It’s in!

Today, my new-new keyboard came in! And by mail, too, so I didn’t have to drive to town to pick it up. πŸ˜„

Here is a comparison.

The top keyboard (the one already full of cat hair!) is the French keyboard my husband ordered for me by mistake. The bottom is the English keyboard that came in today.

Interesting.

That extra key next to the left Shift key is gone, as is the extra key by the Enter key, which I am quite happy about. The arrangement of keys by the Enter key is also back to what I was used to. No more keys with a third symbol on them I couldn’t use. The Alt key on the right of the space bar is now just a regular Alt key again. The new edit key, MS Office shortcut and emoji keys are still there. I’m amused that the emoji keys have different symbols on them.

The physical differences are minor, but it’s amazing how much of a difference it makes in my ability to touch type. Everything “fits” my hands better.

The French keyboard still works perfectly fine, and I was intending to give it to my husband. However, he went and bought himself a gamer keyboard that also came in today. (Discovering that things can be purchased through Amazon on payment plans is a bit too convenient!) The keys and letters light up, which is something I would love on my own keyboard. Lights won’t wear off. However, I am not willing to give up the ergonomic design for it!

I like being able to type without pain!

So the French keyboard is now set aside as a backup, available to use the next time we have a keyboard die on us. Which is more of a thing for me, since I’m the only one that can’t use the other back up keyboards we had!

The Re-Farmer

Old and New

Today, we went into town to pick up my early birthday take out dinner (Chinese food!). I took advantage of it to stop at the Purolator drop off location to see if my new keyboard made it in. We were supposed to get a call from Purolator once it was delivered, and we hadn’t gotten one, but I figured I’d check.

It was there! Yay!

I am now typing this on my brand new, ergonomic keyboard, which is an updated version of my old one.

My old one is in the eco-waste pile, so I’ve been using the older one my husband was using, which had been mine before then. It works, but many of the keys are worn off, which is why my husband was willing to trade with me. He doesn’t do as much typing as I do.

As they are both Microsoft ergonomic keyboards, how the keys sit is almost exactly the same. Which means I am not having issues with finding keys, nor is their pain in my hands trying to type, as there was with the other keyboards I tried.

There are, however, some differences.

The overall dimensions are slightly different. My husband wasn’t interesting in taking the keyboard back, so I put it into the box for the new one, as an emergency back up. It was a tight fit, and the lid doesn’t close completely, so the new one is ever so slightly smaller than the old one.

The keys, however…

What the heck?

The first thing to figure out is the new key next to the left hand shift key. The space is the same, but now there are 2 keys in it, and the new key is on the inside. There are three symbols on the new key, but all I can get out of it are \ and | which are not shown on the key itself. As for the shift key, I’m going to have to get used to stretching my pinky out slightly further to hit shift instead of the new key.

The other things is, it’s in French for some keys, pictographs on others. The Home key is now a diagonal arrow, for example, while the Esc key is now Echap (I still haven’t figure out how to do the E with an accent). Entre is Entree. Print Screen i snow Arret Defit, which apparently is now an editable screen grab of some sort. I haven’t tried it yet. There are two Suppr. keys. The one above the arrow keys used to be the Delete key, and the one higher up now has Impr. and Suppr. keys, where there used to be Print and Lock.

The number keys above the letter keys now have an extra symbol on them, as do some other keys. Which would be handy, if I could figure out how to use that third symbol. Something other than the shift key must access it, but what? Also, the ~ and ` key next to the 1 now has different symbols on it – the symbols that the new key by the left hand shift now has.

There is a new key between the Ctrl and Windows keys which shows the same pop up as when I right click in my typing field. To the right of the spaced bar, the Alt key is now Alt Gr – and as far as I can tell, it does nothing. Next to that is a short cut to MS Office. Which I happen to have at the moment, but I just have a shortcut to Word on my taskbar. Then there is an emoji key.

Yes. I can now do emojis on my keyboard.

