home, I couldn’t find it. All that thinking and typing disappeared into the ether. Would you believe that there is nothing similar to Google desktop search for Android tablets? It sure could use one. I don’t know if there is a file search app for the Ipad.
So after searching for one for more than an hour, I gave up. Later in the evening I got the idea of connecting the tablet to the laptop computer and using Windows search. Voila! I found the file. The problem was that I just started using Dropbox and I mistakenly thought that the changes would upload automatically.  This is also one problem I’m having with saving files on the tablet. Often, I don’t know where the file is being saved to because I’m still in the learning process of the file structures of the system. So where did I finally find the lost file? Deep in the bowels of the Android system.
***Clunky keyboard - The keyboard docking station for my Asus Transformer arrived and my hopes were high that typing, copying and pasting would be much easier. I don't know if it's the way I type or if it is the sensitivity of the keyboard that makes the cursor jump all over the place. Sometimes as I'm typing, I inadvertently hit something and the save command comes up. Okay, I think I just figured that one out. When the touchpad mouse is tapped,the save command in Polaris appears so I have to be really careful and make sure that my fingers are floating over the keyboard and not resting my palms on it.
***Frustration- It's has been frustrating so far trying to type something for this blog while using Polaris, mainly because I couldn't copy and paste to the blogger website itself or even to the android blogger app. Usually, I compose the post in word processor first but with this Polaris limitation, I would have to type directly to the blogger app. The best thing for this Android tablet is just surfing the web. I'll have to rely on my netbook to make things easier for me to blog. Of course another feature I like about the tablet is the fast boot and the touchscreen.
***Tablet Case- I already have a case just for the tablet part of this device, however it won't accommodate the keyboard. One must have to buy a different and more expensive case. The problem with that is it makes the device bulkier thus defeating the purpose of having a lighter and more portable machine.
***Newspaper Reading- Another incovenience I experienced involved reading the electronic edition of the local newspaper. When you connect to the website, the screen is in three sections: breaking news on the left, the main page in the middle, and the text of whatever you click in the middle section comes up on the right side.
There is an option to close the left section and that's what I had been doing. However, when I scroll the right side, the text doesn't always go in a straight line if my swipe is unsteady. That usually happens when I'm on the stationary bike or treadmill. I discovered that if I don't close the left section, the right section scrolls in a straight line. Problem solved.
***Another discovery - If I use the Hacker's keyboard app instead of the Asus English keyboard, the problem of the sensitive touchpad mouse disappears and doesn't launch the save function anymore. Don't worry, it's not an app used by hackers, just a keyboard with slightly different functions.
***Still another discovery - All of a sudden I can now copy and paste from Polaris to blogger. Did this have anything to do with the Ice Cream Sandwich update a few days ago from Asus? I haven't had time to try copying and pasting straight to the blogger website yet. Okay here is an update on that: it is now possible to copy and paste from Polaris Office directly to the Blogger website without having to use the Blogger app. Thank you Asus, for the free update :)

Well folks, I hope you will excuse me for acting like a bumbling idiot while I try to figure out the ins and outs of this device.

