Skype on HTC Touch 3450
A quick and early update about Skype on HTC Touch 3450.
I never worked before with Windows Mobile so I felt like a kid in a candy shop reading the manual, synchronizing and installing Skype.
The HTC does not support 3G but WiFi. It connected to my WiFi without problems and within minutes I was using Skype.
The speed it downloaded my extensively contact list and the rather huge amount of multi chats with, really surprised me.
I tested another application a while ago and it took ages to download but with GPRS10, it was done after 7 minutes. I have the same account running on my laptop and chats got updated on the HTC only a split second after they arrived on the laptop.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Skype on HTC Touch 3450
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Skype for Windows Mobile, TMC, SD and CF cards, and Digital Camera’s
I took the plunge! One of my mobile subscriptions is going to end in January. It will be sad to say goodbye to a subscription that only costs € 2,50 per month (incl. VAT) including 500 free calling minutes per month to mobile phones of the same provider and / or landlines within Holland.
I still have the same subscription running for another mobile though I never managed to talk 500 minutes per month lat alone 1000!
I will start a totally new subscription and this time for a PDA, the HTC Touch 3450. I could not resist the offer of Telfort NL and signed up for 180 free calling minutes per month, the phone for € 49 and unlimited mailing, surfing, chatting for € 25 per month.
I am going to enter a whole new world too, that of the Skype for Closed Windows Mobile Beta Tester. Not that I am going to tell you my experiences as one though!! But, as you can see, nobody is too old to learn.
I read many reviews about the HTC. I also had the choice for a Nokia 95 (although a more expensive subscription) but many Testers I know use the Nokia. I wanted something different.
Wise or not, I don’t know. The future will tell!
I will probably use one of my “lighter” Skype accounts (e.g. my business account as the phone will be used for business) for working with all the Multi Chats I daily participate in and over 500 contacts, any PDA would have difficulties loading. But you never know. The GPRS10 might do well. I can keep you informed about that.
Yes, the Nokia95 also has Navigator on board but for this I use my wonderful Navman F20. I bough it when I got lost in a nearby village with 1000 inhabitants.
Don’t laugh……….!! It is horrible to have no sense of directions at all. (Yes yes.. I know!! Women can’t read Maps. Actually, I am too practical for reading maps…) And it gets worse when it is a village (although just 1000 people) with 2 main roads with two churches with both a school opposite…..
I can assure you that ever since, the F20 saved me a lot of money ánd time. And we all know, for a business owner, time is money!
My F20 was one of the very first (great offer) with only the BeNeLux installed. Thanks to the excellent written directions to my brother and his family in Germany, I finally go there without a map, I know it by heart. But I do go elsewhere too and finally took the decision to buy a Western Europe SD card and, due to the increasing traffic jams in Holland, the TMC T1 module.
Being used to use my money carefully, I browsed the Internet for price differences and was surprised. Even though I bought genuine Navman products, I saved altogether € 75!! It helps to spend an hour browsing the Net.
This on the business side.
Privately I am keen on products on Marktplaats, a bit similar to eBay. I learned over the years that you can buy beautiful kept 2nd hand products for a very low price. I am patient, I only buy what I need and like, not what I only fancy. One of the things I was looking for was an antique brass mirror. I found one not far from where I live and put my offer on.
Marktplaats offers the option to browse the other ads of the same person and there I found a Digital Camera, the Fuji FinePix S602Zoom. Not that I am looking for a camera with less or even the same Mega Pixels as my wonderful little Pentax Optio 50L which travelled with me to many places (and besides that the price of € 150 for a camera from 2002 was way too high in my opinion) but I got interested in reading more about the Fuji FinePix digitals.
I read reviews of different types, looked for photo’s on Picasa Web and ended up with a great interest in the Fuji FinePix S9500Zoom. I browsed Marktplaats and found them all (but one) way above my budget.
The very one that was close to my budget was put up for sale by a very nice couple who accepted my offer.
And tomorrow (Thursday) I am going to collect my “new” Digital Camera.
My wish was saving for a Digital SLR (Single Lens Reflex, I still own and use an “old fashioned” one) but after reading several articles, I full hearted changed to the Digital Fixed Lens. An extra option of the FL is that you can also use it for Video. The S9500 does not need switching lenses which keeps the dust out of the camera.
I ordered a 4GB CF card because I am known to take loads and loads of pictures and choose the ones that go up in my Public Web Albums, from there.
I love photography and I am one of the many people at Skype who have photography as their hobby. Many of my colleagues are extremely well skilled.
For me it started many, many years ago but only since the late 80’s it became a hobby. Being at the other end of the camera (I dislike being on photo’s a lot) is definitely giving me joy! I still have some old camera’s I occasionally use and as mentioned before, the non Digital SLR.
For a long time frequently developing and printing photo's was not within my budget and you can imagine my joy when I received my first Digital Camera and later the Pentax for my birthday.
Although the Pentax takes wonderful pictures, I felt limited during my last holiday in Yorkshire, especially regarding super macro shots, zoom and telelens. But it was not until the Fuji came to my attention that I really decided to buy another one. And no, my Pentax is not for sale! It fits so well in the inner pocket of my “multi pocket photography / holiday coat”. And it has always been loyal: I find it difficult to abandon or replace loyal and useful products….
Thursday and Friday are two exiting days: the arrival of new “toys” for business and private use.
I will keep you updated!!
Posted by Helen Varras at 8:43 pm
Thursday, December 13, 2007
How special: forward Good..
Yesterday afternoon, up to my ears and beyond with work, the doorbell rang.
At my doorstep were three 7 years old girls from the one and only primary school in our village. This school happens to be opposite where I live.
“Hello” they said in choir, “we do a project at school and visit people to do little jobs. Do you have a job for us?” I asked them if they needed to be paid for it. This was the case last year and all the money went to charity.
“No, it is just to do Good to people” That sounds nice! Do I need to write a letter how well you did the job? “No, we do Good without receiving anything in return”
I was impressed. I know my village as being nice and disinterested helpful but I never take this for granted. I also know another world out there. Teaching kids “to do Good” this way is in my humble opinion, wonderful!
I indeed had a little job for them.
Whilst pruning the Ivy last week Saturday, my mother got ill and was rushed to Hospital. I left the stairs and all the cut Ivy as it was. When home again late at night, I only took the stairs inside an never found the time to remove the old Ivy.
I gave them a bag, broom and gloves and off they went.
15 minutes later they rang my doorbell again. “We are ready!!” They did a great job, my garden looked neat again. I invited them in for a piece of early Christmas cake. The loved my curious cats and the dog and after 10 minutes and lots of praises my side, they left.
Half an hour later they were back. “We forgot to tell you something! We forgot to mention that it is a forwarding thingy. We do Good to you and you do Good to someone else. We know you are too old to do a garden job elsewhere (…..thank you sweetheart….. :-)) so maybe you tell someone else you love her of him. Or hug someone or send a card”
I said this was a wonderful idea and I would give my mother the biggest hug in the world when I was going to visit her in hospital that evening. She on her turn could hug someone else.
The girls were more then happy with these arrangements and with a “Bye for now” and a wave, the left.
But half an hour later two of the girls rang my doorbell again. “We are so sorry that were are back but we made you a Christmas card at school.” 4 happy eyes watched me reading a bright purple card with a green Christmas tree at the front, a smiley inside and the words “We wish you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Regards Lisette and Janette” plus a bright shiny sun.
I wrapped my arms around them and gave them a big hug, tears in my eyes.
I never could have guessed waking up yesterday morning that happiness was to be found right at my doorstep!
Of course I forwarded “Good” and a little bit more: also Love, to my lovely Mum.
And herewith also to everyone I know and not know. Actually to the whole world.
Be good and forward Good to others!