🍀πŸ₯ πŸ—πŸšπŸŽˆπŸŽ

Ok, look. I can illustrate my birthday dinner. πŸ˜€ Oh, wait… πŸ˜ƒ

Can you see them as emojis, or do they just look like weird symbols to you?

Oh, I just realized there is a third Suppr key. It’s the Delete key on the number pad. Which makes more sense than having one where the Lock key was.

I went to check the order on Amazon and, after several checks, I found where you could choose a French or English keyboard. English was the default. Yet we got a French keyboard. Not in function, but in labeling.

Today happens to be Amazon Prime day, though, and the keyboard is about half price.

My husband is ordering another one – making double sure that the English one gets ordered. French is his first language, so he can have the new French keyboard once the English one comes in. It really doesn’t make much of a difference, functionally, but it will be less of a distraction for me.

Aaannnd… It’s done. It should get here in roughly a week, and should come by mail this time, not Purolator.

Aside from that, I tried to find a keyboard map that I hoped would show me how to access those third symbols on so many keys. I’ve found descriptions of the new features on the keyboard, then it says to download an app to customize hot keys. I don’t want to download anything extra. I just want to know how to use the default functions.

I’m actually quite happy with it, and even as I type this post, I am getting used to things like reaching that left shift key, and not hitting the new key, instead.

The main thing is, I can type, and it doesn’t hurt, like with every other keyboard I’ve tried.

The Re-Farmer

Speedy

Since we switched to Starlink, not all that long ago, I’ve been quite happy with the improvement of my internet speed and connectivity. Especially the connectivity. That was the biggest issue with our old satellite provider. We were paying an awful lot for limited data, and the connectivity just kept getting worse and worse.

Now, my “office” is in the corner of my bedroom, where the external walls are log. Even with a wi-fi booster, just being set up where I am is probably the worst part of the house to get wi-fi. Plus, my desktop is rather old and having a harder time keeping up with the newer technology. Still, with a little booster set up, and the improved connectivity with Starlink, I was quite content with my desktop’s internet speeds.

My husband was not.

He also wasn’t satisfied with the bare bones router that came with the Starlink system. They actually upgraded while we were in line for it, so it’s not what people are getting now. One issue was that the router had only one port in it. My husband likes to have his computer wired directly, but we also need to connect our security camera.

So he ended up getting a NETGEAR Orbi Whole Home Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System (RBK852) – Router with 1 Satellite ExtenderΒ (not an affiliate link). The extender is set up in the living room; another wi-fi semi-dead zone.

Also, you can set up a payment plan. There was no way we could have afforded it, otherwise!

He got that set up, and was seeing huge increases in speed on his desktop. Plus, he could be directly wired in with his computer, and the security camera could be, too, though still with the original Starlink router. It won’t work with wi-fi 6. Too old. So we’ve got both running at the same time.

Me?

Meh.

In fact, when I first tried to log onto the new network, I lost all ability to do anything online. It turns out that I just needed to give it more time to set up in the background. Whatever. I wasn’t unhappy with my wi-fi, so I honestly didn’t care. I was good with what I had.

My husband was not.

The other thing he picked up was for my desktop. A new wi-fi card to enable me to get wi-fi 6. (also, not an affiliate link).

He just finished setting it up for m. I now have antennae sticking out the back of my tower. πŸ˜€ He also set me up with the new network.

So, of course, I did a speed test once I settled at my computer.

The results always fluctuate, of course, but right now, not only am I able to use the new router’s signal, but my speed is dramatically improved.

This is the history of speed tests I did today. Can you tell when the new card was installed? πŸ˜€

It turns out my computer is so old, it couldn’t read the installation mini-disk that came with the card. My husband had to read it on his own computer, download it onto a thumb drive, then use that to install the wi-fi card on my desktop.

What would I do without my awesome, techy husband? πŸ˜€

My phone consistently got better speeds than my desktop. While my desktop saw an improvement because of the new wi-fi card, this is what my phone got, just with the new router.

