Robn & Dave bring you up to date

Robn and I have been out of touch for so long, that Mark Twain comes to mind. He once said, “The report of my death was an exaggeration.”

We were just so busy that we did not communicate well with you guys. It has not all been drudgery. We are getting back into going for walks and stair climbing as both fun and exercise. We have been to concerts in Antalya, and various social activities here in the Marina.

The Marina cat that lives on our pier, variously called Chatterbox and “Chat a Lot”, was limping when we returned from Germany. It turned out that one of the vicious cats from outside the Marina bit him on his left elbow, and it got very infected.

I have broken up several fights during my stay here. At night, very aggressive cats move in from outside the Marina and cause trouble. This often gets unfairly blamed on the resident cats.

“Chat a Lot” and I have an arrangement, that if he will start howling as soon as he sees the cat, I will pop up on deck at any time and squirt the aggressors with a hose. They have learned that hearing my hatch open means time to leave.

The veterinarian gave him a shot for the infection and we thought all was well. But the germ was resistant to that antibiotic, and the infection grew. The veterinarian got him on a different antibiotic that worked, but there was a lot of dead skin over the abscess, and he had to have surgery and stitches. The stitches meant that he had to wear a cone around his neck, which especially at first, made it very hard for him to even walk, much less jump on and off of boats. So, he has been staying at the veterinarian’s and we visit him twice a day.

We think he will get out of cat jail on Wednesday the 28th.

Also prominent in the excitement since we’ve been back was a storm that lasted several days with heavy rains and high winds. Some friends took a video of pieces of it:

Michel and Martine of La Foret Deau provided a short video of the weather on 13 January. Note that the bus tips over at the exciting climax of the first video!

and

But the weather was such that we just stayed inside and didn’t stick our heads out. There was some damage in the Marina because water coming over the breakwater was deep enough and fast enough to destroy one portable building, and moved several others around, which destroyed big portions of one of the fences.

I think someone said that a catamaran sank in a nearby area, but I did not see anything like that inside our Marina. There are also videos on the web of waves shooting up in the air a few miles west of here. The highway runs right along the water and I would guess that some of the biggest plumes of spray were well over 100 feet high. Perhaps 200 feet. That’s spray not green water, but it made driving along that road more exciting than most people liked.

As I think I have mentioned, on my way to the airport to meet Robn, my luggage, with computer, camera, 2 GPS’, external 2TB hard disk, a bag of memory sticks, clothes, etc., original value over $3000, was stolen. The main danger was that, using information from my computer, they might have been able to get into my bank accounts and leave me literally penniless. They did try calling one of my accounts on the telephone but there’s not much you can do on the phone to steal my money.

I changed all of the important passwords, and most of the lesser ones within a few days. And I think I’ve gotten them all by now. But I have many accounts, and it is a complicated business.

That took about two weeks full time. And, happily, it appears that I have successfully locked them out. There has been no other suspicious activity.

My two existing computers are old, and Robn had offered to bring me a new one from the states. Robn and the new computer arrived 2 November. The new Dell computer died, stone cold dead on November 16. Dell got it working again December 30th. My previously better computer had been stolen, and my old, somewhat crippled computer was all that was left running. I think I have mentioned that I feel that Dell seriously misrepresented their repair warranty. They promised me onsite, “Next Business Day Service,” even in Turkey and Germany. But, they lied.

During this nightmare they replaced the motherboard three times, the input output board twice, and another major component once. Each time they theoretically repaired it, it still had major problems like no sound.

Robn and I flew to Hamburg, Germany, 12 December, for a visit with her wonderful in-laws, and returned 2 January. Her husband passed away a few years ago when they were sailing through South Africa. He and his brother escaped a long time ago from East Germany, after growing up in Wismar, where the family still has ties. They were wonderful hosts, and I really enjoyed my visit there. Robn was in heaven. The weather was terrible most of the time, but when the rain stopped, we went for long walks. There was a very nice organic grocery store (Bio is the term they use) about two or 3 km away. It was a popular destination for our walks. Many stores carry organic products.

