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New cable modem pre-empts my printer connection

by jennywren1420 / November 7, 2008 12:09 AM PST

Oh, woe! My computer is a G4 Sawtooth desktop (well, really "floortop") running OS 10.4.11. It has no Airport card, so for the past while I was using an Ethernet wireless adaptor from Belkin to connect to the Internet, while the printer, my beloved LaserJet
4ML AppleTalk model, adapted with an AsanteTalk device, used the Ethernet port. The Internet connections using the wireless adaptor became very tenuous, and I thought that broadband was the way to go. Now I have another problem.

The cable modem installer guy just left, shrugging his shoulders. Thing is, my printer needs the Ethernet port (for the AsanteTalk device that connected it with the computer, but that port is now taken up with the modem cable. The cable company, Time Warner, say that there is a way to get around the problem with an Ethernet hub offering several Ethernet ports. All fine and good, but there are so many at J&R, and the descriptions talk only about Windows and network cards. I don't have either a PC or a network card. (Couldn't get an Airport card for my G4.) I don't know what to do or what?if there is a solution in the adaptor with multiple Ethernet ports?which Ethernet multiple hub will work with a Mac and which is the best one to buy. The folks at J&R probably don't know, either. What do they know about AppleTalk?

The printer does have both serial and parallel ports (it works with both PCs and Macs), but I've always had to use the AsanteTalk to connect it to this Mac. Any suggestions, besides getting a new laser printer and trying to sell the two unopened toner cartridges I have on eBay? I don't even know whether the hub would be a solution.

Sorry! It has been a long road to this point, and I am disheartened. Feel free to lay it on me for having such antiquated equipment, do, but please try to help me, too.



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So why not get an ethernet hub?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 7, 2008 12:17 AM PST

Yes there are some million models but they all do one thing. No analysis required here.

"Which Ethernet multiple hub will work with a Mac and which is the best one to buy."

If you find one that doesn't work with a Mac it probably doesn't work with PCs too. As to the best one to buy that's VERY EXPENSIVE, made by Cisco with software management features and optical fiber uplinks. Here I just go with 20 buck boxes.


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Will do!
by jennywren1420 / November 7, 2008 12:45 AM PST

I guess I was fooled by the specs in the hub descriptions I read. They seemed to say that they needed Windows, and particular versions, at that. No mention of any kind of Mac OS or equipment.

I'm sure I don't need anything elaborate. As you must have noted, my needs are very simple?just being able to plug in the Ethernet cables for both the printer interface and the cable modem. Any recommendation as to brand? There are a number of them at at J&R with the price you cited (after a rebate).

Would you believe it? First crack at accessing my home page after the cable guy left, and I got a message saying that the server couldn't find the page! Well, I did get that straightened out, but it seemed an unfortunate beginning. That anxiety all went away when I finally connected and got your message. A million thanks!


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You may have left out "details."
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 7, 2008 1:32 AM PST
In reply to: Will do!

While a hub may do what it does, you didn't reveal much about your cable modem. Some require this setup.

cable modem -> ROUTER -> Mac, printer, etc.

If you try to replace the router with a hub then you run into nightmarish configuration issues. I can't tell if you need a router or not.

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by jennywren1420 / November 7, 2008 2:33 AM PST

No router. Modem is connected to the Ethernet port (the only one) on the Mac, where the Ethernet cable for the printer used to me plugged in. If I'm not mistaken, all I need is someplace to plug in the AsanteTalk that enables the printer and the Ethernet port on the computer to talk to one another (AppleTalk) and the cable for the modem. Is that possible?

I think of it as being analogous to a device that enables one to plug in more than one telephone modular wire/cable to one modular connection on the wall. A box with a bunch of proper-sized and -shaped openings.

