Monday, 14 January 2019

ELISA: my Finnish email server crapped out on me

After three weeks in limbo, I got my wi-fi operating. When I checked my ELISA emails nothing had come in. Not even 'junk'. I called ELISA tech and talked to a nice guy named Kari. He said someone would give me a call-back. It didn't happen. I called the next day and talked to a bunch of different people, including a woman from customer service who made an appointment for the call-back. I waited around for that call-back, but no luck. Finally, on the third day, I talked to Tommi, who promised he was on the job. I got a call from Sami, who sounded like he knew how to attack the problem.

Tech support cheat sheet, from

Sami said, at ELISA end everything was working with my emails. He was going to try to get into my machine by remote control. I would have to follow his instructions. Oy vey. I hate this kind of work. Sami was patient. I told him right off the bat I was like a chimp playing with a new toy. I just bang away on my MAC and hope for the best. Eki helps me too. After trying to do what Sami told me, I said my head hurt. But I had a digi-shrink who got my wi-fi working with a little gadget. I'd call him and make an appointment. And I clicked 'date' again to see if something happened. No luck.

The next morning I had a bight -stupid idea: scroll down. Eureka. When something doesn't work, Eki says there's always a way. I sent Tommi and Sami emails telling them what happened. By this time we had become like old pals. Got a message from Tommi. And Sami wrote how happy he and added, the technology doesn't change that much, but it's the people who made his job fun. 'We tech guys are doiks' too.' Well, from this 'doik' to all the nice, patient EISA techies I talked to: a BIG THANKS.

Suggestion to ELISA: improve your call-backs

Source: personal experience

Next week: SEX with a ROBT: get your kicks. Literally.

Note to Eki: Hey, I banged on my MAC for six years and it worked. And it worked. It's not just me.

Note: Mmm... how to put this in polite and simple terms... if "banging on a computer" consists only of using e-mail, writing text and surfing the internet, pretty much every computer will "just work".

It's us users that cause them not to, usually. Like in this case - your computer and Elisa's service worked, all the time. The dysfunctional part was the one behind the keyboard ;-)

PS: i cannot recommend XKCD highly enough, well, at least if you're even a little bit geeky. Here's more on the subject of tech support, from a more advanced user's perspective:



Friday, 4 January 2019

HELP! I'm a digi-addict

The Matrix (Wikimedia).
It happened on a Saturday night. Late. I tried to check my emails but the 'airport' had disappeared. I thought, maybe my MAC needs a break. But no connection on Sunday. Went to the APPLE store on Monday for a check-up. They said it needed a new part and sent it to the 'technical support'. That was the beginning of my meltdown. My landline worked so I was on the phone calling people all over the place. They all said the same thing: no problem'. Use your cell to get and send messages. And see the news and movies. Er. I had to tell them that since we made GottaGET inTOUCH my iPhone is not connected to the wi-fi. I put 100 dollars worth in it and mostly use it for an alarm clock. They laughed and hung up.

While waiting I panicked. To mitigate the anxiety, I cooked, shopped, had guests for drinks, went out, took up deep-breathing-mind-control, took meds to sleep, lost sleep, played scrabble, knitted, walked several times a day, lifted weights, rode my indoor-bike and menaced pals all over the place on my land'-line. I saw a shrink. Called Eki and wailed. He told to send the BLOG by regular post. And about a cable that might make my MAC usable, and said I should buy a new laptop. After ten days in the digital desert, I went to the APPLE store and bought a smaller MAC (light enough to travel). The nice guy who helped me gave me the cable connections gratis - he saw my shaky hands. Eki admitted he'd have the DT's too if his connections crapped out.

I read an article about people born after 1990. They've been thumbing cell phones and other digital devices since they were two, or younger. What happens if there's a freak wireless-connection-black-out. The MILLENIALS will have a collective nervous breakdown. 60 MINUTES (CBS) aired a segment on young digital uses and did MRI scans on their brains immediately after they used their cell phones. No surprise. Excessive use shows a change in the brain. Especially bad for young users, who are often welded to their phones. Cell phone users are legion. When a pal in the US asked ALEXA how many users there were in the world, she said, 'Hmm. I went online. All the sites said that there are more than 5 billion users. Almost the entire planet is wired and addicted. (just try not using your cell for a week). Sherry Turkle at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) say the real danger is not that AI will become more like humans, but that humans will become like AI. I'll buy that.

