March 2003 Archives

March 3, 2003

Logitech Wireless Optical Mouse

This is a small update to my previous review of this mouse and keyboard combo. I just today had to replace the batteries in the mouse. I got a dialog telling me. and sure enough I looked at the battery meter in the control panel and it was pretty low. that is well over one month of constant use. so I am pretty impressed with the battery. they keyboard battery meter still is high, so I guess that doesn't drain as quickly. even after successfully reconnecting the mouse to the wireless base I had to reboot a number of times. the mouse worked on the logon screen but then did not once everything was loaded up. this has happened occasionally since i've had it, but not like this. I don't know if rebooting was the right thing to do, but it finally is working.

March 4, 2003

Training a Grad Assistant

Busy, busy busy. I have been so busy with work I have not had the time to post anything new. Lately I have been training a technical writing grad student for the newspaper. she is the assistant online editor this semester, so first i had to show her how to put the paper online. Today i showed her how to take screen shots on a Mac and PC (we take screen caps of the info graphics to put them online). I have also been showing her how to use photoshop. next on the bill is basic HTML. over my years here at college i have trained a lot of faculty, staff and grad students, especially when i worked for CTLT. it does not matter if they are an international graduate or not, one thing remains the same. i am in aw how little graduate students know about computers. either the general operating system or major applications. i am not slamming graduate students, i am just saying that my expectations of someone who has been in college for more than 4 years would have a better understanding of either the mac or the pc. i assume they do not know how to use photoshop, but i also assume they do know how to use an operating system, wether that be Mac OS or Windows. my expectations of graduate students is too high. for example I figured a technical writing student would know how to take screen shots on either a mac or a pc. i know i am a geek at this stuff, but i am not a genius at it. i like teaching people how to use computers and software tho, its a lot of fun. teaching the basics of HTML is gonna be a blast since thats my main thing.

Blue Collar Comedy Tour

this past weekend, march 1st, I went and saw the Blue Collar Comedy Tour at the Stranahan Theater in Toledo. It was a blast. Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, Ron White and Larry "The Cable Guy" all shared the stage. Ron White and Larry had short sets first. Then Bill Engvall had a long set, and Jeff Foxworthy has a long set. After that the 4 of them all came out and sat down and yuked it up some more. Bill Engvall did his "Here's your sign" and Jeff Foxworthy did "you might be a redneck if" at the very end - which was great because that gave them more time during their full set for other material.

We had nose bleed seats. Last seat last row on the top balcony. But that was all right. It was funny just the same. It was 2.5 hrs. long too! man it was a good show. And 4 comedians for $26 aint a bad price at all. My favorite set was Bill Engvall He seamed to have more new content then Jeff Foxworthy. The two lesser known comedians, Ron White and Larry the Cable Guy had some real good jokes too, their time on stage was just as funny. It was a great show! Warner Bros. is making a movie about it, I imagine it will have almost all of the good jokes in the movie, and there is a CD out as well. But the live show was definitely worth seeing.

Making money off of another tragedy

Isn't SPAM mail great! today I got an offer to get a commemerative Shuttle Columbia Silver Dollar, the Ohio "Birthplace of Aviation" quarter, the North Caralina "First Flight" quarter and official registration foir the coins. yet another tragedy and people are making money off of it. nothing to me tops 9/11 tho, and there are still people making money off of that. just plain pathetic, thats what that is. distasteful.

only 32 MB of RAM!

some people have a lot more patients than i do. and they must not know how to bitch loud enough. well i finally heard them yesterday. The Key Yearbook has an OLD rev. B "tangerine" iMac that they use for photoshop and pagemaker. it only has 32 MB of RAM in it! i cculd not work like that. but they do because they do not know any different. can you imagine laying out a yearbook on a machine that has only 32 MB of RAM? they have another iMac that has 96 MB and a 4400/200 (yea, i knowl O L D) that has only 48 MB in it. it cost $30 a piece for the iMacs for a 128 MB stick. that old 4400/200 is costly tho. you can only put 64 MB sticks in its 2 dual slots, and only 8, 16 or 32 MB in its single slot. pushing that box up past 128 MB was $150! once the RAM arrives Mac OS will run a lot smoother for them (you are suposed to have at least 32 MB for OS 9) and gosh! they will be able to have photoshop AND pagemaker open at the same time!

March 7, 2003

MacReporter plugin created

Whenever the powers that be let me put up the RSS feed for the BG News site I have also created a MacReporter plugin. MacReporter is an application that was out long before NetNewsWire and I actually like it better. it is shareware tho, it is not free like NetNewsWire is. reason being MacReporter is a is a dockling so you don't have to bring it to the foreground to rifle threw headlines with. With the public beta of MacReporter Forge I created a plugin for the BG News site so that anyone else that uses MacReporter wants to get headlines for the BG News site through MacReporter they can. OK, so I basically made it for myself ;p and I am going to make it available to anyone who wants it. that is when it is OK'd to post the RSS feed. A small note about MacReporter Forge. it will only parse RSS not RDF. RDF is the "new" standard for RSS files. I had to contact the developer, but he was very quick to send me an RSS plugin for Forge that would allow me to make a ratify plugging.

March 9, 2003

Changing Web Hosts

For those of you who frequent my site, please note I am going to change web hosts soon. I do not know how long the site will be down. or how long it will before I get MT reinstalled and working etc. etc. the space I am paying for right now expires March 18th. I am hoping to have the new site done by that time.

March 11, 2003

I'm Back!!!!!