Is that enough information? The printer would not be going through the modem, that I can see, nor would the modem need to be concerned with the printer. I just want to be able to get onto the Internet (one thing) and print from the desktop and the Internet. I did that before by by-passing Ethernet (in the Network Preferences), using either dialup or my USB Internet adaptor (once I got one), each of which used a different connection from Ethernet. The Ethernet preference was used for my printer. In short, I want my Ethernet to do two different, separate things: Allow the modem to connect to the Web and allow the printer to print from the computer.

One thing I saw had a USB connector on one end and an Ethernet connector on the other, but I don't think that is what you or Time Warner (cable company) were proposing. Time Warner seemed to think that the hub with space for more than one Ethernet cable would work for me. Who knows whether they even know what is needed? They seemed eager to get me out of their hair.

I hope that this answers any questions. Feel free to ask more, if need be.


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Given that news, the hub should fail.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 7, 2008 4:00 AM PST
In reply to: Details

I see no reason for this to work unless there is a router in the cable modem box.

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Time Warner Cable
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 7, 2008 7:11 AM PST

Usually, but probably not always, the modems used by Time Warner are not Routers as we would recognize them, unlike the usual DSL modem usually supplied by the phone company.

Jenny: take a look at network preferences and select Built-in Ethernet. You are looking for the IP address of your computer. If there is a router built into the modem, your IP address would start with either 192. 168. or 10.x
If it starts with something else, there is probably not a router there and the switch idea would fail.

Bob: I'm trying to think of a way that this would work but the printer is not an IP device and all the Asante device does is convert AppleTalk over ethernet to AppleTalk over serial.


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IP address
by jennywren1420 / November 7, 2008 9:41 PM PST
In reply to: Time Warner Cable

Dear P,

The IP address doesn't start with any of those numbers; it starts with 69.

I was foolish enough to go down to J&R before I saw this message, and I bought what seems to be an excellent switch, but it hasn't been opened, and I can return it within two weeks. I should have waited. Sorry! It never occurred to me to ask about routers of the Time Warner guy, but the people at J&R did ask me whether I had a router, and when I said no, they didn't tell me that the device wouldn't work without one.

By the way, the switch I bought is called Netgear ProSafe 5-port 10/100 Desktop Switch. It says on the box that it: "networks up to five Ethernet devices at speeds up to 100 Mbps" and has "zero configuration with auto sensing and Auto Uplink ports." What I did NOT see is that it requires a network card in the Mac. I don't know whether I have one.

My mother's G3 laptop, by the way, is linked up to a Time Warner cable modem, which uses the Ethernet port. I guess that her (newer than my) printer connects elsewhere.

I saw a device at J&R that apparently plugs into a USB port and has an Ethernet port at the other end, but I gather that doesn't address this problem. (Although the guy's English was so poor that I couldn't understand what he was saying, that seemed to be the message?even though it would appear that it would use a USB port to connect a device instead of the Ethernet port that is now in use by the modem.

I'd like to keep my old printer, if I can. It's not only because of those two unopened printer cartridges; I like it and I had hoped to keep it until I get a new computer. It might offer me more choices down the line, too. A change of computer isn't going to happen any time soon, unless that computer goes to pieces. I've invested a lot of time, including learning time, and money in it?even recently?and I'm reluctant to move on before I'm ready. I know that seems mad to you, but it's how I feel. Passionately.

If I must get a new printer, however, I shall bite the bullet, hoping that the few monochrome lasers still around (and on sale at J&R) will be compatible with my computer and with the modem and will suit my needs (simple needs). Even figuring in the cost of the two unused cartridges, if I start getting more and more equipment, just to make the old printer work, it might end up with my spending more than it would cost to buy a new, basic laser printer. If, however, the things I might have to buy to make the old printer work would be useful even after I no longer have it, that is not wasted money, at least.

Thanks for your help, both of you. I shall await your further thoughts.


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That printer, again! :-)
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 7, 2008 10:05 PM PST
In reply to: IP address

Rest assured, you do actually have a network card. It is built into the logic board of your G4 and terminates where you plug the ethernet cable in. It is not a physical card that plugs into a slot.