Korn bread

The “Whole Korn Breads” were fantastic. In that context it has nothing to do with what Americans call corn or maize. It means that it has whole seeds (kernels) incorporated in the bread, sunflower seeds, wheat seeds, barley, etc.. The many other hearty breads were also wonderful, as were the cheeses from Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, France, etc.!

Robn’s nephew wanted to spend New Year’s at his apartment in Wismar and we were invited to go along.  I’m very glad we did. The fireworks were absolutely incredible! In America, it seems universal that only professionals do the major fireworks holidays, like Fourth of July and New Year’s. In Wismar, and I think all of Germany, the amateurs do it. And wow, was it ever impressive. Far better than anything I’ve ever seen before, anywhere!

Everywhere you looked there were people shooting off fireworks in parking lots and vacant lots or even just along the street. As you might fear, some of these were not the smartest people in the gene pool, but I did not see any disasters.

For example, some did not seem to realize that aiming the fiery balls of a Roman candle, in the direction of another large crowd that was shooting fireworks, is not a good idea. There were headlines the next day about people being injured, but I saw none of that.

The thing that amazed me was that many of the aerial bombs were quite large, and they came from literally everywhere. There was a lot of activity even an hour before midnight, and it increased to world war magnitude at midnight. And continued at approximately that level for at least 40 minutes! It gradually tapered off and became sporadic after perhaps an hour and a half. I went to bed so I don’t know.

Apt

But we were in her nephew’s apartment which was on the (American) second floor, called the first floor in the rest of the world. In other words there was another floor below us, and that floor was actually about 4 feet above ground level. So, we could look out across many of the buildings in the area, and we saw fireworks literally everywhere we looked! Major fireworks.

I think all of us have seen a red highway flare, and the maritime equivalent is pretty much the same. I would say it’s about as bright as a good taillight, perhaps as bright as a brake light. But several times I saw people with red flares that were more the magnitude of a car headlight or maybe even as powerful as the aircraft landing light that I used to have. Like a very powerful spotlight, but in this case it was shining in all directions. I wonder where they got them? If I were trying to signal someone that I was in trouble at sea, that would be a very impressive piece of gear to have.

A huge portion of our time was spent wrestling with the German branch of Dell. Robn speaks a very useful amount of German, having lived in Germany at various times. But, getting through Dell telephone robots to reach the right department was challenging. Even our German friends had great difficulty at times understanding what the German robot was wanting us to do.

And Dell Germany, has some sort of major bug in their phone system. It frequently hung up on us before we had been successfully transferred to the correct technician, and sometimes while we were talking to the correct technician. This happened perhaps 30 times. Kind of annoying. Each time it takes about 5 to 10 minutes to get back to that point. Also most of the time that we called in they gave us to the wrong technician, who then had to transfer us, with a lengthy delay.

Happily, many Germans spoke enough English to help us with various things.

The fourth time the computer was opened up, and the third motherboard and input output board, were installed, it seem to fix it. However, it seems to randomly lose contact with the USB ports. So I am going to craft a letter to Dell Turkey and ask if they will send me a completely new computer in exchange for this one. Since most of the parts that they installed in this one to repair it, were defective.

I also took this opportunity to replace my winter coat, my other good pair of blue jeans, and other important items that were stolen. I’m tall enough that just walking into any old store, does not mean that I can find anything that will fit. I never did find socks in my size. Depending on the brand, my shoe size is 14EEEE, which would be 49 in Europe. Bigger than most. I remember one time I had a pair of shoes that I had to buy in size 15 in order to get a proper fit.

Robn has also been spending a lot of time helping me organize things on the boat, correcting the massive inventory list, and getting rid of things that I no longer need. But that is a major job. She flies back in mid-February, and I’m sure that we will not be done with organization before she leaves. Even though we HAVE made great progress.

