I know that the only thing constant is change. I get that.

And, I have been dealing with a huge change in my life for almost 5 years. But, there are other changes that are happening around me all of the time and I have suddenly become aware of one that is more related to my techy-feely self.

I am slmost three years into a new gig at my place of employment. This new job spread out my interests to well beyond what I was doing back in, what I consider, my heyday of my professional life. Back then, I was often sacrificing myself to the gods of Web 2.0 (my description to most faculty.) This meant that I was signing up for every new service that came along to explore how it worked, what it could do and how it might be useful in the classroom.

It. Was. Fun!

Over the long (even longer weekend – thanks snow days!), I saw many folks posting their selfie paired with a painting using Google’s new Arts & Culture app. What a great idea – take your selfie and Google pairs it with a painting of your doppleganger. Who could resist seeing if you were captured years ago by Van Gogh, Picasso, or Rembrandt?

Well, I can. I just feel like I have to.

And this is how I have changed. Now that I have to take into account data security with pretty much every decision I make these days, my first thought when I heard about this new app was – “woah! I’m not sending in my picture to Google.” Which is the exact opposite of what I would have thought ten years or maybe even five years ago. Of course, I have photos uploaded on Google Drive from the old Picasa days. But, I know where those are and they aren’t being scanned to match anything. At least I don’t think they are. I guess I kinda assume they are being scanned at some level.

But, to just take and send a face photo into the unknown seemed too creepy for me. Where are these photos going? How is the facial recognition working? WHat will it be used for later? I am assuming that Google is using this to finetune and perfect its facial recognition based on if you share it and what reactions you get to how well (or not well) the match works.

So, I have changed. I’m much more privacy aware. I’m also aware of how often others are trying to get to data. It’s a strange, new world out there.

But, it is a world that won’t have my selfie in the Google database just yet.

I have been a casual user and fan of GeekTool for a number of years.

GeekTool provides a means to add images, code, logs or web content to small, pre-defined locations on your desktop so they lay behind your application windows and can refresh at a time rate that you set within the code.

GeekTool allowed me to explore a bit of coding and customize my desktop with geeklets that provided me both useful information and needed distraction during my workday. I explored the (now aging) repository of geeklets from time to time and through trial and error, found a desktop array that did what I needed. I had to install Perl and iCalBuddy to get some of them to work so I was always learning something new during that time.

When I moved to two monitors, I did learn something. Geeklets don’t like to live on a second monitor. They want to live only on the primary monitor. And, as luck would have it, my desk arrangement was so that I actually used my secondary monitor as my main screen. I tried and tried to get my geek lets to live where i wanted them to live but ultimately, I found that I had to move them manually every morning. That was fine.

For about three days.

After that, I had to acquiesce to having them live where they wanted to live and I went about my way. However, over the last couple of month, I noticed that a few of my geeklets had stopped working. The main ones (involving my calendar, to do lists and other information located on my computer) still worked but any that relied on RSS feeds or external information worked sometimes and mostly just didn’t work. So, when I had a free afternoon, I did some research. I had heard of NerdTool, so I gave it a look. However, I felt like it would have the same issues as GeekTool so I kept on looking. During my search for a GeekTool replacement, I found Übersicht which provides the same kind of customization but with less demand on system resources and using Coffee script and Javascript along with CSS/HTML. I knew I would find this much easier for me to customize.

So, I challenged myself to make my desktop pretty and useful again using this new tool. After gathering all of my scripts from GeekTool into Notational Velocity (I really should write another post about how useful this text only tool is for keeping things like this together and searchable)

My main widgets/geeklets that I wanted to recreate were:

  • Link to my calendar to show the events for the next two days
  • Monthly calendar with current date highlighted
  • Date/Day/Time
  • Current weather and forcast
  • Satellite of weather
  • RSS feeds
  • Server status


I managed to find replacement widgets for all of these or re-wire some to do what I wanted. I did learn that, while there is a decent directory, most of these are in Github and that is the better place to find updated code and forks of existing codebases.

