YouTube How To Everything

At one time when you wanted to know about something… you looked it up in a collection of books we once called encyclopedias. Parents of the 50’s and 60’s got a set of them when their children were little from a guy who went door to door convincing parents that their toddlers would never make it to college if they didn’t invest in a set. Never mind that by the time said toddler got to kindergarten they would be outdated. By middle school they used them to source their written reports anyway and the teachers were none the wiser (except when you copied directly out of one –dumb idea– they could tell). Then by the time the middle schoolers were in high school, they used the set that was a little newer in the school library and the home versions found their way into garage sales or became handy door stops or a mechanism for pressing flowers. All features that never got anybody into college.

Millennials have never known a world without computers. So if they tell their parents they have gone to “study at the library,” I would be suspicious. Though libraries usually have computers nowadays too. But kids likely have them at home as well. Early in the decade when you wanted to look something up. you could go to Wikipedia (the digital encyclopedia). Now you just Google  a topic and you’ll get lots of data. Tons of it! Probably way way more than you need and you have to shuffle through the ads of those who want to sell it to you, posted a picture of it on Pinterest, or links to numerous blogs that are totally unrelated.

Then God invented YouTube. (Actually it was invented by its founders Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim in 2005, but I like to think God made the world ready for it.) Nowadays if you want to be a music star, you record YouTube videos to get discovered. You want to see the newest viral pet videos (dogs saying “I love you” or cats doing un cat-like things) you’ll find them on YouTube. Even the very word “viral” has gone from indicating a nasty bodily infection to be used more comonly as an indication of a social media comment or video’s popularity. My husband and I have discovered YouTube as handy (desperate) DIYers. You want to know how to do, make or fix anything, you can find a YouTube video for it. Usually there are LOTS of them.

My husband is a welder. It’s a job that he thoroughly enjoys. So much so that when he comes home from working all day, he’ll spend hours watching YouTube videos of welding techniques. So when we decided to remodel the master bathroom it had to be a mostly DIY endeavor. Since we had just finished the kitchen remodel that we paid others to do (except the floor that my husband did), we had run out of funds and couldn’t afford to have the bathroom done which we needed to do because everything leaked and smelled bad. Everything that we’ve done that we didn’t already know how to do (which was pretty much everything except the painting and installing the vinyl plank flooring) we learned watching YouTube –including hanging blinds, installing the toilet, hanging beadboard panels, plumbing the sinks, installing the GFCI outlet and light fixtures, and tiling the shower. We paid a contractor to crawl under the house to plumb the shower because we wouldn’t. There are spiders down there.

A few years ago when we bought and remodeled our last house, we bought several high-end appliances. When we moved to our present “project,” we took the refrigerator and laundry set with us. Recently had issues with both and, of course, the one-year warranty that came with them has expired. The refrigerator’s ice maker was still making ice but refused to dispense it through the door. I googled the brand (Samsung) and found lots and lots of complaints about some defect inherent in the model. Complaints seemed to fall on deaf ears from the manufacturer. One post I read lead me to research the problem on YouTube. Voile! Though I am unable to fix the problem as there are no broken parts, I learned how to “reset” the icemaker and “unstick” the mechanism to be able to get it to function. usappliance_2268_238924793

About the same time as the refrigerator problem, my washing machine decided to quit working too! It’s a Whirlpool Duet that (at the time I bought it) was the top of the line only three years ago. After filling and doing a wash cycle, it would read an error message: E01 and F01, and refuse to drain. So I got out the manual that it came with that basically said to call Whirlpool customer service. Upon doing so, the service agent suggested I see a YouTube video that showed how to determine if the drain hose was clogged which would cause the waste water pump not to function. She sent me the link which I shared with my husband. He took it a step further and did some additional YouTube investigating. He learned how to access a clean out near the pump. You wouldn’t believe what we found in there! Enough change to buy a Big Mac and assorted other stuff. Even a disposable lighter and we don’t even smoke! After chipping away at the sediment that was packed in as hard as cement, my handy hubby reinstalled the filter and put everything back together.  The solution to fixing my “digital” machine was purely mechanical! Now it works better than ever!

Whirlpool Duet

You can complain all you want to about our over-dependence on computers and the difficulty of sorting the true from the untrue. (Our parents used to say: “Don’t believe everything you read!” ) But I can report very good success from learning stuff via YouTube. Really, just common sense.

When One Door Closes…

suesMany of you have been hearing me say for quite awhile now that I am retiring. In fact I retired a few years back from kitchen and bath design, only to re-emerge a year or two later with a new business emphasis in 3D illustration of interiors. While I enjoyed the notion and activity of creating beautiful renderings, it never developed into anything more than a hobby. I came to the conclusion that I was tired of clients (and potential clients) who wanted me to work on their projects on contingency (I don’t get paid unless they sell the job to their clients), or for less than minimum wage. One guy even wanted me to do a project (or two) for free just to prove to him I could do it even though I sent him ‘sample projects’ that he raved about. I politely declined. Others couldn’t be bothered with signing an agreement ~ Yet these same people wouldn’t lift a finger for their own clients without one. While I know that times have been tough on everybody in the design and construction business, I think it is only fair to ask for reasonable compensation for my work. Work that I did because they couldn’t.  Adios Bitchachos!