Posted by Helen Varras at 9:06 pm
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Holiday without Skype
The past months have been extremely busy.
Several business trips to Tallinn and one to Prague. Of course all nice and fruitful but together with my 'normal' work at the office at home, I did 60 – 80 hours a week. And yes, I got tired.
I haven’t been on holiday for 6 years. Apart from 4 days per year to lovely Yorkshire. But that is not a proper holiday.
My last holiday, two weeks to Sweden, was in 2001. I was extremely tired at the time and developed a high fever when in Sweden. Home again they checked my blood and it showed I had a badly neglected Glandular Fever.
So, it was time for another holiday and now without a Glandular Fever!!
There were two countries I liked to go to: Sweden (Värmland) and England (Yorkshire). Both beautiful in Autumn, my most favourite season.
A holiday to Sweden is expensive when you go by car and believe me, you need a car.
Thus it was Yorkshire where I was going to stay in the Cottage of my foster brother who is a true Yorkshireman, living in Dortmund for over 42 years.
His cottage is in a small village in Nidderdale. From there it is easy to explore the Dales. Either walking or by car.When I am in Yorkshire, I have usually very good weather and this holiday was no exception. Only one day with rain and many days with a beautiful blue sky.
I have been visiting many places- Europe largest Abbey Ruin “Fountains Abbey”, my favourite Ruin “Jervaulx Abbey”, the abandoned farmhouse in Wharfedale
For the first time since 1978, Ripley Castle was open for tours and of course I went to see it. All other times I was there, the Castle was closed due to renovation, weddings, parties etc.
But I will tell you all much more about the Abbey’s and the Castle at a different time.
First enjoy The Yorkshire Dales as I see them. You can either click the link to my albums or view the slide shows below (or double click the slides).
Right now I am still in Yorkshire and will be fully back at the office and computer on Monday the 29th
Until then, please ignore me, I am enjoying a wonderful holiday!!
Link to Album in Colour
Link to Album in Black and White
Posted by Helen Varras at 11:29 pm
Monday, September 10, 2007
A worm affecting Skype for windows users
The new week has started with a bang for Skype. And not the kind of bang they or anyone else using Skype, likes.
Here’s what Kurt Sauer, Skype’s Chief Security Officer, has to say:
“Skype has learned that a computer virus called “w32/Ramex.A” is affecting users of Skype for Windows. Users whose computers are infected with this virus will send a chat message to other Skype users asking them to click on a web link that can infect the computer of the person who receives the message.
“Please note that Skype users ONLY become infected after they have downloaded the link and run the malicious software. The chat message, of which there are several versions, is cleverly written and may appear to be a legitimate chat message, which may fool some users into clicking on the link.
“Skype has been in contact with the leading antivirus software companies about this worm, and we know that they are updating their software to effectively stop this worm and as well as its side effects. Currently, F-Secure and Kaspersky Lab have already updated their antivirus products to detect and remove the worm.
“We would like to encourage our users to ensure that they are running anti-virus software on their computers and to download the latest anti-virus updates in order to provide the best protection against this and other viruses.”
More information can be found at heartbeat.skype.com. Wishing you a virus-free week."
Link: Share Skype
Posted by Helen Varras at 3:47 pm
Sunday, September 09, 2007
In what way are Skype and Samovars related? Well, in no way. So: off topic…
It is easy to buy new objects you like and when you have a medium (or minimum) budget, rare new objects are mostly out of reach. Only mass production is available. Even then you can find nice things you like to decorate your house with.
Though I come from a family who always loved antiques. My grandfather who was as much addicted to books as I am, often visited the “Waterlooplein” in Amsterdam and more then once he returned with an antique object. I am now talking about before the 2nd World War.
All 4 children of my grandparents inherited the love for antiques and even in Canada with my Mother’s sister, you find precious objects.
My uncle stayed in the 500 year old house they lived in most of their lives (once painted by Monet) and filled it with even more antiques. My Mother and her eldest sister went into the antique business and my Mothers greatest joy was giving neglected antiques a second life.
And those genes I inherited. Browsing Car Boot Sales, Second Hand Markets, Charity Shops is fun. Not seldom you find an object which purpose is long forgotten.
Needles to say that programs like Flog It, Antique Road Show and Bargain Hunt are some of my favourites.
And bless the Internet. Because I only search close to home (radius 25 km’s), I prefer Marktplaats and subscribed to many RSS feeds. I am patient, I can wait for years to find the object I am looking for and the price I want to pay for it. I don’t mind if it is a totally neglected object as I love, like my Mother, to use my hands to give it a second chance. I never buy anything that I don’t want or which doesn’t go with the other decoration. And I don’t sell it again!
The feeling of creating and improving is a wonderful feeling. Achieving the result you wanted, gives great pleasure. Often during the “restoration” objects tell you a story. Like my recently purchased Samovar (or Samowar) -->
For those who don't know what a Samovar is, it is a heated metal container traditionally used to heat and boil water in and around Russia, as well as in other Slavic nations, Iran and Turkey. Since the heated water is usually used for making tea, many Samovars have an attachment on top of its lid to hold and heat a teapot filled with tea concentrate.
I always fancied one but for many years they were hardly for sale. But I found one not far from where I live, advertised as a “tea pot”. It is good to use your imagination when searching.
The man who sold it, got it from an old lady who never explained what it was. He did not know what to do with it and sold it to me for € 10. The once so beautiful yellow shiny brass was now brown and unattractive. But I knew what was underneath and looked forward to giving it a proper polish.
The Samovar is not complete, some tiny little parts are missing but I know I will find them one day. Home I started polishing and doing this, I discovered a very old and well used Samovar. Inside it was full of boiler scale. Caused by the water in the country side? Also some miner repairs were done to it with great love. The foot was black from standing in coal to heat the water.
Not a rich man’s Samovar but definitely from a family who treasured it because they either inherited it from loved ones or were to poor to buy a new one. Maybe it has been a wedding gift. From a more wealthy family member, friend? Or paid for by many people together? It served a purpose and heated water for endless cups of tea for probably several generations.
I browsed the Internet for pictures and the history of Samovars and found (where is that site again??) pictures which explained the age of Samovars judged by their parts. This way I found out that mine dates back to 1880.
How many generations is that? Seven? Will it have been used by a farmers wife to cook tea when the family came home after a hard day working? Did the endless cups of tea warm cold hands? Did it get an extra polish when visitors came over for tea?
Did it always stay in one place until it moved to Holland? Were the previous owners immigrants or did they buy it somewhere?
I know it is slightly damaged but it is not leaking. The careful repairs took care of that and still hold. But I will not use it to boil water for my own tea. Not because I don’t have coal to heat and put the Samovar on top but because it deserves a well earned rest 127 years after it was used for the very first time.
Could it speak, it would tell me a fascinating history, painted in colourful words. Now it only speaks to me by the shine of the brass, the careful repairs and the missing parts.
I listen carefully...
Posted by Helen Varras at 3:29 pm
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Skype 2.7 for Mac beta is out
Finally where so many mac users have been waiting for!! Skype 2.7 is out....
Villu Arak reports on Skype's blog:
"We’ve now released Skype 2.7 for Mac beta. With “beta” on the label, there may be some wrinkles, kinks and unsprayed bugs which we’ll remove in time for a public release. With that in mind, feel free to download and play with it.
Here’s what’s new:
- Group contacts – organize your contacts into as many groups as you need. While there are some pre-defined groups (like Online, Waiting Authorization, Recently Contacted), you’re free to add new ones that suit your life. This should be a godsend to those whose contact list has ballooned to hundreds of Skype users. Explore this nifty feature under the cogwheel icon on the main screen.