Then, I figured out how to customize them via the index.coffee file to position them where I wanted and change font size, type and color to all match the layout I had in mind. The only major hoops I had to jump through were creating a todo list in plain text and naming it ToDo.list rather than using the .txt extension and creating some server monitoring links within StatusCake to keep my server status on my desktop. I even managed to get the current xkcd comic on my desktop, which was one of the failing geeklets that led me down this path to begin with!

I am hoping to play with this some more in the future when I get another free afternoon but for now, this will work and I have all of the code on my desktop to continue to explore it.

Hi there! I’m back. I would love to write here more regularly but I find myself writing in other places more often so this site gets pushed to the proverbial back burner over and over. But, I have something I want to capture so here it goes.

I hit Twitter yesterday and saw this post go by:


As a YUUUUGE fan of Delicious back in the day (circa 2005), I had to see what was what. And, I discovered that, for the FIFTH time, my favorite little social bookmarking site had been sold. (Of course, I didn’t even know about 3 of the sales so that is how much I was paying attention.)

This sent me down a bit of memory lane. I really was taken by the Delicious storm back when I joined in 2005. November 2005 to be exact. In fact, here is my first URL I saved:

link to Educational Technology Services at Pellissippi State Community College

Back when Yahoo bought Delicious, I assumed it would be shut down as that was the modus operandi for Yahoo at the time. I even wrote my most popular post here about how to move to Pinboard  (which I did back in 2010) and Scuttle (2012) My experiment with Scuttle failed but Pinboard worked well and continued to work as I shifted from saving bookmarks manually to more importing them from things I liked/favorited in Twitter. And, it is interesting to note that the final purchaser of Delicious is actually the owner of Pinboard – which seems full circle in some sort of way.

As the hoarder of electrons that I am and as someone who has learned the hard way that multiple backups and archives are the way to go, I decided that I needed to export my Delicious bookmarks one more time. Just in case.

Sadly, when I hit the Export page in my Delicious account, i was greeted with this:

We’re sorry, but due to heavy load on our database we are no longer able to offer an export function. Our engineers are working on this and we will restore it as soon as possible.


So, I did just like I did in my post from 2012, I hit up my friend Google to see what my options were. I found that I could use a web scraper tool to export the pages of my links thanks to a very helpful post from a coder in Belgium (thanks Ringo!)

I was able to follow Ringo’s process pretty well but I did have to fumble through a few things first so I thought I would document the process a bit more here for folks who might want a more step by step process. You will need to have the Chrome browser installed (you do, don’t you?)

So, without further ado: Exporting your Delicious Bookmarks using Web Scraper

Step One: Log into your Delicious Account and make a note of how many pages of bookmarks you have (at the bottom of your page) and just leave this page open. Then, go to Ringo’s post and have it open in another window/tab

Step Two: Install the Web Scraper extension in your Chrome browser

Step Three: View the Developer Tools in the Chrome browser (use menu or keyboard commands

Menu for Developer Tools in Chrome

Once you have the Developer Tools open, be sure you have them docked at the bottom of your browser window and you will see the Web Scraper tab then.




Step Four: Click on the Web Scraper tab and then click on Create Sitemap -> Import Site Map.

Import Sitemap location in Web Scraper menu


From there, you will then copy the code on Ringo’s site and paste it into the JSON window, name your site map, and import it.

IMPORTANT: At the bottom of the code, you will see these lines:

   "startUrl": [

Be sure to edit the <your_account_id> with your Delicious username and the <your_maximum_page> variable for your total pages. (I did a test run first with a few pages to be sure everything worked and then edited the script again to maximum pages – I had 195!)


Step Five: Under the Sitemap tab, you will choose “Scrape” and then click the Start Scraping button.


Scrape option in Web Scrapting

A popup window appears when the script starts scraping so just that stay open until you get the notification that the job is completed. My 195 page import took about 14 minutes to run.

Step Six: Export the scraping to a CSV file. Same menu as the Scrape. Just choose the last option. Depending on how many bookmarks you have, it might take a second but a link will appear that says “Download Now.”