Monday, February 27, 2012

New TV Quick As a Jiffy



As I mentioned in a previous post, I discovered my Olevia TV dead when I returned home from work last Tuesday morning. After posting that information on Facebook, I immediately trolled Tigerdirect.com and Amazon.com for deals while sacrificing my sleep time. Even though it was going to create a financial hardship, I needed another TV pronto.  On Tigerdirect, I found a refurbished Vizio LCD TV for $499.00. A similar but brand new LG TV on Amazon was $498, plus they had a one month free offer for a program called Amazon Prime which had 2nd day free shipping. I immediately ordered the LG TV online expecting it to arrive by Thursday. While tracking my order, I noticed that the courier service that was supposed to deliver the TV was one who had delivered either my treadmill or elliptical machine a couple of years back. That gave me some concern because they said at the time that they only did curbside delivery. I had to beg the driver to please use his dolly to take my treadmill or elliptical to my doorstep on the second floor. Thankfully, his kind heart agreed to do so. We don’t have an elevator so when we reached the stairs, I helped him by lifting from below while he pulled from above. In the process, I scratched my arm on the box but at least we were able to get the machine in my place.
                I went back to work on Tuesday night on just 2 hours of sleep and it was short of miraculous that I managed to stay awake. I kept tracking the delivery on the internet and saw that the product was coming from Amazon’s warehouse in Arizona, and that it was already on its way to California with an expected delivery on Wednesday instead of Thursday. I got home from work on Wednesday morning and tried to get some much needed sleep but because of my excitement, I only managed another couple of hours of sleep. When I awoke from my brief nap, I looked out my door, and voila, here comes the delivery man carrying the new TV to my door without even using a dolly. Someone must have left the security gate open.
                Instead of sleeping, I spent most of the rest of the afternoon assembling and setting up the new LG TV. This consisted of detaching the inputs from the Olevia and moving it from the TV stand to the dining room table, and raising the LG from the floor to the TV stand and reconnecting the aforementioned inputs (two DVD players, amplifier, karaoke machine, and Nintendo WII, plus an HDMI cable from my computer). Let me tell you more about that HDMI cable. When I connected it to the TV, I couldn’t get it to work. My computer wasn’t communicating with the TV at all. After about twenty minutes of trying to troubleshoot the problem I was about to give up, and started looking for a shorter cable that I had because I thought maybe the 10 foot cable was causing the problem. Well whadya know but what I thought was me connecting both ends of the 10 foot cable turned to be one end of the 6 footer and the other end of the 10 footer. No wonder it didn’t work! That’s what happens when you have a jumble of cables behind the TV. Thankfully, the inputs for the LG are more easily accessible than the Olevia and the swiveling base also helped. With this new purchase, I noticed that in less than four years, the prices of LCD TV’s have been halved.  They are not only easier on the pocketbook but also much lighter in weight. In my subjective comparison, the new TV felt at least 30 % lighter when I lifted it.
             So there it is. I didn't have to suffer too much without a TV because I was mostly at work and a new one arrived about 25 hours after I ordered it. Well, let me rephrase. I am going to suffer when the next credit card bill arrives.
 Dead on Tuesday, replaced by Wednesday, thanks to Amazon via Arizona, without me never having to leave the confines of my home. Why, it’s almost like buying it at the nearby Target or Walmart but cheaper because of no taxes and no electronic waste recycling fee!
A final word regarding the Olevia TV: It’s not totally dead yet. It still turns on intermittently after you keep it unplugged for a few hours. According to internet TV repair message boards, you will have to detach the back cover, find the main circuit board and replace either the capacitors or the fuse or both. Since I’m electrically and electronically challenged, I felt that it was not within my capacity to repair it. If I was capable of fixing it myself, the cost would have been about $50.00 for parts. Bringing it to a repair shop would have cost at least half the price of a new TV. Goodwill Industries will be picking up my TV donation in a couple of weeks.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Running Around The Neighborhood, etc.

I’ve been missing running around my neighborhood. When I was still running a lot, I sometimes found the area already boring because I’ve run around it hundreds of times. My infrequent runs nowadays has given me new appreciation of being able to visit the streets of those neighborhoods again, albeit at a much slower pace. My slowness doesn’t take me very far anymore so just a few crisscrosses of the streets brings me to my target time. Most of my runs are by time regardless of distance.
It is in this same neighborhood that I do my errand runs. For example last week, I had to go to the ATM then to Walmart for some bait (I won’t tell you what I’m trying to catch) and a new band for my watch. It used to take me about 50 minutes round trip for that distance but now it takes me an hour. Nevertheless, I was about a minute and a half faster running back home. Hooray for negative splits!
It was a very cold morning by Southern California standards so I tried my best to run on the sunny side of the street avoiding the shade as much as possible. A cold errand run sure beats doing a workout on the treadmill and saves gas to boot. Have you seen these gasoline prices lately? $4.00 + a gallon in my area! If my ankles allow it, I hope to do another destination run this Friday when I see my doctor. it would be a 6 mile round trip.
You’ve seen George Clooney’s flat footed running in “The Descendants” movie? Well with my feet slapping the pavement, my stride looks worse than that and slower.
Every time I see runners in my friends list on Facebook post about their races with or without results, I get envious because I can’t do what they can anymore. All I have are memories of my running past. 
            A short update: Well, I was able to save some gasoline on Friday morning by walking 3 miles to see my doctor, plus 3 more miles of running and walking on the way back home. I was surprised at the big difference in the time it took me to walk to the doctor - 44 minutes, and how much quicker I made it back home - 31 minutes, even though there was more walking than running. Ok, that distance might be mildly inflated. It was probably closer to 5.5 miles than 6. I didn't wear my GPS watch that day. So that's my running achievement for the past week.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012