PS: I attached the cables and the airport doesn't show up. I know it works because Stephan tested it at the Apple store. Eki told me NOT to connect it. Tomorrow a digital pro is coming to help me. Thank god.

Sources: Sharon Pettus, Financial Times Weekend, person experience

Note: Mmm... how to put it in words? Maggy just isn't compatible with computers. I could continue on the subject "Macs just work", but i digress ;-)

Long story short, i confess, i definitely am a digi addict too.


Thursday, 20 December 2018

The HOLS: how to survive

"Surviving the cave christmas" from Lucia - a christmas story (2008)

Plenty of people hate the HOLIDAYS, including many of my friends and me. But over the years we've learned to tap down the angst. And take Seneca's advice on how to celebrate Saturnalia: avoid crowds, eat, drink and be merry with a few old pals.

FOOD: In Finland it's luttefisk (cod cured in lye), baked ham and a bunch of side dishes that look like
baby food. In the US it's turkey with all the trimmings. Buck tradition. A couple I know in the US serve cold lobster, artichokes and champagne (or cava). Guests love to be invited.

PRESENTS: people go bananas and have a debt-hangover in January. Buy silly stuff and wrap it in an old newspaper (the Financial Times is pink and makes a pretty present). If the whole family gets together presents can be a big problem, if some cheap-out and others spend. In fact, obligatory gift giving is past its sell-by date. Kids are the exception. Do NOT give them electronic toys. Homemade wooden building blocks is a perfect gift for small children.

DECORATIONS: avoid anything fake. Pine Christmas trees, branches, fruit, even vegetables (red and green peppers). Americans spend billions lighting up the outside of their houses. Whole streets get in the act. If you're a hold-out you will be bullied into complying. Kids love decorating. It will keep them busy and out of your hair.

PARTIES: avoid stand-up parties packed with people. Impossible to talk or to hear. Hard to eat and to drink. Invite guests for a Christmas (or New Years) picnic. Try to find someone who plays the guitar and have a singalong of old favourites.  Print out song sheets.

CHRISTMAS CARDS: don't send. Instead get in touch with postcards. Riikka and Eki sent me a 'Merry Birthday' hand-written postcard. I loved it and copied the idea.

CHRISTMAS CAROLS: mostly an English and American 19th-century tradition that goes on and on. Okay if you sing at orphanages or hospitals. Practice before preforming.

MUSIC: the best part of the holiday season. Especially classical. Or try to catch 'Cinderella' or 'The Nutcracker' ballets. Take the kids and give them a culture treat that's fun.

ESCAPE: this is a great solution. A family ski trip. Or park the kids with their grandparents and have a romantic couple of days away from the everyday.  Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. But keep it simple.

Sources: Financial Times Weekend, personal experience

Next Week: HELP: I'm a DIGI-Addict

Note: Merry Saturnalia!


Thursday, 13 December 2018

Eki and I go toe to toe

Eki's principled (he turned down a 'True Finns' project) and my politics are white and black. I wanted to do a JEFF BEZOS Vote 2020 video. I thought he might be the one guy to beat Trump, if he runs. In last week's blog Eki trashed Bezos.  I came to the studio prepared. When he said, 'Hmm, I don't feel right working on this project.' I said, 'EEEEKKKKKKIIIIIII!”

He's a pro. So we sat down to work, but he wasn't happy. After while we fell into the old routine. I shut up. And watched the screen while he did his thing. Around eight hours later, not including lunch, the video was ready.  He said, 'This would be good if it was a VOTE 2020 video'. I said try it. He was right. The VOTE 2020 video (see above) is on our site. But he wouldn't put my Jeff Bezos version on it.  I didn't push him.