The download speed is about 50-60% improved from what I would typically get using my phone.

Yes, I was quite content with what I had, but I’m going to quite appreciate this upgrade!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: first pea pods!

We managed to get a few things taken care of in the garden, once things started cooling down.

But first, kittens!

I wasn’t able to get pictures of all four of them, but these two seem to be a bit braver. πŸ™‚ I also saw Rosencrantz and her two babies. It looks like they are actually living in that junk pile now.

I also saw the woodchuck again, this time diving under the garden shed. I don’t know if it was just trying to hide from me, or if that’s where it’s new den is.

One of the things that finally got done today was transplanting of the Hopi Black Dye sunflower seedlings that we’d tried starting indoors so long ago. There was a total of 8 to transplant. I also transplanted the few pink celery seedlings. I don’t expect them to grow, but I figured I’d give them a chance.

While I was refilling the watering can for the transplants, something caught my eye among the green peas.

Our first pea pods are developing!

The green pea pods are surprisingly large, for the size of the plants. There turned out to be quite a few of them we found as we watered. I didn’t see them this morning, but I may have missed them.

There was no missing these ones, though!

These pods are SO purple! I love them! πŸ˜€ Among the purple peas, we only found two pods, so far.

Oh, I am so excited. πŸ˜€

Before I transplanted the sunflowers, which you can see in the row in the foreground, I hoed around the remaining Dorinny corn. Of the 7 rows we planted in this block, there are 4 rows left, and all of them have gaps. I did transplant about 5 corn plants from the other three rows into the larger gaps. They seem to have handled the disturbance well. Even the corn plants that got munched on seem to be recovering!

It’s hard to see, but after the watering was done, the girls put up the wire mesh on the last section of the squash tunnel. My younger daughter has been diligent in getting the winter squash, gourds, melons and peas trained to climb their various structures.

While they were putting up the wire mesh, I got another corn block hoed.

Even though we had already watered everything, I was finding the soil so dry, I watered all the sweet corn and sunflower beds, over again. Little by little, I’ll be hoeing all the blocks. Since these rows were just new garden soil placed directly on the ground, with no cardboard layer, nor any sort of organic matter underneath, what few plants that were growing here are working their way through. As this corner gets so baked in the sun, what little had been growing here can handle drought conditions. Their roots are incredibly tough and hard to pull. Now that the area is being watered for the first time, these plants are growing like I’ve never seen them before. I don’t want them choking out our corn and sunflowers, but my goodness, they are hard to dig up!

With these beds being so far from the house, we’re doing a lot of dragging of hoses around. Today, a pair of hoses gave out. The joined connectors both started to break, spraying water with remarkable pressure. So tomorrow, I’ll have to head into town to find both male and female connectors to replace the broken ones. Both of these hoses were purchased last year, but considering what we’re putting them through, I am not at all surprised that they would break where they did.

Oh, my daughter tells me that the potatoes are blooming now, too. When I watered them this morning, they still just had buds.

So much growth is happening right now!! πŸ™‚

On a completely different note, my husband got a notification email. Our StarLink kit is on its way. Our area should get coverage by mid to late this year – and we’re already midway through the year. I’m really hoping this new service works out, even though we would still be in Beta. Our satellite internet bill keeps going up, while the quality of our connection keeps going down. That is annoying enough in general, but I’m finding the WordPress editor seems to need higher connectivity than pretty much anything else. The editor simply won’t finish loading in any browser but Chrome and Tor. While everything loads much faster in Tor than on any other browser, the block editor does not work well if I have to go back and edit or adjust things, because blocks end up overlapping each other. Today, Chrome stopped working, too. Nothing will load except the tool bar across the top, and the question more icon in the bottom corner. The rest is blank. And sometimes, I don’t even get that much. Instead, WordPress just keeps timing out and I get error messages, instead.

So I’m using Tor right now, and am hoping that I can eventually load WordPress in one of my other browsers enough to open the draft and fix any weird formatting that might happen.