We’re trying to decide the best way to spend our time after mid-February. One thing that’s being strongly considered is for me to fly to Trinidad with her and help her work on her boat, for routine maintenance before launching. Then sail the Caribbean a little bit and find the best place to put her boat on the market.

We have obviously spent a lot of time getting to know each other better and we are both extremely happy with what we have discovered. It’s just that this lifestyle is a little complicated, and we need to simplify things in the best possible way.

I’m pretty sure that I will be flying through North America sometime between now and Summer. But, we have no idea just when. I will let you know when I know.

We appreciate all of our friends that have been patiently waiting for news. I can’t promise when the next bulletin will come out, other than it will be as soon as we can manage.

Advertisement

Security alert for Internet Explorer

From my friend Edward, the IP Wizard,

A new security flaw has been reported by Microsoft for all versions of Internet Explorer. Microsoft is working on a fix, but until that is available use Chrome or Firefox.
For further details see:

Serious Internet Explorer Security Flaw

Cheers,
Edward
S/Y Gypsielady

Have you fixed the Heartbleed problems yet?

I thought that the coincidence was quite strong.

I watched episode 2 of the 2010 TV series, “Human Target” that has the hero and his team, trying to save the life of someone who has discovered a secret, “Key to the Internet, that will allow anyone to unlock ANY website and steal money or secrets, etc.” Hollywood drama, right?

Just a day later, a colleague here in the marina announce the, “Heartbleed Bug” to us. Virtually the same thing.

In case you have somehow missed it, here is a link below that explains it. You know all those chain emails that come around, where, “The sky is falling! Send this to everyone you know, and everyone you don’t know, IMMEDIATELY!”

Well, I’m somewhat surprised that Edward is the only one who has told me about it so far. But, it is a genuine threat, that as you will see in the link below, does not affect the entire Internet, but does in fact jeopardize a great deal of it. In the flaw has existed for about two years, without the good guys knowing about it. Have a look.

http://money.cnn.com/2014/04/10/technology/security/heartbleed-passwords/

There is more and more every day about it online. As they caution, not every website is affected, and changing passwords on a website that still has the problem, is of limited usefulness. But, look at some reputable sources and protect yourself.

The browser, “Google Chrome” has a plug-in that automatically warns you if you go to a website that still has the danger unresolved. A nice safety feature.

BTW, there are/were a LOT more sites that had/have the problem than listed in the link I show. I think it would be responsible for any website that, EVER had this problem, to post a notice on its homepage, like, “We used to have this problem, that no one knew about until recently. However, we have fixed it now. So please change your passwords. We apologize for the inconvenience, but literally no one knew the danger existed, until very recently.”

David

I believe that Google+ is dishonest and ought to be sued (again).

I just got an email from my good friend Mike who forwards my snail mail. Here is the relevant part of it:

>>>>>>>>>>>>
Hi Dave,

I got this message in my inbox this morning:

Your contact David Heath (alegria1976@gmail.com) joined Google+

I have gotten a whole flock of these lately, which I have been ignoring. Two of them were from W and E, so I wrote them asking what it was. W wrote back indicating that he hadn’t joined, or asked me to join. Actually, W had essentially no idea what Google+ was.

Do you know anything about it?

M
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Well, I think I know what it wants to be. It is trying to replace Facebook. And moral fiber is not included in their business plan.

A few days ago, at a meeting about computers here in the Marina, one of the experts said that Google+ and Google groups and related things from Google have a very bad reputation. Many say that when you join it, it goes through your contact list and sends advertisements to everyone on your contact list. These may be advertisements to join, or fraudulent claims that Dave recommends such and such product. But Dave knows nothing about it.

This morning, I was logging into my Gmail on the computer that I don’t use for that purpose very often, and it appeared to me that a screen came up like the one I occasionally get saying that, ’We do not recognize this computer and could you confirm some information?’ As is often the case, I was in a hurry and did not read it very carefully. The information looked correct.