- See your Apple Address Book contacts in Skype - easily call or SMS anyone who has a phone number in their address-book profile. When texting, just make sure the number is one that belongs to a mobile phone.
- Create and manage public chats by clicking on Chats in the menu bar and choosing Start Public Chat. A public-chat assistant will walk you through the necessary steps.
- Auto Redial for busy or unconnected calls. When your call hits the busy signal, Skype will give you the option of automatic redial every two minutes until the call goes through. This setting can also be adjusted in Skype > Preferences > Calls.
- Easy sound-level controls – when you need to tweak the sound level during a call, use a simple slider in the call window.
- Overhauled file transfer – wearing a more fashionable jacket, file-transfer now looks elegant and acts even nicer, especially when receiving many files at once.
Download Skype 2.7 for Mac beta at skype.com/go/getskype-macosx-beta
Oh, and one last thing: if the default language on your Mac is Czech or Norwegian, Skype 2.7 Mac beta will automatically follow suit. "
Posted by Helen Varras at 4:29 pm
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Skype!! Uuhhmm……. Skype what???? (year 2057)
Sometimes my Skype friend Jean Mercier and I have long discussions about life (and Skype of course as part of life).
Tonight we talked about his father and my mother who are unfortunately not at all in good health.
You accept this happens at their age and you know it soon will be your turn.
OK, not soon, hopefully we still have a long time to go, but still.
Jean said that being the eldest of brothers and sisters, statistically he should go first. For me with a younger brother, this is the same.
But in my family from Mum's and Dad's side, it was always the youngest that passed away first with the eldest now being in their 80’s, still reasonable fit or even still going strong.
I told Jean: “you will turn 90 and I will PM you a birthday wish on Skype” (meaning that I, 2 years older, will at least survive him :-))
Then we had the discussion if Skype would still exists in 2057. Here is a challenge for Skype! Different groups of Beta Testers: juniors, middle aged and the tough veterans from the first hour.
But indeed, will Skype still exists or do Jean and I need a complete new way of Electronic Telepathy (which he starts inventing from today just in case….) to communicate from our Homes for Elderly People?
Will Skype be a nice memory?
I talking about my great time with Skype as a Beta Testers and Head of Communications and Forum Operations.
Or will they ask: “Skype???? What is Skype?????”
(If you already wondered about our avatars and moodmessages, now you know.... )
Posted by Helen Varras at 10:51 pm
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Pamfax and Skype!
Pamela did it again. This time with PamFax.....
A feature where hundreds of users (maybe even thousands, no… millions ) have been waiting for. And I am definitely one of those millions.
Searching Skype’s Forums you will find many topics about “sending a fax through Skype”.
This is not possible with Skype itself but Dick Schifferli of Pamela and his Team worked hard to build an application for this.
After months of testing (I was so very proud to be one of the beta testers), PamFax is now live!!
Anywhere you are in the world with an internet connection and Skype installed on your computer, you can send faxes. I still remember the very first fax machine and thought it was a true miracle. Again I have the same thoughts about Pamfax.
The costs for sending a fax is very low, only 17 Euro cent (please check other rates). Especially when you only do a few faxes a week or maybe a day like all small business, this is cost saving. Now you can get rid of that extra landline. No subscription to web based fax facilities that cost you nothing to receive faxes but quite a lot of money to send them.
Pay with your Skype Credits. You can reserve some of your credits for it. It can’t be easier!
PamFax perfectly integrates into Windows and Microsoft Office (2003 and 2007). In Windows Explorer, you can fax any supported document from the context menu of the file. A PamFax toolbar button is added to Microsoft Office to directly fax the current document from Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel.
But there is much more. Visit PamFax and learn about this GREAT program!
I can assure you that you will it as much as I do….
· Simple to use:
o Fully integrated with Skype
o User friendly wizard makes sending a fax a breeze
o Send faxes from Word/Excel 2003/2007
o Easy payment with your Skype Credit
· Preview your fax
· Status notification via Skype Chat, email and/or SMS
· Many supported file types
· Send a fax to multiple recipients
· Portal with fax history and settings
· Add an optional cover page (several choices)
· Send only a cover page with a message
· Reserve Skype Credit for faxing so you can one-click fax
Posted by Helen Varras at 11:37 pm
Friday, August 03, 2007
Being Unfaithful and Skype
First of all I have to apologise to all my readers. I have been rather unfaithful to all of you over the past 4 weeks.
Not that there was nothing to report. On the contrary, there was far too much to post.
Much info on Skype and much to do in my new job with Skype.
A lot of travelling. Running in and out airports in London and Tallinn, my own office, home.
Believe it or not, I love every minute of it but it does not always allows me to do things outside the regular work. Yes,I consider my blog to be work with a private touch, still….
The true Skypers and Skype News hoarders have no doubt, been browsing the Internet so no need for me to highlight interesting news over the past month.
From now on I hope to be up and running Blogwise again.
End of this part of being unfaithful…
So, how can you be unfaithful to Skype?
No, although a Skype addict, I am not married to Skype. And I don’t mean the company but the Skype client, that great wonderful program on your computer.
One of the most wonderful and by me most used features is File Transfer (FT).
I prefer to send PDF’s and use Primo PDF, a great free program (donations welcome) to convert my documents.
Although FT in Skype is fully encrypted, I also prefer my documents to stay the way they are at the other side of the Internet, hence my love for Primo PDF.
E-mail is still the most used way to “transfer” any document to someone else but there are limitations regarding the MB’s let alone GB’s) you can send. And that is what I love with Skype’s FT. You can easily send 1 GB. With a good internet connection it goes without problems.
As a Beta tester I sometimes need to send huge logs which could never been done in any other way then via FT.
Note that there can be a delay when you are also on the phone with Skype.
When receiving the File you can immediately save it to the correct folder. You can open it immediately or leave it in the folder until you have time to view it.
Documents, pictures, logs, presentations, you name it, transfers work like charm with Skype FT.
Forget about the hassle with e-mail attachments: open a new message, add the receiver, write your message, attach your file and send.
You will not even know if it arrived until it is confirmed by the receiver. His / her anti SPAM tool might have refused it. Or he / she is receiving already so much e-mail that yours is overlooked. That happened to a few e-mails I sent this week.
This caused a huge sigh at my side. I screamed: “Please!! Use Skype!”
Why running Skype and being so unfaithful to one of its great, useful, businesslike, quick and easy to use features?
There are more features I am faithful to but will blog about them another time.
Faithfulness is just great! Sharing it even more....
Posted by Helen Varras at 1:05 pm
Friday, July 06, 2007
It is my birthday
And I don’t want to celebrate it. No, this has nothing to do with my age because I found out growing older, has a lot of advantages. E.G. when you behave silly, younger people think “Just ignore, she is old anyway”
Older people think: “Isn’t it nice to be that young?” So 50+ is a great time of your life with hardly any obligations and regulations. You are in between generations and this gives you an enormous freedom.
I don’t want to celebrate my birthday because I never liked it, not when I was way younger and not now.
I also tend to forget other people’s birthday but that is a different story.
I admire the Swedes who give a real party every 5th year and in between they have “name days”.
Maybe that is why I feel at home in Sweden.
Over the past years I managed to “hide” myself with many valid excuses but this year I don’t have any.
Well, I have but they are ignored. Being busy seems not to be a valid excuse anymore. Though it is true!! I am busy. Up to my ears in office work today, tomorrow, Sunday etc. etc. But tomorrow is planned for an early rise and food shopping. After that I need to prune my Ivy which is consuming parts of my roof.
And this can’t wait because the painters arrive Monday. So it is not just pruning but it is also cleaning the woodwork from the traces of the Ivy and I can tell you, that is a lot of work!! Yes, yes, I know. I should have kept it clean regularly but I haven’t. No time on my hands.