Hopefully, once we’re on StarLink, we’ll have a more stable connection. We’ll also have unlimited data, so we won’t need to have two accounts anymore. Switching could save us a couple hundred dollars a month, possibly more. Well worth the initial expense of setting up, which is pretty high, but doesn’t get billed all at once. For now, we’ll just be charged for the kit that’s being mailed out to us, which includes the dish, router, tripod and all the cables, parts and pieces needed to install it. My brother knows quite a few people already on the service, and they are really, really happy with it.

For now, though, I have to keep juggling browsers, just to be able to keep posting on this blog. I suppose I could use my phone, but I really need the big monitor and full size, ergonomic keyboard! That and the editing software I use to resize any photos I include, so they take up less storage space in WordPress.

So we’re getting a little bit of technical progress to go with our garden progress. πŸ™‚

The Re-Farmer

Ah, much better. Also, I was wrong

Oh, this is much, much better!!

I just finished switching the new keyboard with my husband’s old keyboard. I was wrong about his keyboard, though. It’s identical to my old one. It doesn’t have lit keys.

Here is my new, old keyboard! πŸ˜€

Believe it or not, I actually cleaned this a bit, already… πŸ˜€

As for the broken leg, it turns out the legs are exactly the same height as the width of an old tape measure I had on my desk. Something I’d found while cleaning out my late father’s desk and kept handy. The clip on the back even fits into the space the leg used to be in, so I can slide the keyboard around, and it goes along for the ride. πŸ˜€

My wrists and hands are already thanking me! πŸ˜€

My husband, meanwhile, is quite happy with the new keyboard. He doesn’t type anywhere near as much as I do, so the issues I was having just don’t bother him. Plus, I’m the one with arthritis in my wrists and fingers.

I suppose I should pop the keys off and clean them, but honestly, I don’t think I care enough to bother. It works. That’s all the matters.

The new keyboard was the closest my husband had been able to find like what we already had, in a split keyboard. Since my husband had to place the order a second time, he missed a sale price, so the new one was pretty expensive, too. Quality wise, as far as construction goes, it is nowhere near as good as the old keyboards, which are both from Microsoft and well over 10 years old.

Considering how much use my keyboard got, I’m rather impressed that it lasted this long. I’m still going to keep it. It may be a bit janky, but it still works well enough that it would do as a back up, should something happen to one of the others that are in use. Now that I think about it, the light up keyboard I remembered my husband had was one that came with a desktop system he’d bought, years ago. That one died after a cat knocked a drink all over it, which is why he was using the one I have now.

My wrists are thanking me. My thumb, in particular, is much, much happier now! πŸ˜€

New is not always better, that’s for sure!

The Re-Farmer

Learning to type again.

I made a quick run to the post office/general store today, as we were expecting packages. After picking up the package at the post office, the store owner came up to me, asking if I was expecting a package from somewhere “far off”. I wasn’t, but my daughter was. She wasn’t sure how it would arrive, as they wouldn’t accept a PO box, but delivery companies have a really hard time finding our physical address.

She brought over a box that had the strangest label on it. In the address area, it said it was to the post office. There was no name, but our phone number was in it. I figured it must be my daughter’s package and brought it home.

It wasn’t for my daughter.

It was for me!

My new keyboard has finally come in. The one we had to reorder because the first order was cancelled because they didn’t accept PO boxes.

I am now typing on it for the first time.

It is SO different!

This is my old keyboard.

As you can tell by the worn off keys, I’ve had it a long time!

I love that keyboard!

Unfortunately, some of the keys were getting janky, and it was getting time.

The ergonomic split keyboard is a must for me, but having a light up keyboard was also preferable, so that I could see it without having to shine my desk light on it, blinding myself every time I looked up.

This is the new one.

Very pretty!

Nice, big legible letters on the keys. I love the lit keys too. The colours available are blue, red and green.

Now that I’ve typed with it for this long, I can already say.

I hate it!