However when I clicked on the ‘continue’ and expected to now be in my Gmail account, I got a page welcoming me to Google+. That really upset me and I spent the next several hours trying to figure out how the hell you sign out of Google+. By the way. Their help pages tell you everything in the world except how to close your account. I eventually found it but it was a battle.

I think I have gotten out, but unfortunately, a nanosecond after I pushed the ‘continue’ button, they probably had already sucked up my entire contact list and address book. And that kind of toothpaste is not going back into the tube.

I sent them several nasty emails, but I doubt if they care a hoot.

I apologize to everyone of you for my mistake. They tricked me fair and square. But, in less than that 10 seconds, I went from really liking Google and all of the wonderful things they have done, to thinking that they are dishonest, moneygrubbing scum. Actually, that is not a fair statement. Pond scum is actually a very useful organism. Not at all like the people at Google.

I think some people do honestly like Google+ and since I know essentially nothing about it, I’m not giving them a fair shake. But Mike’s email confirms my fears.

Gmail already handles my address book and contacts list. So it is only a matter of faith that one hopes that they will not use it for bad purposes. At the moment it looks like that faith is unjustified. It will be interesting if I really have signed out of that plan. And what sort of lies they will tell and for how long.

My mistake. I should have read more carefully.

Several times in the last two weeks I’ve gone to comment or answer a question on a website and it says you will need to login. It is free and all you have to do is click this or that to login through your Facebook account, or Twitter, etc. But, before I did that, I noticed that further down the page it said that in doing so, I would be giving this Joe Blow website my complete friends list or contact list or address book.* That scared the heck out of me and I did not do it any of those previous times. But Google+ fooled me. We live in complicated times.

Sorry folks,

Dave
*PS: I include the following link that supports my opinion. HOWEVER!!!! I think that if you comment, it will suck up you address book, just like I described above. I believe it to be safe to read, but do not reply, comment, etc and do not click the Facebook Icon, etc., at the bottom.

http://www.classaction.org/blog/whats-mine-is-yours-google–1-268080.html

PPS:
I added this part on 22 November 2013.
I sent emails similar to the above post to the several people that had invited me to Google+. Every single one of them, was not aware that they had done so. They did not belong to Google+ nor wanted to. This confirms my grim view of how sinister Google has become. If anyone knows of a class-action lawsuit against them, related to stealing my contact information and sending emails claiming that they are from me, please let me know. To me that is lying of one of the worst types, immoral, and I certainly hope that it is illegal.

PPPS:
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/11/20/opinion/schneier-stalker-economy/index.html?iref=allsearch

Is another article about these disgusting practices. Stay safe.

Your passwords may be no longer secret

Since I don’t blame anyone for not reading all the way to the bottom, I will insert at the top, that Dave continues to do well. We just had a couple of days of rainy weather with heavy clouds. But today dawned clear again. There is now snow on the mountains for the first time this season.

Yesterday, some industrious people in the marina hired a small bus for 16 of us to go to Antalya for the day. We had kind of a late start and an early return, but all of us got a lot of shopping done in the big city. And got to yak yak en route. Now for the very important, and extremely annoying reason for this post.

It you would please take a moment to read this:
http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/12/adobe-breach-inadvertently-tied-to-other-accounts/?nl=technology&emc=edit_ct_20131114&_r=0

Basically, the story is that Adobe’s secret servers were hacked. The truly gigantic amount of data that was stolen regarding personal accounts and passwords was posted online for essentially anyone to download and snoop around in. Whatever password information you had on anything that has anything at all to do with Adobe, is probably no longer secure. That may not seem like the end of the world, however, many people use the same password for several accounts. If that is your situation, anything that uses the same password that you used with Adobe, and by Adobe I mean anything at all that Adobe has anything to do with, is now known to bad people.

They also know who you are and can fairly easily go down the list of all the easy to rob accounts that you might have, trying your Adobe password, or simple variations, to see if they can get into your accounts.