Sometimes you need a valid reason to start jobs like this but it also means I can’t do anything else.
Tonight brother, sis in law and I celebrate my birthday at Mum’s which is more relaxing for Mum.
And on Sunday I see other relatives and friends. I know that I am going to enjoy it because they are all great people.
And I also enjoyed all the happy birthdays via Skype from family, friends and colleagues tremendously.
They helped to bring me in the right mood! And when I can empty my brains before tonight, I might even enjoy having my birthday.
But why is that song playing around in my head all day long? You know which song I mean. Yes, exactly, that one: “It is my party and I cry if I want to” although in my case nobody is leaving. No, they are coming to celebrate!
Posted by Helen Varras at 5:59 pm
Thursday, July 05, 2007
No wireless connection
No, this is not the reason why I haven’t been posting for so long…. Just been very busy getting used to my new job at Skype, flying around, getting stucked in the tube in London, jumping on the plane at 20.25 when it was supposed to leave 20.25, long hours at the office etc. etc. I am not complaining though!! I love every minute of my work.
My work yes, if the wireless allows me to do my work. So, what happened.
Last night my IP had a problem. Maybe due to the huge thunderstorm we had. What ever, I lost my Internet Connection for an hour or so. When connected again, I switched on my modem, router, laptops and WiFi phone because there were loads of work waiting.
Old laptop and WiFi phone were doing fine but with me “new” laptop, I could not connect to the Internet.
Wrong IP address. Odd because all other devices were ok, why not this one?
I plugged in a cable from the laptop to the router and to my surprise, this worked ok. The correct IP address. All clients listed in the router, all settings correctly.
Mmm… I puzzled and puzzled, reset everything, uninstalled Broadcom, rebooted, puzzled again but at 1 AM I still had the same problem. My provider couldn’t tell what happened, or even better: how to solve it, either.
A bit frustrated because I am earning a living with my laptop, I went to bed but even asleep I was looking for solutions. AAARRRGGGHHH....…….
I dropped a message in the Beta chat about the problem and Martin, Beta tester for Skype, spent numerous hours trying to sort out what was wrong. He never got tired with giving advices, downloading the manual of my router, going through al options not once but numerous times, etc. etc. Unbelievable patient and supportive.
He and I felt frustrated when around 4 PM, the problem was still not solved. I owe him a huge beer next time I see him.
We gave up and I phoned HP who had some other tricks up their sleeve but again, no solution. Starting up in the safe mode though triggered a long forgotten action with me: a system restore……..
But after all we went through, HP thought it was worth trying but he feared the worst.
I have never watched the screen of my laptop as intense as I did during the system restore and reboot.
Like I was watching a thriller: eyes wide open, fingers entangled, biting my lip. I almost forgot to breath!
And yes!! Wifi was back to normal, correct IP, excellent connection. Gosh, I was soooooooooo happy!!
Thank you Martin, thank you HP for all your time and patience, I will never forget that.
But what did cause this time consuming problem? We still don’t know. Will it remain a mystery for ever or can I invite you to my puzzle?
Posted by Helen Varras at 9:03 pm
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
IM+ for Skype Software: BlackBerry, Palm, Symbian, Java Phones, What's Next?
SHAPE Services announced today the availability of three beta versions of IM+ for Skype Software for Java phones, Symbian S60 and Palm OS. These beta versions are intended for people, who want to make cheap mobile calls within Skype ecosystem and to landline numbers. Since Java version of the application works on all Java-enabled phones including smartphones with Symbian OS, Skype on mobile is now available for hundreds of millions users worldwide. SHAPE welcomes everyone to participate in a beta round and experience Skype features on the new platforms.
IM+ for Skype Software lets the users "experience a new era in the AlwaysOn world" as noted by Jim Courtney, Skype Journal's editor and a big fan of Skype.
Posted by Helen Varras at 1:07 pm
Monday, June 18, 2007
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Skype's Ironing File Transfer
Is this a new feature of Skype? You might have thought you missed something at Skype’s Blog.
Do you like the idea? I am sure a whole new business is born....
Imagine you live in Friesland and are talking to your friend in Liverpool who told you he had done the ironing today but he has to force himself to do it (he doesn't like it). You tease him by asking him if he would like to do some more, e.g. your blouses, trousers and tea towels.
He replies he could handle the tea towels and of course, you don’t say no.
So off you go, you add them to a sheet or two (preferable Excel for a speedy transfer), click the File Transfer button and if you are lucky, your friend accepts.
I asked if they could be ironed before Monday, which gives me some time to sit with my feet high up on Sunday.
I like it. A Virtual Ironing Business for Busy Businessmen and Women.
(With thanks to Ian who was so nice to do my tea towels…)
Posted by Helen Varras at 10:48 pm
Paul Potts winning the Semi Final
Surprise? Of course not!! View and lsiten....
Posted by Helen Varras at 7:42 pm
Friday, June 15, 2007
Paul Potts sings Nessun Dorma
I know, I am a female and female seem to spill tears more easily then males.
But I bet that after viewing this video, you, male or female are either as speechless as I was and / or cry your own tear or two.
This man does not only have a fantastic voice but also (from my point of view) a very high cuddle rate.
A huge applause for Paul Potts with a thank you to Mark who e-mailed me the link.
Posted by Helen Varras at 11:21 pm
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Using Skype to teach English in Germany
Mark O’Neill, a true and proud Scotsman, living in Germany is a part time language teacher.
He is teaching English to Germans. Surprisingly enough, he does not suffer from an identity crisis (yet)….
Mark who loves his own private space and who is a great Skype believer, thinks the world of Skype when it comes to teaching English.
It allows him to work from home and it allows the pupils not to invite them into their home.
With a webcam you only need to be presentable with your upper body parts (and wear pyjama trousers and checker slippers underneath) and off you go. The pupil can watch you pronouncing the word and when it gets really tough, you use the Skype Chat to write.
With the “Send Money” feature in Skype, you don’t have to be afraid you don’t receive your teaching fee.
Mark has some excellent additional ideas but appreciates help to achieve them. Mark: “I do have a problem which perhaps someone could help me out with. I am going to scan some flashcards into a Powerpoint presentation and I am looking for a way to share that presentation online with the student in real-time. So when we are both on Skype and the lesson starts, I would open the Powerpoint presentation and it opens at the same time at the student's end. They see what I see. Anyone have any idea how I could go about that?”
If anyone wants English lessons over Skype, do not hesitate to contact Mark!
Posted by Helen Varras at 4:47 pm
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
A while ago I blogged about my friend and namesake Ineke who received at the age of 32, a horrible message from her Oncologist. Her Skin Cancer had spread to her ribs, there was no cure. She was going to die.
Oh yes, radiation was possible when the metastases were going to cause her pain. However, no cure, no solution.
Ineke wanted a second opinion and went to the Anthony van Leeuwenhoek Ziekenhuis(specialized in Cancer treatments) and was told that she probably qualified for a new treatment. Not that it would cure the Cancer but it could slow down the growth.
Unfortunately, her dossier was missing, the other Hospital sent it and the AvL never received it.
They took blood of Ineke, did a CT scan and after two weeks she returned for the outcome.
They could not find anything wrong in her blood and they could not see anything on the CT scan so she did not qualify for the trial.
This was an odd outcome after the statement of the other Hospital. Although her dossier was back, the MRI scan was still missing. The Hospital scheduled an MRI scan of the brains and Ineke returned for her appointment.
She lay on the table for her scan and had to wait for a very long time. Then the doctor showed up, told her that they finally received the MRI results from the other Hospital and based on that and the outcome of their own test and that MRI scan, there was no reason for another MRI.
Ineke, glad she lay down already, got dizzy and confused. “But they told me I had metastases and that I was going to die!” The doctor understood her feelings and said that he only saw a broken rib on the old MRI and some blood cloths but no Cancer!