Printers. I have no idea what your budget is like but I do know that Office Depot is selling monochrome laser printers for $120 (Brother) and $180 (HP), both of which will work on your Mac. Almost all laser printers will work on your Mac. As an aside, OD has a choice of 141 monochrome laser printers. They are not rare breeds.
Mumsie's printer is probably a USB printer and connects directly to a USB port.

So, to "possibly" make the current printer work, you will need to purchase and configure a Router and attach the Asante device to one of the Router ports, the Mac to another Router port.

I might be looking at Office Depot and the likes right about now.


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Router? New printer? Hmm
by jennywren1420 / November 8, 2008 4:37 AM PST

If I read you correctly, the router idea is possible, but is by no means certain to work. Having a router might not be a bad thing, but if it's really that much of a gamble, I might only be getting myself another headache and more delay. I did think that I'd been given the go-ahead about a hub switch, but clearly, I didn't understand Bob's messages, didn't understand why a router's presence or absence was crucial. (I thought that I needed one only if I wanted to have a network.) It also was impatience over caution. Unfortunately, J&R's people didn't know that I couldn't use the switch, either. I asked three of them, just in case, and they all assured me that what I had bought would work, even after asking me whether I had a router. Irritating but not fatal, another subway ride and a wait at the return counter.

Yes, I do know that monochrome laser printers are quite reasonable, and several are on sale now at various stores. It's not really about expense (though that counts, of course, including eating the cost of two pristine printer cartridges). Besides liking and being used to this printer, I hate waste. In addition, I had thought about getting a color laser printer, someday, when they are really great, not too expensive and so on, so waiting to get a new printer was attractive to me. Oh, well. Sigh!

Yes, my mother's printer is indeed attached to a USB port. As for recycling the printer, I shall try to find it a home. Doubtful but possible. Just so everyone knows, though, Staples (in New York City, at least) will take old computer equipment, for $10 an item, and trash it in an ecologically responsible manner.

Thanks again for the help. Too bad nothing worked out.


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Hub v Switch v Router
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 8, 2008 8:56 AM PST

Imagine a house with 8 rooms. Each room has a phone.

Hub: Will ring every phone in the house until the right person answers.
Switch: Will only ring the phone in the room of the person the call is for.

As you may know, every computer on the internet has a unique IP address.
When your computer is connected to your new modem, its IP address starts with 69. and is unique to your computer.
The setup is Cable, Modem, Computer.
A router sits between your computer and your modem which makes the setup; Cable, Modem, Router, Computer.
The Router is capable of giving any computer or printer attached to it, an IP address. These usually start with 192..
The router then acts as a bridge between the inside network (Local Area Network, LAN) and the outside world. (WIde Area Network, WAN)

Now you know the reason I asked about the IP address of your computer. If your modem had been a router as well, your IP address would have been one of the private network numbers like 192. or 10.

You know, I got to thinking about this printer problem and wondered if you had thought about a Print Server for your network.
Of course, you would need the router and the print server, but that would not break the bank.
Take a look at This one to get an idea.
It attaches to the parallel port on your printer and then to the router via an ethernet cable.


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Do I have one?
by jennywren1420 / November 8, 2008 2:07 PM PST
In reply to: Hub v Switch v Router

Dear P,

I'm not at all sure that I have a parallel port. I certainly can't find anything that looks like one. I have perused the booklets that came with my Mac (Sawtooth) and the printer (LJ 4ML), looking for information on a parallel port. The pictures of the Mac's surfaces show nothing vaguely resembling (or described as) one, and the only references to one pertain only to PCs. I couldn't even hook up a serial cable directly. I had a ModNet with the first computer that I used with the printer, and with the Sawtooth, the AsanteTalk. I think that is the only way that I could link this computer and that printer.