Well that was not that painfull. only offline for a day and a half. i will import all the posts and get the templates back to working order this evening. i am very impressed with my new web host InfoBeen.

well after a couple hours setting up all the templates and all the template modules i use, i believe everything is here. all posts and comments are accounted for. one thing that is NOT is the images i have uploaded. screenshots etc, etc. ill fix them up tomarrow er something. you will just get a fun 404 page if you try and look at one of them.

oh and if its still broke, its still broke.

i have a bunch of stuff i want to post about, kinda sitting in a mental queue (now that is scary) but man i am just tired. i will post em later. this moving web hosts is really a lot of work! oh since talking about them - ahh ill post that later.

March 13, 2003

Everything is back to normal

OK everything is setup. MT 2.63, Textile, and SmartyPants plugins are working. I fixed all the broken images. so back to posting and normal updates. Moving everything over to a new site was not too bad. I have a lot of Index Templates and Template Modules in MT, but once I got all those added everything worked. I wanted my uploaded images to be in their own directory, that is why I had to fix all of those links. but now they are in a directory of their own. I also figured out I needed to edit the upload.tmpl file so the file upload form would automatically have the full path - saving me a lot of time from typing it in all the time :-P

March 14, 2003

Windows Backup Utility

I was just going to write on how irritated I am with Backup Utility. But before I did, I asked the folks at - well they told me exactly what I thought in the first place. and all I gotta say is WTF? You cannot use Backup Utility to backup to a CDRW or a DVDRW. This is Windows XP after all, I mean they did license Roxio for OS level CD burning! so why not use that tech to allow Backup Utility to backup to something useful - yes to a CD. I guess I have gotten used to backup/archive apps being able to save data to a CD, why is this such a forign concept for the Windows Backup Utility? Backing up to my HD and then copying that to a CD is hardly an automated process. and I don't call that a backup utility at all. I didn't want to install Retrospect to backup my personal files. but of all the shareware utilities I found for Windows there is nothing that works as nice as Retrospect. Oh well, I was hoping, but figured this would be the case.

Finding a new home

I was going to write this yesterday, but the site was down all day. It seems my new web host is having issues with their backbone - not something a brand new customer wants to hear in the least. Yesterday evening things were explained and I was compensated for the down time through PayPal - I think more for the fact that they want to keep a new customer more than anything. All in all I am impressed with InfoBeen. they have support over AIM that is online most of the time. One of their techs called me to go over how to use the WebHost Manager (WHM) because I now have a reseller account. Transfering the my domain names would have gone faster had my ISP not cached the sites. Other people could see my sites with nothing on them, yet I was still seeing my sites still being hosted on my old host, Tera-Byte. Oh well minor details. I found out about InfoBeen and a slew of other web hosts from my buddy Jake (who has btw finally put to use an excellent domain name - check it out) told me about a very good board WebHostingTalk. I posted in the Web Hosting Requests forum and in no time at all I got 10 different hosts offering me hosting plans. in AIM I was talking to 7 or 8 people at once and they were all going back and forth on what they would offer, adding features, etc. it was a small war! InfoBeen was the cheapest reseller package, and offered the features I want. There were some really good and even cheaper packages I passed up too. InfoBeen set my up with a custom package at a really good price. I just hope their support, service and uptime is that of what I came to expect from Tera-Byte. So just like Jake recommended the board to me, I recommend that board to anyone looking for a host or looking to talk about web hosting. Now I just have to get something up on :-D

March 15, 2003

Retrospect is setup!

Since I already use Retrospect to backup my files on my Mac there is no reason to install it on my XP box. I just installed the Client on XP and now my TiBook backs up both my Mac files and my PC files to my 10 GB Firewire drive. That's another thing that irks me, no friggin bus powered Firewire in the PC world. it makes life so easy to just plug in the drive where ever I need to. I want to use my 60 GB Firewire drive on my PC (its got my MP3 collection among other things) so I have to get a power supply for the drive. grrr... It didn't come with one because it is a bus powered drive. well thanks to Dad (thanks Dad) he is sending me one of his extra ones saving me $15! While typing this I backup up My Documents, Application Settings and Local Settings. well My Documents is still going, but its going pretty quickly. all I am using is a 10 baseT hub, no router or anything. pretty slick. One less thing to worry about now, all my important WORK files are backed up daily. next on the list of things to get working on my PC is to actually install my printer :-D yes I know I am lazy. its not a high priority as I can print from my Mac just fine :-P Well after doing a spell check the backup is complete in 77 minutes. I am impressed I have never backup up a PC to a Mac before, but it sure beats installing the full Retrospect on the PC. plus this way I can backup both my computers at once to one drive.

ImageMagick and NetPBM

If you comb the MT support board you will find A LOT of people who are having issues with ImageMagick even though their host has it installed. It seems that there is no answer for the problem. some people can use it with MT yet some cannot. well the alternative is NetPDB and ya know what - it works! InfoBeen tech support installed the needed IPC::Run perl mod and I was up and running using it to create thumbnails in no time. soo nice! this is what my TiBook desktop looks like.




I added smilies!

Well I added the code to the comments templates and its not working yet. so I will see what is wrong :sad: So it does not work yet. :-D - Smile
:-P - Tounge
:=D - Big Grin
:-/ - Confused
:mad: - Mad
:sad: - Sad
:-O - Wow
;-D - Wink

They might look familiar to you if you know board software. I will have to come up with some unique ones later. I just installed Brad Choate's Regex plug. smilies are just the beginning of possibilities with the regex plugin. very cool stuff indeed. I will have to get around to adding them in the Comments form. so for now you all don't know how to use them, ha ha :-P I have been up WAY to late mucking around with this stuff, so I will add that later.