After that, you will have the CSV file that can be opened in Excel or processed further. The file has each bookmark with these properties:

Bookmark_title, bookmark_link,tag, description

And the tag format is this: [{“tag”:”bad12″},{“tag”:”from twitter”}]

If you want to also include the date you saved the link, etc, someone else has added that code in the comments on Ringo’s page so you can add that to your sitemap when you import it. I haven’t tried that yet, but it seems helpful.

AND, If you want to import these links now into Pinboard, Ringo has written another post about how to process this file to prepare it. I haven’t given that a whirl but I am sure it works just great!

So, there you have it – a way to export and keep all of those great links from 2005+. I wonder how many of these are still active and/or useful. Maybe not too many but I find the history aspect fascinating as you can see what was important to me at any given time. More data mining, for sure.


And, here I am again changing out cell phones. For someone who resisted joining the smart phone “revolution” for as long as I could, it is kinda comical that I keep finding myself blogging about the updates and changes to my phone.

But, my new plan with Sprint allows me to always get the newest iPhone when it comes out and I decided to take them up on that offer. Thus, I spend about 3 hours on a beautiful Saturday morning getting my new phone to act just like my old phone (but faster and with a better camera, of course.)

My last switch was between Android and iOS so i expected it to take longer and to have more glitches along the way.  And, those expectations were met. Apple Android “swtich” app = MAJOR FAIL.

But, I thought this would be smooth sailing. It is mostly was. I backed up my old phone (I use a direct wired connection to iTunes for this – just not ready for wireless to iCloud backups just yet, I want to know where those files actually live) to an encrypted backup so all of my personal data was also there. Second, I broke the connection bertween my Apple watch and the old phone. Then, after a quick visit to the Sprint website to activate the new phone, I connected the new phone to iTunes and restored from backup. Thirty some odd minutes later, the phone rebooted and looked pretty much like my old one.

Looked is the key word here.

The apps were there (or were loading) and in the right place. Photos were there and in the right place. Contacts: same. Calendar: same. And, so on.

Then, I visited my authentication folder on my phone. I use two different 2-step authentication apps: Google Authenticator and Authy.

Both of the apps were there, but none of my account information transferred over. From a security standpoint, this makes sense. The 2 step authentication is tied to a device and this was a new device. This makes sense. But, it is important to note that to EASILY make the transfer to a new device, you need to have both devices with you and both working.


For example, I wanted to change my Google Authenticator app for my personal Gmail account. It is not hard but the steps are:

  1. Install Google Authenticator on the new device (should already be there from backup, but that is a first step)
  2. Log into Google Account (using Authenticator on OLD device if necessary)
  3. Go to your account security settings
  4. Go to two-step authentication (enter password again)
  5. Click the EDIT icon (image above)
  6. Enter the code from OLD device
  7. ADD the new device by using the QR code provided on the screen
  8. Enter the code generated by the new device
  9. Done.

I then also printed out new backup codes for each account and stored securely. If you lose your device or don’t have it for some reason, these are useful to get into your account.

For Authy, it was a similar process.

Another hour later, I was pretty much back in business with all of my 2-step sites working from the new device.


TL;DR: if you use 2-step authentication ( you are, aren’t you?), be prepared for a little more time in setting up your new devices.


This week is not one that I have looked forward to for the past three years. Today marks the anniversary of the death of my partner from an accidental fall. The sudden ripping away of her life from mine was terrible and still resonates through my being. Some days more than others, of course. It has softened and I have made many strides in building a new life and finding my new normal including finding new love.

But, I still dread this week. And part of that dread is because of technology. Primarily Timehop and Facebook Memories or On This Day (which came along after TImehop as best as I can tell).

I had enjoyed and have enjoyed seeing little reminders of what I had posted in years past. Reminders of fun times like holiday parties, Father’s or Mother’s Day, travels and adventures. Interestingly, there has been some research about nostalgia and it does promote several positive outcomes.

But, this week, I get reminders of a death. Of memorials. Of condolences. It kinda sucks.