Much of this can be automated by a robot, and they only need to break in to one account out of thousands to make it very profitable.

And, as hundreds, or thousands of people have suggested, do not use easy to guess passwords for anything. Personally, I do use a simpler password for something that I can’t imagine could ever hurt me if it got hacked. Like my subscription to the Ingrid Sailboat Blog. I try to use a strong password for bank accounts and the like. If all of my bank accounts were suddenly empty, I would be very sad indeed.

And, one excellent suggestion on how to create a hard to guess password, is to use a passphrase, rather than a password. That is, rather than use your birthday, or your street address, use the initials of some memorable phrase.

For example, Lucky Strike cigarettes, used to have the phrase, “Lucky Strike means fine tobacco.” And the packages carried the abbreviation, “LSMFT” which when I was in high school, we changed the meaning to, “Ladies’ shoes make funny tracks.”

“LSMFT” is not a word, although since that particular combination of letters has been widely used, it may be in a dictionary somewhere.

It is my understanding that a common way to break a password, is to have a computer program try all the possible combinations until it breaks it. It uses some sort of dictionary of the most likely combinations to try first.

It seems kind of obvious to me, that the defense against this, is to only allow you a small number of mistakes per day. For example, if you cannot type in the correct password within six tries, Internet access to your account is closed for 24 hours. Usually, you can call them and convince the human that you are really you, but their robot will not let you in if you make too many mistakes.

This seems like such an elementary defense, yet obviously is not widely used or the dictionary attack would not be so successful.

I use one of the free, but highly regarded, password databases, to keep my gazillion passwords organized on my computer. It has a very strong password to keep you from getting in, and is supposed to be quite thoroughly encrypted. Of course, if the people designing it, are bad people, and it is automatically, secretly sending my information to some archvillain somewhere, then I have a slight problem don’t I?

If you really think about all of this stuff, it gets pretty complicated. Therefore most people don’t really think about all the stuff, because it makes their head hurt. This is wonderful news for the modern-day crook. Especially the clever one. Fortunately there are not very many of those.

But when my credit card information was stolen a few years ago, as far as I could tell, the credit card company and the local law enforcement, did not think it was worth their trouble to go after the person that stole the information, even though we knew exactly who it was beyond any doubt.

I appreciate that a court case would cost them more than the perhaps $6000 that they stole. But, it was surprisingly easy for them to steal it, and if nothing even annoying happens as a result of it, then why won’t they do it again every chance they get?

But, from my perspective, the stolen money was instantly replaced into my account by my credit card company, so I let the matter drop. However, I still question the wisdom of ignoring thieves when you know precisely who they are.

Dave

Computer things

I am trying to clean out some hard drives and my goal is to have a backup of all the data that I want to save, stored on at least two separate hard drives. At least two complete, redundant systems. Because I’ve had several drives fail in the past with no warning in the data lost. Sometimes I could recover all of it, frequently I could recover part of it, but several times, all the data was totally lost. Most of the drives that I left behind when I went to the states, have been fine. However, two of them have been defective right from the get-go, as I tried to read them recently.

It’s a slow process, and when I get failures like this, is particularly frustrating. Also, going through and cleaning out old files that I no longer want, is very time-consuming. It would really be simpler to just buy some more drives and keep filling up drives ad infinitum. However, I really have a lot of storage space that I already own, and I’m already storing in my limited space. So, I think it’s better for me to try to minimize the redundancy. Because I have backups of backups of backups on some of these drives. So, the older data, that I often don’t want anyway, I might have 10 or more copies of it here and there. I use Heatsoft CloneCleaner Pro,
http://www.clonecleaner.com/HCCdownload.html

for finding files that are exact duplicates of each other. I see that they have not come out with a new version for quite some time. And I also have had the experience that it does not always do what I thought it was going to do. But that’s usually operator error. And I don’t know of an alternative that would be even close to as good. So I put up with it.

