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Where the inane meets the mundane

Author: mcummings (page 1 of 475)

Safari, High Sierra, and Google Hangouts Pro Tip

A quick tip if you are a Safari user, on High Sierra, but your daily life requires you to use Google Hangouts with some frequency. If you fall into all three of those camps, you’ve faced this frustration already: the hangout starts, but although the camera light comes on, your end of the video never starts.

As someone who would rather use just one browser, and (don’t tell my coworkers) finds Safari a lighter browser that gets the job done just as well, here’s a work around until the Google plugin authors get around to acknowledging and/or fixing this bug:

If you launch hangouts in Safari, then start up PhotoBooth, the process of turning the camera on by PhotoBooth will activate the camera in Safari. It’s a crappy work around, but I got it (and tested it as true) from Apple directly.

Hope this helps someone else out there, because I spent a month or more of frustration and browser swapping before finally asking. FWIW, the problem appears to be in the plugin from Google, not Safari itself (which is where I started my investigation).

A lack of written words is not a lack of desire

Monthly updates do not a good blog make. There are probably a few exceptions to that rule of thumb, such as sites that publish all of their articles in magazine format on a monthly basis, or the more successful review blogs. But for all intents and purposes, I know that it does me no good to not be blogging.

But it doesn’t stop there. In addition to not blogging, I haven’t been writing much lately either. It’s the season of NanoWriMo (and if you are participating this year, know that you have my support all the way – it’s a grueling but rewarding experience to even attempt it), but I’ve elected not to participate this year. “Ah,” my newsletter readers will assume, “surely that means you are wrapping up the next Niki Hunter book?”

Unfortunately, no, and that’s part of the problem. I’m about 40-50k into a draft, a fair chunk of writing under my belt, but I’m lacking the motivation to move forward on it. I’ve stepped back for now, and have asked my better half to take a read through and tell me if the story is even working. The problem is that I’m so close to it, I can’t tell if it’s working as a novel, or if it’s floundering about. When you write a novel, you keep so much of the story in your head as you write it that sometimes you fail to put it all down. So while you know the complete story, the reader is left with a disjointed account. Did that happen here? I’m not sure – that’s why I need a second opinion.

So what am I doing to fill the time?

Well, there’s been a lot of Breath of the Wild. My youngest and oldest and I are playing (independently, but trading shrine and challenge info), and that’s been a lot of fun. I really love being able to play a game on a handheld or on the TV without any break in continuity. I had the gold cartridge of the original Legend of Zelda, and it’s fun to see how far the game series has come since then.

I’ve also been working my way through my stamp collection again, the US issues in particular. I’m catching cataloging mistakes I made originally, which in some instance is disappointing, and others very exciting. Plus, it really is fun to have a hobby where all of your attention is focussed on something so completely non-digital it literally comes from another era. Of course, I’m not completely without my technical crutches – this time around I am scanning everything as I go so that I can make a database of what I have, condition, and estimated value. I’ve never actually taken the time to do a large scale audit of the collection, and what I’m finding is fascinating.

Finally, and I suspect it goes without say, my time has been filled a lot with work. I got a promotion this past summer, and the aftermath of that is more work to fill the nooks and crannies of life. We’ve been pretty busy since summer, and the fruits of those labors are starting to come out. Recently, we launched a longtime fan requested Favorite Folders, and there’s more where that came from.

So, to sum up: Michael has lots of things filling his time, very few of them are writing, mostly because he has a lack of faith in what he’s written to this point on the current novel.  Moving forward, I will return to Niki’s story…eventually. In the meantime, I may work another stalled project to get the mental juices flowing, but don’t be surprised to find me waxing philosophical on perforations and watermarks in the interim.

Why A Chicken Dinner Is A Big Deal Tonight

For just shy of ten years now, our family has had an unusual diet. At the age of only fifteen months, our youngest tested positive for a variety of food allergies including fish, poultry, rice, eggs, nuts, and legumes. For the better part of ten years, we have kept our own intake of such items to a minimum while remaining always on guard for the hidden presence of these allergens.

We learned a lot from it, too. We learned various ways of substituting eggs in recipes. We learned the hidden dangers of things like Worcestershire sauce and Guinness, both of which contain fish (although you can find versions of Worcestershire sauce that are fish free occasionally). Even as recently as last month we learned that vegetable stock, and vegetable broth can have very different ingredients, and one of them has chicken broth under some brands. There was even a time when I complained to Knorr because their “vegetable bouillon” included proteins from fish.

Our world is currently upside down.

Some things changed a while ago. Rice and eggs, ultimately, were reintroduced successfully. But even so, we were consigned to the adage that if it has scales or feathers, or contains nuts, it’s off limits. Then we took our youngest in for an allergy test so we could get updated documentation for her new schools here in Oregon.

For the first time in ten years, we can eat chicken, turkey, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, and pistachios. A whole new world has been opened up. It’s hard to explain the shift, especially since it’s something we’ve lived with for a decades now. How do you get across that foods people take for granted were out of reach?

We have theories on some of the changes. Some has to do with protein markers some nuts share with tree pollens. Our running theory around poultry has to do with the reintroduction of eggs a few years ago.

So when you see me shouting about food, it’s not just because I’m hungry. It’s because our youngest got something back in her diet that she was deeply allergic to before.

(Fish, peanuts, and almonds are still very much off the menu, though.)

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