And, my thoughts have turned to the families of those who have also lost loved ones so suddenly this week. Last year in Charleston, South Carolina in a church. Sunday of this week in a nightclub in Orlando, Florida. As I saw my own TImehops appear and I knew what was coming today, I fast forwarded in my mind to what those families from Charleston were seeing this week from a year ago. And I also am thinking about what the families and friends of the 49 victims from this week’s shooting will be seeing a year from now. Will they find these “forced” trips down memory lane helpful or hurtful. I guess it could go either way.

I have written what feels like a lot about technology after death on this blog in the past three years. I hope some of it has been helpful to someone. Maybe. Maybe not. It gave me something to focus on at the time and, thus, it was helpful to me. But, this “memories technology” may or may not be helpful. I wish there was a way to selectively let Facebook or Timehop know that I don’t want the memories from a certain day or time period. Perhaps in a few years, it will be okay to see those memories. But, I would rather have the control. I guess I can uninstall Timehop. Right now, I just don’t open it on my iPad. However, it seems like this is something that would benefit form more granular control. Of course, we cannot granularly control our own memories so perhaps I am asking too much.


UPDATE (June 23, 2016):

I did some poking around in Facebook and found that you can indeed add a filter to their memories function (called “On This Day”). Facebook added this function this past fall, apparently.

Here is how to filter those memories either by person or by specific dates:

  1. Point your browser to facebook.com/onthisday
  2. Click Preferences
    • To edit for specific people: Click Edit next to People and enter the names of the people you don’t want to see memories with
    • To edit by specific dates Click Edit next to Dates and choose start and end dates for when you don’t want to see memories, then click Done

Haven’t found that same function within Timehop as of yet. I would bet it is coming.

It has been a LOOOOONG time since I have had/given/allowed time to sit with some photos that I have taken and worked on them within an editor to make them more than just snapshots. (today, I chose Lightroom CC since I need to learn more about how it works)

It was fun and from the ~300 images I took during a recent trip west via Minnesota to Yellowstone National Park/Grand Tetons National Park and on to Portland, Oregon, I gleaned 19 that I liked enough to call “art” for me. [BONUS POINTS: This trip also took me through North Dakota and Montana so I have finally made my goal of visiting all fifty states in the USA]


The Art of Yellowstone

Group of men in an escape room.

I recently posted on Facebook something like this:  “Audrey: 4  Escape Rooms: 0”

Yes, I suppose it was bragging. But, I have done four different escape rooms (Escape Game Nashville, Which Way Out Knoxville, Escape Game Knoxville, and The Chamber in Columbus, OH) and I have been in a group that has escaped successfully all four times. In two of the rooms, I knew everybody in the group. In the other two, there was a group I knew but we were joined with another group for the experience.

That makes a difference.

I have enjoyed them all but some more than others. I have been thinking why. I think the novelty of the experience made the first one I tried my favorite. But, it also had the widest variety of puzzles to solve and required more teamwork than the others, I thought. In one game, there were 12 folks.

That is too many.

Yes, you need a team to get out in the time allowed. I don’t know how a team of two could do it, truthfully. And in one of the rooms, I know that I would have NEVER figured out one of the combinations based on the information given. I am just glad my brother was there who did figure it out. He explained it to me several times and I am still not quite sure I understand the logic.

These games are fun because you have to think and think fast. And think creatively. And work together. And communicate. The puzzles range from math word problems to listening to audio files and deciphering what is being said to reading maps and many more fun ways to test your mind. I think that is why I found it so techy-feely! You really have to apply both sides of the brain to get out of these rooms.

So, after telling some friends about them, one of them asked me to create a game room for their Halloween party. Sure, I said. That sounds like fun.