When I got home from work Tuesday morning after an uneventful night shift, I did my usual habit of turning the TV on. Nothing happened. Now this TV set has been giving me problems the past two weeks. The first time I try to turn it on, there would be no sound and it would take two or three tries before the audio comes on, but I thought I could live with that minor inconvenience. Then starting last Saturday, the TV wouldn’t turn on at all unless I switched the plug to a different outlet and that went on for a few days until Tuesday morning when that technique didn’t work anymore. This was somewhat surprising because I didn’t see any pixelation problems on the screen but apparently it was giving me clues of its impending death by the loss of audio and subsequently, video. The early demise (it was less than 4 years old) of the TV appears to have been caused by an electrical problem. Woe is me! Now I have to get a replacement which is an unexpected expense, which I hate. It’s not like I have a lot of expendable cash lying around. The brand of the TV is Olevia which isn’t manufactured anymore because the company shut down a few months after I bought the set from Target. Well, it’s out of warranty anyway so I have no recourse but buy a new one and find an electronic recycling center to dispose of the broken one. Any monetary donations accepted to pay for a new TV.
By the way, when I found out that I couldn’t resurrect it from the dead, I posted my loss on Facebook and as you can imagine, I received a few condolences and sympathies. Thanks friends J.

A follow up. I researched the problem on the internet and this is one similar instance that I found in a TV repair message board. I’m copying and pasting this verbatim:
Customer question: My Olevia 42" flat panel just completely died. A few days ago we started having a hard time with volume not coming on when we turned the TV on would take up to 10 times turning it on and off before the volume would come on but the picture was fine and now today I went to turn the TV on and nothing, no picture or sound and the blue light isn't even on. I tried the power switch on the back of the TV but the blue light of front just flickers on and then off. The TV is only a few years old.

Expert’s Answer:
The slow startup, indicates the power supply was beginning to fail (not coming into operating voltage).
With not power indication at all - the power supply has completely failed.
The power supply will have to be replaced. Olevia, is no longer in business; however used or refurbished parts can be obtained to repair the TVs.
A replacement power supply will run about $75, plus labor for repair.
Sorry it is not good news.

Well, it looks like a very common problem for this brand. So long Olevia...

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Perils of Working in an Asylum

In an unfortunate night at work early Sunday morning, two of my co-workers got hurt by an assaultive patient. A female nurse got kicked in the head while a male mental health worker jammed his right ring finger while trying to get control of the patient's leg. Because of that they had to be examined at the employee injury clinic. I don't know the results yet because the two hardy souls still reported back to work the next night. So far, there wasn't a visible bruise on the nurse's face which we hope stays that way. You should have seen the stunned look on her face after the kick. She just sat with her back against the wall with blank stare until the charge nurse asked her to get the restraints and set them up. The sprain on the mental health worker's finger might take longer to heal and I'm basing that on my own experience.
It was hard to determine what got the patient agitated in the first place but when they are paranoid, any voices they hear in their heads can set them off at any time. That was probably what happened in this case because all of a sudden, the patient started ripping things off the wall and kicking the wall. At this point no amount of verbal intervention helped. In order for us to keep the patient from hurting himself or damaging property, we had no choice but to take him down to the ground. It's the same as what the police call the swarming technique: three to five people each try to grab hold of a limb then put the patient against the wall or on the ground then hang on until the patient tires him or herself. Kinda like riding a bucking bronco. This is reality. In the movies where you see the protagonist beats up a whole bunch of bad guys? Well that just doesn't happen in real life. We try as much as possible to keep the patient from getting injured but as this case shows, the staff can get injured instead because the patient is the aggressor while the staff has to take protective and defensive measures. We of course have to attend annual classes on how to handle assaultive patients. However the role playing being done in class is in slow motion and often not necessarily the same as how the patient acts or moves. We just try our best to apply the techniques taught to us and hope that neither the patient nor we get injured.
These are the perils and risks we take while working in an insane asylum. Fortunately incidents like the one I mentioned above doesn't happen very often on the unit I work in. That, I can be thankful for. Lord knows that I’ve had my share of hits, grabs, hair pulls, bruises and soreness through the years as part of the job.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Random Thoughts For Early 2012