From Phoenix back to Mozilla

I have used Mozilla for ever on Mac OS 9 & X but when I got my PC I found Pheonix to be almost as feature laden and faster. well last week just before Moz 1.3 became final actually, I decided I had enough with Pheonix. the thing that got me to go back to Moz was the amount of http authenticated sites I go to (the popup window that asks you for a user name and password, and usually displays a realm name). Phoenix was getting these confused a lot, even over many different domains. I would have to retype in my information, and in a world of Keychain (OS X) and Password Managers in most all browsers, this is something I do not like to do. so i'm thinking the password manager in Phoenix is not as robust as Moz, that or i'm just on krack. Cuz Moz doesn't get them mixed up, and I do not have to retype any authentications. and now Moz 1.3 is out, and that makes it even better to go back to it.

March 16, 2003

My TiBook Died (Updated)

UPDATED - 03-17-03 I posted to the Macworld and the MacOSXHints board, and got basically the same answer from two people. happens to be two board members I know as well, both from the MacOSXHints board - small world. they tell me it is a kernel panic. well the last time I saw one of those the screen went all wacky with white text with a black background all over the nice perdy Aqua stuffs. I guess I am behind on the times as to kernel panics, huh. well that's a good thing, I have not seen a kernel panic since sometime in 10.1. They both also said don't upgrade everything at once, well I didn't, people don't read anymore ya know? that IS a good way to screw up a system, Mac or PC. it is too late now to fsck the drive, I already have a clean 10.2 install on it. that was another thing that was suggested. although I don't know if booting into single user mode would have helped.
Well this is not fun. my TiBook is not booting up :mad: I have spent many years breaking macs and I have never seen this message, but then this might be a standard message after you update to 10.2.4, idunno. I figured it was safe by now to update to 10.2.4. I opened software update and I had a slew of updates, Keynote, Java 1.4.1, iSync, iMovie, Safari, etc, etc. Well I updated all of them then started 10.2.4. went to Meijer to get food n stuff, and I came back to that lovely error message. so I had to snap a shot of it. the message says to hold down my power button for several seconds. so I did and it shut down. I restart it. and nothing, it stays at that gray screen with the gray apple logo and the swirly thingie. well this is why I have a partition that has OS 9 on it. i'm booted off of that right now, and I am going to just do a clean install of 10.2. I don't mind, I have done clean installs upon clean installs of OS X so many times it doesn't bother me. not that it needs a clean install, I mean I just put a clean install on it when 10.2 shipped. minor details. like I said I don't mind it. I have all my important documents backed up anyway :=D this is the one thing that I am most worried about with my new PC. what if XP gets hosed, I have NEVER done a reinstall of Windows let alone XP. ahh I am sure that time will come to pass but hopefully, knock on wood, not in the near future. i'm not too distraught about this though, as i'm not doing much on my TiBook these days. I use it mainly as a backup device, and to play my mp3's. I also do a lot of web site testing on it, test my corss platform FileMaker invoicing system, and test and make cross platform Director cds. but all in all I have moved completely to using my PC for work. WinAmp is a nice app, but it does not hold a candle to iTunes. and the internet radio stations of WMP might be plenty, but most are slow and drop out. there are a lot of 128k feeds in iTunes that are very good, and don't drop quite as often. my TiBook is so slow in comparison to my PC now that it is frustrating to try and do work in photoshop, dreamweaver etc.

Smilies in Comments work now

just a quick note, smilies in comments now work, yay! ;-D

Back to Video Games

Well not full on anyway. my PS2, Game Cube and Xbox are still sitting dormant as you can see. I have been playing my GBA though. i cannot wait till the GBA SP comes out at the end of the month! I got my GBA from Japan when it shipped over there, and was about to get the GBA SP from Japan as it is already out there, but I didnt feel like paying $140 for a $100 product this time arround. having a light will rock though. One thing that is great about the GBA is the prices of the games! they cost $30 for new games. So i can get 2 for just a little over when i used to buy ONE PS2 game for. I have picked up Yoshi's Island, Sonic Advance & Sonic Advance 2 in the last two weeks. Yoshi is as fun to play now as it was all those years ago on the SNES. And Sonic on the GBA is a Good Thing(tm) for sure. Playing Sonic on the GBA brings back memories of Sonic on the Game Gear. Yep so i am still a game nut, just a downsized one. I dont think i will be selling my consoles because i am sure some day i will get the urge to finish Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Splinter Cell, or Metroid Prime... but not now. i have Sonic and Mario on the same portable ;-D

March 17, 2003

Does File Trading Fund Terrorism?

This is rich! I cant believe this one. from the article: WASHINGTON -- A congressional hearing on the links between terrorism, organized crime, and the illegal trading of copyrighted material produced more complaints about college students using peer-to-peer networks and other governments sanctioning copyright violations than it did evidence of nefarious connections.

Where did the purdy pictures go?

What the hell? I think Mobable Type ate my uploads directory! its not on the server anymore, and all the images are gone! I recently rearanged how the archive files are stored, but I dont know how the uploads directory could vanish like that! grrr. i might not have backups of some or all of those images. guess i will have to setup a daily backup or something. there i no way I could have accidently deleted that folder by accident, no, impossable! oh well. not a huge loss. only digital bytes.

March 18, 2003

AvantGo causes blue screen

This is not the BSOD in XP is it? Well I have never seen an XP BSOD or this screen. but after I rebooted I got these error messages, I am hoping someone can explain what they mean. This machine seemed to have recovered just fine. The problem was caused when syncing my Palm m505 right when the AvantGo sync started. all of a sudden that blue screen shows up. I rebooted and got those error messages. Then I tried to sync everything again and it worked fine. this is the first *major* problem I have had. And it was not that major at all.