Oh boy! It was WAY harder than I thought it would be. I found myself drawing all kinds of flow charts and diagrams to make sure I didn’t make the room impossible to escape by locking a solution up in something that couldn’t be opened without that information. And, to get a wider variety of puzzles without making any real changes to the room (it was someone’s house rather than a commercial environment set up for an escape room business) was more of a challenge. I also wanted a theme to go along with my friends’ home and life. I did it. And, I thought it was pretty good. I also vastly underestimated how much time it would take a group to finish it. I thought 15 minutes but it was more like 30 with several big hints along the way. I wish another group had tried so I could compare some experiences.

I think if you are into puzzles and games, you are more likely to enjoy the experience. When I tell someone that you are locked in a room for an hour and have to try to get out, I mostly get reactions of fear and claustrophobia. It really isn’t like that. There is always a way out of the room. There is someone watching you and providing hints if you need them (or ask for them – up to a point). I think they want you to succeed. Although, the success rates for these rooms from what I can tell hovers between 25-30%, which I find astonishing.

I assumed that folks would start posting how to escape and the rates would go up, but when I was searching for inspiration for creating my own escape room, I was struck by how little information is out there on creating them or solving them. So, folks are keeping the secrets safe – which is better for the businesses and the experiences as well!

I found them fun. I will do more, I am sure. I also know I probably will meet one that I cannot defeat. Oh dear.


Photo credit: MYSTERY MANILA – Sinister’s Symposium-16.jpg

It has been almost a month and I have been steadily working on this transition from Android to iOS. I wanted to capture a few quick thoughts here while it was still a bit fresh on my mind.

The Apple Migration tool for moving from Android failed for me. Three times. I gave up.

Thus, I didn’t get to move things like:

  • Messages
  • Whats App messages
  • Settings/Accounts
  • Contacts
  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Music
  • And so forth

I was a bit disappointed with that fact. Actually, more than a bit. I really figured Apple had this migration thing figured out to get folks to move. But, I would hit 71% complete and freeze. I don’t know, truly, if it was an Apple thing or a file it hit that freaked the program out. Whatever it was, I had to go back to the manual approach.

I use Google for most things (being Android and all), so adding that account got mail back and most contacts. I did discover I had more phone-only contacts than I realized so I had to sit and do a side by side comparison to get those copied over manually. I did hate to lose my WhatsApp conversations as one of them is very important to me. I have exported it to my email and I have the media but I miss having the actual conversation in the interface. I suppose I should try to think of them as much more transitory but right now, that conversation felt like it needed to stay a more permanent fixture on my device and I just couldn’t get it to do that.

I have moved most photos. All are backed up on Flickr so I have them, just not in my hand when I want to scroll through and find them.

I have downloaded most apps that I had before. The only one I have not found a counterpart for is Regularly, which I really like. The Apple Reminders is fine for a single event/action. Regularly would remind me of things I needed to do on a regular (get it?) basis but not like an appointment. Things like changing the filter in my water filtration system or checking my birthday calendar so I can get cards purchased and in the mail and so forth. I am on the hunt for something similar.

I do miss a few things about Android that Apple just doesn’t do.

  • I like the hardware based menu button and the back button. I like getting to settings inside the app.
  • I liked getting to choose my wifi network when I enabled wifi rather than go to the setting menu from the main screen
  • I miss the easy “share” button in most apps. It is there in Apple but it is a different icon and I forget
  • I liked the Google reminders (leave now to make your appointment, etc)

But, the 6s is a NICE phone

  • It is zippy fast and I have loads more storage now
  • I love making quick videos with iMovie on the phone
  • I love the live photo feature
  • Siri seems to work for me about as well as the “Ok Google” bit did for me

I’ll keep playing around and let you know what else pops up.

Apple Computer and Android logos mergedMany folks are surprised when they seem me whip out my Android phone (Samsung Galaxy S4). It is unusual, I suppose, for such an unabashed Apple fangirl to “stoop” to something outside of the ecosystem.

I did it for several reasons. First and foremost, for the longest time, my carrier (Sprint) didn’t have the iPhone in its arsenal and I really didn’t have the energy to time to mess with switching carriers. Also, I already owned an iPod touch (and subsequently an iPad) so I didn’t need to learn how iOS operated and how apps worked, etc. In my line of work, it pays to stay ahead of the tech curve and experiment with many different flavors of tools. That is why I can operate on Apple, Windows and Linux (sorta) and mouse with either hand!

