Dec 032011
 

Dark Entry Creek, St Marys, Georgia. Ricoh GRD III. ©Calvin Palmer 2011. All Rights Reserved.

The photograph above serves as an allegory of the early part of my week. I had a sunny disposition but it was under threat from the looming clouds.

The clouds in my case were my Mac Pro dying, a credit card transaction being refused and the temporary loss of my Internet access just as I was about to upload my entries for a photo contest.

My Mac Pro will be five years old next week, with a PC I would be braced for things to start going wrong but not with a Mac. You can imagine my shock, not to say disbelief, when it died. It would begin to power up but then stopped and the screen remained black.

A few procedures aimed at restoring an ailing Mac all failed. The Mac message boards provided no instant solutions, in fact they compounded my concern with mention of logic board failure. Logic boards do not come cheap and it looked as if I was facing a bill in excess of $1,000.

The one ray of sunshine amidst all this gloom was the presence of an authorized Apple repair shop only four miles from my home. I called Mac + PC Tech Pro and was told to bring my Mac in. I figured I would not only be facing a large bill but also the loss of the computer for several days.

The deadline for the photo contest was Wednesday. Sorting through all my photographs for suitable images and getting them ready for submission looked to have been a wasted effort. It probably was a wasted effort in terms of actually winning but that is a totally different issue.

In the middle of the afternoon, Jake at Mac + PC Tech Pro called back to say that testing of my Mac had revealed that the memory boards were shot and one stick of memory had failed. He said he had everything in stock and I could pick my computer up in 30 minutes. The total bill was going to be several hundred dollars but a long way short of the $1,000 I thought it would cost.

Anyone in the Jacksonville area who has a problem with their Mac should contact Mac + PC Tech Pro. You are treated like a customer rather than a number by the helpful staff. I highly recommend the company and the service it provides.

The return of my Mac also meant I would be able to submit my photographs a day before the closing date.

On Tuesday, I found that AOL had decided to change the inbox of my e-mail. They call it a unified inbox. I call it a disaster. My inbox had e-mails going back to 2009. I much preferred the old system of new mail and old mail being kept in separate inboxes.

My first attempt to switch back didn’t work and I contacted the online help service. I was being given instructions on what to do when the phone rang. It was the fraud protection unit of my credit card company, asking about a couple of recent transactions. They kept referring to today (Wednesday) when the transactions had taken place the day before.

I had decided to take up Adobe’s generous Black Friday deal on upgrading Photoshop to CS5 but my credit card company had refused to authorize the transaction. When I pointed out that I had made the transaction and made it in good faith, I was told I would have to reorder from Adobe.

“Just a minute,” I said, “yesterday was the last day of the special discount. You can telephone Adobe and put it straight.”

Moments later, I had Eric from Adobe on the line informing me that they had no record of my order placed on Nov 29.

“Excuse me, Eric,” I said,” but how is it that I have record of the order in My Adobe.” I read out the details including the order number and ended, “If I have a record of the order and you do not, I think something must be dreadfully wrong with your computer system.”

“I am going to transfer you to someone else,” Eric said sheepishly.

I was put through to a sales associate who could not have been more helpful. I got the Black Friday deal discount during which he happened to mention that the billing address on the initial order was an address in Morrisville, North Carolina and different from my shipping address in Jacksonville.

Now I could understand why my credit card company had refused to the let the order go through.

A Google search revealed the Morrisville address was vacant office premises. I contacted my credit card company with this information and also Adobe. The former assured me everything was all right with my account, the latter were not the slightest bit concerned that a bogus address had been attached to my credit card while placing an order.

With that problem sorted, I turned my attention to uploading the competition photographs, a task I had intended to start some two hours earlier.

I clicked the computer mouse and noticed that all my e-mails were grey, gray for American readers. I clicked the mouse again and nothing happened. Glancing across at the modem, I saw that all the lights were out save for the power light. Great! It was beginning to look as if I was destined not to enter this competition. I unplugged all the leads to the modem and waited for a minute, plugged them back in again but the modem remained dead. I tried a second time and got the same result. I had no recourse other than to call AT&T – that paragon of timeliness and efficiency.

I gathered together the information in order to contact AT&T, knowing full well it would be at least a day before anyone could come round to investigate the problem. With that thought in mind, I decided I needed a cup of coffee and a cigarette to calm me down.

With a heavy heart, I climbed the stairs back to my office. I was in a state of disbelief at the events that had befallen me. Then at last, a piece of good fortune struck. From the top of the stairs I could see the modem and all its lights were lit up.

“You shall go to the ball, Cinders!”

I spent the next hour uploading my photographs. I am officially an entrant in the contest. The blue skies came back.

My upgrade to Photoshop CS5 should arrive next week along with a Mac OSX upgrade to Snow Leopard. I hope the learning curve is not a steep one and I can quickly get back into my workflow and make use of the new features the upgrade brings.

I am back on track.

St Marys, Georgia. Ricoh GRD III. ©Calvin Palmer 2011. All Rights Reserved.

 Please help support this site by clicking on the Amazon link on this page if you are shopping for an item.

Jun 202011
 

A sudden spurt of activity yesterday evening saw me overcome the impasse that dogged me for two days and halted work on the latest gallery for Calvin Palmer Photography.

The photographs that comprise the Canary Wharf gallery had been selected weeks ago and last week, once my birthday was out of the way, I decided it was time the gallery was presented to the public in the hope of generating some sales.

The process of creating a gallery involves resizing the images and then producing the html pages, which includes titles for the images, captions, descriptions and keywords.

One image was tentatively titled but the title was about as exciting as the controls on a washing machine. Oh, it was functional and accurate but hardly inspirational and certainly not befitting a supposed creative mind.

The problematic image. ©Calvin Palmer 2011. All Rights Reserved.

The more I tried to come up with something more inventive the slower my brain functioned. Of course temperatures of 90 degrees plus do not help when it comes to creativity. Come mid afternoon and I am enveloped in a kind of warmth that speaks to one thing and one thing only – sleep.

Experiencing the summer heat of Florida, I can see the sense of the siesta in Spain and Latin America countries.

In theory, air conditioning should provide the ideal environment for an Anglo-Saxon like me to remain productive but in an old house, it remains very much a theory. The A/C unit upstairs cannot maintain a temperature lower than a couple of degrees of the ambient temperature. It will run and run quite merrily but its impact on the room temperature is zero until the temperature outside begins to drop. And that usually occurs around 9:00 pm.

But being English, I soldier on with a mad dog for company. How else would you describe a Chihuahua?

Actually Brandy, the name comes from her previous owners, is a lot smarter than the breed is usually given credit for. I think it took a certain degree of intelligence on her part to unwrap several Hershey Kisses left in a bowl at Christmas to get to the chocolate. Although it was the pieces of silver paper left on the carpet that gave her away.

Perhaps I should have given the task of coming up with an interesting title for the photograph to the dog; on second thoughts, perhaps not.

As usual it took the heady combination of coffee and a cigarette to deliver the goods. I had just stepped outside on the back deck with a mug of coffee in hand and a Winston in my mouth and before I could light the cigarette, the title came to me in a flash.

Once I had smoked the cigarette, I dashed to my Mac Pro and completed the html page for that particular image. I then worked steadily for the next hour or so finishing off the titles and captions for the remaining images in the gallery and it was ready for posting for worldwide viewing.

 

Please help support this site by clicking on the Amazon link on this page if you are shopping for something.