March 19, 2003

The 101 Dumbest Moments in Business

Business 2.0 is a great magazine, every once in a while they have some really entertaining articles. And this one is great! Can you guess that M$ is in there a few times? The best by far for M$ comes in at number 11 "Whiffed pitch No. 2: swiping your competitor's idea and completely screwing it up." Do you remember the botched "Switch" parody they did with a stock photo model and a paid freelance writer? I do, I still have the web page and graphics saved on a zip disk to laugh at from time to tine. I also found it after a little googling. Number 19 is worth a good laugh "I'm 32 and enjoy riding the broom as much as my 7-year-old," This comes from a lady talking about the Mattel Nimbus 2000 Harry Potter broom. Her only complain in an review of the product was "...I wish the batteries didn't run out quite so quickly." Numbers 33, 34, and 35 are given to this one: Outside a Wal-Mart (WMT) in the small town of Geneseo, Ill., a 73-year-old woman buys a newspaper and suddenly finds herself trapped when the door of the news rack slips closed and catches her coat. Unable to wriggle out, she solicits a bystander to enter the Wal-Mart and ask for help. A Wal-Mart employee comes out to explain that she can't assist, citing a policy against tampering with the news rack. Its a 3 parter, read the rest on the site. The employee at first would not put the two quarters needed to open the newspaper case, because the store can't pay refunds for the news rack. Another good M$ one comes in at number 41, when they plastered NY with MSN 8 butterfly-logo decals on traffic signals and sidewalks throughout Manhattan. I remember that, M$ had to remove them all :-P Number 46, Victor's Secret does not dilute the Victoria's Secret trademark - so sais the Supreme Court. OMG there are just too many to laugh at. Check out the article. OK one more, I could not resist, it is about M$. Number 48 - 51 starts out like this: "One question might be, and I'll be as direct as I can be about this, what is .Net? Unlike Windows, where you could say it's a product, it sits in one place, it's got a nice little box. In some senses, it's a very good question." - Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, at a Microsoft .Net briefing day in July

Al Gore joins Apple's Board

Al Gore joins Apple's Board. What the heck April Fools isnt for two weeks yet! i would just *love* to be a fly on the wall to hear the "I invented the internet" jokes at board meetings :=D

March 20, 2003

The War with Iraq

And I am already getting tired with the news media. They want action and they want it started an hour ago. the News Media are so looking for a huge beat down that they have started blurting out statistics at an insane level. This is rediculous, and I find it a bit funny. It is almost as if the US Military needs coaching! I think they know what and how they want to handle things. But that is just me. The news media did the exact same thing in September 2001, and at the beginning of the Gulf War in 1991. I am all for the media relaying information to the citizens of the US and the World, but I have a real problem when the media start to make guesses and "what ifs." It does not matter if the media has hard evidence or not - they just love to speculate. and when they start doing that they throw out a lot of things that might not need to see the light as it might or might not come to pass. And boy oh boy do they love to repeat and repeat often both images and things that have been said. I am right now listening to the radio and they are using "we have to be careful not to speculate" and then what do they do, they speculate. some very far speculation as well. the media likes to use all the big words, even if they do not understand them. they also seem to ask the same question many many times reminisced of asking mommy and then asking daddy the same question. gotta love the news media

CDC raises alarm over new form of pneumonia (Updated)

UPDATED - 03/21/02 I found this article explaining that they found the origin of the pneumonia and "Experts say there are no anti-viral drugs against this particular family of viruses and it will take several years to develop a vaccine."
WOW this is scary. Check out this CNN article. I had double pneumonia when I was a kid, I remember being in the hostpital for a while for it. the article mentions the suspicion of terrorism. I don't know. I was talking to my friend Carla and she had a good point I agree with. "I think it's more likely that the world population is over-medicated, and that diseases are adapting" Carla said. yep, we see this all the time. medications have to be made stronger to be able to fight the same virus or bacteria.

Lots of things

Well there are a lot of site related things so I will just throw them all together in this post. My new web host was down AGAIN today. that is twice in two weeks. they are about to be less one customer. that's two strikes, I give them three and they are history. the server admin gave me the ability to restart apache today, if the need ever arises. So I give him props for that. but i'm not that happy this site (and my business site) has been down from 9:30 AM to 6 PM. Mobile Edition Thanks to Dive Into Mark and his great article on creating a mobile edition including MT templates to do so, I now have a Mobile Edition myself. I have been meaning to put this together, but have not had time to put the MT code together. but why reinvent the wheel when others have already done the hard work :-D If you do not know Mark Pilgrim is the author of a *very good* resource called Dive Into Accessibility. I could not have made the Mobile Edition without the help of another one of Brad Choate's fabulous MT plugins called MT Macros. I also could not do the Smiles whithout MT Macros and/or MT Regex ;-D In the next couple days I will put together a page explaining the syndication options available; how to use the RSS feed and the Mobile Edition, as well as applications you can use. For example how to setup AvantoGo or Plucker to get the Mobile edition of Breaking Windows. I will also mention some of the better RSS feed readers I have come across and which ones I prefer. Recent Articles Over on the right had side you will notice a new section called RECENT ARTICLES. This is an enhanced version from the previous incarnation. I showed my buddy Brian the MT code needed and he did all the javascript for it. its really nice. Now you select the category and it shows the last 10 posts in that category - not just the last 10 posts on the site. its pretty slick it is using MT code to generate the arrays in the javascript. All credit goes to Brian, I just showed him the MT tags and came up with the idea. Thanks Brian! Missing Images The missing images have been found - well most of them. There are some that I will either have to remake or just ditch all together. I found them in an archive on my old host, a day before they dumped my old account :-P I will have to upload them all again. so it will be a couple days till they are back up completely. Error Pages I added fancy looking error pages for errors 400. 401, 403, 404 and 500. I was going to go the funny error messages, but then just decided to go with some (somewhat) useful information. So now you will not get an ugly white (or red) error page. and it will even have navigation on it, go figure! Monthly Navigation I added chevrons next to the month in the calendar at the upper right. this will allow you to move back and forth between the months as well as jump to the days in any month. this is some pretty slick code I found on The Girlie Matters' Tips & Tricks site. Her site rocks BTW. I will be adding more little tweaks here and there to the templates when I have time to work on the site. you will just notice them show up. Whew that was a lot. OK done for now.