I do appreciate all this, truly I do, but it's now gotten out of hand, I think. If I actually had a parallel port and had faith that I could find the time and the brain power to handle all that was necessary to set up and configure both a router and a server, I'd consider trying your solution. Even a router, at this point, may be beyond what I can do. If there is no other speedy, easy solution, a new printer is the way I should go. Being freelance (and between two or three needs-laden generations), my time literally is money. The next few weeks are especially tight and are rapidly elapsing, and I am in great demand with my relatives (mother, visiting daughter and grandchildren). I think I need to go the route of least resistance.

Fret not. I shall hie me to J&R and return the hub thingy, having first done a little online research into the laser printers they have in stock. If, while I'm there, I like the look of one of them, I shall avail myself of their current sale; if not, I can pursue the Office Depot option, either in person or online.

There are some decent ways to dispose of the printer (say, a thrift shop or through National Cristina Foundation. The printer looks a little tatty, but it prints like a dream. Someone who actually had a PC with a parallel port probably could just plug the thing in and GO. I can even dispose of the unused toner cartridges without waste and a lot of trouble, so don't worry about me any more.

My chiefest dismay is over having taken up so much of everyone's time with this. I've learned a lot (thanks for the coherent explanation of routers and IP addresses), but I want to let you off the hook now. If just getting a piece of equipment like the hub had done the trick, we'd all be rejoicing, but it was not to be. So be it.

Thanks again. You have got a load of gold stars in my book.


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Parallel port.
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 8, 2008 10:37 PM PST
In reply to: Do I have one?

Shame on me, I am confusing you. The parallel port is on your printer. It's a couple of inches long and will be in the same general area as the AppleTalk connection that you currently use. It is definitely there. All HP laser printers from that era had a parallel port.

The recommended, by HP, solution is to use an HP Jet Direct 300x print server which is the same sort of thing I mentioned.
This Place has a refurbished one for $20. That, along with a router; which is pretty much plug and play and requires no technical skills to set up, would allow you to use the 4ML on your own home network.

J & R have a Belkin 4 port router, with lifetime manufactures warranty for $29.99. You can see it Here. As you will be in there anyway, take a look. I am currently using the wireless version of that router and have no problems with it. I like the warranty and the 24/7 support.

As an aside, the router would also allow you to connect another computer or printer to your home network once you make the big bucks and decide to purchase a laptop. Happy


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Do I understand you? Ethernet cable?
by jennywren1420 / November 12, 2008 10:02 AM PST
In reply to: Hub v Switch v Router

My dear P,

I decided, after some thought, that rather than buy a new printer, I would try your suggestion of using a server (it was coming, anyway) and router to link up my old printer HP Laserjet 4ML to my middle-aged (well, old, but I'm not telling) computer Mac G4 desktop. It seemed worth a try?especially because the two printers I liked best each had had some iffy reviews (though mostly, the Brother one was well-liked, apart from being noisy and having a small cartridge) and because who knows what printer I'll want in the future, when I get a new computer.

Anyway, in the message of yours to which I am replying, you say that I can hook the whole chain up with an *Ethernet* cable. I completely missed that, the first time around. Is that right? Can I use the arrangement with AsanteTalk that I have? (That is, serial on the end that goes into the printer, then AsanteTalk, into which the Ethernet cable is plugged.) We pursued the matter of a parallel cable in another thread, and now I'm confused. I didn't buy a parallel cable today, but of course, if I need one, I can get one sent very easily or can try for one in a local store. Which one will I need?

You originally said that the server and router *probably* would work (or might work?). I am hoping that you are more confident than that sounds, but I'm sure you wouldn't have suggested it if there were little chance that it would work. Unfortunately, silly old FedEX (I asked for it to be shipped by USPS) is taking eight or nine days to get the server from the West Coast to the East, so I won't be able to explore this further for a little while. Don't hold your breath, will you?

Wish me luck, please, everyone. It looks and sounds pretty straightforward, but though the erudite mrmacfixit has my confidence, I have less faith in my own knowledge and capabilities. If it works as we hope it will, of course, I shall be extremely pleased.