Last week, while waiting for the last few minutes to tick by before we could clock out from work, one of the nurses challenged anybody to do a wall squat for one minute. He said he would give $100 to the person who could do it. I accepted the challenge and positioned my back against the wall then lowered myself down. The nurse wanted me to go lower so I obliged him. I checked my watch and watched the seconds go by. When I hit one minute, I stayed down until I reached two minutes and 15 seconds before standing up. I told the nurse to ''show me the money!''. I didn't really expect him to pay me but it would be good to rib him about it in the next few months. I bet he didn't expect a skinny looking older man to be able to meet his challenge. All that stationary cycling must have strengthened my quads. Frankly, I wasn't sure if I could last a whole minute because it's an exercise that I never do. It was purely mind over matter, I guess.  

I was checking my cupboards last week for expiration dates of canned goods, then moved the canned jalapeno peppers to a separate shelf. I was surprised to see that by buying a few here and there when there was a sale, I had already accumulated 18 cans of peppers! Seriously, how many cans of peppers do I really need?! Time to stop buying them for a few months.
Well, on one of my days off last week, I was able to do my federal and state taxes using Taxactonline.com's software which I have been using the last three years. Within about 30 minutes of e-filing, I received email notification that both federal and state returns were approved. Now, that was fast! 

What are the chances of getting a George Washington and Susan B. Anthony dollar coin as change in the same transaction? That's exactly what happened at 99 cent store last week. All that was missing was a Sacajawea dollar. 

Upon further review, I can now claim that I have watched all the best picture nominees for the Oscar's other than Hugo. This is the list of what I've watched: The Artist, The Descendants, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Help, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life, and War Horse. Looks like I have nothing else to do on my days off except watch movies. Well that, taxes, and counting cans of peppers.

On a final note, I thought I lost my keys at work Monday night. It turns out I lost my marbles temporarily instead. Misplacing keys = forgetfulness, not knowing the keys existed in the first place = Alzheimer’s disease.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Rejoining The Long Beach Walking Club Meet-up Group


After too many days of indoor workouts, I figured it was time to get out the door early Saturday morning to catch some sunshine and boost my vitamin D. I had signed up for the Long Beach Walking Club Meet-Up group for the Signal Hill Challenge, which I had walked with four times before. Five of the six people who RSVP’d showed up. As is often the case, I was the only male. There were a couple of newbies who were apprehensive of the hills and distance so the pace seemed slower than usual. I felt the need to work harder so I could at least break a sweat. Even though it was warmer than usual, there was a slight cold breeze blowing. So I powered up the first uphill, walking as fast as I could. The 13% grade had me breathing hard within a minute and I could almost feel an endorphin buzz. Unfortunately, that hill lasted for only about 5 minutes. I walked back downhill to the rear of the pack so I could rejoin the other walkers. After all I signed up so I can have some company. We engaged in short conversations between uphill climbs and I learned that the newbies were nurses from Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and Los Alamitos Medical Center, while the other two ladies were ex army and ex air force. As we approached the second uphill, I decided to jog up, and upon reaching the top, I again jogged back down to rejoin the others. And so it went on the subsequent uphill climbs. I just hope that I wasn't going against walking club etiquette while doing the jogging part. I just felt the need for a little bit more effort on my part so I could get a decent workout.
By the way, this club has a meet up planned for the Long Beach half marathon - the same one that I missed last year due to work obligations. Well I tracked my work schedule for this year and I'm working on the day of the race again. The only difference is that I'm not yet signed up for it and have no plan on doing so. So why do I bring up this topic? Because when I asked about what they were going to do about training, no one seemed to know how to go on about it even though a website link was sent out to the group which included a training plan. Lord, help them for they know not what they do about increasing the distance of long walks every couple of weeks! I may send the organizer the courses and distances that my running club has for marathon training.
As the walk continued on the 6 mile route, I kept on jogging up the hills and walking the downhills and the flats. By doing this then going back to the pack, I covered a total of 6.91 miles by the time we were done. It was my longest distance in months and on a hilly course to boot. Easy peasy.

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