The dimensions are different. Even though the keyboards are the same width, this one is narrower. The keys themselves are smaller. The difference is just enough to be a problem. My hands are cramping up, trying to type.

The worst is, the space bar is split. My thumb keeps hitting the end, and it doesn’t depress. To depress the space bar, I have to tuck my thumb under my hand. Which is causing it to start cramping even more.

My husband just came over to see how it was. When I told him, he offered me his. He says he can type on anything. His keyboard is basically my old one, except lit up and with one broken leg.

Oh, which reminds me. This keyboard doesn’t have legs at the back. The top of the keyboard is lower than the bottom, adding more stress to my wrists.

Excuse me while I end this post and switch keyboards!

The Re-Farmer

Kitty Cuddles, and technical difficulties

First, the cute stuff.

My husband passed the furry little bean off to me this morning, while I was at the desktop. Dave promptly curled up in a ball and fell asleep on my chest, making the most interesting nose noises.

He then abruptly stood up, clambered up my shoulder, leapt across the chasm to my bed, and snuggled up to Fenrir.

He burrowed right into her fur and went back to sleep.

She didn’t even open her eyes.

That didn’t stop him from stretching out and luxuriating.

And twisting himself into this weird shape. That’s his bottom leg curled up in front. It’s like his head is coming out from under Fenrir, rather than attached to his body. πŸ˜€

Also on my bed was this furry black mama orb.

She typically ignores our new addition, but has been getting more accommodating; even a bit playful with him.

But cuddles?

This is a pretty huge new step in their relationship! πŸ˜€

As I was finishing up on my computer this morning, before heading into town for the afternoon, my husband came over to talk.

Our conversation was interrupted by a sudden, bizarre noise. I thought, for a moment, it was actually coming from outside.

Nope.

It was coming from my computer.

Once we established that, we could figure out that it was coming from a fan.

So I shut it down, and my wonderful, darling husband opened it up for me while I was away.

It was a mighty battle, but he was able to defeat the dust bunnies that had taken up residence in there.

Both fans were cakes on pretty solidly!

By the time I got home, my desktop was once again running on silent mode. πŸ˜€

Ah, but the technical stuff didn’t end there!

My husband gifted me with his new phone. My own phone plan is done next month, and he realized that his new tablet meets his needs quite well. So we’re transferring his new phone to me, then when my contract is done, we’re going to just switch things with the provider, and drop a phone off our bundle. This will knock a substantial chunk off our mobile phone bill (which is crazy high, considering we barely get any signal where we live).

So several hours were then spent getting those switched and set up.

I’ve been using Samsung phones for many years. The new phone is an LG. The user interface is going to take some getting used to! πŸ˜€

As I did my evening rounds, however, I had opportunity to test out the camera. It’s a dual lens camera, and supposed to be one of the better cell phone cameras out there.

Looks like Guildenstern has moved Junk Pile cat out of the yard.

Or maybe they’re just visiting another junk pile.

Well… not really a junk pile. The kitten is hiding under a hood that is over a pallet that it’s attached to. It has a handle attached to it. I think it was built to be a sort of sled, to be dragged behind a snowmobile.

Guildenstern was watching me suspiciously!

I do wish they would just stay with the other cats and kittens. The kittens would play with each other, but Butterscotch and Beep Beep have both been going after and chasing away Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, lately.

Rosencrantz seems to have taken her baby some place well outside the inner yard. No sign of that one, since the one day we saw it by the junk pile.

Ah, well. Such is life with semi-feral cats!

As for the camera… well, so far, the digital zoom does seem to be better than my old camera phone.

πŸ™‚

The Re-Farmer

A Musical Problem

I have discovered a problem with the postcard records.

I can only listen to a track and a half, or so.

These are fascinating, by the way. I would love to hear all the songs in completion. I’ve lost much of my Polish, so the words are just on the edge of my understanding, but I have identified love sings, drinking songs and humorous songs.

Sometimes, all in one song.

I think.

The Re-Farmer