Day: April 22, 2014

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

09:41 – Sankie’s funeral is Thursday. I’ve arranged with the neighbors to walk Colin while we’re gone and keep an eye on our house. Barbara is heading over to her mom’s apartment this morning to meet Frances and get the place ready to meet people after the funeral.

Meanwhile, it turns out that the Opera workaround for getting labels printed on the USPS website was not the permanent fix I’d hoped it was. I had kits to ship yesterday, so I fired up Opera and entered the data for the labels. When I attempted to pay for them, I got the old “payment method denied” message. So I fired up Chrome or Firefox, I forget which, and clicked on the link to pay for the labels in my cart. This time it worked, and I was able to pay for some of the labels, get them printed, and get the kits shipped. Not all of the kits, though. The USPS web site choked on the foreign shipments, so I have two kits going to Canada that are still sitting in the cart.

So I tried using PayPal shipping for the Canadian kits. No dice. It appeared to work normally. It let me pay from my PayPal balance. But PayPal uses Pitney-Bowes, which doesn’t produce a downloadable PDF label. Instead it runs a script that is supposed to send the label to your printer, but doesn’t allow you to save a copy of the label. Long story short, I could not get the label to either printer no matter what I tried. Bastards.

I decided to give up trying to make this work. I checked the Costco site for Windows notebook systems. Barbara is going to pick one up for me while she’s out today. Assuming that solves the USPS label problem, I will dedicate that system to printing labels.

13:19 – Barbara called from Costco to say they had literally no Dell laptops. Apparently, they’re in the midst of a model-year changeover. They did have a few Toshiba and HP laptops, but I told her I wasn’t interested in any of those and that I’d just order on-line.

I checked Amazon, which of course had slews of laptops, but everything they had in Dell models was more expensive than Costco. And Amazon doesn’t have the doubled warranty or the easy return. I ordered a model that was a couple steps up from the bottom model Costco carried. It has an Intel Core i3 rather than a Celeron. Only a 500 GB 5400 RPM hard drive and 4 GB of RAM, but that’s fine for what I want it for. No touch screen, which I explicitly didn’t want. The total, with $30 shipping and sales tax, was just over $400. Not bad.

It comes with Windows 8.1. If there’s an option at first boot to choose Win 7, I’ll do that. Otherwise, I’ll probably install the shell program that several readers have recommended.

Oh, and a guy just showed up at the front door with flowers for Barbara. I called to see how her day was going, and mentioned the flowers. I also made it very clear that they’re not from me. (Barbara has told me in the past that if I ever buy her flowers she’ll know I’ve been up to no good…) She claims that she doesn’t think I’m funny (although just about every other woman I know does think I’m funny…) but she did laugh at that.

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