I sent a copy of the 'Jeff' version to Jeff Bezos and we dumped it in the YOUTUBE ocean.  Eki found it for me. But I tried the other day on my own and it seems to have drowned. Eki and I are usually on the same side. But he doesn't cave in. I'm more corruptible.

Source: personal experience

Next week: HELP, I'm a DIGI-ADDICT

Note: The True Finns (Perussuomalaiset) are the Finnish version of Trumpism, more or less. I've done pretty much anything under the sun, also for clients i disagree with strongly, or i do not share common values with (the latest example was a video for the Evangelical Church of Finland - and i'm as unreligious as they come).

But when i was asked by a production company to direct the election commercials for this arbeit-macht-frei-party, i realized i had reached the limit of what my conscience allows me to do. It was the first, and so far the only job i have completely declined to do, on moral grounds. But at least i did not participate on the proliferation of nationalist populism.


Tuesday, 13 November 2018

JEFF BEZOS: the guy who can beat Donald Trump

A cockeyed idea? Maybe not. Jeff Bezos is Donald Trump's worst enemy. T attacks Bezos and Amazon with barefaced lies. Bezos is smarter, tougher, younger (54), richer, self-made and has a compelling back-story: born in Albuquerque, Bezos started Amazon (like a lot of tech guys) in his garage in 1994, with 250,000 borrowed from his parents. The company is now worth a trillion and counting. Bezos is #1 on Forbes Richest list (Trump a humble #259 – that drives T nuts).

Eki pointed out that while Bezos was rich, but his workers got peanuts. True. But starting Nov 5, 2018 (just in time for the midterms) Amazon's 350,000 employees (including short-term) will get 15.00 an hour minimum. The company's policymakers are will lobby for all US workers to receive 15.00 dollars an hour. Bezos has made other about-faces. He ditched his frumpy- dumpy nerdy suits for lean and mean black leather jackets, black jeans, shaved head (or waxed?). Eki, don't grit your teeth, looks count: they say Nixon lost against Kennedy because on TV he looked like an escaped convict. Bezos laid the ground-work for a crack at the top job when he bought (and saved) the Washington Post. T, when he heard the news, told his base, at a rally, that he would give the new owner a lot of problems. Bezos has given the Post free rein. And the paper has published a critical piece about Amazon.

Bezos vsTrump would be the ultimate mano a mano. George Orwell said all games are war - politic is a blood sport. Especially with the Bully-in-chief. 2020 will roll in on us like a giant tsunami. The Democrats need a leader who can connect, not only with the two booming coasts and the young but with the poor, left-behind parts of the US. Make America more equal again.

Note: Oct. 1, the New York Times published a 13,000-word article on Trump's tax evasion and crooked business practices going back years, after inheriting (and losing) a fortune. The investigation took 18 months. It might change everything. But don't bet on it. T flaunts and floats above the law. So far he has got away with it.

Source: New York Times Style, Financial Times Weekend, the net

PS: Eki and I are working on a 30' commercial: JEFF BEZOS: we need you 2020

Note: This has been one of Maggie's ideas i have had a hard time supporting. So much so, that i convinced her to change the commercial to VOTE: we need you 2020. We did also finish the Jeff Bezos version, but at this point i really do not like to be associated with it in any way. Edited by: Alan Smithee.

As to why, well, to be honest, first and foremost my own ignorance. I do not want to support someone i actually know quite little about. That's the mistake many Brexit voters and Trump supporters made. But there's also the thing Maggy mentioned - i seriously do not think anyone should own more wealth than entire countries. That is simply insane. Making someone like that the President of an important superpower would be adding insult to the injury.

Then there is the fact that i do not think a person in that position would ever make decisions with the best interest of the average Joe in mind. I cannot see a person in such a position working towards reducing the repulsive grasp the mega-corporations have over the society. I cannot see a person in such position advocating for the super-rich to paying their fair share of taxes. You get the point.

I did not add a picture this time. Deliberately. That's my miniature protest against the blog post's premise.