He called for an Oncologist (Ineke’s own Oncologist was in the US attending a seminar) who explained again that there was nothing wrong apart from a slightly swollen node in her left groin. Something that needs be to monitored closely but nothing to worry about right now.
Ineke got more and more confused, afraid someone was very wrong here. The Oncologist made sure she went for her MRI straight away and again no Cancer.
Ineke explained in an e-mail how she felt, what was going round and round in her head, her worries, her joys, her disbelieve and finally realizing she got a life again, a future! That her boyfriend Mark was not going to live in their new house which they just started to build, on his own but together with Ineke. And that the possibility of raising a family was back.
But she also realized that if she hadn’t asked for a second opinion, she would never had known she was not going to die. And every painful spot was treated with radiation. And believe me, if you are diagnosed with metastases, you will accept that every little painful spot, is related to that. What a very scary thought….
Ineke asked all of us not to e-mail her with euphoric Hurray’s but to respect her wish to let it all sink in. She would come back to us with another e-mail if she felt up to replies.
One week later we received an e-mail with the text: “Please click the link below, you are invited to a party”
This alone was good news, knowing that Ineke was going to celebrate her new life!
But when I logged on to the link, the photo album of Ineke and Mark, I cried. Happy tears though!!
It was not just an invitation to a party…. No, it was an invitation to their wedding! Ineke and Mark are going to get married the 27th of June.
What a wonderful way to celebrate life. A future together…..
Posted by Helen Varras at 5:24 pm
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Skype Reaching Out to Developers
The fourth annual eBay Developers Conference opened yesterday in Boston, and Skype is encouraging developers to attend and become part of its Skype Extras program. The conference runs through Wednesday.
The company built Skype Extras up to bring some direction and momentum to the efforts of independent apps developers who are making use of the program's APIs to create applications that extend and enhance the VoIP service. Accessible through the latest version of the softphone client (Tools/Do More/Get Extras), Extras Manager showcases and facilitates the downloading of more than 50 Extras, in some 10 categories.
The basic idea is that Skype selects and certifies the interoperability of the best add-ons submitted, thus enriching the Skype experience, and developers get a far more efficient conduit through which to distribute their work.
Ted Stevenson reports
Posted by Helen Varras at 1:57 pm
Monday, June 11, 2007
Upgraded Skype version needed to continue using Skypecasts
Skype's engineers have made Skypecasts sound better than ever before. And they want to make sure you enjoy them more than ever before.
Which is why they are asking users to upgrade their Skype software. Windows users should download Skype for Windows 3.2 or later, and Mac users should run at least Skype for Mac 2.6.
Why do all that? As of June 13, older versions will simply no longer be compatible with Skypecasts. Sounds like a bummer, but it’s actually a good thing. The whole Skypecast experience will be better. And upgrading — even just for the hell of it — should make everyone feel good and fashionable anyway..
Posted by Helen Varras at 5:37 pm
Friday, June 08, 2007
Skype To Go (part of SkypePro)
Make international calls from your mobile at local rates
"You live in Sweden and you have a mobile in your pocket. And a friend in San Nicolás de los Garza. But calling this impossibly beautiful-sounding place in Mexico would burn a hole in said pocket.
Enter Skype To Go. It’s part of Skype Pro and you can use it to ring your Mexican friend — let’s call him Ishmael — from your mobile phone for as long as you want. It’s not entirely free, but at least there’s no burnin’ holes in anybody’s pants.
Allow me to demonstrate:
Start by downloading Skype onto your computer. Sign up to Skype Pro for €2 (€2.30 with VAT included) per month and, as a Skype Pro customer, you will receive a Skype To Go number at no additional cost. To activate your Skype To Go number, enter Ishmael’s number and in return, you’ll get a local number to use instead. To reach Ishmael, just dial this number from any phone. Including the one in your pocket.
Voila! Calling San Nicolás de los Garza now costs the same as calling the bowling alley across the street, plus the small SkypeOut rate to call Mexico. (For an official explanation, see the official Skype To Go page)
Skype to Go is not yet available in all Skype Pro countries, however. So for now, I’m afraid you need to live in one of these places: Australia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hong Kong, Japan, Poland, Sweden, UK and the US."
Villu reports at Skype's Blog
Posted by Helen Varras at 2:15 pm
Skype complains to FCC about locked phones
Jun 7 2007 - VoIP industry giant Skype has filed a complaint with the US FCC complaining about the locked mobile phones which are supplied by the mobile service providers in the country.
They said in their complaint: “Carriers are using their considerable influence over handset design and usage to maintain control over and limit subscribers’ right to run software communications applications of their choosing.”
The complaint adds: “In an effort to prefer their own affiliated services and exclude rivals, carriers have disabled or crippled consumer-friendly features of mobile devices.”
Skype is further claiming that these actions are in violation of the FCC rules which allow the customers to use any device to connect to the phone networks in the country.
Skype wants the mobile users in the country to be free to choose the services they want to access using their mobile devices.
Gene Kimmelman, director of Consumers Union is in support of the demands made by Skype: “You’re never going to get a competitive market if the device you use is controlled by one company and you have to spend an arm and a leg to shift to alternatives.”
Jun 7 2007.Press Release
Posted by Helen Varras at 2:13 pm
Sunday, June 03, 2007
I got blogtagged and I tag some more
Once in while I browse the blogs of colleague bloggers. For sure I subscribed to their feeds but I know in busy times, I miss posts.
Today I came across the blogtag post of Jaanus from December 2006.
Blogtagging is a little game where you got blogtagged by someone else. You then have to share five things that are not commonly known about you.
Then you tag 5 more people and the game starts rolling.
5 things that not many people know, mmmm….. not that easy as I am quite open in my newsletters to family and friends. But I give it a try.
1) I am not a gardener. Which sounds strange because I am definitely a country girl. Maybe the lack of free time is partly the cause of it. I have loads of gardening plans though!
2) I don’t drink coffee. I love the smell but somehow it causes headaches and an upset tummy. For pure tea I only drink Redbush. Oh, and I very seldom drink alcohol. I used to like it but after someone close started to drink way too much, I quit drinking any alcohol for years and now drink rarely. Instead, I drink Waterkefir and Kombucha Tea.
3) Although work wise surrounded by hundreds of people (all my working life from 1974 on) and with a great circle of friends, I am in private life a bit of a Hermit. A modern one with a mobile, car and internet connection but preferable living in the middle of no-where, where I do not need to see the lights of neighbours. I have done that for a while and I would love to live like that again.
4) I hate cigarette smoke. At the age of 12 I tried less then half a cigarette and disliked smoking immediately. I never ever tried a cigarette again. You won’t see me around in smoky places and at my front door is a little sticker which kindly requests you not to smoke in my house (let alone in my car!!!)
5) Apart from an allergy for pork, I don’t have any other. In my teens I have done an extensive allergy test. Sitting for hours in the waiting room of the doctor with cotton sticks in my ears and nose, injections at my back, scratches at my back and arms…. You name it. I had them all and absolutely none, gave a reaction. I bet you did not know I am that fortunate!!!
Now I have shared my five not so widely known facts, I tag Jean, Tamas, Joerg, David and Sebastian.
Of course they are free to join or to ignore
Posted by Helen Varras at 11:22 am
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Skype goodbye and Skype hello
Today is a sad day and a happy day.
Sad because Jaanus Kase is leaving Skype. Jaanus has contributed so much to Skype over the years – from project managing the Linux client to product managing group chats, to launching the Skype blogs and writing the main one while maintaining the forums. And probably much more.
My first contact with Jaanus was in October 2005 when he gave me the SuperUser badge. I was the first female SuperUser and no other reward could have made me so proud as that badge.