So, in summary, I am doing quite well in most areas. But, I really get tired of some of the chores that I need to get done. But isn’t that the normal state of affairs in life? It is in mine.

Dave

Update on Dave

I’m doing fine, although the chaos aboard the boat is approaching epic proportions again. I get too many projects underway all at the same time. I need to learn to be more selective on what I have going. I also need to learn to put away everything that I possibly can, every chance I get.

And then yesterday I screwed up and washed my brand-new residence permit and my US passport. The US passport seems to have survived. I don’t think it’s any worse than it was before washing it. But it was pretty bad because, I was told that you’re supposed to have it with you at all times, which meant that it got very sweaty. I suppose I could learn to carry a purse.

In the night I had an idea for a better pick pocket proof place to keep it. But I can’t start that project until I finish at least a few of these others. Even I realize that.

On Monday, I got up about 5:30 AM and went off to Kemer about 730, because they had overcharged me for my residence permit and much like the bureaucratic circus in Portugal, it created a mountain of paperwork. Also, on that day there seem to be no one around that spoke very much English, and so as a result I have essentially no clue as to what really happened. What I think I learned was that they were going to give me back US$60 that I was overcharged. However, it turned out that they could not give it back to me. They had to deposit it into my Turkish bank account. So that meant I had to open a Turkish bank account. Fortunately, I assume it was fortunate, I was with several British ex-pats who told me a bank that was right by the Marina that is very easy to set up an account in. It actually was kind of a hassle, but I did succeed.

I say I assume it was fortunate, because in the master scheme of things, I might’ve been better off just to abandon the $60 then to go through all of the hassle that I have gone through. Plus I may end up spending more than $60 on bus fare going back and forth to sort it all out.

So, on Monday 29 July, I went to Kemer and I think that they are going to deposit the money in my account, effective 17 August. Bureaucratic nightmare again. It had to be carried around the building and signed by a whole bunch of different people. And then they kept my paperwork proving that I was owed the money. So, I certainly hope it works. Because the very poor copy that I have of it may not convince anybody that I was ever owed any money. I need to remember to take a really clean copy of everything that I might need copies of. But that means getting the scanner working properly again. But that’s another story.

I got done with that early enough in the day that I took advantage of being already more than halfway to Antalya, and took the bus on in to Antalya, and was able to get a bunch of chores done there. It is a major bother to go that far. So, some of these things on my to-do lists were many months old.

However, it involves a great deal of walking, in the hot sun, with my pack getting heavier and heavier all the time as I kept buying things. By the time I got home about 830 in the evening, I was getting kind of tired and my feet were sore. Actually my feet are still not up to speed even today. Thursday. Due to the heat I was not wearing socks, and so had a few chafe problems.

But, I am definitely on the mend, and it is wonderful to get a bunch of those projects done. Not many would notice, but I was able to clear up some of the collection of stuff that has been growing like some kind of wild mushroom or kudzu. If you’re not familiar with kudzu, perhaps you’ve seen how morning glories just take over an area. Well, it is like that here, even though almost every day, I make a concerted effort to try to put away what I can put away at that time. I’m sure Janet is just shaking her head, but in the distant past, when there was a spell of total chaos like this, then, afterwards, I tended to be much more careful about keeping things put away.

I certainly hope I can learn that lesson again.

There is no place for more than one person to sit down at the moment. But, hopefully soon there will be more room.

And my computer projects continue. I hesitate to use the word upgrade, because whether it is an improvement or not has yet to be decided. At times it seems like a downgrade. But I changed the operating system on my main computer over to Windows 8 a couple weeks ago. That has been taking a huge amount of my time, but was definitely on my to do list. And I have gotten a lot of computer related to do list jobs done. But I have many more. Anyway, there are all sorts of problems with having changed operating systems. Not having a clue how to even do the simplest thing is only one of them.