March 21, 2003

Rebuilding my TiBook

I have finally had time to work on rebuilding my TiBook. It is not near close to how I had it, but it is up and running and usable again. I figured I would jot down what I have installed on it so far. I performed a clean install on the partition just because I wanted it clean anyway. I had A LOT of shareware and freeware "hacks" installed and those slow down the OS but then they also provide nice functionallity. When I could not reboot after the kernel panic in the middle of the 10.2.4 install (discussed here) I figured it was a sign I had too much crap on the drive, which was probably true. So here is the path to my up and running TiBook. * Install Mac OS 10.2 from CD * Download and install 10.2.4 combined updater * Install all other updates through Software Update * Enable Root user in NetInfo Manager. * Install 10.2 Developer Tools * Install SharePoints 3.0.1 * Install iLife (only iPhoto 2 and iTunes 3) * Install Keynote 1.01 - because its cool! * Install Path Finder 2.1 * Install Super Get Info 1.1 * Install BBEdit 7.03 * Install Cocktail 1.2 * Install FruitMenu 3.0.1 * Install WindowShade X 2.1.2 * Install Silk 1.1 * Install MacReporter 1.1.4 * Install Fire .32c * Install GraphicConverter 4.5.4 * Install Kensington MouseWorks 2.2 * Install Fetch 4.03 * Install DragThing 4.5.2 * Install Script Menu from the AppleScript dir. Copy all my AppleScripts and Shell Scripts to the /Library/Scripts dir. * Install Web Browsers for multi-platform testing (Netscape 7, Mozilla 1.3, OmniWeb 4.1, Chimera .7, Safari) * Install and setup Retrospect to backup my TiBook and my PC * Install Toast Titanium 5.2 Wow thats a lot of stuff, well not really for me. I have a lot more things to install but these are the things I use so often that it just becomes second nature that I install them first thing when I am setting up my Mac. My Dad just showed me Cocktail, and it is a really nice utility for OS X. If anything I am reminded of the investment of Mac OS shareware I have bought over the years. Not to mention the commercial software I have. One nice thing is educational software pricing. Since I am still in college, and I also happen to be an employee of an educational institution, I get great deals on various software such as iLife and Keynote for $15. Another good example is M$ Office for $10. Some shareware becomes free for educational users, and some shareware becomes next to free. Of course I cannot use this for business or get tax deductions for it, but its still a nice break on the ever depleating amount of green stuff in my wallet. The nice thing about having a business is commercial software (and some of the shareware) is tax deductible since I use both my Mac and my PC for Meancode Media :=D

POPFile is up to 96 percent

The new version of POPFile is really nice. You can now re-classify mail in bulk, not one at a time like the previous releases. Since I installed POPFile at the end of January it is now 96.04% accurate. and it is a breeze to manage because it is web based. There have been all of 102 classification errors, I think that is pretty good. I only once in a while have to re-classify one or very rarely two SPAM emails. I think I have only had about 5 or 6 false positives. I'm really impressed. POPFile is a lot nicer to manage than SpamSieve, which is what I used when I used Entourage X on my Mac to check email. Macworld just did a big article on SPAM filters both server and client side. I was sad to see POPFile not in the article, even though you can run it in OS X. They did mention one Bayesian filtering application for OS X, SpamSieve (well OK they mentioned 2, has bayesian filtering in it too, but lacks any kind of UI for looking at the statistics). I personally think SpamSieve is annoying to use. You have to reclassify email with AppleScripts. That is a lot slower then the web based UI which is backed by perl that POPFile uses.

Most often used apps

New in XP is this most often used apps section of the Start Menu. This would be a great feature if it worked as advertized. In the Start Menu Properties it states "The Start menu contains shortcuts to the programs you use most often." Nope. Sorry, but that is not the case. RealOne Player is listed. The last time I used that was sometime in February. I just today opened the Macromedia Extention Manager to install an extention for Dreamweaver. I hardly ever open this up. Yet it is listed in the Start Menu now. So that leads me to believe this is really a list of recent applications, Not a most often used applications list. there is a difference between those two although I do not think the Start Menu takes that into account. HomeSite is in the list, I do use that a lot, but not as much as I use Dreamweaver, which I use all but daily. Dreamweaver is not in the list at all. I cannot make sense of the "most often used" list in the XP Start Menu at all. In Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X there is a Recent Applications folder in the Apple Menu, and it does list the most recently opened applications. I guess what I am griping about is that would be a great thing to have in the Start Menu. And if not then a true most often used applications list. Either one is fine by me but please pick one! Because I am sure beyond a shadow of a doubt I use Dreamweaver and Photoshop a heck of a lot more than Notepad. So I switched back to the "Classic" Start Menu, and I like it better I think. It will grow on me. Hell, Windows XP has grown on me so anything is possible.