There have been tell-tell signs that I’ve been moving in this direction. I haven’t updated my website for some time and my software is now two versions behind. I didn’t renew my business license or inform the powers that be of my new address when I moved. My computer is becoming something of a dinosaur and I’m not going to replace it until it absolutely will not surf the net anymore. (I had to restart it once while in the process of writing this post because it gets stuck.)

So I did all of the things today that one does to “close shop”. I closed my business bank account, ditched the business phone and virtual fax machine. In the near future, my website, pamdesigns.net wil be coming down. I sent letters to recent clients informing them and thanking them for their business. Feels rather strange as there are no lights to turn off nor a door to lock for the last time. Sadly, it just is. Because my business has been online for the past several years, it is going away with a silent breath that probably only I will hear.

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I like being retired. Not a financially savvy move, but one that I am content with. I am not destitute nor am I wealthy (or ever will be) in either case. I am enjoying doing the things I would never be able to do if I were tied to a job and hope to be able to get back into creating art as I did many years ago. One thing you can count on, I and this blog are not going away. I may not be making a living at it, but I am and will always identify myself as a designer and an artist. Just passing a milestone in my life like many others that are life changing (like graduating from school, taking a first job, getting married or kicking the last birdy out of the nest).

Really Bad Days 2

Virtual Reality

top-10-best-free-online-cloud-storage-servicesLately my computer has been telling me I’ve nearly filled my hard drive. My hard drive is capable of holding nearly a terabyte of data and I was down to less than one gig.  One gig seems like a lot to me. I recall when hard drives went all the way up to three, we thought that was a lot. So what’s all this stuff on my computer now that has eaten up all that space that I thought (when I purchased this computer) couldn’t possibly be used up in a lifetime?

I realized that I’ve had a PC in my home for almost 20 years now and in that time I’ve been collecting music. I’ve had five computers and have lost at least half of that collection due to Windows crashing and having to replace the system (at least once).  (My back up system was a collection of CD’s -that has now long since vanished through various moves and garage sales.) Then I discovered thumb drives… and I lost them… and now I’m hoping I’ll discover them again… wherever they are!  That all changed with the advent of  iTunes. I have all types of music because there isn’t very much I don’t care for. It’s my weakness, my addiction and my indulgence. The only type I don’t care for is most hip-hop or rap. Though my son does, and he downloads it onto my computer as well. I like sharing my music library with him because he’s introduced me to some awesome (non-hip-hop) stuff. I love most of his surfer/skateboarder alternative stuff and he loves my oldies from the 60’s and 70’s.

I also have a lot of photos saved on my hard drive. These are mostly family photos from a collection that was my dad’s taken over much of his life as a professional photographer and salvaged by my youngest brother when Dad passed away a few years ago. He spent months digitizing film media and actual photos. There’s a lot!

So this past weekend I’ve finally invested heavily in “cloud” storage. Not financially — but in confidence and adjusting my faith in something that I cannot see nor touch. Kind of like belief in God, or that one has an actual brain— You can’t touch it, you can’t see it, but you know it’s there and you would have a hard time functioning if you believed it suddenly wasn’t there. I’m a skeptic for sure –about the existence of the Biblical God (not about my brain). In the same way, I’ve been skeptical about cloud storage –not that it exists, but that it would be a trustworthy place to store some of the things that I hold most valuable. I know that the “cloud” is actually a network of satellites orbiting around the earth. My “what if’s” range from atmospheric conditions causing my data to be lost mid transmission to a meteor shower knocking the satellite out of the sky that has my stuff on it! I’ve never heard of these things actually happen to anybody… but you never know.  But what the heck –can’t be any worse than Windows taking a dive or losing my teeny tiny thumb drives… right?!

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So I spent the better part of the weekend uploading the bulk of my precious photos and music library to Sugar Sync and deleting the files off of my hard drive. A huge leap of faith on my part. At first there was this terrible sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach with each deleted hard-drive file. It went easier after a time to the point of monotony. iTunes as expected had no difficulty finding my tunes in the cloud. A side bonus –Sugar Sync has a player too.

In the end, I was able to salvage only 13 gigs of storage. I’m keenly aware that most of the data on the drive is programs that mushroomed in size when I converted from 32 bit Windows to 64. I also have a lot of big programs like Chief Architect that is a downloaded program and takes up probably the most space because it does so much. I’m also estimating that a lot of space is taken up with systems backups and updates that happen automatically. I’m guessing that some of those occurred last night because half of my newly cultivated space was already gone. On the bright side, I’m happy to say the cloud still holds my cherished files.