I will admit that Windows 8 does seem to do several things much faster than Windows 7 did. And that is good. However, I’m having trouble finding drivers for my scanner and printer and some hardware things on the computer. Of course, some of the problems may be just operator error. It is certainly not a user-friendly program. At least if you want to do is many different diverse things as I am expecting to be able to do. So, the jury is definitely still out.

So, I will get back to that project, but I wanted to bring you guys up to date.

Dave

Microsoft stock down 11% almost overnight

It is a shame for the good people that have their money tied up in Microsoft stock, but I, like many others, have been complaining for countless years, that Microsoft does not have a clue what people really want in software. They don’t seem to grasp the idea that people would like reliable software as the first priority. Of course, perhaps they are quite aware of that, but have no idea how to generate reliable software.

I suppose that they assume that all of those people that want reliability, already have Macs.

I’m pretty sure that I have far more trouble with computers that anyone else that I know. I would love for someone to explain to me what I’m doing wrong. But, since that does not seem to be forthcoming, I bungle along, getting more gray hair every day.

Well, actually, probably getting less hair of any color, every day, because I keep tearing at it.

I was having so many mystery problems in my main computer, running Win 7 pro, that I reloaded a backup. But, that had problems, and so I loaded an earlier backup. But, that had problems.

So, I installed Windows 8 Pro. The latest and greatest from Microsoft, right?

I find it to be really, really stupid. One of the things that I like to do. I would almost say that I must be able to do, is to have several windows, open and visible, on the screen at the same time, and to be able to move back and forth easily from one to another. But, it seems that that is impossible with Windows 8. Navigation is very difficult.

Thanks for letting me whine. I will beat my head against the wall for another couple of days, and then I will load ‘Classic Shell.’ This is some third-party software that gets Windows 8, to have the same appearance and functionality as Windows 7. But, I really, truly, wanted Windows 8 to work, without needing that.

Then, why change away from Windows 7 you ask? Because I am told that Windows 8 operates much more efficiently. That is, it uses fewer resources and the same computer runs faster when using Windows 8 plus the Classic Shell, than when running Windows 7.

Some say, including me, that I’m having a lot of problems, but I try hard to consider them ‘learning experiences.’ Although, I do admit that I whine a lot about my learning experiences.

Time to beat my head against the wall some more,

Dave

Rain

We are having rain for the first time in several months. I was on the phone to Turkcell Tech support in a long and very complicated conference call that I really did not want to interrupt, so there are some things outside that are going to need to be dried out. Usually we get no rain from May till Sept, so I was surprised by this one. Not any serious trouble, fortunately.

Good thing I did laundry yesterday and not today.

BTW, I finally got the Turkcell problem fixed, with their help. Turkcell had more English info available 4 yrs ago when I first got the phone and computer data connection. Then they virtually removed it. The English info, that is. Kind of hard on me. But, now they have several people that you can call for free. (No charge on your Turkcell phone.)

Their English is not perfect, but it is usually a million times better than my Turkish. And, as usual, they try hard to communicate. If at first we do not communicate we try another way to say it and I really appreciate it.

In Turkish there are various levels of ‘Thank you’
http://www.turkishlanguage.co.uk/thankyou.htm

I would definitely give them a ‘Sağ olun." for help beyond the norm.

Cheers,

Dave

Things continue to be pretty good.

I could feel people wondering when I would get around to an update, so…

A common email or phone question is

> Hope everything is progressing well for you Janet.

We are both doing very well thanks. It is Wednesday, so Janet is getting chemo as I write this. There are typically several ladies as patients and often some friends of theirs in the chemo room. Just 3 patients and one friend today. I am down the hall in an empty examining room with a small desk, chair, electricity and reasonable WiFi for free, writing this.

When Janet started this last Fall, the ladies were typically quiet and perhaps sometimes not very happy as some types of chemo make some feel bad or sleepy, or even vomiting, etc like a bad sea sickness. Janet likes to chat them up and she can usually get them laughing and carrying on. Having a great time, much like ‘Ladies’ coffee morning’ at some marinas we have visited.