March 22, 2003

Switch to Linux!

HA HA HA, this is good (Flash)

G Rated Movies at Fark

The Photoshop contests at Fark are really great. Movies we would see if the MPAA censored everything down to a G rating :=D Some of them are very well done, its a good laugh!

Sonic Advance 1 & 2 for GBA

UPDATE - 03/22/03 I am really impressed with the level design of Sonic Advance 2. Act 1 Leaf Forest is classic Sonic, but the rest have been quite unique. Hot Crater and Music Plant are nice and different, but Ice Paradise and Sky Canyon are real departure from the standard design (I have not gotten any further). The gravity defying corkscrews are real cool. The levels start getting harder at Ice Paradise which is Zone 4, and Zone 5, Sky Canyon is insane. I have not beat the first act yet. There are a lot of new level design doodads in Sonic 2 that make the game that much better. The one thing that is lacking in Sonic Advance 2 is the originality of the boss design & mechanics. This is a real bummer. Every boss I have come to so far is the same setup: you are on a "treadmill" sorta thing where you are constantly running and trying to catch up to the boss. You wait for the boss to shoot something at you and then you move to the right of the screen and hit him, then quickly get your butt back to the left side of the screen. Rinse, lather, repeat. The boss fights of Sonic Advance 1 had a little more thought and variety. The bosses in Sonic Advance 2 are all quite similar and use this same format.
ORIGINAL - 03/21/03 I am glad SEGA decided to create new games for Sonic's adventures on the GBA. Sonic and Mario are two of my favorite video game franchises because they are of the platformer veriety - my favorite kind of game. The latest platformers I have purchased, are Jack & Daxter and Sly Cooper for the PS2, Mario Sunshine for the Game Cube. I have always prefered a platformer over pretty much any other genre (Other than RPGs). This is one of the reasons I like the GBA, there are a lot of good platformers that have been re-released for it. As well as new platformers like these two Sonic games. Both the Sonic Advance games have high production quality, and include just enough new and classic game play to make it interesting and still nestalgic and true to the blue guy's roots. The new grinding rails in Sonic Advance 2 are something that is not even taken from the Dreamcast Sonic. Sonic Advance 1 has a lot of the standard levels expected in a Sonic adventure. And boy does it bring back memories. You get all the characters at the start of Sonic Advance 1: Sonic, Knuckles, Tails, and Amy Rose. They all make the pace of the game different. My favorite is Knuckles as he can climb, and the hardest way to get through the game, and slowest as well is using Amy Rose, she cannot turn into a ball to hit enemies or to get around the levels. She is annoying, but its a different way to play the game all together. I have gotten to Act 5 with Sonic and I am impressed with the size of the levels. They did not skimp on the size of each act. They sure are big enough! The overall game seems to be a faster pace then sonic on the Genesis. But depending on which character you chose it can be a really slow game (using Amy Rose). The levels are unique to Sonic Advance but seem very inspired by the classic Sonic games (which is a good thing). I have not gotten very far in Sonic Advance 2, but the graphics are just as nice as Sonic Advance 1. The effects are a little flashier, and the levels are a little more diverse. You are not able to use all the character at the beginning of the game. You get a new character, "Cream" at the end of act 1. She can fly across short distances like Tailes can, and she also has this little doll thingie she can use as a sort of projectile weapon. She makes the boss fights a sinch. Sonic Advance 2 is harder, which I am glad of. I have yet to get any Chaos Emeralds so I will be going back to get those. I was never one for the Chaos Garden and taking care of a "Virtual Pet" so that features doesn't matter to me. Time Attack is always fun, and I cant wait to find someone else with a GBA to play multiplayer as both Sonic Advance 1 and 2 support multiplayer with just one cartridge. I am glad I bought both games, they are both very well put together, fun, addicting good old Sonic style platforming. Now if Nintendo would just create an original Mario for the GBA... but that might be asking too much for now. Maybe Super Mario Advance 4 will be an original game.

March 23, 2003

Switch to the Dark Side

LMAO funny. Check out this switch parody (Flash). My buddy Ian sent this to me, I just had to post it, I could not resist.