In December 2005 he gave me the Moderator badge which was again a huge honour. Here too I was the first female and I was added to a wonderful existing group of experienced Mod’s.
Being part of this Team is a great privilege.
But I am happy because Jaanus is moving forward by going back to University. I already got to know him as someone who loves developing his knowledge and wisdom. He is a grand example for going your way in life and IT land by learning, listening, discussing and doing.
Therefore, I wish Jaanus all possible luck and much, much more wisdom for the future.
I met two people in my life, two men, who contributed patience, overview and respect to my personal development. Men who triggered my grey “thinking cells”.
The first one, Wilco, Managing Director Aquaverium, was a very special person I worked for from 2003 till 2006.
The second one was Jaanus. Both men differ in age. Wilco is 62 and Jaanus 26 but the way both move through life and handle people and business is very similar. Jaanus once said “Wisdom comes with age”. Yes, but with some people Wisdom is a natural born gift. As well Wilco as Jaanus, have these gifts and I was so fortunate to work with both and to learn from them. Isn’t this wonderful? Special?
Also very special and ever so valuable to me is that Jaanus handed over his Forum duties to me.
Where Jaanus is leaving, I am joining Skype. Again sad and happy feelings. I am not joining as a Skype employee but as a Consultant. I am going to fulfil pleasant and more serious duties as Skype’s Head of Communities and Forum Operations. My task will be to maintain and develop the Forum together with the valuable and energetic input of my colleague Moderators, as well developing the feedback channels to Skype together with the PR department.
I am very much looking forward to this job and will find a balance in what Jaanus already achieved and what I am going to do. A job with no boundaries when it comes to future developments within the Skype Community.
Communication has always played a very important role in my life. I could talk long before I could walk and I started spelling the newspaper from the day I learned the alphabet. I have read thousands of books, worked for large international companies, travelled, listened and talked.
I experience the gifts of reading, listening and talking with endless joy.
I was born in a non computer era and bought my own first computer only 7 years ago. Although I was not known to be a computer Wiz kid, the Internet widened my horizon and opened numerous doors to knowing more, asking more and more amazement. My world got bigger and bigger.
And today I start working for Skype. A company and job I couldn’t have thought of in my wildest dreams.
So the biggest “Thank you” to Jaanus, is still not big enough to express what I really feel.
Yes, I am sad to see Jaanus leaving but I am certain although he is not my Skype based tutor anymore, I will keep learning from him. That makes me happy.
Posted by Helen Varras at 1:04 pm
Sunday, May 27, 2007
London 1973 – 2007
Friday evening I returned from a short stay in London. My first visit since 1978 when I drove my little Fiat right through London.
Mind you, I passed my driver test just a few months before and everyone told me I was mad with no experience in left hand driving at all, challenging the traffic in Central London.
But I was determined to go to Somerset by car and definitely wanted the see some of London on my way to the West.
I survived and enjoyed it!!
My first time in London was May 1973 and the second and more memorable, in September 1973 at the very same day there were two bomb attacks. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out the attacks. At 1.00pm a small bomb exploded at King's Cross Railway Station, London. At 1.05pm the Press Association received a phone call warning of a bomb at Euston Railway Station. At 1.15pm another small bomb (estimated at 2-5 pounds of explosives) exploded outside the Rail Bar at Euston Station, London. There were no deaths but 12 people were injured in the blast.
I was going by Cab from one station to another and it was chaos everywhere. Not something you forget for the rest of your life.
During my third visit the year after, safety was still high on the list of the UK and you could not enter a public building without handbags and pockets thoroughly searched.
And now it is 2007 and again visitors of the UK are searched for explosives.
You are not allowed to take any liquids in containers above 100 ml. I had a little bit of hair gel left in a container of 125 ml you could see right through but had to hand it over to customs.
Custom control at Schiphol Airport is strict but leaving the UK even much more.
We even had to take our shoes off and walk barefoot through the alarm system. Due to my two hip replacements, the alarm goes always off and apart from the usual search by hand by a female custom employee, they also used a small detector that screened every inch of my body and yes, it beeped at the appropriate places. (I am afraid I wait for the beeps with a wicked sense of humour…..)
The technique changed but the fear for bombing attacks has not.
Well, what did change over all those years?
Still businessmen with news papers but without the bowler and now well equipped with laptops and mobile phones.
Newer cars but still traffic jams. Newer buildings but still flocked by visitors., The famous cabs but with better payment systems. Newer trains but the same drafty Underground. Modern girls but still wearing Hot Pants and Boots. Newer Police cars but still in the same hurry on their way to whatever needs assistance.
And above all, the same noise and the same smell of all fuel.
Amazing, everything in a new coat, occupied with new generations but deep down, unchanged.
I plan to grow old, staying as fit as possible so be ready for my next London update around 2036, I might blog with the same “back to the future” feeling.
Posted by Helen Varras at 4:51 pm
Monday, May 21, 2007
Last week was one with many connection problems.
My Internet Provider managed to disconnect the whole village at the most inconvenient working hours you can think of. We received the error message “IP Conflict” too often and it became very frustrating.
But it looks like all is working well again.
Then I “disconnected” myself by getting one of the worst colds ever. And it was only 6 months ago I had the previous cold. OK, I should not complain as the one before that was 10 years earlier.
First I thought a sick pigeon caused it. It landed in my Mum’s garden and although penicilline and lots of TLC it unfortunately died that same day.
The medication wasn’t of any help anymore.
But no, I got my cold from my neighbours nephew. We were both visiting her at the same time to celebrate her 84th birthday. Nephew looked alright but confessed a few days later he had a flu.
Well thank you….
No time to be ill, I kept working but Thursday, a Bank Holiday, I spent most time sleeping. It helped and I am definitely on the mend again.
The only thing that did not disconnect was my WiFi. It had it’s problems in the beginning but it is doing fine now.
I know WiFi can be a hot item on forums, it is not always easy to run it. But did you know that you can now, with great thanks to Infinite Solutions, increase your WiFi signal? It works like charme!
Just click the video for manual instruction. Good luck!!
Posted by Helen Varras at 12:59 pm
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
IM+ for Skype Software
Cost effective phone calls around the globe
Skype for BlackBerry is a hot item on the forum. Now there is good news for the BlackBerry owners.
SHAPE Services announced today the release of a new version of its IM+ for Skype Software for BlackBerry® smartphones from Research In Motion (RIM) (Nasdaq: RIMM; TSX: RIM).
IM+ for Skype Software by SHAPE Services is a mobile client for Skype Software. It enables voice and text communication with other Skype users as well as cost-effective calling to landline or mobile connections.
IM+ for Skype Software uses SkypeOut credits for voice communication ensuring cost-effective calls to any number around the globe. For users of Skype Unlimited plan (only USD 29.95 per year) IM+ enables almost free calling from a BlackBerry smartphone to any PC with Skype or any landline/mobile number. All you need is a BlackBerry smartphone and IM+ for Skype Software installed.
Providing desktop-like access to a familiar Skype experience from any mobile device is the plan of SHAPE Services. In the nearest future the company is going to release versions for Windows Mobile Pocket PC, Windows Mobile Smartphone, Palm OS, Symbian OS and J2ME devices. A WAP version for universal access from low-end devices is also in the company’s plans for the upcoming months.
Posted by Helen Varras at 4:13 pm
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Finally………… and much to my delight my SkypeIn numbers (Sweden and UK) are now my SkypeOut caller ID!!
Jaanus Kase posted today on Skype’s Blog: “Yesterday, we finally quietly rolled out an update to our systems that’s been among the most anticipated ones for the past, oh, two years or so.
If you have a SkypeIn number in one of the permitted countries, you can now choose to show this number as your “Caller ID” when calling other people with SkypeOut.
