Thursday, April 4, 2013

It's Nerdy, and I Like It!

I love it, when a plan comes together. I like it even more, when the technology works, and it's free, too! Long story short, I solved a major headache that I was having. I had multiple email accounts, multiple IO systems, and a calendar on one device that was synchronized to nothing.

The multiple email accounts happened, when a throw-away account landed in a printed directory that folks started using to message me. A second throw-away account inherited new features that I found useful, and a third account became necessary for business reasons. My IO devices included multiple PC's, an iPhone, an iPad, and an occasional web kiosk. I needed an email client that would read multiple accounts, integrate well with IMAP servers, have calendar functionality, and allow remote synching across all the devices.

My first find was the Mozilla Thunderbird client. It does all sorts of wonderful things with multiple email accounts. The calendar add-on, Lightning, was my second discovery. Finally, I found Provider for Lightning that addresses the issue of calendar connectivity with Google calendars. Without going into the gory installation and set-up details (it was relatively easy), the end-result is email and a calendar that is easily managed across devices. For example, I now have tabbed email for the different inboxes, and I can create a calendar event on any of my devices and have the event appear everywhere I need it.

To top it off, the product icons are pretty cool, too.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Happy Holidays -- 2012

“Oh, the weather outside is delightful …” Seriously, this is central Texas. It is early December, and the highs have been in the eighties. The past week has been gorgeous. The past year has been interesting. Here are the highlights to get you caught up.

Our church hosts a monthly concert series.   In January, the Steel Wheels performed. After the show, the musicians stayed at our house. They were a great group of guys.  In October we hosted two of the Kerrville New Folk Winners, Korby Lenker and Whit Hill. 

Peggy reprised her role as a volunteer tax preparer for low income families in the Austin area. She also became the treasurer at our church. She was back at the potter’s wheel this year and brought home some useful and “artistic” wares.

In late March we began planning a kitchen remodel. Peggy stepped up and served as general contractor. We ordered cabinets, chose paint colors, found light fixtures, contracted painters, electricians, and plumbers, started demolition, agreed on backsplash materials, and lived without running water in the kitchen for way too long -- we did dishes in the bathroom. With only a few big surprises, the project was completed in a mere 12 weeks.

In July, Peggy took on a temporary, paying job as an accountant for a hospital in Austin. After three months, the gig ended, and Peggy had gained experience in a new environment.  She decided that working again wasn’t so bad and is now looking for a full time, permanent job.

In August David served as master of ceremonies for the church’s annual talent show and silent auction. David’s bad, yet, family friendly jokes kept the acts flowing smoothly. Fear of the punch lines ensured that each act was set up as quickly as possible. Peggy chaired the silent auction that raised over $3000 for a prison ministry.

At the end of September, David announced his retirement from AT&T. On the 19th of October, he went to the office for the last time. To celebrate, David immediately began promoting the photography business that he started in 2011. Since then, David has shot a wedding, some family photo sessions, and a couple of executive portrait sessions. A second wedding is booked, and additional opportunities with camera-in-hand are being explored. The new found “spare” time has been filled with mountain biking, Frisbee golf, ping pong, and water aerobics with Peggy. We also learned that grandson #3 is due to arrive in February 2013. How exciting!

Laura and Steve TerLouw spent a couple of days with us, while Laura attended her 20th high school reunion. It is amazing that time has flown so quickly, since the time that Laura lived with us during her senior year. She and Steve now have three children of their own.

Election-day found us working a polling place: Peggy as assistant election judge and David as election clerk. We began the day at 5:30 am. It was close to 10:00 pm, before the day ended. It was a long day for sure, but was a great way to experience the political process and see lots of our neighbors.  After living in Austin for 24 years we’ve gotten to know a lot of people.

For Thanksgiving, we visited with family in Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. Peggy went horseback riding with her sister in Arkansas. With the good came some sad. Peggy’s brother, Darrell, passed away on Tuesday after the holiday. We returned to Oklahoma for the memorial service. We were fortunate to have been able to say our “goodbyes” during the holiday visit to Darrell’s home.

As you can see, our year was full, and even with loss, we feel blessed to have lived it. May your Christmas be merry and may you also be blessed in the New Year.

Peggy, David, and the dogs, Zander and Klaus