Monday, 5 November 2018


One way to solve differences (Photo: Derks24/Pixabay)
Who cares. Everyone. At least they should. Because what's going on in the US affects us all. This midterm election is playing out like a John Wayne Western. There are the 'GOOD GUYS': Robert Mueller and his team, most of the media that is not underground and a majority of Americans. And the 'BAD GUYS': the President, cowed and cooperative Republicans (not all), the Alt-right, underground nut-ball social media (GAB, for example) and Trumpsters.

Trump is on a high, holding rallies in as many states as he can stuff in in before the midterms, Nov 6. Like and old-time 19C religious revival meeting, he's preaching, and selling, 'hell and brimstone' and whipping up the Base. The only thing missing is the snakes. But there are plenty of the human kind to take their place at his rallies.

One positive thing this crazy, but cunning like a fox, president has done is to whip up both Republicans and Democratic voters. The midterm election used to be a 'so what'. And most voters didn't bother. This year the early voting has surpassed the 2016 presidential election. A first. I told Eki, T has made me so tuned in, in how the US government works that I now know something about what the house, the senate, the supreme court and the presidential powers are. He thinks, or hopes, T will gets impeached. I said, 'No way'. Even if the Dems win the house (a good chance) and try vote to impeach him. It takes 67 votes in the senate to pull it off. Tune in on Wed. 7 Nov. to find out how this cliffhanger ends.

Source: personal experience

Next week: JEFF BEZOS: the guy who can beat Trump in 2020

Note: Actually, i don't have much to add to this... vote, people. Also here in Finland, we need to throw our own little Trumpsters out from the driver's seat, and voting wisely is the route to that.


Monday, 1 October 2018

FEAR: Bob Woodward's new Tell-all book about life in TURMP's fucking* CRAZYTOWN

When Donald Trump royally chews out his economic adviser, Gary Cohn**, Cohn offers his letter of resignation. T ignores it. Later John Kelly, White House chief of staff tells Cohn, 'If that was me I'd have taken that letter and shoved it six different ways up his ass.' Kelly also called Trump an idiot (I think he actually said 'fucking idiot'). His ex-Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, called T a fucking moron. Anyone who has access to media knows that Donald Trump is a fucking disaster. 

A cute kitten (Image: Ty Swartz / Pixabay)
What makes Woodward's book stand out from the rest of the tell-alls, is his access to the top players, his meticulous research and his methods. And he has clout. Insists that interviews are 'on-the-record' and taped - evidence in case he needs it. In the Financial Times Weekend review, 'Inside the devil's Workshop', Trump comes off badly. No surprise. But the shocker is, so does Robert Mueller, the special counsel. No explanation.  I read the line three times and got depressed. Mueller is our knight in shining armor. Our great hope that Trump gets trounced. 

Lots of people close to the president spilled their guts. Some of them denied it. John Kelly, said, 'Bullshit'. Steve Bannon, T's ex-strategist, blabbed big-time, calling Ivanka Trump a 'fucking staffer'.  She shot back, 'I am not a fucking staffer, I'm the First Daughter.' They swear a lot in Crazytown (John Kelly's name for the White House). Two of the biggest, and most important contributors were John Dowd, T's personal lawyer for years and the horse-whipped, Gary Cohn. Dowd talked for hours and hours. Guess it was some kind of catharsis. So did Cohn. I read that when T had his first staff meeting in the  White House, he said he wanted every day to be like a reality TV show. A promise he kept. The kicker is, Trump loves it all: the good, the bad and the ugly. He doesn't give a shit. 'Just PLEASE fucking talk about King ME.'

* Fucking: read in the health section of the New York Times that swearing is good for you. It hasn't seemed to help the Trump administration. But might keep the White House staff from going bonkers.

** Gary Cohn resigned on April 2, 2018.  

Source: Financial Times Weekend, the net

LittlemargieBLOG is on the road in October. Back November 1.

Note: Well, this time i do not have much to add. The next elections are really important, in the US and also here in Finland. Vote, people!

...and enjoy the kitten pic. Trumps looking at Trump's face.