So, I thought an experiment was in order to force myself to learn how Android worked when it was time to move from my Blackberry several years ago. And it was a good experiment. I learned about the different versions of Android. I also learned how behind some carriers are with updates as they push them out when they are ready (I guess) so I didn’t get KitKat for, what seemed like, a LOOOOOOONG time after I had read about it and wanted the newer features.

I have been thinking about going back to iPhone for a while now. Partly because I want to get everything back on Apple, partly because the new iPhones always seem so cool and I don’t have one and partly because my experiment has done its job.

My new job has exposed me to much more information about IT security and what all is out there “in the wild” in regards to threats for losing or compromising my data (and possibly the data of others) With the announcement of Stagefright and the exploit from a simple text message along with other, seemingly weekly, announcements of other Android exploits, my decision because clear. I needed to go back to the closed ecosystem of Apple.

I can argue both sides of open/closed ecosystems for development. I love the idea of open. Love. It. I want the creative expression that open allows when folks are provided tools for exploration and development. It makes the mind soar what we mere mortal humans can develop and create. However, some of these mortal humans create in order to destroy. I cannot explain why folks invented viruses, trojan horses, malware and the host of other nasty bits and bytes of code out there. But, they are there. And, the open ecosystem of Android means that there are WAY more out there for it than for Apple due to Apple’s review process for apps and controlled release of operating system versions. And, fixes for these are complicated to create and then deploy.

After learning so much about security, I understand and want to be protected from this potential danger. I simply cannot wait for Sprint to decide it will push a fix for Stagefright to me  which will only happen AFTER they had to wait for Google to push a fix to them. That is too long. Something bad will happen. Many phones will be affected. It won’t be pretty. I am hoping it won’t be me.

I am moving back to iPhone soon. Probably this weekend. (depends on when my pre-order iPhone 6s shows up)

This is the downside of changing technology – the change part. So, now I have the fun task of migrating data and all that goes with it. I recall changing from cable to satellite TV. That migration was painful only in the fact that I lost all of my “data” on the cable TV DVR. There really was no migration path. But, the DVR had died so I had lost the data anyway – it was just the fact that it was the 5th DVR that had died and I was over not being able to watch the programs I had recorded.

But, I digress.

Back to my phone, I have “things” I want to have all the time:

  • selected photos (they are also uploaded to my Flickr account as well – cloud backup storage for the win)
  • call logs
  • texting logs and texts
  • my WhatsApp messages
  • contacts
  • calendars (I use two different calendars: Exchange for work and Google for personal. It took me WAY TOO LONG to find an Android app that would merge both into an interface I liked and reliably sync both to and from my phone, iPad, office and home computers. Business Calendar Pro was the answer, if you are in Android and have the same issue)
  • data from my UP app and Jawbone
  • important things like my bowling score app 🙂

I am curious to see how Apple’s new Move to iOS app will work as described when I first read about it this past summer. I have it downloaded on my Galaxy phone ready for action. If the propaganda is true, this will be the easiest migration ever (even moving from Galaxy S 3 to 4 was a pain). The reviews are bad right now so that makes me wonder. But, the comments seem mostly from folks who are mad that Apple would even put this app in the Google Play store. That makes sense. Google does finally play nicely with Apple stuff and I can use my Google ecosystem, of which I am pretty well vested, on either device. If only Apple would put their stuff on Google’s platform and then consumers win as they can pick and choose the device that works best for them – size-wise, cost-wise, memory-wise and so forth.

So, in short order, time will tell if my migration is short and easy or will take time and effort. If short and easy, we may find switchers going back and forth all of the time. Apple may have anticipated that and that is another reason why they are offering the Apple iPhone Forever plan so they keep you locked in.

I will report back how my migration went and what lessons I learned. Stay tuned.


Image Credit: Appdroid & Anedople by Tsahi Levent-Levi used by Creative Commons License.