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by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 12, 2008 8:57 PM PST

You are correct.
The Print Server has an ethernet connect AND a parallel connection. The parallel connection uses that cable that you didn't buy to connect itself to the printer, the ethernet cable come back to the router.
As the Print Server is an IP device, remember the IP thing, the router can give it an address(192.168.1.x) and stuff would know where to go.
It is a decent probability that the AsanteTalk would work using AppleTalk over ethernet, the same as you are doing now, so before you take the Print Server out of the box, I would try that.

On the subject of the // cable. I mentioned the exact type of // cable that you need in the other thread.

Did you get the Router?


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Yes, it does
by jennywren1420 / November 8, 2008 11:17 PM PST

Dear P,

Yes, the parallel port would normally have been used if I had had a PC instead of a Mac.

I've ordered the server (one left!) and trust that the source is reliable. Forgive me for being a little wary: for one thing, I had that awful mess with the Tiger CDs and another with the CD/DVD device (the one with feet). Not your fault, of course, but it raised the caveat emptor in me.

In addition, being as how I am an editor, I tend to notice typos and bad grammar on Web sites. Sometimes, that indicates something fishy about a source, but I am sure that you would steer me only to good places.

One thing: I got an error screen (something on the order of "Not Found" when I clicked on the second link, the one for the J&R router. There are probably numerous Belkin routers that would suit my purposes, but could you either send it again to the forum or to my own email address? Sorry to bother you, when you've been so diligent on my behalf, but I really, really want to get it right this time. Many thanks!


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Did I get the router?
by jennywren1420 / November 12, 2008 11:51 PM PST

Yes, I got a router, the model you recommended. The server is coming, too, in a little less than a week.

Do I gather correctly that if AsanteTalk works with the router, I don't need the server or the parallel cable, but it it does not work with the router, I shall need the both server and the parallel cable that you so kindly recommended to me? Or do I need the server, regardless of which kind of cable I use?

See, I told you I was ignorant. More than a little confused, too, now. We've exchanged so many messages that I kind of lost my way! You very lucidly described the order of the components in a couple of messages (one mentioning Ethernet, the other mentioning a parallel cable and who knows which other), but the implications are, of necessity, murky for one who lacks the background to put them into the right context.

Well, if I don't succeed with any of those approaches, I can always go back and get one of the printers I saw (and read about). I'm quite sure that I can return the router if I fail to do this successfully. I'm not sure about the server, but it wasn't a great outlay of money. I don't have the cable (you said to wait), so that isn't a problem?at least, not yet. As for the printer, most of the complaints about one of them (except noise, smallish toner cartridge and something about the drum) were about setting up wireless networks. I would just plug it into a USB port. I didn't read any reviews of the other small printer I saw, but I expect it's OK, too. Don't mean to be defeatist before I've even tried, but it's comforting to know that there is a fallback besides getting in a tech to help me. A tech besides you and Bob, that is.

Thank you again. I'll report on the progress when there is more.


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You gather correctly.
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 13, 2008 8:01 AM PST
In reply to: Did I get the router?

Just make sure that AppleTalk is turned on for Ethernet. It probably is because that was the way you connected to the printer when you were mooching the wireless. Happy


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Yes, indeed
by jennywren1420 / November 13, 2008 9:55 AM PST
In reply to: You gather correctly.

AppleTalk still is active on Built-in Ethernet. I shall try the router and all that soon. (Kate, my daughter, and her children are coming tomorrow for a week, but maybe I can put it all together while they are here, or at least, soon after that.) The server hasn't arrived yet, anyway. By the way, I wasn't mooching when I used my USB Wireless device. My neighbor and I had a network together; her router's signal was the strongest one around and always on, so I didn't have to take what wasn't mine.

Many thanks for sticking with me throughout. I'll let you know what happens. (It would be so great not to have to go any further with this. I'll bet you feel that way, too.)