Posted by Helen Varras at 1:36 pm
At Skype’s Users Forum we do receive many requests for Joost Invitations.
Although it is understandable that people link Joost with Skype (they have the co-founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis in common), Joost is not related to Skype.
OK, some Skype Beta Testers are also Joost Beta Testers but this has more to do with their love for testing Peer to Peer software.
So, no Joost Beta section in Skype’s Users Forum. However, there is a very good site called JoostFan with an excellent JoostFan Forum.
You can also find the links in the right hand menu of this blog under “Joost related links”
Posted by Helen Varras at 1:03 pm
Monday, May 07, 2007
Skype for all ages
“Jong geleerd, oud gedaan” in Dutch. Or in English “As the twig is bent, the tree is inclined”.
One of our forum visitors Joe Garde, Director of Online Meetingrooms is the very proud father of Anna who will turn 2 next August.
Joe wrote: “….and she loves skype too! Not even two years old and stands on daddy's lap to talk to my colleagues around the world... very funny how children adopt the technology - what will it be like when she is an adult”
Normally video is running says Joe, but not during the call on this picture, which I couldn’t resist blogging.
Anna shows for certain great interest in Skype. Who knows she will be the director of “Online Kindergardens” soon….
Posted by Helen Varras at 3:49 pm
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Back to the Skype reality
I can’t believe it, I am back and up and running for 24 hours already.
Yesterday I arrived home from a lovely brake in the UK. Yorkshire to be precise.
I left last week Thursday, it took me 4 hours to arrive in Europoort instead of the usual 2,5 hours.
3 Traffic Jams in almost tropical weather. I had to collect my ticket at the Ferry Terminal which is closing at 7.30 PM.
I arrived at 7.28……. Of course they were informed about the delays due to the busy traffic so even the passengers after me would be served.
The first thing I did was taking a shower, I felt sticky and warn out. Foster Brother David arrived simultaneously. Very rare this happens because I am always early and he is always late.
We had dinner together and relaxed with a glass of wine. I had a very good night and felt refreshed when I left the boat again. David went to the south to show his motor bikes and I headed North for a cup of tea at Mum’s.
She is 91 and looks so frail. It was so good to hug her again! We chatted away, I showed pictures from home and after lunch I did my shopping’s and went to the cottage.
The weather was beautiful, just the right temperature for a long walk. I put on my walking shoes and went for a stroll near the river. I spent a few hours enjoying the scenery and taking pictures. All those lovely spring colours, the little lambs and the early green.
Saturday I went to see my friend Michael who invited me for a train ride through the Dales. We started in Leyburn where volunteers keep the trains running. I was hoping to take many pictures but this late 50’s diesel train was very wobbly. I loved the ride.
Afterwards we had dinner in a wonderful Indian restaurant, recently opened and serving excellent food for a reasonable price, at the Market Place in Leyburn. Followed by a visit to the local Pub.
I went home early evening after we discussed a walk from Muker to Crackpot Hall in Swaledale the next day.
Next morning I arrived at 9.45 Am at Michaels doorstep, properly dressed for a Dales walk. Food and drinks and all. And of course my digital camera!
For someone who spends an awful lot of time behind her laptop, with daily walks with an old dog in the flat country side of Friesland, climbing a hill in Yorkshire is a completely different cup of tea!
But with occasional stops I managed and enjoyed the view from Crackpot Hall. Including all photo’s I took, we spent 4 hours walking. At 3 PM we had a cup of tea in Muker and said goodbye till my next visit which hopefully, won’t last another year.
I drove from Muker to Hawes and passed the Butter Tubs. Hawes was as usually, packed with bikers who meet there on a regular base. I did not stop until I was close to home. I had a little walk before I headed back to the cottage.
Home again I uploaded my many photo’s to my laptop to upload them to my web album as soon as I would have an Internet connection again.
David arrived home around 9 from his Motor bike Exhibition, we talked for a while but were both to tired to make it a late night.
I had a sleep in the next day, read my book sitting in the sun, packed the car at 3 PM for my last visit to Mum.
Foster Sister Glenys was there as well and we had a lovely conversation with some good laughs. At 5.30 I left for the Ferry in Hull, expecting a lot of traffic but it was not too busy at all so I arrived at 6.30.
I did my “on board shopping’s” (of course another book to read as I almost finished the one I bought the way up), had a good meal, did some reading, watched the Ferry leaving Hull and went to bed early.
Unfortunately I ended up in our famous Dutch traffic jams and arrived 4,5 hours later in a very peaceful Friesland. My Mother and all my animals were very happy to see me. A warm “welcome home”.
After the First busy day back in the office, it still feels unreal. I think I left (again) part of my Heart and mind in the Dales behind. Sigh…..
But this time I promised myself to return much sooner then last time!
Feel free to view my photo’s. I created a Black and White Album and an Album with Colour photo’s.
Posted by Helen Varras at 9:55 pm
Monday, April 23, 2007
1973 – 2007
In 1973 I decided to go on holiday on my own, thinking this would cause a row with my parents who wouldn’t allow me to go. A nice challenge for a 17-year-old stubborn teenager….
But no, my Father thought it was a great idea, even when I told him I wanted to travel to the UK. He asked me if I was going by train, ferry or plane. Then I got worried, as this was not at all my plan! I was only hoping for a row!
I decided to go by Ferry, booked a ticket, bought a big yellow suitcase, asked my parents if they wanted to drop me off in Hoek van Holland (but no the nearest station was the real start of my holiday they said) and off I went.
Sweaty hands, a little nervous because I had never been on holiday on my own, let alone abroad.
I was going to stay with a Yorkshire couple in Glastonbury – Somerset (a cheap address via a friend). They sent me a letter in which they told me to get off the bus at Town Hall, a red telephone box was my guide.
Still a bit nervous (I hardly spoke English at the time) I took the buss from Bath to Wells and from Wells to Glastonbury. When I noticed the first road sign “Glastonbury” I looked for a Pub and a red telephone box. I had heard that Pubs had the weirdest names in the UK and it never crossed my mind to search the dictionary for Town Hall…
I got off the bus at the nearest pub with a telephone box in front and waited…….. and waited….. and waited. For hours! A green Morris Minor Traveller drove by, 2 grey headed ladies in the front, woollen twin sets and tweed skirts.
The 4th time they stopped and asked me what I was doing there. After I used my hand and feet to explain, they laughed, hoisted me and my yellow suitcase in the back of the Morris and dropped me of in front of the real Town Hall, 20 miles away.
As soon as they hoisted me out of the car, two elderly people ran towards me, hugged me if I was the lost daughter and told me how worried they had been: the young girl from Holland and her yellow suitcase got lost.
This elderly couple became my Foster Mum and Dad. I felt at home immediately and found as much love with them as with my real parents. Foster brother calls me his NOAF sister: Non Official Adopted Foster Sister.
Both my real Father and Dad, passed away many years ago. My two Mums are still alive. They met each other several times and are always talking about “our daughter”. My Mother is 79 and Mum turned 91 two weeks ago.
Thursday April 26, I am going to visit Mum again. I booked the Ferry Europoort – Hull and will return next week Tuesday.
During my first trip to the UK, I carried an international plug with me to connect my Dutch hairdryer to the English wall socket. But these little things tend to worn out and back in the 80’s I welded a Dutch extension cord to a UK plug. This is still my companion on my journeys to England.
But times change: the suitcase is now a roller bag + laptop bag. Last year one plug was not sufficient anymore. It needed organisation skills to have the batteries of the camera and my mobile phone (although this one has a car charger too) loaded before using the laptop or any other of my equipments.
And this year? Well, I bought a 6-plug-socket, which will be plugged in, to my Dutch-UK extension cord to avoid unnecessary thinking about what to charge first.