Today is no exception and periodically great bursts of laughter come rolling down the hall to my tiny ‘office’.

Some website coined the phrase, ‘the Chemo Chicks’.

Janet is very glad that so far the side effects for her have been very mild and manageable. This can change, so it pays to not get cocky, but she only has 7 more (out of 18 total) after today. So, our fingers are crossed that her (our) luck will continue.

Our stolen phone was replaced later that week for just the activation fee. For people that seldom need a phone (I may already know the only three on the planet) we have really enjoyed

http://www.consumercellular.com/

My mom wanted a phone only to be able to call AAA (for the
non-Americans that is a company that provides aid to stranded motorists for a reasonable fee). ConsumerCellular’s basic plan for members of AAA or AARP (for retired people) was $10.00/month and they give you a basic flip phone for free. The use AT&T’s network and have many fancier phones for the rest of you. Minutes are $0.25/min, which if there are few or none, is quite nice.

I think the $35, one time, activation is the only other fee, but it was over a year ago.

AND if you are getting close to 40 minutes for the month on the pay for minutes plan, which will add $10.00 to the bill, they notify you that you might want to change to a higher plan. $20/mo gives you 250 minutes free and $30 gives you 500, etc. (With the usual hidden fees, this works out to $24.44 or $35.53 for me depending on which plan.)

If you are on the $20 or whatever plan and you can see that a cheaper plan is better for you this month, you can change to the best plan for you right up to last days. This is new to me. My prior cell phone plans loved to LOCK YOU IN to the most expensive plan that they could, and sock it to you if ran over.

If there is anyone considering getting a ConsumerCellular plan, if you say that I recommended you, we BOTH get $10 off, so ask me before you do it. Or at least get approval from the sales person. They have been very helpful to us. The support people have all been on the same continent and English is their native language AND they know what they are talking about! Also, rare nowadays.

Security dangers

I will probably write more about Internet and WiFi security in another post but here is a start. The final straw was seeing several articles on both nerdy and boating websites about these dangers. There is new free software that makes it easier for even idiots to steal you passwords, bank info and emails and I am trying to learn to be safer as we use Internet and WiFi a LOT. If you are way ahead of me, please get in touch.

So far I have switched to Mozilla Firefox with the ‘HTTPS Everywhere’ Add-on and Astrill VPN with 40% discount from ActiveCaptain. See below.

As I said, we use WiFi a lot and for banks and things that could be disastrous if hacked. And I seem to be getting similar warnings from many sources, so we are trying the offer mentioned in a link below for a discounted version of Astrill. Many other sites seem to like Astrill. But so far I have had a lot of trouble with it. I will try to remember later to mention if I love Astrill or hate it after I have some time with it.

ActiveCaptain has negotiated a special rate with two preferred Virtual Private Network (VPN) suppliers. These VPN services allow you to surf safer by encrypting everything from inside your computer through the WiFi, the Cyber Cafe, all the way to a distant server in another city that can be far far away. This makes WiFi much safer and if you are in Turkey or on a blocked WiFi network that blocks certain sites, this circumvents that blocking.

And, when we were in Spain, but I wanted to buy a US anti-virus software they would only let me buy it through the Spanish branch of their company, in Spanish and at a higher price. This VPN would have let me buy from the US, since it would appear that I was in the US.

I also want to look at weather forecasts, but some pages were not open to me because I was not inside the USA.

Confused? Read the links below and Google around to learn more. But, beware fly by night companies!

You need to sign on to Active Captain to obtain the discounted rates negotiated by them.

https://www.activecaptain.com/newsletters/2010-11-17.php
https://www.activecaptain.com/newsletters/2010-12-15.php
https://www.activecaptain.com/newsletters/2011-01-05.php
http://www.vpnsp.com/astrill.html

Janet’s done, so I will close.

Dave & Janet