Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: computer

So a pattern like this is pretty cool. Graphic. Colorful. Repetitive. Kinda fun…

Unless it shows up on your computer screen…

So I had to take it into the Apple Store for a repair.
You know it’s never a good sign when they refer to your laptop as “vintage.”
And just a quick heads-up… they don’t “fix” vintage!!! Seriously.

Apparently, any computer that is six years older than the date the stopped making that
model is considered “vintage.” And seriously, they don’t fix “vintage.” I wasn’t kidding.

So I am now the proud owner of new Apple Mac Book Pro…
Excited to have a new toy. Not so excited to have to figure it all out again…
and hope that all of my files, music & software all transferred over okay.
And just for the record.. my wallet isn’t so happy either.

Categories: art fair, computer, process

Okay… so everyone’s been raving about the “Square” and how wonderful it is
for processing credit card transactions on my iPhone. My plan was to use it at
last weekend’s art fair… but everything didn’t go quite as planned!

When I got to the location, with a LOT of “atmospheric interference”…
which is just a nice euphemism for impending doom, gloom & storms…
my iPhone was not receiving a very strong signal. So we decided to go “old school”
with my original system of accepting cards and processing them after the show.
While I’m still intrigued by the “Square”… here’s a few things I learned…

1. With the “Square” you can now accept all four major credit cards for the same
minimal processing fee. No longer is American Express a huge expense to accept.
Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.

2. You can still use the “Square” to process credit cards manually after the show
by typing the information in by hand. My understanding is that the processing fee
is slightly higher for manual transactions.

3. If you are going to process manually, you need to “capture” the credit card number
and expiration date as normal with your old knuckle-buster. But you ALSO need to
write down the “secret” code on the back of the card and the customer’s billing address
zip code. If you don’t have all of that information, you cannot process the card manually.

4. When you get to the point where the customer has to sign, they literally use the fleshy
tip of their finger to write on the iPhone screen. Here’s the best part… if they mess up
or want to start over, you just shake the phone and it erases the signature. Do over!

5. On the customer’s receipt, there’s actually a Google Map with a pinpoint showing
the actual location of where their credit card was used. Very cool.

6. Seriously seconds after pressing “send” to process & authorize the transaction,
the information showed up right away on my laptop. Right away!!!

So I’m looking forward to my next art fair and the chance to use the “Square”
as it is intended. Swiping the cards right through my iPhone. I’m sure I’ll have more
to say about the “Square” as I continue to use it more. But for now…
I’m hopefully intrigued and think it’s going to be great… as long as I can get past
poor reception and my fear of losing battery power after a long day at the fair?!

Categories: computer

It’s been a long time coming… trying to convince myself I needed it…
but I finally took the “technology plunge” last night!

My original iPod was failing…
my cell phone is one of the oldest out there!
And I’ve been working extra hard for the past few weeks…
so why not treat myself to a new toy?!

I’ve had it less than 24 hours and I’m already addicted!
It now has thousands of songs, a few fun video games, my favorite
new movie “Across The Universe” and some great “aps.”
Plus Internet access anywhere, anytime with the touch of a finger!


I’ve downloaded a few fun “aps”… or “applications” for the unaware.
Including a few favorites – “Tipulator” as seen on the latest Apple commercials
where you can easily determine restaurant tips & instantly split the bill
by the number of people in your party. How many dinners have ended with
an awkward session of determining who owes what?! No more.

Plus “One Tap Movies” which will tell you with “one tap” where the closest
movie theater is to wherever you are at that time – plus the shows & showtimes!
Oh, but wait there’s more… it also shows you the movie’s preview trailer!!!

And that’s just the beginning of the iPhone fun… I’m hooked.

Categories: computer

Well, my Mac is “all better” and I’m back on track…

My computer decided to go on a little “sabbatical” and not allow me to use it.
As I was working on anything… it would randomly stop. A dark gray shade would lower
to cover my monitor screen. Then a very official message, in four languages, would tell me
that I needed to start my computer?! So I did… always one to follow instructions
when I don’t know enough to do otherwise.

Then I would work some more until it decided to go gray again… and again… and again.
So I took it into the Apple Store to talk to the guys at the Genius Bar. They diagnosed
the problem and said that the gray shadings were “kernel panics.” Apparently,
when a Mac gets confused it will shut itself down before doing anything really bad to itself.
The “genius” checked the internal logs and error reports. He diagnosed two different
possible problems – but of course, didn’t have the items in-stock. Once the items were
received at Apple, I needed to leave my computer there to be fixed.

He thought it might be the AirPort card – put in a new one, but that wasn’t it.
He thought it might be the trackpad – put in a new one, but that wasn’t it.
He thought it might be the battery – put in a new one, but that wasn’t it.
He thought it might be the logic board – and apparently it was!  Voila’

So now my Mac is all new & improved. They even cleaned it… no more grimy fingerprints!
If I have one word of advice to share… always pay for the extended AppleCare Warranty.
My extended plan will expire in April 2009, so this Mac “sabbatical” was just in time.
Luckily, all of the work & parts put into repairing my Mac was free because of the AppleCare.
If I weren’t still under the plan… it would have cost me $1,887.29. Ouch.