6 will do? Yes: laptop, WiFi phone, mobile charger, two camera chargers (I am known to take an awful lot of pictures), Bluetooth charger, hairdryer…..
Uuuhhmmmm…….. do I really need my laptop? Yes, showing Mum loads of pictures of her 95th birthday, my building activities, the new office etc. And what about my Wifi phone? Not sure yet, I have not used it outside my own office so yes, might take it with me. My mobile? yes, although it will charge in the car too. Bleutooth? Yes, pure safety.
Will I log on to the Internet, no, it is holiday!!!
How easy was life back in the early 70’s………..
Posted by Helen Varras at 4:52 pm
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Bluetooth and Vitaero, my match of the day
Browse for Bleutooth on my blog and you will find out that this is not the first time I talk about it. If it would be possible to have a Plastic Surgeon implementing Bluetooth devices, I would be number one on the list.
Although supposed to be glued to my laptops, I also need to move around for eating, drinking and some other perfectly human needs.
Because I also take calls from clients who forward to my mobiles (yes, I have a few…) I am already packed with equipments, pens and paper when away from my office but still within a range of 10 metres from my laptop (Skype).
My latest toy, the Logitech Mobile Pro is the most comfortable headset I ever bought but it is still causing difficulties with the various Skype versions Beta Testers are put up with (volunterely..).
After every update, I need to check the settings in Skype and Windows and figure out what works best: Bleutooth Audio or Bleutooth High Audio Quality or maybe a mix of these two.
Plus when the battery gets flat because I forgot to recharge it, I need to switch to one of my old devices and the whole sorting out business starts again.
Until one of my network contacts, Stuart John, Managing Director at Ocean Observations (UK), reminded me of Vitaero.
Vitaero is a Skype-certified software application that seamlessly manages the connections between Skype, your PC and your wireless Bluetooth headset.Vitaero connects to the headset and puts it in standby mode, preserving it's battery life while idle but enabling it to respond instantly when needed. Vitaero watches for any Skype event that would involve the headset (e.g. incoming call or listen to voicemail), or waits for you to press a headset button, and then intelligently performs the appropriate actions (e.g. ring the headset, open the audio connection or pick-up/hang-up a call).
The answer to my questions……
I downloaded the software, configured it to my needs and ever since, my connection problems are gone. Even Beta updates are of non influence.
Also, I can use it with more then one Skype account at the same laptop.
The sound quality improved tremendously, delays are gone.
If I am accidentally outside the 10-metre range of headset-laptop connection and the headset disconnects, Vitaero picks the signal up immediately after I step back in the 10-metre area. No need to push any buttons.
What I truly love, is being able to answer a call by pushing the call button of the headset. Something that is possible answering calls from mobile phones but not Skype calls. Vitaero makes that possible for me. Aaahhh….. mobile Skype freedom!
I am a happy kid and would like to advise everyone using Bluetooth with Skype, to at least try Vitaero. A free trial for 14 days!
Posted by Helen Varras at 10:15 am
Friday, April 20, 2007
Back in 2000, I created a Hotmail account with my surname. I received the message that this combination was already taken.
My surname is not a very common one so I was surprised to find another Roelfsema with the initial “I”
I wrote this person a letter (in English, you never know where someone lives) and received a wonderful letter in return form a 25 year old KLM Stewardess from Holland, called Ineke.
Ever since, we exchanged numerous e-mails and met several times. She became a very loyal friend, a very close relative although we do not share the same ancestors.
When I was diagnosed with Cancer, she wrote in an e-mail: “Ike, the coward Cancer doesn’t know yet, but he messes with the wrong person!!” This became my Mantra and it has been my e-mail signature during all the (successful) treatments.
Half a year ago, not long after she met the man of her dreams, Ineke was diagnosed with Skin Cancer, a little spot at her back. They removed the Cancer and found it as well in the Sentinel (gate-keeper) lymph node. All lymph nodes got removed and there was no Cancer found in those. This was very hopeful.
Though a few weeks ago, Ineke got very painful ribs and X-rays showed “hot spots” and yesterday the MRI scan confirmed it was Cancer.
She told me this in an e-mail, which I received half an hour ago. Her Cancer cannot be treated. She does not even get the chance to fight. Ineke, who feels like being in a nightmare, has now the difficult task to change the direction of her life. She and her partner, have now to find a way to create a new life, a very short life, together.
Both families now know, they have to get on without this very special woman. There is no life expectance. Maybe a few months, maybe a year. No one can predict this, Ineke’s Cancer is aggressive.
I can’t accept yet that where I survived my Cancer, Ineke is going to lose the battle.
I was just copying a quote I found on the Internet to my Skype Mood Message when Ineke’s e-mail arrived.
The quote says: “Life is like the seasons, spring always follows winter.” This quote is how I live and experience my life. That is why I felt attracted to it.
All of a sudden this quote got a totally different meaning. Yes, Spring follows Winter. I still believe that. Though my first thought was “There will not be a Spring after Ineke’s Winter. Inekes suffering will become very dark and difficult at the end. Spring follows when the suffering ends, but only for Ineke at that very moment.
For her partner and her family it will take a long time before the flowers bloom again.
Eventually all memories of Ineke will cause a Spring again. She is a beautiful person and these memories of her will bring the sun back to those who love her so much.
Ineke is still a fighter, she fights for a special last stage of her life. She will try to keep the Spring alive as long as possible.
Posted by Helen Varras at 2:07 pm
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Networking, what is this?
I apologise to all my readers for being so quiet in this blog. Of course, there was much to report about new sound devices, the Skype worm, private life but it has been fairly busy at the office.
I also tried to catch up with networking: maintaining and expanding. Time consuming but extremely pleasant.
Not only nature celebrates Spring but so do the entrepreneurs. People are in a good and sunny mood which makes it easy to chat and connect.
So, what is networking?
In business, entrepreneurial networks are social organizations offering different types of resources to start or improve entrepreneurial projects. Having adequate human resources is a key factor for entrepreneurial achievements. Combined with leadership, the entrepreneurial network is an indispensable kind of social network not only necessary to properly run the business or project, but also to differentiate the business from similar projects.
The goal of most entrepreneurial networks is to bring together a broad selection of professionals and resources that compliment each other's endeavors. Initially a key priority is to aid successful business launches. Subsequently provide motivation, direction and increase access to opportunities and other skill sets. Promotion of each members talents and services both within the network and out in the broader market increases opportunities for all participants.
One of the key needs of any startup is capital, and often entrepreneurial networks focus on providing such financial resources, particularly tailored to their membership demographic.
Entrepreneurial networks may also become community involved, endorsing reforms, legislation or other municipal drives that accommodate their organization's goals.
Graeme Gibson of Wispa invited me to Ecademy. Totally new to networking, I was a bit careful with completing my profile. But even after entering minor information, I already received e-mails to welcome me. By replying, I connected to these net workers.
Slowly but surely, I developed a valuable network with wonderful people who are always willing to advise and to help out without expecting any profit at all.
One of the goals is of course doing business but this is not the first intention at Ecademy. Expanding your network, recommending and linking you to other members, trust and friendship is important, comes first. The private part in a profile is therefore very valuable. A year passed and I feel at home at Ecademy. I met wonderful people with a zest for life and friendship. From multinationals to small business holders with one thing in common: hard working to archive a healthy grow, willing to share their knowledge. It meant and still means much to me. Being a is even for the smallest entrepreneur affordable and it allows you an enormous freedom to e-mail, post and join clubs.
I would recommend every businessman/woman to join. Networking rocks!!
You can also find me at LinkedIn. Please feel free to contact me to connect. Speak to you soon.....
Posted by Helen Varras at 1:01 pm