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Oh No!!
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 13, 2008 11:15 AM PST
In reply to: Yes, indeed

Of course I knew you were not mooching the wireless, that's why there was a smiley face there.

Sorry If I offended you


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It's alive redux (Ethernet port: printer vs cable modem)
by jennywren1420 / November 16, 2008 3:45 AM PST
In reply to: Oh No!!

That is to say, that I haven't yet gotten the server but can send it back, unopened or keep it for a rainy day (for what, I don't know). Didn't get a parallel cable. I just hooked up that honey of a router that the great mrmacfixit recommended, plugged the Ethernet cable from the AsanteTalk setup into one of the router ports, and hey, presto! I can print again.

You've all be extremely patient, and I could go on thanking you profusely, but I shall let one more do: Thank you so much, and I hope that some day I shall be able give back a little of my sparse collection of knowledge. I'm sure I'm not the only one in the Mac forums who has these perplexing difficulties. Maybe one day I can use the experience to help one of you.

Thanks, P, for all your kindness (and Bob, too). Sorry about not getting the joke about my mooching broadband access. I have been getting very little sleep of late (too much to do) and went soft in the head, I guess, too soft to recognize a kind little dig when I see one in front of me.

All the best,


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Coda: Not offended
by jennywren1420 / November 16, 2008 3:52 AM PST

Dear P,

As I said, the little joke about my mooching Internet access was funny but I was muddled by sleep deprivation and just missed the smiley. I forgot to add that I was not (and am not) at all hurt. First of all, I am not easily offended; further, convinced as I am about the good will, the bonhomie, at your end, I could never think that you were being unkind. Just wanted you to know.



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WAY TO GO!!!!!
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 16, 2008 7:33 AM PST

well done.

Thanks for the thanks, they are always appreciated.

Pleased to hear that the Router worked easily for you and that we will, hopefully, not have to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous printers for a while. Happy

Now when the kids come to visit, and bring their own computers with them, you can just connect them to one of the two spare ports on the Router and they can surf without messing with Mom's computer.



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Thanks for the tip
by jennywren1420 / November 24, 2008 9:01 AM PST
In reply to: WAY TO GO!!!!!

Yes, I'm immensely pleased with myself. Can't say it wasn't easy, because it was, but I like to think that I also was a bit clever, thinking of using the AsanteTalk (albeit with your rooting for me from the sidelines), when it seemed to have gone the way of the dodo.

I didn't pick up my email messages till today but am pleased that nobody has to be disinherited from the Internet when they visit. Kate just used my connection to get into her email, but now (thanks to you) I can tell her that she only has to plug her computer into the router. What a brilliant little thingy it is!

I see that there is another, later message from CNET Forums, so I'll be back to you soon.

Thanks again,


P.S. Kate will soon be joining me and most of the family, including her husband, Andrew, in becoming a Mac person. She still will have to use Word Perfect (and Boot Camp) till she finishes the book she's writing (lots of Eastern European diacriticals that get weird if she converts to other programs), but soon we will all be blissfully Mac-ed. Rejoice, O, ye nations! (As you can see, being with two entertaining, exhausting personages under the age of eight has made me a bit punchy. J

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you are very welcome, and
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 24, 2008 10:13 PM PST
In reply to: Thanks for the tip

enjoy those rug rats now, they get old really quickly.

Have a great Thanksgiving


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Yes, indeed
by jennywren1420 / November 30, 2008 9:06 AM PST

Yes, they do grow up fast, and being as how my lot live in Scotland, and everyone in the family is busy, busy, busy, I see them much too seldom, making the changes in the children all the more impressive. Nice, attractive kids, funny, inventive, and at three-plus and seven-plus, they really liven up the household. They are gone now, the place is very quiet.

I hope that you (and all of my fellow forum readers) had a lovely Thanksgiving, too. By the way, the new equipment for broadband and printing is a real plus and working well. Something else to be grateful for.


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