Networking my Mac Part 1

Part 1 - The explanation of stuffs Last night I setup my TiBook so I can access it from my PC. I could, but am not going to, setup my PC so I can access it from my Mac. Why? Well for one I do not need to, and two, I have turned off the Server service in Windows because I find this makes my firewall work a hell of a lot less because it does not have to block all the pings to my machine, NETBIOS or otherwise. Once I turned off the Server service the amount of requests to my box just dropped through the floor. So I am mainly not networking my Mac and PC both ways for security related. Just for reference in 10.2 all PCs on the network (and in your OS X Workgroup) show up in the Connect To Server dialog. I just have file sharing turned off for XP so I cannot login from my TiBook. Mac OS 10.2 includes Samba which is nice, I had to install it earlier to be able to work with our Workgroup at work before in 10.0 and 10.1. Now the "easy" way to do this is install DAVE. Let me say one thing about DAVE and 10.2. They don't like each other. At least in my experience. DAVE is one thing I cleaned off my system by my recent reinstall of 10.2 Yes, DAVE has a very nice UI and setup to get a Mac on a PC network. and DAVE for OS 9 works very well. I just don't like the OS X version. One thing that is nice about DAVE though: If you use DAVE instead of the built in SMB in 10.2 you get less hidden Macintosh files on your Windows volumes. Mac OS X puts a lot of resource files onto a PC volume when it connects. It can look ugly if you run with hidden files turned on in Windows. Of course if you turn hidden files in OS X on its even uglier still. Also, if it built into the OS, why run DAVE? Mac OS X by default is in the WORKGROUP workgroup. Well I do not like running in that workgroup as that also poses a security risk. You use the Directory Access applications in /Applications/Utilities to change the workgroup your OS X box resides in. You can also change the Workgroup in SharePoints. I also use an excellent piece of OS X freeware called SharePoints because it just makes life easier. It also puts a UI close to OS X Server's share points into OS X Client. It also keeps you out of the very hairy looking Netinfo Manager application, which most people faint at the sight of. Netinfo Manager is one of the most non-Macintosh looking applications but it was the heart of the NeXT OS and is the heart of how OS X works. SInce I have worked with OS X Server a lot I have gotten used to using it, but I still like to do things the easy way, and SharePoints is the way to go. Running a firewall on the Mac and the PC is optional of course, but I run one on both. OS X has a built in firewall. 10.2 has a nice GUI for the standard BSD firewall, ipfw. The OS X firewall UI (in the Sharing panel of System Preferences) is OK but Brian Hill's BrickHouse is a much nicer front end to ipfw. To each his own, use which ever you want. Most people I am sure would prefer to use the one in the System Preferences. For my XP box I am using Zone Alarm Pro as I was not content with the built in firewall of XP. In Part 2 I will go over the process of getting everything working.

US soldier lobbed three grenades into tents

What the hell?? Read this article from CNN. Soldier turns on his own, kills 1 and wounds 11 other.

Ambrosia Software Rocks!

And their games are really good too. Check out this interview with Tom Anthony about the future of Ambrosia games on the PC! Wow, this kicks arse. My current favorite Ambrosia game is Pop-Pop. They are first working on porting Escape Velocity Nova. I hope they plan to port the rest, as well as Pop-Pop. This is sweet! Can you tell I am psyched? he he.

March 24, 2003

Teaching HTML

It has been some time since I have taught anyone HTML. Our assistant online editor, a tech writing graduate student, wants to learn HTML. At least she knows what a <b> and a <p> tag is to start with. But when showing her the code of The BG News site she freaked out (well yea I would too its really dated code) :=D

The last time I taught anyone HTML was back in the HTML 3.2 spec days. Now with the latest XHTML spec there are no font tags, and tables are not used for layout. CSS is used for a lot more now than it ever was. I don't have a lot of hours to devote to teaching (very busy with this invoicing database) So unfortunatly most of the "teaching" is going to consist of "go here and read this" but I will have a few hours a week to sit down and go over stuff. I miss teaching though, I did a lot of that when I worked at CTLT.

The first thing out of our grad assistants mouth was "I want to learn Dreamweaver" Yet she does not know HTML in the first place. That is a bad way to start out. Unfortunatly that is how a lot of people do. Then they know nothing of the "behind the scenes" stuff. That bothers me, people should get out SimpleText or Notepad before they go to Dreamweaver. Of course I remember using NSCA Mozaic to browse the web, ha ha ha.

Son of Saddam

Here is an interesting read about the son of Saddam on the SI web site. Its a kinda long article, but it's worth reading. here is a quote.

Ahmed Kadoim, a FIFA-recognized referee who fled Iraq in December, tells a similar tale of torture at Uday's hands after he refused to fix a soccer game last May. "I was the referee of a match between Al-Shorta and the club of the air force," Kadoim says. "I was told that Shorta should win, but I refused to fix the match. It ended at 2-2. I was taken by Uday's men to Al-Radwaniya prison, where they used hoses and a cane to beat me three times a day. My punishment was 10 beatings each time. When I was bleeding, they forced me into a pool of sewage. The guards laughed and said, 'You should have let them win.' I still am in pain nearly a year later."

Here is another quite.

"You should not discount the fact that when we invaded Iraq in 1991 that Uday's presence, and the possibility at that time that he might be the next ruler of Iraq, played a role in our decision to leave Saddam in place. There was a lot of unease, and there was no plan for what would come after Saddam. The possibility that it could have been one of his sons was unacceptable."

This guy is worse than his father.

March 25, 2003

Apple miffed at Adobe Claim

Awww, Apple needs some cheese with their whine. I mean come on. Apple is miffed at this page on Adobe's site that shows render speeds of a single proc 3.06 Ghz P4 (Dell) against a dual 1.25 Ghz G4. Funny thing is in the MacCentral article Apple is trying to play the spin game, making Adobe out to be the bad guys and not optimizing After Effects for the G4 chip. This is total bull of course, but this is what marketing is all about - the spin game. My opinion: After Effects uses Altevec optimized code in the first place though is outperformed by the 3 Ghz P4. Also what about the fact that that single Intel 3.06 Ghz P4 can kick the snot out of DUAL 1.25 Ghz Motarola chips? And there are still people who wonder why I got a PC. It is called being smart. Having both platforms is a Good Thing(tm) in so many ways. One of which is pure speed.

March 26, 2003

Stardock Suite is Sweet

The Stardock suite of tools, Object Desktop, are really nice. For those that do not know this suite is a set of 20 some utilities you can use to customize Windows. WindowBlinds is the most noticeable part of Object Desktop since it skins all of Windows - It has a few XP only touches as well. I personally got tired of the new XP "luna" look and I do not like the black text on darker khaki of the "Classic" theme. The problem I have found is there are very few skins made that could be used on a daily basis. Most are either too flashy and distracting or are just not usable for actually working on a PC. Of all the sites that have WindowBlinds skins I have found 2 that are usable. I like the Mozilla Modern (It looks like Mozilla or Netscape 7) and I also like the Blackcomb skin. I use Blackcomb 99% of the time because I like the negative UI elements, meaning white text on a dark (in this case dark blue) background. This is a lot more readable than black text on khaki (which is what both the Classic and XP themes use). WindowBlinds integrates right into the "Appearance" Tab of the Display Control Panel. When you install Skin Studio, it is incorporated into this control panel as well. The integration is very nice. Skin Studio is a really nice application in itself. I have used to it to customize parts of Blackcomb to my liking. WindowBlinds has a lot of customization features independent of the skin itself. You can choose if only parts of the skin take effect for example. One of the nice features of WindowBlinds is a Roll Up Feature (which would be called Window Shade on the Mac). This is a feature that Windows does not use at all, being able to "roll up" the document into nothing more than the title bar. I use this a lot on my Mac even though I have to use WindowShade X on OS X to do it. Another Mac OS feature I miss in the Windows world is spring loaded folders. Well there just happens to be a component of Object Desktop called SpringFolders that does this very well. Granted it is not worth $50 for just SpringFolders but WindowBlinds and the other applications make it worth it IMO. DesktopX and ObjectBar are much like Konfabulator is for OS X letting you create whatever kind of widget you want on your desktop. You can even put a Mac OS X like Dock in Windows. Using DesktopX I have created a few widgets myself as well as downloaded a couple made by others from the WinCustomize site. DeviantART has, among other things, a lot of Object Desktop skins and stuff. IconPackager lets you change all your icons. I have not really gotten into this part of Object Dekstop but I probably will soon. I mainly use WindowBlinds and DesktopX and also have SpringFolders running. I do not notice slowdown with these 3 things running, but I am sure your mileage may vary. I really like Object Dekstop. It gives me some familiar Mac like GUI features and also lets me put a more usable face (IMO) on Windows.

More on Outlook XP 3/26

I am sure glad I have a Mac and Entourage. Periodicly I send out emails to the University's Seniors about the KEY Yearbook (If any BGSU Seniors are reading this, it is my job, I just do what i am told to do :-P) . In Outlook there is no way to add multiple email addresses, you must do it one at a time. Outook also does not allow you to put more than X amount of charectors in the TO or CC or BCC fields. I get the list of Seniors from the Bursar's Office in an Excel file. With Entourage I can copy the column of email addresses from Excel and paste them into a new group email entry in Entourage. I am basicly pasting tab deliminated addresses, as that is what is copied out of Excel. I just find this odd that you cannot do this in Outlook XP. Outlook makes you add these addresses one by one. There is no way to, as far as I can tell, add multiple email addresses at once.

Web Browsing on the Mac

I know this is an understatement, but web browsing on the Mac is horridly slow. I am not just now figuring this out, but I did want to make it a point to post something about it. Even Internet Exploder 6 is faster on Windows than any Mac browser. Safari is a sigh of relief, but it has a long way to go until it is ready for prime time. It has a lot of work until it works with all of the standards and uber standards that are on the web these days. I am just getting used to using a PC to browse the web and using a Mac to browse at work is painfully slow and irritating. Why is browsing on the Mac so much slower? I asked this question once on a board and the only somewhat coherent answer I got was that the web was written for Windows so it works faster on that platform. I dont nessesarily agree with that, i just said his post was coherent. So why is web browsing so much faster on a PC? I have used older PCs that are faster than the latest and greatest Mac. Why? This link though lenghy is great! Thanks to Dan Burton for posting it! I have read a lot about TIm Berners-Lee but never about him using a NeXT box.

Playin' Basketball

Today it is a little cool outside but the last three days it has been nice and warm. Perfect weather to get out the basketball, pump some air into it, and go to the outdoor courts on campus. The courts were packed, and pickup games were abundent. See, I do actually get out from behind my computer :-P I can still shoot pretty well too. (I played basketball in high school). But man am I out of shape. My knees were jelly after about an hour and a half of 3 on 3. I am going to have to go play basketball more often - it is a lot more fun than sitting in front of the tv/computer playing video games. I miss playin' ball.

March 31, 2003

Busy Week & Weekend

Wow have I been busy. I have not had time to post anything to my blog. But I will be getting a bunch of stuff up today.

The Apsrin Jar

OK picture this. You have a pounding headache so you go to the medicin cabinet and get out the bottle of asprin. You pop the cap off of it and try and get 2 tablets out. They dont come out easily so what do you do? You shake the bottle vigorously because of the big huge cotton ball at the top. this creates a very annoying sound, very loud. all the while you have a pounding headache. Why oh why do they put a cotten ball in the top of the asprin jar? But we all do this. We all shake that bottle to get the asprin pills out, and it makes that loud noise. Hurts the noggin that sound does! makes my headache pound harder.

Conducting Interviews

For Student Publications my boss has put me in charge of finding a graduate assistant for this next school year. After conducting 4 interviews I have come to the conclusion that I am horrible at interviewing people. I guess it is because I do not ask such formal questions. The interviews just sorta became conversations. I got better by the forth interview at asking questions and not conversing so much. Just a little beter though, not a lot. I think I need to look up some information about how to conduct an interview. Its a little wierd. First of all I am not a graduate yet, and I am hiring a graduate (I mean hell you could call me a college drop out untill I go back to taking classes in the fall!). Second of all these grad students are older than me by a few years. And thirdly I am in charge of telling them what to do. Its just plain weird. But seriously, I have got to look into conducting better interviews.

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